KNOX DALE, Pa. — At age 56 and eight months after a hip replacement, Scott Bloomquist won Friday night’s World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series feature at Thunder Mountain Speedway.
Bloomquist led all 50 laps to earn the $10,000 triumph aboard the familiar Team Zero No. 0 late model.
It was Bloomquist’s first victory of any kind since Nov. 30, 2019 at Cochran (Ga.) Motor Speedway; which came 302 days ago. A 44-race drought was broken as well, bringing an end to the longest winless streak of his career.
“It’s been too long,” a relieved Bloomquist told a raucous crowd. “This hip replacement ended up being far more difficult than I imagined. I honestly figured we could hop right back into the swing of things, but not being able to feel your foot or leg makes it pretty hard inside the cockpit. I can’t thank Drydene enough for sticking with us through this year.”
Drawing the outside pole of the feature, Bloomquist quickly outgunned polesitter Mason Zeigler into turn one and commanded the opening circuit to lead his first lap of the year in the 35th race on tour.
Grasping control of the race lead, Bloomquist would never seriously be challenged until the closing laps, after myriad of mid-race cautions drained his pace, but at the same time kept him out of lapped traffic.
The most notable stoppage of the night came in the form of a lap 16 red flag which sent tempers through the roof and cars off on the hook. In the midst of a heated battle for the second spot behind Bloomquist, Zeigler and Chase Junghans made contact in turn three and carnage ensued.
While Zeigler drove away, Junghans’ No. 18 was sent spinning in front of the field. Innocently collected in the melee was sixth-running Gregg Satterlee and 14th-running Cade Dillard.
Fast-forward to the final restart on lap 36, Bloomquist stretched his advantage out while the trio of Darrell Lanigan, Brandon Sheppard and David Scott waged war for the runner-up position. However, with 10 laps to go, the tide shifted.
As Bloomer appeared to be faltering, Lanigan and Sheppard started thriving and chopped into the lead. Eating it down to several car lengths and then down to his back bumper, fans nearly witnessed a three-wide shot for the win.
Stealing second from Lanigan with four to go, Sheppard rose to the occasion as the biggest threat to Bloomquist’s lead in the waning laps. B-Shepp brought his Rocket Chassis No. 1 closer to the Team Zero No. 0 at the finish, but ultimately fell .517 seconds short at the checkered flag.
“I’ll tell you what, I’ve got all the feeling back in my leg and we’re about 60% feeling back in the foot,” Bloomquist noted on his condition. “I can feel the throttle again and I can really work it. It’ll get nothing but better from here.”
Sheppard finished second.
“This track was pretty tricky,” Sheppard said. “I was married to the top for that last half and I really just needed to get to second, so I could choose my restart position and go up top, I was getting killed stuck on the bottom. I eventually just got mad and got up on the wheel there at the end. I started going way higher in turns three and four and we got up to Scott, but just ran out of time. Congratulations to him and that team, they’ve been working hard all year. We’ll go to work and come back better tomorrow.”
Extending his series record to 194 podium finishes with the World of Outlaws, Lanigan continued his resurgent 2020 campaign with a third-place effort aboard the Viper Motorsports, Barry Wright ICON Race Cars No. 29v.
“I think Scott went a little harder on tires than us and we just gave up too much there at the end,” Lanigan stated on what he was missing. “This place is pretty different than anywhere we’ve been lately, but all in all tonight was good for us. We’ve been working hard in the shop and its paying off.”
Feature (50 laps): 1. 0-Scott Bloomquist [$10,000]; 2. 1-Brandon Sheppard [$5,000]; 3. 29V-Darrell Lanigan [$3,000]; 4. 4S-David Scott [$2,500]; 5. 111-Max Blair [$2,000]; 6. 28-Dennis Erb [$1,700]; 7. 10-Jared Miley [$1,400]; 8. 12-Ashton Winger [$1,300]; 9. 119-Chub Frank [$1,200]; 10. 99B-Boom Briggs [$1,100]; 11. 33-Chris Hackett [$1,050]; 12. 7-Ricky Weiss [$1,000]; 13. 97-Cade Dillard [$950]; 14. 55-Denny Fenton [$900]; 15. 11H-Gale Huey [$850]; 16. 111L-Matt Lux [$800]; 17. 1/2′-Damian Bidwell [$770]; 18. 22G-Greg Oakes [$750]; 19. 25Z-Mason Zeigler [$730]; 20. 72-Jason Covert [$700]; 21. B1-Brent Larson [$700]; 22. 94-Charles Powell [$700]; 23. 18-Chase Junghans [$700]; 24. 22-Gregg Satterlee [$700]; 25. 4-Alex Ferree [$700]. Lap Leader(s): Bloomquist 1-50. Hard Charger Award: 111-Max Blair[+17]