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Earl Pearson Jr. Returns to Lucas Oil Victory Lane at East Bay Raceway Park

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TAMPA, FL (February 16, 2013) – Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL rallied from a flat tire to win the $10,000 DART Winternationals finale for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series on Saturday Night at East Bay Raceway Park. Pearson pitted on lap 37 after suffering a right rear flat and restarted from the tail. He charged through the field taking the lead from Don O’Neal and lap 52 and led the remainder of the race.

Driving for NASCAR’s Bobby Labonte, Pearson took the Lucas Oil Products; MAV-TV sponsored Longhorn Chassis Chevrolet to victory lane for the first time since July of 2010 at Tri-City (IL) Speedway. “It’s been a longtime, no doubt,” said the 4-time series champion who was all smiles from ear-to-ear. “This deal with Kevin Rumley just came together a few months ago and we have come out of the box running much better, I have to thank Steve Shaver, he was my crew chief this week, everybody at Lucas Oil for their support, it feels great to be back in victory lane.”

Pearson’s win was his third of his career at East Bay and his 25th on the LOLMDS. Scott Bloomquist wound up second followed by O’Neal, Jared Landers and Steve Francis.

“The track was real good tonight, I knew when we pitted that we still might have a chance to get back to the front, with all the cautions for flats, it really helped us, also when I got under Scott (Bloomquist) and Moyer, Jr. it probably was a key move that enabled us to get the win, we caught up to O’Neal pretty quick after I got by Landers and once we got out in front I knew I had the tires to last.”

Bloomquist, who was one of the few cars not having to pit got by O’Neal in the closing laps to take a podium finish in second. “We ran the hardest tires we could, the track actually was pretty good, it was black from top to bottom, but when you start getting some of that sand grit mixed in after a while, that’s why the tires starting going away.”

O’Neal with his third place clinched the DART Winternationals week-long point’s fund which was worth $5,000. “We are real proud to win the DART points fund, as far as the race was concerned we tried to conserve the tires the best we can, but I think both rear tires are gone and I was just hanging on there at the end and I knew those guys that pitted were going to be hard to handle.”

Don O’Neal wins the Dart Winternationals Championship over Dennis Erb, Jr.

In preliminary action, Vic Coffey set the overall Time (Group B) amongst the 36 entrants, with a lap of 14.417 seconds. Don O’Neal set the fastest time in Group A with a time of 14.547 seconds. Don O’Neal, Austin Hubbard, Dennis Erb Jr., and won their respective Heat Races. Jared Landers and Scott Bloomquist won their respective B-Mains. Devin Moran was the PRC Strawberry Dash Winner.

After the main event, Doug Blashe won the $1,000-to-win Non-Qualifiers Race. Brad Malcuit, Nick Davis, James O’Hara and Bob Geiger rounded out the Top-5.

The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will return to action on Saturday, March 24th, with the Brian Bowman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Indiana Icebreaker at Brownstown Speedway in Brownstown, IN. The event will pay $10,000-to-win, and will include RedBuck Time Trials, Heat Races, B-Mains, and the 50-Lap main event. For more information, log onto www.brownstownspeedway.com.

For the latest breaking news on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, log onto www.lucasdirt.com and follow the series on www.facebook.com/lucasdirt and www.twitter.com/#!/lucasdirt.

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Race Summary
Saturday Night, February 16th, 2013
37th Annual DART Winternationals
East bay Raceway Park – Tampa, FL

Red Buck Fast Time Group A: Don O’Neal / 14.547 seconds
Red Buck Fast Time Group B: Vic Coffey / 14.417 seconds

Wiles Drive Shafts Heat Race #1 (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Don O’Neal, Jimmy Owens, Ricky Weiss, Todd Frank, Chad Stapleton, Chad Hollenbeck, Jason McBride, Doug Blashe, Scott Phillips

Eibach Springs Heat Race #2 (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Austin Hubbard, John Blankenship, Donnie Moran, David Breazeale, Jared Landers, Billy Moyer Jr., Nick Davis, James O’Hara, Bob Geiger

Simpson Performance Products Heat Race #3 (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Dennis Erb Jr., Eddie Carrier Jr., Steve Francis, Vic Coffey, Devin Moran, Justin Rattliff, Jerry Lierly, Brad Malcuit, Tyler Reddick

HAWK Performance Heat Race #4 (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Earl Pearson Jr., Doug Drown, Bobby Pierce, Eric Jacobsen, Jason Riggs, Scott Bloomquist, Stormy Scott, Braden Mitchell, Leon Henderson

CV Products B-Main #1 (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Jared Landers, Billy Moyer Jr., Jason McBride, Chad Stapleton, Doug Blashe, Bob Geiger, James O’Hara, Scott Phillips, Nick Davis, Chad Hollenbeck

Wrisco Aluminum B-Main #2 (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Scott Bloomquist, Justin Rattliff, Stormy Scott, Devin Moran, Jerry Lierly, Brad Malcuit, Jason Riggs, Leon Henderson, Braden Mitchell

PRC Strawberry Dash Finish: Devin Moran, Jason Riggs, Doug Blashe, Nick Davis, Brad Malcuit, Scott Phillips, O’Hara

