ROSSBURG, Ohio — It didn’t take long for Jonathan Davenport to put into perspective his 2015 sweep of Eldora Speedway’s major races after Saturday evening's $48,000 victory in the 45th annual World 100.
“We had a Dream season,” Davenport said in victory lane. “Now we’ve got a World season.”
The 31-year-old driver from Blairsville, Ga., rallied from his 18th starting spot at the historic Tony Stewart-owned oval, won a mid-race duel with race-long leader Jared Landers of Batesville, Ark., then pulled away to win by more than a half-track margin in Dirt Late Model racing's most prestigious event.
Adding the victory in the richest-ever World 100 to his $100,000 Dream payday left Davenport struggling to put into words a season where he’s eclipsed a half-million dollars in earnings and has captured many of the sport’s biggest events.
“I never would have thought I could achieve this much, especially in one season. I was hoping, you know, you dream of doing this in your career. It's just been an unbelievable season for us,” Davenport said, thanking car owners Lee Roy and Kevin Rumley along with sponsors including Sundance Services.
“We just, we put our heads together this winter, it was pretty good last year in this car and Kevin came up with some new ideas. Me and him fought back and forth and we've just been building on it all through the year. We still got a little bit to do but as good as we was at the beginning of the race, I can maneuver anywhere I wanted to, the car was just excellent I couldn't ask for something any better at all.”
While the Dream victory came with an asterisk when apparent winner Scott Bloomquist weighed in 25 pounds light, giving Davenport the big paycheck via disqualification, there were no questions about Davenport’s domination this time has has he broke into the top 10 by the 10th lap, dispatched of Bloomquist with a daring slide job amid traffic on lap 57, then took the lead for good from Landers on lap 64 before setting sail.
Davenport took the checkers more than 10 seconds ahead of runner-up Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., the 18-year-old who duplicated his stirring — and wall-scraping — performance from Eldora’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event two months earlier.
The polesitting Bloomquist settled for third without leading a lap while Landers, who matched his best World 100 performance from 2009, ended up fourth, just ahead of the 13th-starting Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., the 1999 World 100 winner who posted his first finish since 2007.
Davenport had a long way to go but before the halfway point felt like his Longhorn Chassis was good enough to carry him to the front, even amid a flurry of tight racing with Pierce and Francis before tracking down Bloomquist for the second spot.
“Me and Francis, we got rolling on the top there. Once I finally cleared him and I had a clean racetrack, I felt I got even better. We passed Scott that one time and the (lap-45) caution come out and I'm like, 'Oh no, he's going to go ahead and step it up now.' I figured he was just riding like Scott always does.
“Then we was fortunate enough, it look me a couple laps to get my rhythm going again, and we tracked him down, passed him. Jared done a good job, he was up there, he kind of got blocked in by some lap cars and I just caught him at the right opportunity. I just tried to hang on from there.”
Hanging on? Davenport did much more than that, easily pulling away to rob the fans packing the grandstands any drama in the late stages as he continued one of the most memorable seasons for a Dirt Late Model driver in history.
“You know, I could call it a season at the Dream, that was unbelievable but then, the way we want it, I definitely want to come back and win it for myself the right way,” said Davenport, who is also pursing the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series title. “Man, we just keep thinking about the next race. We got the Dirt Track (World Championship) coming up .. we got Charlotte and I love going to East Alabama, one of my favorite tracks. We still got a big list we want to conquer this year and we're just fortunate enough to be running this well. We're just going to keep working hard and hope it continues.”
Pierce ran second from laps 20-35 before slipping back to fifth through the race’s middle stages, but he went from fourth to second on the 90th lap and finished one spot shy of becoming the Earl Baltes-founded event’s youngest winner.
“I don't know I never really wanted to finish with the car looking the way it did you know like at the Mud Summer Classic with the truck,” Pierce said of his beatup No. 32. “But it looks the exact same way. I don't know, I guess it just happens.
“I think it hurt me a little bit going out straight away and besides that really didn't seem to faze me. You know that's when you know you have a good car, you know when you can do that to your spoiler and just notice a little difference instead of a huge difference.
I don't know it was pretty cool, you know, this place is so much different than what it was heck last year, two years ago. Just to get the hang of it again, like we did back when I was first here for the World, it feels really good you know. It makes me look forward to coming back the next time. I don't know dude, I wanted to get it for Illinois.”
Bloomquist was steady all race long but never had enough to get to the front — or hold off Davenport’s charge.
