The outriders for the North South 100 at Florence Kentucky
Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, WI continued his prowess in major dirt late model events as he passed race leader Don O'Neal of Martinsville, IN on the final lap to win the $50,000 27th Annual Sunoco Race Fuels North/South 100 Presented by Lucas Oil on Saturday Night at Florence Speedway. O'Neal, who led laps 24 through 99 saw Mars come the 15th starting spot and pass him in turn four as the two headed to the checkers; Mars took the win by a car length. Trailing Mars and O'Neal across the stripe were Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN; Earl Pearson, Jr. of Jacksonville, FL; and Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN.
Pole sitter Joe Armes took the lead at the start of the 100 lap race with Don O'Neal moving into second place followed by 2-time event winner, Steve Shaver, R.J. Conley and Scott Bloomquist. Armes and O'Neal then diced it out for the lead as the two entered traffic by lap eleven.
O'Neal raced side-by-side with Armes for the lead for two consecutive laps, but Armes maintained the lead at the scoring line. With 15 laps in the books it was a great battle for the lead with Armes and O'Neal as Shaver was closing the gap in the race for the lead.
Jimmy Mars (28) works his way to the front from fifteenth starting position at Florence pa
On lap 24, O'Neal threw a slider on Armes in turn four as he cleanly passed him to take over the lead. O'Neal then started to open up some distance between himself, Armes, Shaver, Conley and Bloomquist. The top five in the running order remained the same until the first and only caution of the race came out for a slowing Will Vaught on lap 31.
On the restart O'Neal led the Delaware double file restart as Armes slipped back to fourth as Shaver and Bloomquist climbed to second and third. O'Neal built a straightaway lead ten laps into the green flag run and with 45 laps in the books. O'Neal was well out in front followed by a battle royale between Shaver and Bloomquist for second.
O'Neal re-entered traffic at the halfway mark but he still maintained a huge lead as Bloomquist passed Shaver on lap 49 after the two raced against each other for several circuits. Pearson, who had started in the outside of the front row lost several spots at the start of the race, but regrouped as he marched his way up to third passing Shaver on lap 55.
The race for the early lead between Don O'Neal (71) and Joe Armes (77) at Florence during
With 40 laps to go O'Neal was in command still holding a straightaway advantage over his competitors as Bloomquist and Pearson were putting on a show for second as the top two in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series fought tooth and nail for not only track position, but for points.
With 25 to go O'Neal had to contend with two cars he was trying to lap in front of him; as Bloomquist and Pearson now had company,; Mars was now in the thick of things as he climbed from his 15th starting slot to put the heat on Bloomquist and Pearson which began a three-way battle now.