PONTOON BEACH, IL (May 24, 2009) – Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, IA reeled off another Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win on Sunday Night as he captured the $10,000 to win FedEx 50 at Tri-City Speedway. Birkhofer battled the weather conditions and tough competition in scoring his third consecutive LOLMDS victory after starting sixth. Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN rallied from his 12th starting spot to finish second followed by 17th starting Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL, 14th place starter Billy Moyer of Batesville, AR and 13th starting Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, GA.
Eric Jacobsen and Steve Casebolt led the stout field of Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series cars to the green flag to start the event. A quick yellow on the first lap as two cars got together in turn four which relegated the field to a complete restart. On the second attempt to start the race Jacobsen grabbed the lead as he would lead the initial lap ahead of Steve Casebolt and Don O'Neal.
Casebolt then grabbed the lead on lap two as O'Neal came along with him as the two Hoosier State drivers were now first and second in the running order. They remained that way until Birkhofer got his car rolling as he moved from sixth to third as he hounded O'Neal for several laps finally clearing him on lap ten to take over second.
Birkhofer who was using the bottom groove started to close on Casebolt who was hooked upon the top groove. Casebolt and Birkhofer then battled it out side-by-side for three straight laps before Birkhofer took over the lead on the 15th circuit. Casebolt fell to second with O'Neal running in third just ahead of Jimmy Mars and Billy Moyer Jr.
Birkhofer, coming off his first Show-Me 100 victory the night before in West Plains again was on a mission. He stretched his lead out over the field as he was moving into lapped traffic by lap 17. Mars, who started eighth passed O'Neal for third and then set his sights on the second place car of Casebolt. Mars trailed Casebolt for two laps before getting by him on lap 19 to take over second.
A caution for top ten running Scott James, who blew a tire on lap 23 slowed the frenetic pace of the race. On the Delaware double-file restart, Mars did not get a good start and there was contact from behind with another car with resulted in crumpled sheet metal damage which started to rub on his tire.
Mars lasted two laps until he slowed with a left rear flat on lap 25 as he exited the race for good at the halfway mark. On the next restart Birkhofer took off again putting distance between himself and O'Neal who was now in the runner-up position. O'Neal stayed in second for a one circuit until Billy Moyer moved past him for second on lap 27.
The battle for second was hot and heavy with Moyer, Bloomquist and O'Neal dicing it out for second as Birkhofer was pulling away from them. Birkhofer then would see a caution with 14 laps to go for a slowing Brad Neat on the track, something Birkhofer did not need.
On the final restart of the race Birkhofer was out in front by himself with the two Hall of Famers Moyer and Bloomquist lined up side-by-side directly behind him. Over the final 14 laps Birkhofer would do just as he had done before the caution pull away from the field as Moyer and Bloomquist would race hard for second place.
Earl Pearson Jr. was on the hunt in the late goings in the race climbing to third with four laps remaining in the race. Meanwhile Birkhofer saw Bloomquist digging hard on the bottom part of the track as Bloomquist was looking to steal the win from Birkhofer in the closing laps, but it was not to be as Birkhofer streaked across the finish line for the win.
Bloomquist finished second in his Miller Brothers Coal/Vic Hill Racing Engines/Bloomquist Race Cars Monte Carlo SS as he maintained the points lead heading into the event at Florence on May 30th. Pearson came home third in the Bobby Labonte Racing/Lucas Oil Slick Mist/Rocket Chassis followed by Moyer in his Banner Valley Hauling/Clements Racing Engines/Moyer Victory Circle M1 Chassis as McDowell came on late in the race to grab fifth in the Clint Bowyer Racing/Chevrolet/Warrior Chassis Impala SS.
In Lucas Oil victory lane Birkhofer was extremely pleased with his car's performance yet again. "We are on a roll right now, no doubt about it, but I can't get cocky or too overconfident because the next time out we may not run worth a darn, but what can I say about this MB Custom Chassis and Pro Power Engines, when you outrun two of the best that there have ever been in this sport, then you've done something, thanks to the fans for sticking it out tonight with the rain, Kevin Gundaker for a great track, the Lucas Oil people and Jeff Roby, man this is unbelievable right now and I hope it continues on," said the 37-year-old driver.
Birkhofer's winning mount is sponsored by J&J Steel, Daufeldt Transport, Etchenberger Trucking, S&S Concrete, 34Raceway.com, Port City Racing, Hoosier Tires, VP Racing Fuels, Integra Racing Shocks, Asi Racewear, McDonald's of the Quad Cities, Baileigh Industrial, Muscatine Tire and Wheel and VP Racing Fuels.
Completing the top ten were Don O'Neal, Jimmy Owens, Eric Jacobsen, Steve Casebolt and Brad Neat.
In preliminary action Billy Moyer was the PRC Fast Timer among the 40 cars entered with a lap of 14.384 seconds. Heat race winners were Eric Jacobsen, Billy Moyer Jr., Steve Casebolt and Don O'Neal. The B-Mains went to Earl Pearson Jr. and Brad Neat.
