ROSSBURG, Ohio — Jonathan Davenport was quick out of the gate. Darrell Lanigan was steady. Steady won the race.
After stalking race-long leader Davenport for 15 laps, Lanigan slipped by for the lead with seven laps remaining and led the rest of Thursday’s 25-lap World 100 preliminary odd feature.
Lanigan of Union, Ky., finished 1.055 seconds ahead of Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., while Jimmy Mars of Menominie, Wis., edged Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., for fourth at the finish. Defending World 100 winner Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., completed the top five.
It’s hard to be patient in a 25-lap sprint, but Lanigan was confident he had enough to catch and pass Davenport.
“The car was good the whole race,” Lanigan said. “I was biding my time. I knew I was coming. We’ve definitely got a good car. It’s a different car than we brought up here for the Dream. I’m definitely proud of the guys, they did a lot of work on the car.”
From the pole, Davenport shot into the lead at the start, building an advantage of a little more than two seconds as the 24-car starting field began to fan out. Getting a good run off the high side, Davenport carried a big lead as he began to catch the back of the field. All the while, Lanigan was slowly reeling in the leader.
Patiently waiting until the lead duo was deep into a horde of lapped traffic, Lanigan nosed even with Davenport as they battled off turn two just beyond the halfway mark, but Davenport used a lapped car as a pick and surged back ahead. The pair raced side-by-side on lap 16 and again on lap 17 as Davenport fought to hold the lead.
Lanigan finally slid ahead to lead lap 18 and began to slowly stretch his advantage.
“When you’ve got a good piece, you really don’t have to push the issue too hard,” Lanigan added. “I was kind of just biding my time there a little bit and I noticed Davenport was getting loose. I was just being patient and got to the lead.”
Once in front, he sailed to a 1.055-second victory and a $10,000 payday. It was the second prelim victory for Lanigan at Eldora this season, as he notched a prelim win during June’s running of the Dream as well.
Once Lanigan pulled even, Davenport tried in vain to hold him back. Davenport, who said he wasn't exactly sure where Lanigan was until it was too late, wasn’t terribly disappointed with his runner-up finish.
“I couldn’t really see my guy there giving me signals, so I didn’t know if I had a lead,” Davenport said. “I just tried to keep my momentum up. Once we got in those lapped cars, I know they can be a determining factor in a hurry here. I tried to get by them as fast as I could. We’ve still got a a little work to do, but hey, that’s a great start.
“Darrell snuck up there. I didn’t even know he was there. He showed me his nose one time and I tried to move around. There the last couple of laps, I moved down and got a lot better, but it was too little, too late."
Fourth-starting Mars had to rally in the final laps after slipping back a bit in the caution-free 25-lapper. He nipped Marlar at the line for the final podium spot. Still seeking his first World 100 victory, the 1997 Dream winner said he had a little work to do heading to Friday’s second round of preliminary action.
“I couldn’t turn through the corner like I needed to tonight,” said Mars. “We’ll just scratch our heads … hopefully don’t make any mistakes and make it go slower than what it was. It wasn’t bad, but we’ve got to tweak on it a little bit here."
Meanwhile Lanigan, who’s still looking for his first globe trophy as well, was pleased with the way his Clint Bowyer Racing mount performed.
“We’ve got a good piece here this weekend,” Lanigan said. “It’s probably the best piece I’ve ever brought up here. We’ve definitely got something for them this weekend, I think.”
Odd feature lineup
Row 1: Eddie Carrier Jr., Jonathan Davenport
Row 2: Darrell Lanigan, Jimmy Mars
Row 3: Bobby Pierce, Mike Marlar
Row 4: Brian Shirley, Shannon Babb
Row 5: Jon Henry, Billy Moyer
Row 6: Tim McCreadie, Brandon Kinzer
Row 7: Brandon Sheppard, Cody Mahoney
Row 8: Chris Simpson, Riley Hickman
Row 9: Dustin Nobbe, Hudson O'Neal
Row 10: Scott James, Jeff Babcock
Row 11: Jeep Van Wormer, Jacob Hawkins
Row 12: Kent Robinson, Gregg Satterlee
Odd consolation results
Second consolation finish (top two transfer): Jacob Hawkins, Gregg Satterlee, Travis Stemler, Casey Roberts, Gordy Gundaker, Vic Hill, Jeremiah Hurst, Jesse Lay, Mark Whitener, Lance Elson, Walker Arthur, Steve Francis, Shannon Thornsberry, Jon Hodgkiss, Steven Roberts.
