CALVERT CITY, KY (October 28, 2006)- Ricky Arms of Moss, TN picked up the biggest win of his racing career on Saturday Night as he won the 10th Annual Commonwealth Cup at the Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway. The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event win for Arms was his first ever as he became the 17th different winner during the 2006 season for the Series. The 37 year old won $10,000 for his efforts. Arms was behind the wheel of the Tom Herron owned/Metal-Lite, Inc./Arms Body Shop/White's Total Performance/NAPA Auto Parts/Perfect Walls, Inc./Race Engine Design powered C.J. Rayburn Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Despite an ill handling race car with severe front end damage Steve Francis of Ashland, KY managed to finish second in the Valvoline/Freeport Recycling Center/Rocket Dodge Charger with Scott James of Lawrenceburg, IN finishing third in the Powell Motorsports/Baylor Trucking/Rocket Pontiac GTO. Completing the top five were Dan Schlieper of Sullivan, WI in the Miller Brothers Coal/Hawkeye Trucking/C.J. Rayburn Monte Carlo and Chris Combs of Isom, KY in the Tim Short Automotive/D&D Dairy/Swartz GTO. A total of 78 cars were on hand for the Series' season finale at the Sherri Heckenast promoted facility.
Earl Pearson, Jr. of Jacksonville, FL was officially crowned the 2006 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Champion for the second season in a row. Pearson won three Series events in '06 and had 19 top five finishes and 26 top ten finishes to win the title. To go along with his Championship season on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series tour Pearson also captured three high profile events during the campaign including the $24,999 to win 99 event at Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway in late May, the $25,000 to win Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series sanctioned Hillbilly 100 Labor Day weekend at the Tyler County (WV) Speedway and the most prestigious race in dirt late model racing the $39,000 to win World 100 at Eldora (OH) Speedway in September. Pearson drives for the Dunn-Benson Ford Motorsports Team which is owned by Carlton and Kemp Lamm from Dunn, NC and sponsored by Lucas Oil Products, Dunn-Benson Ford, Sunoco Race Fuels, K&N Engineering, Allstar Performance and the car is powered by a Larry Wallace Racing Engine.
Pearson and Brian Birkhofer would lead the 26 car starting field to the green with Birkhofer taking the lead from his outside front row starting spot with one lap scored. Scott Bloomquist would go to third early on with Michael England and Don O'Neal making up the top five. Pearson would pull even with Birkhofer as the two would run side by side on several occasions in the first five circuits of the race as O'Neal and England would also duke it out for fourth as those two would swap spots at least three times in the first part of the race.
Pearson would gain the advantage in the tight battle for the lead as he would take the top spot away from Birkhofer on the seventh lap as.England's night would end on lap seven as he would bring out the first caution of the race coming to a stop at the bottom of the track off of turn number two. Greg Johnson then would become a member of the top five club as he would line up fifth on the restart. Peyton Taylor in his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series start would bring out caution number two on lap nine as his car came to halt in turn number three.
The race would get five good green flag laps in with Pearson in front followed by Birkhofer, Bloomquist, Johnson and 20th starting Steve Francis who both bypassed O'Neal on the 10th lap to take over fourth and fifth respectfully. Up front Birkhofer would make the outside work for him as he retook the lead from Pearson on lap 13. The third caution of the race fell for O'Neal on lap 14, as caution number four would follow quickly a lap later for Dick Taylor.
On the restart to begin lap 16 Bloomquist would make his way to the front getting by both Birkhofer and Pearson to take over the lead. Francis would charge some more with a head of steam as he moved into the runner-up slot behind Bloomquist on lap 17. Caution number five and six would come out in back to back moments in the race with 18 laps scored.
On the restart Johnson would suffer a flat causing caution number seven on lap 20. On the restart Bloomquist would still be shown the leader with Francis all over him for the lead. A lap 24 caution for debris would halt Bloomquist's momentum again. Birkhofer was holding down the third spot at this point with 24th starting Russ Scheffler now in the mix as he was up to fourth with 17th place starter Dennis Erb, Jr. also on the move up to fifth.
Erb moved up another position on lap 27 overhauling Scheffler for fourth as he appeared to be the fastest car on the race track at this point of the event. Scheffler's run would end in turn two on lap 29 as he brought out the caution. On the restart Bloomquist had everyone looking at his rear bumper with 20 laps to go. Francis, Birkhofer, Erb and Donnie Moran were the top five behind Bloomquist with 30 laps complete.
