Earl Pearson Jr. Edges Josh Rice In Closest Finish In Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series History

Story By: LUCAS OIL LATE MODEL DIRT SERIES – UNION, KY – Earl Pearson, Jr. picked up his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win since last February as he won in a photo finish over Florence Speedway track regular Josh Rice on Friday Night.

The win kicks off the weekend of racing at the Northern Kentucky ½ mile oval in the General Tire Summer Sizzler Nationals presented by E3 Spark Plugs.

Pearson’s 39th career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory came by a scant .002 seconds, which was the closest finish in series history. Pearson took the lead on the white flag as he held off Rice and Zack Dohm who nearly made it a three-wide finish. Kyle Bronson finished in fourth followed by the Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race, Trevor Landrum.

Jonathan Davenport grabbed the lead at the start of the 50-lap feature and held the point until series point leader Jimmy Owens passed him for the top spot on lap 18. Owens was holding off Davenport, Rice, and Bronson until lap 27.

Davenport and Rice made contact on the front stretch battling for second and Davenport got into the front stretch wall forcing the first caution flag of the race. The ensuing restart saw Owens go hard into the turn one wall, ending his night.

Rice took over the point and stretched his lead over the field by over two and half seconds. Rice was primed for his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory, but in the last five laps both Pearson and Dohm cut into Rice’s lead. Pearson made the winning pass with two laps to go. Rice gave it everything he had and dive-bombed Pearson at the finish line but came up short.

In Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the first time since early 2019, Pearson became the 13th different winner of the 2020 series campaign. “He [Rice] was up there on the cushion and when you are out there in the lead you don’t know where to go. We found a line through the middle of the racetrack. He [Rice] did a heck of a job and drove the wheels off that car tonight. He’s a good kid, I love racing with him. He drives everybody clean and I respect the heck out of him,” said the 4-time Series champion.

“The track was pretty well racy. I don’t know what happened to Davenport and Jimmy up there, but when it is your turn, it’s your turn. It’s been a long-time since we won here at Florence, 10 years to be exact. We will take the win tonight and hopefully we can keep on going tomorrow.”

The 21-year-old Rice recorded his best career finish with his second-place run. I tried backing off the cushion in the last five or so laps. I know it was close finish. We had a hot rod tonight; we will be ready for tomorrow night. If we hadn’t got the front knocked off, I don’t think they would have had anything for us.”

Dohm had his best Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series finish of the season with his new Longhorn Chassis. “I thought the cushion would be bigger during the race. We were set-up to run the bottom and that’s where we stayed the whole race. If that cushion would have been there we would have been in trouble. Congrats to Earl on the win, I hoped the fans enjoyed that race.”

The winner’s Ronnie and Terri Stuckey/Black Diamond Chassis is powered by a Clements Racing Engine and sponsored by Lucas Oil Products, Tegeler Wrecker and Crane, Etchberger Trucking, Ohlins Shocks, P&W Sales, and Papich Construction.

Completing the top ten were Tim McCreadie, Mike Marlar, Tyler Bruening, Tanner English, and Kyle Strickler.

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Race Summary
General Tire Summer Sizzler Nationals – presented by E3 Spark Plugs
Friday, July 10th, 2020
Florence Speedway – Union, KY

Lucas Oil Time Trials
Fast Time Group A: Jonathan Davenport / 15.364 seconds (overall)
Fast Time Group B: Earl Pearson Jr. / 15.431 seconds

Penske Race Shocks Heat Race #1 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 49-Jonathan Davenport[1]; 2. 16-Tyler Bruening[3]; 3. 11R-Josh Rice[4]; 4. 1T-Tyler Erb[2]; 5. 50-Shanon Buckingham[5]; 6. 33J-Jesse Lay[8]; 7. 1M-Connor Meade[7]; 8. 32A-Robert Starret[9]; 9. (DNS) 1G-Devin Gilpin

FK Rod Ends Heat Race #2 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 14-Josh Richards[2]; 2. 9-Devin Moran[1]; 3. 17D-Zack Dohm[3]; 4. 71-Hudson O’Neal[4]; 5. 11H-Jared Hawkins[8]; 6. 17-Logan Roberson[5]; 7. 83-Scott James[6]; 8. 49G-Billy Green[7]

Simpson Race Products Heat Race #3 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 1-Earl Pearson Jr[1]; 2. 40B-Kyle Bronson[4]; 3. 8-Kyle Strickler[2]; 4. 81E-Tanner English[6]; 5. 25-Shane Clanton[7]; 6. 2H-Nick Hoffman[3]; 7. 20C-Duane Chamberlain[8]; 8. 25Z-Mason Zeigler[5]

