East Bay Raceway Park
Bloomquist relishes his new handle on East Bay
By Joshua JoinerDirtonDirt.com staff writer
GIBSONTON, Fla. (Feb. 8) – Scott Bloomquist wasted little time getting to victory lane in 2011.
The Hall of Fame driver from Mooresburg, Tenn., moved by polesitter Jimmy Owens on lap nine of the opening feature of the Dart Winternationals by Magnaflow on Tuesday night at East Bay Raceway Park and led the remainder of the 30-lap race for a $5,000 victory. | Complete Speedweeks coverage
The dominant performance continues Bloomquist’s resurgence at East Bay, a track where he went winless for 17 years. After winning in two of four starts at last year's Winternationals, Bloomquist’s victory Tuesday gives him three wins in his past five races at the third-mile oval.
“When your car’s not handling here, it’s a place to hate,” Bloomquist said in victory lane. “We’ve finally got it figured out pretty good. You see guys down here and it just looks effortless for them, and you see guys who are just having a heck of a time. I used to be the guy having the heck of a time. It's really sweet to be able to get a handle on this place.”
Owens of Newport, Tenn., jumped to the lead over Ray Cook of Brasstown, N.C., on the start of the race, but soon David Breazeale of Four Corners, Miss., and Bloomquist made it a three-car battle for the lead.
Breazeale and Bloomquist battled side-by-side after a lap-five restart. Bloomquist cleared Breazeale on lap eight and powered by Owens for the lead one lap later when Owens slipped up just a little in turns one and two.
“I seen him occasionally have a push problem and he couldn’t quite get aggressive on the top,” Bloomquist said of Owens. “He just messed up a little bit that one time and that was it.”
Bloomquist ran the remainder of the race unchallenged, pulling to nearly a straightaway advantage during the second half of the race. Breazeale challenged Owens for second throughout the race’s middle stages, but faded late.
Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., moved by Breazeale for third after the race's final restart on lap 27 and finished third behind Owens. Breazeale held on for fourth with 11th-starting Eddie Carrier Jr. of Salt Rock, W.Va., rounding out the top five.
The runner-up finish is a positive sign for Owens, who has struggled at East Bay over the past few years. While he would have liked to have won the race, he hopes the opening night run signals a turnaround for him at the tricky racetrack.
“This place has been tough on us, so it’s good to start the week with a decent finish,” Owens said. “Obviously we wanted to win tonight, but Scott just had a better car.”
After starting from the fifth position, Hubbard faded back in the field in the race’s opening laps before making his strong run back toward the front. He looked fast enough to possibly challenge Owens for second, but ran out time after he got to third.
“Our car was really good on the short runs, so the second half of the race kind of played into our favor,” said Hubbard, whose team swapped motors after his heat race. “I don’t know if I had anything for Scott or Jimmy, but it was feeling pretty quick there at the finish.”
Notes: Bloomquist’s self-designed chassis has a Roush-Yates engine with sponsorship from Miller Bros. Construction, Hawkeye Trucking, Hoosier Tires and Allstar Performance. ... The race was slowed by six cautions. The first came on lap five when D.J. Wells slowed on the front straightaway, causing a four-car pileup that included Wendell Wallace, Frank Heckenast Jr., and Jared Hawkins. ... Eric Jacobsen had advanced from 17th to fifth in just 10 laps, but spun in turn one to bring out the second caution of the race. He recovered to finish eighth after restarting on the tail of the field. The effort earned him the race's hard charger award. ... The Winternationals was originally scheduled to start on Monday night, but the race was postponed due to inclement weather. The six-race miniseries resumes Wednesday night with another 30-lap, $5,000-to-win event.
Finish: (1) Scott Bloomquist, (2) Jimmy Owens, (3) Austin Hubbard, (4) David Breazeale, (5) Eddie Carrier Jr., (6) Mike Marlar, (7) Steve Francis, (8) Eric Jacobsen, (9) Don O’Neal, (10) Tim Dohm, (11) Ray Cook, (12) Dennis Erb Jr., (13) Billy Moyer Jr., (14) Earl Pearson Jr., (15) Jason Feger, (16) Tim Isenberg, (17) Jared Landers, (18) Dan Schlieper, (19) Brad Neat, (20) Tim McCreadie, (21) Josh Richards, (22) Dale McDowell, (23) D.J. Wells, (24) Jared Hawkins, (25) Frank Heckenast Jr., (26) Wendell Wallace. Fast qualifier (among 64 cars): Neat, 15.134. Heat race winners: Owens, Cook, Breazeale, Bloomquist, Hubbard, Francis. Consolation winners: Dohm, McCreadie. Strawberry Dash winner: Hawkins. Provisional starter: Heckenast.
