By admin | July 6, 2008
Pearson storms to $10,000 Volunteer Speedway Lucas Oil ‘Toyota Tundra 60’ victory
BULLS GAP, Tenn. (July 5) — Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., a three-time (2005, ’06 and ’07) Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series national champion and currently standing atop the points leader-board in his quest for a fourth title, is no stranger to victory lane. But over the years Pearson has never run well on the high banks at Volunteer Speedway. That is until Saturday night, when the driver known as “The Hurricane” stormed around Jimmy Owens for the lead on lap 52, and once out front he would not be denied his first-ever victory at “The Gap” in the $10,000-to-win Rusty Wallace Toyota of Morristown Toyota Tundra 60.
“Oh man, I can’t believe I just won a race at Volunteer Speedway,” said a smiling Pearson following the race standing beside his hauler in the pits. “You know, I can’t really tell you why … but we’ve just never ran all that well here. I like fast racetracks like this where you really keep the momentum up through the corners, but it just seems in the past when we’ve raced here we’ve been a little off with the car (setup). But we were good tonight right when we unloaded for hotlaps and ran quick, and then backed it (practice) up with a really strong qualifying run (12.343).”
Pearson, driving the LifeLong Locks/Lucas Oil/Mopar/Allstar Performance/Sunoco Race Fuels/Weld Wheels/Tiger Rearends/Bell Helmets/Shy Racing Suspension/Wilwood/Hoosier Racing Tires/Larry Wallace Racing Engines/MasterSbilt Race Cars/Bobby Labonte Racing/No. 44 Dodge Charger, captured his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory since back in early April at Golden Isles (Brunswick, Ga.) Speedway, was chased to the checkers by Dale McDowell, Chad Ogle, Rick Rogers and Bart Hartman.
Rogers and McDowell would start on the front row of the 60 lap main event. McDowell grabbed the lead over Rogers, Owens, Scott Bloomquist and Chris Madden on the opening lap. Owens move around Rogers into the runner-up position on the second lap.
McDowell looked to be shot out of a “rocket” as he stretched his lead to eight car-lengths over Owens by lap 10, when he closed in on the tail of the field to begin lapping cars. With McDowell having to pick his line to maneuver his way around the slower cars, Owens closed in on McDowell’s rear bumper.
With cars stacked two-wide directly in front of McDowell racing into the first turn on lap 16, Owens dropped to the inside of McDowell exiting turn two to move into the lead. Owens opened up some distance between himself and McDowell as Bloomquist was now putting the pressure on McDowell after Bloomquist had battled with Rogers for the first 17 laps until he was finally able to overtake the veteran driver on the 18th lap.
Bloomquist continued to hound McDowell as Owens continued to show domination out in front. Madden began to make some moves as he passed Rogers for fourth on lap 22, setting his sights ahead on Bloomquist and McDowell.
Bloomquist moved around McDowell on lap 24 into second place, and the all-time record holder for most special event victories at Volunteer Speedway began to reel the race leader Owens in as the “Newport Nightmare” was working heavy lapped traffic. Owens would put two lapped cars between himself and Bloomquist giving him some cushion as the halfway-mark approached.
With 30 laps down Owens still held the point with Bloomquist, McDowell, Madden and Rogers in the top five. Bloomquist would make quick work of the two lapped cars between himself and Owens, as he closed to the rear deck lid of Owens’ car.
Coming off the fourth turn on lap 36, the fourth-running Madden’s mount dropped some fluid on the track causing cars behind him to take evasive action, almost causing a pileup on the front straightaway. With the event’s first caution flag displayed, Madden took his smoking cars to the infield pits.
On the restart Owens would be out in front for the Delaware double-file restart with Bloomquist and McDowell lined up side-by-side behind him. Bloomquist would be on the outside for the restart and as he accelerated into the first turn he hopped the cushion and slammed into the wall with the right-front of his car. Bloomquist bounced off the guardrail around the outside of turns one and two, sliding down the track getting hit by Joe Armes, Brad Neat and Dan Schlieper.
With Team Zero leader Bloomquist out of the race, on the restart Owens quickly began to distance himself over McDowell and Pearson, what had started side-by-side. Pearson passed McDowell for the second spot on lap 37 racing off turn two. After clearing McDowell, Pearson turned the wick up and quickly began chopping into Owens’ advantage out front on the point.
With 10 laps remaining, Owens’ lead over Pearson had evaporated as lapped traffic was impeding Owens’ march out front. Owens had difficulty battling the slower car of Shane Roberts for two circuits, and Pearson got around Owens racing off the fourth turn on lap 52. With Pearson taking the lead, Owens tangled with the lapped car of Roberts, climbing the left-rear on Roberts’ mount launching Owens high into the nighttime sky. After settling back down hard on the racing surface, Owens slowed to bring the caution out.
