VP POWERS BLOOMQUIST TO SECOND KNOXVILLE NATIONALS WIN
KNOXVILLE, IA (October 3, 2009) Coming on hard late in the race, Scott Bloomquist won the 6th Annual Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals Sunday at Knoxville Raceway. Powered by VP’s Late Model Plus racing fuel, the Mooresburg, TN driver pocketed $40,000, in winning the prestigious event for the second time, his first coming in 2005. Notably, VP has powered the winner five out of the six times this event has taken place.
For the longest time in this 100-lap championship, it appeared that Team VP’s Shannon Babb, would take his first Nationals win after starting on the pole of this race. For nearly ten laps he was paced by fellow front row starter Rick Eckert. Then it was Bloomquist who chased the leader for a couple of laps. Brady Smith came into play as he followed Babb until the 31st go around. Throughout this portion of the race, Babb had control and at his best held a 25 car-length lead on Knoxville's big half-mile oval.
It was lap 31 in which Bloomquist took over the second spot when he got by Brady Smith in heavy traffic, but he could not stay with Babb. As the race neared the half-way mark, Bloomquist slowly began reeling in the Babb machine. He stayed close but was unable to get around Babb.
On lap 55 Bloomquist made his move as he ran with Babb in a nose to tail fashion. For the next ten laps Babb had his hands full with Bloomquist's various attempts to pass. Bloomquist had found a new line which took him into and out of all turns at mid-track. Babb, in the meantime ran the top with the cushion devilishly near the track's tall fences.
Lap 65 prove to be Babb's demise when Bloomquist took the race lead for good as he roared out of turn four. Lap traffic played a part in this race as all race leaders, when faced with the backmarkers, seemed to falter and allow the contenders a chance to make a race of it.
Behind leader Bloomquist, several skirmishes broke out especially between Billy Moyer and Jimmy Mars. On lap 79 Brady Smith made it a three-car battle and that is when Mars sailed into the marbles in turn three and lost his contention for the runner-up spot. After that he no longer was a factor and soon pulled into the pits.
In the waning laps, there were several changes in the top five positions as Bloomquist pulled away. The track, which had been bladed prior to the C Main, held several grooves to the finish, but only Bloomquist utilized the mid-track goove.
When Bloomquist took the checkered flags, he held an entire "chute" advantage over second place finisher Moyer. Team VP’s Tim McCreadie and Brady Smith took third and fourth, respectively. Tony Stewart, who started 27th, progressively worked his way forward to finish seventh in the field of twenty-eight.
The 6th annual event had been scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, October 1-3. However, the first two nights were called due to rains during the day. Saturday night's finale was postponed to Sunday evening when rain again descended upon the fairgrounds just prior to the qualifying time trials.