To find out more about the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, log on to www.lucasdirt.com or call the series office at (951) 532-2503.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Sunday Night, May 24, 2009
Tri City Speedway in Pontoon Beach, IL
PRC Fast Time: Billy Moyer/14.384 seconds
Hawk Brake First Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Eric Jacobsen, Josh McGuire, Will Vaught, Dale McDowell, Kevin Cole, Wendell Wallace, Earl Pearson Jr., Jeff Beyers, Tim Manville, Chris Simpson
Hawk Brake Second Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Billy Moyer Jr., Jeep VanWormer, Scott James, Jimmy Owens, Rickey Frankel, Michael Kloos, Randy Korte, Chad Zobrist, Freddy Smith, Jimmy Dehm
AFCO Racing Products Third Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Steve Casebolt, Brian Birkhofer, Rodney Melvin, Billy Moyer, Brad Neat, Ray Cook, David Breazeale, Dan Schlieper, Billy Laycock, Mike Schulte
Tiger Rear Ends Fourth Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Don O'Neal, Jimmy Mars, Scott Bloomquist, Chris Madden, John Blankenship, Brent Kreke, Brian Shirley, Billy Drake, Michael Walker, Mark Voigt
Mason Racin' Rebel Shock Dyno First B-Main (12 Laps- Top 3 Advance): Earl Pearson Jr., Kevin Cole, Wendell Wallace, Rickey Frankel, Michael Kloos, Randy Korte, Jeff Beyers, Freddy Smith, Jimmy Dehm, Chad Zobrist, Tim Manville, Chris Simpson-DNS
Wiles Drive Shafts Second B-Main (12 Laps- Top 3 Advance): Brad Neat, John Blankenship, Ray Cook, Dan Schlieper, Billy Drake, Mark Voigt, David Breazeale, Billy Laycock, Brian Shirley, Brent Kreke, Mike Schulte
Finish (Start) Car Number Driver Name
1. (6) #15B Brian Birkhofer
2. (12) #0 Scott Bloomquist
3. (17) #44 Earl Pearson Jr.
4. (14) #21 Billy Moyer
5. (13) #17m Dale McDowell
6. (4) #71 Don O'Neal
7. (15) #20 Jimmy Owens
8. (1) #5 Eric Jacobsen
9. (2) #c9 Steve Casebolt
10. (18) #41N Brad Neat
11. (3) #21JR Billy Moyer Jr.
12. (22) #53 Ray Cook
13. (11) #83 Scott James
14. (21) #B1 Wendell Wallace
15. (20) #23 John Blankenship
16. (7) #55 Jeep VanWormer
17. (5) #41 Josh McGuire
18. (23) #s9 Dan Schlieper
19. (24) #54 David Breazeale
20. (9) #1v Will Vaught
21. (19) #81c Kevin Cole
22. (8) #28M Jimmy Mars
23. (16) #44M Chris Madden
24. (26) #00 Freddy Smith
25. (25) #78 Chad Zobrist
26. (10) #27 Rodney Melvin
Lap Leaders: Eric Jacobsen (Lap 1); Seve Casebolt (2-14) Brian Birkhofer (15-Finish)
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Dan Schlieper, David Breazeale
Emergency Provisional: Freddy Smith
PBM/Erson Cams Hard Charger of the Race: Earl Pearson Jr.
Allstar Performance Performer of the Race: Dale McDowell
K&N Filters Clean Pass of the Race: Scott Bloomquist
Quarter Master Rookie of the Race: Jeep VanWormer
Comp Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Pro Power Racing Engines
Time of the Race: 39 minutes 51 seconds
2009 Championship Points Standings
1. #0 Scott Bloomquist – Mooresburg, TN 1925
2. #21Billy Moyer – Batesville, AR 1810
3. #17M Dale McDowell – Chickamauga, GA 1745
4. #44 Earl Pearson Jr. – Jacksonville, FL 1725
5. #20 Jimmy Owens – Newport, TN 1680
6. #53 Ray Cook – Brasstown, NC 1615
7. #83 Scott James – Lawrencburg, IN 1595
8. #71 Don O'Neal – Martinsville, IN 1560
9. #c9 Steve Casebolt – Richmond, IN 1525
10. #41 Josh McGuire – Grayson, KY 1435
10. #55 Jeep VanWormer – Pinconning, MI 1435
12. #5 Eric Jacobsen – Seacliffe Beach, CA 1430
13. #41N Brad Neat – Dunnville, KY 1405
14. #23 John Blankenship – Williamson, WV 1340
15. #s9 Dan Schlieper – Sullivan, WI 1305
16. #54 David Breazeale – Four Corners, MS 1215
18. #00 Freddy Smith – Seymour, TN 1075
21. #64 Michael Walker – Franklin, TN 890
2009 Rookie of the Year Points Standings
1. #55 Jeep VanWormer – Pinconning, MI 1435
2. #23 John Blankenship – Williamson, WV 1340
3. #54 David Breazeale – Four Corners, MS 1215
4. #64 Michael Walker – Franklin, TN 890