RURAL RETREAT, VA (June 22, 2013) – Four-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Champion Earl Pearson Jr. passed race leader John Blankenship on the white flag lap, to win the Blue Ridge 50 on Saturday night at Wythe Raceway. Pearson pulled away on the final circuit for his second LOLMDS win of the year and the 26th of his career.
Blankenship, the winner a year ago at Wythe came home second followed by Steve Shaver, Jared Landers, and Steve Francis.
“I have to thank all the fans for coming out here tonight at Wythe, this place is packed! I had a second-place car, I didn’t think I could pass John (Blankenship), I just took a different line after the caution and found enough moisture, and I just went for it,” said the driver of the Bobby Labonte Racing, Longhorn Chevrolet.
The frantic last 8 laps of the race was set-up when sixth-place running Don O’Neal slowed with a flat tire. On the restart Blankenship was able to pull away from Pearson. It took Pearson just a few laps to rebound his momentum as he drove his car harder into the turns.
“I don’t know what happened to Davenport there. He was leading and then he slowed, he was probably the car to beat tonight, we are glad that Terry Labonte was here tonight to see, we finished first and third in these Longhorns, so all the work that Kevin Rumley has done on these cars is really paying off.”
Davenport held the lead for the first 19 laps of the race when he suddenly slowed coming off of turn two. His car came to a stop in turn four and had to be pushed back to the pit area.
“My crew has worked their butts off, we thought we were going to get one Thursday night at Swainsboro. It’s been an up-and-down roller-coaster ride this year, but we may finally be on the right track. I have to thank Lucas Oil, MAVTV, Sunoco Race Fuels, CV Products, PRC and Allstar Performance, and of course Kevin and Leroy Rumley for the Chevrolet Horsepower.”
Blankenship, who had a sterling run a year ago in winning at Wythe, looked like he was going to take the victory two years in a row. “I didn’t even know he (Pearson) was there, he came out of no where, the car took off really well after that last caution and I just tried to hit my marks lap-after-lap, but obviously it wasn’t good enough. Congrats to him on the win, we gained some more points tonight on Jimmy (Owens),” said the driver of the Coal World’s Energy Rocket Chevrolet.
Completing the top ten were Eddie Carrier Jr., Chris Ferguson, Jimmy Owens, Dennis Erb Jr., and Ty Dillon.
In preliminary action, Jonathan Davenport set the overall time (Group A) amongst the 21 entrants, with a lap of 16.207 seconds. Dale McDowell set the fastest time in Group B with a time of 16.303 seconds. Jonathan Davenport, Dale McDowell, and Earl Pearson Jr. won their respective heat races.
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series celebrate the Fourth of July in traditional action at Muskingum County Speedway in Zanesville, OH on Wednesday, July 3rd, and Portsmouth Raceway Park in Portsmouth, OH on Thursday, July 4th. Both events will feature RED BUCK Time Trials, Heat Races, B-Mains, and 50-Lap, $10,000-to-win main events. For more information on these two events, check out: www.themuskingumcountyspeedway.com and www.portsraceway.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
Saturday Night, June 22nd, 2013
“Blue Ridge 50″
Wythe Raceway – Rural Retreat, VA
RED BUCK Fast Time Group A: Jonathan Davenport / 16.207 seconds
RED BUCK Fast Time Group B:
Dale McDowell / 16.303 seconds
Wiles Drive Shafts Heat Race #1 (10 Laps, All Transfer): Jonathan Davenport, John Blankenship, Chris Ferguson, Dennis Erb Jr., Eddie Carrier Jr., Justin Labonte, Craig Vosbergen
Eibach Springs Heat Race #2 (10 Laps, All Transfer): Dale McDowell, Steve Francis, Jared Landers, Ricky Weeks, Daniel Baggerly, Jerry Lierly, Kennie Compton
Simpson Performance Products Heat Race #3 (10 Laps, All Transfer): Earl Pearson Jr., Casey Roberts, Steve Shaver, Don O’Neal, Jimmy Owens, Ty Dillon, Billy Moyer Jr.