CORONA, CA (November 20, 2009) – The 28-year-old Williamson, WV driver won the rookie chase by 1640 points over his nearest competitor. Blankenship, who was competing for the first time in his career following the entire Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series schedule, started 28 feature events with one top five finish and six top tens as he closed out the year tied with Eric Jacobsen for ninth place in the overall championship points’ standings.

“I always wanted to race […] and I went and a dirt race with my brother-in-law back in 2002 and I knew that’s what I wanted to do [go late model racing], so we got a car late in the 2003 season and actually started racing in 2004. I’ve been hooked ever since,” said the quiet driver who’s dad Don is his car owner.

One of Blankenship’s sponsors, Coal America’s Energy, appeared on his Team Zero car this year to raise awareness of the benefits of coal.  “Coal has a bad image out there among the public as being a dirty form of energy; our sponsorship is to publicize that coal is a viable form of energy, it’s clean, it’s close to home and to help us not rely so much on foreign oil so much;” said Blankenship about the sponsorship, which was also involved in some late season race track sponsorship as well.

Blankenship, in 2008, made the decision to go with Bloomquist Chassis, a decision he does not look back on. “We are still trying to learn, obviously, we’re way behind where we should be. Scott has been very helpful in our career and now we know where we need to be to start out next year and we’ll be good to go,” said Blankenship; who had three engine manufacturers to choose from this year as he ran a Cornett, Custom, and Pro Power at different times during the season.

Blankenship also noted that without his crew there would be no Rookie of the Year crown and or a top ten finish in the points on arguably the nation’s toughest dirt late model racing circuit.  “I have to thank my crew, they did a tremendous job all year long, Brian Imler, Tom Buckingham, Darrell Bowles, Randy Cameron, Eric Pease and Scott Helton; without them we couldn’t do it, the Lucas Oil Series is the best series out there, the competition is great, the staff is terrific; everyone’s been real nice to us. We really enjoy running the series and more than likely we’ll be back on tour next year, and hopefully we’ll get that first win.”

Another incentive to follow the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series is the television exposure on both SPEED and VERSUS. “They [Lucas] have the best television package out there, I was real impressed with the way the TV shows were done, they did a lot of neat things this year. Plus, it’s great for our sponsors to get the exposure they do, it’s a win-win for everyone involved,” said Blankenship. The #23 machine is also sponsored by Hilton Head National a Scratch Golf Property, Fast Lane Convenience Stores, VP Racing Fuels, Hoosier Tires, and Ohlins.

Blankenship and the other Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series competitors will be honored at the series’ awards banquet to be held on Saturday Night, November 21st at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.

For the latest breaking news on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, visit www.lucasdirt.com or call the series office at (951) 532-2503.

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