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Show-Me: Bloomquist goes worst-to-first

May 24, 2008, 7:47 pm
By Todd Turner
DirtonDirt.com chief writer

WEST PLAINS, Mo. (May 24) — Rallying on the high-side after a lap-93 restart, Scott Bloomquist made a worst-to-first run at West Plains Motor Speedway to capture his fifth O'Reilly Auto Parts Show-Me 100 crown. Bloomquist swept around a low-running Jimmy Mars and went on to win by nearly a full straightaway after starting 24th in the 24-car field. | Slideshow

"The longer we ran, the better we got. We finally had a long enough green to get some heat in the tires," Bloomquist said in victory lane. "I knew when we had that third-place start we'd be able to make that run on the outside. ... We just hope it stuck and it did."

For most of the race, the unsanctioned event was a two-car duel between Mars and Terry Phillips, who started outside the front row and took command early. The low-running Mars went ahead on lap 33, but a higher-running Phillips regained the point on lap 45. Phillips stayed in control through some side-by-side action before Mars went back out front on the 80th lap.

Mars began pulling away and continued to keep Phillips at bay despite traffic as he headed into the race's final 10 laps. But a lap-93 caution for Jeremy Payne — Phillips' teammate who was running fourth stopped in turn four — erased the lead and Bloomquist, who was nearly a straightaway behind, got the benefit of the bunched field. He lined up on the outside of the double-file start and immediately moved to the high side, edging Mars to lead lap 94 and then pulling away the rest of the distance.

Mars finished a length ahead of Phillips in third while Earl Pearson Jr. took fourth from Shannon Babb in the final laps. Brian Birkhofer was sixth and Wendell Wallace, who was gunning for his third straight Show-Me title, was seventh after making two pit stops.

16th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Show-Me 100
Pos., driver (car no.), hometown, chassis, earnings
1. Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., Bloomquist, $42,000
2. Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., MasterSBilt, $20,000
3. Terry Phillips (75), Springfield, Mo., GRT, $10,000
4. Earl Pearson Jr. (44), Jacksonville, Fla., MasterSbilt, $6,000
5. Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., Rocket, $5,500
6. Brian Birhofer (15B), Muscatine, Iowa, Mars-Birkhofer, $5,000
7. Wendell Wallace (88), Batesville, Ark., GRT, $4,700
8. Freddy Smith (00), Seymour, Tenn., Warrior, $4,500
9. Clint Smith (44), Senoia, Ga., GRT, $4,450
10. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., Rocket, $4,400
11. Eric Jacobsen (5), Santa Cruz, Calif., Bloomquist $4,350
12. Steve Francis (19), Ashland, Ky., Rocket, $4,300
13. Neil Baggett (21), Shannon, Miss., GRT, $4,275
14. Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., Rocket, $4,250
15. Brandon Kinzer (18), Allen, Ky., GRT, $4,225
16. Jeremy Payne (74), Springfield, Mo., GRT, $4,200
17. Stacy Taylor (27), Jacksonville, Ark., MasterSbilt, $4,200
18. Dan Schlieper (s9), Sullivan, Wis., Wild, $4,200
19. Will Vaught (1), Crane, Mo., GRT, $4,200
20. Bart Hartman (75), Zanesville, Ohio, Rocket, $4,200
21. Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., Victory Circle, $4,200
22. Steve Rushin (14jr), Poplar Bluff, Mo., GRT, $4,200
23. Kevin Claycomb (16c), Vincennes, Ind., MasterSbilt, $4,200
24. Skip Arp (31), Georgetown, Tenn., GRT, $4,200

Updates from the race:

1:08 a.m. (lap 93): Kinzer into wall on restart

The lap-93 restart went right back to yellow when Brandon Kinzer got into the turn-one wall, the car riding up on its side before dropping back with all four wheels on the track. He stopped but was able to pull the car off the track. Jimmy Mars will lead the field back to green with Terry Phillips and Scott Bloomquist lined up double-file behind him. Others on the track: Shannon Babb, Earl Pearson Jr., Brian Birkhofer, Tim McCreadie, Clint Smith, Freddy Smith, Eric Jacobsen, Steve Francis, Wendell Wallace, Neil Baggett and the lapped car of Josh Richards.

