WHEATLAND, Mo. (May 28) — Jimmy Owens ended his long, frustrating winless slump on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series in utterly dramatic fashion Saturday night at Lucas Oil Speedway.
Surviving a rough-and-tumble track surface, brake problems and an especially memorable 91st lap, the 44-year-old superstar from Newport, Tenn., captured the 24th annual Show-Me presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com for the fourth time in his spectacular career.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said Owens, whose three previous Show-Me 100 triumphs came consecutively from 2011-13. “You can’t describe it … I love it.”
Owens grabbed the lead for the first time in the hardscrabble race on lap 75 when he slipped past Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., but his fate seemed uncertain after Bloomquist charged past both Owens and Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., rounding turns three and four to regain command as lap 91 was scored. Seconds later, however, Bloomquist lost his car’s left-rear wheel and spun to a stop between turns one and two, handing the top spot to Pierce.
But the 19-year-old Pierce, who started 29th after winning the last-chance race, never officially led a circuit because he had to pit with a flat right-rear tire during the lap-91 caution period — a heartbreaking turn of events that put Owens back in front.
Owens then controlled the remaining distance, surviving a final caution flag on lap 98 — after Pierce tangled with Bloomquist and slow with a right-front flat tire — to claim the $30,000 top prize. The victory snapped his 45-race Lucas Oil Series winless streak dating to his last win on April 30, 2015, at Macon (Ill.) Speedway.
Bloomquist made a stirring rally after his crew bolted a new left-rear wheel on his car, finishing second after surging by both Jesse Stovall of Billings, Mo., and Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., heading to the white flag. The 52-year-old Hall of Famer, who led laps 54-74 and 91, closed the gap on Owens during the final circuit but didn’t get close enough to make a bid for the win.
Stovall settled for a third-place finish after starting last because a problem with his car’s left-rear suspension before the start of the race forced him to pit and relinquish his 24th starting position. He steadily climbed forward and restart second on lap 91 but wasn’t able to mount a challenge over the remaining circuits.
Davenport, who led laps 1-44 but slipped backward with apparent handling problems in the rough parts of the 3/8-mile oval, salvaged a fourth-place finish and 15th-starter Tony Jackson Jr. of Lebanon, Mo., recorded a fifth-place result that represented the best placing of his career in the Show-Me 100. Pierce was sixth in the final rundown — the last driver on the lead lap — after returning from his pit stop with two laps remaining.
Jared Landers of Batesville, Ark., who won Friday night’s 40-lap preliminary feature, was a serious contender. He passed Davenport for the lead on lap 45, but on lap 53 he got his car crossed up in turn two and watched Bloomquist move in front and seven laps later he pulled off the track during a caution period with a busted radiator.
Owens’s checkered flag was his first with his new-for-2016 R&W Motorsports team that includes crew chief Barry Wright, the veteran chassis builder who maintains Owens’s Custom-powered BWRC machines at his shop in Cowpens, S.C. The three-time Lucas Oil Series entered the weekend with only three top-five finishes in the national tour’s first 19 events but turned around his fortunes at a track that has treated him very well this decade.
“All we’ve gotta do is have patience and we’ll hopefully prove ‘em wrong,” Owens said when asked about the early-season struggles with his fresh operation. “I feel like our record hasn’t shown it, but it just goes to show how good a car we’ve had. Tonight we was able to prove it to the world.”
Owens gained some momentum with a pair of top-five finishes in the Show-Me 100 preliminary features on Thursday and Friday nights. He then combined some good fortune with his speed to spin up a much-needed victory.
While Owens didn’t lead the race for the first time until lap 75 despite starting from the pole position, he was confident that he was destined to lead the field across the finish line.
“I really felt like from lap 50 on we had the car to beat,” Owens said. “We was able to pass Scott (for the lead) and we could get through the holes better than he could.”
But as soon as Owens’s spirits rose, problems cropped up that left his hopes in question.
“Then our rear brakes just started giving up and I couldn’t keep the front end on the ground and we started bouncing,” Owens said. “Finally it got so bad that I couldn’t keep the car down no more and them guys (Bloomquist and Pierce) got back by me (on lap 91).”
