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Lucas Oil Speedway

Owens cruises 40 laps, rules Wheatland again

May 23, 2013, 5:55 pm
By Todd Turner
DirtonDirt.com managing editor
Jimmy Owens greets the Wheatland crowd following his $5,000 victory. (thesportswire.net)
Jimmy Owens greets the Wheatland crowd following his $5,000 victory. (thesportswire.net)

WHEATLAND, Mo. (May 23) — The winner of the previous two Show-Me 100s, Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., staked a legitimate claim to a third straight victory Thursday night at Lucas Oil Speedway.

Leaving no doubt who had the fastest car in the 40-lapper, the outside front-row starter dominated the tuneup feature for the 21st annual Lucas Oil Show-Me 100 presented by Protect the Harvest.Com in Lucas Oil Midwest LateModel Racing Association action at the 3/8-mile oval. The victory paid $5,000 and makes Owens — no surprise — the favorite for Saturday’s $30,000-to-win Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event. | Complete Show-Me 100 coverage

Owens led by a full straight after eight laps, then kept a cushion of as many as four lapped cars between his No. 20 Bloomquist Race Car and his closest pursuers the rest of the way in cruising to victory, his fifth in his last six starts at Wheatland.

“We’ve just been real fortunate. The track really fits our driving style and we’ve got a good car and good crew ...” said Owens, who was asked by announcer Trenton Berry if track owner Forrest Lucas should rename the state-of-the-art track Jimmy Owens Speedway in honor of his domination. “It’d be cool to have it renamed, but I’d hate to pay the taxes on it.”

Fourth-starting Tyler Reddick of Corning, Calif., took the second spot from polesitter Steve Shaver just past the halfway point but could barely see the winning Owens in the caution-free affair. Shaver settled for third while Tony Jackson Jr. of Lebanon, Mo., was the top home-state finisher in fourth after taking that spot from Jack Sullivan of Greenbrier, Ark., on the 28th lap.

Owens hopes his Thursday night success leads to an even richer victory Saturday in an event that will be tape-delayed on CBS.

“We’ve had a good car all year. We’ve just been a lot more hit and miss than what we’ve wanted to be,” said Owens, who has four stateside victories overall in 2013. “When we win, the car’s real good ... we’re either good or bad, and we can’t get as consistent as what we’d like, but maybe we can turn that all around this weekend.”

Notes: Owens drives a Mike Reece-owned Bloomquist Race Car with a Cornett Racing Engine and sponsorship from Reece Monument, Gantte Appraisals, Red Line Oil, FK Rod Ends and Sunoco Race Fuels ... He received special sponsorship during the weekend from Midwest Sheet Metals. .... Besides the last two Show-Me 100s, Owens has won July 14, 2012 and July 17, 2010, at Wheatland. ... He swept both Lucas Oil Series races last season. ... Twenty-four of 28 starters were running at the finish. ... Eighteen drivers finished on the lead lap. ... Three Arkansas drivers finished in the top 10.

MLRA @ Lucas Oil Speedway: (1) Jimmy Owens, (2) Tyler Reddick, (3) Steve Shaver, (4) Tony Jackson Jr., (5) Jack Sullivan, (6) Billy Moyer, (7) Billy Moyer Jr., (8) A.J. Diemel, (9) Don O'Neal, (10) Earl Pearson Jr., (11) Brady Smith, (12) Terry Phillips, (13) Jeremy Payne, (14) Randy Weaver, (15) Steve Francis, (16) Chad Simpson, (17) John Anderson, (18) John Blankenship, (19) Jesse Stovall, (20) Travis Dickes, (21) Brad Looney, (22) Eddie Carrier Jr., (23) Will Vaught, (24) Garrett Alberson, (25) Kyle Beard, (26) Bobby Pierce, (27) Jason Feger, (28) Brian Birkhofer. Heat race winners (among 74 cars): Moyer Jr., Birkhofer, Owens, Sullivan, Reddick, Moyer Sr., Phillips. Consolation winners: Weaver, Chad Simpson, Pearson. Provisional starters: Looney, Francis, Vaught, Blankenship, Stovall, Anderson.

