BELLEVILLE, KS (June 24, 2005)-The month of June 2005 will be a month that Matt Miller will never forget as the 34 year old Waterville, OH driver just keeps on racking up impressive wins as the captured his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event on Friday Night, June 24 at the Belleville High Banks dominating the last half of the race in winning the $10,000 first place prize. Miller, who captured the $100,000 to win Dream race at Eldora Speedway on June 11 became the 11th different winner in 15 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series events in 2005 and for the 10th straight race a winner did not come form the front row as Miller started third. Miller dove the Dirt Shop Inc./Denny Thornton/McCulloughIndustries/ Performance Rod and Custom/Doug Herbert Performance Circle Track Parts/Lo Temp Brazing/Banshee Graphics/Whaley and Son Collision/McDonald Refrigeration/Russell Baker Racing Engines/Rocket Pontiac Grand Prix to win over Earl Pearson, Jr. of Jacksonville, FL in the Lucas Oil/Dunn Benson Ford/Rocket Ford Taurus and Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, IA in the Daufeldt Transport/TB & Company/MasterSbilt Monte Carlo. Completing the top five were Steve Kosiski of Papillion, NE in the Kosiski Auto Parts/TB & Company Rocket Grand Prix and Brady Smith fo Solon Springs, WI in the AMSOIL/Pro Power/MasterSbilt Monte Carlo. A total of 31 cars were on hand for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and TORA Series visit to Belleville.
At the beginning of the 50 lap main event, Don O'Neal would take the lead at the waving of chief starter, Niles Lauderbaugh's green flag. Miller would quickly move into second place with Steve Kosiski, Kelly Boen and Brian Birkhofer running in the top five. A yellow for a slowed Scott James on lap five would bunch the field back up with O'Neal still showing the way around the ultra fast race track. Things would pick up in a hurry it he race for the lead with Miller starting to pressure O'Neal for the lead as Kosiski held third. Donnie Moran, who started ninth was starting to get going in a hurry advancing up to the fifth spot by lap 10, a lap later Moran would go by Birkhofer for fourth place. Up front it was starting to get real interesting as "The Real Deal" and the "Buckeye Bandit" would heat things up. Miller would dive down to the inside of O'Neal as the two would race side by side thrilling the crowd on hand. At the flagstand O'Neal would lead the lap scored, but Miller would race pull alongside O'Neal on the remainder of the race track as the two raced hard and clean for the lead. Miller forged ahead slightly on lap 15 and would lead lap 16, but O'Neal would come back and take the lad back on the 17th circuit. As the two drivers were coming down the frontstretch to score lap 21, O'Neal right rear tire would go flat causing him to stop on the race track and dart into the pit area for a tire change. After a side by side duel for the ages it appeared that Miller's chief competition for the win was now having to come from the back.
With 25 laps to go Miller was now out in front by himself with Kosiski now in second followed by Birkhofer, Earl Pearson, Jr. up from 10th and Moran in the top five running order. The race would go green the rest of the way and it was all Miller showing the way. A torrid battle for second would get going between Kosiski and Birkhofer as those two would tunr up the wick in the attempt to chase down Miller while trying to settle the race for second. With ten laps to go Miller would start to encounter traffic ahead of him as Birkhofer, Kosiski and Pearson, Jr. would start to close slightly. Pearson would get by Kosiski on lap 41 and start to challenge Birkhofer for second as those three drivers would all be right together. On lap 42 Pearson would yet make another pass getting around Birkhofer to take the runnerup spot. But Pearson, was running out of time and laps in trying to hunt down Miller, who had built a good sized lead in traffic. Miller was keepinga rapid pace up and without no caution flags to slow he was well on his way to the win. Pearsonw as able to cut down some on Miller's advantage int he last five laps, but he ran out of laps as Miller would rocket on to victory, his first with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. Pearson, would finish second followed by Birkhofer, Kosiski and Brady Smith.
"I am finally glad to get that first Lucas Oil Series win," said Miller afterwards. "This is a fast and racy place and I knew from the start, we had a car that was capable of winning here tonight, we've been up front most of the year with the series, but we've had some bad luck, we were leading at Brownstown and I ran over something on the race track puncturing a tire, but after that race with O'Neal the first part of the race tonight, the car felt real good."
Completing the top ten were Delbert Smith, Donnie Moran, Terry Phillips, Johnny Bone, Jr. and Billy Murphy.
In preliminary events Earl Pearson, Jr. set a new Belleville High Banks track record of 16.842 seconds in Time Trials. A total of 14 drivers would break the old record formerly held by Jimmy Mars of 17.708 seconds set in 2004. The Heat Race winners were Don O'Neal, Kelly Boen and Matt Miller. The B-Main was won by Freddy Smith.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Friday Night, June 24 2005
Belleville High BanksBelleville, Kansas
Fast Qualifier: Earl Pearson, Jr. 16.842 seconds (new track record)
Heat #1: Don O'Neal, Brian Birkhofer, Billy Murphy, Earl Pearson, Jr., Terry Phillips, Craig Preble, Raymond Merrill, Larry McDaniels, Steve Foster
Heat #2: Kelly Boen, Steve Kosiski, Scott James, Delbert Smith, Earl Kinderknecht, Johnny Bone, Jr., Rusty Miller, Steven Kempt, Lyle Shepard
Heat #3: Matt Miller, Brady Smith, Donnie Moran, Mike Wiarda, Kyle Berck, Al Humphrey, Freddy Smith, Ryan McAninch, Jerrod Reimer, Justin Kinderknecht
B-Main: Freddy Smith, Raymond Merrill, Larry McDaniels, Ryan McAninch, Steve Foster, Jerrod Reimer, Rusty Miller, Steven Kempt, Tim Dohm
"Jayhawk 50" A-Main: Matt Miller, Earl Pearson, Jr., Brian Birkhofer, Steve Kosiski, Brady Smith, Delbert Smith, Donnie Moran, Terry Phillips, Johnny Bone, Jr., Billy Murphy, Mike Wiarda, Don O'Neal, Freddy Smith, Kyle Berck, Ryan McAninch, Raymond Merrill, Al Humphrey, Earl Kinderknecht, Craig Preble, Scott James, Kelly Boen, Tim Dohm, Steve Foster
Red Flags: 0
Lap Leaders: Don O'Neal 1-14, Matt Miller 15-16, O'Neal 17-20, Miller 21-50
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Rookie of the Race: Brady SmithWeld Wheels Hard Charger of the Race: Earl Pearson, Jr. (started 10th and finished 2nd, advanced 8 positions)
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisional: Tim Dohm
TORA Provisionals: Ryan McAninch and Steve Foster
Filed Under: 2005 Results