Scott Bloomquist races #24 Rick Eckert en route to the
win in the second qualifying feature event for the "Firecracker 100" at Lernerville Speedway. Clint Smith led
the first 13 laps of the race before slipping to third behind Eckert. (Joe Secka/JMS
Outlaws: Bloomquist Repels Eckert Charge to Claim Second "Firecracker" Qualifier at
SARVER, Pa. – June 24. Scott Bloomquist is ready for the fifth annual
"Firecracker 100" presented by GottaRace.com at Lernerville Speedway.
Driving a self-built Team Zero car he rolled just one week ago, the legendary star from Mooresburg, Tenn., tuned up
for his run at a second career win in the crown-jewel World of Outlaws Late Model Series event by capturing the
weekend's second 30-lap preliminary A-Main on Friday night.
Bloomquist, 47, overtook Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., for the lead on lap 14 and repelled the challenges of York,
Pa.'s Rick Eckert throughout the race's second half to pocket a top prize of $6,125. It was his third win in six
WoO LMS starts this season and his 22nd triumph since 2004 on the national tour.
Scott Bloomquist at Lernerville Speedway. (Cory Stivason)
With the victory, Bloomquist assured himself a pole starting spot in a heat race for the
$30,000-to-win Firecracker 100, which will be run on Saturday (June 25) at the four-tenths-mile western
Pennsylvania oval. He won the inaugural event in 2007 and feels confident about his chances of becoming its first
"We like the way the racetrack gets when you race longer shows – this track especially," Bloomquist said of
Lernerville. "It gets pretty tricky (in the Firecracker 100). It gets really slippery, so you gotta have your car
on the money – and I feel like I got a good, balanced car for the race (Saturday). We should be pretty good."
Eckert, 46, settled for his second runner-up finish in as many nights, crossing the finish line 0.716 of a
second behind Bloomquist, who built Eckert's Team Zero car. The WoO LMS points leader will also start a heat race
from the pole position on Saturday night.
Scott Bloomquist races #44 Clint Smith en route to the win in the second qualifying
feature event for the "Firecracker 100" at Lernerville Speedway. Smith led the first 13 laps of the race before
slipping to third behind Rick Eckert. (Cory
Smith, 46, slipped to third at the finish after charging off the outside pole to lead laps 1-13 in his Rocket
mount. Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., advanced from the ninth starting spot to place fourth in the
Barry Wright house car and sixth-starter Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., who won Thursday's preliminary
A-Main, was fifth in his father Mark's Rocket Chassis house car.
Bloomquist, who finished fourth in Thursday's feature, started inside of Eckert in the second row and was
outgunned by his Team Zero mate at the initial green flag. But the 2004 WoO LMS champion gathered himself and
marched steadily forward, regaining third from Eckert on lap four, passing Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., for
second on lap 11 and then gliding by Smith for the lead with an inside move on lap 14.
Teams were using tarps, straw and gravel in looking to improve their pit
areas. (Joe Secka / JMS ProPhoto)
Eckert, who followed Bloomquist past Smith, kept Bloomquist from cruising to the checkered
flag. But while Eckert managed to draw close to Bloomquist, he couldn't summon enough speed to make a pass.
"I think we were about dead-even," said Eckert, who ended the night leading Richards by 14 points in the WoO
LMS standings. "Scott just beat me to the front. I got ahead of him at the start, but I pinched myself off over
there racing Hubbard and Scott snuck back by.
"I about got to his door a couple times there. I actually about hit him in the door one lap (15) when I hit
that slime (on the inside of turn four) and slid across the track. Luckily he heard me. I could hear him mat up
and get out of there so we wouldn't hit."
Indeed, Bloomquist sensed the impending contact with Eckert.
"He told me that he hit that greasy spot there and thought he was gonna' hit me in the door," said Bloomquist, who
has five top-10 finishes in his six WoO LMS starts this season and has earned $42,700. "I looked and I saw him, so
I gassed up to cross him to get my door farther away from him so we finished without a scratch."
Smith, meanwhile, was energized by his second top-five finish of the 2011 WoO LMS campaign but would have preferred
to stay ahead of Bloomquist.
"We were rolling around there on the top and it felt good," said Smith, who snapped a 122-race winless streak on
the WoO LMS with a victory last month at Needmore Speedway in Norman Park, Ga. "I could look back and see Scott
getting in (turn) one – he was up there where I was at and I had a good distance on him. Then I kind of caught the
lapped traffic and I had to check up a little bit, and that let Scott close the gap on me in one lap.
"My crew guy said (Bloomquist) found that bottom (lane) in one corner there and that's when he drove up even with
me. There's a real fine line on that top (of the racetrack) where you had to hit it, and I just didn't and Scott
and Eckert both got by me."
The 19-year-old Hubbard started from the pole position but finished 18th. He was battling for fourth on lap 21 when
his car's steering locked up, causing him to slide over the track's berm in turn three and bring out the race's
only caution flag.
WoO LMS Rookie of the Year points leader Pat Doar of New Richmond, Wis., finished a tour career-best sixth after
dueling for much of the distance with Richards. Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., started and finished seventh;
Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., advanced from the 18th starting spot to place eighth; Chub Frank of Bear Lake,
Pa., was ninth; and Steve Shaver of Vienna, W.Va., fell two spots to finish 10th.
The race's only serious incident occurred on the opening circuit when a tangle at the back of the pack caused Brady
Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., to roll his car onto its roof off turn four. He escaped the incident uninjured, but
he was eliminated along with Matt Lux of Franklin, Pa., and Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y.
Sixty cars were signed in for the evening's action, which was plagued by rain. Showers first struck during the
afternoon and returned just as hot laps were scheduled to begin on schedule, delaying the start of time trials to
nearly 10:15 p.m. The program was then spun off in rapid-fire fashion, ending at exactly 1 a.m.
June 24 - WoO - Lernerville Speedway
1) Scott Bloomquist, 2) Rick Eckert, 3) Clint Smith, 4) Jonathan Davenport, 5) Josh Richards, 6) Pat Doar, 7)
Tim McCreadie, 8) Dale McDowell, 9) Chub Frank, 10) Steve Shaver, 11) Bub McCool, 12) Darrell Lanigan, 13) Tyler
Reddick, 14) Mike Marlar, 15) Davey Johnson, 16) Dan Stone, 17) Steve Francis, 18) Austin Hubbard, 19) Shane
Clanton (prov.), 20) Rick 'Boom' Briggs, 21) Jared Hawkins, 22) John Lobb (prov.), 23) Coleby Frye, 24) Tim Fuller,
25) Brady Smith, 26) Matt Lux, 27) Vic Coffey (prov.)
Fast Time (60 entries): Bloomquist (15.226); Heat winners: Bloomquist, Richards, Eckert, Clint Smith, Doar and
Hubbard; B-Main winners: Hawkins, Francis, Briggs.