Notes: Split decision on Bloomquist's WoO appeal
In a split decision announced Friday in Orlando, Fla., a World Racing Group appeals commission upheld Scott Bloomquist’s six-month suspension but reduced his fine by $10,000 connected to penalties for using chemically-altered tires in a World of Outlaws Late Model Series event last month.
Instead of a $11,350 fine initially levied by the World of Outlaws, Bloomquist’s fine was reduced to $1,350 by the four-member commission. Bloomquist remains suspended from World Racing Group events, including World of Outlaws and UMP DIRTcar competition, through May 7. Also upheld were penalties costing Bloomquist 1,000 points and probation that will continue through Nov. 7, 2010.
The appeals commission met Thursday at the Quality Inn in Orlando, Fla., in conjunction with the Performance Racing Industry trade show. WoO series director Tim Christman made the series presentation while Bloomquist was represented by attorney Ken McGuire.
Bloomquist, the 2004 World of Outlaws champion, was penalized by the series his left-rear tire was impounded following Nov. 5 qualifying at the Dirt Track at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. The series sent the tire to a lab, which concluded the tire was chemically-altered against series rules to improve traction.
The appeals board was made up of Joe Skotnicki, DIRTcar Racing Northeast director of competition and track sanctioning; Nancy Bicknell, co-promoter of Merrittville Speedway in Thorold, Ontario; Larry Kemp, general manager of Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio; and Mike Perrotte, a big-block modified driver Mike Perrotte of Plattsburgh, N.Y. — From staff and series reports
Fitzgerald rejoins Pearson
Jason Fitzgerald, former crew chief for four-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion Earl Pearson Jr., is rejoining Pearson as dirt racing team manager for Bobby Labonte Motorsports in Trinity, N.C.
Fitzgerald, who turns 34 on Dec. 20, spent the past two seasons driving for Florida-based Mixson Motorsports, winning Rookie of the Year honors on the O’Reilly Southern All Star Series in ‘08 and capturing the National Late Model Series championship in ’09. Fitzgerald said he'll miss driving, “but this deal is better for my family’s future in the long run."
Fitzgerald will manage Labonte’s two-car team, which includes fellow Jacksonville, Fla., native Pearson and Pearson’s new teammate Brad Neat of Dunnville, Ky. Fitzgerald served as crew chief for Pearson in 2006-’07 when Pearson was driving for Dunn-Benson Motorsports. Pearson won Lucas Oil titles both seasons along with the World 100 in ’07.
“I think obviously it’ll be a challenge with two teams, but I feel like they got the best people you could ask for now," Fitzgerald said. "If we can get to gelling, I think it can be a pretty good year for everybody." — From staff and correspondent reports
Lucas Oil releases TV schedule
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series has released its schedule for 12 series telecasts on the Speed and Versus cable networks, beginning Dec. 12 and continuing through late February. Programs will air on the Lucas Oil Motorsports Hour on Versus beginning Dec. 12 and on Speed on selected Saturdays starting Dec. 19.
Among 2009 series events features are races at West Plains (Mo.) Motor Speedway, Magnolia Motor Speedway in Columbus, Miss., Paducah (Ky.) International Raceway, Batesville (Ark.) Motor Speedway and Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway. The schedule concludes with a Feb. 27 season review program on Speed.
Feb. 20, 3 p.m. - Dixie Speedway, Woodstock, Ga.
Feb. 27, 2 p.m. - Lucas Oil Series season in review
Odds and ends
Missouri drivers Jason Bodenhamer and Reid Millard plan to promote a 14-week schedule of weekly racing in 2010 at State Fair Speedway in Sedalia, Mo., the first weekly racing at the half-mile track since 2004. Besides regular Friday night events, promoters plan a few other special events. ... Warrior Race Cars has scheduled its annual holiday open house for Dec. 23 at the Goddard Performance race shop at 2010 John Sevier Highway in Knoxville, Tenn. ... The UFO Race Championship series will allow drivers using the GM 525 aluminum crate engine to use 12-inch spoilers and other aerodynamic enhancements unavailable to drivers with open-competition engines.