ROSSBURG, Ohio (Sept. 10) — After rallying from his 22nd spot Saturday to capture Eldora Speedway’s 46th annual World 100, 19-year-old Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., struggled to come to grips with what he’d just accomplished.
“I’ve won some big races, and this is by far the biggest win,” Pierce said in victory lane after his $49,000 victory in Dirt Late Model racing’s most prestigious event. “It’s going to take, I think, forever to sink in.”
Luckily for Pierce, who became the youngest winner in the history of the event, he likely has decades of career left to absorb his feat as the first Illinois driver to hoist Eldora's famed globe trophies.
“It means the world,” said Pierce, who celebrated in victory lane with his father and chassis builder Bob, mother Angie, sister Ciara and girlfriend Maddy. “I kind of dreamed of this day, and when I cross the finish line, am I going to have tears coming out of my eyes or what? But I didn’t … I didn’t, because I think it’s going to take a while to sink in. Like I don’t even think I won it yet. To win it for (his family) is awesome.”
Starting in the 11th row after winning a consolation race, Pierce broke into the top five in the 100-lapper by lap 25, lost ground on lap-37 restart, then caught and overtook fellow Illinois driver Dennis Erb Jr. on the 56th lap and led the rest of the way.
Erb threatened to challenge late before fading in the final 10 laps and settling for second, ahead of third-place Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., who split leading the first 55 laps with Erb. Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark., posted a career-best fourth-place finish and 2006 World 100 winner Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., rounded out the top five.
Pierce not only overcame 29 competitors but the unknowns of the track’s first 100-lap race contested under new tire rules that prevented teams from grooving or siping tires to enhance performance.
“Ever since lap 20, I was thinking, ‘I don’t now how these (tires) are going to last.’ Any time I spun the wheels I just backed off and let it roll,” Pierce said. “There when we had that restart and I got the lead there, I started working ‘em harder and harder and harder, and they stayed under me the whole race.
“When me and Erb were side-by-side on that restart there, I was thinking no Illinois has ever won the World, so if it wasn’t me, I wanted it to be him.”
The 44-year-old Erb did his best to become the fourth driver to sweep Eldora’s Dream and World 100 in the same season by roaring from his 13th starting spot and into the lead by lap 17, but he ended up in a back-and-forth battle with McDowell the next 38 laps before Pierce went by both of them to take command.
“We come up through there and just came up a little short there," Erb said. "(Pierce) was good up around the top and there was nothing we could do. We ran into lapped traffic there at the end and that’s all we had.
"The car took off good. We were able to get a good rhythm there and stay up front, and we knew that’s where we wanted to be — get up front early. I didn’t know what was going to happen with the tire situation. We had a good car and came up through there but just came up a little short.”
McDowell, who started on an all-50-year-old front row with former teammate Wendell Wallace of Batesville, Ark., was solid in his first Eldora start in a Sweet-Bloomquist car. But, like Erb, McDowell couldn’t quite keep up with the teenaged Pierce.
Finishing third is “nothing to sneeze at, we were pretty good,” McDowell said. “We’ve still gotta make some adjustments on this car. Congratulations to Bobby, he had a really good car tonight and his whole team and his family and everything … it’s pretty neat to win this deal, I know it is.
“Dennis and I had a helluva race. We were just side-by-side, and if it had been for the lead, it’d have been great. But Bobby spoiled that for us. But it was a good run for us. So we can make some adjustments on this thing and come back and see if we can improve a little bit”
The feature was slowed by seven cautions, none for serious incidents. Ninth-running Josh Richards slowed with a flat left-rear tire on lap 18 and Darrell Lanigan spun in turn two on a lap-37 restart, just after a yellow for debris.
Tim McCreadie drew a lap-41 caution when he slowed in turn two. Provisional starter Don O’Neal spun around exiting turn two on lap 54, and then a yellow flew immediately when Mason Zeigler pulled onto the racetrack in front of the field.
Outside front-row starter Wendell Wallace, who ran among the top five the first 55 laps, slowed on the frontstretch for the final yellow on lap-62.
The evening's action was marred by the death of hometown race Shane Unger, who died at Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater, Ohio, where he was transported after being involved in a turn-three pileup during the second heat race. He was 35.
Track general manager Roger Slack announced Unger’s death “with great sadness” at the conclusion of the night’s racing.
“We ask that everyone here in our racing family keep the Unger family in their prayers,” Slack said. “They’ve expressed that they very much appreciate the love and support they’ve received and will continue to receive, and would appreciate everyone respecting their privacy as they go through the grieving process.”
