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Earl Pearson Jr. Crowned 2007 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Champion

CORONA, CA (December 12, 2007)- A tremendous 2007 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series season came to a close at the season ending awards banquet Thursday night, December 6th at the Wyndham Orlando Resort. Emcee of the night, Scott Douglas, from Monster Jam TV, kept things on pace for the evening as Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL was once again named the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Champion.

Music and motors roared from the big screen in a video montage provided by NeWave Productions. The dominance of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, the number one series in the industry for 2007, was highlighted during the show. The 2007 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will go down in the series record books as the most successful yet. Three years after purchasing the series in 2005, Lucas Oil has awarded a total of $2.3 million dollars in prize money, points funds, bonuses and contingencies. In 2007 the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series sanctioned 33 events in 15 states with 18 different drivers winning races. There were 632 drivers who participated at least once this year with the Lucas Oil Series. Boasting another industry record for 2007, Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series averaged 59 drivers per event.

Earl Pearson Jr. and Scott James swept the drivers awards with Pearson taking home the LifeLong Locks “Fast Time Award” and the K&N Filters “Clean Pass of the Year Award”, while James received the Edelbrock “Hard Charger of the Year Award” as well as the AllStar Performance “Performer of the Year” award. Top Honors were also presented to Pro Power Engines of Sullivan, WI as the PBM Performance Products “Engine Builder of the Year” and to Rocket Chassis of Shinnston, WV as the “Chassis Builder of the Year.” “Rookie of the Year” was awarded to Justin Ratliff of Campbellsville, KY. After having fought off Damon Eller to win at LaSalle Speedway, Justin claimed the 2007 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Comp Cams “Rookie of the Year Championship”.

The Inaugural “Mike Swims Excellence Award” was awarded posthumously to Mike Swims and was graciously accepted by his son Chase Swims, who delivered a heartfelt “thank you” which included words from his father. The series ended abruptly and sadly when Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series consultant Mike Swims passed away on September 28 at the age of 42. Mike had courageously battled cancer for seven years to the date and has left a tremendous impression on the world of dirt track racing. “Even though we had a great season and Mike was proud of our accomplishments this year; it was a bittersweet success with Mike’s passing.” said series director Ritchie Lewis. “The incredible staff at Lucas Oil, and I will never forget Mike’s contribution to racing and the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. Without his guidance and advice, we would not be where we are today.” stated Lewis.

The 2007 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series awarded trophies to its stars. Earning the 10th place trophy this year, in his 41st racing season was the “Southern Gentleman”, Freddy Smith. The trophy for 9th place went to Rookie of the Year runner-up, Damon Eller. Blasting his way into 8th place is former World 100 winner, Dan Schlieper. Billy Drake capped off his victory at North Alabama Speedway, and took home the hardware for the 7th place spot. Finishing out his first season on the tour, and claiming a respectable 6th place was the 2007 Rookie of the Year, Justin Ratliff.

Another first-timer on the tour in ’07, Terry English, managed a consistent year and finished in 5th place. The “Million Dollar Man”, Donnie Moran, who finished the last race of the year with another top 5 finish, rounded out this season with 4th place honors. The 2007 “Dream” winner, Steve Casebolt, topped off an amazing season finish with 3rd place in the final standings. The “Silver Shark,” Scott James battled week after week this season, clinching an impressive second place. And the 2007 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Champion, now three times running, is Earl Pearson Jr.

Pearson managed to fend off some fierce competition from both Steve Casebolt and Scott James week after week this year, having relinquished his lead multiple times to the two formidable competitors. This year’s points battle was definitely hard fought and exciting to watch. There were many points lead changes in 2007, many new faces on the tour, and the brightest stars in the Dirt Late Model Racing Industry were all present for the 2007 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series national tour.

“I would like to thank all of the fans, car owners, competitors, crews, promoters, and all of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Staff for all of their hard work this year, making this the most successful year to date.” stated Series Director, Ritchie Lewis, ” I would also like to thank my wife Sheila for all of her prayers, support and strength that she has given to me throughout this season.”

The awards banquet may have closed out the 2007 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series racing season, but everyone can still get their Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series winter fix as the series will be appearing on the SPEED Channel again this off-season. The complete broadcast schedule is available online at: www.lucasdirt.com/broadcasts.php.

The 2008 racing season for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series is already off to an impressive start with 41 events booked. The season will kick off in just a few short weeks with the 32nd Annual “East Bay Winternationals” at East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa, FL. The entire schedule is available at: www.lucasdirt.com/tour.php.

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