ROSSBURG, Ohio — In taking the checkered flag after dominating the second half of Saturday's 52nd annual World 100 at Eldora Speedway, Jonathan Davenport made sure everyone knew how many times he's won Dirt Late Model racing's most prestigious event.
His right hand grabbing the steering wheel that he'd shortly be hoisting in victory lane, the 38-year-old Blairsville, Ga., driver thrust his orange-gloved left hand out the window with four fingers and a thumb extended.
Gimme five. Five World 100s. Five in eight years. And just one World 100 victory shy of the all-time leader Billy Moyer, the Batesville, Ark., Hall of Famer who won his six globe trophies over 20 seasons, including his last at the age of 52.
In catching his breath amid a litany of thank-yous, explanations and tributes in victory lane, Davenport said what's becoming obvious, particularly to runner-up Brandon Overton and the rest of the sport's best drivers trying to catch him at Eldora.
“Damn," Davenport said. "I love this place.”
With Davenport's sixth heat victory providing a cruel twist of the knife for his competition by putting him on the pole position, Davenport led 83 of 100 laps, his race in doubt only during 17 middle-stage laps when Overton slipped by on a restart. Davenport repaid the move on a lap-55 restart and ran virtually unchallenged the rest of the way during a season where he owns sport's richest victory (June's Eldora Million at the track he loves so much) and the sport's biggest victory (yet another World 100).
“It's just unbelievable to have my name up there with (four-time winner) Scott (Bloomquist) and Billy (Moyer) or (three-time winner Jeff) Purvis, any of those guys," said the top-ranked Davenport, adding that the night could only have been better by having all his family on hand. "I was not expecting this at all and I'm sure a mom and dad wouldn't either, but I love y'all. Brothers and sisters and everybody, just thanks for all the sacrifices getting me here. ... I really appreciate everything.”
Overton, comforted by a his rich consolation prize of his $128,000 Dream victory on Wednesday in the conclusion of a race halted by rain in June, finished 5.479 seconds behind at the finish with Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., in third while again falling short of his first major victory at Eldora (he was second in Wednesday's Dream after leading most of the way). Longhorn Chassis house car driver and 2018 World 100 winner Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., was fourth with Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., rounding out the top five finishers in a caution-plagued race where 15 of 28 starters were running at the finish.
Overton's lap-38 pass provided some drama in a race where it appeared Davenport might cruise all 100 laps as he did during a stretch of three consecutive crown jewel victories last month, but when Davenport slipped back ahead in turn two, edging up to steal Overton's groove, the drama was virtually over. Davenport built leads of more than three seconds while turning the fastest laps at the track he loves more than any other.
"I don't know what it is about this place, but I just love it," Davenport said. "I've just got a feel that I want here. Ever since I figured out what I need with my race car, it's just helped me learn even more. And the long laps around the top and around the bottom and around the middle, you know, me and Overton run about the same line around this place, so it was definitely going to be hard to pass him if it wasn’t on a restart.”
Davenport's car improved the longer the race went on, he said.
“We wasn’t great to start off with and I kind of didn't think we would be just right. But then as the tires kind of quit, our car got better and better. So I knew — Brandon got by me — that definitely worried me there, so I knew I had to get up on the wheel on a restart," the winner said. "I hope I gave him plenty of room down here. I didn't really go ahead and slide all the way across (the track), but I was just trying to just block a little air and that way I could get back down into turn three first."
Overton admitted in his postrace interview that he "just didn't have nothing for him. It is what it is, congrats to J.D. and them guys. We'll take our second and go on to the house.
"It was fun weekend. Like I said, there's three good cars up here (on the podium) — and there's good cars in the whole field — so to win one and run second, we'll take it. I'm cool with J.D. winning the Worlds if he just keeps giving me the Dreams, you know?"
Madden started seventh and reached the third position on the 14th lap, holding it the rest of the way. He'd have to settle for third after his career-long quest for a major Eldora victory fell one spot shy when Overton overtook him late in Wednesday's Dream.
“We were a little bit off right there at the end of the race. We were just a little bit snug and and those guys I think, I don't know, J.D. had gotten out there and I couldn’t even see him," Madden said. "But Brandon there, he was just kind of making circles just like I was.
"We've done a great job this week. My guy’s have done a great job. We're happy with our finish. We didn't win, but we gotta a good car and we just need a little few things here and there. But for all in all to bring a brand new car up here this week and have the results that we've had all week long it's very pleasing for my time and for Mark (Richards of Rocket Chassis) and says a lot for Rocket.”
The 47-year-old Madden isn't giving up on his Eldora hopes any time soon.
"I want to get a win here. This is my favorite place and I can't wait (for) those two times, two weeks out of the year that we get to come up here and do this," he said. "It’s just like I said, my favorite time and I get really pumped up and put a lot into it, and a lot into my program to come up here and try to get that win. We thought we had it done this week, but it didn’t happen. But overall, we're gonna get us one before we get too old. We've got a lot (of racing) left."
Nine cautions slowed the World 100 action, the most serious for a scramble among backmarkers in turn two after the lap-18 restart in turn two that damaged several cars and knocked Mason Zeigler, Stormy Scott, Spencer Hughes and Chris Ferguson out of the race.
The first caution blinked on after 17 laps were complete when a piece of the Spencer Hughes car ended up on the track at the end of the frontstretch after passing through the right side of Davenport’s cockpit. Other cautions flew for slowdowns for Scott Bloomquist (laps 28 and 41) Josh Rice (lap 35), Shannon Babb (lap 38) and Kyle Strickler (lap 66).
Garrett Smith, like Rice a first-time World 100 starter, spun in turn three on the 55th lap, retiring with right-front damage and Kyle Bronson got into the wall on lap 57 to draw another quick yellow.
