Lucas Oil Series notebook
Owens leads Lucas Oil tour to North-South
One of Dirt Late Model racing’s most prestigious crown-jewel events is set to kick off Thursday evening as Florence Speedway in Union, Ky., gets set to host the Sunoco Race Fuels North-South 100 presented by Lucas Oil.
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series-sanctioned race pays $50,000 to the winner and at least $2,500 to each starter and is also part of part the DirtonDirt.com Crown Jewel Cup points standings within the Lucas Oil Series.
The mega event will include plenty of action on and off the track to keep fans entertained long before Saturday’s 100-lap finale. The weekend gets under way Thursday night with an open practice session, while the first competitive action begins Friday evening with Red Buck Cigar Time Trials followed by the Red Buck Cigars Fast Dash for the fastest three qualifiers from each of the two time trial groups.
There will also be a post-race fan and racer appreciation party, sponsored by Red Buck Cigars following Friday’s on-track action. The party includes a live concert performed by up-and-coming Nashville recording group Borrowed Blue. There is no additional charge to attend the post-race party.
Action continues Saturday night with Lucas Oil Series heat races, consolation races and the 100-Lap Sunoco Race Fuels North-South 100 presented by Lucas Oil main event.
Reigning Lucas Oil Series champion Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., leads the chase for the series championship into the weekend while also looking to win the $50,000 North-South 100 payday for the third consecutive year. Owens will have to top a strong field of the nation's best Dirt Late Model drivers to win the race again this year and become the first driver ever to win the race in three straight years.
Owens, who also captured the coveted North-South trophy in 2007, can also become the first driver to win the event four times. The late Hall-of-Fame driver Jack Boggs of Grayson, Ky., is the only other driver to win the race three times.
Fellow Lucas Oil Series regular Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., enters the event as another favorite after claiming victory in Florence’s Ralph Latham Memorial early this season. Gunning for his first-ever North-South 100 victory, O'Neal leads the series with 10 wins this season with his most recent victory coming in the last series event at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway on July28th.
Owens and O'Neal currently sit first and second in the championship points standings with two-time series champ, Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., third. Bloomquist is also a two-time North-South 100 winner with those triumphs coming in 1988 and 2000.
Currently fourth in the Lucas Oil Series standings, Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., is looking to join Boggs as the only home-state drivers to win the Bluegrass State’s biggest annual Dirt Late Model race.
Fresh off his debut in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va., heads into the weekend fifth in the current Lucas Oil Series standings. Blankenship is looking to improve on his first top-10 North-South 100 finish in last year’s race.
Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., leads the Lucas Oil Series rookie chase into the weekend. After finishing sixth in his first-ever North-South 100 start last year, Davenport is looking to break a recent slump with another solid performance at Florence.
Robby Hensley of Walton, Ky., currently leads the Florence Speedway weekly Late Model points standings as the second-generation racer chases his first track championship.
Defending Florence Speedway track champion, Josh Williams of West Harrison, Ind., is second in the track points, followed by David Spille of Harrison, Ohio, James Rice of Verona, Ky,. and Jesse James Lay of Verona, Ky.
For more information on the Sunoco Race Fuels North-South 100 Presented by Lucas Oil contact the track office at (859) 485-7591 or visit the Florence Speedway website at www.florencespeedway.com.