During a late restart in the second prelim, Unger’s car ended up driver’s side-first into the turn-three wall at the half-mile oval. Emergency crews quickly attended to Unger, removing the rollcage to get him out of the car. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance.
46th annual World 100
Pos. Driver (car no.), hometown, chassis, earnings
1. Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., Pierce, $49,000
2. Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., Black Diamond, $20,000
3. Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., Sweet-Bloomquist, $12,500
4. Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., Moyer Victory, $10,000
5. Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., Longhorn, $8,750
6. Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, Longhorn, $7,500
7. Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., Capital, $6,500
8. Michael Page (18x), Douglasville, Ga., Black Diamond, $6,000
9. Don O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., Club 29, $5,500
10. Kent Robinson (7r), Bloomington, Ind., Moyer Victory, $5,000
11. Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., Rocket, $4,000
12. Chris Madden (11), Gray Court, S.C., Longhorn, $3,000
13. Steve Francis (14), Bowling Green, Ky., Club 29, $2,950
14. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., $2,900
15. Zack Dohm (17), Cross Lanes, W.Va., Swartz, $2,875
16. Devin Moran (99m), Dresden, Ohio, Barry Wright, $2,850
17. Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., Capital, $2,825
18. Jonathan Davenport (6), Blairsville, Ga., Longhorn, $2,800
19. Wendell Wallace (6m), Batesville, Ark., Black Diamond, $2,775
20. Nick Hoffman (2), Mooresville, N.C., Rocket, $2,750
21. R.J. Conley (71c), Wheelersburg, Ohio, Rocket, $2,725
22. Darrell Lanigan (15), Union, Ky., Club 29, $2,700
23. Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., Longhorn $2,675
24. Michael Norris (72), Sarver, Pa., Rocket, $2,650
25. Casey Roberts (101), Toccoa, Ga., Longhorn $2,625
26. Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., MB Customs, $2,600
27. Matt Miller (3), Whitehouse, Ohio, Rocket, $2,575
28. Steve Casebolt (c9), Richmond, Ind., Rocket, $2,550
29. Timothy Culp (c8), Prattsville, Ark., GRT, $2,525
30. Dustin Linville (D8), Bryantsville, Ky., Swartz, $2,500
Fast qualifier (among 108 cars): Michael Norris, 15.306 seconds
Heat race winners: Conley, Moran, Moyer Jr., Roberts, Wallace, McDowell
Consolation winners: Linville, Pierce
Consolation scramble winners: Babb, Hill
Provisional starters: O’Neal, Mars
Thursday preliminary feature winners: Miller, O'Neal
Saturday preliminary feature winners: Pierce, Pearson
Lap leaders: McDowell 1-16, 19-23, 40-52; Erb 17-18, 24-39, 53-55; Pierce 56-100.
Preliminary notes and results:
10:02 p.m. | Main event updates
Lap 100: Pierce wins the 46th annual World 100.
Lap 85: As the leaders work through lapped traffic, Erb is reeling in Pierce.
Lap 75: Pierce continues to lead Erb, McDowell, Moyer Jr. and Pearson.
Lap 61: Wallace slows on the frontstretch to draw a caution. Pierce leads McDowell, Erb, Pearson and Moyer Jr.
Lap 55: Using the restart to his advantage, Pierce shoots ahead of Erb to take the lead.
Lap 54: Another yellow waves on the ensuing restart as Mason Zeigler returns to the track late after pitting.
Lap 54: A yellow flag flies as Don O'Neal spins. Erb has regained the lead from McDowell.
Lap 50: At the halfway mark, McDowell leads Erb, Wallace, Pierce and Pearson.
Lap 41: With McDowell retaking the lead on the previous lap, Tim McCreadie slows for a caution.
Lap 37: Darrell Lanigan spins in turn two to draw a caution on the ensuing restart.
Lap 37: A yellow flag waves for debris on the racetrack. Several drivers pit under caution.
Lap 30: Setting a blistering pace, Erb leads McDowell, Pierce, Wallace and Pearson.
Lap 21: Earl Pearson Jr. and Bobby Pierce join frontrunners. Pearson started 18th, Pierce 22nd. McDowell retakes lead from Erb.
Lap 18: Josh Richards slows on the backstretch with a left-rear flat. Erb leads McDowell, Moyer Jr., Wallace, and Shane Clanton, who started 15th.
Lap 17: Working the bottom of the racetrack, Erb pulls ahead of McDowell to take the lead.