Owens’s stint in third place, however, was extremely short-lived. After Bloomquist’s wheel flew off and Pierce headed pitside with a flat tire, Owens was elevated back to the lead and never looked back.
“I hate that those guys broke and had bad luck,” Owens said. “Especially Bobby … he come from last, the non-qualifiers’ race. But it was our night.
“My misfortune was bad,” he added, “but their’s was a little worse.”
Owens made no mistakes following the final restarts on lap 91 and 98, pulling away to complete one of the most satisfying outings of his career. Even with the difficult track conditions producing plenty of attrition, he could smell victory down the stretch.
“It was ours to lose the whole night,” said Owens, who registered his 54th career win on the Lucas Oil Series. “Barry builds a tough car, it’s a great car, and we’ve got good components on it. I wasn’t worried about anything breaking.”
Bloomquist, meanwhile, did have a parts failure rob him of what could have been his second big-money Lucas Oil Series win in three weeks. A broken wheel snuffed out his lap-91 explosion into the lead.
“It was rough, especially up top,” said Bloomquist, who started eighth. “I saw a lot of guys getting up on two wheels, and we were leaving the ground quite a bit.
“I ended up ripping the center out of a wheel … what do you say? The wheel wasn’t loose. We caught that rut (in turn one) wrong. There’s so much traction in those ruts because they’re real wet plus you got the big lip sticking up, and it just grabbed it so hard it ripped it off.”
Bloomquist thought he had made a move to win the race after having ceded the top spot to Owens on lap 75.
“All it takes is just a little mistake, and we had to check up and Jimmy got by and then Bobby got by,” Bloomquist said. “I changed my line a little bit and just started working on that and I got up on both of them there and decided there was no time to waste and I just went for it (on lap 91). I took the lead back (with a surge to the inside of turns three and four) and I was pretty confident that was the end of it, but we broke the center out of the wheel.”
Bloomquist didn’t make any headway with a cold left-rear tire after he returned to the race on lap 91, but the caution period on lap 98 gave him the break he needed to mount one last assault to steal the $15,000 second-place prize.
“We got a little heat in (the tire) and on that (last) restart we just got down in the middle, down low, and the car was hooked up decent enough to get second,” said Bloomquist, who won the Show-Me 100 five times at its original home, West Plains (Mo.) Motor Speedway, but hasn’t captured the race since its move to Wheatland in 2010. “I went through the middle and gained quite a bit (on Owens) the last lap. I think I was better on the racetrack in the middle … I’d have liked to have five more (laps).”
Stovall, 35, had to settle for a $10,000 third-place check after Bloomquist slipped by him with the white flag flying, but he smiled about his come-from-behind performance nonetheless.
“I had a broke piece on my left rear and had to fix it (after reporting to the track before the race) and unfortunately had to go to the tail,” said Stovall, who bettered his career-best Show-Me 100 finish of fifth, in 2015. “I wanted to pull off numerous times just because I knew the holes kept getting worse and worse and deeper and deeper … I kept riding around there and they had a caution on like lap 60 and I was running 11th, and I’m like, ‘Well, maybe if these guys dice and I dive, I can get a few more spots and get up in there.’
“Then all of a sudden Scott had a wheel break and fall off and Pierce had a flat, and here I am sitting there in second. I thought maybe I could do something with Jimmy, but I couldn’t fire off the bottom at all (on the last two restarts).”
Nine caution flags and one red flag dotted the event, which saw just 15 cars running at the finish.
Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa, was involved in two caution-causing incidents, on lap nine when he slowed on the homestretch and lap 10 when he tangled with Jason Rauen of Farley, Iowa, and Dave Eckrich of Oxford, Iowa. Other multi-car tangles included a lap-nine restart scramble with Will Vaught of Crane, Mo, Terry Phillips of Springfield, Mo., and Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., and a hard lap-49 crash involving Garrett Alberson of Las Cruces, N.M., and Jake O’Neil of Tucson, Ariz., that left both drivers’ cars heavily damaged in turn one.
