ZANESVILLE, OH (July 3, 2012) – Steve Francis of Ashland, KY took the lead on the13th lap from Donnie Moran of Dresden, OH and went on to win the Budweiser 50 on Tuesday Night at Muskingum County Speedway. For Francis, it was his fourth Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series triumph of the season. John Blankenship of Williamson, WV finished second. Moran was third, followed by Don O’Neal of Martinsville, IN and Mike Marlar of Winfield, TN.
Moran led the first 12 circuits of the race, until giving way to Francis. Francis then battled with Blankenship for the remainder the race, which was slowed by two caution flags. Francis held off Blankenship through heavy traffic in the final five laps of the race to score his ninth career LOLMDS victory.
“Donnie (Moran) and I started on the front row, it was reminiscent of the old days when we ran against each other all the time. It was a real good win for Barry (Wright) and the guys, we made the right tire choice tonight! My daughter was also here tonight, she doesn’t get to come very often, so it was a special night all the way around,” said Francis.
“After they watered the track during the fireworks, we kind of had in our mind what we wanted to do, similar to what Scott (Bloomquist) did here last year in winning the race. I thought O’Neal would give us a race with his tire choice, but Blankenship has been running real good here lately so I knew he would be in the hunt as well. I have to thank Barry Wright Race Cars, Clements Engines, Valvoline, JRi Shocks, Nichols Plumbing, AES Racing, Mathis Farms, and VP Fuels for all of the their help,” said Francis, who remains fourth in the series points standings after his win.
Blankenship, who won the series’ last race at Wythe Raceway in Virginia after starting 14th, came from fourth to challenge Francis for the race win, but came up short in winning on his 31st birthday. He drove the Coal America’s Energy, Cornett Racing Engines, Rocket Chassis. Moran, the home track star, finished third in his Custom Cutters, Malcuit Engines, MasterSbilt Chevy.
Completing the top ten were point’s leader, Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN; Josh McGuire of Ashland, KY; Hard Charger of the Race, Jared Landers of Batesville, AR; Zack Dohm of Cross Lanes; and Eric Wells of Hazard, KY.
In preliminary action, Steve Francis set the Red Buck Cigars Fast Time amongst the 37 entrants with a lap of 15.447 seconds. Heat races were taken by: Steve Francis, Josh McGuire, Donnie Moran, and John Blankenship. Jonathan Davenport and Rod Conley won their respective B-Mains.
The series will be back in action in the “Clash at the Mag” at Magnolia Motor Speedway in Columbus, MS on Friday and Saturday July 6th and 7th. The event will be a two-day $20,000-to-win show and will feature Red Buck Cigars Time Trials and Heat Races on Friday Night. B-Mains, and the 100-lap $20,000 “Clash at the Mag” main event will take place on Saturday. For more information on the event, go to www.magnoliadirt.com.
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