Lap 10: McDowell cruises over the field. Wendell Wallace, Billy Moyer Jr., Dennis Erb Jr. and Devin Moran round out the top five. Erb started 13th.
Lap one: Polesitter Dale McDowell leads the opening lap.
Driver introductions are complete and drivers are making their way to their cars to get ready for the 100-lapper.
9:43 p.m. | Longhorn leads the way
A dozen chassis brands are represented in the 30-car field with Longhorn Chassis leading the way with seven entries. Rocket is just behind with six cars while no other chassis has more than three.
Club 29 Race Cars have three entries with another three cars from its sister brand, Black Diamond Chassis. Two cars apiece represent Moyer Victory Race Cars, Capital and Swartz. Barry Wright Race Cars, MB Customs, Pierce and GRT have a single entry apiece.
9:38 p.m. | First-timers
Five drivers cracked the World 100 starting field for the first time: Zack Dohm of Cross Lanes, W.Va.; Michael Page of Douglasville, Ga.; Michael Norris of Sarver, Pa.; Timothy Culp of Prattsville, Ark.; and Nick Hoffman of Mooresville, N.C.
9:36 p.m. | Georgia quartet
Georgia tops the list of a 14 states represented in the 30-car World 100 starting field, barely edging five states with three drivers apiece. Arkansas, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky have three drivers apiece in the race. Florida, Pennsylvania and West Virginia had two representatives apiece while North Carolina, Wisconsin, Iowa and New York with single drivers.
9:31 p.m. | Call to drivers
The call to drivers to head to tire tech and beginning lining up for the 100-lapper was made.
9:18 p.m. | Pierce wins second consy
Bobby Pierce cruised to victory in the second consy after starting outside the front row. He transfers to the 100-lapper along with Mason Zeigler, Timothy Culp, Michael Norris and 18th-starting Nick Hoffman. Billy Moyer, making his final World 100 appearance, ran in a transfer spot the first 14 laps but faded. The lone caution appeared on the 14th lap when Tyler Carpenter slowed on the backstretch. Vic Hill won the consolation scramble.
Second consolation finish (top five transfer): Bobby Pierce, Mason Zeigler, Timothy Culp, Michael Norris, Nick Hoffman, Vic Hill, Billy Moyer, Doug Drown, Morgan Bagley, Garrett Alberson, Tyler Erb, Jeep Van Wormer, Jason Jameson, Zach McMillan, Casey Noonan, Brian Ruhlman, Cody Mahoney, Mike Mataragas, Andrew Reaume, Ryan King, Jesse Lay, Gavin Landers, Tyler Carpenter, Jason Feger.
8:56 p.m. | Linville wins first consolation
Taking the lead at the drop of the green flag, Dustin Linville pulled away from the field to win the first consolation. A three-car battle ensued for the runner-up spot, with Zack Dohm holding off Michael Page and Kent Robinson to run second. Robinson finished third, with Page running fourth. Darrell Lanigan grabbed the fifth and final transfer spot. Shannon Babb won the postrace scramble.
First consolation finish (top five transfer): Dustin Linville, Zack Dohm, Kent Robinson, Micahel Page, Darrell Lanigan, Chris Ferguson, Shannon Babb, Ricky Weiss, Nick Latham, Curtis Roberts, Riley Hickman, Tim Lance, Jon Henry, Shanon Buckingham, Joey Moriarty, Kyle Bronson, Hudson O’Neal, Scott James, Rob Toland, Jackie Boggs, Tanner Kellick, Rusty Schlenk, Bryant Dickinson.
8:54 p.m. | Second consolation lineup
(20 laps; top five transfer)
Row 1: Billy Moyer, Bobby Pierce
Row 2: Michael Norris, Tyler Erb
Row 3: Doug Drown, Cody Mahoney
Row 4: Morgan Bagley, Timothy Culp
Row 5: Mason Zeigler, Jason Jameson
Row 6: Jeep Van Wormer, Tyler Carpenter
Row 7: Casey Noonan, Mike Mataragas
Row 8: Brian Ruhlman, Andrew Reaume
Row 9: Jason Feger, Nick Hoffman
Row 10: Zack McMillan, Gavin Landers
Row 11: Garrett Alberson, Vic Hill
Row 12: Jesse Lay, Ryan King
8:46 p.m. | McDowell pleasantly surprised
Dale McDowell seemed to be a bit perplexed after running away with the sixth heat, beating Jonathan Davenport by 3.928 seconds to earn the pole position for the World 100.
