Fonda repeat lifts Owens back into Lucas Oil lead
By James EssexLucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
FONDA, N.Y. (July 27) — Jimmy Owens broke in a brand new race car in style Wednesday night, capturing a $10,000 victory in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event at Fonda Speedway.
Owens of Newport, Tenn., took the lead from polesitter Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., on lap 10 of the 50-lapper and led the remaining distance for his second consecutive Lucas Oil Series victory at the half-mile oval near Albany. | Video
"I can't thank the crew enough. We took last weekend off to get this car ready, we have worked day and night and it sure paid off,” said Owens, who pilots a race car built by Bloomquist. “I really like this track, to come here two years in a row and win is just fantastic. The car was good right from the start, once we got by Scott, I knew it would be tough for him to get back by us."
Bloomquist led the first nine laps of the race while the second-starting Owens slid back to third early. But Owens regained his momentum and blasted by Bloomquist on lap 10 for the race lead.
Bloomquist, who was gunning for his fifth victory in the past six Lucas Oil Series races, was unable to challenge Owens to retake the position. Even as the two drivers battled through traffic on the high-speed oval, Owens was able to maneuver all around the racing surface and sailed through slower cars on his way to building a large lead over Bloomquist.
Bloomquist’s shot at finishing second to Owens came to an abrupt end when he lost his left-rear wheel on lap 44 and went spinning down the front straightaway. The two-time defending series champion was able to salvage a ninth-place finish after pitting to replace the wheel, but the mishap allowed Owens to overtake him by five points in the current series points standings.
John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va., inherited the second position after Bloomquist’s misfortune, but he was unable to contend with Owens, who powered away from the field on his way to scoring the victory.
"They reworked the top before the feature, and it helped a lot,” Owens said of the track surface, which he navigated to perfection on his way to scoring his fourth Lucas Oil victory of the season. “It was a little bumpy out there, but the car was just so fast and really pretty racy. I just felt good the entire race; I saw Blankenship pull up beside under caution there at the end, those guys are running real well, and it's just a matter of time before they get a win.”
Blankenship, who was also the runner-up in the most recent series race at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo., equaled his best Lucas Oil Series finish in the runner-up position after starting 13th. Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., was third followed by Don O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., in fourth. Batesville, Ark., driver Jared Landers, who leads the series rookie standings, advanced from the 14th starting position to finish fifth.
Notes: Owens drives a Bloomquist Race Car powered by a Cornett Racing Engine and sponsored by Reece Monument Company and Gantte Appraisals. ... The victory is the 25th of Owens’s career on the Lucas Oil Series and first since he scored back-to-back triumphs in the Show-Me 100 at Lucas Oil Speedway May 28 and a June 2 event at Cleveland (Tenn.) Speedway. ... Series regular Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., was absent from the event and plans to miss the next two series races while at home caring for his mother. McDowell, who is currently 12th in the series standings will receive hardship points for the events. ... Dale Planck of Cortland, N.Y., was the highest-finishing home-state driver in the eighth position. ... The Lucas Oil Series will continue its Northeast swing with a $10,000-to-win event Thursday night at Utica-Rome Speedway in Vernon, N.Y., before wrapping up the three-race trip at Hagerstown (Pa.) Speedway Saturday night.
Lucas Oil Series @ Fonda: (1) Jimmy Owens, (2) John Blankenship, (3) Earl Pearson Jr., (4) Don O’Neal, (5) Jared Landers, (6) Steve Francis, (7) Ray Cook (8) Dale Planck, (9) Scott Bloomquist, (10) Bub McCool, (11) Brad Neat, (12) Jim Bernheisel, (13) Dan Stone, (14) Frank Heckenast Jr,. (15) Brent Rhenbergen, (16) Aaron Jacobs, (17) Billy Decker, (18) Tyler Reddick, (19) Eric Wells, (20) Dylan Yoder, (21) Larry Wight, (22) David Zona, (23) Alan Fink, (24) D.J. Myers. Fast qualifier (among 28 cars): Owens, 18.367 seconds. Heat race winners: Bloomquist, McCool, Owens, Decker. Consolation race winners: Myers, Bernheisel. Provisional starters: Jacobs, Fink.