McDowell's demise lifts Bloomquist at the Gap
By James EssexLucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
BULLS GAP, Tenn. (June 19) — Reigning champion and series points leader Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., won Saturday’s Scorcher 100 finale at Volunteer Speedway for his fifth Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory of the season.
Bloomquist earned $10,000 for leading the final 19 laps after race-long leader Dale McDowell broke a lift bar and fell out of the race, the second of a doubleheader series weekend at Volunteer. | Slideshow | Video
Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., finished second in the 50-lapper followed by Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., Ray Cook of Brasstown, N.C., and Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky. Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., who won Friday’s weekend opener, ended up 14th in the finale after taking a provisional starting spot; Owens ran his backup car after hitting the backstretch well in his primary car in time trials.
Dan Schlieper of Sullivan, Wis., who was scheduled to start outside the front row in the main event, withdrew from the race after being taken to a local hospital following a heat race victory. According to team reports, the 39-year-old Schlieper had high blood pressure and was slurring his speech before he left the track in an ambulance.
Bloomquist, who finished eighth in Friday’s opening 50-lapper, scored his first victory for new engine builder Roush-Yates.
“The engine ran great. Everything was good tonight; the car was a lot better,” said the 46-year-old Bloomquist, who notched his 491st career victory overall and series-leading 22nd on the Lucas Oil Series. “Last night we were off a little bit. We went home and worked on it, and had a lot better car tonight.”
McDowell started on the pole with Bloomquist alongside in Schlieper’s slot, and McDowell led Bloomquist, Wells, Steve Casebolt and Cook at the outset. The eighth-starting Madden was on the move early, taking fifth from Cook on the second lap and taking fourth from Casebolt two laps later.
McDowell was into lapped traffic after nine laps, but the field was bunched two laps later for the race’s lone caution for Texas driver Chris Brown.
Wells nearly took second from Bloomquist on the restart while McDowell edged away to lead by six lengths near the halfway point as the frontrunners battled traffic. Bloomquist cut into McDowell’s lead after 28 laps while Wells slipped to fifth behind Madden and Davenport.
After McDowell crossed the line on lap 31, sparks appeared from the back end of his car as a bolt in the lift bar broke, and McDowell pulled to the infield as Bloomquist inherited the lead.
Bloomquist maneuvered through lapped traffic the rest of the way to avoid pressure from his pursuers in the final laps.
Notes: Bloomquist’s self-designed car is sponsored by Miller Bros. Construction, Hawkeye Trucking, Sweet Mfg., VP Racing Fuels, Hoosier Tires, Arizona Sport Shirts, Ohlins and Lane Automotive. ... John Blankenship’s 25th-to-15th run gave him the PBM-Erson Cams Hard Charger honors. ... Among drivers failing to make the feature: Jordan Bland, Brandon Kinzer, Dean Bowen, Rick Rogers and Tommy Kerr. ... Next up for the Lucas Oil Series is a July 1 event at Beckley Motorsports Park, the first series trip to the West Virginia track.
Scorcher: (1) Scott Bloomquist, (2) Chris Madden, (3) Jonathan Davenport, (4) Ray Cook, (5) Eric Wells, (6) Steve Casebolt, (7) Vic Hill, (8) Don O’Neal, (9) Brad Neat, (10) Chris Wall, (11) Shanon Buckingham, (12) Jared Landers, (13) Eric Jacobsen, (14) Jimmy Owens, (15) John Blankenship, (16) Mark Vineyard, (17) Earl Pearson Jr., (18) Jeff Maupin, (19) Tyler Reddick, (20) Tim Isenberg, (21) Dale McDowell, (22) Randy Weaver, (23) Michael Smith, (24) Terry Wolfenbarger, (25) Chris Brown. Fast qualifier (among 43 cars): Dan Schlieper, 13.525 seconds. Heat race winners: McDowell, Wells, Schlieper, Bloomquist. Consolation winners: Vineyard, Jacobsen. Provisional starters: Owens, Pearson, Blankenship.
Correction: Fixes Bloomquist's laps led to 19 sted 29.