UNION, KY (May 30, 2009) – Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN took the lead on lap 35 from Don O’Neal as he went on to score his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win of 2009 on Saturday Night at Florence Speedway; winning the 23rd Annual Ralph Latham Memorial Race. Owens swept by O’Neal with 15 laps to go. Trailing Owens and O’Neal to the checkered flag in the $10,000 to win event were Scott Bloomquist, Brad Neat and Earl Pearson Jr.
O’Neal and Pearson made up the front row for the annual event as O’Neal grabbed the early lead in the 50 lap race with Pearson and Bloomquist in tow. The yellow flag came out with one scored for a three-car accident in turn number two involving Scott James, Steve Casebolt and Brandon Green.
On the Delaware double-file restart, O’Neal maintained the point as Bloomquist slipped by Pearson for second place. Bloomquist would not allow O’Neal to pull away as he pulled up on the rear decklid of O’Neal with six laps complete. Bloomquist pulled even with O’Neal a couple of times coming off of turn four as O’Neal was still the race leader.
The race was going along smoothly when Casebolt slowed on the track to bring out the second caution of the race with 12 laps scored. O’Neal once again led the field on the Delaware double-file restart with Bloomquist and Pearson lined up side-by-side behind the veteran Indiana pilot.
The restart proved beneficial for track regular Audie McWilliams who was running in the fourth spot as he climbed one spot to third passing Pearson for that position. O’Neal was still leading with Bloomquist, McWilliams, eighth-starting Jimmy Owens and Pearson running in the top five with 15 laps complete.
Bloomquist was hanging with O’Neal in the race for the lead and was challenging O’Neal when McWilliams slowed suddenly on the front straightway with engine woes on lap 19 which ultimately ended his night after a strong run.
The final restart of the race came on lap 20, and it would turn out to be a showdown between O’Neal and Owens. Owens was able to get around Bloomquist on the restart moving to second as those two drivers started to pull away from the field. Brad Neat was now in the hunt challenging Bloomquist for third after a side-by-side tussle with Pearson for several laps.
For the first time in the race traffic was going to be a factor as the frontrunners picked up the tail end of the field with 31 laps in the books. Owens was able to pull even with O’Neal in a classic duel for the race lead in heavy traffic as Owens finally cleared O’Neal after trying for a few laps to pass him as lap 35 was the magic lap that Owens became the new leader of the race.
Owens still had to contend with O’Neal who was not giving up and several cars he was trying to lap around the racy half-mile track. Owens was able to execute traffic better than O’Neal with less than ten laps remaining and that was the difference as Owens had a clear race track in front of him with five laps to go.
Owens then sprinted on to take his second straight win in the Ralph Latham Memorial race as he became the 11th different winner on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series tour in 2009. In the Lucas Oil Victory Lane, Owens thanked a multitude of people who have helped him.
“I’ve got to thank my car owner Mike Reece, my crew chief Chris Fox, all of my pit crew, my souvenir people and all my sponsors maybe now the season is turning around and thanks to the fans as well for coming out tonight,” said the 37- year-old-racer who earned his tenth career Lucas Oil Series victory, making a tie for second in the Lucas Oil points with Pearson.
“The car was tight coming off of the corners, that last restart we had was good when you’re running against Bloomquist and O’Neal, I was hoping to get under Scott which we fortunately did and it was good race for the lead with O’Neal, traffic was a pain, O’Neal was tough whenever you got a hole you had to go for it, we touched there once and gathered it backup and the car was awesome the rest of the way once the traffic cleared out,” said Owens who was in victory lane for the first time in 2009 after winning 30 main events over the last two years.
The number 20 Bloomquist Race Cars Ford Fusion is powered by a Cornett Racing Engine and sponsored by Reece Monument Company, Gantte Appraisal, Performance Rod and Custom, VP Racing Fuels, Hoosier Tires, Byrd’s Radiator and C&C Trucking.
O’Neal continues to climb in the series points with his solid finishes the last two weeks as he finished second in the Racing United Marketing/Superior Cleaning/MasterSbilt Monte Carlo SS. Bloomquist was third in his Miller Brothers Coal/Vic Hill Racing Engines/Bloomquist Race Cars Monte Carlo SS. Crossing the line in fourth Neat in his T&T Energy/Cornett Racing Engines/MasterSbilt Monte Carlo SS with Pearson finishing fifth in the Bobby Labonte Racing/Lucas Oil Slickmist/Rocket Chassis
Two Florence Speedway regulars led the next five in the finishing order as David Spille and Jason Jameson ran strong finishing sixth and seventh ahead of Justin Rattliff, Josh McGuire and Mike Marlar who completed the top ten in the finishing order.
In preliminary action Mike Marlar was the PRC Fast Timer over the 50 entrants on hand with a lap of 16.750 seconds. Heat race winners were Don O’Neal, David Spille, Earl Pearson Jr. and Scott Bloomquist. The B-Main winners were Jeep VanWormer and Steve Casebolt. Wayne Chinn earned the PBM/Erson Hard Charger of the Race finishing in 12th after starting 22nd.
