Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN clinched his second consecutive Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Title by winning his fifth Lucas Oil "Dixie Shootout" on Saturday Night at Dixie Speedway. The 46-year-old Hall of Famer also collected the 501st win of his career and his eighth national driving championship. Bloomquist led the final 41 laps to take the $10,000 first place prize ahead of a late-race charge from Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, GA; Chris Madden of Gaffney, SC; 16th starting Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, IL; and Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN, who finished fifth, after John Blankenship weighed-in light at the scales.
"This is what we worked for all year long, to win this Lucas Oil Championship again," said Bloomquist, who recorded his season-leading ninth win. "I have to thank my crew and my sponsors for their help all year. My family has been great through all of this, and the championships and such are something to look back on someday when you're retired. I have to thank Miller Brothers Construction, Hawkeye Trucking, VP Fuels, Hoosier Tires, and Allstar Performance and of course. I'd also like to thank Roush-Yates Engines, the motor was super once again," said the winner who pilots his own Bloomquist Race Cars Chevrolet.
"Earl fired off real good at the start, I am not sure what tires he had on, but he was running up in the rough and I knew if he kept doing that the tires couldn't take the punishment and he eventually had the flat. We tried to be smooth from then on after what happened to Pearson, I tried to stay lower than the cushion and it worked out good, I didn't know how much of a lead I had, but we're glad to wrap up the title with this win. Now we can relax heading to Rome, knowing it's sewed up," said Bloomquist who captured his all-time series leading 26th win.
Bloomquist and 4-time series champion, Earl Pearson Jr. started on the front row of the event held before one of the largest crowds since the 1990's for the Shootout. Pearson bolted to the lead and led the first eight circuits until he developed a right rear flat tire under caution. Pearson pitted for a new tire, but he was relegated to the rear of the field for the restart.
Bloomquist inherited the lead after Pearson's misfortune as he led Clanton, Madden, Don O'Neal and Randy Weaver to the green flag. O'Neal, who was solid early on in the race, started to fade with right front suspension problems on his car as he yielded to Weaver and Steve Francis in the running order.
Bloomquist had a six-car length lead over Clanton as the final caution flew on lap 36 when Steve Casebolt contacted the front stretch wall. On the restart Clanton was not about to give up the chase for his first career Shootout victory. Clanton made one-last lap ditch effort as he closed to a car length and a half on Bloomquist, but Bloomquist held him off.
Clanton, in the Ronnie Dobbins, RSD Enterprises Rocket Chassis was second; followed by Madden in the Xtreme Custom and Cycles, Cornett Racing Engines, Bloomquist Race Cars entry. Babb, a three-time Shootout winner, finished fourth in his Petroff Towing, Pro Power Racing Engines, Rocket Chassis; with Owens coming from 23rd to finish fifth in the Reece Monument Company, Cornett Racing Engines, Bloomquist Race Cars Ford.
Completing the top ten were Steve Francis of Ashland, KY; Brady Smith of Solon Springs, WI; Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, GA; Chris Wall of Holden, LA; and David Payne of Murphy, NC.
In preliminary action, Scott Bloomquist was the overall Red Buck Cigar Fast Time Award winner with a lap of 14.136 seconds among the 57 cars entered. Heat race winners were Bloomquist, Clanton, O'Neal, Pearson, Dale McDowell, and Chris Madden. The B-Mains were won by Brady Smith and Brad Neat.