Erb's night however would end on lap 32 as he went pitside putting him out of the race after running as high as fourth. The jumbled top five would see Moran now fourth and Pearson back in the hunt in fifth. The top five would stay the same as nine good green flag laps of racing would take place with Bloomquist holding a comfortable advantage over Francis and Birkhofer.
With 40 laps scored the complexion of the race would change completely as Bloomquist was entering lapped traffic.
Bloomquist was preparing to lap Matt Miller when Miller would get sideways forcing Bloomquist to spin and as he nearly regained control of the car he stopped along with Moran. Both Bloomquist and Moran were relegated to the tail as they both had stopped on the race track. Bloomquist decided then that he would not continue in the race as he took his car to the pits. Right before the caution flag Birkhofer exited the track with a smoking car giving up his third running position.
On the restart Francis would be on the point. But Francis had been doing a tremendous job of driving his car as the front nosepiece of his mount was ripped off on the left side and the rest of it would be dragging under the front of his car making handling almost impossible. Ricky Arms would be the beneficiary of the restart as he would line up second beside third place running Scott James who had to take a provisional to make the race after a heat race incident. Arms and James, who started 25th on the grid would have Jason Feger and Schlieper lined up behind them on the restart.
With a high rate of attrition Arms' main focus was passing Francis for the lead which he did after Francis' car drifted up the race track on lap 44. There were two consecutive cautions that took place with 44 laps complete. With six to go on the restart Arms would be the car to beat as Francis trying to fight off James for second. Arms would take his number 4 entry to the finish to score the $10,000 win. Francis somehow held on for second despite his ill handling race car as James, Schlieper and Chris Combs would round out the top five.
In victory lane Arms seemed almost stunned to end up there as he first handled the SPEED Channel post race interview and then told the fans "It's been a bad year for us, I mean we'd be leading races and something would happen or we'd get caught up in somebody else's accident and take us out of a good finish, it's nice that the shoe is on the other foot sometimes like tonight where people had problems and we didn't." Arms a successful modified driver before running a limited schedule in late models last year is competing in his first full year of late model racing. "I mean to win this race is great and all the great cars that were here, we'll take it"
Completing the top ten were Jason Feger, John Blankenship, Earl Pearson, Jr., Dick Taylor and Jordan Bland.
In preliminary action Brian Birkhofer was the overall fastest qualifier in the Comp Cams Time Trials for the 78 entries on hand. The six PBM Performance Products Heat Race Winners were Scott Bloomquist, Brian Birkhofer, Michael England, Earl Pearson, Jr., Don O'Neal and Dan Schlieper. The Mason Racin' Rebel Shock Dyno First B-Main went to John Blankenship. the Penske Shocks Second B-Main was won by Steve Francis and the Mason Racin' Rebel Shock Dyno Third B-Main was taken by Randy Weaver.
The K&N Engineering "Clean Pass of the Race" went to Scott James who not only earned the Allstar Performance Performer of the race as he passed advanced 22 positions from his 25th starting spot to finish third. The K&N Engineering "Clean Pass of the Race" was awarded at each Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event in 2006.