Blog-style reports of the night's preliminaries:
Austin Hubbard raced to victory in the fifth heat, and now his team is racing to change powerplants in his Dale Beitler-owned car before the main event. Beitler's crew along with the Rocket Chassis house car team thrashed to switch from a 454 c.i. powerplant to a 430. "It was running real rough, but the car was good," said the young Delaware driver. He's scheduled to started fifth in the main event. ... Ray Cook, scheduled to start outside the front row in the main event, had to change his scoring transponder at the request of series officials. "Is that faster than the one I had," Cook joked when an official gave him a replacement, which is placed on the frame near the left-front wheel. ... Polesitter Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., will be gunning for his first Super Late Model feature at East Bay. "The car could be better, but we're all right," Owens said before heading to the track to watch a consolation race. ... Dan Stone's Winternationals might have come to an end when he broke his backup engine in his heat race. Stone's primary engine was already disabled before coming to Florida when it wouldn't turn over — and he found that a mouse in the shop had stuffed birdseed into the motor that ran down into the cylinder. The Thompson, Pa., driver hopes to borrow a motor or get something from Cornett Racing Engines to compete later in the week. ... Frank Heckenast Jr., who struggled mightily with his car's handling after starting on the pole of a heat race, received the Dart Fast Pass provisional starting spot as the fastest qualifier not transferring to the main event through prelims.
Jared Hawkins started from the pole and led every lap of the caution-free Strawberry Sash to earn the final starting position in the feature. Donnie Moran closed in on Hawkins late in the race after starting third, but didn't have enough to make the pass.
Finish: Jared Hawkins, Donnie Moran, Bobby Pierce, Mark Andersen, Michael Chilton, Russ Adams, John Gardner, Joe Denby.
Strawberry Dash lineup
Row 1: Jared Hawkins, Mark Andersen
Row 2: Donnie Moran, Bobby Pierce
Row 3: Michael Chilton, John Gardner
Row 4: Joe Denby, Russ Adams
Second consolation race
Tim McCreadie outran Josh Richards to turn one on the start of the race and led every lap for the victory. Richards trailed McCreadie the entire distance to finish second with Tim Isenberg taking the final transfer position. Justin Rattliff finished fourth with Jared Hawkins finishing fifth. Chris Wall started in the top five, but went hard into the turn one wall on lap two, collecting David Scott.
Finish: Tim McCreadie, Josh Richards, Tim Isenberg, Justin Rattliff, Jared Hawkins, Dillan White, Greg Fore, Donnie Moran, Wayne Chinn, Keith Nosbisch, Bobby Pierce, Christian Augspurger, Mark Andersen, Michael Chilton, Joe Denby Chris Wall, David Scott. Scratched: James O’Hara, Bob Gardner, Travis Varnadore, Bob Geiger, Terry Casey.
First consolation race
Jared Landers jumped to the lead on the start of the race, but slid high on the first lap in turns three and four, giving the lead to Tim Dohm, who started from the pole. Dohm led every lap for the victory. Dale McDowell passed Landers for second on a lap-three restart and held the position until the finish. Landers survived a four-car battle for the third and final transfer position ahead of Rick Eckert and Brent Robinson. Duane Harbaugh brought out the races only caution when he spun on lap three.
Finish: Tim Dohm, Dale McDowell, Jared Landers, Rick Eckert, Brent Robinson, Frank Heckenast Jr., Bub McCool, Tyler Reddick, Doug Blashe, Skylar Marlar, Jason McBride, Chad Hollenbeck, Russ Adams, Brand Thirlby, Jon Blankenship, Ricky Weiss, Chad Stapleton, Duane Harbaugh. Scratched: Eric Wells, Chad Valone, Dan Stone, Danny Mitchell, Leon Henderson.
