SARVER, Pa. — Jimmy Owens turned back a furious late-race challenge from Scott Bloomquist to capture Friday night’s 30-lap Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com preliminary feature at Lernerville Speedway.
Making his first appearance at the four-tenths-mile oval in five years, Owens raced off the pole position to lead the entire distance. But he didn’t secure his first triumph at Lernerville and the eighth World of Outlaws Late Model Series victory of his career until surviving a scare of his own doing and a strong last-lap bid from Bloomquist.
After Owens, 42, nearly slipped over Lernerville’s turn-two berm on lap 19 while holding a comfortable lead of over 2.5 seconds, he didn’t make another mistake. He stuck strong to the outside lane and held off Bloomquist to win by 0.510 of a second.
“We had an excellent car all night long,” said Owens. “The high side was gone (in the final laps) and I wanted to move down, but we were so successful up there you just hated to move. We just stayed with it and held on.””
Bloomquist, 50, settled for his second runner-up finish in as many nights. He chased the designer of Owens’s Club 29 chassis, Darrell Lanigan across the finish line in Thursday night’’s Firecracker 100 preliminary feature.
Tim McCreadie advanced from the seventh-starting spot to finish third, nearly three seconds behind the victor. Two-time Firecracker 100 winner Jimmy Mars moved forward from the ninth starting spot to place fourth and third-starter Chub Frank placed fifth for his third top-five finish in his last four WoO LMS starts.
Owens admitted following the race that his designs on victory flashed before his eyes when he got too high on lap 19, but he quickly realized he still had control of the event.
“I entered that corner just like always but them crumbs were up there and I just slid off the track a little bit,” said Owens. “I knew we had a pretty good lead when we didn’t lose the lead (on lap 19).”
Owens’ checkered flag assured him of a pole starting spot in a heat race during Saturday night’s Firecracker 100 finale. He feels good about his chances for winning the $30,000 top prize.
“We’ll give it a whirl and see what we can come up with,” Owens said of his plans for Saturday night.