Race Report for The Stock Car Thunder Radio Show
The largest crowd in more than a decade assembled Saturday night at historic Dixie Speedway for the annual return of the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series. The sanctioning body did not disappoint as they brought over 60 Super Late Models, their big time stars and a well lubricated efficient show. The lack of rainfall and record high temperatures in the North Georgia area throughout the Summer and into the Fall made track prep a challenge for the Dixie grounds crew. The Lucas Oil officials wasted no time as hot laps and time trials were quickly registered. Dirt Late Model legend, Scott Bloomquist, set the fast time of 14.1 seconds. Track conditions started out tacky but ruts, uncharacteristic to the usually smooth Dixie surface started to form. All six-heat races were won from the pole and although at least 3 grooves were present in the surface, none proved to be quicker than the other. The six heat race winners were Scott Bloomquist, Shane Clanton, Don O?Neal, Earl Pearson Jr., Dale McDowell and Chris Madden.
A few notable big time touring pros were unable to get a handle on the ever changing surface, most notably, Josh (Kid Rocket) Richards, Dan Schilpler, and Jimmy (the Newport Nightmare) Owens, so they were under the pressure of trying to make the feature through the B Main consolation races. The two B Main races, won by Brady Smith and Brad Neat, followed the story line of the heat races, as the leaders were able to avoid mistakes and finish as they started despite some furious action behind them.
The A Main feature of 24 of the best Dirt Super Late Model drivers in the USA started with their traditional 4 wide salute to the huge throng of race fans assembled at the Woodstock, GA clay oval. The sports two biggest stars, Scott Bloomquist and Earl Pearson Jr. paced the field to the green flag as the crowd stood and cheered on their favorite driver. The 46 year old, Bloomquist, proved he is still at the top of his game as he grabbed a sizeable lead. By lap 6, Pearson Jr. was able to vault past Bloomquist to assume the point, only to be relegated to the rear of the field on lap 8 by his first of two tire failures. After Pearson?s initial misfortune, Bloomquist was able to take advantage of a “black slick” racetrack that ?Black Sunshine? has mastered in his illustrious career. Only a scary wreck and flip on the front stretch by Steve Casebolt led to a caution and restart but no one was able to muster anything to seriously challenge Bloomquist on his way to a 501st career win and another Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series Championship.
Whether the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series comes to your town or you have to go to someone else?s town, the traveling sideways, dirt slinging series is by far the BEST show in the short track racing scene. World-class drivers and local track legends all meet on the same stage to put on a show worthy of every dollar of admission.