“Really, it’s surprising,” said McDowell, the 2005 World 100 winner who will make his 16th career start in the event. “We haven’t been that good. This is a new car (Sweet-Bloomquist) for me here. We’re a little bit too tight, but we’ll try to adjust it and see if we can stay up there for all 100 (laps).”
8:43 p.m. | First consolation lineup
(20 laps; top five transfer)
Row 1: Chris Ferguson, Dustin Linville
Row 2: Zack Dohm, Michael Page
Row 3: Jackie Boggs, Riley Hickman
Row 4: Kent Robinson, Jon Henry
Row 5: Shannon Babb, Scott James
Row 6: Rusty Schlenk, Curtis Roberts
Row 7: Ricky Weiss, Hudson O'Neal
Row 8: Shanon Buckingham, Rob Toland
Row 9: Jake O’Neil, Darrell Lanigan
Row 10: Tim Lance, Delmas Conley
Row 11: Nick Latham, Joey Moriarty
Row 12: Mark Whitener, Kyle Bronson
8:38 p.m. | Wallace’s impressive run
It’s been a while since Wendell Wallace looked as strong as he did in romping to victory in the fifth heat by 2.569 seconds over Steve Francis to earn the outside pole for the World 100.
Once a perennial contender in national events, Wallace locked into the World 100 feature for just the third time in the last 10 years. He made six World 100 starts from 1993-2002 (finishing as high as seventh, in ’01), but since then he made the race only in 2007 (finished eighth) and ’14 (placed 24th).
“The race car’s been pretty good,” said Wallace, who turned 50 this year. “It’s gonna be tricky on tires when we put the hard tire on the right-rear (for the feature). Everybody’s gonna have to find the right balance, but so far, so good.”
8:36 | McDowell earns World 100 pole
Edging ahead of fellow front row starter Mike Norris on the start, outside polesitter Dale McDowell led all 15 laps to win the night’s final heat race, earning the pole position for the 100-lapper. Fighting back late-race challenges from Earl Pearson Jr., Jonathan Davenport ran second, with Pearson finishing third to transfer to the feature.
Sixth heat finish (top three transfer): Dale McDowell, Jonathan Davenport, Earl Pearson Jr., Mike Norris, Cody Mahoney, Mason Zeigler, Tyler Carpenter, Brian Ruhlman, Nick Hoffman, Garrett Alberson, Ryan King, Dustin Nobbe, Dylan Ames, Brad Wade. Scratched: Chad Simpson
8:27 p.m. | Wallace wins fifth heat
Veteran Wendell Wallace of Batesville, Ark., led all the way from outside the front row, dominating the fifth heat. Sixth-starting Steve Francis and Chris Simpson got the other two transfer spots with Bobby Pierce charging from 15th to finish fourth. Polesitter Duane Chamberlain retired after eight laps.
Fifth heat finish (top three transfer): Wendell Wallace, Steve Francis, Chris Simpson, Bobby Pierce, Jimmy Mars, Doug Drown, Timothy Culp, Jeep Van Wormer, Mike Mataragas, Jason Feger, Jesse Lay, Gavin Landers, Jon Hodgkiss, Samuel Tolley, Chase Porter, Duane Chamberlain, Austin Smith. Scratched: Kyle Pierce.
8:21 p.m. | Two fifth-heat cautions
Early spins for Samuel Tolley and Chase Porter drew cautions. The lap-four yellow for Porter's turn-four spin erased a three-second lead for outside front-row starter Wendell Wallace, who is looking for just his second World 100 starter since 2007.
8:19 p.m. | Roberts takes advantage
Casey Roberts took full advantage of his unexpected pole starting spot in the fourth heat, rolling to a strong flag-to-flag victory. The win gave him the third starting spot for his second career World 100 start.
“We had a pretty good car,” said Roberts, who finished 12th in the 2010 World 100. “I’m just thankful to get in the race … hopefully we’ll have a good run.”
8:16 p.m. | Roberts wins fourth heat
Polesitter Casey Roberts shot to the front of the field at the drop of the green flag, pulling away from the field to dominate all 15 laps. Frank Heckenast Jr. improved one spot to finish second, with Matt Miller edging out Billy Moyer in the final laps to grab the third and final transfer spot.