Cautions were also triggered by Jason Papich of Nipomo, Calif, who hit the turn-one wall on lap 13; Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., who spun between turns three and four on lap 24 while running seventh; Colton Flinner of Allison Park, Pa., who slowed on lap 44; O’Neil, who fell off the pace on the lap-44 restart; and Pierce on lap 98. Debris was cited for a caution on lap 60.
May 28 - Lucas Oil Speedway, Wheatland, Mo.
Pos. Driver (car no.), hometown, chassis, earnings
1. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., Barry Wright, $30,000
2. Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., Sweet-Blomquist, $15,000
3. Jesse Stovall (00), Billings, Mo., Black Diamond, $10,000
4. Jonathan Davenport (6), Blairsville, Ga., Longhorn, $8,000
5. Tony Jackson Jr. (56), Lebanon, Mo., Longhorn, $6,000
6. Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., Pierce, $5,000
7. Steve Francis (15), Bowling Green, Ky., Black Diamond, $4,000
8. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., Longhorn, $3,000
9. Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., Black Diamond, $2,750
10. Chris Brown (21b), Spring, Texas, $2,600
11. Darrell Lanigan (15), Union, Ky., Club 29, $2,500
12. Chad Simpson (25), Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Victory Circle, $2,475
13. Wendell Wallace (6M), Batesville, Ark., Black Diamond, $2,450
14. Colton Flinner (75), Allison Park, Pa., Rocket, $2,425
15. Earl Pearson Jr. (1P), Jacksonville, Fla., Longhorn, $2,400
16. Jared Landers (777), Batesville, Ark., Sweet-Bloomquist, $2,375
17. Brandon Sheppard (b5), New Berlin, Ill., Rocket, $2,350
18. Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., Moyer Victory, $2,325
19. Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., Rocket, $2,300
20. Garrett Alberson (F5), Las Cruces, N.M., Black Diamond, $2,250
21. Will Vaught (1V), Crane, Mo., Rocket, $2,200
22. Jake O’Neil (J0), Tucson, Ariz., Club 29, $2,150
23. Matt Furman (51M), Portland, Ore., MB Customs, $2,100
24. Dave Eckrich (58E), Oxford, Iowa, Black Diamond, $2,050
25. Ryan Gustin (19R), Marsalltown, Iowa, Rocket, $2,000
26. Jason Rauen (98), Farley, Iowa, Longhorn, $2,000
27. Jason Papich (91P), Nipomo, Calif, Club 29, $2,000
28. Chris Simpson (32x), Oxford, Iowa, Longhorn, $2,000
29. Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., Club 29, $2,000
30. Terry Phillips (75), Springfield, Mo., Black Diamond, $2,000
Preliminary feature winners (among 57 cars): Davenport, Jared Landers
Consolation winners: Papich, Chris Simpson, Vaught
Non-qualifiers’ race winner: Pierce
Provisional starters: Pearson, Flinner, Phillips, Eckrich, Wallace
Preliminary results and notes:
Lap 100: Owens holds on to take the win over Bloomquist, who slid by Stovall and Davenport heading to the white flag to finish second.
Lap 98: Pierce slows in turn one after coming together with Bloomquist battling for fifth, bringing out a caution flag.
Lap 91: Heartbreak for leader Pierce, who slows with right-rear flat under caution and pits. Bloomquist returns after putting on new wheel and restarts fifth ... Owens leads Stovall, Davenport, Jackson, Bloomquist and Pierce, who returns and restarts sixth as last car on lead lap.
Lap 91: After Pierce's outside charge off turn two in a bid to overtake Owens ran out of room, Bloomquist shot to bottom into turn three and passed both Owens and Pierce to take the lead at lap 91 ... but then in turns one and two Bloomquist spun sideways because his left-rear wheel broke off. Bloomquist was towed to pits, leaving Pierce — who started 29th — leading over Owens, 24th-starter Stovall, Davenport and Jackson.
Lap 85: Pierce slides inside Bloomquist for second in one and two ...
Lap 75: Owens slips ahead of Bloomquist to grab lead ... Pierce is right behind Bloomquist.
