MARIBEL, WI — Earl Pearson Jr. made the leap into the infield pond on Friday night, a tradition for first-time winners at 141 Speedway.
Pearson, in the Ronnie Stuckey-owned, Lucas Oil Products, Black Diamond Chassis passed race-long leader Bobby Pierce on lap 44 and then sped on to win his second Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event on the season.
Pierce led the first 43 laps of the 50-lap main event until Pearson made his way underneath the 21-year-old driver of the Dunn Benson Ford, Campbell University, Rocket coming off of turn four. Pearson then quickly pulled away to claim his 34th career LOLMDS victory.
Hudson O’Neal’s Todd Burns-owned, Dyno One, Club 29 entry came home in third. Jimmy Mars gave his home state their best finish with a fourth-place run, in his career debut at the 141 Speedway. Darrell Lanigan came from 11th to finish in fifth.
Pierce grabbed the lead at the start of the race and was looking for his third win of the season. Pierce fought off the challenges of the younger O’Neal early on until he started to pull away. After a caution on lap 26, Pierce had to contend with O’Neal and Josh Richards in a side-by-side battle for several circuits. Pearson then began making his move on the leaders as he took second from O’Neal and started to track Pierce down. On several occasions, Pearson pulled to the rear quarter-panel of Pierce’s car but was only able to muscle his way around him with six laps to go.
“We got into lapped traffic and I don’t know if I could have done anything with him [Pierce]. We just rode around the bottom and you had to be patient. You just had to stay on those tires. He [Pierce] is one heck of a race-car driver. To run first and second tonight, this finish is for Carlton Lamm. I have a friend back home who is in pretty bad shape and this one’s for him as well,” said the 46-year-old veteran driver in Lucas Oil Victory Lane.
“I hope the fans saw one heck of a show tonight. It was pretty racy for the first time being here. I think we all learned what to do next time we are here at this track. We just took our time and made all the right moves. All the Dunn-Benson Team does a great job. Whether he won, or I won I know it was for Carlton.”
Pierce commented on his race as well, “We had a good car here tonight. I don’t know what happened, the longer the race went I got looser and looser. That turn three was actually kind of tricky a few times. You had to miss the corner to come off good. I missed it way too much there at the end. Congrats to Earl on the win.”
Hudson O’Neal, who started alongside his father, Don in row two, enjoyed a podium finish. “I was pretty good there early in the race. I stayed there with Bobby for the first 25 laps of the race and then Josh [Richards] got up there and we had a good race. Thanks to my crew for all of the hard-work they have done on this car. To get another podium finish is great for the team.”
Rounding out the top ten were Scott Bloomquist, Josh Richards, Don O’Neal, Cade Dillard, and Jonathan Davenport.
-Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Press Release
-Photo credit: Heath Lawson