A late caution flag was just what the doctor ordered for Scott Bloomquist during Sunday’s running of the Lucas Oil Series sanctioned March Madness Super Late Model race at the Cherokee Speedway.
After the first start was waved off due to a crash on the backstretch, Gaffney’s Chris Madden pulled out to the early lead. Madden built a 15-car length advantage before seeing it erased by the first caution flag of the race.
Madden maintained the lead but Dale McDowell, driving for NASCAR Star Clint Bowyer, began to track him down. The capacity crowd went from the edge of their seats to their tip-toes as Madden and McDowell battled door to door for the next 20-laps. McDowell grabbed the lead, only to have Madden work his way back to the point on the high side.
Madden took his turn at the point again, but with McDowell hooked up in the low grove, it was not long before he pulled clear again. McDowell grabbed the lead on lap 42 of the 50 lap event and looked to be poised to back up his win in last fall’s Blue-Gray 100 until the final caution flag waved with just a scant four laps remaining.
While McDowell and Madden had been racing hard, Scott Bloomquist had methodically worked his way to third place. On the final restart, McDowell surged ahead of the pack, with Bloomquist working his way past Madden for second.
On the last lap, Bloomquist charged off turn two and drove deep into turn three; he pulled alongside McDowell in turn four and raced toward Bruce Coyle’s checkered flag to secure the $10,000 first place prize. The defending Lucas Oil Series Champion was very happy with the performance.
“Last season we only had three wins, this year we have already scored two. We did a lot of testing during the year last year, and I believe that is starting to payoff for us,” said Bloomquist.
In the support classes, race fans were thrilled to see Billy Bishop, the driver that was known as The Nightstalker, make his return to action. Bishop stalked his teammate Greg Dimsdale for several laps before Dimsdale nipped him at the line by a car length. “I got a little nervous knowing Billy closing in on me, my car was good but I knew his was just as good,” said Dimsdale.
The Renegade division was won by Duke Bare, who was able to drive through a last lap crash between Mart Patterson and Dustin Morris. Morris was hoping to score the double, he had won the first feature Sunday afternoon in Pure Stock, but he had to settle for fourth in his second effort. Billy West won the crash filled Stock-4 main over Josh Hoots. Saturday afternoon, Justin Murray and Zack McNeely won the Extreme Four and Young Guns divisions respectively.
Cherokee will take a week off before returning to Saturday night action on March 20th.