Fourth heat finish (top three transfer): Casey Roberts, Frank Heckenast Jr., Matt Miller, Billy Moyer, Tyler Erb, Morgan Bagley, Jason Jameson, Casey Noonan, Andrew Reaume, Zachary McMillan, Vic Hill, Kody Evans, Mike Spatola, Jerry Bowersock, Blake Spencer, Bob Gardner, Jeff Robertson. Scratched: Devin Gilpin
8:11 p.m. | Moyer Jr.’s big run
Billy Moyer Jr. has experienced plenty of frustration in his Eldora assaults in recent years, but he turned around his fortunes in dramatic fashion with his convincing victory in the third heat. The 28-year-old driver cracked the World 100 starting field for the just the second time in his career.
“This Billy Moyer Victory Race Car is really good,” said Moyer, whose only previous World 100 start, in 2012, resulted in a 19th-place finish. “I just got to do my job now (in the feature).”
8:08 p.m. | Moran's topsy-turvy day
Devin Moran’s day began in downright gut-wrenching fashion when he learned that the position he thought he had for a Saturday heat — the pole — had turned into a dismal 14th-place starting spot because he had incorrectly been given points for a Thursday B-Main he didn’t start. He looked subdued after the autograph session, well aware that he would have to make a spectacular charge to make his first-ever World 100 feature field through his heat.
Unbelievably, the 21-year-old did, charging all the way forward to win the second preliminary.
“The car’s pretty good,” Moran said. “We gotta get a little better around the top … (but) to start that far back and get up through there is definitely a good start to the night.”
8:05 p.m. | Moyer Jr. wins third heat
Starting high and wide, Billy Moyer Jr. powered into the lead in the third heat and cruised to victory. Steve Casebolt finished second while Shane Clanton took third from polesitter Zack Dohm on the seventh lap and led the rest of the way. The three transferrees are all regulars on the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series. The heat had a single first-lap caution when Kyle bronson jumped the start.
Third heat finish (top three transfer): Billy Moyer Jr., Steve Casebolt, Shane Clanton, Zack Dohm, Riley Hickman, Shannon Babb, Curtis Roberts, Shanon Buckingham, Darrell Lanigan, Nick Latham, Kyle Bronson, Gordy Gundaker, Alex Ferree, Brian Gray, Rob Anderzack, Robby Hensley, Jared Hawkins.
7:59 p.m. | Moran wins second heat
Holding off Josh Richards and Tim McCreadie through the final laps, Devin Moran won the second heat. Here’s how it happened: sliding ahead of the front row starters, third-starting Hudson O’Neal charged to the lead at the drop of the green flag, as Devin Moran advanced from the 14th starting spot to run fifth when the first yellow flag waved on lap three. O’Neal maintained his lead through the restart, with a Craig Vosbergen getting into the backstretch wall to draw a second caution on lap seven. O’Neal, Moran and Tim McCreadie went three wide on the restart, with Moran pulling ahead to take the lead.
Second heat finish (top three transfer): Devin Moran, Josh Richards, Tim McCreadie, Dustin Linville, Jackie Boggs, Jon Henry, Rusty Schlenk, Hudson O’Neal, Jake O’Neil, Delmas Conley, Mark Whitener, Joey Coulter, Josh Rice, Shane Unger, Josh Putnam, Craig Vosbergen, Larry Greer, Jason Hiett
7:37 p.m. | Wild second heat
The second heat — with Devin Moran lead from his 14th starting spot — was a wild one, including two last-lap cautions. Rusty Schlenk slowed in turn four on the final lap, forcing a caution as the leaders came to the checkered flag. A red flag fell on the ensuing restart for a turn-three pileup involving Mark Whitener, Shane Unger, Delmas Conley and others. Unger was attended by emergency crews and placed in an ambulance.
7:28 p.m. | First heat winner's thoughts
Veteran R.J. Conley put himself into the World 100 for the third straight year and eighth time in his career with his victory in the first heat. He took advantage of Don O’Neal’s losing battle with the outside wall to assume command and head to the checkered flag.
“It was unfortunate that Don caught that rut over there,” said Conley, whose career-best World 100 finish is seventh, in 2003. “But that will bite you if you hit it wrong.”
7:25 p.m. | Vosbergen hits wall
Craig Vosbergen got into the backstretch wall on the eighth lap of the second heat with Hudson O'Neal, Josh Richards and 14th-starting Devin Moran holding transfer spots.
7:23 p.m. | Hudson O'Neal's bold start
In the second heat, 16-year-old Hudson O'Neal boldly dove into turn one under front-row starters Dustin Linville and Jason Hiett to take control of the race. "He gave a wakeup call to the Rooster, didn't he?" announcer James Essex said watching the reply. Hiett retired early and a lap-four caution appeared for Larry Greer.