Thursday's preliminary results:

Provisional starters

Brad Looney and Will Vaught took MLRA provisionals while Steve Francis and John Blankenship got Lucas Oil Series provisionals. Jesse Stovall and John Blankenship took emergency provisionals with MLRA.

Third consolation

Taking the lead when Chris Simpson lost control in turn four while trying to lap a slower car just before the midpoint, eighth-starting Earl Pearson Jr. raced to a 20-lap victory. Ryan Gustin, who also went by as Simpson barely saved his near-spinning car, held the second spot most of the rest of the way, but Bobby Pierce snuck by in the waning laps. Gustin dove between Pierce and a slower car in turns three and four on the final lap, but Pierce held on to the final transfer spot. Gustin was third and Simpson ended up fourth in the caution-free affair.

Finish: Earl Pearson Jr., Bobby Pierce, Ryan Gustin, Chris Simpson, Will Vaught, Eric Jacobsen, John Blankenship, Justin Wells, Brandon Smith, Bryon Allison, Brandon Sheppard, Brad Looney, Shawn Knuckles, Scott Lewis, Jay Brunson, Dustin Walker, Mason Oberkramer, Matt Brookshire, Dave Deetz.

Second consolation

Polesitter Chad Simpson kept Steve Francis and Eddie Carrier Jr. in check midway through the race, then survived a wild lap-15 restart with lots of bumping among his pursuers. Eddie Carrier Jr. came out in second while Francis was shuffled back to fifth at the finish. Mike Marlar rallied from 12th and made a bold inside move on the lap-15 restart, but ended up settling for third. Chase Junghans, who started outside the front row, was fourth ahead of Francs in the 20-lapper. The first start was called back when John Anderson and Rodney Sanders spun in turn one, and a lap-15 caution appeared when Jesse Stovall spun between turns one and two.

Finish: Chad Simpson, Eddie Carrier Jr., Mike Marlar, Chase Junghans, Steve Francis, Timothy Culp, John Anderson, Shannon, Babb, Tommy Weder Jr., Mark Dotson, Randy Korte, Jason Bodenhamer, Jerry Lierly, Rodney Sanders, Jeff Floyd, Greg Clemons, Jared Landers.

First consolation

Randy Weaver slipped by Brantlee Gotschall on the fourth lap, then won a torrid side-by-side duel with Brady Smith most of the rest of the way for a 20-lap victory. Smith got alongside Weaver several times, edging ahead a few times before Weaver fought his way back past amid lapped traffic. Both transferred to the main event while Gotschall was third in the caution-free affair.

Finish: Randy Weaver, Brady Smith, Brantlee Gotschall, Chris Brown, Scott Bloomquist, Brandon McCormick, Jimmy Mars, Eric Turner, Tim Isenberg, Brian Shirley, Wendell Wallace, Tanner English, Stacy Taylor, Justin Asplin, Cole Wells, Austin Rettig, Ron Johnson.

Feature lineup

Steve Shaver, via passing points, landed the pole position for the 40-lap feature. He'll start alongside Jimmy Owens with Jack Sullivan, Tyler Reddick, Billy Moyer and Jason Feger the rest of the top fix. Sixteen drivers (right) were locked in through heat races while six drivers from each of three consolations and potentially six provisionals will fill the 28-car starting field.