Two of the restarts proved key, but otherwise the slowdowns didn't make any difference to Davenport, who was soaking everything in while he ringed the track built by Earl Baltes and now owned by Tony Stewart.
"To see all these people, basically all the way around (the track), you can feel the electricity in this place. It’s badass," he said. "I love coming here.”
Notes: Davenport in victory lane dedicated the victory to the Langston family, who lost their 18-year-old daughter in a recent automobile accident. Matt Langston is a longtime employee of Longhorn Chassis who has worked closely with Davenport. “I know it's been a tough week for y’all, but we're here for you," he said in victory lane. "She was riding with me every bit of the way.” ... Along with five World 100 victories, Davenport has three other major race victories: the 2015 Dream, 2020's Intercontinental (a replacement race for the World 100 during the a Covid-restricted season) and June's Eldora Million, which paid $1,002,002. ... Davenport has 20 victories overall in 2022, eight paying $50,000 or more.
52nd annual World 100
Pos. Driver (car no.), hometown, chassis, earnings
1. Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., Longhorn, $55,000
2. Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., Longhorn, $25,000
3. Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., Rocket, $15,000
4. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., Longhorn, $12,500
5. Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt), Chandler, Ariz., Longhorn, $10,000
6. Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., Pierce, $8,750
7. Hudson O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., Rocket, $7,500
8. Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., Team Zero, $7,000
9. Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., Rocket, $6,500
10. Devin Moran (9), Dresden, Ohio, Longhorn, $6,000
11. Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., Rocket, $5,875
12. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., Rocket, $5,850
13. Kent Robinson (7r), Bloomington, Ind., Longhorn, $5,825
14. Josh Rice (11), Verona, Ky., Rocket, $5,800
15. Zack Dohm (17), Cross Lanes, W.Va., Longhorn, $5,675
16. Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., Rocket, $5,650
17. Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., Rocket, $5,625
18. Ryan Gustin (19r), Marshalltown, Iowa, Rocket, $5,600
19. Kyle Strickler (8), Mooresville, N.C., Longhorn, $5,475
20. Earl Pearson Jr. (46), Jacksonville, Fla., Longhorn, $5,450
21. Garrett Smith (10), Eatonton, Ga., Rocket, $5,425
22. Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., Longhorn, $5,400
23. Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., Team Zero, $5,300
24. Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., Longhorn, $5,200
25. Chris Ferguson (22), Mount Holly, N.C., Team Zero, $5,200
26. Spencer Hughes (11), Meridian, Miss., Longhorn, $5,200
27. Stormy Scott (2s), Las Cruces, N.M., Longhorn, $5,200
28. Mason Zeigler (9z), Chalk Hill, Pa., Barry Wright, $5,200
Lap leaders: Davenport 1-37, 55-100; Overton 38-54
Fast qualifier (among 107 cars): Pierce, 15.278 seconds
Heat race winners: Pearson, Thornton, Babb, Overton, Owens, Davenport
Consolation winners: Gustin, Strickler
Provisional starters: Sheppard, Smith
Preliminary feature winners: Jonathan Davenport, Hudson O’Neal, Dale McDowell, Bobby Pierce
Lap 100: Davenport wins his fifth career World 100. Overton, Madden, McCreadie and Thornton round out the top five.
Lap 95: J.D. on cruise.
Lap 91: Davenport puts Owens and Rice a lap down.
Lap 85: Davenport's lead up to 3.309 seconds. Pierce up to sixth. Erb Jr. back to 10th.
Lap 75: Davenport leads Overton, Madden, T-Mac, Thornton, O'Neal, McDowell and Pierce. ... Josh Rice up to ninth.
Lap 69: McCreadie takes fourth from O'Neal. McDowell running eighth.
Lap 66: Stricker, running 13th, slows to draw the feature's ninth caution. J.D. still leads.
Lap 64: Pearson parks.
Lap 61: Madden pressuring Overton for second. They both run more than 2 seconds behind leader Davenport.
Lap 56: Kyle Bronson tags the wall, brings out the eighth caution. Davenport leads. O'Neal up to fourth.
Lap 55: Davenport slides ahead of Overton in turn two pn the restart to retake the lead.
Lap 54: Seventh caution waves as Garrett Smith spins in turn three. Overton still leads Davenport, Madden, McCreadie and Owens. EPJ back in the pits.
Lap 50: Overton leads Davenport, Madden, McCreadie, Owens, Thornton, O'Neal at halfway.
Lap 48: Erb Jr. falling back, now runs 19th; Overton leads by 0.816
Lap 42: Tim MccCreadie passes Owens for fourth.
Lap 40: Bloomquist slows with heavy left front nose damage to bring out the race's sixth caution. Pearson into the pit area. Dale McDowell now up to 10th. Overton still leads.
Lap 38: Overton slides by Davenport to lead. Rick Thornton Jr. up to fifth.
Lap 37: Fifth caution as Shannon Babb slows.
Lap 34: Fourth caution waves as Josh Rice slows and pits. Bloomquist returns to the hot pit area. Dale McDowell up to 14th from 25th.
Lap 32: Hudson O'Neal up to eighth.
Lap 27: Third caution. Scott Bloomquist slows with left front nose damage.
Lap 25: J.D. leads Overton by 1.89 seconds. Bobby Pierce up to 10th.
Lap 18: Davenport will lead Overton, Madden, Owens, Kyle Bronson, Dohm, Babb, Erb Jr., Earl Pearson Jr. and Ricky Thornton Jr. when the race resumes after a brief red-flag to clean up the track.