7:18 p.m. | R.J. Conley wins first heat
After Don O'Neal hit the backstretch wall on the eighth lap, R.J. Conley led the rest of the way, holding off Chris Madden for the victory. Dennis Erb Jr. recovered from a shaky start for the final transfer spot while seventh-starting Chris Ferguson was fourth. Ricky Weiss started third and ran as high as second, but he faded to finish seventh.
First heat finish (top three transfer): R.J. Conley, Chris Madden, Dennis Erb Jr., Chris Ferguson, Michael Page, Kent Robinson, Scott James, Ricky Weiss, Rob Toland, Tim Lance, Joey Moriarty, Kevin Reeve, Donald Bradsher, Lamar Haygood, Adam Bowman, Tanner Kellick, Bryant Dickinson, Don O'Neal.
7:12 p.m. | O'Neal's demise
While leading the first heat on the eighth lap, Don O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., got into the backstretch wall. He'll likely have to rely on a provisional starting spot to start the main event (starting 19th instead of sixth, where he'd have started if he'd won the heat. With a couple of daring moves, the fifth-starting O'Neal moved quickly to the front and dove under polesitter R.J. Conley on the fifth lap of the first heat to take command. Another driver struggling: outside front-row starter Dennis Erb Jr. was running fifth after seven laps.
7:08 p.m. | Happy fast qualifier
Michael Norris of Sarver, Pa., the 24-year-old regular at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa., who set fast time on Thursday night in his first-ever competitive start at Eldora, got a big reason to smile this afternoon when he learned that the weekend points reset had moved him into the invert and a pole starting spot in the sixth heat (the prelim that sets the pole starter for the World 100). He had been scheduled to start sixth in a heat.
“We just missed the invert so we kept thinking about all the little things that could have been the difference,” said Norris’s father, Mike. “We had the jumping penalty (in a heat). (Michael) said he slipped in water that was was coming across the track (in turn three) during his qualifying lap last night because they watered the (upper) pits and that probably cost him a half-second. So when we found out we were gonna be on the pole, we were definitely happy.”
7:06 p.m. | First heat set to roll
With pre-race ceremonies complete, including interviews with six-time World 100 winner Billy Moyer and 1972 race winner Verlin Eaker, the first heat is ready to roll and engines have fired.
6:57 p.m. | Culp’s tiring week
This evening’s action caps a tiring week for Timothy Culp of Prattsville, Ark., the young driver who had to scramble just to ready a car for the weekend’s action after flipping wildly during last Friday night’s Lucas Oil Series-sanctioned event at Attica (Ohio) Raceway Park.
Culp had planned to spend Labor Day weekend on the road and head straight to Eldora, but the crash left his 1-month-old GRT car so badly damaged that he had to return to his Arkansas shop to put a replacement together. He bought the GRT car that Tony Jackson Jr. of Lebanon, Mo., debuted in mid-July and spent two long nights preparing it for action before hitting the highway for Eldora.
With an older powerplant under the hood of his car because his new Clements engine had its oilpan damaged in the Attica wreck, Culp, whose only previous visit to Eldora was for the 2014 World 100, failed to qualify for a feature on Thursday and Friday. He is scheduled to start ninth in tonight’s fifth heat.
6:53 p.m. | Other World 100 awards
Along with DirtonDirt.com’s Best Appearing Car award, here other awards that will be given out Saturday night:
• Bert Transmission DNQ award: For the 33rd year, the first car failing to qualify from the evening’s first consolation will receive the latest Late Model transmission (with shifter linkage) from Bert Transmission. The award will be presented by Larry "Budda" Redenius.
• Bazell Race Fuels Final Qualifier Award: The final car to transfer to the World 100 starting lineup from the night’s final consolation will receive a 54-gallon drum of Sunoco HCR plus racing fuel.
• The Whistle Stop Open Trailer Award: The Whistle Stop, located in nearby Ansonia, will presented $500 to a competitor that is still using an open trailer to pull their race car.
6:47 p.m. | Elder Simpson departs
Chad Simpson of Mount Vernon, Iowa, was another driver affected by the reset of the points and heat lineups — and it prompted him to head home early.
After learning that he had incorrectly been given points for a Thursday consolation race didn’t start after hitting the wall during a heat, Simpson saw his heat-race starting position go from eight to 16th. He decided to bypass an attempt to advance from deep in the field and and scratch from Saturday night’s program so he could save his car and begin preparing early for the Sept. 15-17 Late Model Knoxville Nationals at his home state’s Knoxville Raceway.
