- Aug. 26 - Lawrenceburg Speedway by Sam Holbrooks

Don O'Neal at Lawrenceburg Speedway
Robert Sell photo
Lucas Oil Series: O'Neal Takes Ownership at Lawrenceburg 
James Essex 

LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. – Aug. 26. Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind. charged to the lead on lap 32, passing Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa before winning Friday’s Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event at Lawrenceburg Speedway. O’Neal earned $10,000 for his second series win of the season.

Birkhofer won the LOLMDS event at the track back in 2009. He sprinted to the lead at the start of the 50-lap main event in front of a packed front stretch grandstand. Birkhofer, Scott Bloomquist, and O’Neal ran three-wide for the lead for several laps before the caution appeared on lap six.

Don O'Neal and Scott Bloomquist at Lawrenceburg Speedway

Eventual winner Don O'Neal races #0 Scott Bloomquist at Lawrenceburg. Bloomquist came away with third. (Robert Sell)

Birkhofer held his lead through several cautions. O’Neal started fourth and made a run for second on Bloomquist, passing the Hall of Famer on lap eight. With 15 laps complete, it was Birkhofer, O’Neal, Shane Clanton, Bloomquist and Earl Pearson Jr. out front.

Birkhofer managed to keep his lead for most of the race, but O’Neal started to put the pressure on him for the lead about halfway through the race. O’Neal slipped up, and Bloomquist got by him for second on lap 25 as a three-car chase for the lead was continuing. O’Neal drove around Bloomquist to regain second on lap 30 and two laps later took over the top spot from Birkhofer before a thunderous home-state crowd.

Brian Birkhofer at Lawrenceburg

With his second place showing at Lawrenceburg, Brian Birkhofer continues to raise the stakes in the late season. (Brandon Murray)

O’Neal began to pull away from Birkhofer and Bloomquist, increasing his margin until he claimed the victory. “Birkhofer had a really great race car at the start. I drove ours (the car) for all it was worth, the cushion was rugged up there in two, I was just hanging on there at the end, I hope the fans enjoyed that one,” said the 47-year-old who collected his 16th career series victory.

“I kept trying that top groove and it finally paid off. We had to battle those lapped cars there at the end, it was really hard racing between the three of us for the lead. I was clean racing and I can’t thank Tader Masters enough, Cody Mahoney, and everybody else on the crew, it’s nice to win here in Indiana,” said the winner.

O’Neal’s MasterSbilt Chevrolet is sponsored by Magnaflow Exhaust, Superior Cleaning, Jones Core, Independence Lumber, Second Chance Livestock, Janowski Insurance and VP Racing Fuels. His car is powered by Jay Dickens Racing Engines.

Birkhofer finished second in the J&J Steel, Pro Power Engines, MB Customs. He said, “O’Neal had the better car. Don drove the wheels of it, he passed me clean, that was a great race for the lead, I was hoping to hang in there, but he found that top groove and drove right by me.”

Scott Bloomquist, Shane Clanton, Daniel Stone

Shane Clanton and #0 Scott Bloomquist duke it out at Lawrenceburg as the pair drives by #2 Dan Stone. (Robert Sell)

Bloomquist in his Hawkeye Trucking, Roush-Yates, Bloomquist Race Cars Ford beat Landers to the line by a half a car length for third. “The track was racy all night, you could run high, low, in the middle, we all three had different tires on. That was an exciting race for the fans, we all raced each other hard and clean, we’ll take third and head to Bluegrass tomorrow night.”

Jared Landers, who still leads the Quarter Master Rookie of the Year standings, came home fourth ahead of Tyler Reddick.

Kent Robinson, Brad Neat, Mike Marlar, Steve Francis at Lawrenceburg Speedway

Area ace Kent Robinson (7) tries to take it four-wide with #41 Brad Neat, #5 Mike Marlar, and #15 Steve Francis at Lawrenceburg Speedway. (Robert Sell)

Don O'Neal hd Lucas Oil Series at Lawrenceburg Speedway
1) Don O'Neal, 2) Brian Birkhofer, 3) Scott Bloomquist, 4) Jared Landers, 5) Tyler Reddick, 6) Jimmy Owens, 7) Shane Clanton, 8) Steve Casebolt, 9) Steve Francis (prov.), 10) Eric Wells, 11) Frank Heckenast, Jr., 12) Brad Neat, 13) Ray Cook (prov.), 14) Mike Marlar, 15) Dustin Neat, 16) Earl Pearson, Jr., 17) Kent Robinson, 18) Daniel Stone, 19) Justin Rattliff, 20) Jason Jameson (prov.), 21) Eric Jacobsen, 22) John Blankenship, 23) Dale McDowell, 24) Greg Johnson, 25) Dan Schlieper
Fast Time (31 entries): Bloomquist (14.149); Heat winners: Bloomquist, Landers, Birkhofer, O’Neal; B-main winners: McDowell, Blankenship.

Robert Sell photo


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