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Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Recaps 37th Annual DART Winternationals

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WAYCROSS, GA (February 25, 2013) – The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series completed another successful Dart Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa, Florida last week. There were 46 different drivers that entered the week-long events. Race fans were entertained with some of the most exciting racing action including five (5) different winners out of the six (6) race events during the week. Don O’Neal won the Dart Winternationals points title and the $5,000 bonus with an outstanding week of consistency. O’Neal earned podium finishes in five (5) out of the six (6) events including one win, two 2nd place finishes, two 3rd place finishes and a 8th place finish to beat out 2012 Dart Winternationals Champion Dennis Erb who was the only repeat winner during the Dart Winternationals. 

O’Neal driving the Optima Batteries Mastersbilt house car powered by a Jay Dickens Engine earned an impressive victory on Friday night winning the 50-lap main event paying $10,000 to win. O’Neal would battle several competitors during the event racing sometimes three and four wide with Doug Drown, Dennis Erb and 16-year old sensation Bobby Pierce. O’Neal would take over the top spot on lap 39 and held off the late charges of Drown and Pierce to earn the exciting win. “That was a thrilling race, the fans could not have asked for a better feature! We changed so many things on this car, and it was perfect in the end,” said the winner, O’Neal. “I got up to second and we (Drown) raced hard for the lead, I would get by him, then he would come back around me”, stated O’Neal in victory lane.

Dennis Erb has proved again that East Bay Raceway Park is one of his favorite tracks as he battled O’Neal all week but came up just short of claiming his 4th Dart Winternationals title. Erb had two wins, one 4th place finish, a 5th place finish, a 19th place finish and a 9th place finish on the final night to finish 2nd in the Dart Winternationals points.

Other winners during the week includes back to back LOLMDS champion Jimmy Owens, two-time LOLMDS champion Scott Bloomquist and four-time series champion Earl Pearson Jr. who claimed the final night feature event of the Dart Winternationals and the $10,000 first place prize. Pearson won in dramatic fashion pitting on lap 37 with a flat tire and charging from the rear of the field passing O’Neal for the lead with 8-laps to go to claim his 3rd career win at East Bay Raceway Park. Pearson’s win ended a two year winless streak for the four-time series champion giving his Bobby Labonte owned racing team a great start in 2013. Pearson was relieved and excited about his new revamped team after the win, “It’s been a long-time, no doubt. Our deal with Kevin Rumley came together just 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, and everybody at Lucas Oil and MAVTV American Real for their support! It feels great to be back in victory lane!”

The Dart Winternationals also gave race fans an opportunity to watch some of the sports young up and coming stars battle with the many veterans and stars of the dirt late model industry at East Bay Raceway Park. Teenage sensations Bobby Pierce, Tyler Reddick, Devin Moran and 14-year old Braden Mitchell all made at least one feature event during the week. For the first time in the history of the sport three teenage drivers finished in the top ten of a major national touring feature event with Pierce 5th, Reddick 6th and Devine Moran finishing 8thon the first night of the Dart Winternationals sanctioned by the LOLMDS.

Other young up and coming stars of the sport that competed during the Dart Winternationals that could elect to compete for the JRi Shocks Rookie of the Year presented by Dunn-Benson Ford include Billy Moyer Jr., Doug Drown and Vic Coffey. The rookie crop is shaping up to be full of talent as the series heads into the 2013 season

Don O’Neal leads the 2013 LOLMDS national points standings after two series points events at East Bay Raceway Park followed by Earl Pearson Jr., Bobby Pierce, Steve Francis and Dennis Erb. Sixth through tenth in the national points standings include: Jimmy Owens, John Blankenship, Doug Drown, Jared Landers and Scott Bloomquist.

The final Dart Winternationals Points standings include Don O’Neal taking home the $5,000 bonus followed by Dennis Erb, Steve Francis, Tyler Reddick, Jimmy Owens, Vic Coffey, Bobby Pierce, John Blankenship, Eric Jacobsen and Donnie Moran.

The LOLMDS will head to Brownstown, Indiana for the next sanctioned event on March 23rd for the “16th Annual Indiana Icebreaker”. The one-day show will pay $10,000 to the winner and is expected to draw a large field of racers from all over the country. Don O’Neal is the defending Indiana Icebreaker Champion.

For more information about the event, log onto the track’s official website, www.brownstownspeedway.com.

About Dart Machinery- Dart Machinery’s Technology Center in Troy, MI now houses the company’s administrative offices, the R&D headquarters, inspection, machining, and warehouse operations. A separate production facility in nearby Melvindale, MI houses the thundering CNC machining centers that produce heads and blocks from raw castings. Twenty five years ago, it all began with a desk, a telephone and a dream. Today Dart is the acknowledged leader in aftermarket components for racing engines. For more information on Dart, visit their website atwww.dartheads.com.

For the latest breaking news on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, visit the series’ website atwww.lucasdirt.com.

Follow the series on the social media outlets at www.facebook.com/lucasdirt and www.twtitter.com/#!/lucasdirt.

Final 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 Late Model Dirt Series 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