Bloomquist's Shootout victory wraps 2nd title
WOODSTOCK, Ga. (Oct. 9) — Scott Bloomquist's not done with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series yet. Moments after winning the 21st annual Dixie Shootout to wrap up his second straight series championship. the 46-year-old Hall of Famer from Mooresburg, Tenn., was already starting to talk about a third potential championship. | 2011 schedule | Slideshow | Video
Bloomquist took the lead after a flat tire for four-time series champion Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., on the ninth lap and led the rest of the 50-lapper for a $10,000 victory, his series-leading ninth of the year and 26th of his career.
"This is what we worked for all year long, to win this Lucas Oil Championship again," Bloomquist said in victory lane. "I have to thank my crew and my sponsors for their help all year. My family has been great through all of this, and the championships and such are something to look back on someday when you're retired.
"Earl fired off real good at the start, I am not sure what tires he had on, but he was running up in the rough and I knew if he kept doing that the tires couldn't take the punishment and he eventually had the flat. We tried to be smooth from then on after what happened to Pearson, I tried to stay lower than the cushion and it worked out good."
Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga., finished second followed by Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C. Three-time race winner Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., rallied from 16th to finish fourth and 23rd-starting Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., was awarded fifth after apparent fifth-place finisher John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va., weighed in light at the scales.
Bloomquist and Pearson started on the front row with Pearson bolting the lead to command the race's early stages. But his right-rear tire went flat under caution, sending him to the pits for new rubber and to the tail for the restart as Bloomquist inherited the point.
Clanton, Madden, Don O'Neal and Randy Weaver took up the charge on Bloomquist on a rugged racing surface, and O'Neal faded with right-front suspension problems and Weaver faded with shock problems.
Bloomquist had a six-length lead over Clanton as the final caution flew on lap 36 when Steve Casebolt hitï¿½ the frontstretch wall. Clanton gathered up his car for one final rally on Bloomquist late in the race, but fell short.
"He's won this race five or six times," Clanton said, "so to finish second to him feels pretty good."
Notes: Bloomquist's self-designed chassis has a Roush-Yates Engine and sponsorship from Miller Bros. Construction, Hawkeye Trucking, VP Fuels, Hoosier Tires and Allstar Performance. ... Dixie drew one of its largest Shootout crowds since the race's heyday in the 1990s. ... Five cautions slowed the actions for Frank Ingram (lap 8), Mike Marlar (lap 9), Ray Cook (lap 32), Earl Pearson Jr. (lap 33) and Steve Casebolt (lap 36). ... Provisional starter Jimmy Owens won PBM/Erson Cams Hard Charger honors with his 23rd-to-fifth run. ... Among drivers failing to make the feature: Dan Sclhieper, Eric Wells, Jake Knowles, Wayne Echols, Tim Day, Derek Ellis, Chris Brown, Tyler Reddick, Derrick Rainey, Gary McPherson, Chad Ogle, Jill George and Michael Page. ... The Lucas Oil season wraps up Sunday for a $10,000-to-win event at Rome (Ga.) Speedway, Dixie's sister track.
Dixie Shootout: (1) Scott Bloomquist, (2) Shane Clanton, (3) Chris Madden, (4) Shannon Babb, (5) Jimmy Owens, (6) Steve Francis, (7) Brady Smith, (8) Dale McDowell, (9) Chris Wall, (10) David Payne, (11) Josh Richards, (12) Don O'Neal, (13) Brad Neat, (14) Casey Roberts, (15) Randy Weaver, (16) Steve Casebolt, (17) Earl Pearson Jr., (18) Ray Cook, (19) Tony Knowles, (20) Bub McCool, (21) Mike Marlar, (22) Clint Smith, (23) Frank Ingram. Disqualified: John Blankenship. Fast qualifier (among 57 cars): Bloomquist, 14.136 seconds. Heat race winners: Bloomquist, Clanton, O'Neal, Pearson, McDowell, Madden. Consolation winners: Smith, Neat. Provisional starters: Owens, Blankenship.