Seventy-nine Super Late Models, representing 18 states, along with a huge crowd of race fans, converged on West Plains Motor Speedway May 24, to take part in the 16th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Show-Me 100.
Scott Bloomquist from Mooresburg, Tenn., went from worst to first, en route to his record-setting fifth event title in the event and the $42,000 payday that comes with the checkered flag.
In the time trials May 23, it was Ashland, Ky.'s, Steve Francis who had the fast time around the 3/8-mile oval with a 14.717 second lap. Francis received $2,000 for his efforts courtesy of Mark Martin Ford, Mark Martin Chevrolet, S&H Industrial and Larry Shaw Race Cars.
With the top 24 cars inverted for heat race action on May 23, the stage was set for the most incredible action in O'Reilly Show-Me 100 history.
Freddy Smith won the first heat race from the eighth starting position, while Terry Phillips blasted from his ninth starting position to triumph in the second heat race.
Earl Pearson Jr. charged from sixth position to win the third heat.
Jeremy Payne, Shannon Babb (started fourth) and Stacy Taylor claimed victories in the other heat races.
Via their heat race wins, Freddy Smith and Terry Phillips earned the front row for the 100-lap O'Reilly Show-Me 100 feature event on Saturday night.
At the drop of the green flag, Phillips rocketed to the lead with Smith, Jeremy Payne and Shannon Babb in tow.
The leaders battled two-wide for the first few laps before the caution flag flew for Georgetown, Tenn.'s, Skip Arp, who rolled to a stop in turn three on the fourth circuit.
At the time of the caution, the top five running order consisted of Phillips, Smith, Payne, Pearson Jr. and Babb.
On the ensuing restart, Payne took advantage of the Delaware double file restart to race around Smith on the high side for the second position and set sail for his teammate, Phillips.
Lap six saw Jimmy Mars from Menomonie, Wis., continue his march to the front as he passed Smith for third position.
Caution once again would be displayed on lap 12 as Dan Schlieper rolled to a stop in turn four.
Phillips, Payne, Mars, Smith and Pearson Jr. held down the top five spots as the field prepared for a restart.
With the green flag back in the air, Phillips once again motored away from the field with Payne and Mars battling side-by-side for the next few laps, before Mars took sole possession of the runner-up spot on lap 14.
At the same time, Pearson Jr., Smith and Babb battled three wide for the fourth spot with Babb capturing the position on lap 19.
At the front of the pack, Jimmy Mars' car started to come around on the long, green flag run, and on lap 21, he caught Phillips.
With Mars on the low side and Phillips on the high side, the pair waged war for the next several laps before Mars took over the top spot on lap 33 as the leaders diced through lapped traffic.
With the action heating up at the front of the pack, much of the crowd's attention was being focused toward the middle of the pack where 24th-starting Bloomquist motored past Tim McCreadie for the 10th spot on lap 36.
Lap 40 would once again see the yellow flag wave as Dan Schlieper brought out the caution as he rolled to a stop on the back stretch.
The top five positions were occupied by Mars, Phillips, Payne, Pearson Jr. and Babb when the caution was displayed.
During the caution period, Wendell Wallace and Stacy Taylor headed pitside for fresh tires and rejoined the back of the pack before green flag conditions resumed.
On the restart, Phillips continued to work the high side of the track as he once again challenged Jimmy Mars for the lead.
Phillips edged ahead to reclaim the lead on lap 45 as Bloomquist moved past Smith and Francis to claim the sixth spot on lap 49. Francis rolled to a stop on the back stretch bringing out the caution on lap 60 as he headed to the pits for a tire change.
On the restart, Bloomquist raced past Pearson Jr. for the fifth position, while Phillips motored away from Mars at the front of the pack.
Five laps later, Bloomquist used the highline to move past Babb for the fourth spot. At the front of the pack, Mars began to once again reel in the leader, Phillips, and by lap 70 the pair were once again battling side-by-side for the top spot with Mars on the hub and Phillips continuing to work the high side.
Bloomquist moved past Payne for the third spot on lap 75.
By lap 85, Mars was encountering heavy lapped traffic, as Phillips began to narrow the gap between he and Mars.
On lap 93, the race took a dramatic change when mechanical woes resulted in fourth-running, Jeremy Payne stopping on the front stretch. With the caution displayed, Mars' advantage was erased with Phillips and Bloomquist lined up side-by-side behind the leader for the double file restart.
With the crowd on their feet in anticipation of an exciting finish, the green flag was once again displayed.
Mars headed into turn one on the bottom as Bloomquist blasted the high line and pulled even with the leader down the backstretch.
Exiting turn two on the next circuit, Bloomquist rocketed to the lead.
The Tennessee native motored away from the field over the next five laps on the way to a $42,000 payday and an unprecedented fifth O'Reilly Show-Me 100 title. Jimmy Mars, Terry Phillips, Earl Pearson Jr. and Shannon Babb rounded out the top five spots.
Consolation event #1 saw Tim McCreadie and Billy Moyer transfer to the main event, narrowly holding off a hard-charging Ray Cook, who started 19th.
Consolation event #2 was a thriller with Bart Hartman taking the win.
Wendell Wallace survived a last corner slide job by Brad Neat to take the final transfer spot.
The third and final consolation race was won by Will Vaught over a hard-charging Scott Bloomquist. Ray Cook captured the Manufacturer's Dash for Cash and Scott Bloomquist out-gunned the field to claim the Miller Brothers Coal Race of Champions.