Brunswick, GA — Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., cut is racing teeth at Golden Isles Speedway in the 1990s, but the oval has been radically reconfigured in recent months. It didn’t take long for Pearson to adjust to the 4/10-mile layout during the Super Bowl of Racing IV.
Just hours before his 36th birthday, the fifth-starting Pearson took the lead from Billy Moyer exiting turn two on the eighth lap led the remainder of the 50-lap UMP feature for a $10,000 payday.
Pearson’s near-straightaway lead at the halfway point was cut to just a few lengths with 14 laps remaining, but Pearson began stretching his margin again by the 40-lap mark.
With clear track ahead of him the final 10 laps, Pearson was able to stick with his low groove and keep Moyer from making a serious challenge.
Third-starting Chris Madden never contested the leaders in finishing third while polesitter Chub Frank was fourth ahead of 12th-starting Ivedent Lloyd Jr.
Jimmy Owens, looking for his third straight victory at Golden Isles, started 14th and was up to seventh after a dozen laps. But he managed to pick up just one more spot the rest of the way and finished sixth.
Two cautions slowed the action. A lap-14 caution appeared when Tim Fuller slowed with a flat left-rear tire and three drivers — Darrell Lanigan, Tim McCreadie and Michael England — didn’t complete a lap because of a turn-two scramble on the first lap. Second-row starter Ricky Elliott got out of shape exiting turn two and triggered an accident that involved nearly 10 cars and forced a complete restart in the 50-lapper.
The evening opened with controversy as former Super Bowl of Racing winner Scott Bloomquist’s fast time was stripped because officials ruled his tires were too soft. Instead of start on the tail of a heat race, the Hall of Fame driver decided to load up his car.
Jonathan Davenport earned $2,000 for winning the night’s 25-lap feature for UMP-sanctioned Crate Late Models. Eighth-starting Keith Freeman finished second ahead of Shanon Buckingham, John Pursley and Shane Williams.
Super Bowl of Racing IV (Jan. 28): (1) Earl Pearson Jr., (2) Billy Moyer, (3) Chris Madden, (4) Chub Frank, (5) Ivedent Lloyd Jr., (6) Jimmy Owens, (7) Shane Clanton, (8) Steve Francis, (9) Mike Marlar, (10) Terry Casey, (11) Damon Eller, (12) Kelly Boen, (13) Justin Rattliff, (14) Josh Richards, (15) Vic Coffey, (16) Dennis Erb Jr., (17) Ed Basey, (18) Clint Smith, (19) Tim Fuller, (20) Donnie Moran, (21) Ricky Elliott, (22) Shanon Buckingham, (23) Darrell Lanigan, (24) Michael England, (25) Tim McCreadie.
Fast qualifier (among 56 cars): Chris Madden, 16.028 seconds (4/10- mile oval)
First heat: (1) Chub Frank, (2) Earl Pearson Jr., (3) Darrell Lanigan, (4) Dennis Erb Jr., (5) Damon Eller, (6) Tim Fuller, (7) Randle Chupp, (8) Skip Arp.
Second heat: (1) Ricky Elliott, (2) Steve Francis, (3) Michael England, (4) Jimmy Owens, (5) Josh Richards, (6) Kelly Boen, (7) Dan Schlieper, (8) Rick Eckert.
Third heat: (1) Chris Madden, (2) Shane Clanton, (3) Tim McCreadie, (4) Mike Marlar, (5) Justin Rattliff, (6) Clint Smith, (7) Brady Smith, (8) Vic Coffey.
Fourth heat: (1) Billy Moyer, (2) Donnie Moran, (3) Terry Casey, (4) Ivedent Lloyd Jr., (5) Ed Basey, (6) Shanon Buckingham, (7) Wes Steidinger, (8) Mark Andersen.
First consolation: (1) Kelly Boen, (2) Tim Fuller, (3) Dan Schlieper, (4) Randle Chupp, (5) Don O’Neal, (6) Rick Eckert, (7) Patrick Sheltra, (8) James Ward, (9) Brandon Cameron, (10) Derek Ellis, (11) Mike Collins, (12) Joe Isabell.
Second consolation: (1) Shanon Buckingham, (2) Clint Smith, (3) Vic Coffey, (4) G.R. Smith, (5) Tyler Ivey, (6) Wes Steidinger, (7) Shawn Beasley, (8) Jason McBride, (9) Mark Andersen, (10) Johnny Collins, (11) Tommy Kerr, (12) Danny Johnson, (13) Chuck Hummer, (14) Chesley Dixon, (15) Dale Groves Jr.