1:06 a.m. (lap 93): Payne slows for caution; Mars out front

Fourth-running Jeremy Payne slowed to bring out lap-93 caution with Jimmy Mars leading by six lengths late in the race over Terry Phillips. Mars had a bigger lead but was briefly held up by a low-running Neil Baggett and, for the first time in the race, moved out of the bottom groove to get around Baggett. That allowed Phillips to close in a bit, but the caution will reset the field and give tail-starting Scott Bloomquist a chance. Mars leads Phillips, Bloomquist, Shannon Babb and Earl Pearson Jr.

1:03 a.m. (lap 85): Mars faces traffic

Leader Jimmy Mars faces lapped traffic as he begins to pull away from Terry Phillips. Scott Bloomquist isn't gaining and is still a straightaway behind.

1:01 a.m. (lap 80): Mars goes back out front

The two-car duel out front continues with Jimmy Mars edging past Terry Phillips as the race entered its late stages on lap 80. Scott Bloomquist grabbed third from Jeremy Payne on the 75th lap as he continued his charge from the tail, but he was a straightaway behind the leaders. Shannon Babb is fifth and Earl Pearson Jr. sixth after Tim McCreadie fell back.

12:59 a.m. (lap 70): Phillips can't escape Mars

Terry Phillips built his biggest lead since the race's early stages by lap 65, but Mars crept a bit closer by lap 70. Third is still Jeremy Payne while tail-starting Scott Bloomquist moved up to fourth on lap 65 ahead of Shannon Babb. Tim McCreadie is sixth as Earl Pearson Jr. faded after the lap-60 restart. Stacy Taylor pulled out on the lap-60 restart.

12:52 a.m. (lap 60): Francis slows to draw yellow

Steve Francis slowed on the 61st lap to draw a caution, and the field was reset on lap 60 with Terry Phillips ahead of Jimmy Mars. Jeremy Payne is third followed by Earl Pearson Jr. and Shannon Babb on a racy track that's allowing multigroove racing. Mars was closing in on Phillips when the yellow appeared. Tim McCreadie, briefly up to fifth, is sixth ahead of Scott Bloomquist, Brian Birkhofer, Clint Smith and Neil Baggett in 10th. Next is Freddy Smith, Brandon Kinzer, Wendell Wallace and Eric Jacobsen. Francis and Josh Richards both pitted; both returned.

12:51 a.m. (lap 60): Phillips still holds edge on Mars

A tight duel between Terry Phillips (running high) and Jimmy Mars (running low) continues up front with Phillips just a few lengths ahead. It's a two-car race for now with Jeremy Payne nearly a straightaway behind with Earl Pearson Jr. fourth and Tim McCreadie up to fifth after coming alive on the lap-50 restart. Shannon Babb and Scott Bloomquist are sixth and seventh.

12:46 a.m. (lap 50): Caution appears for Wallace

Wendell Wallace stopped in turn four to draw a midway caution, spoiling a side-by-side battle for the lead between Terry Phillips and Jimmy Mars. Phillips went ahead five laps earlier but Mars was keeping it close. Third is Jeremy Payne followed by Earl Pearson Jr., Shannon Babb, Scott Bloomquist, Tim McCreadie, Steve Francis, Brian Birkhofer and polesitter Freddy Smith in 10th. Neil Baggett is 11th followed by Brandon Kinzer, Clint Smith, Eric Jacobsen and Stacy Taylor. Josh Richards, a lap down, is in the pits. Wallace pitted and came back out. Richards also returned.

12:44 a.m. (lap 45): Phillips inches back ahead

After a side-by-side battle following the restart, high-running Terry Phillips edged back past low-running Jimmy Mars. Jeremy Payne is third ahead of Earl Pearson Jr., Shannon Babb and Scott Bloomquist, who started on the tail.

12:38 a.m. (lap 40): Schlieper stops, draws caution

Dan Schlieper stopped in turn two to draw the third yellow (several drivers are pitting including Wendell Wallace, Stacy Taylor, Billy Moyer and Bart Hartman along with Schlieper). Jimmy Mars leads followed by Terry Phillips, Jeremy Payne, Earl Pearson Jr., Shannon Babb, Freddy Smith, Steve Francis, Brandon Kinzer, Scott Bloomquist and Tim McCreadie in 10th. After that it's Brian Birkhofer, Eric Jacobsen, Clint Smith, Neil Baggett and Josh Richards. Everyone else is in the pits. Will Vaught is off the track.