Row 2: Dale McDowell, Chad Stapleton
Row 3: Rick Eckert, Bub McCool
Row 4: Tyler Reddick, Frank Heckenast Jr.
Row 5: Ricky Weiss, Brent Robinson
Row 6: John Blankenship, Jason McBride
Row 7: Brandon Thirlby, Duane Harbaugh
Row 8: Russ Adams, Doug Blashe
Row 11: Travis Varnadore, Bob Geiger
Row 12: Terry Casey
Steve Francis jumped to the lead from his second starting position and led every lap to win the caution free race. Pole-starting D.J. Wells held off Dan Schlieper for the second-place finish. Schlieper finished in the third and final transfer position ahead of Tim Isenberg and Jared Hawkins.
Finish: Steve Francis, D.J. Wells, Dan Schlieper, Tim Isenberg, Jared Hawkins, David Scott Donnie Moran, Mark Andersen, Bob Gardner, Travis Varnadore.
Polesitter Scott Bloomquist beat fellow front-row starter Earl Pearson Jr. into turn one and cruised to victory in the fifth heat. Pearson couldn't keep up in finishing second while fourth-starting Wendell Wallace got the third and final transfer spot after fighting off sixth-starting Tim McCreadie most of the way. A caution appeared on the second lap when Dillan White got sideways in turn one, causing third-starting Bobby Pierce to spin. The first start was called back after a scramble at the flagstand that Terry Casey got the worst of, collecting Jim O'Hara's car. O'Hara was able to continue while Casey's Scott Clippinger Racing entry was towed away with significant damage.
Finish: Scott Bloomquist, Earl Pearson Jr., Wendell Wallace, Tim McCreadie, Dillan White, Greg Fore, Christian Augspurger, Bobby Pierce, Jim O'Hara, Terry Casey. Scratched: John Gardner.
Outside front-row starter Ray Cook cleared Brad Neat in turn two on the first lap and led the entire distance for a victory. Neat trailed Cook the entire distance and finished second, while Billy Moyer Jr. held off Josh Richards for third to transfer into the feature in his first Winternationals appearance. Chris Wall finished fifth. Bob Geiger brought out the race’s first caution on lap five when he slowed in the middle of turns three and four. He brought out the race’s second and final caution the very next lap when he crashed hard into wall in the same location.
Finish: Ray Cook, Brad Neat, Billy Moyer Jr., Josh Richards, Chris Wall, Justin Rattliff, Joe Denby, Keith Nosbisch, Wayne Chinn, Michael Chilton, Bob Geiger.
Polesitter Austin Hubbard raced to a 10-lap victory, holding off occasional challenges from fourth-starting Eddie Carrier Jr.. Eric Jacobsen, who started fifth, got the third and final transfer spot. The first of two cautions appeared on the first lap when outside front-row starter Bub McCool got sideways in turn four, nearly lost control and banged into Chad Valone's car. Ricky Weiss ended up spinning in the aftermath. The second caution appeared on lap five when Valone's right-rear — no doubt damaged in the collision with McCool — blew exiting turn four.
Finish: Austin Hubbard, Eddie Carrier Jr., Eric Jacobsen, Dale McDowell, Bub McCool, Ricky Weiss, Jason McBride, Russ Adams, Chad Valone. Scratched: Danny Mitchell.
David Breazeale beat polesitter Frank Heckenast Jr. to turn one on the start of the second heat and led every lap for the victory. Breazeale survived near disaster when the lapped car of Chad Hollenbeck nearly spun in front of him midway through the race. Jason Feger pressured Breazeale the entire distance, but settled for the runner-up finish. Don O'Neal ran third the entire race for the final transfer position after a near-miss with polesitter Frank Heckenast Jr. in turn one on the ifrst lap. Jared Landers finished fourth, while Rick Eckert passed Heckenast on the final lap for fifth. Heckenast struggled with the handle on his car throughout.
Finish: David Breazeale, Jason Feger, Don O'Neal, Jared Landers, Rick Eckert, Frank Heckesast Jr., John Blankenship, Duane Harbaugh, Skylar Marlar, Chad Hollenbeck. Scratched: Leon Henderson.