Lap 18: Caution waves on restart for a multiple car crash in turns three and four. Mason Zeigler, Stormy Scott, Chris Ferguson, Spencer Hughes among those involved.
Lap 17: First caution waves for debris on the track. Spencer Hughes's machine shows heavy damage on the right rear. Davenport leads Overton, Madden, Owens and Babb. Zach Dohm up to seventh, Dennis Erb Jr., up to eighth.
Lap 13: Overton grabs second from Owens; Madden moves to third.
Lap 9: Davenport catches the back of the field, puts Mason Ziegler a lap down.
Lap 1: Jonathan Davenport leads Jimmy Owens, Brandon Overton, Chris Madden and Shannon Babb.
10:29 p.m.: 52nd annual World 100 goes green.
10:17 p.m. | Pre-race surprise
When the 28-car starting field for the World 100 reported to the staging area, event technical director Kenny Kenneda had a surprise waiting for the all the teams. After asking the crews to bring a screwdriver and piece of tape, he informed them that they must unhook their tachometers before starting the feature.
Kenneda said the decision was made after hearing rumors that traction control devices might be routed through the tach, the component that tells drivers the RPMs the engine is turning.
“We might be chasing our tale,” Kenneda said, “but at least they’ll see we’re looking.”
9:59 p.m. | Feature field statistics
• Two drivers in the 28-car field will be making their first World 100 starts: provisional starter Garrett Smith of Eatonton, Ga., who started in the 10th row, and 11th-starting Josh Rice of Verona, Ky.
• Longhorn Chassis has 13 of 28 starters in the World 100 field followed by 10 drivers in Rocket Chassis. There are three Team Zero Race Cars and one apiece for Barry Wright and Pierce.
• Georgia and Illinois are tied with four drivers apiece in the starting field while there are three Tennesseans in the main event. There are two drivers apiece from Florida, Indiana and North Carolina with other states represented by single drivers: Arizona, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Iowa, Mississippi, New Mexico.
9:48 p.m. | Feature lineup
Row 1: Jonathan Davenport, Jimmy Owens
Row 2: Brandon Overton, Shannon Babb
Row 3: Ricky Thornton Jr., Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 4: Chris Madden, Kyle Bronson
Row 5: Hudson O'Neal, Zack Dohm
Row 6: Josh Rice, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 7: Tim McCreadie, Bobby Pierce
Row 8: Kent Robinson, Devin Moran
Row 9: Mason Zeigler, Chase Junghans
Row 10: Brandon Sheppard, Garrett Smith
Row 11: Ryan Gustin, Kyle Strickler
Row 12: Mike Marlar, Chris Ferguson
Row 13: Dale McDowell, Spencer Hughes
Row 14: Scott Bloomquist, Stormy Scott
9:42 p.m. | Strickler wins second consolation
Kyle Strickler led all but the first of 20 laps in the second consolation race to secure a transfer spot to the World 100. First-lap leader Chris Ferguson finished second with Spencer Hughes in third. Getting the fourth and final transfer spot was Stormy Scott, who held off Tyler Carpenter, who held the third spot most of the way. The final prelim was slowed by two cautions. On lap 16, Dean Carpenter got turned and spun in turn two, collecting fifth-running Jason Feger. Wil Herrington got into the frontstretch wall for a lap-18 yellow.
Second consolation finish: Kyle Strickler, Chris Ferguson, Spencer Hughes, Stormy Scott, Tyler Carpenter, R.J. Conley, Gordy Gundaker, Clint Keenan, Kye Blight, Daulton Wilson, Carson Ferguson, Jensen Ford, Kenny Collins, Joseph Joiner, Casey Noonan, Rob Anderzack, Wil Herrington, Jason Feger, Dean Carpenter, Brian Shirley, Michael Chilton. Scratched: Darrell Lanigan, Will Roland, Forrest Trent.
9:21 p.m. | Gustin wins first consolation
Polesitter Ryan Gustin led all the way in the 20-lap first consolation to transfer to the main event with a gaggle of cars battling for the final three spots. Mike Marlar improved two positions in the final two laps to finish second with Dale McDowell also rising late to finish third. Scott Bloomquist got the fourth and final transfer spot over Gregg Satterlee, who held the second spot for 19 laps. Hall of Famers Billy Moyer and Rick Eckert both exited after a lap-four scramble, the first of two cautions (the other came for a stalled Mike Benedum on lap 19).
First consolation finish: Ryan Gustin, Mike Marlar, Dale McDowell, Scott Bloomquist, Gregg Satterlee, Tyler Erb, Shane Clanton, Steven Roberts, Jeep Van Wormer, Mark Whitener, Devin Gilpin, Trent Ivey, Chase Osterhoff, Mike Benedum, Cory Hedgecock, John Henderson, Zack Mitchell, Steve Casebolt, John Blankenship, Billy Moyer, Rick Eckert. Scratched: Manny Falcon, Victor Lee, Camaron Marlar.
9:11 p.m. | Zeigler’s rally
Mason Zeigler’s World 100 nearly went down the drain when he suffered a flat left-front tire shorty after the opening lap of the fifth heat, but he somehow rallied from the mishap amid an ill-handling race car to qualify for the 100-lap finale. Starting fourth in the heat, Zeigler and sixth-starting Jimmy Owens made contact jockeying into the opening corner that started Zeigler’s troubles.
“At the start of the race … Jimmy (Owens) just drove right into my left-front and smoked the left-front tire and wheel,” said Zeigler, who starts 17th in the finale. “I mean, he hit it bad. The axle, or something is screwed up, because I couldn’t really feel the front end after that.
“Then they wouldn’t bring the caution out when I had a flat and the bumper dragging into the dirt. I spun out going into turn three because the bumper was dragging; the rear tires were dragging the car around. But it ended up working out.”
