LOCUST GROVE, Ark. — John Blankenship took home the biggest win of his racing career tonight at Batesville Motor Speedway.
Blankenship earned $20,000 by winning the second annual Bad Boy 98 sanctioned by the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and marked the first series win for him this year. Blankenship pulled away at the end to score a convincing victory over Brady Smith, Steve Francis, Billy Moyer and Jimmy Owens.
While Blankenship enjoyed the fruits of the win, Dennis Erb Jr. was left with what could have been. Erb led the first 67 laps of the race until smoke bellowed from his No. 28, forcing him pitside. Erb and Blankenship had put on a side-by-side battle for the top spot for most of the race until that point. Blankenship then ran away with the race as he went unchallenged over the last 30 laps of the event.
“I have to thank all of my crew, Tom Buckingham and everyone else, this is the biggest win we have ever had,” said Blankenship. “That was quite a race for the lead between Dennis and me, and then I saw smoke out of his car and I knew he was in trouble. This Rocket Chassis car has been good all year long, we have been knocking on the door for a big win like this since last year, and tonight it finally happened.”
Smith, who won last week at LaSalle Speedway, came from seventh as he fought his way to a second finish.
“Congrats to John on the win, he was gone there at the end,” Smith said. “I couldn’t see him on the track anymore! Our car was tight early on, but as the race wore on, we got a whole lot better. Hey, this has been a solid two weeks for us. A win and a second place, we’ll take it, as we head to the Show-Me 100 next weekend.”
Francis, last August’s winner of Batesville’s biggest race, the COMP Cams Topless 100, had a solid finish in third as he held off Billy Moyer and Owens. Owens retook the championship point lead from Don O’Neal, who finished eighth.
In preliminary action, Earl Pearson Jr. set the overall time (Group A) amongs the 40 entrants, with a lap of 13.679 seconds.
John Blankenship, Brady Smith, Steve Francis, Billy Moyer, Jimmy Owens, Scott Bloomquist, Earl Pearson Jr., Don O’Neal, Eric Jacobsen, Jack Sullivan, Jared Landers, Tyler Reddick, A.J. Diemel, Billy Moyer Jr., Dennis Erb Jr., Chris Wall, Mark Whitener, Wendell Wallace, Eddie Carrier Jr., Chris Simpson, Jesse Stovall, Jimmy Mars, Timothy Culp, Bobby Pierce, Jerry Lierly.