12:37 a.m. (lap 40): Low-running Mars extends lead

Keeping his 5-year-old MasterSbilt in the low groove, Jimmy Mars leads Terry Phillips by a full straightaway after 40 laps.

12:35 a.m. (lap 33): Mars takes lead from Phillips

Jimmy Mars took command exiting turn four. He's already a half-straightaway ahead of Phillips on lap 34 with Jeremy Payne, Earl Pearson Jr. and Shannon Babb holding top five spots.

12:34 a.m. (lap 30): Mars closes in on Phillips

Terry Phillips is leading Jimmy Mars through lapped traffic after 30 laps. Phillips leads by about three lengths with Jeremy Payne nearly a straightaway behind in third. Kevin Claycomb pulled out on the 26th lap after going a lap down.

12:32 a.m. (lap 20): Phillips in front of Mars

After 20 laps, Terry Phillips has a half-straightaway lead on Jimmy Mars, who's another half-straight ahead of Jeremy Payne. Earl Pearson Jr. and Shannon Babb are in the top five, which has eased away from the pack. Steve Rushin pulled out o the 19th lap.

12:28 a.m. (lap 12): Schlieper draws second caution

Dan Schleiper got turned around in turn four to draw the second caution. The running order: Terry Phillips, Jeremy Payne, Jimmy Mars (from 10th), Freddy Smith, Earl Pearson Jr., Shannon Babb, Stacy Taylor, Eric Jacobsen, Clint Smith, Steve Francis, Brandon Kinzer, Steve Rushin, Bart Hartman, Josh Richards, Brian Birkhofer, Tim McCreadie, Wendell Wallace, Scott Bloomquist, Kevin Claycomb, Neil Baggett, Billy Moyer, Will Vaught and Schlieper.

12:26 a.m. (lap 10): Teammates out front; Mars closing

With teammate Terry Phillips and Jeremy Payne running 1-2 after 10 laps, 10th-starting Jimmy Mars is the man on the move. Running the low groove, he's third and closing on Payne. Freddy Smith is fourth followed by Earl Pearson Jr. Tail-starting Scott Bloomquist has passed six cars.

12:22 a.m. (lap 4): Arp pulls to infield for first caution

With four laps complete, Skip Arp pulled into the infield to draw the first caution. Terry Phillips has built a 10-length lead early in the race with polesitter Freddy Smith, Jeremy Payne, Earl Pearson Jr. and Shannon Babb holding the rest of the top-five spots. Arp's car is being pushed to the pits.

12:19 a.m.: The green flag flies

Terry Phillips led the field exiting turn two on the first lap as the 100-lapper got under way.

12:16 a.m.: Field begins pace laps

The 16th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Show-Me 100 field has begun pace laps with Freddy Smith and Terry Phillips on the front row. The three winningest drivers in the history of the race — Billy Moyer, Scott Bloomquist and Wendell Wallace — fill the last three spots on the 24-car starting grid.

12:13 a.m.: Fireworks display begins

Driver intros have concluded and the fireworks display is underway. It's smoky, but the cars are apparently still on the track sitting on the frontstretch. The command to fire engines has been made.

11:43 p.m.: Hughes wins modified feature

Jason Hughes won the 20-lap modified feature; pre-race festivities for the Late Models should begin soon. Hughes earned $1,250 for sweeping the weekend's modified events.

11:34 p.m.: Halfway through modified feature

The modified feature preceding the Show-Me 100 is nearly half over with eight of 20 laps down.

11:33 p.m.: Gus the Cool Mule (of Louisiana!)

Driver James Ward of Lettsworth, La., can't make it to victory lane because he missed the 24-car field, but his 14-year-old son Adam will be there. Adam Ward was recruited by Jimmy "Pup" Thomas to fill the role of Gus the Cool Mule, the West Plains Motor Speedway mascot. Adam's buddy Dakota Howerton is helping out by leading Adam around while he's wearing the donkey suit (it's hard to see through the furry head). Adam just figures he'll have a good time during pre-race and post-race ceremonies. "I get to do whatever I want, because I'm never going to see these people again in my life," Adam said.