“Yeah, we weren't bad. We weren't as good as what we thought we would be. I don't know, I was just looking at my tires and just felt like they actually finally just gave up a little bit on us,” said Bloomquist, who was trying to become the first repeat World 100 winner in 18 seasons. “We just have to go home and study this setup a little bit. We changed so many things, we were a little bit tight all weekend and finally got the car turning really good in the heat race and it actually really left the car a little too free for the future and that did some damage.”
Landers felt good while leading the 30-car field, but it turned out not good enough to beat Davenport, his former teammate when they were at Clint Bowyer Racing.
“I just got out there and I got some lapped cars and I guess I paced myself with some lapped cars, you know, slow down quit driving so hard because after every restart I could just drive hard,” Landers said. “You know, I wasn’t spinning no tires. I didn't feel like slipping the car, I just drove right around there and I just got suckered you know.
“Jonathan obviously was driving a harder race than I was. He got out there and I tried to race him harder there for a little bit and tried to see if it wasn’t just because I fell asleep you know what I mean. Then I got (behind the slower car of Dennis Erb Jr.) and I simply couldn't pass him and I got passed by two or three guys, two guys. So fourth place is not bad, but leading that many laps kind of hurt your feelings, but we'll take it.”
Landers appeared unbeatable early in the race, stretching his margin to nearly a straightaway on occasion and keeping his pursuers in check. A couple of lap-seven bobbles let Bloomquist close in, but Landers eased by away on the 10th lap as Billy Moyer and a charging Terry Phillips gave chase in the third and fourth spots.
Phillips took third from Moyer on the 11th lap and a few laps later, the top six of Landers, Bloomquist, Phillips, Bobby Pierce, Moyer and Madden were all on the same straightaway.
On the restart from the lap-35 caution, Landers again edged away while Bloomquist beat Pierce into turn two to take the second spot, and Phillips began to fade with right-front suspension problems. Francis, who briefly lost a spot to drop to fifth, pulled a slide job on lap 37 to move ahead of Pierce and Davenport as that trio mixed it up before the halfway point.
Davenport finally cleared Pierce and Francis and slid under Bloomquist in turn three on lap 46, but that move was negated by a caution and Landers got some breathing room just past the halfway point with Bloomquist and Davenport briefly held up by Billy Moyer, who returned to the track two laps down after a pit stop.
Davenport’s bold lap-57 move carried him past Bloomquist and Moyer at the same time, then he tracked down Landers in traffic and took command.
Two cautions slowed the action, both for single-car incidents. The first yellow appeared on the 35th lap when two-race race winner Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., slowing to exit in turn four, spun before pulling into the infield. Moyer spun on the frontstretch for a lap-45 yellow.
45th annual World 100
Pos. Driver (car no.), hometown, chassis, earnings
1. Jonathan Davenport (6), Blairsville, Ga., Longhorn, $48,000
2. Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., Pierce, $20,000
3. Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., Sweet-Bloomquist, $12,500
4. Jared Landers (777), Batesville, Ark., Sweet-Bloomquist, $10,000
5. Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky., Barry Wright, $8,750
6. Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., Warrior, $7,500
7. Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., Longhorn, $6,500
8. Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga, Capital, $6,000
9. Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., MB Custom, $5,500
10. Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., Capital, $5,000
11. Eddie Carrier Jr. (28), Salt Rock, W.Va., Rocket, $4,000
12. Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., Club 29, $3,000
13. Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., Black Diamond, $2,950
14. Chris Simpson (R5), Oxford, Iowa, Black Diamond, $2,900
15. Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., Club 29, $2,875
16. R.J. Conley (71c), Wheelersburg, Ohio, Rocket, $2,850
17. Brian Shirley (3s), Chatham, Ill., Rocket, $2,825
18. Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., Hustler, $2,800
19. Darrell Lanigan (29), Union, Ky., Club 29, $2,775
20. Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., Black Diamond, $2,750
21. Jeep Van Wormer (55), Pinconning, Mich., Rocket, $2,725
22. Chris Brown (21), Spring, Texas, Black Diamond, $2,700
23. Devin Moran (99m), Dresden, Ohio, MasterSbilt, $2,675
24. Chub Frank (1*), Bear Lake, Pa., Club 29, $2,650
25. Tim Manville (33) St. Jacob, Ill., Rocket, $2,625
26. Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., Victory, $2,600
27. Terry Phillips (75), Springfield, Mo., Black Diamond, $2,575
28. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., Club 29, $2,550
29. Chris Ferguson (22), Mount Holly, N.C., Longhorn, $2,525
30. Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., Barry Wright, $2,500
Fast qualifier (among 106 cars): Chris Ferguson, 14.866 seconds.