To find out more about the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, log on to www.lucasdirt.com or call the series office at (951) 532-2503.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Race Summary Saturday Night, May 9, 2009 Florence Speedway – Florence, KY
PRC Fast Time: Mike Marlar/ 16.750 seconds
Hawk Brake First Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Don O’Neal, Eric Jacobsen, Eric Wells, Mike Marlar, Dale McDowell, Steve Landrum, Rick Corbin, Jeep VanWormer, Brandon Green, Freddy Smith, Josh Williams, Jason Keltner, Jeremy Crisp
Hawk Brake Second Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): David Spille, Justin Rattliff, Jason Jameson, Ray Cook, John Gill, Chris Combs, Bill Blair Jr., Adrian Nichols, Rodney Combs, David Breazeale, Dan Schlieper, Jerry Bowersock, Bob Carnes
AFCO Racing Products Third Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Earl Pearson Jr., Audie McWilliams, Brad Neat, Scott James, Jerry Rice, Jeff Aslip, Michael Walker, Billy Vaughn, Dustin Neat, Ed Behn, Dustin Linville, Gary Engle
Tiger Rear Ends Fourth Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Scott Bloomquist, Jimmy Owens, John Blankenship, Josh McGuire, Steve Casebolt, Wayne Chinn, Jesse Lay, Robby Hensley, Donnie Moran, D.J. Wells, Kevin Blair, Jeff Raisor
Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock Dyno First B-Main (12 Laps- Top 3 Advance): Jeep VanWormer, Dale McDowell, John Gill, Steve Landrum, Adrian Nichols, Chris Combs, Rick Corbin, Jason Keltner, Josh Williams, Jerry Bowersock, Bob Carnes, Jeremy Crisp, Rodney Combs, Bill Blair Jr.
Wiles Drive Shafts Second B-Main (12 Laps- Top 3 Advance): Steve Casebolt, Jerry Rice, Wayne Chinn, Jeff Aslip, Robby Hensley, Jesse Lay, Donnie Moran, D.J. Wells, Gary Engle, Michael Walker, Kevin Blair, Jeff Raisor, Billy Vaughan, Dustin Neat, Ed Behn, Dustin Linville
23rd Annual Ralph Latham Memorial Feature Finish (50 Laps): Jimmy Owens, Don O'Neal, Scott Bloomquist, Brad Neat, Earl Pearson, Jr., David Spille, Jason Jameson, Justin Rattliff, Josh McGuire, Mike Marlar, Ray Cook, Wayne Chinn, Jerry Rice, John Blankenship, Jeep VanWormer, Scott James, Brandon Green, Dan Schlieper, Steve Casebolt, Eric Jacobsen, David Breazeale, Dale McDowell, Freddy Smith, John Gill, Eric Wells, Audie McWilliams
Finish (Start) Car Number Driver Name
1. (8) #20 Jimmy Owens
2. (1) #71 Don O’Neal
3. (4) #0 Scott Bloomquist
4. (10) #41N Brad Neat
5. (2) #44 Earl Pearson Jr.
6. (3) #711 David Spille
7. (11) #12 Jason Jameson
8. (7) #16c Justin Rattliff
9. (16) # 41 Josh McGuire
10. (13) #157 Mike Marlar
11. (15) #53 Ray Cook
12. (22) #1 Wayne Chinn
13. (20) #11R Jerry Rice
14. (12) #23 John Blankenship
15. (17) #55 Jeep VanWormer
16. (14) #83 Scott James
17. (25) #10G Brandon Green
18. (23) #s9 Dan Schlieper
19. (18) #c9 Steve Casebolt
20. (5) #5 Eric Jacobsen
21. (24) #54 David Breazeale
22. (19) #17M Dale McDowell
23. (26) #00 Freddy Smith
24. (21) #75 John Gill
25. (9) #18E Eric Wells
26. (6) #10 Audie McWilliams
Entries: 50 Caution Flags: Lap 1 (Brandon Green, Steve Casebolt, Scott James); Lap 12 (Steve Casebolt); Lap 19 (Audie McWilliams Lap Leaders: Don O’Neal (1-34); Jimmy Owens (35-50) Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Dan Schlieper, David Breazeale Emergency Provisional: Freddy Smith PBM/Erson Cams Hard Charger of the Race: Wayne Chinn Allstar Performance Performer of the Race: Brad Neat K&N Filters Clean Pass of the Race: Jimmy Owens Quarter Master Rookie of the Race: John Blankenship Comp Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Cornett Racing Engines Time of the Race: 40 minutes
2009 Championship Points Standings
1. Scott Bloomquist (Mooresburg, TN) 2145
2. Earl Pearson Jr. (Jacksonville, FL) 1930
2. Jimmy Owens (Newport, TN) 1930
4. Dale McDowell (Chickamauga, GA) 1870
5. Billy Moyer (Batesville, AR) 1810
6. Don O’Neal (Martinsville, IN) 1790
6. Ray Cook (Brasstown, NC) 1790
8. Scott James (Lawernceburg, IN) 1745
9. Steve Casebolt (Richmond, IN) 1660
10. Josh McGuire (Grayson, KY) 1620
11. Brad Neat (Dunnville, KY) 1615
12. Jeep VanWormer (Pinnconning, MI) 1590
13. Eric Jacobsen (Seacliffe Beach, CA) 1560
14. John Blankenship (Williamson, WV) 1500
15. Dan Schlieper (Sullivan, WI) 1445
16. David Breazeale (Four Corners, MS) 1340
17. Freddy Smith (Seymour, TN) 1200
20. Michael Walker (Franklin, TN) 980
2009 Rookie of the Year Points Standings
1. Jeep VanWormer (Pinconning, MI) 1590
2. John Blankenship (Williamson, WV) 1500
3. David Breazeale (Four Corners, MS) 1340
4. Michael Walker (Franklin, TN) 980