10:47 p.m.: Hot laps beginning for top 18

The 18 cars who transferred through Friday heats are hitting the track for hot laps. After an intermission, the modified feature is next followed by the 100-lap Late Model feature.

10:38 p.m.: Vaught, Bloomquist transfer in third consy

Will Vaught, who started fifth and struggled in the early laps, came alive when the green-flag laps began piling up and grabbed the lead from Larry Campbell on the 14th lap. Fourth-starting Scott Bloomquist dropped Campbell to third a lap later and went on to grab the second transfer spot while Campbell, who left his high groove for the low groove in the final seven laps, was third in a Clint Smith backup car. Polesitter Jack Sullivan faded and ended up fourth. Several scrambles slowed the early laps in some close-quarters racing, including one start when Bloomquist ended up brushing the turn-one wall.

Unofficial finish: Will Vaught, Scott Bloomquist, Larry Campbell, Jack Sullivan, Brad Looney, Brian Shirley, Jeff Taylor, Billy Drake, Dusty Johnston, Kyle Beard, Tony Knowles, Gary Stolba, Joey Baroni, Ron McQuerry, Bubba Jones, Darren Miller. Scratched: Raymond Merrill, Randy Weaver, Peyton Taylor.

10:20-25 p.m.: Bloomquist dodges a bullet

In close quarters racing on the first two attempted starts of the third consolation, Scott Bloomquist found himself amid trouble. On the second start, he slid high in turn one and briefly got into the wall after checking up to avoid Larry Campbell. A caution for a scramble back in the pack restored Bloomquist to his original starting spot. On the next restart, Bloomquist got caught on the outside and was running sixth at a lap-three caution as Campbell led Jack Sullivan.

10:16 p.m.: Hartman wins while Wallace survives

Bart Hartman slipped past last year's Show-Me winner and consolation polesitter Wendell Wallace on the eighth lap and went on to win the night's second consolation race. Wallace survived a last-lap slide job attempt by Brad Neat in turns three and four to get the second and final transfer spot. Neat, who started eighth, settled for third with Michael England further back in fourth in the caution-free affair.

Unofficial finish: Bart Hartman, Wendell Wallace, Brad Neat, Michael England, Jimmy Owens, Al Purkey, Kevin Gibson, Jeff Floyd, John Gill, Bill Frye, Jon Kirby, Kyle Cummings, James Ward, Bobby Giffin, Dewaine Hottinger, David Thomas, Trace Westling. Scratched: Jesse Stovall, Shawn Toczek, Rusty Dukes.

10:06 p.m.: McCreadie, Moyer transfer in first consy

Polesitter Tim McCreadie used the high groove to lead all 20 laps of the first consolation, transferring to the feature along with three-time Show-Me winner Billy Moyer. Ray Cook rallied from the tail and finished a close third in a race slowed by several yellows. Brandon Smith stalled for a lap-15 caution. Johnny Waters slowed to bring out a lap-12 caution. David Breazeale, the weekend's second fastest qualifier, was running in the top five when he shredded a right-rear tire on the ninth lap. A lap-two caution came out for a scramble between turns one and two that sent Rick Eckert into the wall.

Official finish: Tim McCreadie, Billy Moyer, Ray Cook, Shane Clanton, Billy Peden, Stacy Caldwell, Jimmy Cliburn, Rick Eckert, Billy Moyer Jr., Leslie Essary, Jill George, Johnny Waters, Jeff Davis, Don Cliburn, Brandon Smith, Eric Turner, David Breazeale, Jason Cliburn, Brady Smith. Scratched: Don O'Neal, Justin Asplin.

9:41 p.m.: Eckert among those caught up in wreck

Brady Smith and Rick Eckert appeared to get the worst of a lap-two wreck on the first of three consolation races. Eckert's car ended up against the turn-two wall and he pitted with a flat tire. Tim McCreadie, Billy Moyer and Stacy Caldwell (corrects from David Breazeale) are running 1-2-3 in a race that transfers the top two finishers to the feature. Don O'Neal and Justin Asplin scratched from the event.

9:30 p.m.: Modified consolations wrapping up

The second of two consolations is completing. Only five cars are still running.