Heat race winners: Madden, Pierce, Pearson, Moyer, Landers, Bloomquist
Consolation winners: Marlar, O’Neal.
Consolation scramble winners: Brandon Sheppard, Matt Westfall
Provisional starters: Ferguson, Moran
Thursday preliminary feature winners: McDowell, Sheppard
Saturday preliminary feature winners: Moyer, Sheppard
Lap leaders: Landers 1-63, Davenport 64-100.
First heat: Chris Madden, R.J. Conley, Steve Francis, Jason Riggs, Tim McCreadie, Vic Hill, Dennis Erb Jr., Brandon Sheppard, Rick Rickman, Brandon Kinzer, Doug Drown, Lauren Longbrake, Doug Sanders, Cameron Guidi: Scratched: Steve Casebolt, Chase Junghans, Brandon Kinzer, Brad Eitinear.
Second heat: Bobby Pierce, Terry Phillips, Dale McDowell, Chris Brown, Josh Rice, Mike Marlar, Brian Ruhlman, Tim Manville, Riley Hickman, Mike Spatola, Austin Smith, Kolby Vandenbergh, Ernie Cordier, Kent Robinson. Scratched: Randy Weaver, Walker Arthur, Dan Stone, Jackie Boggs.
Third heat: Earl Pearson Jr., Jimmy Owens, Chub Frank, Darrell Lanigan, Devin Moran, Duane Chamberlain, Jerry Bowersock, Don Hammer, Wayne Chinn, Jay Johnson, Steve Lance Jr., Ted Nobbe, James Rice, James Rice, Chris Ferguson, Ricky Weiss. Scratched: Brian Rickman, Donald McIntosh, Chris Nash.
Fourth heat: Billy Moyer, Shane Clanton, Jimmy Mars, Jeep Van Wormer, Chris Simpson, Eddie Carrier Jr., Dustin Linville, Gregg Satterlee, Michael Chilton, Andrew Reaume, Gordy Gundaker, Shannon Thornsberry, Butch Kruckeberg, Rob Anderzack, Rodney Hamblin. Scratched: Rusty Schlenk, Scott James, Mark Voigt.
Fifth heat: Jared Landers, Frank Heckenast Jr., Shannon Babb, Don O’Neal, Matt Westfall, Morgan Bagley, Garrett Alberson, Craig Vosbergen, Austin Hubbard, Mack McCarter, Dustin Nobbe, Jason Croft, Jon Hodgkiss, Charles LaPlant, Brian Ledbetter, Shane Unger. Scratched: Josh Richards.
Sixth heat: Scott Bloomquist, Brian Shirley, Jonathan Davenport, Jason Feger, Nick Latham, Mason Zeigler, Billy Moyer Jr., Jon Henry, Alex Ferree, Chad Ruhlman, Casey Noonan, Neil Baggett, Jeff Wolfenbarger, Dan Shepherd, Tommy Bailey, John Mayes, Bryant Dickinson.
First consolation: Mike Marlar, Darrell Lanigan, Chris Brown, Dennis Erb Jr., Tim Manville, Vic Hill, Brandon Sheppard, Tim McCreadie, Jason Riggs, Duane Chamberlain, Jerry Bowersock, Brian Ruhlman, Jay Johnson, Wayne Chinn, Mike Spatola, Don Hammer, Lauren Longbrake, Steve Lance Jr., Austin Smith, Brandon Kinzer, Josh Rice, Ted Nobbe, Rick Rickman. Scramble winner: Sheppard.
Second consolation: Don O’Neal, Jeep Van Wormer, Jason Feger, Eddie Carrier Jr., Chris Simpson, Matt Westfall, Dustin Linville, Alex Ferree, Billy Moyer Jr., Nick Latham, Morgan Bagley, Garrett Alberson, Jon Henry, Gregg Satterlee, Chad Ruhlman, Austin Hubbard, Mason Zeigler, Mack McCarter, Casey Noonan, Gordy Gundaker, Michael Chilton, Craig Vosbergen, Andrew Reaume, Dustin Nobbe. Scramble winner: Westfall.
Preliminary notes and results:
Main event notes
Lap 100: Davenport wins the 45th annual World 100.
Lap 90: Davenport has a commanding lead over Pierce, Bloomquist, Landers and Francis.
Lap 80: Davenport has a full straightaway lead. Mike Marlar has charged from 21st to ninth.