Zeigler then had two pace laps to change his tire, and from there he drove from the 15th-place position to finish third in the 15-lap heat. A myriad of stoppages helped Zeigler get the job done and rest his arms wrestling an ill-handling car.
“It was a handful,” he said. “My arms feel like jello. Something’s wrong with the rack, I don’t know what. At least the tires are straight, and was able to keep it straight.
“I slid (Kyle) Strickler on that restart, and he didn’t seem like he was happy with it, but I felt like I had him clear. … It’s OK. We’re in the race. It sucks that we had to do it that way. We have such a good car right now. I thought we had an easy shot at winning that heat race if Jimmy didn’t kill the left-front suspension. We’ll see. I don’t know how much we can figure out.”
9:08 p.m. | Positioned perfectly
Starting sixth in the final heat race didn’t hamper Jonathan Davenport. He picked up three spots on the opening lap, then burst from third to first on a lap-five restart and dominated the remaining distance to win the heat that puts him on the pole position for the World 100.
“It was really good right there,” Davenport said of his Double L Motorsports Longhorn Chassis. “I gotta hand that to my crew. I was struggling in hot laps. Everything just felt off, so we went to work. We got our confidence back right there.”
A flag-to-flag winner off the pole in three consecutive crown jewel events last month (USA Nationals, North-South 100, Topless 100), Davenport will look for his fifth career World 100 victory (all since 2015) and second major triumph of 2022 at Eldora (he won June’s Eldora Million). He goes to the post after winning a World 100 heat for the fourth time in his career; he followed his previous heat checkereds with two victories (2017 and ’21) and an eighth-place finish (’13).
Davenport mentioned that he has some extra incentive to add to his sparkling Eldora legacy.
“We’re gonna get one for Sidney tonight,” he said, referring to Longhorn staffer Matt Langston’s 18-year-old daughter, who died recently in a car accident.
9 p.m. | Consolation race lineups
(20 laps; top four transfer)
Row 1: Ryan Gustin, Gregg Satterlee
Row 2: Shane Clanton, John Blankenship
Row 3: Mike Marlar, Steve Casebolt
Row 4: Scott Bloomquist, Dale McDowell
Row 5: Cory Hedgecock, Zack Mitchell
Row 6: Trent Ivey, Tyler Erb
Row 7: Billy Moyer, Steven Roberts
Row 8: Camaron Marlar, Rick Eckert
Row 9: Devin Gilpin, Chase Osterhoff
Row 10: Mike Benedum, Mark Whitener
Row 11: John Henderson, Jeep Van Wormer
Row 12: Victor Lee, Manny Falcon
Row 1: Chris Ferguson, Kyle Strickler
Row 2: Wil Herrington, Daulton Wilson
Row 3: Tyler Carpenter, Jason Feger
Row 4: Brian Shirley, Gordy Gundaker
Row 5: Spencer Hughes, Joseph Joiner
Row 6: Clint Keenan, Jensen Ford
Row 7: Michael Chilton, R.J. Conley
Row 8: Carson Ferguson, Kenny Collins
Row 9: Stormy Scott, Kye Blight
Row 10: Rob Anderzack, Darrell Lanigan
Row 11: Dean Carpenter, Will Roland
Row 12: Forrest Trent, Casey Noonan
8:57 p.m. | Davenport wins sixth heat
Taking command when Jensen Ford slipped up on the lap-six restart, Jonathan Davenport ran away and hid from the field to win the sixth heat. Davenport’s victory puts him on the pole of the World 100 with Dennis Erb Jr. finished second. Also transferring was Chase Junghans, who made a crossover move on the last lap to repel a Wil Herrington slide job. Ford faded to finish seventh.
Sixth heat finish: Jonathan Davenport, Dennis Erb Jr., Chase Junghans, Wil Herrington, Jason Feger, Spencer Hughes, Jensen Ford, Carson Ferguson, Kye Blight, Dean Carpenter, Casey Noonan, Brenden Smith, Steve Sabo, Bryant Dickinson, Freddie Carpenter, Austin Kirkpatrick, Brandon Moore.
8:52 p.m. | Recapturing magic?
Jimmy Owens lamented after his Thursday preliminary feature win about his struggles to find success in Eldora’s crown jewel finales since his last victory in the 2011 World 100. His triumph in the fifth heat, though, sets him up well to end his slump — and earn his first major-event checkered flag at the half-mile oval since he turned 50. Winning the heat puts Owens on the outside pole for the 100-lapper. What’s more, the last time Owens captured a World 100 heat was, of course, 2011.
8:50 p.m. | Sixth heat wreck
The wrecked cars of Austin Kirkpatrick and Tyler Carpenter sat between turns one and two after a sixth-lap wreck in the sixth and final heat. Jensen Ford was out front when the caution appeared for the cleanup.
8:46 p.m. | Owens wins fifth heat
Jimmy Owens, taking the lead when Johnny Scott broke, won the fifth heat over Josh Rice, who made a daring three-wide pass on the third lap to grab the second spot, where he finished. Making a remarkable rally after pitting (and then spinning) in the early laps was Barry Wright house car driver Mason Zeigler, who snagged the third spot.
Fifth heat finish: Jimmy Owens, Josh Rice, Mason Zeigler, Kyle Strickler, Tyler Carpener, Gordy Gundaker, Clint Keenan, R.J. Conley, Stormy Scott, Darrell Lanigan, Forrest Trent, Justin White, Tyler Bruening, Nick Fenner, Johnny Scott, Chris Nash. Scratched: Bob Gardner, Drew Smith.
