Fayetteville An Historic Challenge For Lucas/Hat Racers

Fayetteville An Historic Challenge For Lucas/Hat Racers

by June 12, 2019 0 comments

The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series’ return to Fayetteville Motor Speedway on Thursday night will mark the 15th time the track has hosted the tour and its forefather, the Hav-A-Tampa Dirt Racing Series.

In the 14 events that date back to 1991, there have been 13 different winners. Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., is the only two-time visitor to Victory Lane in the bunch.

A local driver, Hope Mills’ Hank Edwards – who at the time resided in Reigelwood, N.C. – won the debut of the Hav-A-Tampa series at Fayetteville on Aug. 17, 1991. Ed Basey came up from Augusta, Ga., to capture the next year’s program. In 1993, Bloomquist picked up the victory.

The HAT tour returned to Fayetteville on May 28, 1994, for the first $10,000-to-win contest in the track’s history. The money went to a local driver, Danny Parker of Hope Mills, and that marked the last time a local competitor captured a Lucas/HAT race at the speedway.

It wouldn’t be until 1996 that the series came back to Fayetteville, and Bloomquist ruled a two-day show June 28-29. The next season, the two-day event was won by Wendell Wallace of Batesville, Ark., and another Batesville driver, Billy Moyer, was triumphant in ‘98.

In 2000, Rick Eckert of York, Pa., made a surprise visit to Victory Lane after Bloomquist came up light at the scales. Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., won the final HAT show at Fayetteville, on April 21, 2001.

The Lucas series made its first appearance at Fayetteville on June 22, 2007. Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y., led from the start ‘til the white flag waved, then suffered a flat tire and saw Jeff Smith of Dallas, N.C., claim the victory over Dale McDowell and Chris Madden.

Ray Cook of Brasstown, N.C., won the 2009 Lucas race, then six years would pass before the circuit came to town again. Jonathan Davenport won that night to extend his streak of consecutive event wins to eight.

Following a rainout of the Lucas show in 2016, Chris Ferguson of Mount Holly, N.C., set the pace for all 50 laps in the 2017 race that produced a unique finish. The first three drivers cross the stripe — Ferguson, Gregg Satterlee and G.R. Smith — were all in cars bearing the No. 22.

Last year’s Lucas race was rained out.

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How’s this for a field of champions that will be on hand Thursday night for the Dunn-Benson Ford/Wayne Gray Sr. Memorial presented by GETSCO?

Six of the top 10 drivers in the Lucas Oil standings have earned at least one national title.

Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., won the Hav-A-Tampa crown in 2004, then grabbed the first four Lucas crowns in 2005-08.

Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., also has five titles: Lucas in 2017 to go with World of Outlaws Late Model gold in 2009-10, ‘13 and ‘16.

Newport, Tenn., ace Jimmy Owens, the victor in the 2018 First in Flight 100 at Fayetteville, was the Lucas champ from 2011-13. Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., took his first Lucas title in 2015, then added a second last year.

Don O’Neal of Martinsburg, Ind., was No. 1 in the Lucas standings in 2014, and Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., was the king of the Outlaws in 2006.

The drivers currently in the Lucas Oil top 10 who haven’t won a title are Tyler Erb, Devin Moran, Hudson O’Neal and Kyle Bronson.

Source: Fayetteville Motor Speedway

Photo Credit: Heath Lawson/Fayetteville Motor Speedway

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