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TAMPA, FL (February 4, 2010) - Taking the lead as he headed to the white flag, Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL passed race-long leader Scott Bloomquist.The duo battled side-by side, but it was Pearson who went to win a heart-pounding 40 lap main event. The event marked night four of the 34th Annual DART Winternationals on Thursday Night at East Bay Raceway Park.  The four-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Champion earned $10,000 for the win for car owner Bobby Labonte.  Bloomquist finished second followed by Pearson's teammate, Brad Neat of Dunnville, KY; Don O'Neal of Martinsville, IN; and Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, IL.C

O'Neal and Bloomquist started on the front row the main event. The event was also taped before the cameras of the VERSUS Network.  Bloomquist took an eight car length advantage early on over O'Neal and Dennis Erb Jr.  The race was going along smoothly until a multi-car accident in turn four on lap three slowed the field. On the restart, Bloomquist continued his assault on the field, as Tuesday Night's winner was looking for his fourth ever win at the third-mile oval.  Bloomquist started to enter lap-traffic by the tenth lap. Second place running O'Neal could not gain any ground on the race leader, Bloomquist, who made a swift move in traffic; splitting three cars; and opened up a straightaway lead over O'Neal by lap 15.

A tight battle for third was going on at the same time between Schlieper, Erb, and Jimmy Mars.  The top five remained the same in the running order until Pearson climbed into the top five for the first time on lap 20. With Bloomquist comfortably in control of the race at the halfway mark of the race, O'Neal continued to run in second as a three-car battle between Schlieper, Erb and Pearson ensued.  Erb and Pearson went side-by-side for two laps until Pearson cleared him for fourth on lap 278.  Two laps later, Pearson overtook Schlieper for third.

Pearson then had O'Neal in his sights making a pass on lap 30 to grab second. Pearson was looking unstoppable at this point of the race, with ten laps to go, but he had a lot of work to do as Bloomquist was still well out in front. Pearson caught a break on lap 31 when Dillan White slowed in turn two bringing out the final caution of the race.  The incident allowed Pearson to restart right on the bumper of Bloomquist. The two Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champions had only nine laps to decide the outcome of the race.

Bloomquist, on the restart, maintained the pace he had set for the entire race. Pearson began to challenge two laps later, pulling even with the Hall of Famer.  Pearson caught Bloomquist and the two set up a heart-pounding ending, going side-by-side for most of the final seven laps. Heading to the white flag lap Pearson went underneath of Bloomquist and took over the lead as the crowd rose to its feet. Pearson took over the lead in a smooth move around Bloomquist on the inside.  Pearson led Bloomquist out of turn two down the back stretch as he kept his low line on the track. Bloomquist made a last-ditch attempt on the outside as the two came to the checkers. Pearson held off Bloomquist by a mere car length for the win.

Bloomquist, the 2009 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Champion, finished second in his Miller Brothers Construction/Vic Hill Racing Engines/Bloomquist Race Cars Monte Carlo SS; followed by Neat in the Bobby Labonte Racing/Red Buck Cigars/MasterSbilt Cadillac; O'Neal in the Superior Cleaning/Jay Dickens Racing Engines/MasterSbilt Monte Carlo SS; and Schlieper in the Rockstar Energy Drink/Pro Power Engines/Bloomquist Race Cars Ford Fusion.

Completing the top ten were Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, IL; Ray Cook of Brasstown, NC; Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, IL; Matt Miller of Waterville, OH; and Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, WI.

In the Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the 18th time in his career, the former series champion talked about his win against the reigning series champ.  "Man the car was outstanding tonight, it's great to win here in front of my homestate fans in Florida. I hoped they enjoyed that race, Scott (Bloomquist) raced me clean the whole time we were side-by-side. I wasn't sure if I could have gotten to him without that last caution flag. We restarted real good and I just drove into the corners as hard as I could to catch up to him," said the 38-year-old driver.

"I was able to get under him coming to the white and I just held him off on the final lap.  I have to thank Bobby (Labonte) he has put a great team around me and Brad (Neat) and it paid off tonight, he got third and we got the win.  Thanks to Jason Fitzgerald he's back onboard this year as the team manager and Matt and Devine for their help it was total team effort."

The number 44 MasterSbilt Dodge Charger is powered by a Larry Wallace Racing Engine and sponsored by Lucas Oil Products/Red Buck Cigars/PRC/Sunoco Race Fuels/Hoosier Racing Tires and ASI Racewear.

For the latest breaking news on 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 Thursday Night, February 4th, 2010 "34th Annual DART Winternationals" East Bay Raceway Park - Tampa, F L

Red Buck Cigars Fast Time: Chris Wall / 14.189 seconds

Wiles Driveshafts First Heat (10 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Don O'Neal, Jimmy Mars, Shannon Babb, Steve Francis, Chris Wall, Jason Feger, Jimmy Owens, Bub McCool, Shan Smith, Leon Henderson

AFCO Racing Products Second Heat (10 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Kyle Berck, Mike Marlar, Dillan White, Brady Smith, Rick Eckert, John Blankenship, Tyler Reddick, Russ King, Brandon Thirlby, Doug Blashe

Allstar Performance Third Heat (10 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Earl Pearson Jr., Eric Jacobsen, Billy Moyer, Tim Dohm, Austin Hubbard, Justin Rattliff, Tim McCreadie, Jason McBride, Danny Mitchell

Wrisco Aluminum Fourth Heat (10 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Scott Bloomquist, Tim Isenberg, Brad Neat, Ray Cook, Travis Varnadore, Robert Geiger, James O'Hara, Tim Fuller, Michael Walker, DNS Wade Davis