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Annual Awards Banquet will take place on Saturday Night, November 18 at the Marriott Hotel in Downtown Indianapolis. For the latest information on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series you can visit the series' website at www.lucasdirt.com or call the Series office at (951) 532-2503.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Saturday Night, October 28, 2006
Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway-Calvert City, KY
Comp Cams Overall Fast Time: Brian Birkhofer 14.313 seconds
PBM Performance Products First Heat: (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Scott Bloomquist, Greg Johnson, Donnie Moran, John Blankenship, Frank Heckenast, Jr., Charlie Hess, Damon Eller, Mutt Trotter, Evan Lents, Chad Evans
PBM Performance Products Second Heat: (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Brian Birkhofer, Darren Miller, Peyton Taylor, Rodney Melvin, Joey Mack, Mike Schulte, Rod Reed, Gerry Reedor, Brad Neat, Troy Gay, Rylan Dagg, Wally Forsythe
PBM Performance Products Third Heat: (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Michael England, Frankie Martin, Chris Combs, Joe Mike III, Donnie Rollins, Jimmy Owens, Steve Francis, Justin Rattliff, Steve Rushin, Kerry Hansen, Scott James, Charles Boze, Joe Morris
PBM Performance Products Fourth Heat: (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Earl Pearson, Jr., Matt Miller, Jordan Bland, Jason Feger, Lee Thomason, Jeff Glisson, John Clemmons, Chris Shelton, Fred Perry, Bruce Unterbrink, William Simmons
PBM Performance Products Fifth Heat: (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Don O'Neal, Terry English, Dennis Erb, Jr., Russ Scheffler, Randy Sellars, Jamie Elam, Rusty Griffaw, Phil Walker, Jerry Rutherford, Mike Hammerle, Brian McDaniel, Freddy Smith, Darrell Brown
PBM Performance Products Sixth Heat: (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Dan Schlieper, Ricky Arms, Dick Taylor, Randy Weaver, Steve Casebolt, John Tindal, Chuck Hummer, Ben Kittrell, Joey Lingauer, Joe Burba, Dylan Thompson, Kevin Cole, Jeff Beyers
Mason Racin' Rebel Shock Dyno First B-Main: (12 Laps-Top 2 Advance): John Blankenship, Brad Neat, Rodney Melvin, Mike Schulte, Damon Eller, Charlie Hess, Mutt Trotter, Joey Mack, Frank Heckenast, Jr., Gerry Reeder, Wally Forsythe, Rod Reed
Penske Shocks Second B-Main: (12 Laps-Top 2 Advance): Steve Francis, Jason Feger, Charles Boze, Chris Shelton, William Simmons, Kerry Hansen, Tim Brown, Fred Perry, Lee Thomason, Justin Rattliff, Joe Mike III, Donnie Rollins, Scott James
Mason Racin' Rebel Shock Dyno Third B-Main: (12 Laps-Top 2 Advance): Randy Weaver, Russ Scheffler, Phil Walker, Rusty Griffaw, Dylan Thompson, Mike Hammerle, Brian McDaniel, Jerry Rutherford, Joe Burba, Chuck Hummer, Joey Lingauer, Darrell Brown, Steve Casebolt, Freddy Smith, Jamie Elam
Commonwealth Cup Feature Finish: (50 laps): Ricky Arms, Steve Francis, Scott James, Dan Schlieper, Chris Combs, Jason Feger, John Blankenship, Earl Pearson, Jr., Dick Taylor, Jordan Bland, Greg Johnson, Donnie Moran, Frankie Martin, Scott Bloomquist, Brian Birkhofer, Matt Miller, Dennis Erb, Jr., Russ Scheffler, Randy Weaver, Terry English, Don O'Neal, Darren Miller, Steve Casebolt, Peyton Taylor, Michael England, Brad Neat
Caution Flags: 12
Red Flags: 0
Lap Leaders: Brian Birkhofer 1-6, Earl Pearson, Jr. 7-12, Birkhofer 13-15, Scott Bloomquist 16-42, Steve Francis 43, Ricky Arms 44-50
Allstar Performance Performer of the Race: Scott James (Started 25th and finished 3rd, advanced 22 positions)
K&N Engineering Clean Pass of the Race: Scott James
Hawk Brake Tough Break: Michael England
Quarter Master Move of the Race: Steve Francis
On the Edge Graphics Fastest Non Qualifier: Jimmy Owens
Weld Wheels Award: Brad Neat
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Rookie of the Race: Steve Casebolt
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Scott James and Steve Casebolt
Final 2006 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Championship Points Standings
1. Earl Pearson, Jr. (Jacksonville, FL)-6045
2. Don O'Neal (Martinsville, IN)-5410
3. Donnie Moran (Dresden, OH)-5330
4. Scott James (Lawrenceburg, IN)-4920
5. Matt Miller (Waterville, OH)-4830
6. Steve Casebolt (Richmond, IN)-4535
7. Scot Bloomquist (Mooresburg, TN)-4040
8. Freddy Smith (Seymour, TN)-3975
9. Michael England (Glasgow, KY)-3710
10. Darren Miller (Chadwick, IL)-2585
Final 2006 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Rookie of the Year Points Standings
1. Steve Casebolt (Richmond, IN)-4535
2. Michael England (Glasgow, KY)-3710
3. Brady Smith (Solon Springs, WI)-2265
4. Corey Conley (Wellsburg, WV)-1990
5. Damon Eller (Crumpler, NC)-1750