BUSTI, NY (July 24, 2012) – The record books will show that John Blankenship of Williamson, WV led all 50 laps of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series debut at Stateline Speedway in Tuesday Night. The record crowd that was in attendance knows that just for a moment Ripley, NY’s Mike Knight almost pulled off a major upset.
Blankenship, who won the first major race of his career in 2005 at Stateline, stormed to a healthy early lead over the field. Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN ran in second place for the first 28 laps of the race, until Knight, using the top groove on the track, ran him down and passed him on lap 29.
It took several laps before Knight could finally catch Blankenship and cut down the straightaway lead he had over the field. Blankenship started experiencing difficulties with lapped traffic, and that allowed Knight to close the gap. Knight briefly held the lead off of turn two on lap 48, but Blankenship’s machine bolted out of turn 4 to retake the lead. Knight then tried to pass Blankenship several more times, but he made contact with the wall coming off of turn two, and hurt his chances to pull off a surprising win.
Dave Hess Jr. of Waterford, PA came from 16th to finish third in his best ever Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series finish. Chub Frank of Bear Lake, PA was fourth, followed by Bloomquist, who faded back to fifth.
Blankenship, in Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the second time this year and the third of his career, said he didn’t think it was Knight who was making the pass on him. “I thought it was Scott (Bloomquist). I saw a dark car, but he (Knight) must have run a heck of a race! He tried the cross-over move a couple of times there near the end and I was able to get back in front of him. Our car started to go away at the end, it was just superb right from the drop of the green,” said the 31-year-old.
“He actually got by me once, but I stayed right there with him! I hope the fans enjoyed that finish, it was a little nerve-wracking for me, but I think we put on a great show for everybody that was here. I really like coming up to this track, my dad said maybe I should move up here, but anyway, we have had great success here. Hopefully it will continue for the rest of the week,” said Blankenship, who now is fifth in the LOLMDS Championship Points Standings.
Blankenship’s Rocket Chassis is powered by a Cornett Racing Engine and sponsored by Coal America’s Energy, Todd Case Trucking, Fast Lane, VP Race Fuels, Bear Cove Village, and Integra Racing Shocks.
Completing the top ten were Don O’Neal of Martinsville, IN; Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville GA; Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN; Jared Landers of Batesville, AR; and Ron Davies of Warren, PA.
In preliminary action, John Blankenship, Daniel Stone, Scott Bloomquist, and Chub Frank won their respective heat races. Jimmy Owens and Randy Lobb won their respective B-Mains.
Tomorrow night, July 25th, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will continue its swing through the state of New York at Utica-Rome Speedway in Vernon, NY before continuing the Fonda Speedway in Fonda, NY on Thursday, July 26th. Capping off a busy month of July, the Series will make its way down to Hagerstown Speedway in Hagerstown, MD on Saturday, July 28th. All three events will feature Red Buck Cigars Time Trials, Heat Races, B-Mains, and 50-lap main events. For more information, log onto www.uticaromespeedway.com, www.fondaspeedway.com, and www.hagerstownspeedway.com.
For the latest breaking news on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, log onto www.lucasdirt.com and be sure to follow the series at www.facebook.com/lucasdirt and www.twitter.com/#!/lucasdirt.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Race Summary Tuesday Night, July 24th, 2012 “Empire 50” Stateline-Speedway – Busti, NY