Lap 75: Davenport leads over Landers, Bloomquist, Pierce, and Francis.
Lap 64: After a close battle with Landers, Davenport takes the lead coming out of turn four.
Lap 57: Davenport charges past Bloomquist in turns three and four to take the second-place spot.
Lap 50: At the halfway point, Landers leads Bloomquist, Davenport, Francis and Pierce.
Lap 45: Billy Moyer spins to draw the race's second caution.
Lap 45: Landers continues to lead Bloomquist, while Davenport, Francis and Pierce battle for the third-place spot.
Lap 35: A yellow flag waves for Jimmy Owens when he slows in turn four. Landers leads Pierce, Bloomquist, Steve Francis and Jonathan Davenport.
Lap 30: Landers continues to lead over Pierce, Bloomquist, Chris Madden and Phillips.
Lap 15: Bobby Pierce charges past Phillips to take the third spot. Landers continues to lead Bloomquist.
Lap 10 : As the leaders begin working through lapped traffic, Bloomquist begins closing in on Landers. Billy Moyer runs third, Terry Phillips fourth.
Lap one: Second-starting Jared Landers edges polesitter Scott Bloomquist to lead the opening lap.
10:33 p.m.: Driver intros are complete and cars are on the track.
10:22 p.m. | Well-represented
A whopping thirteen chassis brands are represented in the 30-car starting field along with 17 states.
Rocket Chassis, Black Diamond Chassis and Club 29 Race Cars have five cars apiece, making up half the field. Other chassis represented are Longhorn (four cars) along with Barry Wright and Bloomquist (two apiece). Chassis with single representatives: Victory, Pierce, Capital, Warrior, MB Custom, MasterSbilt and Hustler.
Illinois again leads the states with the most representatives with twice as many as any other state. Illinois had sven drivers followed by Tennessee and Georgia with three apiece. Kentucky, Arkansas and Ohio each had two drivers apiece. States with a single representative: Florida, South Carolina, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Indiana, Michigan, Texas, West Virginia and Iowa.
10:02 p.m. | More pre-feature notes
Steve Francis, who won the World 100 in 1999, is the race for the 21st time since 1986 but just the second time in the last six years. … With his 10th career World 100 start, Terry Phillips will attempt to record a top-10 finish for the third consecutive year. The only other driver who can match him in that category is Bloomquist. … Dale McDowell is in the World 100 field for the eighth consecutive year and 15th time overall. … First B-Main winner Mike Marlar’s sixth career World 100 start marks the first time that he’s qualified in consecutive years. His best finish is ninth, in 2005. … Dennis Erb Jr. is in the World 100 for the 10th time but he’s never finished higher than 10th (2004). … Darrell Lanigan transferred through a B-Main to make the World 100 lineup for the 10th straight year and 22nd time overall. His best finish is second (1999 and 2013), making him the driver who has made the most starts without winning the race. … Jason Feger is in the World 100 for the sixth time one year after scoring a career-best finish of fourth. … Eddie Carrier Jr. transferred to the feature for the fifth straight year and seventh time overall after changing motors following this afternoon’s preliminary feature. … Don O’Neal ends a two-year absence from the World 100 feature with his 13th career start. … First-time World 100 starters are Devin Moran (son of four-time winner Donnie Moran), Chris Brown and Tim Manville. … Chris Ferguson, Frank Heckenast Jr. and Chris Simpson are making second career World 100 feature starts.
10 p.m. | Pre-feature notes
Polesitter Scott Bloomquist will make his 10th straight and 26th career World 100 start. He has 17 top-five finishes to his credit, including four wins. … Shane Clanton, who won the World 100 in 2008, is a feature starter for the eighth time. His results the last three years haven’t been memorable: 30th, 27th and 26th. … After failing to qualify in 2014, Jeep Van Wormer is back in the field for the ninth time. He counts a pair of third-place finishes (2006 and ’08) as his best performances. … Jimmy Mars is a Dream winner, but he’s never enjoyed much success in the World 100. He’s in the feature for the 13th time in his career but has just a single top-five finish (fifth in 2004). … Earl Pearson Jr. is also back in the World 100 after missing the cut last year. He’ll take the green flag for the ninth time; he’s finished outside the top 10 just once (26th in 2011). … Dream winner Jonathan Davenport is making just his third career World 100. He was eighth in 2013 and 14th last year. … 2004 World 100 champion Chub Frank will start the event for the seventh time but first since 2009.
