BUSTI, N.Y. — The record books will show that John Blankenship led all 50 laps of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series debut at Stateline Speedway Tuesday night.
The record crowd that was in attendance knows that just for a moment Mike Knight almost pulled off a major upset.
Blankenship, who won the first major race of his career in 2005 at Stateline, stormed to a healthy early lead over the field. Scott Bloomquist ran in second place for the first 28 laps of the race, until Knight, using the top groove on the track, ran him down and passed him on lap 29.
It took several laps before Knight could finally catch Blankenship and cut down the straightaway lead he had over the field. Blankenship started experiencing difficulties with lapped traffic, and that allowed Knight to close the gap.
Knight briefly held the lead off of turn two on lap 48, but Blankenship’s machine bolted out of turn 4 to retake the lead. Knight then tried to pass Blankenship several more times, but he made contact with the wall coming off of turn two, and hurt his chances to pull off a surprising win.
Dave Hess Jr. came from 16th to finish third in his best Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series finish. Chub Frank was fourth, followed by Bloomquist.
“I thought it was Scott (Bloomquist). I saw a dark car, but he (Knight) must have run a heck of a race,” said Blankenship after his second victory of the season. “He tried the cross-over move a couple of times there near the end and I was able to get back in front of him. Our car started to go away at the end, it was just superb right from the drop of the green.”
John Blankenship, Mike Knight, Dave Hess Jr., Chub Frank, Scott Bloomquist, Don O’Neal, Jonathan Davenport, Jimmy Owens, Jared Landers, Ron Davies, Earl Pearson Jr., Bump Hedman, Ricky Elliott, Eric Wells, Tyler Reddick, Steve Francis, Randy Lobb, Rich Gardner, Gregg Satterlee, Dick Barton, Daniel Stone, Doug Eck, David Scott, Robbie Blair, Jason DuPont.
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