8:37 p.m. | Johnny Scott’s demise
Johnny Scott led the first four laps of the caution-plagued fifth heat but threw his hand out the window as he shut the car down and retired. Jimmy Owens inherited the lead.
8:32 p.m. | Blessed at Eldora?
Could Brandon Overton be enjoying a run of uncanny luck at Eldora? It appears so after his victory in the fourth heat gave him the third starting spot for the World 100.
After scoring his third straight Dream victory Wednesday, Overton started the twin World 100 preliminary programs strong with a third-place finish on Thursday. His momentum was dulled, however, with a Friday outing in which he has to qualify through a B-main and finished a quiet 14th in the A-main.
But a subpar Friday proved beneficial in the World 100 points standings for the 31-year-old star. When Chris Madden spun a ‘6’ for the heat-race inversion, Overton found himself starting third in Saturday’s fourth heat. He took advantage of the break to win the prelim and position himself well to repeat his triumph in last year’s first World 100.
“I feel like we got something to race with,” Overton said.
8:30 p.m. | Early issues in fifth heat
Tyler Bruening spun in turn two on the initial start and Mason Zeigler lost his fourth starting spot when he pitted during the caution. Zeigler spun shortly after the ensuing restart and headed pitside again. Bruening’s car suffered significant damage as at least one other driver — perhaps Chris Nash — made contact with his No. 16.
8:25 p.m. | Babb’s feeling good
Shannon Babb couldn’t hide his excitement after advancing from the fourth starting spot to capture the third heat. “This thing is bad to the bone. What a treat to drive!” he said of his Longhorn Race Car. “Finally we won a heat!”
Yes, it’s been a while since the 48-year-old standout from Moweaqua, Ill., has claimed a World 100 heat-race checkered flag — 16 years, in fact.
Babb, who will make his 16th career start in the World 100 headliner, has three career World 100 heat wins, all well in the past: 2006, ’04 and ’02. Of course, those years represent his best performances in the century grind (and also his biggest heartbreak with his disqualification for weighing in light after crossing the finish line first in ’05). He led feature circuits each of the years he won a heat: laps 11-46 in ’02 (he finished third); laps 50-100 in his doomed ’05 run; and laps 1-26 and 28-80 en route to a runner-up finish in the famous ’06 event.
Notably, Babb hasn’t recorded a top-five finish in the World 100 finish since 2006; sixth, in ’07, is his best.
8:21 p.m. | Overton wins fourth heat
Overtaking race-long leader Zack Dohm on the 14th lap, Dream winner Brandon Overton captured the fourth heat race. Dohm led the first 12 laps but couldn’t hold off Overton after a lap-13 restart. Devin Moran, who started on the pole but slipped back to fourth, got the third and final transfer spot after Georgia teen Garrett Smith slipped up late. Smith will get a 10th-row provisional starting spot. The lone caution appeared on the 13th lap for a slowing Will Roland, who had a flat right-rear tire.
Fourth heat finish: Brandon Overton, Zack Dohm, Devin Moran, Chris Ferguson, Garrett Smith, Daulton Wilson, Brian Shirley, Josephy Joiner, Michael Chilton, Kenny Collins, Rob Anderzack, Will Roland, Duane Chamberlain, Dakotah Knuckles. Scratched: Ricky Weiss, Andrew Reaume, Jason Jameson, Kody Evans.
8:10 p.m. | Babb wins third heat
Overtaking polesitter Kent Robinson on a lap-three restart, Shannon Babb cruised the rest of the way for a 15-lap victory over Hudson O’Neal and Robinson. Brandon Sheppard will rely on a provisional starting spot after finishing fourth. Babb had grabbed the lead on the initial start — scrapped when Manny Falcon spun — but went on to lead 13 of 15 laps.
Third heat finish: Shannon Babb, Hudson O’Neal, Kent Robinson, Brandon Sheppard, Shane Clanton, Steve Casebolt, Cory Hedgecock, Tyler Erb, Camaron Marlar, Chase Osterhoff, John Henderson, Manny Falcon, Jon Henry, Garrett Alberson, Dustin Nobbe, Chase Frohnapfel, Jeff Robertson. Scratched: Ashton Winger.
8:07 p.m. | Alberson’s car banged up
Tenth-running Garrett Alberson got the worse of a turn-four scramble on the fifth lap of the third heat. Jon Henry and Steve Casebolt made contact, triggering a shuffle that sent Alberson around. He caught damaged from multiple cars, forcing him out of the race.
8:03 p.m. | A spinning Tyler Erb
While battling Hudson O’Neal for fourth in the third heat race, front-row starter Tyler Erb spun in turn two and was forced to restart on the tail. Erb got a bad start on the initial, slipped back on the second start, then saw everything go bad on the third lap after trading slide jobs with O’Neal. The right-front of Erb’s car caught the left-rear of O’Neal’s car, sending Erb around. Polesitter Kent Robinson led the first two laps of the heat.
8:01 p.m. | RTJ finds speed
Ricky Thornton Jr.’s week at Eldora hasn’t been especially memorable — 12th in the Dream, seventh and 19th in the preliminary features — but he appeared to be performing on a new level in his march to a wire-to-wire triumph in the second heat.
“We’ve had troubles the last couple nights,” Thornton said of his SSI Motorsports entry. “We changed a lot of stuff and we have a good car now.”
Thornton is in the World 100 feature field for the fourth time in his career. His top finish is eighth, in last year’s first 100-lapper.
7:55 p.m. | Back in the World
Earl Pearson Jr. didn’t enter last year’s twin World 100s; the previous week was his last run with the Black Diamond house car team and his new deal with Californian Jason Papich didn’t begin until the following weekend.