On the restart, Pearson would hold the point for the first time in the event, but a caution after the restart for Vic Hill and Mark Vineyard would slow the field one more time. Hill who was running sixth at the time did a 360 in turn four and kept his position in the race as he did not stop on the race track.
That would be the last caution of the race and Pearson was up to the task of holding a comfortable lead the rest of the way as he would go on to record his 12th career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory and his second of 2008. McDowell, Chad Ogle, Rogers and Hartman finished behind Pearson.
Completing the top-10 finishers were Shanon Buckingham (started 14th), Tommy Kerr, Hill, Ray Cook and Vineyard.
In the Lucas Oil victory lane, Pearson was relieved the race was over after seeing two top contenders (Owens and Bloomquist) not finish the race.
“It’s been a long time coming and our crew has worked their rear ends off,” said Pearson. “It’s been an up and down season … I’ve flipped, got knocked out and broke my wrist. This is the car that Bobby (Labonte) drove in the Prelude to The Dream a few weeks ago and it ran so good tonight I think I’ll just keep on racing this car so maybe I won’t give it back to him to drive,” said the 36-year old who is in his second year driving for the 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.
“Those Bloomquist cars are always tough here, and I’m not sure what happened to Bloomquist there racing into the first turn there on that restart. Some said it looked like maybe he just ran in too hard and hopped over the cushion and hit the wall, which collected several others. I could see Jimmy (Owens) was having a little difficulty getting around some of the lapped cars, and really when you’re following behind someone it’s a little easier to look ahead to pick your line. I guess when he and the car got together racing off the fourth turn, we were just in the right place at the right time tonight. I’ve got to thank my crew (Randall, Matt and Keith) for the great job they do and thanks to all the fans that came out tonight. This is really a great facility and I hope everyone enjoyed the show tonight.”
In preliminary racing action Jimmy Owens was the PRC Fast Timer in qualifications with a lap of 12.298 seconds among the 44 entrants on hand. The heat races were won by Owens, Dale McDowell, Scott Bloomquist and Rick Rogers. The B-mains went to Tommy Kerr and Dan Schlieper.
Allen Champ of Morristown jumped into the lead over pole-sitter Dale Ball in the 25-lap “Courtesy Chevrolet” Crate Late Model feature as they raced off into the first turn at the waving of the green flag. Champ set sail en route to leading flag-to-flag in capturing his first victory of the season, with Jerry Broyles, Ball, John Harrell and Mark Could rounding out the top five at the checkers.
Mike Hodges of Russellville led flag-to-flag en route to capturing his division-leading sixth “Rusty Wallace Toyota” Hobby Stock feature win of the season. Finishing behind Hodges were Dale Reed, Jon Cook, Dustin Shaver and Bobby Reed.
LUCAS OIL LATE MODEL DIRT SERIES – RUSTY WALLACE TOYOTA OF MORRISTOWN “TOYOTA TUNDRA 60”
1. Earl Pearson Jr. #44-Jacksonville, FL $10,000
2. Dale McDowell #17m-Chickamauga, GA $5,000
3. Chad Ogle #10-Sevierville, TN $3,000
4. Rick Rogers #44r-Knoxville, TN $2,500
5. Bart Hartman #75-Zanesville, OH $2,000
6. Shanon Buckingham #50-Morristown, TN $1,500
7. Tommy Kerr #4T-Maryville, TN $1,400
8. Vic Hill #1v-Morristown, TN $1,300
9. Ray Cook #53-Brasstown, NC $1,200
10. Mark Vineyard #4v-Powell, TN $1,100
11. Billy Drake #9-Bloomington, IL $1,000
12. Steve Casebolt #c9-Richmond, IN $950
13. John Gill #1g-Mitchell, IN $900
14. Shane Roberts $32w-Bluff City, TN $875
15. Michael Smith #4-Rogersville, TN $850
16. Justin Rattliff #16-Campbellsville, KY $825
17. Jimmy Owens #20-Newport, TN $800
18. Bryan Hendrix #5-Knoxville, TN $700
19. Brad Neat #41-Dunnville, KY $750
20. Scott Bloomquist #0-Mooresburg, TN $725
21. Dan Schlieper #s9-Sullivan, WI $700
22. Joe Armes #77-Petros, TN $700
23. Chris Madden #44m-Gray Court, SC $700
24. Billy Ogle Jr. #201-Knoxville, TN $700
PRC Fast Time: Jimmy Owens-12.298 seconds
Caution Flags: 4
Lap Leaders: Dale McDowell 1-15, Jimmy Owens 16-52, Earl Pearson Jr. 53-60
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Steve Casebolt, Billy Drake
PBM/Erson Cams Hard Charger of the Race: Billy Drake (Started 24th and finished 11th-advanced 13 positions)
Allstar Performance Performer of the Race: Dale McDowell
K&N Filters Clean Pass of the Race: Earl Pearson Jr.
