BROWNSTOWN, IN (March 21, 2009) - Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL; the 4-time and defending Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Champion; may have his hands full this year in the battle for the 2009 LOLMDS Championship, but the 37-year-old started off the post 33rd Annual DART Winternationals points season by winning the 50 lap 12th Annual “Indiana Icebreaker” Saturday Night at the Brownstown Speedway earning $10,000 in front of a standing room only crowd. In a heart-stopping event, Pearson took the lead on lap 20 after a five-car battle for the lead. Dale McDowell finished second followed by Jimmy Owens, 20th starting Brad Neat and Scott Bloomquist.
McDowell and Ray Cook started on the front row as the 26 car starting field took the green flag. McDowell led the first lap, but Cook fought back to race side-by-side for two circuits with Cook pulling ahead on lap four. Cook then saw Bloomquist charge to the front as both drivers came across the start-finish line dead even for three straight laps.
Bloomquist forged in front of Cook to grab the lead on lap eight as an incredible battle for the lead was going on between Bloomquist, Cook, Pearson, who was up to third after starting fifth, McDowell and Owens were putting on an impressive display of driving talent racing within inches of each other all over the race track.
Cook “re-passed” Bloomquist for the point on the 11th lap. Bloomquist kept up with Cook, not letting Cook get away from him. Bloomquist re-took the lead on lap 13, but Cook battled right back taking the lead once again on lap 14. While those two were dicing it out for the top spot, Pearson was quietly using the inside lane to make three-wide for the lead with 15 laps in the record books.
Cook then held the lead for four consecutive laps until Pearson went by him on lap 20 to become the fourth different leader of the event. The first and only caution of the race came out on lap 23 for a slowing Scott James, who then darted into the pits for some fresh rubber.
On the only restart of the race, Pearson was on the point with Bloomquist and Cook lined up side-by-side. Pearson got a good restart as the drivers ran two laps before the half-way signal was given. Pearson, with a clear track in front of him as Bloomquist was just one car length behind him with 20 laps remaining.
Pearson, Bloomquist, Owens, McDowell and Cook were the top five drivers with 32 laps complete. Pearson then began to close on the back of the field, jockeying through traffic to maintain his lead. Owens made a nifty pass on Bloomquist on lap 36 to take over second place and then on lap 36, Owens, Bloomquist and McDowell came across the line three-wide for second.
Meanwhile, Pearson was cruising along up front in the Bobby Labonte Racing entry as the race for second in the final laps would come down to a battle between Owens and McDowell. The duo arced side-by-side in lapped traffic as Pearson put two lapped cars between himself and his two combatants and which proved to be all he needed as he went unchallenged in the final five laps to gain his 15th career series win and take over the points lead.
McDowell and Owens negotiated traffic, which thwarted their efforts to get close to challenge Pearson at the end. McDowell held off Owens for second with Brad Neat coming from his 20th starting position to pass Bloomquist on the final lap to finish fourth just ahead of Bloomquist, who finished fifth.
In the Lucas Oil Victory Lane, Pearson was elated with his win after suffering from a disappointing Dart Winternationals at East Bay. “That was one heck of race for the lead, I hoped the fans enjoyed that one because they got their money’s worth tonight, I want to thank my crew Matt and Devine and everybody else who helped tonight, we didn’t run all that well in Florida, but here tonight, the car was just awesome,” exclaimed Pearson.
“It feels good to come here and run so well, the competition was tough and everybody gave each other racing room out there and raced as clean as you will see anywhere, I didn’t know how the track would be there for the feature, but you could race anywhere on it. I want to especially thank Bobby Labonte for letting me drive his car and I know he will be extremely happy about this win,” said the driver of the Larry Wallace Racing Engines, Lucas Oil Slickmist Fast and Easy Speedwax, Sunoco Race Fuels, J4 Liquid Energy, Performance Rod and Custom and Allstar Performance sponsored Rocket Chassis.
McDowell, who is now third in points, grabbed the runnerup slot in the exciting race in the Clint Bowyer Racing/Chevrolet/Warrior Impala SS as Owens brought the Mike Reece/Reece Monuments/Bloomquist Race Cars Ford Fusion home in third. The PBM/Erson Cams Hard Charger of the race went to Brad Neat in the Kentucky Proud/Cornett Racing Engines/Rocket Chassis Impala SS with Bloomquist in his Miller Brothers Coal/Vic Hill Racing Engines/Bloomquist Race Cars Chevrolet placing fifth.
Completing the top ten were Don O’Neal, Josh McGuire, Ray Cook, Billy Moyer and Billy Drake.
In preliminary action Josh McGuire topped the 65 entries in PRC Time Trials with a fast lap of 15.229 seconds. Heat races were won by Dale McDowell, Scott James, Earl Pearson Jr., Ray Cook, Scott Bloomquist and Jimmy Owens. The B-mains went to Bart Hartman and Victor Lee.