One year later, though, the 50-year-old from Jacksonville, Fla., is back in the starting field for the race he won in 2006 after piloting Papich’s machine to a flag-to-flag victory in the first heat.
“Our car was good there,” he said, “but of course the track will slow down (for the feature).”
Pearson will make his 13th career World 100 feature start but first since a ninth-place finish in 2018. He’s just two weeks removed from a $50,000 victory in the Lucas Oil Series-sanctioned Rumble by the River at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway.
7:53 p.m. | Thornton wins second heat
The second straight polesitter raced to a heat victory with Ricky Thornton Jr. topped the 15-lap second heat, which ran without a caution. Thornton took the checkers ahead of fourth-starting Kyle Bronson and sixth-starting Bobby Pierce. Among drivers struggling was former race winner Dale McDowell, who ended up sixth after starting third.
Second heat finish: Ricky Thornton Jr., Kyle Bronson, Bobby Pierce, Gregg Satterlee, Mike Marlar, Dale McDowell, Trent Ivey, Steven Roberts, Devin Gilpin, Mark Whitener, Victor Lee, Jon Hodgkiss, Jadon Frame, Jon Kirby, Josh Robertson, James Rice. Scratched: Jeremy Creech, Parker Martin.
7:46 p.m. | Pearson wins first heat
Chris Madden couldn’t quite overcome the six-car heat inversion, but the top preliminary points-earner finished a solid second to polesitter Earl Pearson Jr. in the opening heat race. Tim McCreadie, who started in the third row alongside Madden, got the third and final transfer spot. Front-row starter Zack Mitchell slipped back to finish seventh in his bid to start his first World 100.
First heat finish: Earl Pearson Jr., Chris Madden, Tim McCreadie, Ryan Gustin, John Blankenship, Scott Bloomquist, Zack Mitchell, Billy Moyer, Rick Eckert, Mike Benedum, Jeep Van Wormer, Jason Riggs, Jerry Bowersock, Mike Provenzano, Robby Hensley, Curtis Roberts, Terry Rushlow. Scratched: Keegan Cox.
7:35 p.m. | Heats underway
After the parade of flags and national anthems, the first heat rolled at 7:35 p.m. with Earl Pearson Jr. out front early in the first of six 15-lap heats. Terry Rushlow brushed the wall on the fourth lap to draw the night's first caution.
6:51 p.m. | Veteran wrench
Jeff Gullett, the crew chief of the Rattliff Racing No. 18D driven by Lucas Oil Series rookie Daulton Wilson of Fayetteville, N.C., was sitting on a four-wheeler in the upper pit area late Saturday afternoon when he summed up the legendary Eldora Speedway in a simple sentence.
“This place can pump you up so much,” he said, “and the next day kick you square in the nuts.”
A 59-year-old from Harrodsburg, Ky., who has been wrenching on Dirt Late Models for four decades, Gullett experienced the highs of Eldora on Wednesday when Wilson scored a $5,000 victory in one of the three Chasing the Dream features for drivers who had never won at the half-mile oval. Wilson’s tear-filled reaction to his triumph during the postrace ceremonies tugged on Gullett’s emotional strings.
“When Daulton got emotional, I wanted to cry too,” Gullett said. “I thought that was some cool s--- for him.
“Like I told him the other day, to win his third time here is pretty awesome. Mikey (Marlar) has been coming here since 2002 — I know because I brought him here — and he’s still trying to win one. It’s tough.”
6:28 p.m. | Saturday jitters
Shane McDowell watched his older brother Dale drive to a dramatic victory in Friday’s first 25-lap preliminary feature on a smooth, slick track surface that perfectly fit their Team Zero Race Car program.
But that doesn’t mean Shane is calm heading into Saturday’s heat action. While Dale is scheduled to start third in the second heat, Shane admitted that he’s “a little nervous about tonight.”
After reciting the five drivers that will surround Dale for the start of the heat — Ricky Thornton Jr., Gregg Satterlee, Kyle Bronson, Bobby Pierce and Mike Marlar — Shane noted that his sibling will need to be up on the wheel.
“Four of the six (drivers) are gas-mashers, and in that second heat you can usually still mash pretty good,” Shane said, alluding to the moisture that is typically in the surface early in the night. “I feel like if we get in the race we can tune on it and we’ll be good, but I’d rather not have to run a B-main to get in and be buried in the back.”
6:13 p.m. | Field size grows
With the dark clouds carrying rain looking increasingly like they will just miss to the track to the northwest, Eldora officials began the opening ceremonies for the 52nd World 100.
The festivities began with big news: Eldora owner Tony Stewart gave the go-ahead late this afternoon to add four starting positions to the 100-lap feature, pushing the field from its scheduled 24 cars to 28. With the race paying a record $5,200 to start, that’s an extra $20,800 going into the purse.
Opening ceremonies will be followed by hot laps; Saturday’s original schedule didn't include a practice session before the green flag of heats at 7 p.m., but teams convinced officials to give them some shakedown laps.
6:12 p.m. | Weiss sitting out
Ricky Weiss is still in the pit area with his hauler after his disappointing droop-rule disqualification from an apparent $12,000 victory in Friday’s first 25-lap preliminary feature, but his Sniper Chassis car is locked up in the trailer. With the 33-year-old driver from Headingley, Manitoba, scheduled to start 14th in Saturday’s fourth heat because the DQ cost him so many points, he’s decided to scratch from competition and spend the evening as a spectator.
According to Weiss, rather than risk damaging his car starting so far back, he’s going to save his equipment for Tuesday night’s Castrol FloRacing Night in America event at Fairbury (Ill.) Speedway.
