- Oct. 9 - Rome Speedway by Sam Holbrooks

Lucas Oil Series: Points Battle Will Go To the Wire After Owens Win at Rome
James Essex
ROME, Ga. – Oct. 9. The championship points battle underwent another shakeup Sunday night as Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn. inherited the lead on lap 37 when smoke began heavily barreling out race leader Scott Bloomquist’s car, then then led the rest of the way for his first ever win at Rome Speedway.
More importantly for Owens, he retook the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series championship points by 50 heading into the season ending U.S. Steel "Dirt Track World Championship" at KC Raceway next weekend. Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga. finished second, followed by Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., and Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla.
Bloomquist started on the outside of the front row alongside 15-year-old Tyler Reddick.   Bloomquist bolted to a quick early lead with McDowell, Smith, and Owens trailing. Bloomquist built a good-sized lead just ten laps into the 50-lap event.
The first caution of the race came out on lap 25 for Eric Wells, and on the restart, Bloomquist opened up a healthy advantage over McDowell. Owens took over the second slot on lap 26. With 20 to go in the race Bloomquist had built nearly a straightaway lead over Owens as a torrid battle for third was going on between McDowell, Smith, and O’Neal.
Bloomquist continued to be solid as he was looking to sweep the LOLMDS weekend in Georgia, having captured Saturday's "Dixie Shootout". Bloomquist’ car started to smoke as he was just about to enter heavy lapped traffic again. He then started to slow as heavy smoke was pouring from his car, and he eventually stopped on the track, bringing out the next caution.
Bloomquist headed pitside as it was apparent that there was a terminal problem. Owens inherited the top spot with 13 laps to go. He then pulled away from a terrific finish for second between three drivers.
In Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the 29th time in his career, Owens set himself up for his first LOLMDS title. “Scott had a good car, you know we hate to see that happen to anybody, but we’ll take it anyway we can get it,” said the 39-year old driver of the Mike Reece owned number 20.
“You have got to be there at the end to make it count, hats off to my crew, Chris (Fox) made a good decision on tires tonight. We were pretty good there at the end, and we look forward to heading into next weekend in Ohio, both of us have had a great year. It’s going to come down to one race, he’s been plagued by things that normally get us, it’s all good. I’m glad to have all these fans here to cheer for us.”
Oct. 9 - Rome Speedway Lucas Oil Series
1), Jimmy Owens, 2) Dale McDowell, 3) Clint Smith, 4) Don O'Neal, 5) Earl Pearson, Jr., 6) Shane Clanton, 7) Steve Francis, 8) Chris Madden, 9) Chip Brindle, 10) Tyler Reddick, 11) Billy Ogle, 12) Jonathan Davenport, 13) Tommy Kerr, 14) Eric Jacobsen, 15) Jared Landers, 16) Ray Cook (prov.), 17) David Payne, 18) Chris Brown, 19) John Blankenship (prov.), 20) Tyler Millwood, 21) Brad Neat, 22) Scott Bloomquist, 23) Steve Casebolt, 24) Casey Roberts, 25) Eric Wells (prov.)
Fast Time (39 entries): (13.382); Heat winners: Reddick, McDowell, Bloomquist, Francis; B-main winners: Kerr, Brown.

Michael Moats photo

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