Red Buck Cigars Fast Time Group A: Tyler Reddick / 15.723 seconds Red Buck Cigars Fast Time Group B: Scott Bloomquist / 16.087 seconds
Wiles Driveshafts First Heat (10 Laps – Top 4 Transfer): John Blankenship, Tyler Reddick, Steve Francis, Gregg Satterlee, Jason DuPont, Bump Hedman, John Lobb, Dutch Davies, Greg Oaks, Jordan Eck
U. S. Steel Second Heat (10 Laps – Top 4 Transfer): Daniel Stone, Ron Davies, Ricky Elliott, Dick Barton, Jimmy Owens, Robbie Blair, Jared Landers, Brent Rhebergen, Boom Briggs
Simpson Performance Products Third Heat (10 Laps – Top 4 Transfer): Scott Bloomquist, Mike Knight, Earl Pearson, Jr., Don O'Neal, David Scott, Chad Valone, Doug Eck, Chris Hackett, Rich Gardner
HAWK Brakes Fourth Heat (10 Laps – Top 4 Transfer): Chub Frank, Jonathan Davenport, Eric Wells, Dave Hess, Jr., Randy Lobb, Andy Boozel, Darrell Bossard, Scott Gurdak, George LaBarbera
JRi Shocks First B-Main (12 Laps – Top 3 Transfer): Jimmy Owens, Jason DuPont, Bump Hedman, Robbie Blair, Dutch Davies, Jared Landers, Brent Rhebergen, Greg Oaks, Jordan Eck, Boom Briggs, John Lobb
PAC Racing Springs Second B-Main (12 Laps – Top 3 Transfer): Randy Lobb, David Scott, Doug Eck, Andy Boozel, Darrell Bossard, Chad Valone, Chris Hackett, Scott Gurdak, Rich Gardner, George LaBarbera-DNS
Feature Finish – 50 Laps
|FINISH||START||CAR #||DRIVER NAME||HOMETOWN|
|1||1||23||John Blankenship||Williamson, WV|
|2||6||9k||Mike Knight||Ripley, NY|
|3||16||44h||Dave Hess, Jr.||Waterford, PA|
|4||4||1*||Chub Frank||Bear Lake, PA|
|5||2||0||Scott Bloomquist||Mooresburg, TN|
|6||14||71||Don O'Neal||Martinsville, IN|
|7||8||15d||Jonathan Davenport||Blairsville, GA|
|8||17||20||Jimmy Owens||Newport, TN|
|9||23||5||Jared Landers||Batesville, AR|
|10||7||71d||Ron Davies||Warren, PA|
|11||10||44||Earl Pearson, Jr.||Jacksonville, FL|
|12||21||B22||Bump Hedman||Sugar Grove, PA|
|13||11||88||Ricky Elliott||Seaford, DE|
|14||12||18e||Eric Wells||Hazard, KY|
|15||5||11T||Tyler Reddick||Corning, CA|
|16||9||15||Steve Francis||Ashland, KY|
|17||18||28L||Randy Lobb||Jamestown, NY|
|18||25||1||Rich Gardner||Waterford, PA|
|19||13||22s||Gregg Satterlee||Rochester Mills, PA|
|20||15||14B||Dick Barton||Ashville, NY|
|21||3||21d||Daniel Stone||Thompson, PA|
|22||22||03||Doug Eck||Corry, PA|
|23||20||3||David Scott||Garland, PA|
|24||24||w11||Robbie Blair||Centerville, PA|
|25||19||NO7||Jason DuPont||Cyclone, PA|
Race Statistics Entrants: 37 Lap Leaders: John Blankenship (Laps 1 – 50) Caution Flags: Tyler Reddick (Lap 9); Steve Francis, Eric Wells (Lap 10); David Scott (Lap 17); Doug Eck (Lap 17); Gregg Satterlee (Lap 17) Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Jared Landers Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Emergency Provisional: none Red Buck Cigars Fast Time Provisionals: Robbie Blair Stateline Speedway Track Provisionals: Rich Gardner Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race: Jared Landers (Started 23rd; Finished 9th; Advanced 14 positions) Allstar Performer of the Race: Mike Knight Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Jimmy Owens ASi Racewear Challenge Finisher: John Blankenship Quarter Master Rookie of the Race: Jonathan Davenport COMP Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Cornett Racing Engines Ohlins Shocks Chassis Builder of the Race: Rocket Chassis Sweet Mfg Crew Chief of the Race: Tom Buckingham (John Blankenship) Time of Race: 28 minutes 44 seconds
Lucas Oil Championship Point Standings:
|POS||CAR #||DRIVER NAME||HOMETOWN||POINTS|
|1||20||Jimmy Owens||Newport, TN||5045|
|2||0||Scott Bloomquist||Mooresburg, TN||4735|
|3||71||Don O'Neal||Martinsville, IN||4700|
|4||15||Steve Francis||Ashland, KY||4615|
|5||23||John Blankenship||Williamson, WV||4360|
|6||44||Earl Pearson, Jr.||Jacksonville, FL||4300|
|7||15d||Jonathan Davenport||Blairsville, GA||4265|
|8||11T||Tyler Reddick||Corning, CA||4055|
|9||5||Jared Landers||Batesville, AR||3965|
|10||18e||Eric Wells||Hazard, KY||3940|
*Points are unofficial until Close of Business on the Tuesday following Race Day*