Dan Schlieper of Sullivan, WI grabbed the lead on lap 16 and never looked back as he went on to win his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event since 2008 on Saturday Night at Hagerstown Speedway. Schlieper earned $10,000 for an emotional win. He crossed the finish line ahead of Don O'Neal of Martinsville, IN; Dan Stone of Thompson, PA; Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN, and John Blankenship of Williamson, WV.
"It's been a long dry spell," said the veteran driver in Lucas Oil Victory Lane. "We've had a tough year and it feels great to be back in victory lane, this track [Hagerstown] has always been a thorn in our side, we put on four new Hoosier tires for the feature after talking with Scott. I have to thank Rockstar Energy Drink, DART, Pro Power Racing Engines and Bloomquist Race Cars; and my crew chief, Jason Palubicki."
O'Neal took the lead from his outside pole starting position and led the first 15 laps of the race. Schlieper fell back to third early on behind Dan Stone. Schlieper passed Stone after a restart on lap 15 and a lap later passed O'Neal around the outside coming down the frontstretch to take over the lead.
Schlieper then waited through one more caution flag as he remained unchallenged over the final 34 laps to take the win. His last Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory was July 3, 2008 at Muskingum County Speedway in Zanesville, OH. Tonight's win for Schlieper was the fifth series triumph of his career.
O'Neal in the Independence Lumber, Roush-Yates Racing Engines, MasterSbilt Monte Carlo SS came home in second. Stone had his best career series finish in his NEP Wireless, Cornett Racing Engines, Rocket Chassis, placing third. Points' leader Scott Bloomquist, in his Miller Brothers Construction, Roush-Yates Racing Engines, Bloomquist Race Cars Chevrolet, was fourth. Rounding out the top five was Blankenship in the Coal America's Energy, Cornett Racing Engines, Rocket Chassis.
Completing the top ten were Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL; Jason Covert of York Haven, PA; Ray Cook of Brasstown, NC; Eric Wells of Hazard, KY; and Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, GA.
In preliminary action Don O'Neal was the Red Buck Cigars Fast Qualifier among the 39 entrants. Heat race winners were Dan Schlieper, Dan Stone, Don O'Neal and Scott Bloomquist. The B-mains were taken by Tim Isenberg and Jimmy Owens.
<CORRECTION> From Thursday Night's event at Utica-Rome, Dale McDowell was the PBM/Erson Cams Hard Charger of the Race. McDowell started 18th and finished 3rd in the event, advancing 15 positions. It was originally reported that Steve Casebolt was the hard charger of the race.
The next Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event will be 28th Annual Sunoco Race Fuels North/South 100 Presented by Lucas Oil. The event will pay $50,000 to win and will be held on August 13th and 14th. There will be a practice session on Thursday Afternoon, August 13th. For more information, check out www.florencespeedway.com.