The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series continued its busy summer with a trip to the Tri-City Speedway for the NAPA Know How 50 on Friday night. At the end of a hot and humid night it was four-time Lucas Oil champ Earl Pearson, Jr. who came away from the Granite City, Illinois track with the winner’s trophy and a $12,000 payday.
Josh Richards was fastest in qualifying as he turned a lap in 14.798 seconds to beat out Tony Jackson, Jr., Scott Bloomquist, Mason Zeigler, Dennis Erb, Jr. and Earl Pearson, Jr.
Richards earned the pole for the feature by beating out Zeigler, Don O’Neal, Tim Manville, Jonathan Davenport and Darrell Lanigan in the first heat race of the night.
Jackson won the second preliminary of the evening over Tim McCreadie, Erb, Hudson O’Neal, Gregg Satterlee and Rickey Frankel.
Bloomquist took the checkered flag in the third and final heat of the night ahead of Jimmy Owens, Pearson, Bobby Pierce, Kyle Bronson and Daryn Klein.
At the start of the 50-lap feature it would be Jackson charging to the lead with Bloomquist, Richards, Zeigler and Owens following. The action was hot and heavy right from the beginning as Zeigler immediately went after Richards for the third spot which he took on lap 3.
Owens and McCreadie fought over the fifth position as Bloomquist moved in on Jackson for the race lead at lap 5. Owens then surged forward to take on Richards for fourth one lap later. Finally on lap 8 it would be Owens taking fourth from the defending series champion.
Bloomquist and Zeigler exchanged the second spot during laps 11 and 12 while Owens moved in to make it a three car battle. With slower traffic playing a factor, Bloomquist and Zeigler closed in on Jackson and made it a three-car fight for the lead on lap 14.
Meanwhile, Owens found his groove on the outside and began to move forward as he went three-wide with Zeigler and Bloomquist as they fought for position just behind the leader.
Caution came out on lap 18 for the slowing car of Bronson. During that yellow flag period, Bloomquist came to a stop on the inside of the track with mechanical issues and was never able to re-fire the car. He was pushed to the pit area and his quest for feature win No. 600 ended early.
When the race went back to green it was Pearson who began to assert himself as he took third away from Zeigler on lap 24. Further back, Richards, Pierce and McCreadie engaged in an intense fight for fifth going three-wide and coming into contact with each other on multiple occasions.
Owens closed in on Jackson as the race moved into its second half and was finally able to seize the top spot on lap 33. However, the No. 20 car’s time at the front of the field would prove to be short-lived as Pearson moved by on lap 36.
McCreadie continued his push forward as he took third away from Jackson with 11 laps remaining. But that point, it would be an Earl Pearson, Jr. show as the Florida veteran pulled away from the pack and eventually cruised under the checkered flag to score the victory.
Feature Finish: 1. Earl Pearson, Jr., 2. Jimmy Owens, 3. Tim McCreadie, 4. Mason Zeigler, 5. Bobby Pierce, 6. Josh Richards, 7. Don O’Neal, 8. Tony Jackson, Jr., 9. Jonathan Davenport, 10. Hudson O’Neal, 11. Dennis Erb, Jr., 12. Gregg Satterlee, 13. Tim Manville, 14. Kyle Bronson, 15. Clay Daly, 16. Kolby Vandenbergh, 17. Joey Moriarty, 18. Scott Bloomquist, 19. Blaze, Burwell, 20. Austin Rettig, 21. Daryn Klein, 22. Darrell Lanigan, 23. Billy Lacock, 24. Scott, Henseler, 25. Rickey Frankel, 26. Mike Hammerle