Van Wormer races from 15th for Eldora victory
By Dustin JarrettDirtonDirt.com correspondent
ROSSBURG, Ohio (April 18) — Jeep Van Wormer staked his claim as the hottest driver in Dirt Late Model racing with a victory at Eldora Speedway. The Pinconning, Mich., driver rallied from his 15th starting spot to capture his third consecutive victory in eight days and his second of the weekend on the Sunoco American Late Model Series. | ALMS notebook | Slideshow | Van Wormer wins weekend opener at Attica
“This car was bad-ass tonight!” an excited Van Wormer said in victory lane at the historic Ohio half-mile oval. “Mark, Steve. ... everyone down there (at Rocket Chassis) has been so helpful in getting this thing dialed in. Hopefully, I’ll be back here (in victory lane at the $100,000-to-win Dream XV) in June!”
Van Wormer's $2,000 victory at Eldora follows a $5,000 victory on April 11 at Florence (Ky.) Speedway's Spring 50 (where he rallied from 20th to win) and the previous night's Sunoco ALMS victory at Attica (Ohio) Raceway Park, also worth $2,000.
Second spot at Eldora went to Scott James of Lawrenceburg, Ind., while two-time series champion Brian Ruhlman of Clarklake, Mich., was third in the 25-lapper. Fourth went to polesitter Brad Neat of Dunnville, Ky., while Jon Henry of Ada, Ohio, recovered from a lap-two spin to round out the top five. Matt Miller of Waterville, Ohio, was running second on the final restart but pulled off the track with mechanical problems.
Neat led the field to green but Brian's brother Chad Ruhlman of Bemus Point, N.Y. led the first lap with Neat, Tom Sprague and James in tow. After Henry's spin slowed the action, Chad Ruhlman, had his hands full with Neat while James, Matt Miller and Van Wormer held the top five spots.
After several side-by-side laps, Neat finally inched into the lead on the 10th lap, only to have Chad Ruhlman slip back by on the next circuit. By then, Van Wormer was up to third.
Following a lap 12 caution, Chad Ruhlman (high), Neat (middle) and Van Wormer (low) went three-wide for the lead through turns one and two with Van Wormer taking command for good.
Although Van Wormer led the final 13 laps, it wasn't easy. A lap-23 caution set the stage for a two-lap dash to the finish with Van Wormer leading Miller, Neat, James, and Brian Ruhlman. With Miller pulled out, Van Wormer kept any challengers at bay in completing his 24th career ALMS victory and his fourth career series victory at Eldora.
Van Wormer is anxious to run for the $100,000 winner's purse in the June 5-6 Dream XV at Eldora. “We’re gonna come back and win us one,” Van Wormer said.
Notes: Van Wormer drives a Cornett-powered Rocket Chassis with sponsorship from Bayline Fire Protection, Global Technologies, Port City Racing and Integra Shocks. ... Jerry Bowersock, Brian Ruhlman, Jon Henry, Scott Orr and Chad Ruhlman all performed double-duty by also competing in the modified division. ... Tyler Boggs of Warsaw, Ind., rallied from 17th to seventh in the Late Model feature before a broken rocker arm forced him pitside on lap 15. ... Former Eldora Late Model champion Aaron Scott of Newark, Ohio, piloted a Halcomb Racing car as a teammate to Jon Henry, but he scratched after time trials. .. Next up for Sunoco ALMS competitors is a May 8 event at Limaland Motorsports Park in Allentown, Ohio.
Sunoco ALMS at Eldora: (1) Jeep Van Wormer, (2) Scott James, (3) Brian Ruhlman, (4) Brad Neat, (5) Jon Henry, (6) Chad Ruhlman, (7) Curtis Roberts, (8) Ky Harper, (9) Rusty Schlenk, (10) Shawn Negangard, (11) Jerry Bowersock, (12) Rick Delong, (13) Casey Noonan, (14) Ryan Vanderveen, (15) Kerry Mathew, (16) Matt Miller, (17) Dusty Moore, (18) Tyler Boggs, (19) Rich Neiser, (20) Chris Ross, (21) Tom Sprague, (22) Rusty Seaver. Fast qualifier (among 46 cars): Van Wormer, 15.958 seconds. Heat race winners: Miller, Henry, Neat, C. Ruhlman. Consolation winners: Boggs, Schlenk. Provisional starters: Seaver, Ross.