Don O'Neal of Martinsville, IN won his second Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event of the season on Saturday Night at Bluegrass Speedway. The win was also his second career "Bluegrass Classic." O'Neal led all 50 laps to finally make it to victory lane after he had led in five of the previous seven events he has entered. Mike Marlar of Winfield, TN chased O'Neal for most of the race to finish second, followed by 11th starting, Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, IA; Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN; and Brady Smith of Solon Springs, WI.
"It's about time we got back to victory lane," said O'Neal, who earned $10,000 for the win. "We have always run well here, and tonight this was a new car we brought out. I can't thank Tader Masters enough for his support, we have run really well over the last month and had nothing to show for it, so I'll savor this win for a while," said O'Neal, who claimed his 14th career Lucas Oil Series win.
"I want to thank my sponsors, Independence Lumber, Superior Cleaning, Scott Clippinger, Sunoco Race Fuels, Jay Dickens at Roush-Yates Engines and of course, MasterSbilt Race Cars. The car drove great all night. I could hear Marlar a few times and saw his number on the scoreboard and I knew he would give us a good clean race."
O'Neal, who started on the pole, was a rocketship all night long as he got the advantage over Bloomquist heading into turn one on the opening circuit. Marlar was able to get by Bloomquist on lap six. He challenged O'Neal several times; just as began to catch the tail-end of the field, the caution flag came out.
O'Neal held a two to three car length lead in the final ten laps as he outran Marlar to the checkers, scoring his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win since February at East Bay Raceway Park. Marlar in the Wells Racing, Rocket Chassis was able to hold off Birkhofer in the Hilton Head National, MB Customs entry for the runner-up spot.
Completing the top ten were Ray Cook of Brasstown, NC; Brad Neat of Dunnville, KY; Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, GA; Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN; and Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL.
In preliminary action O'Neal was the Red Buck Cigars Fast Qualifier with a lap of 14.772 seconds, narrowly missing his current track record by a mere two-tenths of a second. There were 34 entrants on hand for the event. Heat race winners were O'Neal, Mike Marlar, Scott Bloomquist, and Brady Smith. The B-Mains were won by Scott James and Shane Clanton.
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will be back in action this upcoming Labor Day Weekend with two events. On Friday and Saturday, September 3rd and 4th the series heads to Portsmouth Raceway Park in Portsmouth, OH for the Pepsi 75 River Days Rumble. On Friday Night there will be Red Buck Cigar Time Trials and Heat Races. Saturday will see the B-Mains along with the $20,000 to win main event. On Sunday, September 5th the LOLMDS will be at West Virginia Motor Speedway in Mineral Wells, WV for the 42nd Annual Hillbilly Hundred paying $42,000 to win.