Lap 71: A charging Stovall slides under Davenport for fourth, but he's a straightaway behind Bloomquist, Owens and Pierce.
Lap 66: Pierce is third and on Owens for second ...
Lap 60: A caution flag flies for debris in turn four ... during the caution, second-place Landers pits with a broken radiator from bouncing on the track. "Bad timing on the gas," Landers said. Bloomquist leads Owens, Davenport, Pierce and Jackson.
Lap 54: After Landers got sideways off turn two, Bloomquist charges by take the lead.
Lap 49: A red flag is out for a vicious turn-one tangle that saw Jake O'Neil slam into Garrett Alberson, who bounced into the air but didn't go over. Will Vaught was also involved in the incident, which left moisture all over turn one. Landers leads Davenport, Bloomquist, Owens, Jackson, Francis, Pierce, Stovall, McCreadie and Brown.
Lap 45: Landers slid by Bloomquist in turn two on the restart and then slid under Davenport through three and four to take the lead.
Lap 44: Caution stays out because Jake O'Neil slows off turn four.
Lap 44: Colton Flinner slows to bring out a caution just as the race up front was heating up ... Davenport bounced over turn-one cushion in turn one on lap 43 and stayed in front, but Bloomquist and Landers split the lapped Chad SImpson in turn three racing for second and Landers slipped high in turn four. Davenport leads Bloomquist, Landers, Owens, Jackson, Babb, Francis, McCreadie, Brown and Pierce.
Lap 35: Bloomquist moving closer to Davenport in traffic ....
Lap 24: Brandon Sheppard spins between turns three and four while battling for sixth with Shannon Babb. Davenport had a half-straightaway edge over Bloomquist while tearing through lapped traffic; Landers is third, followed by Owens, Francis, Babb, McCreadie, Jackson, Erb and Alberson.
Lap 13: The race's fourth caution flag flies for Jason Papich, who slapped the turn-one wall. He limped into the pit area with significant rear bodywork damage. Davenport leads Bloomquist, Landers, Owens, Francis, Babb, McCreadie, Chad Simpson, Alberson and Erb.
Lap 10: The caution flag returns for a turn-two tangle involving Jason Rauen, Chris Simpson and Dave Eckrich.
Lap 10: Bloomquist shoots by Owens for second on the restart.
Lap 9: The restart was stopped quickly when Will Vaught slid sideways in turn four near the back of the pack, collecting Terry Phillips and Earl Pearson Jr.
Lap 9: The first caution flag flies for Chris Simpson, who slowed on the homestretch. Davenport leads Owens, Bloomquist, Chad Simpson and Landers.
Lap 6: Bloomquist moves inside Chad Simpson for third place.
Lap 1: Davenport jumped out to the early lead over Owens.
Pace laps: The 30-car field fired up and began circling the track at 9:48 p.m. CT.
The 30-car field for the Show-Me 100 began rolling onto the racetrack for driver introductions shortly before 9:30 p.m. CT. … Polesitter Jimmy Owens will shoot for his fourth career Show-Me 100 victory. He finished among the top five in both preliminary features but is riding a 45-race winless streak on the Lucas Oil Series since his last triumph over a year ago. … Lucas Oil Series provisional starts went to Earl Pearson Jr. and Colton Flinner while MLRA provisionals were claimed by Terry Phillips and Dave Eckrich. … Three-time Show-Me 100 winner Wendell Wallace earned the past champion’s provisional as the most recent former victor who didn’t qualify. Brian Birkhofer was actually eligible for the provisional, but with his Gheer’d Up Racing machine sidelined by engine trouble he declined the opportunity to start the race in another car.
Midwest Sheet Metal Show-Me Challenge
Bobby Pierce fought off a mid-race challenge from Jack Sullivan to capture the 20-lap Midwest Sheet Metal Show-Me Challenge.
Pierce lost the top spot to Sullivan on lap 12, but one circuit later he sailed back in front and never looked back. He survived a final-lap caution flag to defeat Sullivan by several car lengths.
The 19-year-old Pierce had the option of taking the race's $2,500 top prize or accepting a starting spot in the Show-Me 100. He decided to move on to the feature event.