The stop on the Sunoco Road to Wheatland will take place in the State of Georgia with a Friday Night, April 3rd visit to Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, GA for a $7,000 to win and a Saturday Night, April 4th event at Swainsboro Speedway in Swainsboro, GA paying $10,000 to win.
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, March 21, 2009 Brownstown Speedway; Brownstown, IN
PRC Fast Time: Josh McGuire 15.229 seconds
Hawk Brake First Heat (10 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Dale McDowell, Josh McGuire, Eric Jacobsen, Bart Hartman, Dennis Erb Jr., John Mason, Donnie Moran, Michael Chilton, Jake Ruefer, Tom Sheets
Hawk Brake Second Heat (10 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Scott James, Billy Drake, Greg Johnson, Mike Jewell, Jason Smith, Freddy Smith, Kerry Mathew, Eric Wells, Mike Meyers, Justin Rattliff, David Breazeale
AFCO Racing Products Third Heat (10 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Earl Pearson Jr, Michael England, Jason Feger, Brad Neat, Chad Mahder, Kevin Cole, Mike Marlar, Michael Walker, Bobby Wolter Jr., Mike Bores, Nick Hodges
Tiger Rear Ends Fourth Heat (10 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Ray Cook, Billy Moyer, Dustin Linville, Victor Lee, Steve Barnett, Tommy Weder, Chad Stapleton, Jeremy Hines, Matt Weidner, Brian Wilhite, Brad Eitinear
AFCO Racing Products Fifth Heat (10 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Scott Bloomquist, Jeep VanWormer, Dan Schlieper, Kevin Claycomb, John Blankenship, Chris Simpson, Arnie Fields, Jason Riggs, Jim Price, Tim Prince, Wayne Chinn
AFCO Racing Products Sixth Heat (10 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Jimmy Owens, Don O’Neal, Rusty Seaver, Steve Casebolt, Tim Isenberg, Jason Utter, Jason Keltner, Derek Fisher, Mike Mataragas, Brandon Thirlby
Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock Dyno First B-Main (12 Laps-Top 2 Advance): Bart Hartman, Brad Neat, Dennis Erb Jr., Michael Chilton, Mike Jewell, Kevin Cole, Jason Smith, Donnie Moran, John Mason, Matt Miller, Mike Marlar, Chad Mahder, Mike Bores, Tom Sheets, Kerry Mathew, Michael Walker, David Breazeale, Jake Ruefer, Freddy Smith, Mike Meyers, Bobby Wolter Jr., Eric Wells-DNS, Justin Rattliff-DNS, 711 Nicholas Hodges-DNS
Wiles Drive Shafts Second B-Main (12 Laps-Top 2 Advance): Victor Lee, Kevin Claycomb, Tommy Weder, Jason Keltner, Wayne Chinn, Steve Casebolt, Steve Barnett, John Blankenship, Jason Utter, Arnie Fields, Derek Fisher, Tim Isenberg, Matt Weidner, Chad Stapleton, Tim Prince, Jason Riggs, Jim Price, Jeremy Hines, Brian Wilhite, Mike Mataragas, Chris Simpson, Brandon Thirlby-DNS, Brad Eitinear-DNS
Indiana Icebreaker Feature Finish (50 Laps): Earl Pearson Jr., Dale McDowell, Jimmy Owens, Brad Neat, Scott Bloomquist, Don O’Neal, Josh McGuire, Ray Cook, Billy Moyer, Billy Drake, Bart Hartman, Jeep VanWormer, Jason Feger, Steve Casebolt, Dustin Linville, Dan Schlieper, Victor Lee, Wayne Chinn, Michael England, Scott James, Rusty Seaver, Greg Johnson, Eric Johnson, Eric Jacobsen, Kevin Claycomb, Mike Jewell, Justin Rattliff
Finish (Start) Car Number Driver Name Laps
Entries: 65 Caution Flags: Lap 23 (Scott James) Lap Leaders: Dale McDowell (Start-2); Ray Cook (3-5, 7, 10-12,14, 16-19); Scott Bloomquist (6, 8-9, 13, 15); Earl Pearson Jr. (20-50) Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Steve Casebolt, Justin Rattliff, Wayne Chinn (Emergency Provisional) PBM/Erson Cams Hard Charger of the Race: Brad Neat (started: 20th, finished: 4th, advanced 16 positions) Allstar Performance Performer of the Race: Dale McDowell K&N Filters Clean Pass of the Race: Jimmy Owens Quarter Master Rookie of the Race: Jeep VanWormer COMP Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Larry Wallace Racing Engines Time of the Race: 29 minutes
2009 Championship Points Standings
1) Earl Pearson Jr. 445
2) Billy Moyer 435
3) Dale McDowell 400
4) Jimmy Owens 385
5) Scott Bloomquist 375
5) Josh McGuire 375
7) Brad Neat 370
8) Don O’Neal 365
9) Ray Cook 355
10) Bart Hartman 350