9:48 p.m. | O'Neal wins second consolation
Polesitter Jeep Van Wormer edged second-starting Don O’Neal to lead the opening lap, with O’Neal slipping back by on the following circuit. Fourth-running Chris Simpson tagged the wall on the fifth lap, slipping back one spot. Working his way through lapped traffic, O’Neal stretched his lead over Van Wormer, winning the second consolation. Van Wormer grabbed the runner-up spot, with Jason Feger finishing third. Eddie Carrier Jr. advanced three spots to run fourth, with Simpson holding on to the fifth and final transfer spot.
Finish (top five transfer): Don O’Neal, Jeep Van Wormer, Jason Feger, Eddie Carrier Jr., Chris Simpson, Matt Westfall, Dustin Linville, Alex Ferree, Billy Moyer Jr., Nick Latham, Morgan Bagley, Garrett Alberson, Jon Henry, Gregg Satterlee, Chad Ruhlman, Austin Hubbard, Mason Zeigler, Mack McCarter, Casey Noonan, Gordy Gundaker, Michael Chilton, Craig Vosbergen, Andrew Reaume, Dustin Nobbe. Scramble winner: Westfall.
9:37 p.m. | Contingencies and bonuses
A sponsored bonus doubled Brandon Sheppard's consolation scramble victory to be worth $2,000. ... Vic Hill picked up a free transmission from Bert Transmission presented by Larry "Budda" Redenius as the sixth-place finisher in the first consy, the feature's first non-qualifying driver. ... The sixth-place finisher in the second consy gets a drum of Sunoco Race Fuel.
9:29 p.m. | Marlar wins first consolation
Eighth-starting Mike Marlar dove under race-long leader Darrell Lanigan for the lead on the 15th lap and pulled away. Lanigan transferred along with Chris Brown, Dennis Erb Jr., Chris and Tim Manville, who made his first major event at Eldora. Brandon Sheppard, winner of two preliminary features, never contended.
First consolation finish (top five transfer): Mike Marlar, Darrell Lanigan, Chris Brown, Dennis Erb Jr., Tim Manville, Vic Hill, Brandon Sheppard, Tim McCreadie, Jason Riggs, Duane Chamberlain, Jerry Bowersock, Brian Ruhlman, Jay Johnson, Wayne Chinn, Mike Spatola, Don Hammer, Lauren Longbrake, Steve Lance Jr., Austin Smith, Brandon Kinzer, Josh Rice, Ted Nobbe, Rick Rickman. Scramble winner: Sheppard.
9:20 p.m. | McCreadie-Erb tangle
In the first consolation, Tim McCreadie and Dennis Erb Jr. tangled on the low side of turns one and two at the 12th lap with Darrell Lanigan leading. McCreadie and Erb were running in transfer spots — fourth and fifth — with McCreadie able to keep going while Erb lost control. Officials left both in their positions for the restart, calling it an inadvertent yellow. Officials ruled Erb never stopped. On the restart, Josh Rice went around on the backstretch, collecting Ted Nobbe.
9:07 p.m. | Bloomquist wins sixth heat
Outside polesitter Billy Moyer Jr. jumped to an early lead over Brian Shirley and Scott Bloomquist. Scott Bloomquist charged past the race leaders in turns three and four on the 12th lap to grab the pole position for the 100-lapper. Shirley held on to finish second, with Jonathan Davenport advancing from the fifth starting spot to run third and transfer to the feature. Jason Feger finished fourth, with Nick Latham finishing fifth. After leading over half the race, Moyer Jr. slipped back to finish seventh.
Finish (top three transfer): Scott Bloomquist, Brian Shirley, Jonathan Davenport, Jason Feger, Nick Latham, Mason Zeigler, Billy Moyer Jr., Jon Henry, Alex Ferree, Chad Ruhlman, Casey Noonan, Neil Baggett, Jeff Wolfenbarger, Dan Shepherd, Tommy Bailey, John Mayes, Bryant Dickinson
9:03 p.m. | Confidence building for Landers
Jared Landers wasn't jumping up and down after his fifth heat victory, but there was no doubt he was feeling good about grabbing the outside pole starting spot for the World 100.
“This car is about the best car I’ve ever driven around this Eldora Speedway,” Landers said of his Sweet-Bloomquist machine that carried him to his fifth career World 100 feature start. “If we don’t mess things up, I think we have a car that can win this race.”
Landers’s best performance in the World 100 is a fourth-place finish in his first-ever start, in 2009.