"I think we got a motor to fix so we're gonna put it in the show and try to win $30,000," Pierce said.
Finish (20 laps): Bobby Pierce, Jack Sullivan, Justin Kay, Brantlee Gotschall, Scott Lewis, Kyle Beard, Tanner Kellick, Austin Siebert, Tommy Weder Jr., Mason Oberkramer, Bryon Allison, Chris Spieker, Josh Poe, Rick Kimberling, Gavin Landers, Tyler Reddick, Josh Magee, Tad Pospisil, Payton Looney.
Midwest Sheet Metal Challenge lineup
(20 laps; winner has option to start A-Main)
Row 1: Bobby Pierce, Brantlee Gotschall
Row 2: Jack Sullivan, Tyler Reddick
Row 3: Justin Kay, Payton Looney
Row 4: Scott Lewis, Hunter Rasdon
Row 5: Jacob Magee, Tanner Kellick
Row 6: Mason Oberkramer, Kyle Beard
Row 7: Chris Spieker, Robert Baker
Row 8: Austin Siebert, Gavin Landers
Row 9: Tommy Weder, Bryon Allison
Row 10: Rick Kimberling, Wendell Wallace
Row 11: Tad Pospisil, Josh Poe
Row 12: J.C. Wyman
Missouri drivers dominated the final B-Main with Will Vaught leading the entire distance to take the victory over Jesse Stovall. Another Show-Me State racer, Brantlee Gotschall, finished third. The race was slowed by one caution flag, on lap nine for debris in turn four.
Finish (top 2 transfer): Will Vaught, Jesse Stovall, Brantlee Gotschall, Dave Eckrich, Scott Lewis, Tanner Kellick, Chris Spieker, Gavin Landers, Rick Kimberling, Tad Pospisil (DNS) Brad Looney, Reid Millard, Timothy Culp.
Chris Simpson overtook Bobby Pierce for the lead on lap three and controlled the remainder of the distance to earn his way into the Show-Me 100. Matt Furman, meanwhile, came on late in the race to pass Pierce for second on lap 13 and secure the final transfer spot. A red flag flew on lap 11 when J.C. Wyman slapped the turn-four wall and rolled his car onto its roof; he wasn't injured.
Finish (top 2 transfer): Chris Simpson, Matt Furman, Bobby Pierce, Tyler Reddick, Terry Phillips, Payton Looney, Jacob Magee, Kyle Beard, Austin Siebert, Bryon Allison, Josh Poe, J.C. Wyman.
Jason Papich inherited the top spot on lap 10 and marched on to capture the 15-lapper. Jake O'Neil, who led the first lap, settled for second place. Earl Pearson Jr. missed the cut with a third-place finish, forcing him to use a Lucas Oil provisional to start the A-Main. Robert Baker passed O'Neil for the lead on lap two and appeared headed to victory, but he slowed with mechanical trouble on lap 10 spun to a stop on the backstretch after Papich made contact with the rearend of his car.
Finish (top 2 transfer): Jason Papich, Jake O'Neil, Earl Pearson Jr., Jack Sullivan, Justin Kay, Hunter Rasdon, Mason Oberkramer, Robert Baker, Tommy Weder Jr., Wendell Wallace, Colton Flinner. (DNS) Brian Birkhofer, R.C. Whitwell.
After two days of racing that were completed despite a near constant threat of rain, absolutely gorgeous weather conditions prevail for Saturday’s finale. Temperatures have risen into the 80s with only puffy white clouds preventing constant sun. … Former Show-Me 100 champion Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, has scratched from Saturday night’s action after experiencing terminal engine trouble in his Gheer’d Up mount during Friday evening’s program. … Other drivers who have ended their weekends early include R.C. Whitwell of Tucson, Ariz., whose motor broke at the start of qualifying on Friday; Brad Looney of Republic, Mo.; Timothy Culp of Prattsville, Ark.; Jeremy Payne of Springfield, Mo.; and Reid Millard of Jefferson City, Mo. … Robert Baker of Bryant, Ark., who returned to competition this weekend for the first time since suffering a broken left forearm in an incident five weeks ago at Sedalia, Mo., has a backup engine in his Bloomquist Race Car after suffering engine trouble during Friday night’s feature. Racing on his 32nd birthday, he starts fourth in the first B-Main. … Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa, has his car repaired and is ready for action after his Friday-night outing was shortened by his wild, bicycling bounce into the air during his heat race. …
The 24th annual Show-Me 100 presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com at Lucas Oil Speedway concludes on Saturday night with the headline $30,000-to-win event. Three B-Mains and the Midwest Sheet Metal Show-Me Challenge Last Chance Race to complete the field for the 100-lap feature.
