La Salle, IL (May 17, 2014) – The 3-time and defending Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Champion, Jimmy Owens scored his first series win of the season on Saturday Night at LaSalle Speedway. Owens survived a classic side-by-side battle with Jared Landers after over taking Scott Bloomquist for second. Owens then tracked down race leader Landers and forged ahead for good on lap 37. Owens then pulled away to a comfortable lead to take the Spring Shootout victory. Trailing Owens and Landers to the finish line were, Scott Bloomquist, Earl Pearson Jr., and Don O’Neal
“I can’t say enough about this car. The last few races, we’ve been solid, and tonight we were finally able to get to victory lane. I want to thank the track crew, it’s good to see a track promoter take the time and rework the track. With all the rain they had this week, they smoothed it out and you could run anywhere on it,” said Owens, who became the 12th different winner in 15 event races this year.
“Landers was tough tonight. He drove a very good race, and we ran side-by-side there for several laps. I hope it was a good show for the fans tonight. We got off to a rough start in the feature, but we were able to settle down. Scott [Bloomquist] and I had a really good battle for second. He’d get by me, then the next lap I’d get him back. It was just a great night for our Mike Reece team and all of our sponsors. We feel like we are hitting our stride now,” said the winner afterwards
Owens has now recorded a win and 2-runnerup finishes in his last three starts. “I want to thank Reece Monument Company, Edge Services, Sunoco, Ford, Keyser, Ohlins, Midwest Sheet Metal, my crew chief, Chris Fox, and all the team for giving me a great car tonight.”
Landers held the point for most of the race, but when Owens slipped by him with 13 laps to go he knew he had to concentrate on hanging on for the second position. “That’s the best car we have had for quite some time and the crew did a great job on the car. I was doing my job, we got into a lapped car, and that kind of hurt us a little bit. We were able to recover and I thought tonight may be the night we could do it,” said the former series rookie-of-the year. “Anytime Jimmy gets by you, it’s going to be extremely difficult to get back around him. Then I had to worry about Scott. Fortunately we held him off to get second,” said the driver of the Mark Martin Automotive, Crop Production Services, Rocket Chassis Chevrolet.
Bloomquist came home third as he was in the thick of things all 50-laps. “We were really good tonight, but just off a tick. We had a good race with Jimmy there for a long time. We went back-and-forth for second several times. We gave each other plenty of racing room. The track slicked off like we thought it would. We really like coming up here to race. Once they redid the track it was racy from top to bottom. I have to thank Ole Smoky Moonshine, Penske Shocks, Andy Durham, and everybody else associated with our race team. We have a really strong year going in this Sweet-Bloomquist car.”
Completing the top ten were last year’s Spring Shootout winner, Brady Smith, John Blankenship, Eddie Carrier Jr., Dennis Erb, Jr., and Kevin Weaver.
In preliminary action, Eddie Carrier Jr. set the overall Miller Welders Fast Time (Group A) amongst the 37 entrants, with a lap of 12.404 seconds. Scott Bloomquist set the fastest time in Group B with a time of 12.712 seconds. Jared Landers, Jimmy Owens, Scott Bloomquist, and Jason Feger won their respective heat races. Bobby Pierce and Tony Toste won their respective B-Mains.
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