9:07 p.m.: Bloomquist wins Past Champions Dash

Scott Bloomquist overtook race-long leader Wendell Wallace at the white flag and went on to win the 10-lap Past Champions Dash. Ray Cook finished third followed by Terry Phillips and Billy Moyer on a hooked-up track. Freddy Smith pulled off early in the race.

9:04 p.m.: Dash finally starting

After a delay in getting the cars lined up, then a brief hot-lap session, the Past Champions Dash is finally starting.

8:53 p.m.: Francis honored for fast time

Steve Francis picked up his $2,000 check for his fast qualifying time. Sponsoring the award was Larry Shaw Race Cars, Mark Martin Ford, Mark Martin Chevrolet and S&H Industrial. The Past Champions Dash is being introduced. Scott Bloomquist will be on the pole alongside Terry Phillips. On the second row is Wendell Wallace and Freddy Smith with Billy Moyer starting, as they say in the Ozarks, "tailback" alongside Ray Cook.

8:47 p.m.: Cook wins Manufacturers Dash

Ray Cook overtook Steve Rushin midway through the Manufacturers Dash and grabbed the victory on behalf of MasterSbilt by Carolina Performance. Rushin dropped out a lap later. Finishing a distant second in another MasterSbilt (by Stuckey) was second followed by Warrior representative Freddy Smith. Don O'Neal led the first lap and a half before losing power and pulling out; his car was pushed back to the pits. Some drivers, including Billy Moyer, Steve Francis, Wendell Wallace and Al Purkey, dropped back from the pack and appeared to be using the dash for a hot-lap session.

8:35 p.m.: Manufacturers Dash draw begins

Competitors for the Manufacturers Dash are drawing for position. Jill George had engine problems in her No. 22 Barry Wright chassis and it appears she'll compete in the team's No. 11 Wallybilt.

8:22 p.m.: Eight of top 20 qualifiers in feature so far

Don't think the consolation races aren't loaded? Of the top 20 qualifiers from Friday, only eight clinched feature transfer positions through Friday's heat races. David Breazeale (second fastest), Tim McCreadie (third), Wendell Wallace (fourth) and Billy Moyer (sixth) are among those who are in consolation races. Starting on the pole positions of three consolation races are McCreadie, Wallace and Jack Sullivan.

8:11 p.m.: Past Champions Dash entrants

Competing the Past Champions dash is Billy Moyer, Scott Bloomquist, Freddy Smith, Terry Phillips, Ray Cook and Wendell Wallace (Rick Aukland is the only past winner not in attendance).

8:06 p.m.: Manufacturers Dash entrants

Scheduled to compete in the Late Model Manufacturers Dash is Jill George (Barry Wright), Michael England (Bloomquist), Ray Cook (MasterSbilt by Carolina Performance), Don O'Neal (Rayburn), Steve Rushin (GRT by Phillips), Al Purkey (Larry Shaw), David Breazeale (MasterSbilt by Stuckey), Steve Francis (Rocket), Billy Moyer (Victory Circle M1), Freddy Smith (Warrior), Wendell Wallace (GRT by Wallace), Dan Schlieper (Wild). Drivers will draw for position on the frontstretch. (Updated with specific and corrected chassis brands).

8:01 p.m.: Modified heats under way

Modified heats are on the track at West Plains in opening Saturday's action. Following the mods on the schedule is the Late Model Manufacturers Dash, the Past Champions Dash, modified consolations, three 20-lap Late Model consolations and hot laps for the 18 drivers already locked into the Late Model feature. After an intermission, the modified feature will be run followed by the 100-lap Late Model feature. Heavy rain moved through the area before noon but skies cleared. It's about 73 degrees with partly cloudy skies.

Show-Me 100 feature lineup

Row 1: Freddy Smith, Terry Phillips
Row 2: Earl Pearson Jr., Jeremy Payne
Row 3: Shannon Babb, Stacy Taylor
Row 4: Steve Francis, Eric Jacobsen
Row 5: Clint Smith, Jimmy Mars
Row 6: Kevin Claycomb, Brandon Kinzer
Row 7: Steve Rushin, Josh Richards
Row 8: Skip Arp, Brian Birkhofer
Row 9: Dan Schlieper, Neil Baggett
Row 10: Tim McCreadie, Bart Hartman
Row 11: Will Vaught, Billy Moyer
Row 12: Wendell Wallace, Scott Bloomquist

Show-Me coverage

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