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Virginia Motor Speedway

Shaver, Francis on the front row for USA 100

September 14, 2012, 9:57 pm
By James Essex
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Steve Shaver won oa heat race to earn a front-row starting spot at VMS. (rickschwalliephotos.com)
Steve Shaver won oa heat race to earn a front-row starting spot at VMS. (rickschwalliephotos.com)

JAMAICA, Va. (Sept. 14) — Steve Shaver of Vienna, W.Va., and Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., will start on the front row of Saturday's 33rd annual USA 100 at Virginia Motor Speedway after winning heat races in Friday’s prelims at the half-mile oval. Saturday’s Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series-sanctioned 50-lap event pays $20,000 to the winner. | Video | Slideshow

Driving the K&L Rumley Enterprises-fielded Rocket Chassis, Shaver took the lead at the start of the first 25-lapper. The caution flew with one lap complete when series points leader Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., spun in turn two.

Chris Madden of Gaffney, S.C., challenged Shaver for most of the race until a caution with three laps to go cost Madden a runner-up finish. Jared Landers of Batesville, Ark., was able to outgun Madden on the restart as he stayed close to Shaver until the checkers flew.

Madden came home third, followed by Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., and Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla.

In the second heat, Francis, driving the Valvoline-sponsored Barry Wright Race Cars house car, stormed into the lead at the outset. Lathroum stayed within striking distance of Francis early, but Francis clearly had the best car on the track as he pulled away to win by more than a straightaway.

Lathroum was able to hold off the trio of Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va., and Don O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., to earn the fourth starting spot in Saturday’s main event.

In qualifying, Jimmy Owens set the Red Buck Fast Time among 25 entrants with a lap of 17.456 seconds.

Saturday’s action begins at 6:30 p.m. with hot laps followed by a consolation race and 50-lap main event.

Saturday's USA 100 lineup

Row 1: Steve Shaver, Steve Francis
Row 2: Jared Landers, Jamie Lathroum
Row 3: Chris Madden, Jonathan Davenport
Row 4: Dale McDowell, John Blankenship
Row 5: Earl Pearson Jr., Don O’Neal
Row 6: Scott Bloomquist, Austin Hubbard
Row 7: Jimmy Owens, Jerry Bard
Row 8: Kenny Moreland, Jeremy Miller
Row 9: Consy transfers
Row 10: Consy transfers
Row 11: Consy transfers

Row 12: Provisional starters

Friday's preliminary races

First heat (25 laps; top eight transfer): Steve Shaver, Jared Landers, Chris Madden, Dale McDowell, Earl Pearson, Jr., Scott Bloomquist, Jimmy Owens, Kenny Moreland, Dean Bowen, Ricky Elliott , Eric Wells, Walker Arthur, Tyler Reddick.

Second heat (25 laps; top eight transfer: Steve Francis, Jamie Lathroum, Jonathan Davenport, John Blankenship, Don O'Neal, Austin Hubbard, Jerry Bard, Jeremy Miller, David Williams, Matt Quade, David Watts, Dan Stone.

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