La Salle Speedway
Bloomquist denies Owens at La Salle, knots series
La SALLE, Ill. (May 22) — Reigning series champion Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., made certain fellow Tennessean Jimmy Owens didn't set a Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series record with his fourth straight victory. Turning back repeated challenges from Owens, Bloomquist led all the way in La Salle Speedway's Spring Shootout 50 for a $10,000 payday and his series-leading fourth victory of the season. | Slideshow | Video
The seventh-starting Owens, who took the series points lead from Bloomquist by winning the last three Lucas Oil events, nosed in on Bloomquist several times and nearly edged ahead just past the halfway point. But Bloomquist, who started outside the front row, was never headed in racing to his series-leading 21st career victory and 490th of his career overall.
Bloomquist's victory moved him into a the points lead with Owens, who entered the 11th series event with a 30-point lead. Last year's series champion sees a title chase brewing with his fellow Bloomquist Race Cars competitor.
"You can bet it's going to be tooth and nail to the end," Bloomquist said. "We finally stopped his streak at least."
Owens lost the second spot to 11th-starting Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., on the final lap at the quarter-mile oval, while Matt Miller of Waterville, Ohio, rallied from his 18th starting spot to finish fourth. Doug Drown of Wooster, Ohio, ran in the top five virtually all race long and was a series-best fifth in front of one of the biggest crowds in La Salle history.
Polesitter and fast qualifier Mark Burgtorf and Bloomquist led the 25-car field to green with Bloomquist setting the early pace over while while Drown quickly pressured Burgtorf for the second spot, taking that spot on the 11th lap before the leaders entered lapped traffic. Owens worked his way into third before the first caution for Dale McDowell's lap-25 spin.
On the restart, Owens swept into second and began turning up the heat on Bloomquist by lap 30 while Pearson and Miller tried to track down the leaders. Owens got alongside the leading Bloomquist on a few occasions, but couldn't quite pull off the pass.
"Whenever I'd get beside him, I'd have to pinch the corner off a lot more than I needed to, and I wasn't able to come off the corner once I was beside of him, and that really kept him in front of me," Owens said.
A lap-36 caution for debris slowed the action, but Owens again took several stabs at Bloomquist before the final yellow flag on lap 44 for Steve Casebolt's turn-four spin.
Bloomquist edged away on the restart and completed the flag-to-flag victory while Pearson slipped past Owens on the final lap.
“Pretty intense, wasn’t it?” Bloomquist remarked. “I knew he was there because I saw his nose a couple of times.”
Notes: Bloomquist's self-designed chassis has a Vic Hill Racing Engine and sponsorship from Miller Bros. Coal, Hawkeye Trucking and Sweet Mfg. ... The series was making its eighth appearance at La Salle. ... Matt Miller's 18th-to-fourth run gave him the PBM-Erson Cams Hard Charger honors. ... Among drivers failing to make the feature: Jason McBride, Bret Sieverts, Will Vaught, Kerry Hansen, John Provenzano, Mike Collins, Brian Shirley, Frank Heckenast Jr., Shannon Babb, Jimmy Mars, Brian Birkhofer and Jeep Van Wormer, who rolled his car after a heat-race scramble; he wasn't injured. ... Lucas Oil competitors head to 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa, on Sunday night for another $10,000-to-win event, a race postponed by a Friday rainout.
Spring Shootout 50: (1) Scott Bloomquist, (2) Earl Pearson Jr., (3) Jimmy Owens, (4) Matt Miller, (5) Doug Drown, (6) Dennis Erb Jr., (7) Don O'Neal, (8) Ray Cook, (9) Tim Isenberg, (10) John Blankenship, (11) Jason Feger, (12) Bub McCool, (13) Mark Burgtorf, (14) Brad Neat, (15) Chris Wall, (16) Dan Schlieper, (17) Dale McDowell, (18) Steve Casebolt, (19) Eric Wells, (20) Mike Marlar, (21) Ryan Unzicker, (22) Kevin Weaver, (23) Jason Hughes, (24) Mark Voigt, (25) Mike Provenzano. Fast qualifier (among 48 cars): Burgtorf, 13.243 seconds. Heat race winners: Burgtorf, Drown, Bloomquist, Marlar. Consolation winners: McCool, Miller. Provisional starters: Casebolt, Schlieper, Wells.
Correction: Fixes Bloomquist's overall career victories total to 490 sted 390.