5:54 p.m. | Front row seat
James Rice couldn’t have had a better view of his younger brother Josh’s late-race battle for the lead in Friday’s second 25-lap preliminary feature. As Josh was attempting to hold off veteran Dale McDowell in the closing laps, James was on the track getting lapped by the pacesetters.
The elder Rice knew his sibling was coming up behind him with McDowell hot on his tail. He could see the leaders on the track’s videoboard outside turn two.
“I messed up a couple times looking up there,” James said.
When McDowell ducked underneath Josh off turn two and pulled ahead down the backstretch on lap 23, James was right behind them because he had just been lapped. James admitted afterward that he briefly considered a measure he could have taken to help his brother.
“I thought about spinning out on the backstretch,” James, who finished 20th, said with a smile. “But I figured I would ruin my s---.”
Josh certainly would have relished a caution flag to keep him in the lead before McDowell reached the start-finish line first on lap 24. He was quite confident a clear track would have helped him.
“I was firing really good on the restarts,” Josh said after settling for a runner-up finish behind McDowell. “I haven’t been real good in the (dirty) air at all, but I think everybody is like that this week.”
Josh was disappointed to fall short of his first career win at Eldora, but the strong run as well as his performance in Wednesday’s postponed Dream — he ran as high as third before finishing eighth — shows he’s coming along at the famed track.
“I really learned in the 100-lapper that if I take it easy for a couple laps, your tires will come back to you,” Rice said. “I felt like in that (Dream) I just ran too hard (early). I got to third and then I fell off really quick.”
5:32 p.m. | Eyes on the sky
While leaning against a pit box munching on a slice of pizza late Saturday afternoon, Lance Wright, the son of legendary chassis builder Barry Wright, asked a question to a passerby that was on more than just his mind.
“Is it gonna rain?” said Wright, who is at Eldora with his father assisting BWRC campaigner Mason Zeigler of Chalk Hill, Pa.
Weather forecasts for Saturday show just a marginal chance of precipitation — a bit over 20 percent, tops. But the sky behind the track’s covered grandstand has become unmistakably darker as the afternoon has progressed, leading to fears that the prognosticators could be wrong and that showers and thunderstorms dancing around to the north and west of the track could end up reaching here.
Wright knows that slight chances of rain don’t mean a facility won’t get wet. Just two weeks he was at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway’s Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series weekend and sat through a rain delay of over two hours on Friday night after a downpour struck despite a seemingly single-digit chance of rain.
At any rate, officials and teams will be on alert throughout the program for any changes. One cell to the west of the track appears to be trending to the north and west of the track, but there is a fear the speedway could soon be clipped by the edge of the rain.
Heat race lineups
(15 laps; top three transfer)
Row 1: Earl Pearson Jr., Zack Mitchell
Row 2: John Blankenship, Ryan Gustin
Row 3: Tim McCreadie, Chris Madden
Row 4: Mike Benedum, Jeep Van Wormer
Row 5: Billy Moyer, Scott Bloomquist
Row 6: Jason Riggs, Rick Eckert
Row 7: Robby Hensley, Mike Provenzano
Row 8: Curtis Roberts, Terry Rushlow
Row 9: Keegan Cox, Jerry Bowersock
Row 1: Ricky Thornton Jr., Gregg Satterlee
Row 2: Dale McDowell, Kyle Bronson
Row 3: Mike Marlar, Bobby Pierce
Row 4: Trent Ivey, James Rice
Row 5: Mark Whitener, Steven Roberts
Row 6: Victor Lee, Jadon Frame
Row 7: Devin Gilpin, Jon Hodgkiss
Row 8: Jon Kirby, Josh Robertson
Row 9: Jeremy Creech, Parker Martin
Row 1: Kent Robinson, Tyler Erb
Row 2: Shane Clanton, Shannon Babb
Row 3: Hudson O'Neal, Brandon Sheppard
Row 4: Jon Henry, Cory Hedgecock
Row 5: Garrett Alberson, Camaron Marlar
Row 6: Steve Casebolt, Manny Falcon
Row 7: Dustin Nobbe, John Henderson
Row 8: Chase Osterhoff, Jeff Robertson
Row 9: Chase Frohnapfel, Ashton Winger
Row 1: Devin Moran, Brian Shirley
Row 2: Brandon Overton, Zack Dohm
Row 3: Chris Ferguson, Garrett Smith
Row 4: Daulton Wilson, Dakotah Knuckles
Row 5: Will Roland, Michael Chilton
Row 6: Joseph Joiner, Duane Chamberlain
Row 7: Kenny Collins, Ricky Weiss
Row 8: Rob Anderzack, Andrew Reaume
Row 9: Jason Jameson, Kody Evans
Row 1: Johnny Scott, Kyle Strickler
Row 2: Stormy Scott, Mason Zeigler
Row 3: Josh Rice, Jimmy Owens
Row 4: Tyler Bruening, Darrell Lanigan
Row 5: Tyler Carpenter, Forrest Trent
Row 6: R.J. Conley, Gordy Gundaker
Row 7: Clint Keenan, Justin White
Row 8: Chris Nash, Nick Fenner
Row 9: Bob Gardner, Drew Smith
Row 1: Jensen Ford, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 2: Spencer Hughes, Chase Junghans
Row 3: Wil Herrington, Jonathan Davenport
Row 4: Kye Blight, Jason Feger
Row 5: Austin Kirkpatrick, Casey Noonan
Row 6: Freddie Carpenter, Carson Ferguson
Row 7: Dean Carpenter, Brenden Smith
Row 8: Bryant Dickinson, Steve Sabo
Row 9: Brandon Moore
Numerical driver roster
Driver (car no.), hometown
Freddie Carpenter (K), Parkersburg, W.Va.
