By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
CONCORD, NC – Oct. 31, 2008 – Did Scott Bloomquist ever feel a sense of worry while rolling to a flag-to-flag victory in Friday night’s 50-lap VAULT World Finals Late Model A-Main at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway?
“I think I was probably as good, or better, than I’ve ever been here,” Bloomquist said after capturing the Friday-night feature of the VAULT World Finals for the second consecutive year. “I looked over to my (crew) guys to see how far ahead I was when the cautions were out, but I really didn’t feel like I needed to do that because I thought, Man, if anybody can run faster than this, then hell, they deserve it.
“I didn’t see how I could run much faster.
Mooresburg, Tenn.’s Bloomquist, who turns 45 on Nov. 14, was simply in a league of his own at the four-tenths-mile oval. He roared into the lead from the pole position at the start of the World of Outlaws Late Model Series event and never looked back, racing unchallenged for the entire distance in his Miller Brothers Coal Team Zero machine.
Bloomquist, who earned $10,150 for his 18th career WoO LMS triumph but first since last year’s VAULT World Finals, crossed the finish line with a commanding 2.112-second margin of victory over Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga. McDowell never got close to the 2004 WoO LMS champion after taking over second place when Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., retired with rearend failure on lap 43.
Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., finished third, followed by 20th-starter Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., and outside-polesitter Matt Miller of Waterville, Ohio, who earned the $500 ‘Bonus Bucks’ award for being the highest-finishing driver who hasn’t won a WoO LMS A-Main since 2004 and isn’t ranked among the top 12 in the points standings.
In a race that saw Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., officially clinch his first career WoO LMS points championship when he joined the starting field, Bloomquist grabbed the attention of the evening’s huge crowd and the SPEED television cameras that taped the action for broadcast on Sat., Nov. 8, at 9 p.m. ET.
“The car was just super,” said Bloomquist, who drove the self-built machine that earlier this season carried him to big-money victories in the Show-Me 100 at West Plains (Mo.) Motor Speedway and the $100,000 Dirt Late Model Dream at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway. “The car rotated so sweet going in (the corners) and throttled up with as much traction as if it was a wet racetrack. I was amazed at how good it felt.
“I’m not even gonna touch it (for Saturday night’s VAULT World Finals program). I can’t even think of anything I can do to improve it.”
Bloomquist recorded his fifth career Super Late Model win at The Dirt Track – the most of any driver in the facility’s nine-year history. He pulled one victory ahead of his protégé Chris Madden of Gaffney, S.C., who had tied Bloomquist at four wins with a triumph in Wednesday night’s Armour Vienna Sausage Showdown but failed to qualify on Friday night.
Not only have Bloomquist and Madden combined to win nine of the 19 Super Late Model events contested alltime at The Dirt Track, but they’re also the only two drivers with multiple victories at the speedway.
“If I can’t win it, I’d just as soon see (Madden) or any of my guys win,” said Bloomquist. “But Chris was one of the first (drivers) I’ve worked with, and I’ve never questioned him and he’s never questioned me. We have a great releationship, but I still like to be one up on him.”
Owens, who steered his Bloomquist Chassis car owned by Mike Reece from the seventh starting spot to second place by lap 24, was the only driver who made even a fleeting run at Bloomquist. The 36-year-old cut Bloomquist’s margin to less than one second shortly before a lap-35 caution period for the stopped car driven by Davey Johnson of Latrobe, Pa., but couldn’t draw any closer before dropping out.
McDowell, 42, inherited second place with Owens’s departure and kept Sanford Goddard’s Warrior Chassis house car in the runner-up position for the remaining circuits. It was his best WoO LMS finish since a runner-up placing on July 25, 2006, at Missouri’s Lebanon I-44 Speedway.
“We had a third-place car,” said the sixth-starting McDowell, indicating the break Owens gave him. “For the first six, seven laps, I felt like we were where we needed to be. Then when the racetrack cleaned off and got a groove worn in there, I was a little tight.
“(Bloomquist) was a little bit better than me right across the center of the corner. I had to wait on picking my throttle up and just lost a little bit every lap. His car just stayed nice and straight and had a nice attitude.
“But I can’t complain,” added McDowell, who finished third in Wednesday night’s Showdown. “We’ve exceeded what we wanted to do coming here.”
The most intense racing late in the distance was waged between Babb and McCreadie, who ran together through the top 10 over the final 15 laps. Both drivers made impressive rallies to secure their top-five placings.
Babb, 34, started fourth, but he slipped high in turn two on lap 11 and fell out of the top 10. He finally reached third place on a lap-43 restart and kept his Bowyer Dirt Motorsports Rocket car ahead of McCreadie the rest of the way.
After a close second-place finish in Wednesday night’s Showdown, Babb knocked on the door to Victory Lane again.
“Maybe the third time will be the lucky charm and we’ll get one tomorrow night,” he said of Saturday’s VAULT World Finals finale.
