- July 15 - Tri-City Speedway by Sam Holbrooks


Brian Birkhofer at Tri-City Speedway

Brian Birkhofer at Tri-City Speedway. (R.J. Brown)

Lucas Oil Series: Birkhofer Bags Battle at the Beach

James Essex

PONTOON BEACH, Ill.  – Juky 15. Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa took the lead on lap eight and went on to capture the Inaugural “Battle at the Beach” on Friday. Series champion Scott Bloomquist also saw his three-race win streak end with a second place showing ahead of tenth starting Billy Moyer. 
Don O’Neal grabbed the lead at the start of the race and led the first seven circuits before Birkhofer took over the point. For most of the early action in the main event, there were four cars battling for the lead. Bloomquist moved into the runner-up spot on lap 12. The only caution of the race flew three laps later for Dale McDowell. 
Scott Bloomquist at Tri-City Speedway
Scott Bloomquist was able to run down second, but couldn't run down a fast Birkhofer in late-race traffic. (R.J. Brown) 
On the restart, Birkhofer maintained his lead as Shirley moved into the second spot around Bloomquist, by using the high side of the race track. Birkhofer started to pick-up the tail of the field by lap 25, allowing both Shirley and Bloomquist to cut into his lead. Bloomquist maneuvered by Shirley in the battle for second, regaining the spot on lap 26. The top three then pulled away from the rest of the pack and with 40 laps down were ahead of the tight race for fourth between Owens and Moyer. 
As the race wore on, Birkhofer continued to show a good-sized advantage over Bloomquist, who had finally shed Shirley with 40 to go. For most of the race, Birkhofer had to contend with heavy traffic. Bloomquist finally began to close the gap with ten laps to go. Birkhofer was able to clear a couple of cars that were battling in front of him and distanced himself from Bloomquist as he went on to capture his 13th career LOLMDS victory.
 Brian Birkhofer VL Tri-City Speedway
Brian Birkhofer with promoters Tammy and Kevin Gundaker at Tri-City Speedway. (R.J. Brown)
In Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the second time this season, the 39-year-old Birkhofer was complementary to several people. “It’s been a tough year in some aspects for us, we haven’t run all that much, we were here a few weeks ago and the wheel came off before the start of the race, we’ve tried to patch together a crew here lately, and I have Brian Daugherty of Integra Shocks here tonight helping. It feels good to win here at Kevin’s (Gundaker) track, to beat Scott and Billy, I mean what can you say about either of them that hasn’t already been said?” 
“O’Neal started off real strong, we ran side-by-side there for a while, until I was finally able to clear him. The traffic was difficult, especially there at the end when it got slick. My car wasn’t getting through the turns like I wanted, but we had enough of a distance apparently there at the end to get the win,” said Birkhofer. 
With his second place finish, Bloomquist in his Hawkeye Trucking, Roush-Yates, Bloomquist Race Cars Ford took over the series points from Owens by 20 points.  
July 15th - “Battle at the Beach 100” at Tri-City Speedway
1) Brian Birkhofer, 2) Scott Bloomquist, 3) Billy Moyer, 4) Brian Shirley, 5) Jimmy Owens, 6) Don O'Neal, 7) Steve Francis, 8) Tyler Reddick, 9) Randy Korte, 10) Earl Pearson, Jr., 11) John Blankenship, 12) Chris Simpson, 13) Eric Wells, 14) Bub McCool, 15) Dale McDowell, 16) Brad Neat (prov.), 17) Ray Cook, 18) Frank Heckenast, Jr. (prov.), 19) Chad Zobrist, 20) Dewayne Kiefer (prov.), 21) Jared Landers, 22) Tim Isenberg, 23) Jason Feger, 24) Wendell Wallace (prov.), 25) Billy Laycock (prov.), 26) Steve Casebolt, 27) Rodney Melvin
Fast Time (37 entries): Bloomquist (16.132); Heat winners: Bloomquist, Birkhofer, O'Neal, Pearson; B-main winners: Cook, Melvin

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