Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN outlasted a hotly contested battle for the lead with Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN. He went on to collect his fourth Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win of the year on Thursday Night at Cleveland Speedway in the 4th Annual Car Smart Race for the Cure [Juvenile Diabetes]. Owens and Bloomquist went back and forth for the lead in the first 22 laps of the race until Owens forged ahead on lap 23. He went on to win the $10,000 first place prize. Chris Madden of Gaffney, SC passed Bloomquist with ten laps to go to finish second followed by Bloomquist, Ray Cook of Brasstown, NC; and Randy Weaver of Crossville, TN.
Owens and Bloomquist made up the front row for the 4th Annual Car Smart "Race for the Cure" for Juvenile Diabetes 50 lap main event. The event was held before a packed grandstand. Bloomquist took the early lead with Owens, Earl Pearson Jr., Madden, and Dale McDowell in the top five early on in the race.
Owens dove to the inside of Bloomquist repeatedly during the first two circuits until he gained the lead for the first time on lap three. Bloomquist came back strong and regained the top spot a lap later. As the two leaders were dueling it out, Pearson and Madden were having their own battle for the third spot.
The first caution came out on lap seven for Chris Wall and Jonathan Davenport; the pair got together in turn number two. The restart saw Bloomquist on the point, followed by Owens and Pearson. Bloomquist quickly opened up a three-car length advantage over Owens, with Madden challenging Pearson in the race for third. Bloomquist began to enter traffic by lap 17, allowing Owens to close to within a car-length of him. Owens finally squeezed by Bloomquist for the lead coming off of turn number four on lap 23.
Just as the leaders crossed the start-finish line, the yellow came out for Steve Casebolt. On the restart, Madden made the move for third around Pearson on lap 27 after the two had battled side-by-side for two laps. Meanwhile Owens started to break away from Bloomquist stretching his lead out over the reigning series champion. Bloomquist and Madden slowly reeled in Owens with ten laps to go, but Owens was up to the task. He used lapped traffic to clear some distance between himself and the duo of Bloomquist and Madden. Madden saw his opportunity to pass Bloomquist on lap 40, but by then Owens was well ahead of him and without the benefit of any cautions it was Owens' race to lose.
Owens was joined in victory lane by car owner Mike Reece and told the fans that it was quite a race in his eyes. "I hoped the fans enjoyed that one, we had a real good race going with Scott. Once we got out into the lead, our car was just on a rail. I have to thank my crew, we have struggled a little bit lately, but they have worked real hard this week and gave me a good car tonight. Thanks to Mike Reece for being here and all the fans for coming out tonight," said the 38-year-old racer.
The number 20, Bloomquist Race Cars Ford Fusion, powered by a Cornett Racing Engine and sponsored by Reece Monument Company, Gantte Appraisals, Red Line Oil, VP Racing Fuels, Byrd's Radiator, C&C Trucking, Alwee Trucking, and Ohlins.
Madden was second in the Xtreme Customs and Cycles/Cornett Racing Engines/Bloomquist Race Cars entry followed by Bloomquist in the Miller Brothers Construction/VP Racing Fuels/Bloomquist Race Cars Monte Carlo SS. Ray Cook came home in fourth in the D&R Racing/Hicks and Ingle Company General Contracting/MasterSbilt Monte Carlo with Weaver finishing fifth in the BKW Disaster and Recovery/Bloomquist Race Cars entry.
Completing the top ten were Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL; Dan Schlieper of Sullivan, WI; Don O'Neal of Martinsville, IN; Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, GA; and John Blankenship of Williamson, WV.
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.