latemodelamerica.com - July 1 - Beckley Motorsports Park
LateModelAmerica.com by Sam Holbrooks

 
 

Ray Cook - Beckley Lucas Oil Late Model Series winner

Ray Cook held off a furious charge from Jimmy Owens to claim the Lucas Series debut at Beckley (W.V.) Motor Speedway Thursday. (Rick Schwallie)

Cook Outhustles Owens for Lucas Win at Beckley 

James Essex

MOUNT HOPE, W.V. -July 1. Making his first career start at Beckley Motorsports Park, Ray Cook of Brasstown, N.C. fought off Jimmy Owens over the final ten laps to win the first ever Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event at BMP on Thursday.

Owens finished a close second, followed by fast qualifier Josh Richards, series points leader Scott Bloomquist, and Dale McDowell.

With Richards on the pole, Cook quickly grabbed the early lead from the outside over Richards, Bloomquist, and Owens, while McDowell moved past Eric Wells for fifth on lap six. Cook, a healthy lead, narrowly avoided disaster on lap 13, when the cars of Tim Isenberg and John Blankenship got hooked together in turn two, bringing out the first caution of the race. Cook was able to maneuver his car to the inside of the track around the wreckage and keep moving.

Cook looked strong as he pulled away from a two-car battle for second between Richards and Owens. Past the halfway mark, as Cook approached traffic again, Richards and Owens were going at it tooth-and-nail, with Owens continually tried Richards down low until he finally eventually crept in front of Richards as the duo headed down the back chute.

A caution came out for debris with 38 laps scored, and another for Earl Pearson, Jr. on lap 42, setting set up an eight lap dash to the finish. Five more laps went green with Owens all over Cook for the lead until the final caution of the race came out on lap 47 for Tim Dohm. The three-lap chase to the checkers was exciting as Owens tried repeatedly to get around Cook. The two raced side-by-side off of turn four to the checkers, and Cook held off Owens to take his ninth career series victory and his eighth in the last two years.

In Lucas Oil Victory Lane, Cook said "First off, I have to thank the Good Lord for what he has done and my crew for preparing such a great race car. This is my first time here and I didn't know what to expect, but the car, the motor, and the tires all worked exceptionally well tonight."

"The race with me and Jimmy, we were within inches of each other at those high speeds and never touched one another - that tells you something," added the 38-year old driver. "I really like coming here to West Virginia, we won the Hillbilly at Tyler for my biggest win and we come here tonight and win, it's like a second home for me."

Lucas Oil Series - Beckley Motor Speedway - July 11) Ray Cook, 2) Jimmy Owens, 3) Josh Richards, 4) Scott Bloomquist, 5) Dale McDowell, 6) Eric Wells, 7) Kennie Compton, 8) Brad Neat (prov.), 10) Eddie Carrier, Jr., 11) Chris Wall, 12) Dan Schlieper, 13) Steve Casebolt, 14) Don O'Neal, 15) Tyler Reddick, 16) Chuck Harper, 17) Tim Dohm, 18) Earl Pearson, Jr., 19) Zack Dohm, 20) John Blankenship (prov.), 21) Jeff Smith, 22) Tim Isenberg, 23) Rick Williams, 24) Josh McGuire

Fast Time (28 entries): Josh Richards (13.496 secs.); Heat winners: Richards, Bloomquist, Cook, Owens; B-Main Winners: Wall, Zack Dohm.

Thomas Hendrickson photo 

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