Quarter Master Rookie of the Race: none
ASI Racewear Lucky 7 Award: Tommy Kerr
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race: Eric Fulwood (Billy Drake)
Comp Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Larry Wallace Racing Engines
Time of the Race: 35 minutes
“HAWK BRAKE” HEAT RACE #1 (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): 1) Jimmy Owens #20, 2) Chris Madden #44m, 3) Bart Hartman #75, 4) Joe Armes #77, 5) Tommy Kerr #4T, 6) Scott James #83, 7) John Mason #72, Brad Neat #41 – Did Not Start: Jeff Maupin #0m
“HAWK BRAKE” HEAT RACE #2 (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): 1) Dale McDowell #17m, 2) Billy Ogle Jr. #201, 3) Vic Hill #1v, 4) Shanon Buckingham #50, 5) Steve Casebolt #c9, 6) Bryan Hendrix #5, 7) Wayne Chinn #1, Randy Weaver #116, 9) Herman Goddard #22, 10) Bobby Giffin #97, 11) J. Allan #111, 12) Roger Best #007
“AFCO RACING PRODUCTS” HEAT RACE #3 (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): 1) Scott Bloomquist #0, 2) Earl Pearson Jr. #44, 3) Ray Cook #53, 4) John Gill #1g, 5) Michael Smith #4, 6) Mark Vineyard #4v, 7) Brad Coffey #88, Steve Smith #3, 9) Bobby Mays #25, 10) Mike Jackson #Q, 11) Terry Casey #42
“TIGER REAREND” HEAT RACE #4 (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): 1) Rick Rogers #44r, 2) Shane Roberts #32w, 3) Chad Ogle #10, 4) Justin Rattliff #16, 5) Dan Schlieper #s9, 6) Billy Drake #9, 7) Kerry Jones #6, Freddy Smith #00, 9) Jeff Wolfenbarger #28, 10) John King #11k – Did Not Start: Anthony White #2x
MASON RACIN’ REBEL SHOCK DYNO B-MAIN #1 (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): 1) Tommy Kerr #4T, 2) Bryan Hendrix #5, 3) Brad Neat #41, 4) Steve Casebolt #c9, 5) Scott James #83, 6) Wayne Chinn #1, 7) Bobby Giffin #97, Brad Hall #78, 9) John Mason #72, 10) Herman Goddard #22, 11) J. Allan #111 – Did Not Start: Randy Weaver #116, Roger Best #007, Jeff Maupin #0m
QUARTER MASTER B-MAIN #2 (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): 1) Dan Schlieper #s9, 2) Michael Smith #4, 3) Mark Vineyard #4v, 4) Billy Drake #9, 5) Freddy Smith #00, 6) John King #11k, 7) Mike Jackson #Q, Jeff Wolfenbarger #28, 9) Brad Coffey #88, 10) Bobby Mays #25, 11) Steve Smith #3, 12) Kerry Jones #6, 13) Terry Casey #42 – Did Not Start: Anthony White #2x
“COURTESY CHEVROLET” CRATE LATE MODEL (25 laps): 1) Allen Champ #11c, 2) Jerry Broyles #72, 3) Dale Ball #2, 4) John Harrell #H19, 5) Mark Cloud #59, 6) R.J. Mayes #99, 7) Hunter Best #007, Joe “Dirt” Good #911, 9) Josh Henry #B00, 10) Larry Rowe #R0, 11) Kelly Glass #01, 12) Todd Brooks #T1, 13) Allen Carrier #57, 14) Ryan King #30, 15) James Cole #5c, 16) Tony Trent #18, 17) Jesse Helton #28, 18) Ricky Moore #75, 19) Hugh “Wishbone” Scalf #56, 20) Weston Gantte #14, 21) Brent Hensley #70, 22) Jensen Ford #83, 23) Travis Trent #5
“RUSTY WALLACE TOYOTA” HOBBY STOCK (20 laps): 1) Mike Hodges #m2, 2) Dale Reed #52, 3) Jon Cook #0z, 4) Dustin Shaver #7, 5) Bobby Reed #54, 6) Charlie Bates #27, 7) Eddie Morris #14m, Chris Long #75, 9) Tyler Smith #32, 10) Craig Schmalzried #6, 11) Shannon Davidson #88, 12) Everett Cobb #13, 13) Chuck Johnson #17, 14) Ray Jarnigan #31, 15) Dennis Metcalf #55, 16) Daryl Mays #29, 17) Jesse Wilder #79, 18) Roger Hunter #7-11, 19) Patrick Flannery #38, 20) Tony Mullinex #71, 21) Scotty McMurray #37
Volunteer Speedway: (423) 235-5020 www.VolunteerSpeedway.com
Robert Walden-Media/Public Relations Director: (423) 928-9644
Topics: ET Racing |