Wiles Driveshafts Fifth Heat (10 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Dennis Erb, Jr, Matt Miller, Ricky Weiss, Dale McDowell, Ross Camponovo, Steve Casebolt, Tommy Kerr, Mike Collins, DNS Steve Shaver

AFCO Racing Products Sixth Heat (10 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Dan Schlieper, Eric Wells, Jordan bland, Mark Andersen, Chad Hollenbeck, Daniel Stone, Chad Stapleton, Lee Thomason, DNS Brent Robinson

Hawk Brake First B-Main (12 Laps- Top 2 Transfers): Steve Francis, Tim Dohm, Brady Smith, Rick Eckert, Austin Hubbard, Justin Rattliff, Tyler Reddick, John Blankenship, Jason Feger, Chris Wall, Russ King, Danny Mitchell, Jason McBride, Leon Henderson, Brandon Thirlby, Shan Smith, Bub McCool, Doug Blashe, Jimmy Owens, DNS Tim McCreadie

Performance Rod and Custom (PRC) Second B-Main (12 Laps- Top 2 Transfers): Ray Cook, Dale McDowell, Steve Casebolt, Ross Camponovo, Tim Fuller, Mark Andersen, Travis Varnadore, Michael Walker, Tommy Kerr, James O'Hara, Lee Thomason, Robert Geiger, Chad Hollenbeck, DNS Daniel Stone, Chad Stapleton, Mike Collins, Wade Davis, Steve Shaver, Brent Robinson

PRC Strawberry Dash (8 Laps - Winner Transfers): Austin Hubbard, Russ King, Rick Eckert,  Tyler Reddick, Brandon Thirlby, Leon Henderson, Ross Camponovo, Tommy Kerr, DNS Michael Walker, John Blankenship

34th Annual DART Winternationals Thursday Night Feature Finish (40 Laps): Earl Pearson Jr., Scott Bloomquist, Brad Neat, Don O'Neal, Dan Schlieper, Shannon Babb, Ray Cook, Dennis Erb Jr., Matt Miller, Jimmy Mars, Kyle Berck, Tim Dohm, Steve Casebolt, Billy Moyer, Chris Wall, Austin Hubbard, Dale McDowell, Eric Wells, Ricky Weiss, Mike Marlar, Tim Isenberg, Dillan White, Jimmy Owens, Steve Francis, Jordan Bland, Eric Jacobsen

Finish (Start) Car Number Driver Name - Hometown 1.    (5) 44 Earl Pearson, Jr. - Jacksonville, FL 2.    (2) 0 Scott Bloomquist - Mooresburg, TN 3.    (14) 41n Brad Neat - Dunnville, KY 4.    (1) 71 Don O'Neal - Martinsville, IN 5.    (6) s9 Dan Schlieper - Sullivan, WI 6.    (13) 18 Shannon Babb - Moweaqua, IL 7.    (20) 53 Ray Cook - Brasstown, NC 8.    (4) 28e Dennis Erb, Jr. - Carpentersville, IL 9.    (10) 7 Matt Miller - Watertown, OH 10.  (7) 25 Jimmy Mars - Menomonie, WI 11.  (3) 14 Kyle Berck - Marquette, NE 12.  (21) 17t Tim Dohm - Cross Lanes, WV 13.  (24) c9 Steve Casebolt - Richmond, KY 14.  (17) 21 Billy Moyer - Batesville, AR 15.  (25) 71w Chris Wall - Holden, LA 16.  (26) 11 Austin Hubbard - Laurel. DE 17.  (22) 17m Dale McDowell - Chickamauga, GA 18.  (12) 18e Eric Wells - Hazard, KY 19.  (16) 7w Ricky Weiss - Winnipeg, Manitoba 20.  (9) 34 Mike Marlar - Winfield, TN 21.  (8) 9t Tim Isenberg - Marshfield, WI 22.  (15) 54w Dillan White - Crofton, KY 23.  (23) 20 Jimmy Owens - Newport, TN 24. (19) 15 Steve Francis - Ashland, KY 25. (18) 12x Jordan Bland - Charlotte, NC 26. (11) 5 Eric Jacobsen - Seacliffe Beach, CA

Race Statistics Entrants: 57 Lap Leaders: 1-38 Scott Bloomquist, 39-40 Earl Pearson Jr. Caution Flags: (Lap 3) Austin Hubbard; (Lap 3) Chris Wall, Austin Hubbard, Ricky Weiss (Lap 31) Dillan White Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Jimmy Owens, Steve Casebolt DART Fast Pass Provisional: Chris Wall PBM/Erson Cams Hard Charger of the Race: Ray Cook (Started 20th; Finished 7th; Advanced 13 positions) Ohlins Shocks Performer of the Race: Brad Neat K&N Filters Clean Pass of the Race: Earl Pearson Jr. Quarter Master Rookie of the Race: None Comp Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Larry Wallace Racing Engines Dominator Race Products Hard Luck Award: Jimmy Owens DirtonDirt.com Crew Chief of the Race: Jason Fitzgerald (Earl Pearson Jr.) E3 Spark Plugs TV Challenge: Earl Pearson, Jr. Time of Race: 41 minutes, 40 seconds

34th Annual DART Winternationals Championship Points: 1. 28e Dennis Erb, Jr. 795 2. 7 Matt Miller 790 3. 71 Don O'Neal 745 4. 53 Ray Cook 710 5. 18 Shannon Babb 690 6. 21 Billy Moyer 670 7. 17t Tim Dohm 665 8. c9 Steve Casebolt 645 9. 5 Eric Jacobsen 635 10. 14 Kyle Berck 630 10. 9t Tim Isenberg 630

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