La Salle, IL (May 12, 2012) – Don O’Neal of Martinsville, IN continued his recent hot streak on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series tour by winning for the third time in his last four races. O’Neal grabbed the lead at the start of the race. He cruised to the $10,000 victory in the Jeff’s Engine Masters-sponsored Spring Shootout at La Salle (IL) Speedway. O’Neal has now won seven series events in 2012.
Defending series champion and current point’s leader Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN battled with Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, IA to grab the runner-up spot. Steve Francis of Ashland, KY finished fourth followed by Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN.
O’Neal completed completed a clean sweep the last night at Hartford Motor Speedway and brought out the broom again at La Salle setting fast time and winning his heat and leading every lap in the main event for his 26th career LOLMDS victory.
O’Neal sprinted to the lead at the start of the 50-lap main event and was quickly into traffic by the tenth circuit. Birkhofer ran second for several laps and restarted behind O’Neal after a caution came out on lap 22 for Shawn Toczek. With the field bunched up for the restart O’Neal pulled away from Birkhofer, increasing his lead with each scored lap.
Owens started eighth and challenged Birkhofer for second as the two raced side-by-side for several circuits as Owens finally cleared Birkhofer for second. The final caution of the race came out on lap 36 for Jonathan Davenport who stopped in turn two after climbing as high as fifth in the running order.
On the restart O’Neal pulled away from the field, stretching his lead out to several car lengths as Owens and Birkhofer continued to battle for second. Nobody had anything for O’Neal as he sped on for another appearance in Lucas Oil Victory Lane.
“The car was awesome again all night long; we are just on a roll right now! Jimmy had another good finish, he’s so consistent, that’s what we have to develop to win this points title. The track was absolutely tremendous tonight and a big thanks for the fans for coming out tonight and supporting us,” said the 47-year-old who cut Owens’ points lead to 145-points.
O’Neal in the Keith and Tader Masters, MasterSbilt House Car Chevrolet is sponsored by Jay Dickens Racing Engines, Optima Batteries, Independence Lumber, Tarpy Trucking, Seubert Calf Ranches, O’Neal Mulch, Superior Cleaning Services, Jones Core, Budda Bert Transmissions, Dragon Race Fuels and Ohlins Shocks.
Owens in the Reece Monument Company, Cornett Racing Engines, Bloomquist Race Cars Ford, edged Birkhofer in the J&J Steel, Pro Power Racing Engines, MB Customs Chevrolet for second.
Completing the top ten were Austin Hubbard of Seaford, DE; Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, IL; Eric Wells of Hazard, KY; Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL; Tyler Reddick of Corning, CA; and Jason Feger of Bloomington, IL.
In preliminary action O’Neal was the Red Buck Cigars Fast Qualifier among the 30 entrants. Heat race winners were O’Neal, Babb, Birkhofer and Heckenast. Jared Landers and Shawn Toczek were B-Main winners.
Next weekend the stars of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series head to Batesville Motor Speedway in Batesville, AR for the “Bad Boy 98”. The event will take place from May 18th to 19th and will be the final event before the “DART Show Me 100” at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, MO. The “DART Show Me 100” will take place from May 25th to 26th. For more information on each event, log onto their respective websites at www.batesvillemotorspeedway.net and www.lucasoilspeedway.com.
For the latest breaking news on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, log onto www.lucasdirt.com and be sure to follow the series at www.facebook.com/lucasdirt and www.twitter.com/#!/lucasdirt.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Race Summary Friday Night, May 12th, 2012 “Spring Shootout 50” LaSalle Speedway – La Salle, IL
Red Buck Cigars Fast Time: Don O’Neal / 13.764 seconds (Group A and Overall) Brian Birkhofer / 12.792 seconds (Group B)
Wiles Driveshafts First Heat (10 Laps- Top 4 Advance): Don O’Neal, Scott Bloomquist, Jason Feger, Austin Hubbard, Jared Landers, Bret Sievert, Dennis Erb, Jr., Kevin Weaver
U. S. Steel Second Heat (10 Laps- Top 4 Advance): Shannon Babb, Eric Wells, Brandon Sheppard, Ryan Unzicker, Mike Spatola, Chris Simpson, Mark Burgtorf
Simpson Performance Products Third Heat (10 Laps- Top 4 Advance): Brian Birkhofer, Jonathan Davenport, Steve Francis, Earl Pearson, Jr., John Blankenship, Shawn Toczek, Mike Provenzano, Steve Dimmick
HAWK Brakes Fourth Heat (10 Laps- Top 4 Advance): Frank Heckenast, Jr., Jimmy Owens, Tyler Reddick, Terry Casey, Jason Jaggers, Rich Bell, Jerry Lierly-DNS
JRi Shocks First B-Main (12 Laps- Top 3 Advance): Jared Landers, Chris Simpson, Dennis Erb, Jr., Mark Burgtorf, Mike Spatola, Bret Sievert, Kevin Weaver
PAC Racing Springs Second B-Main (12 Laps- Top 3 Advance): Shawn Toczek, Rich Bell, John Blankenship, Jason Jaggers, Mike Provenzano, Steve Dimmick, Jerry Lierly-DNS
Feature Finish – 50 Laps
|FINISH||START||CAR #||DRIVER NAME||HOMETOWN|
|1||1||71||Don O’Neal||Martinsville, IN|
|2||8||20||Jimmy Owens||Newport, TN|
|3||2||15b||Brian Birkhofer||Muscatine, IA|
|4||10||15||Steve Francis||Ashland, KY|
|5||5||0||Scott Bloomquist||Mooresburg, TN|
|6||13||11h||Austin Hubbard||Seaford, DE|
|7||3||18||Shannon Babb||Mowequa, IL|
|8||7||18e||Eric Wells||Hazard, KY|
|9||14||44||Earl Pearson, Jr.||Jacksonville, FL|
|10||12||11T||Tyler Reddick||Corning, CA|
|11||9||25F||Jason Feger||Bloomington, IL|
|12||15||24x||Ryan Unzicker||El Paso, IL|
|13||11||b5||Brandon Sheppard||Berlin, IL|
|14||6||15d||Jonathan Davenport||Blairsville, GA|
|15||17||5||Jared Landers||Batesville, AR|
|16||21||28e||Dennis Erb, Jr.||Carpentersville, IL|
|17||22||23||John Blankenship||Williamson, WV|
|18||4||99JR||Frank Heckenast, Jr.||Frankfort, IL|
|19||20||21b||Rich Bell||Sheffield, IL|
|20||24||B12||Kevin Weaver||Gibson City, IL|
|21||18||42a||Shawn Toczek||Hebron, IN|
|22||23||5x||Bret Sievert||Mukwonago, WI|
|23||16||42c||Terry Casey||New London, WI|
|24||19||32x||Chris Simpson||Oxford, IA|
Race Statistics Entrants: 30 Lap Leaders: Don O’Neal (Laps 1 – 50) Caution Flags: Shawn Toczek (Lap 22); Jonathan Davenport (Lap 36) Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: none Red Buck Cigars Fast Time Provisional: Bret Sievert, Kevin Weaver Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Emergency Provisional: none Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race: Austin Hubbard (Started 13th; Finished 6th; Advanced 7 positions) Allstar Performer of the Race: Steve Francis Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Jimmy Owens ASi Racewear Challenge Finisher: Don O’Neal Quarter Master Rookie of the Race: Austin Hubbard COMP Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Jay Dickens Race Engines Ohlins Shocks Chassis Builder of the Race: MasterSbilt Race Cars Sweet Mfg Crew Chief of the Race: Nick Hover (Austin Hubbard) Time of Race: 19 minutes 08 seconds