8:57 p.m. | Landers wins fifth heat
Second-starting Jared Landers charged to a commanding lead over polesitter Frank Heckenast Jr. Third-running Matt Westfall tagged the turn two wall, on the fourth lap, slipping out of a transfer spot to fourth. Successfully navigating lapped traffic, Landers picked up the heat race win, with Heckenast holding on to the second-place spot. Shannon Babb finished third to transfer to the feature, with Don O’Neal improving one spot to finish fourth. Westfall rounded out the top five.
Finish (top three transfer): Jared Landers, Frank Heckenast Jr., Shannon Babb, Don O’Neal, Matt Westfall, Morgan Bagley, Garrett Alberson, Craig Vosbergen, Austin Hubbard, Mack McCarter, Dustin Nobbe, Jason Croft, Jon Hodgkiss, Charles LaPlant, Brian Ledbetter, Shane Unger. Scratched: Josh Richards
8:55 p.m. | Moyer aiming for 100
Billy Moyer’s postrace comments after his fourth-heat win were short and sweet: “This little hot rod is doing good … we’ve got 100 laps to go.” You should expect nothing less after a heat-race triumph from the 57-year-old Moyer, who is the biggest winner in World 100 history with six career checkered flags to his credit. His successful qualification puts him into the 100-lap finale for the 24th time in his Hall of Fame career.
8:49 p.m. | Moyer wins fourth heat
Outside polesitter Billy Moyer charged to the lead at the drop of the green flag, with Shane Clanton moving into second on the opening lap as polesitter Dustin Linville tagged the turn four wall. Moyer led all 15 laps to win the fourth heat race, with Clanton holding off the hard charging Jimmy Mars and Jeep Van Wormer to grab the runner-up spot. Mars finished third to transfer to the main event, with Van Wormer running fourth. Chris Simpson rounded out the top five.
Finish (top three transfer): Billy Moyer, Shane Clanton, Jimmy Mars, Jeep Van Wormer, Chris Simpson, Eddie Carrier Jr., Dustin Linville, Gregg Satterlee, Michael Chilton, Andrew Reaume, Gordy Gundaker, Shannon Thornsberry, Butch Kruckeberg, Rob Anderzack, Rodney Hamblin. Scratched: Rusty Schlenk, Scott James, Mark Voigt
8:47 p.m. | Tweaking helps Pearson
Earl Pearson Jr. wasn’t satisfied with his afternoon preliminary performance, so some tweaking on his Black Diamond Race Car turned it into a winner of the third heat.
“We struggled here this afternoon,” said Pearson, whose first Eldora appearance with the Dunn-Benson Racing team since they clicked for a World 100 victory in 2006 will mark his ninth career start in the prestigious event. “We went back, worked hard, changed everything around with the Penske Shocks and suspension, and it felt pretty good.”
8:38 p.m. | Pearson wins third heat
Earl Pearson Jr. kept Jimmy Owens in check throughout the third heat to grab the victory. Owens transferred to the main event along with third-place Chub Frank. Two non-transferrees, Chris Ferguson (who elected to start on the tail) and Devin Moran, will get provisionals for the main event via fast qualifying times.
Third heat finish (top three transfer): Earl Pearson Jr., Jimmy Owens, Chub Frank, Darrell Lanigan, Devin Moran, Duane Chamberlain, Jerry Bowersock, Don Hammer, Wayne Chinn, Jay Johnson, Steve Lance Jr., Ted Nobbe, James Rice, James Rice, Chris Ferguson, Ricky Weiss. Scratched: Brian Rickman, Donald McIntosh, Chris Nash.
8:30 p.m. | Hard hit for James Rice
James Rice slammed the turn-one wall head-one on the 10th lap of the third heat, taking a hard lick. The accident brought out a red flag. Rice took a few moments before climbing from the car apparently unhurt. He was checked out in the new infield care center and found to be OK a few moments later. In the replay, it appeared Rice and a competitor touched just past the flagstand, sending his car into the wall. The car suffered heavy front-end damage.
8:26 p.m. | Pierce stays in the gas
Bobby Pierce kept his perfect World 100 qualification record intact, winning the second heat to claim the fifth starting spot in the headliner.
“I was basically just to the wood every lap, giving it everything I had,” said the 18-year-old Pierce. “It’s awesome — every single World 100 (entered) I’ve made so far.”
Pierce has now cracked the starting field for three consecutive years. His best run was his fourth-place finish in his 2013 debut; he was 25th last year.