“I feel bad for him,” said Simpson’s younger brother Chris Simpson, who starts fourth in the fifth heat. “He had a good car but he just got in the wall Thursday and it kind of set him back. I don’t blame him for going home to start getting ready for Knoxville.”
6:43 p.m. | Moran wins Best Appearing Car
Devin Moran’s throwback car is a winner. In voting among media, track staff and Facebook fans, the Dresden, Ohio, driver picked up $1,000 for the Best Appearing Car award. The winnings are split between the driver ($500) and All About Wraps, the designer ($500).
Moran’s car mimicked the 1996 graphics scheme of his father, Donnie, who drove a Big Johnson-sponsored car to victories in the Dream and World 100 that season.
The competition encouraged more than 20 cars to arrive at Eldora with new graphics schemes, including Bob Gardner (Pink Panther), Chris Simpson (Iowa Hawkeyes), Rusty Schlenk (Trump for President), Shane Clanton (Grant Junghans tribute), Steve Francis (Tony Stewart tribute), Jon Henry (Tony Stewart tribute), Shanon Buckingham (Virginia Tech-Tennessee), Nick Hoffman (St. Louis Cardinals) and more.
6:35 p.m. | Good news for Roberts
Casey Roberts of Toccoa, Ga., went to bed after Friday night’s racing program with his spirits sagging a bit. Initial returns showed that his points total had fallen just short of cracking the 30-car inversion for Saturday evening’s heat races, leaving him with a sixth-place starting spot in a prelim.
“I was pretty bummed out,” Roberts admitted. But when Roberts reported to this afternoon’s drivers’ autograph session, he got a pleasant surprise.
“I saw down at the Heat 1 table (which he thought he was scheduled to run) and the girl (from Eldora) said, ‘You’re in Heat 4. You’re starting on the pole,’” Roberts said. “I was like, ‘Sweet!’”
Roberts benefitted from the reset of the weekend’s points standings, which originally had Bobby Pierce, Darrell Lanigan and Devin Moran in the invert because officials mistakenly gave them last-place points for B-Mains that they didn’t start. The fix moved Roberts into the invert and put him on the pole.
“I hope we can capitalize on it,” said Roberts, whose only World 100 feature start came in 2010 when he finished 12th.
6:20 p.m. | Drown presses on
Doug Drown of Wooster, Ohio, thought his hopes of cracking the World 100 starting lineup for the first time in his career were dashed when he smacked the wall hard between turns three and four during Friday night’s time trials. He still has a chance, though, thanks to some hard work from his crew and other friends.
“I was ready to load up and go home,” said Drown, who admitted that he got too high in an effort to rip off a fast qualifying circuit and caught the wall. “But my guys worked their tails off to come home so we couldn’t give up.”
After a flurry of activity in the pit area, virtually the entire right side of Drown’s Leroy Hall-owned machine was repaired in time for Drown to start his heat race. The damage was especially heavy on the right-front corner; the car’s wheel was ripped off upon impact and the upper-right portion of the frame was bent, forcing Drown and Co. to use a Port-A-Power earlier today to further straighten the car for tonight’s action.
“I can’t believe we made it out for the heat,” said Drown, who starts ninth in tonight’s fifth heat. “It was a big group effort. A lot of people from the local area jumped in to help us out and get it fixed.”
6:08 p.m. | Setting the lineup
Amid all the changes at Eldora’s World 100 in recent seasons, the way the feature lineup is set remains mostly unchanged. The most significant alteration is the way provisional starting spots are determined (two drivers in the 10th row). Instead of going to the two fastest qualifiers who don’t transfer through heat races, the positions go to the two highest points earners from Thursday and Friday prelims. Here’s how the lineup will be set:
Row 1: Sixth heat winner, fifth heat winner
Row 2: Fourth heat winner, third heat winner
Row 3: Second heat winner, first heat winner
Row 4: First heat runner-up, second heat runner-up
Row 5: Third heat runner-up, fourth heat runner-up
Row 6: Fifth heat runner-up, sixth heat runner-up
Row 7: First heat third place, second heat third place
Row 8: Third heat third place, fourth heat third place
Row 9: Fifth heat third place, sixth heat third place
Row 10: Provisional starters
Row 11: First consy winner, second consy winner
Row 12: First consy runner-up, second consy runner-up
Row 13: First consy third place, second consy third place
Row 14: First consy fourth place, second consy fourth place
Row 15: First consy fifth place, second consy fifth place
6:05 p.m. Revised heat lineups
If you checked out heat lineups originally posted about 3 a.m., you’ll note they changed significantly this afternoon, including dropping three drivers — Darrell Lanigan, Bobby Pierce and Devin Moran — out of front-row starting spots to deep in the fields of their heat races. Officials mistakenly awarded last-place points to those three and other drivers for Thursday consolation races, but revised the points after realizing they’d failed to follow the new rule in this year’s entry form that requires drivers to take the green flag in preliminary races. General manager Roger Slack said the rule was added after this year’s Dream when, in one consolation race, Scott Bloomquist joined the field late, failing to take the initial green.
