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UNION, KY (June 5, 2010) – Fighting off both Scott Bloomquist and Jimmy Mars in the closing laps, Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL captured the Lucas Oil Late model Dirt Series sanctioned 24th Annual Ralph Latham Memorial on Saturday Night at Florence Speedway.  Pearson’s third series win of the year was worth $10,000 as he recorded his first ever win at the half-mile track.  Bloomquist fell one car length short to Pearson at finish with Mars taking a close third.  Completing the top five were Darrell Lanigan of Union, KY and Audie McWilliams of Walton, KY.

Ray Cook and Pearson made up the front row for the annual event with Pearson gaining the early advantage over Cook and Lanigan right from the start.  Pearson stretched his lead to eight car-lengths by lap three as he set a blistering pace in the Bobby Labonte owned car.  By lap nine, Pearson had already picked up the tail end of the field as Cook, Lanigan, Bloomquist and McWilliams made up the top five.

By lap 13 Pearson’s lead was up to an astounding 15-car length lead over Cook, who had settled in second, just in front of a great battle between Lanigan and Bloomquist for third.  The first caution came out for sixth running Scott James on lap 18 as the veteran driver came to a halt in turn two.

On the restart Cook drastically fell off the pace in the running order; falling from second to fifth within a lap as Lanigan, Bloomquist, and McWilliams all went past him. The race stayed green for eight circuits until Matt Miller slowed on lap 25, the halfway mark of the race.  Pearson was still in the lead with Lanigan, Bloomquist, McWilliams and 14th starting Jimmy Mars now in the chase as he was up to fifth.

On the restart, Bloomquist and the Mars would subplant Lanigan from second as he dropped to fourth on lap 26.  Pearson then opened up some breathing room for himself as Bloomquist and Mars found themselves dicing it out for second.  With no caution flags in sight, Pearson started to pick up the back end of the pack again, allowing both Bloomquist and Mars to close the gap.

With ten to go, Bloomquist had his sights set on Pearson. Pearson was negotiating traffic and Bloomquist started knocking on the door for the race lead.  With five to go, Bloomquist was only a car length behind as Pearson dove to the inside of a lapped car just as Bloomquist put his car up against the retaining wall in turn three in an effort to pass Pearson coming off of turn four. Pearson’s well-designed moves through traffic allowed him to hold off Bloomquist for the win.

With Bloomquist and Mars right behind Pearson, the trio of drivers took the white flag and coming off of turn two Bloomquist tried the high-side again into turn 4 and hoped his momentum would carry him past Pearson heading to the checkers, but Pearson was able to get off turn 4 good enough to beat Bloomquist to the finish line by a car length to grab the win.

In Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the 20th time in his career, the 38-year-old, 4-time LOLMDS Champion was elated to win for the first time at Florence.  “The track crew did a great job with this track as they always do, we didn’t know how it would turn out with the rain chances for the day, but it turned out to be superb and the fans saw a helluva show,” said the second generation racer, who is third in the Lucas Oil Championship Points’ Standings behind Bloomquist and Owens.

“I have to thank my crew Jason, Matt and Eric. This car was perfect tonight, we got out there to that big lead and stayed up top there and we was hoping the top would stay good for the whole race like it usually does here, we had a couple of cautions there and that slowed our momentum and I saw Scott’s nose there a few times and in traffic I thought I have to make the right move here or he was going to get me and fortunately we held on and it’s great to get this win for Bobby (Labonte) he’s going to be real happy when he about this and we got two wins for him this weekend,” said Pearson who was referring to his win at Florence and teammate Brad Neat’s win on Friday Night at Tazewell Speedway.

The MasterSbilt Dodge Charger driven by Pearson is powered by a Larry Wallace Racing Engines and sponsored by Lucas Oil Products, Red Buck Cigars, PRC, Sunoco Race Fuels, Hoosier Tires, Asi Racewear and Ohlins.

Bloomquist, who finished second in his Miller Brothers Construction/Vic Hill Racing Engines/Bloomquist Race Cars Monte Carlo SS, congratulated Pearson afterwards for a great race.  “That was fun out there, Earl drove a really good race, I was hoping he would get caught behind that slower car there and I would be able to pass him, the track was great during the feature, we love coming up to race and can’t wait to get back here in August,” said Bloomquist who maintains the series points lead over Jimmy Owens and Pearson by 150 points.

Mars, the defending Sunoco Race Fuels North/South 100 winner last August at Florence was happy with his performance, “that was a good race out there between Earl and Scott, I thought we had something for them there at the end, the car was working real good there, but we just ran out laps, but we’ll be back in August ready to go,’ said the driver of the Deppe Enterprises/Pro Power Racing Engines/MB Customs Malibu.

Fourth went to Lanigan in the Gotta Race/Cornett Racing Engines/Rocket Monte Carlo SS who was followed by former Florence Speedway track champion Audie McWilliams in the Weber Racing/Sparks Contractors/Rocket Impala SS.