Feature Finish (60 Laps):
FINISH START CAR # DRIVER NAME HOMETOWN
1 4 44 Earl Pearson Jr. Jacksonville, FL
2 18 0 Scott Bloomquist Mooresburg, TN
3 1 71 Don O’Neal Martinsville, IN
4 17 5 Jared Landers Batesville, AR
5 10 15 Steve Francis Ashland, KY
6 19 21JR Billy Moyer Jr. Batesville, AR
7 11 99 Donnie Moran Dresden, OH
8 5 20 Jimmy Owens Newport, TN
9 2 28e Dennis Erb Jr. Carpentersville, IL
10 7 23 John Blankenship Williamson, WV
11 23 11T Tyler Reddick Corning, CA
12 12 32 Bobby Pierce Oakwood, IL
13 9 7w Ricky Weiss Headingley, MB
14 15 54 David Breazeale Philadelphia, MS
15 6 28 Eddie Carrier Jr. Salt Rock, WV
16 8 63 Doug Drown Wooster, OH
17 14 32c Vic Coffey Caledonia, NY
18 21 77 Jason McBride Carbondale, IL
19 24 7L Jerry Lierly Camp Point, IL
20 25 32s Chad Stapleton Edinburgh, IN
21 22 2s Stormy Scott Woodward, OK
22 16 5J Eric Jacobsen Watsonville, CA
23 26 99m Devin Moran Dresden, OH
24 20 16 Justin Rattliff Campbellsville, KY
25 13 21F Todd Frank Mellen, WI
26 3 11h Austin Hubbard Seaford, DE

Non-Qualifiers Race Finish: Doug Blashe, Brad Malcuit, Nick Davis, James O’Hara, Bob Geiger

Race Statistics

Entrants: 36
Lap Leaders: Don O’Neal (Laps 1 – 51); Jimmy Owens (Laps 52 – 60)
Caution Flags: Steve Francis (Lap 35); John Blankenship, Steve Francis (Lap 37); Dennis Erb Jr. (Lap 43); Ricky Weiss (Lap 43); Bobby Pierce (Lap 45); David Breazeale (Lap 47)
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Tyler Reddick, Jerry Lierly (Fast Time)
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Emergency Provisional: n/a
DirtonDirt.com Fast Time Provisional: Chad Stapleton
Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race: Scott Bloomquist (Started: 18th, Finished: 2nd, Advanced: 16 positions)
Allstar Performer of the Race: Earl Pearson Jr.
Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Earl Pearson Jr.
JRi Shocks/Dunn Benson Ford Rookie of the Race: n/a
COMP Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Roush-Yates Race Engines
Ohlins Shocks Chassis Builder of the Race: Longhorn Chassis
Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race: Steve Shaver (Earl Pearson Jr.)
HAWK Performance Fastest Lap of the Race: Earl Pearson Jr. (Lap# 52; 15.321 seconds)
Time of Race: 49 minutes 56 seconds

DART Winternationals Point Standings:
POS CAR# DRIVER HOMETOWN POINTS
1 71 Don O’Neal Martinsville, IN 1360
2 28e Dennis Erb Jr. Carpentersville, IL 1265
3 15 Steve Francis Ashland, KY 1160
4 11T Tyler Reddick Corning, CA 1130
5 20 Jimmy Owens Newport, TN 1125
6 32 Bobby Pierce Oakwood, IL 1090
6 32c Vic Coffey Caledonia, NY 1090
8 23 John Blankenship Williamson, WV 1075
9 5J Eric Jacobsen Watsonville, CA 1060
10 99 Donnie Moran Dresden, OH 1030

Lucas Oil Championship Point Standings:

POS CAR # DRIVER NAME HOMETOWN POINTS
1 71 Don O’Neal Martinsville, IN 480
2 44 Earl Pearson Jr. Jacksonville, FL 460
3 32 Bobby Pierce Oakwood, IL 400
4 15 Steve Francis Ashland, KY 395
5 28e Dennis Erb Jr. Carpentersville, IL 390
6 20 Jimmy Owens Newport, TN 385
7 23 John Blankenship Williamson, WV 380
7 63 Doug Drown Wooster, OH 380
9 5 Jared Landers Batesville, AR 365
10 0 Scott Bloomquist Mooresburg, TN 360
11 32c Vic Coffey Caledonia, NY 350
12 11T Tyler Reddick Corning, CA 345
13 99 Donnie Moran Dresden, OH 320
14 21JR Billy Moyer Jr. Batesville, AR 305
15 28 Eddie Carrier Jr. Salt Rock, WV 300
16 54 David Breazeale Philadelphia, MS 295
16 7L Jerry Lierly Camp Point, IL 295
18 7w Ricky Weiss Headingley, MB 290
18 11h Austin Hubbard Seaford, DE 290
18 81JR Jason Riggs Harrisburg, IL 290
21 4-Ds Chad Hollenbeck Montrose, PA 275
22 99m Devin Moran Dresden, OH 265
23 32s Chad Stapleton Edinburgh, IN 255
24 77 Jason McBride Carbondale, IL 250
24 5J Eric Jacobsen Watsonville, CA 250
24 16 Justin Rattliff Campbellsville, KY 250

*Points are unofficial until Close of Business on the Tuesday following Race Day*