8:23 p.m. | Polesitter Weiss out
Ricky Weiss, the 22-race winner in 2015, got into the turn-two wall on the second lap, ending his night. Earl Pearson Jr. is out front ahead of Jimmy Owens, who took second from Weiss with a slide job on the other end of the track before Weiss hit the wall. Weiss was pushed back toward his pit area.
8:18 p.m. | Pierce wins second heat
Outside front-row starter Bobby Pierce cruised to victory in the second heat, transferring to the main along with Terry Phillips and Dale McDowell. Pierce's only blemish came with a few scares trying to lap fellow Illinois driver Kolby Vandenbergh, but he barely missed a beat.
Second heat finish (top three transfers): Bobby Pierce, Terry Phillips, Dale McDowell, Chris Brown, Josh Rice, Mike Marlar, Brian Ruhlman, Tim Manville, Riley Hickman, Mike Spatola, Austin Smith, Kolby Vandenbergh, Ernie Cordier, Kent Robinson. Scratched: Randy Weaver, Walker Arthur, Dan Stone, Jackie Boggs.
8:13 p.m. | Madden's impressive run
Making just his fourth start since returning over Labor Day weekend from a nearly four-month sabbatical from racing, Chris Madden rolled to a first-heat victory that pumped his confidence up for World 100 success. “We’ve been extremely fast,” said Madden, who will start the World 100 feature for the seventh consecutive year and ninth time overall. “Today in our (preliminary) heat we just got caught up behind a lapped car and Jimmy (Owens) got by us and that put us back in the pack … we feel good about our race car."
8:11 p.m. | Casebolt's demise
The hasty repairs that Steve Casebolt Tye Twarog-backed team made to their engine after the preliminary feature weren’t enough to allow the Richmond, Ind., driver to run in the evening program. The former Dream winner pulled off the track during pace laps for the first heat, ending his weekend.
“The engine’s down on power,” said Casebolt, who feared that the hard racing during the two preliminary programs leading in Saturday night’s action would lead to other teams suffering similar mechanical trouble during the World 100 finale.
8:08 p.m. | K-Rob's weekend ends
Kent Robinson, who has been strong during preliminaries, fell off the pace on the first lap and drew a first-lap caution in the second heat. Four drivers scratched from the second heat: Randy Weaver, Walker Arthur, Dan Stone and Jackie Boggs.
8:03 p.m. | Madden wins first heat
Chris Madden dominated the final 12 laps to capture the first heat, pulling far away from runner-up and polesitter R.J. Conley. Steve Francis got the third transfer spot while Jason Riggs made an impressive charge from 10th. Brandon Sheppard, a two-time preliminary feature winner, struggled to finish a distant eighth. "We've won heat races here before," Madden said. "I want to win a feature." Francis made just his second World 100 feature since 2009.
First heat finish (top three transfer): Chris Madden, R.J. Conley, Steve Francis, Jason Riggs, Tim McCreadie, Vic Hill, Dennis Erb Jr., Brandon Sheppard, Rick Rickman, Brandon Kinzer, Doug Drown, Lauren Longbrake, Doug Sanders, Cameron Guidi: Scratched: Steve Casebolt, Chase Junghans, Brandon Kinzer, Brad Eitinear.
7:57 p.m. | Another quick yellow
Doug Sanders spun on the third lap for another first-heat yellow. Chris Madden leads Dennis Erb, R.J. Conley, Steve Francis, Tim McCreadie and Brandon Sheppard afer three laps.
7:54 p.m. | First heat, first caution
The first heat got rolling, but a brake rotor on the track halted the action on the second lap. Best Appearing Car winner Steve Casebolt wasn't able to start because of continuing engine woes.
7:45 p.m. | Heat races ready to roll
The first of six heats is set on the lineup grid with announcers describing an "electric" atmosphere. R.J. Conley and Dennis Erb Jr. will lead the 18-car field to green momentarily.
7:41 p.m. | Tranny for consolation prize
The sixth-place finisher in the first consolation race, the top non-transferring driver to the 100-lap feature, will receive a transmission from Bert Transmission presented by Larry Redinius of Budda Bert Transmission.
The driver will receive a secondsgeneration standard tail slip-yoke transmission (or can pay for a ballspline upgrade), a value of more than $2,000.
Redinius also posted five hard-luck awards for drivers. Each will pick up $200 product certficates.