Completing the top ten were Don O’Neal of Martinsville, IN; Jason James of Lawrenceburg, IN; Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, GA; Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN; and Randy Weaver of Crossville, TN

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

Saturday Night, June 5th, 2010

“24th Annual Ralph Latham Memorial”

Florence Speedway – Union, KY

Red Buck Cigars Fast Time: Ray Cook / 16.686 seconds

Wiles Driveshaft’s First Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Ray Cook, Scott Bloomquist, Eric Jacobsen, Eddie Carrier Jr., Mike Marlar, Brad Neat, Joe Janowski, Brandon Green, Tyler Reddick, James Rice, Michael Walker, Chris Stilwell

AFCO Racing Products Second Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Scott James, Jimmy Owens, Jason Jameson, Kent Robinson, Randy Weaver, Brian Birkhofer, Dan Schlieper, Greg Johnson, Barry Doss, Tim Prince, Chad Stapleton

Allstar Performance Third Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Earl Pearson Jr., Audie McWilliams, Dale McDowell, Jimmy Mars, Justin Rattliff, Josh Williams, Steve Casebolt, Mike Jewell, Tim Isenberg, John Mason, Robby Hensley

SuperFlow Fourth Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Darrell Lanigan, Don O’Neal, Eric Wells, Dustin Neat, Matt Miller, Chris Wall, Steve Francis, John Blankenship, Jerry Rice, Jesse Lay, Brian Wilhite

Hawk Brake First B-Main (12 Laps- Top 3 Transfer): Randy Weaver, Mike Marlar, Brian Birkhofer, Brad Neat, Dan Schlieper, Joe Janowski, Greg Johnson, Brandon Green, Tyler Reddick, Barry Doss, Tim Prince, Michael Walker, James Rice, Chris Stilwell, Chad Stapleton

Performance Rod and Custom (PRC) Second B-Main (12 Laps- Top 3 Transfer):  Matt Miller, Josh Williams, John Blankenship, Justin Rattliff, Jesse Lay, Steve Francis, Tim Isenberg, John Mason, Chris Wall, Brian Wilhite, Steve Casebolt, Mike Jewell, Jerry Rice, Robby Hensley-DNS

Feature Finish - 50 Laps

FINISH

START

CAR #

DRIVER NAME

HOMETOWN

1

2

44

Earl Pearson, Jr.

Jacksonville, FL

2

5

0

Scott Bloomquist

Mooresburg, TN

3

14

28m

Jimmy Mars

Menomonie, WI

4

4

29

Darrell Lanigan

Union, KY

5

6

10

Audie McWilliams

Walton, KY

6

8

71

Don O'Neal

Martinsville, IN

7

11

12

Jason Jameson

Lawrenceburg, IN

8

10

17m

Dale McDowell

Chickamauga, GA

9

7

20

Jimmy Owens

Newport, TN

10

17

116

Randy Weaver

Crossville, TN

11

13

28

Eddie Carrier, Jr.

Salt Rock, WV

12

12

18e

Eric Wells

Hazard, KY

13

9

5

Eric Jacobsen

Watsonville, CA

14

23

c9

Steve Casebolt

Richmond, IN

15

21

15b

Brian Birkhofer

Muscatine, IA

16

22

23

John Blankenship

Williamson, WV

17

20

JJ2

Josh Williams

W. Harrison, IN

18

15

7R

Kent Robinson

Bloomington, IN

19

26

s9

Dan Schlieper

Sullivan, WI

20

24

71w

Chris Wall

Holden, LA

21

1

53

Ray Cook

Brasstown, NC

22

18

7

Matt Miller

Waterville, OH

23

3

s44

Scott James

Lawrenceburg, IN

24

19

157

Mike Marlar

Winfield, TN

25

16

25n

Dustin Neat

Dunnville, KY

26

25

33

Jesse Lay

Walton, KY

Race Statistics

Entrants: 45

Lap Leaders: Earl Pearson Jr. (Laps 1-50)

Caution Flags: Scott James (Lap 18); Matt Miller (Lap 25)

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Steve Casebolt; Chris Wall

Florence Speedway Track Provisional: Jesse Lay

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Emergency Provisional: Dan Schlieper

PBM/Erson Cams Hard Charger of the Race: Jimmy Mars (Started 14th; Finished 3rd; Advanced 11 positions)

Ohlin’s Shocks Performer of the Race: Earl Pearson Jr.

K&N Filters Clean Pass of the Race: Jimmy Mars

Quarter Master Rookie of the Race: Eric Wells

Comp Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Larry Wallace Racing Engines

Dominator Race Products Hard Luck Award: Ray Cook

DirtonDirt.com Crew Chief of the Race: Tommy Hicks (Scott Bloomquist)

Time of Race: 20 minutes, 16 seconds

 

Lucas Oil Championship Point Standings:

POS

CAR #

DRIVER NAME

HOMETOWN

POINTS

1

0

Scott Bloomquist

Mooresburg, TN

2420

2

20

Jimmy Owens

Newport, TN

2270

3

44

Earl Pearson, Jr.

Jacksonville, FL

2245

4

71

Don O'Neal

Martinsville, IN

2125

5

53

Ray Cook

Brasstown, NC

1985

6

17m

Dale McDowell

Chickamauga, GA

1925

7

c9

Steve Casebolt

Richmond, IN

1895

8

71w

Chris Wall

Holden, LA

1815

9

s9

Dan Schlieper

Sullivan, WI

1800

10

18e

Eric Wells

Hazard, KY

1745

11

23

John Blankenship

Williamson, WV

1700

12

41n

Brad Neat

Dunnville, KY

1660

13

157

Mike Marlar

Winfield, TN

1610

14

28e

Dennis Erb, Jr.

Carpentersville, IL

1475

15

9t

Tim Isenberg

Marshfield, WI

1375

16

25f

Jason Feger

Bloomington, IL

1265

17

11t

Tyler Reddick

Corning, CA

1220

18

57J

Bub McCool

Vicksburg, MS

1215

19

1

Will Vaught

Crane, MO

1160

20

64

Michael Walker

Franklin, TN

1065

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