- Aug. 13 - Florence Speedway North-South 100 by Sam Holbrooks


Jimmy Owens, Scott Bloomquist, and Brad Neat

"North-South 100" winner Jimmy Owens with runner up Scott Bloomquist (left) and third place Brad Neat. (Todd Battin)

Lucas Oil: Owens Repeats With Florence "North-South 100" Victory

James Essex

UNION, Ky. - Aug. 13. Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn. has won the Sunoco Race Fuels "North/South 100" presented by Lucas Oil on Saturday at Florence Speedway. Owens took the lead on lap 75 from Scott Bloomquist and went on to score his third career victory in the annual $50,000-to-win event. Bloomquist had to hold off a hard-charging Brad Neat of Dunnville, KY to finish second. Neat started 15th  and finished third.

Brad Neat and Scott Bloomquist - North-Soth 100

One his strongest showing to date this season, Dunnville, Ky.'s Brad Neat puts the heat on Scott Bloomquist for the runner up spot at Florence. (Todd Battin)

“It feels great to win this race again,” said the 39-year-old Owens, who joins the late Jack Boggs as the only three-time winner of the race. “I never got the chance to race with Jack Boggs. I know all about what he did in Late Model Racing and to be mentioned in the same breath as him - it’s just a tremendous accomplishment. I have to my car owner, Mike Reece, he’s here tonight and all the crew, they did a great job all weekend long.” 

Ray Cook, Jacob Grizzle, and Jared Landers

Putting in one of his best Florence Speedway performance ever, Ray Cook rolls under #99 Jacob Grizzle and #777 Jared Landers on his way to fourth place. (Michael Moats)

Don O’Neal has led more laps than any other driver the last two years in this race. He grabbed the lead at the start of the race with Bloomquist running second. Bloomquist shadowed O’Neal for 22 laps of the race before taking over the top spot on lap 23. Bloomquist then pulled away from O’Neal and the rest of the field as he stretched his lead out to several car lengths. 
 Darrell Lanigan and Don O'Neal at Florence Speedway
Darrell Lanigan works his way under a fading Don O'Neal, who put his #71 out front for the first 23 laps before finally dropping back to 11th place. (Michael Moats)
As the race reached the halfway mark, it was Bloomquist, Owens, Mike Marlar, O’Neal, and Darrell Lanigan all outpacing the field. Owens then started to close the gap on Bloomquist ever so slightly as Bloomquist was having to deal with lapped traffic. Owens cut the deficit to half a straightaway when a caution flew for John Blankenship, who slowed on the front-stretch with a flat tire. 
 Mike Marlar and Jonathan Davenport at Florence Speedway
Mike Marlar improved his recent fortunes when he rolled out a new #16 Rocket chassis and took fifth at Florence, ahead of #49 Jonathan Davenport. (Michael Moats)
This time on the restart Owens was determined to pass Bloomquist as he went to the top of the race track and passed him on lap 75 to take over the point.   Over the last 25 laps of the race, Owens had to hold off Bloomquist, who was having his position threatened by Neat. Owens was able to put enough distance between the Bloomquist-Neat battle to go on and capture his fifth Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win of 2011, and he expanded his points’ lead over Bloomquist. 
Joe Janowski and Clint Smith
Clint Smith and #6 Joe Janowski race at mid-pack before Smith advanced to ninth place at the finish.(Michael Moats)
“I didn’t now if could do anything with Scott once I caught him," said Owens. "The cautions sure helped us, and it looked like his left rear tire sealed over, I just got tired of running there on the bottom, so I decided to go up top, and that was the way to go around him. I was worried there for a while that the track was going to become one-groove but it held up nicely, the car worked so well on it at the end. Scott builds a great race car and to beat him is always tough,” said Owens. 
Bloomquist just edged out Neat, while Ray Cook, in one of his best runs at Florence, was fourth ahead of Marlar, who debuted a new ride in the Billy Ward Rocket Chassis. 
Earl Pearson Jr and Tyler Reddick at Florence Speedway
Earl Pearson, Jr. chases #11 Tyler Reddick before dropping off early. (Michael Moats)
North-South 100 lineup
With Don O'Neal and Scott Bloomquist on the front rown, the North-South 100 field prepares to go racing. (Michael Moats)
North-South 100 at Florence Speedway
1) Jimmy Owens, 2) Scott Bloomquist, 3) Brad Neat, 4) Ray Cook, 5) Mike Marlar, 6) Jonathan Davenport, 7) Steve Francis, 8) Darrell Lanigan, 9) Clint Smith, 10) John Blankenship, 11) Don O'Neal, 12) Jared Landers, 13) Tyler Reddick, 14) Josh Williams (prov.), 15) Eric Wells (prov.), 16) Bub McCool (prov.), 17) Joe Janowski, 18) Jacob Grizzle, 19) Frank Heckenast, Jr. (prov.), 20) Vic Hill, 21) Chris Madden, 22) Kent Robinson, 23) Dale McDowell (prov.), 24) Greg Johnson, 25) Earl Pearson, Jr., 26) Chris Wall, 27) Steve Casebolt
Fast Time (74 entries): Steve Shaver (16.742); Heat winners: Hill, Marlar, O’Neal, Owens, Bloomquist, Lanigan; B-Main winners: Landers, Johnson

Todd Battin photo


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