7:32 p.m. | Casebolt wins Best Appearing
Steve Casebolt Ohio State University-themed car won the Best Appearing Car award, picking up $1,000 from DirtonDirt.com. The wrap was done by Justin Chance of Innovative Graphics, a previous winner of the award. Casebolt's Tye Twarog-owned car wasn't on the stage, however, because Casebolt broke a rocker arm earlier Saturday afternoon. The team was scrambling to get ready for the evening action.
7:05 p.m. | Condensed pre-race ceremonies
Because of the doubleheader program, the usual full-fledged pre-race ceremonies for the World 100 have been condensed with plans for the national anthem and awarding DirtonDirt.com Best Appearing Car award.
7:02 p.m. | Big 50-50 for a special cause
Saturday’s 50-50 drawing at Eldora should be huge, in part because it carried over from Friday night’s rained out program and will include tickets sold beginning Saturday morning into the evening program. The 50-50 winnings were already at $18,000 before the evening program began.
Additionally, track owner Tony Stewart announced, via general manager Roger Slack, that the track’s half of the 50-50 would go to support sprint car racer Kevin Swindell’s rehabilitation foundation. Swindell suffered serious injuries last month at the Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway’s 55th annual Knoxville Nationals.
The Swindells have a long tradition at Eldora and Stewart has been among those who have visited Swindell while rehabbing at a hospital in Louisville, Ky.
6:58 p.m. | Track aiming for 7:30 p.m.
After clearing the grandstands following afternoon preliminaries and reworking the racing surface, Eldora officials hope to get Saturday's six World 100 heat races started about 7:30 p.m. Find the heat race lneups below. They're set by combined finishes from two preliminary programs with a five-car inversion (drivers started fifth in each heat were the six best performers).
Heat race lineups
(15 laps; top three transfer)
Row 1: R.J. Conley, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 2: Chris Madden, Steve Francis
Row 3: Brandon Sheppard, Tim McCreadie
Row 4: Doug Drown, Steve Casebolt
Row 5: Vic Hill, Jason Riggs
Row 6: Rick Rickman, Doug Sanders
Row 7: Cameron Guidi, Chase Junghans
Row 8: Scott Lewis, Lauren Longbrake
Row 9: Brandon Kinzer, Brad Eitinear
Row 1: Terry Phillips, Bobby Pierce
Row 2: Kent Robinson, Dale McDowell
Row 3: Mike Marlar, Chris Brown
Row 4: Josh Rice, Brian Ruhlman
Row 5: Tim Manville, Riley Hickman
Row 6: Austin Smitih, Mike Spatola
Row 7: Kolby Vandenbergh, Randy Weaver
Row 8: Walker Arthur, Dan Stone
Row 9: Ernie Cordier, Jackie Boggs
Row 1: Ricky Weiss, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 2: Devin Moran, Jimmy Owens
Row 3: Darrell Lanigan, Chub Frank
Row 4: Duane Chamberlain, Jay Johnson
Row 5: Chris Ferguson, Jerry Bowersock
Row 6: James Rice, Ted Nobbe
Row 7: Steve Lance Jr., Wayne Chinn
Row 8: Brian Rickman, Don Hammer
Row 9: Donald McIntosh, Chris Nash
Row 1: Dustin Linville, Billy Moyer
Row 2: Jimmy Mars, Shane Clanton
Row 3: Jeep Van Wormer, Chris Simpson
Row 4: Eddie Carrier Jr., Michael Chilton
Row 5: Gordy Gundaker, Gregg Satterlee
Row 6: Rusty Schlenk, Andrew Reaume
Row 7: Butch Kruckeberg, Scott James
Row 8: Shannon Thornsberry, Rob Anderzack
Row 9: Rodney Hamblin, Mark Voigt
Row 1: Frank Heckenast Jr., Jared Landers
Row 2: Shannon Babb, Matt Westfall
Row 3: Don O’Neal, Josh Richards
Row 4: Morgan Bagley, Craig Vosbergen
Row 5: Garrett Alberson, Austin Hubbard
Row 6: Mack McCarter, Dustin Nobbe
Row 7: Jon Hodgkiss, Jason Croft
Row 8: Shane Unger, Brian Ledbetter
Row 9: Charles LaPlant
Row 1: Brian Shirley, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 2: Jason Feger, Scott Bloomquist
Row 3: Jonathan Davenport, Nick Latham
Row 4: Jon Henry, Mason Zeigler
Row 5: Alex Ferree, Neil Baggett
Row 6: Chad Ruhlman, Chad Mayes
Row 7: Jeff Wolfenbarger, Dan Shepherd
Row 8: Tommy Bailey, Bryant Dickinson
Row 9: Casey Noonan