Portsmouth Raceway Park
Bloomquist repels Owens for 11th Lucas victory
By James EssexLucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (Sept. 3) — Surviving a duel with Scott James and a late charge by 22nd-starting Jimmy Owens, Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., won Saturday's Pepsi 50 River Days Rumble at Portsmouth Raceway Park for his series-leading 11th Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory of the season.
Bloomquist earned $10,000 for the victory and stakes his claim as a favorite for Sunday's event at Portsmouth, the $25,000-to-win Hillbilly 100 that has moved to the track after 42 runnings in West Virginia.
Owens, the series points leader, finished second with 14th-starting Jared Landers of Batesville, Ark., in third. Brad Neat of Dunnville, Ky., and Eddie Carrier Jr. of Salt Rock, W.Va., rounded out the top five.
James, the Lawrenceburg, Ind., driver who led 39 of the first 40 laps, left with a flat left-rear tire after a tight side-by-side duel with Bloomquist for a 12-lap stretch. James showed displeasure with Bloomquist during the ensuing caution period.
"The track was great all night. We started in the fourth row and it only took a couple of laps to get to the front," said Bloomquist, who earned his 514th career victory overall. "You could run anywhere on this track.
We had a real good race there with Scott, we ran side-by-side without touching. I don't know if he thought I got into him or what; it was accidental if I even did. Then he had the flat and went out. Holding off Jimmy there at the end was tough because he was coming on strong from where he started."
Owens, whose 130-point lead shrunk to 110, said: "I just started too far back. The car was great at the end, but Scott was just a little bit better."
James outjumped polesitter Doug Drown at the outset to take the early lead, and James was in control for most of race, holding a good-sized lead through traffic. Further back, a heated race for second was under way between last year's winner Dale McDowell and Bloomquist, who eventually seized the spot.
Bloomquist then caught James as the frontrunners ran side-by-side for a dozen laps with Bloomquist leading for the first time on lap 39. James edged back ahead on the next lap before a caution came out for a flat tire on Ray Cook's car.
On the restart, Bloomquist gained the point in turn two as James' left rear tire went flat, forcing the final caution of the race.
That set up a nine-lap shootout between Bloomquist and Owens. Bloomquist edged away on the restart, but Owens closed right on Bloomquist's rear deck with five laps to go.
Bloomquist changed his line on the track to prevent Owens from stealing the win away from him.
Notes: Bloomquist's self-designed car is powered by a Roush Yates powerplant and sponsored by Base Racing Fuels, Ohlins, Miller Bros. Construction and Sweet Mfg. ... The feature was slowed by five cautions, all for single-car incidents. ... Jimmy Owens was the PBM/Erson Cams Hard Charger with his 22nd-to-second run. ... Among drivers failing to make the main event: Eric Jacobsen, Rod Conley, Greg Johnson, Josh McGuire, John Mason, Chad Stapleton, Justin Rattliff, Casey Noonan Delmas Conley and PRP points leader Chris Wilson. ... The series stays at Portsmouth for Sunday's $25,000-to-win Hillbilly 100, a race that's been in West Virginia in its previous 42 runnings.
Pepsi 50 River Days Rumble: (1) Scott Bloomquist, (2) Jimmy Owens, (3) Jared Landers, (4) Brad Neat, (5) Eddie Carrier Jr., (6) Dale McDowell, (7) Don O'Neal, (8) Steve Francis, (9) Frank Heckenast Jr., (10) John Blankenship, (11) Bub McCool, (12) R.J. Conley, (13) Eric Wells, (14) Ray Cook, (15) Kenny Christy, (16) Jason Montgomery, (17) Tyler Reddick, (18) Jackie Boggs, (19) Earl Pearson Jr., (20) Chris Brown, (21) Scott James, (22) Ben Adkins, (23) Josh Bocook, (24) Doug Drown, (25) Steve Casebolt, (26) Mark Frazier. Fast qualifier (among 51 cars): Drown, 14.897 seconds. Heat race winners: Drown, O'Neal, James, McDowell. Consolation winners: Brown, Adkins. Provisional starters: Francis, Pearson, Blankenship, Conley.