Portsmouth Raceway Park
Owens gets fourth Lucas Oil victory at Portsmouth
By James EssexLucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (Sept. 5) — Although it wasn't the points bonanza he might've hoped for, Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., scored a $10,000 victory Saturday at Portsmouth Raceway Park for his fourth victory of the season on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.
Going ahead on the 20th lap to break away from a four-car lead battle, the 37-year-old Owens led the rest of the way in the 50-lap Big Red Book River Days Rumble at the track along the Ohio River.
Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, was second followed by series points leader Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., who salvaged an impressive third-place finish after starting in the 11th row of the 26-car feature. Outside front-row starter Eddie Carrier Jr. of Salt Rock, W.Va., who led twice early for nine laps, was fourth and 17th-starting Don O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., rounded out the top five.
It appeared Bloomquist, who has led the series most of the season and built margins of more than 300 points at mid-summer, might see his points lead take a huge hit, but he cushioned that blow with his 19-position rally and still holds a 180-point margin on Owens, his closest pursuer. Bloomquist led by 210 points entering the race.
"I have to thank my crew, this car was fantastic tonight, they did a great job on the setup," said Owens, who notched his 13th career Lucas Oil Series victory in his Bloomquist Race Car. "I thought I was going to gain some points on Scott tonight, but we'll take the win.
"I want to thank my car owner Mike Reece and Scott for a great race car. It was a re-clipped car and it was really a great race out there among about three or four of us. Eddie was strong, then (fast qualifier Josh) McGuire, and I knew Birkhofer and Scott would be there, cause I was watching the scoreboard under caution and saw their numbers pop upon there."
Bart Hartman and Carrier started on the front row before a packed grandstand at PRP with Carrier going ahead early. McGuire, last year's race winner who started sixth, quickly moved into second with Owens, Scott James and Hartman in tow.
McGuire made an outside move on the fourth lap to take command, but the first six laps were halted four times, including a red flag for the scary barrel-rolling accident of Jackie Boggs of Grayson, Ky. Boggs's car rolled exiting turn four and officials quickly attended to the driver, who was alert and talking as he was pulled from the car. He was taken to a hospital for observation and there was no immediate report of his condition.
On the restart, McGuire had his hands full with Carrier and Owens, and Carrier went back ahead on the 14th lap while Owens dropped McGuire to third. Owens stayed right with Carrier, pulling door-to-door with the leader on the 19th lap and taking command on lap 20.
Owens began pulling away from Carrier as McGuire started to fade, but Carrier pulled closer near the halfway mark as the frontrunners entered lapped traffic. A lap-27 caution for James bunched the field and Owens soon had more company up front.
With Owens still in control, the seventh-starting Birkhofer got into the mix, taking second from Carrier on the 34th lap as Bloomquist held the fourth spot at a lap-39 caution for debris.
With 11 laps remaining, Owens was able to stay ahead of his pursuers while Bloomquist overtook Carrier on the restart to pick up another spot and get the third position behind Birkhofer.
Notes: Owens drives a Bloomquist Race Cars powered by a Cornett-built Ford engine and sponsorship from Reece Monument, Gantte Appraisals, PRC, Ohlins Shocks, VP Racing Fuels, Red Line Oil, Byrd's Radiator and C&C Trucking. ... The race was slowed by six cautions and a red flag. ... Josh McGuire picked up $200 from Fibernet for his fast qualifying time. ... Among drivers failing to make the feature: Bill Frye, Chuck Harper, John Mason, Jackie Boggs, Delmas Conley, Freddy Smith, Kenny Christy, Brad Neat, R.J. Conley, Ricky Arms, Audie Swartz and Steve Shaver. ... Lucas Oil competitors head Sunday to Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, W.Va., for the 41st annual Hillbilly 100, which pays $41,000 to the winner.
The Big Red Book River Days Rumble: (1) Jimmy Owens, (2) Brian Birkhofer, (3) Scott Bloomquist, (4) Eddie Carrier Jr., (5) Don O'Neal, (6) Bart Hartman, (7) Dale McDowell, (8) Donnie Moran, (10) Dan Schlieper, (11) John Blankenship, (12) Earl Pearson Jr., (13) Tim Dohm, (14) Josh McGuire, (15) Doug Drown, (16) Brad Neat, (17) Rick Combs, (18) Ben Adkins, (19) Ray Cook, (20) Scott James, (21) Terry Casey, (22) Wayne Chinn, (23) Steve Casebolt, (24) Eric Jacobsen, (25) Jackie Boggs, (26) Rick Aukland. Fast qualifier (among 52 cars): McGuire, 14.437 seconds. Heat race winners: Hartman, Owens, Carrier, James. Consolation winners: O'Neal, Pearson. Provisional starters: Neat, Blankenship.
Correction: Fixes that Bloomquist didn't take a provisional starting spot; he transferred through his third-place finish in a consolation race.