McCreadie, 34, saw his night become more difficult during his heat race when he clipped one of the foam markers lining the inside of the track. The contact bent the left-front nosepiece of his Sweeteners Plus Rocket car and he lost the final transfer spot to Mike Balzano of Parkersburg, W.Va., on the last lap.
While McCreadie came back to win the B-Main and charged forward from the 20th starting spot in the A-Main to finish fourth, he wasn’t satisfied.
“The damage I got in the heat put us behind for the whole night,” said McCreadie. “We had a real good car. I don’t know if we would’ve been able to run with Scott, but I would’ve liked to start further up to at least try.”
Six caution flags slowed the event, but none were for serious incidents.
Finishing in positions 6-10 was Ricky Elliott of Seaford, Del., who cracked the top five midway through the A-Main; 19th-starter Steve Shaver of Vienna, W.Va.; Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla.; Donnie Moran of Dresden, Ohio; and Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va.
Richards vaulted from fourth to second in the WoO LMS points standings with just Saturday night’s 50-lap A-Main remaining thanks to the misfortune suffered by Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., and Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga.
Francis, whose reign as WoO LMS champion ended with Lanigan’s clinching on Friday night, didn’t even complete a lap in the A-Main. He pulled his Beitler Motorsports Rocket to the pit area after the four-wide pace lap due to a busted transmission.
Clanton, who entered the night third in the WoO LMS standings just six points behind Francis, appeared primed to overtake Francis as he settled into fifth place in the A-Main. But distributor problems in his RSD Enterprises Rocket car forced him to retire on lap 23, leaving him in a tie for third in the points standings with Francis.
Lanigan, 38, experienced a frustrating night, but he nonetheless secured the $100,000 WoO LMS points crown by starting the A-Main. A faulty fuel regulator during heat action forced him to use a provisional to gain entry to the headliner and he quietly advanced from the 25th starting spot to finish 11th.
“I’m happy,” Lanigan said when asked for his emotions after clinching the title, “but mostly I’m relieved. I don’t have to worry about the points anymore.”
Winners of Friday night’s heat race, which were aligned by the results of Thursday night’s first-round time trials, were Matt Miller of Waterville, Ohio, Moran, Clanton, Babb, McDowell and Bloomquist. The B-Mains were captured by Steve Shaver of Vienna, W.Va., McCreadie and Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga.
Coming off a victory two nights earlier, Madden saw his fortunes turn around for the worse during the fourth heat. Moments after losing several positions when he nearly spun in turn four, the 33-year-old driver slapped the backstretch wall and had his car towed off with front-end damage.
Madden returned to run the second B-Main and made a gallant come-from-behind bid. He advanced from the 18th starting to finish fourth, leaving him two spots short of a transfer position. He also ended up two positions shy of claiming the provisional that went to the fastest driver from time trials who failed to qualify.
The VAULT World Finals continue on Saturday (Nov. 1) with the second and final night of WoO Late Model and Sprint Car activity. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. with racing getting the green flag at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday’s action will be televised live by the SPEED cable network from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET.
Results of WoO Late Model Series VAULT World Finals Night 1 (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (1) Scott Bloomquist/50 $10,150
2. (6) Dale McDowell/50 $5,100
3. (4) Shannon Babb/50 $3,000
4. (20) Tim McCreadie/50 $2,600
5. (2) Matt Miller/50 $2,500
6. (11) Ricky Elliott/50 $1,700
7. (19) Steve Shaver/50 $1,400
8. (9) Earl Pearson Jr./50 $1,300
9. (5) Donnie Moran/50 $1,200
10. (10) Josh Richards/50 $1,100
11. (25) Darrell Lanigan/50 $1,050
12. (26) Chub Frank/50 $1,000
13. (18) Jonathan Davenport/50 $950
14. (8) Tim Fuller/50 $900
15. (16) Mike Balzano/50 $850
16. (17) Jeff Rine/50 $800
17. (27) Rick Eckert/49 $770
18. (22) Tommy Kerr/49 $750
19. (23) Jackie Boggs/48 $730
20. (28) Bob Gordon/47 $700
21. (7) Jimmy Owens/43 $700
22. (14) Don O’Neal/43 $700
23. (21) Clint Smith/35 $700
24. (15) Davey Johnson/33 $700
25. (3) Shane Clanton/23 $700
26. (24) Jeff Smith/22 $700
27. (12) Josh McGuire/10 $700
28. (13) Steve Francis/0 $700
NOTE: Clint Smith went to the rear of the field for the start of the A-Main because he ran a backup car
Time of Race: 30 Mins., 37.010 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 2.112 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 6 (Laps 11, 23, 24, 24, 35, 43)
Lap Leaders: Bloomquist (1-50)
Provisional Starters: Lanigan, Frank (WoO); Eckert (fast qualifier); Gordon (earliest entry post-mark)
Rookie of the Race: Coffey ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Matt Miller ($500)
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race ($50): Tommy Hicks (Bloomquist)
Chick Hawk Racing Hot Lap Award: Bloomquist (half-off tire warmers)
Super Clean ‘Start of the Race’: McCreadie ($100)
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Matt Miller, 2. Jimmy Owens, 3. Steve Francis, 4. Steve Shaver, 5. Tommy Kerr, 6. Dan Schlieper, 7. Jared Miley, 8. Michael England, 9. Eddie Carrier Jr., 10. Eric Wells, 11. Bruce Hall, 12. Tony Izzo Jr.
