Firecracker Nets $31,000 For Bloomquist
SARVER, Pa. — Scott Bloomquist was flawless from start-to-finish en route to his second career victory in the Firecracker 100 Presented by GottaRace.com on Saturday night at Lernerville Speedway.
The 48-year-old dirt late model legend overtook teenager Tyler Reddick for the lead on lap two and never looked back. He gracefully handled the race’s two restarts and outlasted the late-charging Darrell Lanigan to become the second two-time winner of the six-year-old World of Outlaws Late Model Series event.
Bloomquist banked $30,100 after crossing the finish line 1.582 seconds ahead of Lanigan, who was mounting a dramatic bid for victory when he slipped over the four-tenths-mile oval’s cushion between turns one and two on lap 98. Lanigan, 42, lost precious ground to Bloomquist and didn’t have enough time to recover, leaving him a runner-up in the Firecracker 100 for the fourth time in the last five years.
Tim McCreadie finished about two seconds behind Lanigan in third, continuing his WoO LMS hot streak in the Sweeteners Plus Warrior. Shane Clanton ran second for more than half the distance but settled for a fourth-place finish in the Kennedy Motorsports Capital Race Car and Dale McDowell placed fifth driving the Team Dillon Warrior No. 41 that 2011 ARCA Racing Series champion Ty Dillon steers in selected events.
Bloomquist started third in his self-built Team Zero chassis, but he needed just a single lap to break into the lead for good. He surged by front-row starters Reddick and Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., who took the green flag from the pole position, for the top spot on lap two and immediately pulled away.
“They just weren’t going anywhere,” Bloomquist said of his quick ascension to the race lead. “Our car was just that good, and I thought, ‘I’m not gonna sit here and mess with this. I’m just gonna go.’ The car really did fire off.”
By lap 35 Bloomquist held an edge over three seconds – nearly a full straightaway – on Clanton, who advanced from the eighth starting spot to second in 14 laps. Caution flags on laps 44 (flat tire on the car driven by John Garvin Jr.) and 55 (problems for Dave Hess Jr.) tightened the field, but Bloomquist maintained solid control on each restart and never faced any serious pressure.
The race was certainly not without anxiety for Bloomquist. He battled the tricky Lernerville layout throughout his run in front.
“I love being in the lead – don’t get me wrong,” said Bloomquist. “But leading the race can be taxing on you because you’re looking around – and this place has so many possibilities. I love this racetrack because you can drive it so many different ways. If your car’s not handling, there’s someplace on that racetrack that it should handle. You just gotta find it.
“There were a couple times I slid the car, and when I went in the next corner it was extremely loose. You had to be so intense out there to not slide the tires at all and to just be sure you were picking the right groove around the race track.”
Lanigan, who started seventh, made the race interesting during its late stages. The current WoO LMS points leader battled his way forward to grab second from Clanton on lap 62 and slowly-but-surely cut his deficit to Bloomquist from over two seconds to just a half-second as lap 96 was scored.
Badly craving a Firecracker 100 victory after finishing second three years in a row from 2008-2010, Lanigan tossed his Rocket machine hard around the outside of the track. Bloomquist was keenly aware of the possibility that the approaching challenger could steal the race.
“I’ll tell you what’s the worst thing that can happen – it’s if you have the most dominant car of the weekend and get beat in the last 10 laps of a race or something happens at the end,” said Bloomquist, who won Thursday night’s first 30-lap WoO LMS preliminary A-Main and finished second in Friday night’s headliner. “We were real concerned about that. Tommy (Hicks, Bloomquist’s chief mechanic) was showing me hand signals and I knew somebody was close. I didn’t know who it was though.
“I just had to really get back in the zone and focus on the racetrack and not think about somebody else.”
Bloomquist stayed smooth enough to hold on for his first Firecracker 100 triumph since capturing the inaugural event in 2007. It was his 24th victory on the WoO LMS since 2004 and his tour-leading seventh career win in a 100-lap event.
Scott Bloomquist, Darrell Lanigan, Tim McCreadie, Shane Clanton, Dale McDowell, Mike Marlar, Eddie Carrier Jr., Jared Miley, Tyler Reddick, Bub McCool, Chub Frank, Tim Fuller, Rick Eckert, Jack Sullivan, Vic Coffey, Dan Stone, Clint Smith,Kent Robinson, John Garvin Jr., Jimmy Mars, Gregg Satterlee, Bump Hedman, Brady Smith, Dave Hess Jr., Pat Doar, Ron Davies, Mike Pegher Jr., Austin Hubbard.
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