Blankenship Conquers Tazewell Oval
TAZEWELL, Tenn. — John Blankenship took home his first victory at Tazewell Speedway on Friday night, capturing the Toyota Knoxville 50.
Blankenship picked up his second Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory of the season after taking over the lead on lap nine when Scott Bloomquist went pitside. Blankenship held off several challenges from Jimmy Owens as he pulled away at the end. Owens nursed a smoking car home in second followed by Earl Pearson Jr., Dennis Erb Jr. and Steve Francis.
“Yes that was a tough race, Francis got me on the restart and then we were finally able to make it stick,” said Blankenship. “I saw Jimmy’s nose a couple of times, I got a little excited, but we kept at it and it feels good to win so close to our race shop in Knoxville.”
Blankenship inherited the lead with Owens, following closely in second. Blankenship and Owens put on a terrific battle for the lead for several circuits with Owens actually being credited with leading lap 20. Blankenship regained the top spot a lap later and went on to lead the rest of the way. Owens started fading in the final 10 laps as smoke was pouring out of his car.
Owens, with his second place finish, maintained his point lead.
“We were just hanging on there at the end,” Owens said. “I don’t know if it was an oil leak or what, fortunately we were far enough ahead of those other guys, but we will go through the car and get ready for Florence. The track was racy tonight, there must have been a full-moon or something, and I want to thank all the fans for coming out tonight.”
In preliminary action, Scott Bloomquist set the overall time (Group A) amongst the 21 entrants, with a lap of 10.966 seconds.
John Blankenship, Jimmy Owens, Earl Pearson Jr., Dennis Erb Jr., Steve Francis, Eddie Carrier Jr., Billy Ogle Jr., Jared Landers, Brad Neat, Billy Moyer Jr., Tommy Bailey, Josh Henry, Jerry Lierly, Jay Brunson, Chris Madden, Scott Bloomquist, Don O’Neal, Bobby Pierce, Jeff Wolfenbarger, Bryan Hendrix, Terry Wolfenbarger.