Three-time Show-Me 100 champion Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., will start from the pole position after accumulating the most points in the Thursday and Friday preliminary programs. He will be joined on the front row by defending race winner Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., who captured Thursday night’s 45-lap A-Main.
Eighteen drivers are locked into the Show-Me 100 after the preliminary events. Six more drivers will transfer through the three 15-lap B-Main, with the remainder of the field filled out by two Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series provisionals; two Lucas Oil Midwest LateModel Association provisionals; the last-chance race winner (if the victor opts to take the starting spot rather than the Show-Me Challenge payoff); a past Show-Me provisional; and any drivers eligible for Lucas Oil Series emergency provisionals.
Tonight’s drivers’ meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. CT. Hot laps are scheduled for 7 p.m. with the three B-Mains kicking off the competitive portion of the show immediately at 7:30 p.m.
Show-Me 100 B-Main lineups
(15 laps; top 2 transfer)
Row 1: Jake O’Neil, Jack Sullivan
Row 2: Justin Kay, Robert Baker
Row 3: Jason Papich, Wendell Wallace
Row 4: Tommy Weder Jr., Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 5: Colton Flinner, R.C. Whitwell
Row 6: Mason Oberkramer, Brian Birkhofer
Row 7: Hunter Radon
Row 1: Terry Phillips, Bobby Pierce
Row 2: J.C. Wyman, Chris Simpson
Row 3: Tyler Reddick, Matt Furman
Row 4: Kyle Beard, Austin Siebert
Row 5: Joe Poe, Bryon Allison
Row 6: Jacob Magee, Jeremy Payne
Row 7: Payton Looney
Row 1: Will Vaught, Brantlee Gotschall
Row 2: Tanner Kellick, Jesse Stovall
Row 3: Tad Pospisil, Gavin Landers
Row 4: Scott Lewis, Timothy Culp
Row 5: Dave Eckrich, Chris Spieker
Row 6: Rick Kimberling, Reid Millard
Row 7: Brad Looney
Show-Me 100 lineup
(top 18 from preliminary points locked in)
Row 1: Jimmy Owens, Jonathan Davenport
Row 2: Chad Simpson, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 3: Jared Landers, Steve Francis
Row 4: Tim McCreadie, Scott Bloomquist
Row 5: Brandon Sheppard, Darrell Lanigan
Row 6: Chris Brown, Don O’Neal
Row 7: Garrett Alberson, Shannon Babb
Row 8: Tony Jackson Jr., Ryan Gustin
Row 9: Billy Moyer, Jason Rauen
Row 10: B-Main transfers
Row 11: B-Main transfers
Row 12: B-Main transfers
Row 13: Lucas Oil provisionals
Row 14: MLRA provisionals
Row 15: Lucas Oil emergency provisionals
Row 16: LC Race winner, past Show-Me winner
Saturday schedule of events
2:30 p.m. - Pits closed and cleared
3 p.m. - Pits Reopen
3:30 p.m. - Grandstands closed and cleared
4 p.m. - Grandstands reopen
4:15 p.m. - Dirt Racing Outreach service in dining room
5-5:45 p.m. - Autograph session on midway
6:30 p.m. - Drivers’ meeting
7 p.m.: - Hot laps (Late Models/modifieds)
7:30 p.m. - Opening ceremonies
7:35 p.m. - Competition begins
Late Model consolations (15 laps)
Modified consolations (12 laps)
Late Model non-qualifiers’ race (20 laps)
Modified feature (20 laps)