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Birkhofer Ends Bloomquist’s Win Streak In Taking Battle At The Beach
- Updated: July 15, 2011
PONTOON BEACH, IL (July 15, 2011) – Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, IA took the lead on lap eight and went on to capture the Inaugural “Battle at the Beach” on Friday Night at Tri-City Speedway. Birkhofer pocketed $20,000 in the richest race in track history and also ended Scott Bloomquist’ three-race win streak on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. At 34 Raceway back in May, Birkhofer ended Bloomquist’s streak of four wins in a row. Bloomquist finished in second followed by 10th-starting, Billy Moyer of Batesville, AR; Brian Shirley of Chatham, IL; and Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN completed the top five.
Before one of the biggest crowds in track history, Don O’Neal grabbed the lead at the start of the race and led the first seven circuits, until Birkhofer took over the point. For most of the early action in the main event there were four cars battling for the lead. Bloomquist moved into the runner-up spot on lap 12. The only caution of the race was for Dale McDowell on lap 15.
On the restart Birkhofer maintained his lead as Shirley moved into the second spot around Bloomquist, by using the high side of the race track. Birkhofer started to pick-up the tail of the field by lap 25, allowing both Shirley and Bloomquist to cut into his lead. Bloomquist maneuvered by Shirley in the battle for second, regaining the spot on lap 26. The top three then pulled away from the rest of the pack and with 40 laps down were ahead of the tight race for fourth between Owens and Moyer.
As the race wore on Birkhofer continued to show a good-sized advantage over Bloomquist who had finally shed Shirley with 40 to go. For most of the race Birkhofer had to contend with heavy traffic. Bloomquist finally began to close the gap with ten laps to go. Birkhofer was able to clear a couple of cars that were battling in front of him and distanced himself from Bloomquist as he went on to capture his 13th career LOLMDS victory.
In Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the second time this season, the 39-year-old racer was complementary to several people. “It’s been a tough year in some aspects for us, we haven’t run all that much, we were here a few weeks ago and the wheel came off before the start of the race, we’ve tried to patch together a crew here lately, and I have Brian Daugherty of Integra Shocks here tonight helping. It feels good to win here at Kevin’s (Gundaker) track, to beat Scott and Billy, I mean what can you say about either of them that hasn’t already been said, they are two great drivers.”
“O’Neal started off real strong, we ran side-by-side there for a while, until I was finally able to clear him. The traffic was difficult, especially there at the end when it got slick. My car wasn’t getting through the turns like I wanted, but we had enough of a distance apparently there at the end to get the win,” said Birkhofer whose MB Customs Chassis is sponsored by Asi Racewear, Keyser Mfg, Zens Flooring, J&J Steel, Hoosier Tires, VP Racing Fuels, Reed’s Lawn Service and powered by a Pro Power Racing Engine.
With his second place finish, Bloomquist in his Hawkeye Trucking, Roush-Yates, Bloomquist Race Cars Ford took over the series points from Owens. Bloomquist now leads Owens by 20-points. Moyer, who passed Shirley for third with 25 laps remaining was piloting his Banner Valley Hauling, Clements Racing Engines, Moyer Victory Circle Ford. Shirley in his Jayco Construction, Pro Power, Bob Pierce Race Cars Chevrolet edged out Owens for fourth at the stripe.
Completing the top ten were Don O’Neal of Martinsville, IN; Steve Francis of Ashland, KY; Tyler Reddick of Corning, CA; Randy Korte of Highland, IL; and Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL. The event will be shown at 1 PM Eastern on Saturday August 7th on SPEED.
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will continue their weekend of racing with the 5th Annual CMH Diamond Nationals at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, MO tomorrow night. The event will be taped by Lucas Oil Production Studios to air on SPEED at a later date.
The series will round out the month of July with an East Coast tripleheader. On Wednesday, July 27th the series will make its second appearance at the historic Fonda Speedway in Fonda, NY . On Thursday, July 28th the series heads back to Utica-Rome Speedway in Vernon, NY and rounds out the month on Saturday, July 30th at “The Capitol of Dirt Track Racing” Hagerstown Speedway in Hagerstown, MD. All three shows will pay $10,000 to win.
For the latest breaking news on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, log onto www.lucasdirt.com or call the series’ office at (951) 532-2503.
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