ROME, GA (October 7, 2012) – John Blankenship of Williamson, WV continued the best season of his racing career on Sunday Night as he captured the Rome Rumble at Rome International Speedway. Blankenship, who started seventh, roared to the lead on lap 21 and never looked back in winning his third Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event of the season.
Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN survived a side-by-side duel with Chris Madden of Gaffney, SC to finish second in his Hawkeye Trucking, Bloomquist Race Cars Ford. Madden was third, followed by Steve Francis of Ashland, KY and 10th starting, Don O’Neal of Martinsville, IN.
Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN; the current series points leader and previous nights’ winner of the Lucas Oil Dixie Shootout; took the lead at the start of the 50-lap, $10,000-to-win feature event. Owens looked dominant in the early going until race traffic started to slow his momentum. When Owens caught traffic, so did Madden, Bloomquist, and Blankenship and they made it a four-way battle for the top spot.
At one point they were three-wide for second. Blankenship passed both Madden and Bloomquist on the same lap to take second. Then two laps later Blankenship made the inside pass of Owens for the lead on lap 21. On the same lap, Owens slowed with a right-rear flat tire.
On the restart, Blankenship received some pressure from Madden and Bloomquist, but that did not last long as Blankenship started to pull away from the field. Madden held the second spot until lap 38 when Bloomquist took over that position. But by then, Blankenship was well out in front as he went on to capture his fourth career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event in convincing fashion.
“The crew got on me pretty good for the way I drove in the heat race,” said the 31-year-old. “We made some changes for the feature and the car was strong from the start, it was easy to drive, we went by Madden and then Scott (Bloomquist) and then when I got by Jimmy, I guess he had a flat, and we went on from there.”
“It was a little bit hairy in traffic near the end, but I guess we had a big enough lead over everybody else, this is the best year we have ever had, we want to finish in the top five of the points, we have three wins, I just wish we could start the season over. I have to thank Coal America’s Energy, Todd Case Trucking, Fast Lane, VP, Bear Cove Village, Integra, Cornett Engines and Rocket Chassis, and especially thanks to the fans for coming out tonight and supporting us and the series.”
Completing the top ten were Mike Marlar of Winfield, TN; Billy Ogle Jr. of Knoxville, TN; Ray Cook of Brasstown, NC; Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, GA; and Tyler Reddick of Corning, CA. In preliminary action, Chris Madden set the RedBuck Fast Time amongst the 40 entrants, with a lap of 13.392 seconds. Jimmy Owens set the fastest time in Group A with a time of 13.617 seconds. Jimmy Owens, Scott Bloomquist, Chris Madden and Don O’Neal won their respective Heat Races. Steve Casebolt and Eric Wells won their respective B-Mains.
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will conclude its season on October 19th, and 20th at Portsmouth Raceway Park in Portsmouth, OH with the RedBuck Dirt Track World Championship. On Friday Night, action on the track will include RedBuck Time Trials and Heat Races. On Saturday Night, action on the track will include B-Mains, the Jim Dunn Memorial Non-Qualifiers Race, and the 100-Lap, $50,000-to-win RedBuck Dirt Track World Championship. For more information on Portsmouth Raceway Park, log onto www.portsracing.com. For more information on the RedBuck Dirt Track World Championship, log onto www.dirttrackworldchampionship.net.