6:03 p.m. | Hot laps ready to roll
Despite a gloomy forecast all week, the skies are dry for now as drivers get ready to hit the track for optional hot-lap sessions. After hot laps pre-race ceremonies are set for 6:40 p.m. with heat races scheduled for 7 p.m.
Heat race lineups
(15 laps; top three transfer)
Row 1: R.J. Conley, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 2: Ricky Weiss Chris Madden
Row 3: Don O’Neal, Joey Moriarty
Row 4: Chris Ferguson, Kent Robinson
Row 5: Rob Toland, Michael Page
Row 6: Scott James, Tim Lance
Row 7: Donald Bradsher, Kevin Reeve
Row 8: Adam Bowman, Tanner Kellick
Row 9: Bryant Dickinson, Lamar Haygood
Row 1: Dustin Linville, Jason Hiett
Row 2: Hudson O’Neal, Tim McCreadie
Row 3: Josh Richards, Jon Henry
Row 4: Jake O’Neil, Josh Putnam
Row 5: Josh Rice, Joey Coulter
Row 6: Delmas Conley, Craig Vosbergen
Row 7: Rusty Schlenk, Devin Moran
Row 8: Mark Whitener, Shane Unger
Row 9: Jackie Boggs, Larry Greer
Row 1: Zack Dohm, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 2: Shannon Babb, Steve Casebolt
Row 3: Shane Clanton, Kyle Bronson
Row 4: Shanon Buckingham, Riley Hickman
Row 5: Nick Latham, Robby Hensley
Row 6: Alex Ferree, Gordy Gundaker
Row 7: Curtis Roberts, Rob Anderzack
Row 8: Tom Krankel, Brian Gray
Row 9: Darrell Lanigan, Jared Hawkins
Row 1: Casey Roberts, Tyler Erb
Row 2: Frank Heckenast Jr., Billy Moyer
Row 3: Matt Miller, Morgan Bagley
Row 4: Andrew Reaume, Vic Hill
Row 5: Bob Gardner, Devin Gilpin
Row 6: Casey Noonan, Jason Jameson
Row 7: Kody Evans, Zach McMillan
Row 8: Mike Spatola, Jeff Robertson
Row 9: Blake Spencer, Jerry Bowersock
Row 1: Duane Chamberlain, Wendell Wallace
Row 2: Austin Smith, Chris Simpson
Row 3: Jimmy Mars, Steve Francis
Row 4: Jeep Van Wormer, Mike Mataragas
Row 5: Bob Gardner, Jason Feger
Row 6: Doug Drown, Gavin Landers
Row 7: Bobby Pierce, Jesse Lay
Row 8: Jon Hodgkiss, Chase Porter
Row 9: Kyle Pierce, Samuel Tolley
Row 1: Michael Norris, Dale McDowell
Row 2: Cody Mahoney, Jonathan Davenport
Row 3: Earl Pearson Jr., Brian Ruhlman
Row 4: Dustin Nobbe, Tyler Carpenter
Row 5: Garrett Alberson, Dylan Ames
Row 6: Joey Coulter, Ryan King
Row 7: Mason Zeigler, Jay Johnson
Row 8: Brad Wade, Chad Simpson
Row 9: Devin Friese, Paul Stubber
6 a.m.: Showers open (close 6 p.m.)
7 a.m.: Breakfast at turn four concessions (closes 11 a.m.)
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 (including suites) open
Noon: All concessions open
3:30 p.m.: Driver autograph session in Fan Zone
4:30 p.m.: Drivers’ meeting in Fan Zone barn
6 p.m.: Hot laps (at track’s discretion)
6:40 p.m.: Pre-race ceremonies including Best Appearing Car
7 p.m.: Racing begins
- Six heat races (15 laps; top three transfer)
- Two consolation races (20 laps; top five transfer)
(Consolation races are followed by five-lap scrambles)
- 100-lap main event