Consolation lineups

(20 laps; top two transfer)
First consolation

Row 1: Brantlee Gotschall, Randy Weaver
Row 2: Eric Turner, Chris Brown
Row 3: Brady Smith, Scott Bloomquist
Row 4: Brandon McCormick, Brian Shirley
Row 5: Tim Isenberg, Jimmy Mars
Row 6: Justin Asplin, Tanner English
Row 7: Wendell Wallace, Stacy Taylor
Row 8: Cole Wells, Austin Rettig
Row 9: Robert Baker, Scotty Bough
Row 10: Dennis Erb Jr., Ron Johnson
Second consolation
Row 1: Chad Simpson, Chase Junghans
Row 2: Eddie Carrier Jr., Timothy Culp
Row 3: Jeff Floyd, Steve Francis
Row 4: Jason Bodenhamer, Randy Korte
Row 5: Shannon Babb, Jesse Stovall
Row 6: Tommy Weder Jr., Mike Marlar
Row 7: John Anderson, Jared Landers
Row 8: Mark Dotson, Jerry Lierly
Row 9: Rodney Sanders, Jason Sivils
Row 10: Greg Clemons
Third consolation
Row 1: Chris Simpson, Justin Wells
Row 2: Ryan Gustin, Bryon Allison
Row 3: Will Vaught, Shawn Knuckles
Row 4: Bobby Pierce, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 5: Brandon Sheppard, Eric Jacobsen
Row 6: Brandon Smith, Brad Looney
Row 7: John Blankenship, Dustin Walker
Row 8: Jay Brunson, Matt Brookshire
Row 9: Dave Deetz, Mason Oberkramer
Row 10: Scott Lewis

Seventh heat

Terry Phillips won a first-lap battle with buddy and fellow Springfield, Mo., driver Eric Turner and raced to victory in the 10-lap prelim. A.J. Diemel dropped Turner to third on the sixth lap but couldn't track down Phillips in the closing laps. Turner was third with Scott Bloomquist starting and finishing fourth. Brady Smith was further back in fifth in the caution-free prelim.

Finish: Terry Phillips, A.J. Diemel, Eric Turner, Scott Bloomquist, Brady Smith, Randy Korte, Brandon Smith, Stacy Taylor, Mark Dotson, Robert Baker, Scott Lewis, Ron Johnson.

Sixth heat

Third-starting Billy Moyer slid under Justin Wells exiting turn four on the fourth lap and raced to a 10-lap victory. Wells held second a few more laps before polesitter Don O'Neal found a way past, leaving Wells with a third-place finish while Moyer won by nearly a straightaway. Bryon Allison was fourth, just behind Wells while ninth-starting Timothy Culp was fifth.

Finish: Billy Moyer, Don O'Neal, Justin Wells, Bryon Allison, Timothy Culp, Bobby Pierce, Tommy Weder Jr., John Blankenship, Jerry Lierly, Mason Oberkramer.

Fifth heat

Third-starting Tyler Reddick went by outside front-row starter Kyle Beard on the backstretch on lap six and held on for a victory over Beard, who lost ground when he tried to dive back under Reddick in turn one two laps later. Polesitter Chase Junghans was a distant third ahead of Chris Simpson, who nipped Brandon Sheppard for fourth. The first start was called back but there were otherwise no cautions.

Finish: Tyler Reddick, Kyle Beard, Chase Junghans, Chris Simpson, Brandon Sheppard, Chris Brown, Justin Asplin, John Anderson, Cole Wells, Jason Sivils.

Fourth heat

Fourth-starting Jack Sullivan slid under Shannon Babb in turn two on the second lap to take command in the 10-lap heat. Sullivan wrapped up the victory over eighth-starting Steve Shaver while ninth-starting Jason Feger rallied to third. Polesitter Jason Bodenhamer jumped the cushion on a lap-three restart and fell out of contention. The first start was called back when Steve Shaver got sideways in turn one, causing Tanner English's spin. Austin Rettig spun in turn four on the third lap.

Finish: Jack Sullivan, Steve Shaver, Jason Feger, Chad Cimpson, shannon, Bagbb, Jason Bodenhammer, Eric Jacobsen, Tanner English, Austin Rettig, Scott Bough.

Third heat

Fourth-starting Jimmy Owens went under a sliding Jeremy Payne in turn two on the second lap and cruised to a straightaway victory. Payne, making his debut in a Rowland Racing Bloomquist Race Car, barely held on for second over eighth-starting Tony Jackson Jr., who rallied for a third-place finish. Polesitter Will Vaught was a distant fourth while Brandon McCormick rounded out the top five. The first start was called back.

