BATESVILLE, AR (August 15, 2009) Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN added another crown jewel race to his growing and impressive resume Saturday. Powered by VP’s Late Model Plus racing fuel, Owens took the lead from Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN on lap 12 and never looked back in winning the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series 17th Annual COMP Cams Topless 100 at Batesville Motor Speedway. The win, worth $40,000, was Owens’ second series win of 2009. Bloomquist finished second followed by Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, WI and Dan Schlieper of Sullivan, WI, giving VP a sweep of the top four positions.
Terry Phillips and Bloomquist made up the front row for the race in front of one of the largest crowds in the history of the event. Bloomquist, a three-time winner of the race grabbed the lead over Phillips at the start of the race as Phillips fell to second followed by Owens, who started fifth, Dale McDowell and Earl Pearson Jr.
The top five remained the same until Owens climbed to second passing Phillips on lap six. Jimmy Mars, who was coming off of two straight $50,000 wins moved up from his 12th starting spot early on into the top five by the tenth circuit.
Bloomquist then started to enter some traffic and that allowed Owens to close upon him in a hurry with eleven laps in the books. A lap later Owens made the pass on Bloomquist for the lead as he grabbed the top spot. Owens then started to pull away from Bloomquist and with 15 laps in the record books it was Owens, Bloomquist, Mars, Phillips and McDowell.
The first caution of the race came out on lap 15 for Jared Landers which slowed the torrid pace set by Owens. On the restart, Owens bolted out to a quick three-car length advantage as an unbelievable battle for second was taking place between Bloomquist and Mars as those two went door-to-door for five consecutive laps when the second caution flew for a slowing Neil Baggett.
Landers came to a halt for the third caution only one lap later. The restart saw Owens remain on the point with Bloomquist and Mars resuming their race for second as defending race winner Tim McCreadie was up to fourth joining in the race for the lead.
Owens opened up an eight car length lead with 25 laps complete as Bloomquist had moved ahead of Mars by a car length. The race was going along smoothly when Ray Cook, who started 22nd, ran into mechanical issues on lap 34 after running inside the top ten. On the restart, Owens again was showing his strength as the race would see a twelve lap stretch of green flag racing with Owens comfortably showing the way followed by Bloomquist, McCreadie, Mars and Dan Schlieper, who was driving one of the Team Zero cars for the first time.
Bill Frye slowed on lap 46 resulting in the fifth caution flag off the night. Caution number six came out for Eric Jacobsen on lap 53. The race went only three circuits before the seventh caution for top-ten running Chris Wall who suffered a flat tire with 56 laps complete.
With 68 laps down, the final caution of the event came out for McCreadie, who slowed on the backstretch as he darted into the pit area, but would not be able to return to the race. On the restart Owens was maintaining his lead as he Bloomquist were in a tow car runaway over the rest of the contenders and with 25 laps to go it looked like it would down between the two Volunteer State veterans.
Schlieper ramped up his efforts and climbed to third. He, Mars, and Don O'Neal were dueling it out for third place. With 17 laps to go Owens got trapped behind a couple of cars he was trying to lap and that would allow Bloomquist to narrow the gap. Owens made a nifty move splitting the two slower cars with 16 to go as Bloomquist was now caught behind them.
With ten to go Owens had plenty of clear track in front of him as Bloomquist had his groove taken away by a car he was trying to get past. That would allow Owens to have enough breathing room as he went on to record his second crown jewel win of 2009 to go along with his Dirt Late Model Dream win at Eldora back in June.
In the Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the first time since winning the Ralph Latham Memorial Race at Florence (KY) Speedway in late May, Owens thanked his multitude of crew and sponsors. "I have to thank Mike Reece for giving me this opportunity to drive for him and live out my dream, my crew they worked their tails off this weekend and the car was just about as perfect as it could get, it drive great and the tire held up I know after last night there was some concern after the heats after tire wear, but the Hoosier tires on my car were tremendous and I have to thank them for making a great tire," said the 37-year-old racer who earned his 11th career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory.
"I also have to thank Mooney Starr, he gave us a great track tonight and all the fans for coming out tonight we hope we put on a great show for them," said Owens whose Bloomquist Race Cars Ford Fusion car is owned by Tazewell, TN's Mike Reece and sponsored by Cornett Racing Engines, Reece Monument Company, Gantte Appraisals, PRC, VP Racing Fuels, Red Line Oil, Byrd's Radiator and C&C Trucking.
Bloomquist maintained his series point's lead which grew to 220 points as he drove his Miller Brothers Coal/Sweet Mfg/Bloomquist Race Cars Monte Carlo to second place. "We were good, but not good enough, congratulations to Jimmy and his crew, this is one of the best cars we've had here, the cautions probably hurt us some, but the track was real racy and we'll go back home and run next week and get 'em there," said the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Famer seeking to end Earl Pearson's string of four-straight series championships.
Mars who's two-race $50,000 to win race win streak ended with his third place barely edged out fellow Wisconsin driver, Dan Schlieper at the finish line in his Deppe Enterprises/Pro Power Engines/MB Customs Malibu nosing out Schlieper's DART Billet/Pro Power Engines/Bloomquist Race Cars Monte Carlo at the stripe.