ROME, Ga. — Scott Bloomquist raced to his 15th Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win of the season on Sunday night at Rome International Speedway.
The pilot of the No. 0 Crop Production Services/Mark Martin Automotive/Reece Monument Company/Sweet-Bloomquist Chassis entry beat O’Neal to the checkered flag by 1.407 seconds.
“The car was awesome tonight!” Bloomquist said. “It [the car] was as smooth as could be and our Andy Durham engine ran great. When we got into traffic, we had a few issues. The car wouldn’t get off the corners like I wanted it to. I never saw O’Neal at the end. I just tried to stay focused the best I could.”
Bloomquist was challenged early on by Ray Cook and then by Chris Madden. Madden was closing on Bloomquist in heavy lapped traffic. After a caution on lap 27, O’Neal snuck under Madden to take the second position away from him. O’Neal started to close the gap on Bloomquist until lap 38, when the third and final caution of the race came out.
Following the restart, O’Neal stayed with Bloomquist. With 10 laps to go, he finally took a shot at the leader coming out of turn two. He pulled even, but Bloomquist seized the opportunity to thwart any thoughts that O’Neal had of taking over the lead.
Bloomquist charged hard into turn three and recaptured the top spot, while O’Neal was forced to settle for second.
“We had a good car tonight,” O’Neal said. “The crew had this car up front all night. I wanted to win so bad for them and Clint Bowyer Racing. We gave it our best shot, but came up a little short. I thought I could take him once coming off of turn two, but I couldn’t quite clear him.”
Brandon Overton made a late race charge to finish in third.
“My car really started to go late in the race,” Overton admitted. “I want to thank Billy Moyer and everybody associated with him in building this car. To run third with these guys says a lot about how far our program has come the last few years.”
Trailing Overton to the checkers were Madden and defending series champion Jonathan Davenport.
Cook, Tim McCreadie, Derek Ellis, Darrell Lanigan and Jimmy Owens completed the top 10.
In preliminary action, Bloomquist set the overall Miller Welders Fast Time (Group A) among the 35 entrants, with a lap of 13.547 seconds.
RESULTS: Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series; Lucas Oil Rome Showdown; Rome Int’l Speedway; Oct. 2, 2016
A-Main (50 laps): 1. Scott Bloomquist, 2. Don O’Neal, 3. Brandon Overton, 4. Chris Madden, 5. Jonathan Davenport, 6. Ray Cook, 7. Tim McCreadie, 8. Derek Ellis, 9. Darrell Lanigan, 10. Jimmy Owens, 11. Dennis Erb Jr., 12. Dale McDowell, 13. Jason Croft, 14. Austin Kirkpatrick, 15. Donald McIntosh, 16. Brandon Sheppard, 17. Earl Pearson Jr., 18. David Payne, 19. Steve Francis, 20. Clint Smith, 21. Austin Horton, 22. Casey Roberts, 23. Luther Jenkins, 24. Aaron Ridley.
CREDIT: Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series