LOCUST GROVE, Ark. — Steve Francis and Chris Madden will make up the front row for Saturday night’s 20th annual COMP Cams Topless at Batesville Motor Speedway. Both drivers won their respective heat races in Friday’s preliminary action for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.
Francis captured Wiles Driveshafts heat race number one as he got by race leader, Scott Bloomquist with two laps to go. Bloomquist got boxed in behind a lapped car heading into turn number three and Francis took full advantage by zipping past the Red Buck Cigars Fast Qualifier. Bloomquist finished second followed by four-time Topless 100 winner, Billy Moyer and first-time Topless 100 starter Todd Hall.
In the U. S. Steel heat number two, Jared Landers inherited the lead when racer leader, Tyler Reddick broke an axle tube and flipped in turn number four. Reddick, who was dominating the heat race escaped uninjured in the incident. Landers, the 2010 Topless 100 winner then ran off to capture the win. He will start third in tomorrow night’s main event.
Former Topless 100 champ, Dale McDowell finished second to Landers, followed by John Blankenship and Morgan Bagley.
In the Simpson Performance Products heat number three, Chris Madden stormed to the top spot and led all the way. Madden had to hold his breath on the final lap of the 12-lap event when traffic nearly allowed second-place running Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, IL to get by him. Babb finished second to Madden, with Will Vaught Wendell Wallace taking third and fourth to advance to the main event.
The fourth and final Hawk Performance heat race saw the top two in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series standings go head-to-head, with Don O’Neal and Jimmy Owens on the front row. O’Neal got the jump at the start and led all 12 laps to secure the fourth starting spot on Saturday. Owens, the current point leader finished second followed by Jesse Stovall and Jack Sullivan.
In preliminary action, Scott Bloomquist set the Red Buck Cigars Fast Time among the 44 entrants, with a lap of 12.798 seconds.