(BLOOMBURG 5-19-22): Max Blair had this weekend circled since joining the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series. Thursday night at Bloomsburg Fair Raceway was his first chance to bring his home state fans to their feet—and he delivered.
The Centerville, PA driver thundered past pole-sitter Jeff Rine on Lap 1, leading all 40 laps en route to his second World of Outlaws victory of the season—and third at Bloomsburg Fair Speedway.
Blair is the only driver to win a Super Late Model race at the track, a perfect three-for-three. He stated that experience played a role in his victory.
“Having some prior experience at this place was huge,” Blair said. “It races different than any place I’ve ever been.
“I felt like the first time I was here, it took a while to get the handle of it, so I think being here was a big deal. I don’t know how much I’ve really applied setup-wise, but driving-wise, it was an advantage.”
However, his experience wasn’t the only factor leading Blair to the checkered flag. He had some luck on his side toward the end.
“We actually have a flat tire,” Blair said. “The right rear was going down on that last caution. I thought I could feel it lean over more and more, and it’s flat now. So, we got a little lucky there, that’s for sure. But that was a heck of a start to the weekend.”
While Blair took home his fifth career World of Outlaws triumph, the man he’s chasing in the points standings, Dennis Erb Jr., finished behind him in second.
Erb quickly powered into the top-five from his seventh starting spot, hoping to strike for his second World of Outlaws win of the season. He challenged Blair for a few laps before settling for second.
“I was trying to make sure we held everything together,” Erb said. “We started back there a little but was able to get up there quick and race up there, so I was just kind of holding on to make sure not to overdo it but also make a challenge or two,” he continued.
“We had a good car, and [Blair] was really just going to have to make a mistake. I was real good in [Turn 1 and 2], and he pushed up a couple of times, and you never know what’s going to happen, so we had to be right there.”
With the win, Blair gained four points on Erb—cutting the deficit to 94.
Four-time Series champion Josh Richards crossed the line third, his second straight podium finish after a third at Mississippi Thunder Speedway. Tanner English finished fourth, and 2015 Series Champion Shane Clanton rounded out the top five.
Ryan Gustin set a new track record for Late Models at 14.966-seconds. A total of 16 total cars eclipsed the previous mark held by Jeff Rine which was 15.786-seconds. Gustin, Blair, Rine and Gregg Satterlee copped heat wins. Kyle Hammer and Shaun Jones annexed the twin Last Chance Showdowns.
Austin Reed of Etters scored a rousing win in the 305 Sprint feature in a race that provided plenty of action and drama throughout the 25-lap distance. From start to finish there was excitement taking place all around the 3/8-mile dirt oval and much of it centered on the battle for the lead.
Reed, who started ninth, took over the front spot six laps from the finish when then leader Paul Moyer suddenly lost power and dropped out. Afterwards he made sure to hit his marks perfectly and was able to hold off hard charging Domenic Melair who was closing fast in the waning laps.
“I was just trying to bide my time and see where I was the fastest. I could see that I could really run into the corners hard and get a little bite coming off,” said Reed.
“My guys gave me a real good car and I have to thank them for getting me going this year. In only wish my mom, dad, son and wife could have been here. We’re excited and we’ll take it.”
At the outset Jeff Cavalet and Moyer shared the front row but before a single lap was scored the red waved for Josh Spicer who flipped in Turn 2.
On the restart Moyer jumped to the early lead and within the first few laps was being hotly pursued by Ryan Kissinger. Their battle was intense as laps were contested in side-by-side fashion with Kissinger trying several times to take Moyer on the inside.
With nine laps in the lead pair came upon the slower car of Levi Brungard and they then split their way by him going through Turn 3. Kissinger made his pass on Brungard on the low side of the track and when he did made slight contact. Brungard then spun to bring out a caution and while under the yellow Kissinger had to make an unexpected pit stop due to a cut right rear tire from the contact and ended any hopes of a good finish.
On the restart Moyer was ahead of Jeff Weaver and Reed. As Moyer held his ground Reed was able to slip by Weaver for second and soon began his assault towards the leader. However, with six laps to go Moyer suddenly slowed off the pace and pulled off with mechanical woes, giving up the top spot to Reed.
Although Reed was now in charge his race was far from over as Melair had everyone’s attention as he had stormed from 17th and was now in second spot and closing quickly. Reed though remained vigilant in his quest to win and held on for a very gratifying yet close victory.
“It feels good to get a win our first time ever here, I never had even come to the Bloomsburg Fair so this is awesome to be here with this crowd and with the World of Outlaws racing the same night,” said Reed.
“This is definetley a badass race track. I like how through the night they tried to work on it and get some of the ruts out of it for us and with our class it’s really racy and fun.”
For his runner-up efforts Melair was presented the BJ Crawford Construction Hard Charger award worth an extra $200.
Weaver took third with Scott Frack and Kruz Kepner rounding out the top five. Heat wins went to Tylor Cochran, Tyler Snook and Reed.
WoO Late Model feature finish (40 Laps): 1. Max Blair, 2. Dennis Erb Jr., 3. Josh Richards, 4. Tanner English, 5. Shane Clanton, 6. Brent Larson, 7. Rick Eckert, 8. Boom Briggs, 9. Dylan Yoder, 10. Kyle Hammer, 11. Deshawn Gingerich, 12. Ryan Gustin, 13. Gordy Gundaker, 14. Gregg Satterlee, 15. Ryan Montgomery, 16. Mike Lupfer, 17. Dan Stone, 18. Shaun Jones, 19. Jeff Rine, 20. Chub Frank, 21. Coleby Frye, 22. Andrew Yoder, 23. Andy Boozel, 24. Bryan Bernheisel