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Eldora Speedway

Dream tech day draws 76 Late Models to Eldora

June 7, 2012, 3:22 pm
By Joshua Joiner
DirtonDirt.com staff writer
Tyler Reddick was one of more than 70 Late Models at Dream tech day. (DirtonDirt.com)
Tyler Reddick was one of more than 70 Late Models at Dream tech day. (DirtonDirt.com)

ROSSBURG, Ohio (June 7) — Eldora Speedway's Dream XVIII weekend kicked off Thursday with the half-mile oval hosting tech day for the $100,000-to-win UMP DIRTcar-sanctioned event. Seventy-six Super Late Models were in the pit area by the end of the day Thursday with more expected to show up by the time prelims begin Friday evening. Read below for a complete tech day roster along with Thursday's blog-style updates from Eldora.

Final tech day roster

Driver (car no.), hometown
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn.
Jesse Stovall (00), Galena, Mo.
Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill.
Jeff Babcock (1), Wayne, Ohio
Doug Drown (1), Wooster, Ohio
Casey Noonan (1), Toledo, Ohio
Chub Frank (1*), Bear Lake, Pa.
Will Vaught (1v), Crane, Mo.
Duke Whiseant (A1), Texarkana, Ark.
Dillon Wood (1w), New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
Justin Chance (2), Mansfield, Ohio
Austin Dillon (3), Welcome, N.C.
Matt Miller (3), Whitehouse, Ohio
Jared Landers (5), Batesville, Ark.
Klint Byars (5), Carrollton, Miss.
B.J. Robinson (R5), Shreveport, La.
Steve Shaver (6), Vienna, W.Va.
Michael Kloos (6k), Trenton, Ill.
Kent Robinson (7r), Bloomington, Ind.
Curtis Roberts (9r), Coleman, Mich.
Steve Casebolt (9c), Richmond, Ind.
Leon Henderson (10), Laurel, Miss.
Tyler Reddick (11), Corning, Calif.
Jerry Rice (11r), Verona, Ky.
Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky.
Jon Henry (15), Ada, Ohio
Jonathan Davenport (15), Blairsville, Ga.
Brian Birkhofer (15), Muscatine, Iowa
Tracy Pearson (16), Woodstock, Ga.
Ronnie DeHaven Jr. (17), Winchester, Va.
Shannon Thornsberry (17), Martin, Ky.
Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga.
Chad Smith (19), Dayton, Ohio
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn.
Jerry Bowersock (20), Wapakoneta, Ohio
Duane Chamberlin (20), Richmond, Ind.
Jacob Hawkins (20), Fairmont, W.Va.
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark.
Kevin Mack (21), Definace, Ohio
John Blankenship (23), Williamson, W.Va.
Shane Clanton (25), Fayetteville, Ga.
Josh Richards (25), Shinnston, W.Va.
Dustin Neat (25), Dunnville, Ky.
Tony Knowles (26), Tyrone, Ga.
Bill Lewis (26), Warren, Ind.
John Lobb (28), Frewsburg, N.Y.
Eddie Carrier Jr. (28), Salt Rock, W.Va.
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill.
Darrell Lanigan (29), Union, Ky.
Mark Voigt (30), Marine, Ill.
Scott Creel (31), Franklinton, La.
Mark Dodson (32), Caledonia, Miss.
Don Gordon (33), Chatham, Ontario
Scott Bowersock (33), Wapakoneta, Ohio
Matt Irey (36), Bainsville, Ohio
Dennis Franklin (38), Gaffney, S.C.
Brad Neat (41), Dunnville, Ky.
Terry Casey (42), New London, Wis.
Clint Smith (44), Senoia, Ga.
Earl Pearson Jr. (44), Jacksonville, Fla.
Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C.
Tim Rivers (46), Salem, Ind.
Tim Lance (48), Brimfield, Ill.
Ray Cook (53), Brasstown, N.C.
Jeep Van Wormer (55), Pinconning, Mich.
Chris Wall (71), Springfield, La.
Don O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind.
Terry Phillips (75), Springfield, Mo.
Scott James (81), Lawrenceburg, Ind.
Jason Riggs (81jr), Harrisburg, Ill.
Andrew Reaume (88), Blenheim, Ontario
Mike Spatola (89), Manhattan, Ill.
Jacob Grizzle (99), Blairsville, Ga.
Curt Spalding (111), Hartford, Mich.
Justin Coulter (555), Learnington, Ontario

7:33 p.m.: Carrier's momentum

Eddie Carrier Jr. has plenty of momentum heading into the weekend after finishing among the top five in both the Dream and World 100 last year at Eldora. He also has the same car and even the same body he ran in both races last year.