Finish: Jimmy Owens, Jeremy Payne, Tony Jackson Jr., Will Vaught, Brandon McCormick, Tim Isenberg, Jesse Stovall, Brad Looney, Dustin Walker, Dave Deetz.

Second heat

Polesitter Brian Birkhofer built a halt-straightaway lead after three laps and cruised to victory in the second heat on a slippery track. Fellow front-row starter Garrett Alberson, making his Wheatland debut, held on for second over Brantlee Gotschall, who fought off challenges from Eddie Carrier Jr. and ninth-starting Ryan Gustin. Carrier nearly got past Gotschall on the eighth lap, then again at the checkers as he ducked inside in falling just shy of the third spot. Third-starting Greg Clemons pulled his smoking machine to the infield on the second lap.

Finish: Brian Birkhofer, Garrett Alberson, Brantlee Gotschall, Eddie Carrier Jr., Ryan Gustin, Steve Francis, Jimmy Mars, Wendell Wallace, Jay Brunson, Matt Brookshire, Greg Clemons.

First heat

Billy Moyer Jr. jumped into the lead from outside the front row and led all 10 laps for an easy victory in Thursday's opening heat race. Polesitter Jeff Floyd chased Moyer home in second most of the way, but he slipped back to fourth after a lap-seven restart as second-row starters Travis Dickes and Randy Weaver went past. They finished second and third. Eighth-starting Dennis Erb Jr. was up to fifth when his car went up in smoke on the seventh lap. (Erb broke a motor while battling for the lead of last week's Bad Boy 98 at Batesville Motor Speedway).

Finish: Billy Moyer Jr., Travis Dickes, Randy Weaver, Jeff Floyd, Shawn Knuckles, Brian Shirley, Earl Pearson Jr., Mike Marlar Jared Landers, Rodney Sanders, Dennis Erb Jr.

Pre-race summary

MLRA’s first solo event during the crown jewel weekend, which precedes the two-day, $30,000-to-win Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event Friday and Saturday, has drawn 74 Late Model drivers to the 3/8-mile oval in west-central Missouri. The heat race lineups below are updated by series officials with drivers added to heat race lineups, changing rows 3-6 in initially posted lineups.

The top 16 drivers in passing points from seven heat races will be locked into the 40-lap main event. The top two finishers from each of three consolation will also join the field along with two provisionals apiece from MLRA and the Lucas Oil Series. Two MLRA drivers with perfect attendance who don’t make the feature otherwise are allowed emergency provisionals for a potential starting field of 28 cars.

Heat race polesitters on a gorgeous spring evening are Jeff Floyd of Walnut Ridge, Ark.; Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa; MLRA points leader Will Vaught of Crane, Mo.; Jason Bodenhamer of Centerview, Mo.; Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan.; Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind.; and Terry Phillips of Springfield, Mo.

Pre-race notes

The 73 cars entered, if they also enter Friday, would be 18 more than last year's 55-car count. ... In other Show-Me events at Wheatland, the track has drawn 81 cars (2011) and 73 cars (2010). .... West Plains (Mo.) Motor Speedway, where the event began in 1993, drew 100 or more cars on eight occasions but just 67 in its final event in 2009. ... The $5,000-to-win, $500-to-start purse is among the richest standalone races on MLRA's schedule. ... Show-Me 100 winners entered: Scott Bloomquist, Billy Moyer, Wendell Wallace, Brian Birkhofer, Terry Phillips and Jimmy Owens. ... Wallace is in Steve Lampley's car but plans to drive his No. 6m the next two nights. ... Bloomquist's long-time crew chief Tommy Hicks, who took a leave of absence from the team in the off-season and worked with other teams including Kentucky-based Wells Racing, is back with Bloomquist at Wheatland. ... Most of the highest-profile drivers entered rarely compete in events without time trials, but MLRA’s format calls for heat race lineups by pill draw and drivers transferring to the main event via passing points. ... In essence, drivers who pass the most cars combined with finishing closest to the front of heat races will earn the most passing points. ... Straightup consolation race finishes will set the final rows of the feature field along with MLRA provisionals. ... Chad Simpson of Mount Vernon, Iowa, won April 13’s MLRA event at Wheatland; he’s among weekend entries. .... The event marks the 40th MLRA event at the track as Lucas Oil Speedway or its former incarnation as Wheatland Raceway. ... Among drivers in unfamiliar cars are Jeremy Payne of Springfield, Mo., who is driving the Woodward, Okla.-based Rowland Racing Bloomquist Race Car that was piloted by Stormy Scott at Florida Speedway. Payne, formerly of Terry Phillips Racing, is making just his third Late Model start in more than a year. ... Tanner English of Benton, Ky., is also driving an unfamiliar ride, steering the M&M Painting and Construction Bob Pierce Car of Texas driver Allen Murray. English and Murray both competed in three ALMS events last weekend in Illinois. ... Tommy Weder Jr. of Woodward, Okla., is fielding a new Bloomquist Race Car; he won last season's NCRA title in a Victory Circle Chassis out of Billy Moyer's shop. ... Among longest-traveling drivers are Dave Deetz and teammate Garrett Alberson of Las Cruces, N.M.; Alberson has won four of his last five Late Model feature starts against competition out West. ... Scott Lewis of Henderson, Colo., also made a long haul. ... Chris Brown of Spring, Texas, is making his first Lucas Oil Series start in more than a year. ... About 40 modifieds are in action, too.

