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North Georgia Speedway

Armes rules Lucas Oil stop at North Georgia

June 13, 2009, 7:16 am
By James Essex
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

CHATSWORTH, Ga. (June 12) — Joe Armes of Petros, Tenn., led all 50 laps from the pole position Friday at North Georgia Speedway for his second career victory on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. Armes earned $10,000 by taking the second leg of the Summer Sizzler Tour, the seven-race series stretch across the South over 10 days.

"The car was great all night," said the 29-year-old Armes, who got his first victory driving a Bloomquist Race Car. "We started on the front row of our heat and won that and on the pole of the feature. It was just flawless the whole way

"I was a little nervous in traffic there a few times, but the yellow flags were pretty timely there until the end. I was hoping for a caution so I could have a clear track, but I knew (runner-up Ray Cook) was there, and I just tried to keep my line and it paid off."

Armes, whose previous series victory came last July at Tazewell (Tenn.) Speedway, took the checkered flag in front of a packed house with Cook, of Brasstown, N.C, settling for second. Lucas Oil Series points leader Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., was third followed by Randy Weaver of Crossville, Tenn., and Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., in a race slowed by three cautions.

Armes and Cook made up the front row for the 50-lapper and Armes went out front early with Cook, Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., Dale McDowell of Rossville, Ga., and Bloomquist giving chase. Armes was into lapped traffic after just eight circuits with Cook right on his tail.

As Pearson and McDowell tried to overtake a lapped car on the 13th lap, the pair got together battling side-by side, knocking McDowell out of the race and sending Pearson to the pits for repairs.

Kevin Gibson of Ringgold, Ga., and Weaver moved into the top five after the incident, and Armes led three green-flag laps before Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., slowed with a flat tire in turn four.

At the halfway mark, Armes led Cook, Bloomquist, Weaver and Owens on a track where passing was at a premium. The third and final yellow flag appeared four laps later when David Payne of Murphy, N.C., stopped in turn four, giving Armes clean racetrack once again.

Cook nearly pulled alongside Armes on the frontstretch at lap 33, but Armes held onto the point in turn one while Bloomquist was close behind the frontrunners. Cook maintained his pressure over the final laps amid traffic, but Armes kept the runner-up at bay the rest of the way.

Notes: Armes drives a Bloomquist Race Car with a Clements Racing Engine and sponsorship from Stowers Cat, Byrd's Radiator. MACK, East Tennessee Construction, Komatsu Equipment, Fast Lane Signs and Graphics and Renegade Racing Fuels. ... Ray Cook's second-place run moved him up to fourth in series points. ... Randy Weaver was fourth in his first series start of 2009. ... Provisional starter Steve Casebolt of Richmond, Ind., was the PBM-Erson Cams Hard Charger by advancing 12 spots from his 25th starting spot. ... Among drivers failing to make the feature: Josh McGuire, Freddy Smith, Eric Jacobsen, Wendell Wallace, Rick Rogers, Bub McCool, Jeremy Payne, David Breazeale, Todd Morrow, Chad Ogle and multitime track champion Gary McPherson. ... Next up for the Lucas Oil series is round three of the Summer Sizzler Tour on Saturday for a $10,000-to-win event at Talladega Short Track in Eastaboga, Ala.

Lucas Oil @ North Georgia: (1) Joe Armes, (2) Ray Cook, (3) Scott Bloomquist, (4) Randy Weaver, (5) Jimmy Owens, (6) Billy Ogle Jr., (7) Kevin Gibson, (8) Tony Knowles, (9) Skip Arp, (10) Chris Wall, (11) John Blankenship, (12) Brandon Kinzer, (13) Steve Casebolt, (14) Eric Wells, (15) Clint Smith, (16) Tommy Kerr, (17) Brad Neat, (18) Dan Schlieper, (19) Earl Pearson Jr., (20) Don O'Neal, (21) David Payne, (22) Brian Hickman, (23) Terry Phillips, (24) Mike Marlar, (25) Dale McDowell. Fast qualifier (among 49 cars): Bloomquist, 13.791 seconds. Heat race winners: Armes, McDowell, Cook, Pearson. Consolation winners: Payne, Hickman. Provisional starters: O'Neal, Neat, Casebolt.

Lucas Oil points

(Through June 12)
1. Scott Bloomquist - 2,510
2. Jimmy Owens - 2,260
3. Earl Pearson Jr. - 2,235
4. Ray Cook - 2,180
5. Dale McDowell - 2,145
6. Don O'Neal - 2,095
7. Steve Casebolt - 2,025
8. Brad Neat - 2,010
9. Josh McGuire - 1,895
10. Eric Jacobsen - 1,850
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