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Donnie Moran, 2. Tim Fuller, 3. Don O’Neal, 4. Rick Eckert, 5. Jeep VanWormer, 6. Brian Shirley, 7. Wayne Chinn, 8. Chesley Dixon, 9. Chuck Harper, 10. Dean Bowen, 11. Jill George, 12. Jeff Isabell Jr.
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Shane Clanton, 2. Earl Pearson Jr., 3. Davey Johnson, 4. Chub Frank, 5. Jeremy Miller, 6. Austin Hubbard, 7. Justin Rattliff, 8. Eric Jacobsen, 9. Rob McLaughlin, 10. Justin Labonte, 11. Norman Short Jr., 12. Jeff Isabell Sr.
Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Shannon Babb, 2. Josh Richards, 3. Mike Balzano, 4. Tim McCreadie, 5. Jackie Boggs, 6. Randy Korte, 7. Rick Whaley, 8. Bob Gordon, 9. Mike Knight, 10. Chris Ferguson, 11. Chad Ruhlman, 12. Chris Madden
Heat No. 5 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Dale McDowell, 2. Ricky Elliott, 3. Jeff Rine, 4. Ricky Weeks, 5. Jeff Smith, 6. Danny Johnson, 7. Jerry Bowersock, 8. Dan Stone, 9. John Winge, 10. G.R. Smith, 11. Curt Spalding, 12. Darrell Lanigan
Heat No. 6 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Scott Bloomquist, 2. Josh McGuire, 3. Jonathan Davenport, 4. Clint Smith, 5. Gregg Satterlee, 6. Jordan Bland, 7. Austin Dillon, 8. Vic Coffey, 9. Joe Isabell, 10. Wes Burton, 11. Tim Allen, 12. Jeremy Faircloth
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): Shaver, Kerr, Shirley, Schlieper, Carrier, Miley, Harper, Izzo, Dixon, Bowen, Jeff Isabell Jr., George, Hall, VanWormer, Wells, England, Eckert, Chinn
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): McCreadie, Boggs, Frank, Madden, Jeremy Miller, Rattliff, McLaughlin, Jacobsen, Hubbard, Ferguson, Ruhlman, Knight, Labonte, Whaley, Short, Korte, Gordon (DNS) Jeff Isabell Sr.
B-Main No. 3 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): Clint Smith, Jeff Smith, Weeks, Bowersock, Coffey, Stone, Allen, Joe Isabell, Bland, Satterlee, Spalding, Winge, Danny Johnson, G.R. Smith, Dillon, Burton, Lanigan, Faircloth
2008 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of Oct. 31 – 42 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/wins/top-5s/top-10s/earnings/points/deficit to leader):
1. Darrell Lanigan 2-25-35-$123,567-5730 (-0)
2. Josh Richards 5-18-29-$123,360-5556 (-174)
3. (tie) Steve Francis 6-20-32-$171,300-5546 (-184)
3. (tie) Shane Clanton 4-22-32-$124,840-5546 (-184)
5. Chub Frank 1-12-27-$83,230-5488 (-242)
6. Shannon Babb 2-18-28-$110,600-5432 (-298)
7. Rick Eckert 1-12-24-$80,500-5396 (-334)
8. Clint Smith 1-11-24-$69,620-5356 (-374)
9. Tim Fuller 2-7-19-$70,350-5203 (-527)
10. Vic Coffey 0-2-9-$42,160-4477 (-1253)
11. John Blankenship 0-0-6-$34,680-4013 (-1717)
12. Joe Isabell 0-0-0-$19,900-3765 (-1965)
13. Sean Beardsley 0-0-0-$12,520-3070 (-2660)
14. Tim McCreadie 1-10-17-$60,710-2860 (-2870)
15. Danny Johnson 0-0-1-$13,840-2337 (-3393)
LISTEN ONLINE: If fans can’t get to a track to see the World of Outlaws Late Model Series, they can experience the excitement of the nation’s premier tour live on DIRTvision.com through the DIRT Radio Network.
To listen to the free audio broadcasts, log on to www.dirtvision.com and click on the DIRT Radio Network logo.
Listeners will need Windows Media Player 9 or higher to listen to the DIRT Radio Network. For technical support or questions, e-mail [email protected].
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by several sponsors and partners, including Advance Auto Parts – the official auto parts store of the WoO LMS; Fusion Energy – the official energy boost of the WoO; and contingency sponsors Wrisco Industries, Chicken Hawk Racing, Crane Cams, Ohlins Shocks, Quarter-Master, Eibach Springs, Integra Shocks, Jake’s Custom Golf Carts, Qwikliner and Super Clean.