But even with his Eldora success last season, Carrier knows things could be different this time around.

"It gives you a little confidence but it's still a hard deal to make," said Carrier, who was the runner-up at last year's World 100. "You could win one of these races, then come back to the next one and not event make the show."

7:18 p.m.: Franklin's return

Dennis Franklin Jr. of Gaffney, S.C., is making his third visit to Eldora and his first since 2004. With the Steve Cooke-owned AES Racing Team he teamed up with late last season, Franklin is confident his third trip to the famed half-mile oval will be the charm for him to make his first feature lineup.

"We're feeling good about it," said Franklin, who supplied a Prelude car for David Gilliland Wednesday night. "The car was pretty good for David last night until the feature, so we actually learned some stuff there from that. I know it's a tough show to get in, but I think we can make it."

Franklin's trip to Eldora is part of a plan to branch out and run more national events this season.

6:45 p.m.: Tech day roster

Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn.
Jesse Stovall (00), Galena, Mo.
Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill.
Jeff Babcock (1), Wayne, Ohio
Chub Frank (1*), Bear Lake, Pa.
Will Vaught (1v), Crane, Mo.
Duke Whiseant (A1), Texarkana, Ark.
Dillon Wood (1w), New Smynra Beach, Fla.
Justin Chance (2), Mansfield, Ohio
Austin Dillon (3), Welcome, N.C.
Jared Landers (5), Batesville, Ark.
Klint Byars (5), Carrollton, Miss.
B.J. Robinson (R5), Shreveport, La.
Steve Shaver (6), Vienna, W.Va.
Kent Robinson (7r), Bloomington, Ind.
Curtis Roberts (9r), Coleman, Mich.
Steve Casebolt (9c), Richmond, Ind.
Leon Henderson (10), Laurel, Miss.
Tyler Reddick (11), Corning, Calif.
Jerry Rice (11r), Verona, Ky.
Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky.
Jon Henry (15), Ada, Ohio
Jonathan Davenport (15), Blairsville, Ga.
Tracy Pearson (16), Woodstock, Ga.
Ronnie DeHaven Jr. (17), Winchester, Va.
Shannon Thornsberry (17), Martin, Ky.
Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga.
Chad Smith (19), Dayton, Ohio
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn.
Jerry Bowersock (20), Wapakoneta, Ohio
Duane Chamberlin (20), Richmond, Ind.
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark.
John Blankenship (23), Williamson, W.Va.
Shane Clanton (25), Fayetteville, Ga.
Josh Richards (25), Shinnston, W.Va.
Dustin Neat (25), Dunnville, Ky.
John Lobb (28), Frewsburg, N.Y.
Eddie Carrier Jr. (28), Salt Rock, W.Va.
Darrell Lanigan (29), Union, Ky.
Mark Voight (30), Marine, Ill.
Scott Creel (31), Franklinton, La.
Mark Dodson (32), Caledonia, Miss.
Don Gordon (33), Chatham, Ontario
Scott Bowersock (33), Wapakoneta, Ohio
Matt Irey (36), Bainsville, Ohio
Dennis Franklin (38), Gaffney, S.C.
Brad Neat (41), Dunnville, Ky.
Terry Casey (42), New London, Wis.
Clint Smith (44), Senoia, Ga.
Earl Pearson Jr. (44), Jacksonville, Fla.
Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C.
Tim Rivers (46), Salem, Ind.
Ray Cook (53), Brasstown, N.C.
Jeep Van Wormer (55), Pinconning, Mich.
Chris Wall (71), Springfield, La.
Don O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind.
Terry Phillips (75), Springfield, Mo.
Scott James (81), Lawrenceburg, Ind.
Jason Riggs (81jr), Harrisburg, Ill.
Mike Spatola (89), Manhattan, Ill.
Jacob Grizzle (99), Blairsville, Ga.
Justin Coulter (555), Learnington, Ontario

6:20 p.m.: Long day for Landers

While some teams rushed to get their cars through the tech line today, Jared Landers’ crew was too busy working on Landers’ Barry Wright Race Car to make it through.

