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Daily Dirt 02/21/2024 20:11:08

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June 6
Eldora Speedway,
Rossburg, OH
Sanction: UMP DIRTcar special events (non-touring) (Dream Friday odd) - $5,000
Information provided by: Staff reports (last updated June 7, 1:38 am)
Birky nips Eckert, wins $5,000 in Big E thriller
Dream Friday odd
  1. Brian Birkhofer
  2. Rick Eckert
  3. Billy Moyer
  4. Shannon Babb
  5. Kent Robinson
  6. Don O'Neal
  7. Gregg Satterlee
  8. Brian Shirley
  9. Mason Zeigler
  10. Mike Marlar
  11. Chris Simpson
  12. R.J. Conley
  13. Terry Phillips
  14. Billy Moyer Jr.
  15. Steve Francis
  16. Jacob Hawkins
  17. Duane Chamberlain
  18. Jimmy Mars
  19. Jason Hughes
  20. Kyle Bronson
  21. Morgan Bagley
  22. Mike Benedum
  23. Davey Johnson
  24. A.J. Diemel
presented by
Joey Millard/thesportswire.net
Tilting his head forward, Brian Birkhofer takes the checkers.
What won the race: Winning a thrilling, lead-swapping duel through traffic with fellow front-row starter Rick Eckert of York, Pa., Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, inched ahead at the finish line to collect $5,000 in Friday's Dream XX odd preliminary feature. The photo finish was reviewed extensively on video replay before Birkhofer was confirmed as the winner.
Key notes: DirtonDirt.com and Eldora Speedway have teamed up for a live pay-per-view production of this weekend's Dream. ... Click the related story link in the left column for blog-style live updates and results. ... Eckert's Rocket house car was unofficially scored the winner by electronic scoring, but video review overturned the finish. ... Birkhofer led only laps 18 and 25. ... After going 351 between days between victories, Birkhofer now has won on back-to-back weekends. ... Friday's card included two complete racing programs headlined by twin 25-lap, $5,000-to-win preliminary features; the field was divided by even and odd time trial results. ... The Dream is celebrating it's 20th anniversary. ... In total, $306,625 in purse money is up for grabs this weekend at The Big E; Saturday's winner pockets $100,000. ... Ferris Commercial Mowers is the presenting sponsor.
On the move: Mason Zeigler of Chalk Hill, Pa., climbed six spots from 15th to finish ninth.
Winner's sponsors: Birkhofer's Rocket Chassis has a Pro Power Racing Engine and sponsorship from Ideal Ready Mix, Zen's Flooring, Cheap Cars, ASi Raceway, Moore Wireless, Quality Construction Services and McFarland Pain Clinic.
Car count: 78
Fast qualifier: Mike Marlar
Time: 15.777 seconds
Polesitter: Brian Birkhofer
Heat race winners: Shannon Babb, Billy Moyer, Rick Eckert, Brian Birkhofer
Consolation race winners: Jimmy Mars, Billy Moyer Jr.
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
By Todd Turner
DirtonDirt.com managing editor

ROSSBURG, Ohio (June 6) — It was almost too close to call. At least without a video replay.

In a thrilling last-lap battle at Eldora Speedway, Brian Birkhofer’s crossover move on Rick Eckert exiting turn four ended with officials ruling Birkhofer the winner by a hair in a photo finish.

Birkhofer collected $5,000 in Friday’s opening preliminary victory while Rick Eckert of York, Pa., disputed the outcome of the 25-lapper that was a thrilling most of the way.

“What a race!” said the 42-year-old Birkhofer, who led only laps 18 and 25 in the caution-free event. “It was a lot of fun.”

Checking the video replay, it took several minutes for Eldora general manager Roger Slack and race officials to determine Birkhofer was the winner, leaving Eckert disappointed after starting outside the front row and leading 23 of 25 laps.

“You hate to lose them that way,” the 48-year-old York, Pa., driver said, “but that’s the way racing goes sometimes.”

Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., who hung with the frontrunners the first half of the race, settled for third-place finish while polesitter Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., was fourth. Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind., one of Thursday’s preliminary feature winners, improved two positions to round out the top five.

Moyer joined Eckert and Birkhofer for a three-car breakaway early, but by mid-race the focus was on Eckert and Birkhofer as the frontrunners entered lapped traffic.

Eckert ran the high groove the first half of the race, but decided to drop lower on the track by the halfway mark while Birkhofer tried to chase him down from the high groove.

Birkhofer used momentum exiting turn two to catch Eckert, eventually moving past to take the lead on lap 18. But when Morgan Bagley’s slower car held Birkhofer up down the backstretch on the next lap, Eckert went back ahead and stretched out to a 10-length lead with five laps remaining.

Birkhofer continued his pursuit as the leaders hit another spate of lapped traffic, forcing both drivers to change lanes on the final lap.

First, Birkhofer was held up by a slower Jimmy Mars on the backstretch, allowing Eckert to move ahead in turn three. Then Eckert, too, was held up by the slower Duane Chamberlain’s car in the low groove.