Winning a green-flag duel with his long-time modified racing buddy Mike Marlar, polesitter Jimmy Owens took off and cruised to victory in the opening Winternational heat. Marlar fell nearly a half-straightaway back after three laps, all the while holding off Dennis Erb Jr., who got the third and final transfer spot. Marlar's teammate Eric Wells ran fourth until the ninth lap when his car went up in smoke on the backstretch to draw the race's lone caution. Tim Dohm's last-lap slide job gave him the fourth spot over Chad Stapleton.
Finish: Jimmy Owens, Mike Marlar, Dennis Erb Jr., Tim Dohm, Chad Stapleton, Tyler Reddick, Brent Robinson, Brandon Thirlby, Doug Blashe, Eric Wells, Dan Stone.
Blistering a dry racing surface, final qualifier Brad Neat of Dunnville, Ky. set fast time Tuesday in the opener of East Bay Raceway Park's 35th annual Dart Winternationals by Magnaflow. Neat posted a lap of 15.134 seconds to top 64 qualifiers at the third-mile oval.
“I knew the track was getting faster and faster, and it showed,” Neat said. “We’ve always struggled here at this racetrack, but as long as everything keeps going our way we’ll be all right.”
Neat will start on the pole of the fourth of six Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series heat races coming up. Unofficially the other heat race polesitters: Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn.; series rookie Frank Heckenast Jr.; Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del.; Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn.; and D.J. Wells of Wooton, Ky.
The top three finishers from each of six heat races will transfer to the 30-lap main event. Two drivers from each of three consolation races also transfer to the main event. Rounding out the 26-car field is the fastest qualifier who failed to transfer through prelims and winner of the Strawberry Dash for non-qualifiers.
The Winternationals were originally scheduled to open Monday, but a late afternoon storm washed away those chances. That $5,000-to-win event is scheduled to be made up with a Friday or Saturday doubleheader; that decision will be made Thursday afternoon.
Heat race lineups
Row 1: Jimmy Owens, Mike Marlar
Row 2: Dennis Erb Jr., Eric Wells
Row 3: Tim Dohm, Chad Stapleton
Row 4: Dan Stone, Tyler Reddick
Row 5: Doug Blashe, Brent Robinson
Row 6: Brandon Thirlby
Row 1: Frank Heckenast Jr., David Breazeale
Row 2: Jason Feger, Don O'Neal
Row 3: Rick Eckert, Jared Landers
Row 4: Duane Harbaugh, John Blankenship
Row 5: Skylar Marlar, Chad Hollenbeck
Row 6: Leon Henderson
Row 1: Austin Hubbard, Bub McCool
Row 2: Jason McBride, Eddie Carrier Jr.
Row 3: Eric Jacobsen, Chad Valone
Row 4: Dale McDowell, Russ Adams
Row 5: Ricky Weiss, Danny Mitchell
Row 1: Brad Neat, Ray Cook
Row 2: Billy Moyer Jr., Justin Rattliff
Row 3: Josh Richards, Joe Denby
Row 4: Wayne Chinn, Michael Chilton
Row 5: Chris Wall, Keith Nosbisch
Row 6: Bob Geiger
Row 1: Scott Bloomquist, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 2: Bobby Pierce, Wendell Wallace
Row 3: Dillan White, Tim McCreadie
Row 4: Greg Fore, Terry Casey
Row 5: Christian Augspurger, Jim O'Hara
Row 6: John Gardner
Row 1: D.J. Wells, Steve Francis
Row 2: Jared Hawkins, Dan Schlieper
Row 3: Tim Isenberg, David Scott
Row 4: Donnie Moran, Mark Andersen
Row 5: Travis Varnadore, Bob Gardner
Despite Monday's rain, track conditions are relatively dry after a breezy afternoon. Plenty of dust kicked up as the first hot-lap group hit the track. ... The 64 entrants will be split in half for group qualifying. The first group of qualifiers will make up the first three heat race lineups with the fastest starting on the pole of the first heat; the second group of qualifiers will make up the fourth, fifth and sixth heat race lineups. ... Donnie Moran Racing is providing a spoiler kit to the runner-up in each night's Strawberry Dash. ... There will be no Lucas Oil Series provisional starters in the first three Winternationals events. ... Drivers competing with the Lucas Oil Series for the first time since the series last fall instituted a rule requiring drivers to wear a head and neck restraint system last season have been given a three-race grace period to comply with the rule. ... Leon Henderson hit the wall in hot laps and didn't appear for time trials. ... Track work following qualifying delayed the heat races from a 7 p.m. start until about 7:50 p.m. ... A reminder to DirtonDirt.com subscribers: Because of restrictions regarding the track's pay-per-view netcast, there won't be heat race video. Feature highlights and postrace interviews will be posted overnight.
