Roaring Knob Mtsprts Complex
Owens rules The Knob, retakes Lucas points lead
By James EssexLucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
MARKLEYSBURG, Pa. (July 26) — Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., dominated Friday’s Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event at Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex, leading all 50 laps to earn $10,000 for his sixth series victory of the season in retaking the top spot in the national tour’s championship chase.
Jeremy Miller of Littlestown, Pa., recorded his career-best Lucas Oil Series performance with a runner-up finish, while Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., moved to second in the series standings with a third-place finish. Twelfth-starting Earl Pearson, Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., and 16th-starting Eddie Carrier, Jr. of Salt Rock, W.Va., rounded out the race’s top finishers. John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va., dropped from first to third in the series standings after finishing 20th.
Owens, the two-time defending series champion, earned his second-straight victory on the series after claiming a $27,000 payday in July 20’s Silver Dollar Nationals at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Neb.
"The crew has been working their tails off lately,” said Owens, who led by nearly a five-second margin at the finish of Friday’s race. “We gambled on tires and the car was good all night. We qualified a lot better, which allowed us to win our heat race. We got some timely cautions out there and lapped traffic was not a factor for us tonight.”
While Owens led from the start, Miller and Francis ran side by side for several circuits in an early battle for the second spot. Miller held the position for the first nine laps until Francis got by him. The battle continued most of the race with Miller coming back to pass Francis for good on lap 27.
"To come here and have a finish like this against these Lucas Oil guys sure feels good,” said Miller. “Steve and I had a great battle there, and we didn't touch the entire race. The tire rule really helped us tonight, everything just fell into place.”
Francis earned his eighth top-five finish in the past nine series races to keep pace in the points battle.
"Jimmy was clearly the best of the field tonight,” said Francis. “Jeremy raced me cleaned and gave me the bottom all race long. We were a little too free in the corners, but it was another good finish for our team. I don't know what happened to John (Blankenship), but this point's battle is going to be tight up until the end of the season."
Lucas Oil Series competitors move to Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway Saturday for the second leg of the tour’s weekend doubleheader. The Conococheague 50 pays $10,000 to the winner.
Notes: Owens drives a Cornett-powered Bloomquist Race Car sponsored by Reece Monument, Gantte Appraisals, Red Line Oil, Hypercoil, Sunoco Race Fuels, FK Rod Ends and Midwest Sheet Metal. ... Owens earned his 42-career Lucas Oil Series victory. He’s just four wins behind Scott Bloomquist on the tour’s all-time wins list. ... Blankenship entered the event with a 45-point lead over Francis and 55-point cushion over Owens atop the series standings. ... The race was plagued by five cautions and took just under half an hour to complete. ... Cautions appeared for Davey Johnson (lap 8); Jared Landers (lap 16); Cody Hardesty (lap 17); Jamie Lathroum (lap 24); and debris (Lap 36).
Lucas Oil @ Roaring Knob: (1) Jimmy Owens, (2) Jeremy Miller, (3) Steve Francis, (4) Earl Pearson Jr., (5) Eddie Carrier Jr., (6) Gregg Satterlee, (7) Dan Stone, (8) Austin Hubbard, (9) Vic Coffey, (10) Don O'Neal, (11) Dennis Erb Jr., (12) Billy Moyer Jr., (13) Mason Zeigler, (14) Steve Shaver, (15) Keith Barbara, (16) Scott Rhodes, (17) Jared Landers, (18) Dan Angelicchio, (19) Cody Hardesty, (20) John Blankenship, (21) Tim Senic, (22) Jared Hawkins, (23) Jamie Lathroum, (24) Jacob Hawkins, (25) Ron Delano Jr., (26) Davey Johnson. Fast qualifier (among 36 cars): Johnson, 15.579 seconds. Heat winners: Owens, Francis, Miller, Coffey. Consolation winners: Jared Hawkins, Barbara. Provisional starters: O’Neal, Landers, Moyer.