Eckert slid in front of Birkhofer exiting turn four heading for the checkers, but Birkhofer made a crossover move underneath Eckert and — barely — won the drag race to the checkers.

Eckert was unofficially listed as the winner — by two-thousandths of a second — by electronic scoring, and drivers were initially told by one-way radio communication that was the outcome.

But after several minutes of reviewing the video, officials ruled that Birkhofer edged Eckert at the flagstand. Eckert disputed that based on the electronic scoring, but Slack said the track considers all the evidence in making the ruling.

“I got into traffic there and I wasn’t sure how much of a lead I had,” Eckert said. “He slipped by me there one time and then he got boxed in behind a lapped car like I had got boxed in, and then I got back by him. It was a helluva race, but you just hate losing one on the last lap no matter where it’s at – especially at Eldora.”

Birkhofer, his head leaning forward at the checkers, was glad the decision went his way.

“Rick’s a helluva racer,” Birkhofer said. “He did his thing and I tried to do my thing to try and win the race. I honestly thought I had him at the line, but by transponders he had me and by video I got him I guess. I’ll take it.

“Believe me, I’m glad we won $5,000 after getting put into the win, but it’s still about coming out and standing on that stage tomorrow night. I got a race car that I can keep working on and maybe try to win this big race tomorrow night. That’s all I’m thinking about.”

Preliminary results

First heat: Shannon Babb, Steve Francis, Brian Shirley, Mike Marlar, Morgan Bagley, Terry Phillips, Curtis Roberts, Kyle Bronson, Casey Noonan. Scratched: Earl Pearson Jr.

Second heat: Billy Moyer, Don O'Neal, Gregg Satterlee, Duane Chamberlain, Jimmy Mars, Randy Korte, Chase Junghans, Nick Latham. Scratched: Charles LaPlant.

Third heat: Rick Eckert, Kent Robinson, Jason Hughes, Mason Zeigler, Dusty Moore, Jacob Hawkins, A.J. Diemel, Rusty Schlenk, Mike Benedum, Jay Johnson.

Fourth heat: Brian Birkhofer, R.J. Conley, Chris Simpson, Davey Johnson, Billy Moyer Jr., Devin Moran, Tim Sabo, Ernie Cordier, Eric Wells.

First consolation: Jimmy Mars, Terry Phillips, Morgan Bagley, Kyle Bronson, Curtis Roberts, Randy Korte, Chase Junghans, Nick Latham, Casey Noonan, Rob Williams. Scratched: Earl Pearson Jr., Charles LaPlant.

Second consolation: Billy Moyer Jr., Jacob Hawkins, Mike Benedum, A.J. Diemel, Rusty Schlenk, Dusty Moore, Jay Johnson, Tim Sabo, Devin Moran, Ernie Cordier. Scratched: Eric Wells.

Time trials (unofficial)

  1. Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 15.777
  2. Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., 15.792
  3. Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., 15.834
  4. R.J. Conley (71c), Wheelersburg, Ohio, 15.880
  5. Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 15.915
  6. Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 15.943
  7. Rick Eckert (1), York, Pa., 15.958
  8. Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 15.992
  9. Brian Shirley (81), Chatham, Ill., 16.029
  10. Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa., 16.037
  11. Jason Hughes (12), Westville, Okla., 16.104
  12. Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 16.111
  13. Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky., 16.128
  14. Randy Korte (00), Highland, Ill., 16.141
  15. Dusty Moore (75), Swanton, Ohio, 16.187
  16. Brian Birkhofer (15B), Muscatine, Iowa, 16.248
  17. Curtis Roberts (9r), Coleman, Mich., 16.284
  18. Duane Chamberlain (20c), Richmond, Ind., 16.301
  19. Jared Landers (777), Batesville, Ark., 16.365
  20. Ryan Gustin (19), Marshalltown, Iowa, 16.406
  21. Michael Asberry (360), Crossville, Tenn., 16.416
  22. Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 16.445
  23. Jeff Babcock (1), Wayne, Ohio, 16.472
  24. Brandon Sheppard (B5), New Berlin, Ill., 16.526
  25. Justin Rattliff (16), Campbellsville, Ky., 16.552
  26. Mike Benedum (25), Bristol, W.Va., 16.660
  27. Jacob Hawkins (20h), Fairmont, W.Va., 16.726
  28. Davey Johnson (1j), Latrobe, Pa., 16.795
  29. Terry Phillips (75), Springfield, Mo., 16.851
  30. Rob Williams (11), Eaton, Ohio, 16.861
  31. Kent Robinson (7r), Bloomington, Ind., 16.944
  32. Tim Sabo (98), Toledo, Ohio, 17.019
  33. Casey Noonan (1n), Sylvania, Ohio, 17.184
  34. Nick Latham (31), Winchester, Ohio, 17.365
  35. Jay Johnson (93), West Burlington, Iowa, 17.655
  36. Ernie Cordier (4c), Brodhead, Ky., 18.961
  37. Earl Pearson Jr. (44), Jacksonville, Fla., 19.229
  38. Charles LaPlant (3c), East Prairie, Mo., no time
  39. Dustin Neat (6), Dunnville, Ky., no time
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