Time trials (unofficial)
- Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 15.167
- Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 15.249
- Austin Hubbard (19), Seaford, Del., 15.253
- Mike Marlar (36), Winfield, Tenn., 15.292
- David Breazeale (54), Four Corners, Miss., 15.513
- Bub McCool (57j), Vicksburg, Miss., 15.554
- Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 15.566
- Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 15.57
- Jason McBride (77), Carbondale, Ill., 15.622
- Eric Wells (18), Hazard, Ky., 15.652
- Don O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 15.655
- Eddie Carrier Jr. (28), Salt Rock, W.Va., 15.681
- Tim Dohm (6T), Cross Lanes, W.Va., 15.685
- Rick Eckert (24), York, Pa., 15.687
- Eric Jacobsen (5), Seacliff Beach, Calif., 15.743
- Chad Stapleton (32), Edinburgh, Ind., 15.752
- Jared Landers (777), Batesville, Ark., 15.755
- Chad Valone (2v), Warren, Pa., 15.775
- Dan Stone (21D), Thompson, Pa., 15.783
- Duane Harbaugh (87), Hedgesville, W.Va., 15.805
- Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 15.826
- Tyler Reddick (11), Corning, Calif., 15.883
- John Blankenship (23), Williamson, W.Va., 15.93
- Russ Adams (74), Princeville, Ill., 16.01
- Doug Blashe (1), Marion, Wis., 16.032
- Skylar Marlar (257), Winfield, Tenn., 16.034
- Ricky Weiss (7), St. Francois Xavier, Manitoba, 16.107
- Brent Robinson (3), Smithfield, Va., 16.175
- Chad Hollenbeck (4DS), Kingsley, Pa., 16.274
- Danny Mitchell (18D), Clarksburg, W.Va., 16.308
- Brandon Thirlby (m14), Traverse City, Mich., 16.311
- Leon Henderson (10), Laurel, Miss., no time
- Brad Neat (41), Dunnville, Ky., 15.134
- Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 15.165
- D.J. Wells (11), Wooton, Ky., 15.172
- Ray Cook (53), Brasstown, N.C., 15.202
- Earl Pearson Jr. (44), Jacksonville, Ark., 15.23
- Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky., 15.256
- Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 15.26
- Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 15.315
- Jared Hawkins (37), Fairmont, W.Va., 15.318
- Justin Rattliff (16), Campbellsville, Ky., 15.384
- Wendell Wallace (88), Batesville, Ark., 15.429
- Dan Schlieper (9), Oak Creek, Wis., 15.435
- Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., 15.454
- Dillan White (54), Crofton, Ky., 15.457
- Tim Isenberg (9T), Marshfield, Wis., 15.458
- Joe Denby (27), Tullahoma, Tenn., 15.462
- Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 15.483
- David Scott (2s), Garland, Pa., 15.485
- Wayne Chinn (15), Bradford, Ohio, 15.555
- Greg Fore (77), Greenville, Miss., 15.588
- Donnie Moran (99), Dresden, Ohio, 15.606
- Michael Chilton (97), Salvisa, Ky., 15.659
- Terry Casey (16c), New London, Wis., 15.691
- Mark Andersen (85), Blanchard, Mich., 15.714
- Chris Wall (71), Springfield, La., 15.774
- Christian Augspurger (35), Palm Beach Gdns, Fla., 15.855
- Travis Varnadore (41), Dover, Fla., 15.931
- Keith Nosbisch (01), Valrico, Fla., 16.156
- Jim O’Hara (44), Moscow, Pa., 16.242
- Bob Gardner (4G), Peoria, Ill., 16.598
- Bob Geiger (38), Laurel, Del., 16.719
- John Gardner (38c), Peoria, Ill., 16.921