Jeff Robertson (P0), Defiance, Ohio
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn.
Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas
Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill.
Kenny Collins (1c), Colbert, Ga.
Devin Gilpin (1G), Columbus, Ind.
Casey Noonan (1N), Sylvania, Ohio
Johnny Scott (1st), Las Cruces, N.M.
Stormy Scott (2s), Las Cruces, N.M.
John Henderson (2x), North Augusta, S.C.
Brian Shirley (3s), Chatham, Ill.
Kody Evans (4G), Camden, Ohio
Bob Gardner (4G), East Peoria, Ill.
Mark Whitener (5), Middleburg, Fla.
Dustin Nobbe (5N), Batesville, Ind.
Bryant Dickinson (5X), Ionia, Mich.
Victor Lee (6), Danville, Ky.
Parker Martin (6jr), Milledgeville, Ga.
Ricky Weiss (7), Headingley, Manitoba
Kent Robinson (7R), Bloomington, Ind.
Jadon Frame (J8), Decherd, Tenn.
Kyle Strickler (8), Mooresville, N.C.
Rob Anderzack (8A), Swanton, Ohio
Steve Casebolt (C9), Richmond, Ind.
Devin Moran (9), Dresden, Ohio
Curtis Roberts (9r), Coleman, Mich.
Mason Zeigler (9z), Chalk Hill, Pa.
Joseph Joiner (10), Milton, Fla.
Garrett Smith (10), Eatonton, Ga.
Gordy Gundaker (11), St. Charles, Mo.
Spencer Hughes (11), Meridian, Miss.
Josh Rice (11), Verona, Ky.
Austin Kirkpatrick (11K), Harrisburg, N.C.
Jon Kirby (11J), Russellville, Ark.
Jason Jameson (12), Lawrenceburg, Ind.
Jon Henry (15), Ada, Ohio
Rick Eckert (15K), York, Pa.
Tyler Bruening (16), Decorah, Iowa
Steve Sabo (16S), Fremont, Ohio
Zack Dohm (17), Cross Lanes, W.Va.
Jeremy Creech (17C), Richmond, Ind.
Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga.
Brenden Smith (17ss), Dade City, Fla.
Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill.
Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan.
Daulton Wilson (18D), Fayetteville, N.C.
Wil Herrington (19M), Cochran, Ga.
Ryan Gustin (19r), Marshalltown, Iowa
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn.
Duane Chamberlain (20c), Richmond, Ind.
Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt), Chandler, Ariz.
Justin White (20W), Stevensville, Mich.
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark.
Robby Hensley (21H), Walton, Ky.
Dakotah Knuckles (21k), Ewing, Va.
Chris Ferguson (22), Mount Holly, N.C.
Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa.
Nick Fenner (22f), Morenci, Mich.
Will Roland (22R), Jasper, Ga.
John Blankenship (23), Williamson, W.Va.
Cory Hedgecock (23), Loudon, Tenn.
Keegan Cox (23C), Franklin, Ind.
Mike Benedum (25), Salem, W.Va.
Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga.
Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill.
Mike Provenzano (M27), Marseilles, Ill.
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill.
Darrell Lanigan (29), Union, Ky.
Clint Keenan (29K), Pataskala, Ohio
Kye Blight (31K), Katanning, Australia
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill.
Josh Robertson (P33), Defiance, Ohio
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y.
Brandon Moore (39M), Montgomery, Texas
Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla.
Tyler Carpenter (42), Parkersburg, W.Va.
Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C.
Earl Pearson Jr. (46), Jacksonville, Fla.
Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga.
Dean Carpenter (51), Coldwater, Miss.
Jeep Van Wormer (55), Pinconning, Mich.
Zack Mitchell (57), Enoree, S.C.
Garrett Alberson (58), Las Cruces, N.M.
Ashton Winger (58), Hampton, Ga.
Terry Rushlow (63), Delta, Ohio
Jon Hodgkiss (69), Kennedy Township, Pa.
Hudson O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind.
R.J. Conley (71C), Wheelersburg, Ohio
Drew Smith (71DS), Sylvania, Ohio
Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga.
Jason Riggs (81), College Grove, Tenn.
Jensen Ford (83), Johnson City, Tenn.
Trent Ivey (88), Union, S.C.
Andrew Reaume (88), Blenheim, Ontario
Carson Ferguson (93), Lincolnton, N.C.
Jerry Bowersock (95j), Wapakoneta, Ohio
Camaron Marlar (99), Winfield, Tenn.
Michael Chilton (97), Salvisa, Ky.
Forrest Trent (101), Morristown, Tenn.
Steven Roberts (111), Sylvester, Ga.
Chase Osterhoff (130), Kankakee, Ill.
Chase Frohnapfel (145), Canal Winchester, Ohio
Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn.
Chris Nash (354), Vicksburg, Mich.
Manny Falcon (995), Pine Grove, La.
(All times local)
7-11 a.m.: Breakfast at turn four concessions
9 a.m.: Turn one camping load-in
10 a.m.: Turn-three race registration opens (pit passes and media credential sign-in)
10 a.m.: Main gate ticket office opens (tickets, pit passes and will call)
10 a.m.: Turn-four ticket office opens (tickets and pit passes)
10 a.m.: All ADA parking opens (permit required)
11 a.m.: Grandstand cleared and secured for grand opening
Noon: Turn-three pit gate opens
Noon: All admission gates/suites/concessions open
3:30 p.m.: Driver autograph session (Fan Zone)
4:30 p.m.: Drivers’ meeting
6:30 p.m.: Hot laps
7 p.m.: Opening ceremonies followed by on-track competition
- Six heat races (15 laps)
- Two consolation races (20 laps)
- 52nd annual World 100