Heat race lineups

First heat
Row 1: Jeff Floyd, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 2: Randy Weaver, Travis Dickes
Row 3: Shawn Knuckles, Rodney Sanders
Row 4: Brian Shirley, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 5: Mike Marlar, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 6: Jared Landers
Second heat
Row 1: Brian Birkhofer, Garrett Alberson
Row 2: Greg Clemons, Wendell Wallace
Row 3: Brantlee Gotschall, Eddie Carrier Jr
Row 4: Jimmy Mars, Jay Brunson
Row 5: Ryan Gustin, Steve Francis
Row 6: Matt Brookshire
Third heat
Row 1: Will Vaught, Jeremy Payne
Row 2: Brandon McCormick, Jimmy Owens
Row 3: Jesse Stovall, Tim Isenberg
Row 4: Dave Deetz, Tony Jackson Jr.
Row 5: Brad Looney, Dustin Walker
Row 6: Ron Johnson
Fourth heat
Row 1: Jason Bodenhamer, Shannon Babb
Row 2: Eric Jacobsen, Jack Sullivan
Row 3: Austin Rettig, Scotty Bough
Row 4: Chad Simpson, Steve Shaver
Row 5: Jason Feger, Tanner English
Fifth heat
Row 1: Chase Junghans, Kyle Beard
Row 2: Tyler Reddick, Brandon Sheppard
Row 3: Justin Asplin, John Anderson
Row 4: Chris Simpson, Jason Sivils
Row 5: Chris Brown, Cole Wells
Sixth heat
Row 1: Don O’Neal, Justin Wells
Row 2: Billy Moyer, Tommy Weder Jr.
Row 3: Bryon Allison, John Blankenship
Row 4: Jerry Lierly, Bobby Pierce
Row 5: Timothy Culp, Mason Oberkramer
Seventh heat
Row 1: Terry Phillips, Eric Turner
Row 2: A.J. Diemel, Scott Bloomquist
Row 3: Stacy Taylor, Brandon Smith
Row 4: Randy Korte, Brady Smith
Row 5: Scott Lewis, Mark Dotson
Row 6: Robert Baker

Correctrion: Fixes heat race lineups throughout and car count.

Feature lineup

Row 1: Shaver, Owens
Row 2: Sullivan, Reddick
Row 3: Moyer Sr., Feger
Row 4: Moyer Jr., Jackson
Row 5: Birkhofer, Phillips
Row 6: Dickes, Diemel
Row 7: Alberson, Payne
Row 8: Beard, O'Neal
Row 9: Weaver, Chad Simpson
Row 10: Pearson, B. Smith
Row 11: Carrier, Pierce
Row 12: Looney, Francis
Row 13: Vaught, Blankenship
Row 14: Stovall, Anderson
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