Ohlins Shocks Heat Race #4 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 20-Jimmy Owens[1]; 2. 39-Tim McCreadie[2]; 3. 21-Billy Moyer Jr[3]; 4. 57-Mike Marlar[4]; 5. 18L-Trevor Landrum[8]; 6. 16J-Jason Jameson[6]; 7. 2S-Stormy Scott[5]; 8. 4G-Kody Evans[7]

Tiger Rear Ends B-Main #1 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 11H-Jared Hawkins[2]; 2. 50-Shanon Buckingham[1]; 3. 83-Scott James[6]; 4. 49G-Billy Green[8]; 5. 1M-Connor Meade[5]; 6. 33J-Jesse Lay[3]; 7. 17-Logan Roberson[4]; 8. 32A-Robert Starret[7]; 9. (DNS) 1G-Devin Gilpin

FAST Shafts B-Main #2 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 25-Shane Clanton[1]; 2. 25Z-Mason Zeigler[7]; 3. 18L-Trevor Landrum[2]; 4. 16J-Jason Jameson[4]; 5. 2S-Stormy Scott[6]; 6. 2H-Nick Hoffman[3]; 7. 20C-Duane Chamberlain[5]; 8. (DNS) 4G-Kody Evans

Lucas Oil Feature Finish (50 Laps):

Pos
Start
Car #
Competitor
Hometown
Pay
1
2
1
Earl Pearson Jr
Jacksonville, FL
$12,000
2
9
11R
Josh Rice
Verona, KY
$5,500
3
11
17D
Zack Dohm
Cross Lanes, WV
$3,500
4
6
40B
Kyle Bronson
Brandon, FL
$2,750
5
22
18L
Trevor Landrum
Erlanger, KY
$2,250
6
8
39
Tim McCreadie
Watertown, NY
$1,800
7
16
57
Mike Marlar
Winfield, TN
$1,500
8
5
16
Tyler Bruening
Decorah, IA
$1,300
9
14
81E
Tanner English
Benton, KY
$1,200
10
10
8
Kyle Strickler
Mooresville, NC
$1,100
11
3
14
Josh Richards
Shinnston, WV
$1,075
12
12
21
Billy Moyer Jr
Batesville, AR
$1,050
13
19
50
Shanon Buckingham
Morristown, TN
$1,025
14
17
11H
Jared Hawkins
Fairmont, WV
$1,000
15
15
71
Hudson O’Neal
Martinsville, IN
$1,000
16
18
25
Shane Clanton
Zebulon, GA
$1,000
17
24
2H
Nick Hoffman
Mooresville, NC
$1,000
18
23
2S
Stormy Scott
Las Cruces, NM
$1,000
19
7
9
Devin Moran
Dresden, OH
$1,000
20
13
1T
Tyler Erb
New Waverly, TX
$1,000
21
1
49
Jonathan Davenport
Blairsville, GA
$1,000
22
4
20
Jimmy Owens
Newport, TN
$1,000
23
21
83
Scott James
Lawrenceburg, IN
$1,000
24
20
25Z
Mason Zeigler
Chalk Hill, PA
$1,000
Race Statistics
Entrants
: 33
Lap Leaders: Jonathan Davenport (Laps 1 – 17); Jimmy Owens (Laps 18 – 27); Josh Rice (Laps 28 – 48); Earl Pearson Jr. (Laps 49 – 50)
Wrisco Feature Winner: Earl Pearson Jr.
Margin of Victory: 0.002 seconds
Cautions: Jonathan Davenport (Lap 27); Jimmy Owens (Lap 27)
Series Provisionals: Stormy Scott
Fast Time Provisional: Nick Hoffman
Series Emergency Provisionals: n/a
Big River Steel Podium Top 3: Earl Pearson Jr., Josh Rice, Zack Dohm
Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race
: Trevor Landrum (Advanced 17 Positions)
Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: Jimmy Owens
Allstar Performance Most Laps Led: Josh Rice (21 Laps)
Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Earl Pearson Jr.
Eibach Springs Rookie of the Race: Tyler Bruening
ARP Engine Builder of the Race: Clements Racing Engines
Miller Welders Chassis Builder of the Race: Black Diamond Chassis
Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race: Anthony Burroughs (Earl Pearson Jr.)
Dirty Girl Racewear Fastest Lap of the Race: Josh Rice (Lap #9 – 16.869 seconds)
STEEL-IT Tough Break of the Race: Jimmy Owens
PFC Brakes Pole Award: Jonathan Davenport
Time of Race: 28 minutes 18 seconds
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