Landers’ car still needed to be repaired and gone over from last week’s Lucas Oil Series race at Tazewell (Tenn.) Speedway. The crew didn’t have much time to work on it this week while preparing a car for Jimmie Johnson to drive in the Prelude Wednesday night.

“It’s just a lot of work to get these things ready, plus there was just a few things we wanted to go over and just make sure everything’s ready,” Landers said.

When asked about what he expects from the track surface this weekend, Landers said he thought the lower groove might be competitive with the top side of the track that’s been dominant during recent years.

Landers even said he might try the bottom groove at some point this weekend, to which a crew member interrupted noting that Landers with his all-out driving style rarely runs low on a racetrack.

5:39 p.m.: Richards back on dirt

This weekend's race will mark the first time two-time World of Outlaws Series champion Josh Richards has competed on dirt since vacating the Rocket house car ride earlier this year. After missing nearly two months of action, Richards, who's driving Ernie Davis' No. 25 Rocket this weekend, is happy that he's making his return to dirt at Eldora.

"I have to take a long break and I could start back anywhere, it'd definitely be here," Richards said. "You just carry so much speed, and it's my kinda track. It's a big, round momentum place and that's what I've always enjoyed."

Richards admits he may find it odd to be racing against his father Mark's No. 1 Rocket house car and new driver Brandon Sheppard, but that won't slow him down.

"It'll be different, but I'm definitely pulling for Brandon though. He's doing a great job," Richards said. "I'm pulling for them just as hard as I'm pulling for our car. ... But I want to beat him regardless. You want to beat everybody, but it'll be cool to see who gets the bragging rights."

5:28 p.m.: Sheppard in the Rocket house car

For the first time since 2004, someone other than Josh Richards will drive the Rocket Chassis house car in one of Eldora Speedway's crown jewel events when Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin Ill., who took over the ride when Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., left earlier this year to pursue a career NASCAR, pilots Mark Richards' familiar blue No. 1 in this weekend's event.

Sheppard has adjusted well to his new ride with a handful of strong runs in just a few weeks.

"The biggest adjustment we've had to make as a team is figuring out what we need to adjust for me as a driver compared to what they do when Josh was driving," Sheppard said as he waited to roll through tech. "It's similar; it's just little stuff that I'm still learning."

Sheppard said he has a good relationship with Josh Richards, saying that he some times draws on him for advice.

"If I ever need anything, driving tips or anything, I talk to him. He helps me out a lot," Sheppard said.

5:16 p.m.: Creel's first impression

Scott Creel of Franklinton, La., is making his first appearance at Eldora this weekend. His first impression upon seeing the high-banked half-mile oval? A lot of uncertainty.

"I really don't know what to expect," the Henderson Motorsports driver said. "It looks like it's one of those places that's gonna be 110 percent different while you're driving than while you're watching it."

4:44 p.m.: Tech day woes

Passing pre-race tech at Eldora isn't always a simple task. With competitors facing a tougher inspection process than most events, many cars have to be rolled through the line twice and some even three times.

Jesse Stovall of Galena, Mo., had trouble getting the body on his Victory Circle Race Car to fit UMP's specifications and was forced to cut down the height of his drivers-side sail panel. Stovall made the required change, but he was none to happy about the extra work.

"We run this thing like this everywhere we go," said Stovall, the current points leader on the MARS DIRTcar Series. "There's just no point in having to change something for one race."

A crew member for Marine, Ill., driver Mark Voight wasn't happy about having to make changes either, even suggesting that tech officials are harder on lesser-known regional drivers.

"We're not Billy Moyer so we've gotta be perfect," the crew member said as he adjusted the nose of his team's race car and prepared it to go back through the inspection line.

 
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