TAZEWELL, Tenn. — Now Bub McCool likes Tazewell Speedway.
He really, really likes it.
After McCool scored his first career World of Outlaws Late Model Series victory in Saturday night’s ‘Outlaw Sizzler 50’ presented by Rusty Wallace Cadillac-GMC-Kia of Morristown, the intimidating high-banked bullring forever earned a special place in his heart.
“I come in here having been here one time,” said McCool, whose previous visit to the third-mile oval came in 2011. “I wasn’t really happy with (the challenging track) because of just not having laps. But it turned out good (on Saturday). I’m starting to like this place.”
McCool, 34, solidified his status as the 2012 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year frontrunner with a flawless performance. He surged into the lead from the pole position at the initial green flag and never looked back, holding off repeated challenges from dirt Late Model legend Scott Bloomquist — a master of the third-mile Tazewell oval — to emerge triumphant in a caution-free race that was completed in a tour-record 10 minutes, 47.989 seconds.
Racing in front of a crowd that promoter Gary Hall called the biggest in the history of the track, McCool steered his family-owned Victory Circle car across the finish line with a slim edge of 0.281 of a second over Bloomquist’s self-built machine.
Former WoO LMS champion Darrell Lanigan, who started fourth, finished third in a Rocket, close behind the leaders after chasing them for the entire distance. Chris Madden, who won the 2011 WoO LMS event at Tazewell, placed fourth in a Team Zero by Bloomquist car and former track champion Billy Ogle Jr. settled for a fifth-place finish in his Rocket after starting third.
While many observers expected another conquest of Tazewell by Bloomquist after he drew the outside-pole starting spot, but McCool would have none of that. He kept Bloomquist at bay throughout the fast-paced event.
“I knew if I could just beat him to that first corner (at the start) and stay ahead until it started rubbering up and not make no mistakes – do my job like I was supposed to – I didn’t think he could get around me,” McCool said of Bloomquist. “We just took it easy, saved our tires and ended up with a win.”
After Bloomquist was unable to mount a serious challenge on the final lap, McCool headed to Victory Lane as this season’s eighth different winner in nine WoO LMS A-Mains. He also became the 45th driver to claim victory on the national tour since 2004.
“It means a lot to win our first World of Outlaws over Bloomquist at a track where he’s real good,” said McCool, who earned $10,550 – the first five-figure race payday of his driving career. “Our goal this year was to win the rookie deal and hopefully win at least one race during the season. Now that we’ve got a win, hopefully this will lead us to (the Rookie of the Year honor).”
Bloomquist was quickest of 32 entrants in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials, blistering his home-state track in 11.599 seconds. It was his first WoO LMS fast-time honor of 2012 and the ninth of his career.
Bub McCool, Scott Bloomquist, Darrell Lanigan, Chris Madden, Billy Ogle Jr., Jimmy Owens, Rick Eckert, Jonathan Davenport, Eric Jacobsen, Brad Neat, Greg Johnson, Vic Hill, Vic Coffey, Mike Marlar, Jack Sullivan, Clint Smith, Chub Frank, Tim Fuller, Shane Clanton, Kent Robinson, Bryan Hendrix, John Lobb, Tim McCreadie, Pat Doar.BREAKING NEWS: SPEED SPORT is back in print with a new monthly format! Subscribe for just $24.95. Special offer for former subscribers.