Bloomquist pulls off double at Lernerville Speedway
Scott Bloomquist drove a masterful race Saturday and became just the second driver to win two World of Outlaws Firecracker 100s at Lernerville Speedway.
“When it is that slippery, you can't relax at anytime during the race,” Bloomquist said. “One thing traffic will do for you is you can judge which line is faster for you, as opposed to when you are alone. Late in the race, I lost ground. A couple times I slid the car, and it was extremely loose. You had to be very careful about where you put your car on the track.
“The worst thing that can happen is to have the best car for the weekend and then to get beaten in the last 10 laps,” Bloomquist added. “I was looking for a way to enter the cushion. I went so many different approaches for that. The outside went away and I finally saw that I wasn't gaining ground on the outside. I was told Darrell ran the top and ran the cushion. That's the last thing you want to do when you are leading the race. I wanted to run the cushion in Turn 1 but I didn't want to do it and have something happen.”
The 100-lap Firecracker is worth $30,000 to win for Bloomquist. He won the inaugural Firecracker 100 in 2007.
Darrell Lanigan finished second — the fourth time he has finished second in the Firecracker — by a margin of 1.582 seconds. Timmy McCreadie finished third, 2010 Firecracker champion Shane Clanton was fourth and Dale McDowell rounded out the top five. Jared Miley finished eighth, the best finish for a Lernerville regular in the Firecracker.
“The car came in through the race,” Miley said. “I run what I normally run here, and around Lap 40 the car really came in. I feel I can run with those guys anytime, as long as I get my car right.”
For Clanton, the chance for a victory went away when the second caution came out.
“The caution definitely hurt me,” Clanton said. “The tire sealed up, and after that second caution I was not as good. I got to Lap 80 and I was just skating across the track.”
Chub Frank, who won WoO races at Lernerville in 2004 and ‘05, started on the pole for the 100-lap main event. Frank used Lernerville as his test track this season and recorded two victories in May. But it was Tyler Reddick who led Lap 1, and then Bloomquist grabbed the lead on Lap 2.
Bloomquist held the lead through the first caution on Lap 44, which came when John Garvin Jr. suffered a flat tire. At that point, Bloomquist led Clanton by almost a full straightaway with much of the jockeying for position coming for spots five through seven. Clanton, the 2010 Firecracker winner, and Bloomquist were patiently working their way through the field, which was spread out at about Lap 15 when Bloomquist first hit lapped traffic.
Bloomquist held, and built on the lead for the next 12 laps until the next caution came out. On the Delaware restart Bloomquist again held serve, with Darrell Lanigan the main mover in the top 10. Lanigan started seventh, and on Lap 58 he took third from Marlar and had Clanton and Bloomquist in his sights.
Once the race hit the 60-lap mark, some cars started to re-tire. First off was Gregg Satterlee who pulled off on Lap 64. On Lap 66 it was Bump Hedman, and one lap later it was defending Firecracker champion Jimmy Mars who pulled off.
With 25 laps to go, Darrell Lanigan was clearly the biggest worry for Bloomquist, who changed his line and went low. Lanigan was letting it all hang out on the high side of the track.
With 84 laps completed, Garvin pulled off. With 10 laps remaining, Bloomquist led by just over a second. A couple of laps later, the lead was under a second and it looked like the finish was going to be memorable.
But, on Lap 99, Lanigan went just a bit too high into Turn 1 and he had to check up as he almost went off the track in Turn 2, and that sealed his fate.
The Uncle Sam 30, for drivers who did not transfer to the Firecracker, was a good race and an interesting pole position for Jamie Lathroum, who set the fastest time during Thursday's qualifying. Lathroum finished 18th on Friday and 13th on Thursday.
With 27 laps completed, Lathroum — who was running in the top five — was part of an incident with Kenny Schaltenbrand. Morgan Bagley of Longview, Texas, survived a late challenge from Boom Briggs to take the $3,000-to-win race.
Garrett Krummert was the top Lernerville finisher. Krummert finished sixth, Chuck Sarver was eighth and Danny Swartzlander finished ninth. Jason Rider and Herman Bertolini finished 10th and 11th, both on the lead lap.
Four drivers from each of the five heats transferred to the 100-lap main event. In the first heat, McCreadie got the jump on pole-sitter Bloomquist and rode to victory. Bloomquist finished second, McDowell was third and Austin Hubbard was fourth. Gregg Satterlee and Miley did not earn transfers, but Miley had already earned his provisional as Lernerville points leader.
In the second heat, Tyler Reddick bested Friday's feature winner Dan Stone to take the checkered. Bub McCool finished second, Stone was third and Jack Sullivan advanced from sixth at the start to take the final transfer spot.
In heat three, Mike Marlar and WoO point leader Lanigan battled for the top spot, with Marlar coming out in front. Russell King lost a possible transfer spot when he made contact with Coleby Frye, who had a rough heat race, coming out of Turn 4. Two-time defending Lernerville champion Dave Hess Jr. finished third, and Timmy Fuller finished fourth.
In heat four, Brady Smith was not pressed and he transferred easily. Frank was second, and last year's Firecracker champion, Jimmy Mars, was third. Ron Davies held off a challenge from John Garvin Jr. for the final transfer spot, but Garvin, second in Lernerville points, had a provisional to use.
In the final heat, 2010 Firecracker champion Shane Clanton cruised to the checkered flag in front of Rick Eckert in second, Bump Hedman in third and Clint Smith in fourth.
After not transferring from the heat races, both Satterlee and Miley earned a transfer to the feature by finishing one-two in the first B-Main of the night. Miley's transferring opened up a spot for Mike Pegher Jr. in the Lynn Geisler car's provisional. In the second B-Main, Vic Coffey and Eddie Carrier Jr. finished one-two. Garvin pulled off the track because he already had his provisional.
Thomas Zuck is a freelance writer.