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 Sunday Night, October 7th, 2012 Lucas Oil “Rome Rumble” Dixie Speedway – Woodstock, GA
RedBuck Fast Time Group A: Jimmy Owens / 13.617 seconds RedBuck Fast Time Group B: Chris Madden / 13.392 seconds
Wiles Driveshafts First Heat (10 Laps – Top 4 Transfer): Jimmy Owens, Mike Marlar, Aaron Ridley, Luther Jenkins, Frank Ingram, Chip Brindle, Eddie Blackmon, Jared Landers, Jason Croft, D.J. Hayes
U. S. Steel Second Heat (10 Laps – Top 4 Transfer): Scott Bloomquist, John Blankenship, Tyler Millwood, Ray Cook, Steve Casebolt , Joe Armistead, Shane Clanton, Ricky Williams, Mario Gresham
Simpson Performance Products Third Heat (10 Laps – Top 4 Transfer): Chris Madden, Steve Francis, Don O'Neal, Jason Hiett, Dillon Wood, Jake Knowles, Vic Hill, Jody Knowles, Michael Asberry, Thomas Maddox
HAWK Brakes Fourth Heat (10 Laps – Top 4 Transfer): Billy Ogle Jr., Tony Knowles, Jonathan Davenport, Earl Pearson, Jr., Eric Wells, Clint Smith, Tyler Reddick, Michael Page, Brian Reese, David Payne, Eric Jacobsen
JRi Shocks First B-Main (12 Laps – Top 3 Transfer): Steve Casebolt, Shane Clanton, Joe Armistead, Jason Croft, Eddie Blackmon, Chip Brindle, Mario Gresham, D.J. Hayes, Frank Ingram, Jared Landers, Ricky Williams PAC Racing Springs Second B-Main (12 Laps – Top 3 Transfer): Eric Wells, Dillon Wood, Jake Knowles, Clint Smith, Tyler Reddick, Vic Hill, Jody Knowles, Eric Jacobsen, David Payne, Michael Asberry, Michael Page Brian Reese, Thomas Maddox-NR
Feature Finish – 50 Laps
|FINISH||START||CAR #||DRIVER NAME||HOMETOWN|
|1||7||23||John Blankenship||Williamson, WV|
|2||3||0||Scott Bloomquist||Mooresburg, TN|
|3||2||44m||Chris Madden||Gaffney, SC|
|4||6||15||Steve Francis||Ashland, KY|
|5||10||71||Don O'Neal||Martinsville, IN|
|6||5||5b||Mike Marlar||Winfield, TN|
|7||4||201||Billy Ogle Jr.||Knoxville, TN|
|8||15||53||Ray Cook||Brasstown, NC|
|9||12||15d||Jonathan Davenport||Blairsville, GA|
|10||16||44||Earl Pearson, Jr.||Jacksonville, FL|
|11||14||1J||Jason Hiett||Oxford, AL|
|12||23||11T||Tyler Reddick||Corning, CA|
|13||8||26||Tony Knowles||Tyrone, GA|
|14||18||18e||Eric Wells||Hazard, KY|
|15||24||5||Jared Landers||Batesville, AR|
|16||1||20||Jimmy Owens||Newport, TN|
|17||9||81||Aaron Ridley||Chatsworth, GA|
|18||21||21A||Joe Armistead||Senoia, GA|
|19||13||3||Luther Jenkins||Waleska, GA|
|20||22||66||Jake Knowles||Tyrone, GA|
|21||17||c9||Steve Casebolt||Richmond, IN|
|22||11||X||Tyler Millwood||Kingston, GA|
|23||20||1w||Dillon Wood||New Smyrna Beach, FL|
|24||19||25c||Shane Clanton||Fayetteville, GA|
Race Statistics Entrants: 40 Lap Leaders: Jimmy Owens (Laps 1 – 20); John Blankenship (Laps 21 – 50) Caution Flags: Tyler Millwood, Jimmy Owens (Lap 21) Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Tyler Reddick, Jared Landers Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Emergency Provisional: none RedBuck Fast Time Provisional: none Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race: Tyler Reddick (Started 23rd; Finished 12th; Advanced 11 positions) Allstar Performer of the Race: John Blankenship Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Earl Pearson Jr. 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 Race Cars Sweet Mfg Crew Chief of the Race: Tom Buckingham (John Blankenship) Time of Race: 18 minutes 35 seconds
Lucas Oil Championship Point Standings:
|POS||CAR #||DRIVER NAME||HOMETOWN||POINTS|
|1||20||Jimmy Owens||Newport, TN||7850|
|2||71||Don O'Neal||Martinsville, IN||7420|
|3||0||Scott Bloomquist||Mooresburg, TN||7390|
|4||15||Steve Francis||Ashland, KY||7235|
|5||23||John Blankenship||Williamson, WV||6880|
|6||44||Earl Pearson, Jr.||Jacksonville, FL||6655|
|7||15d||Jonathan Davenport||Blairsville, GA||6485|
|8||11T||Tyler Reddick||Corning, CA||6305|
|9||5||Jared Landers||Batesville, AR||6170|
|10||18e||Eric Wells||Hazard, KY||6125|
*Points are unofficial until Close of Business on the Tuesday following Race Day*