First consolation finish (top two transfer): Jeep Van Wormer, Kent Robinson, Curtis Roberts, Nick Hoffman, Chase Junghans, Casey Noonan, Shanon Buckingham, Steve Lance, Brett Miller, Paul Stubber, Chase Porter, Nicholas Fenner, Dustin Mitchell, Tim Lance.
Odd consolation lineups
(12 laps; top two transfer)
Row 1: Kent Robinson, Jeep Van Wormer
Row 2: Tim Lance, Chase Porter
Row 3: Curtis Roberts, Chase Junghans
Row 4: Nick Hoffman, Steve Lance
Row 5: Donald McIntosh, Casey Noonan
Row 6: Paul Stubber, Dustin Mitchell
Row 7: Brett Miller, Shanon Buckingham
Row 8: Troy Worrick, Nicholas Fenner
Row 1: Lance Elson, Jacob Hawkins
Row 2: Steve Francis, Gordy Gundaker
Row 3: Travis Stemler, Casey Roberts
Row 4: Jesse Lay, Gregg Satterlee
Row 5: Jon Hodgkiss, Mark Whitener
Row 6: Jeremiah Hurst, Steven Roberts
Row 7: Shannon Thornsberry, Walker Arthur
Row 8: Tanner English, Vic Hill
Odd heat notes
Bobby Pierce ran away with the first heat on a lightning-quick surface, but he noted that he expects different conditions come the feature. “The track is really fast right,” he said. “That’s kind of a good thing because later on it will get slick.” … Jimmy Mars remarked that the “track blew off a little more than I thought,” but he still managed to hold on to win the second heat following a lap-nine caution flag that set up a green-white-checkered finish. … Casey Roberts received permission to switch to a backup car after scraping the outside wall while running third and limping into the pit area on lap nine of the second heat. … Darrell Lanigan gave the Eldora racing conditions high marks after rolling to victory in the third heat. “Definitely the track’s pretty good right now,” he said. “You can go top, middle, bottom.” … Jonathan Davenport found some major speed in his G.R. Smith-owned machine after turning only the 17th-fastest lap in time trials. “We found an issue with the timing after qualifying,” he said after winning by a commanding 6.889 seconds, “so that really picked the motor up.” … Eddie Carrier Jr. is running the same vehicle he entered in June’s Dream, but the uptick in its performance was dramatic after his captured the fifth heat. “It wasn’t very good (at the Dream), but it was about the fifth race on it,” he said. “It feels like it’s a different race car.” ... Vic Hill was disqualified after his heat race for having a wheel cover on the left-rear. Losing his feature spot, Dustin Nobbe transferred to the main event.
Third-starting Eddie Carrier Jr. slipped under the front row starters to take an early lead, with Chris Simpson sliding ahead exiting turn four to lead the second lap. The battle continuing up front, Carrier shot back to the lead one circuit later, with Billy Moyer reeling in Simpson for the second-place spot. Moyer moved into second on lap six, setting his sights on Carrier. The West Virginia driver held off Moyer to win the heat, with the Hall of Famer settling for second. Simpson ran third, with Jeff Babcock finishing fourth to transfer to the feature.
Finish (top four transfer): Eddie Carrier Jr., Billy Moyer, Chris Simpson, Jeff Babcock, Tim Lance, Travis Stemler, Steve Lance, Mark Whitener, Brett Miller, Tanner English.
Working around the bottom of the racetrack, third-running Jonathan Davenport powered to the lead on the first lap, as fifth-starting Cody Mahoney slipped ahead of Scott James to run in third. Davenport extended his lead at the halfway mark, with James attempting to reel in Mahoney for the third-place spot. Dominating late-race, Davenport won the heat, with polesitter Jon Henry finishing runner-up. Mahoney held off James to run third, with James taking the fourth and final transfer spot.
Finish (top four transfer): Jonathan Davenport, Jon Henry, Cody Mahoney, Scott James, Jacob Hawkins, Curtis Roberts, Jesse Lay, Casey Noonan, Steven Roberts, Troy Worrick.
With the front of the field racing four-wide into turns one and two, fourth-starting Darrell Lanigan pulled ahead of the front row starters to take an early lead. As the top-four cars distanced themselves from the field, Hudson O’Neal challenged Brandon Sheppard for the third-place spot at the halfway mark. Lanigan pulled away late-race to win the heat, with Shannon Babb finishing second. Sheppard held off O’Neal to run third, with the teenage driver transferring to the feature.
Finish (top four transfer): Darrell Lanigan, Shannon Babb, Brandon Sheppard, Hudson O’Neal, Jeep Van Wormer, Gordy Gundaker, Nick Hoffman, Jon Hodgkiss, Dustin Mitchell, Walker Arthur.
A yellow flag flew on the opening lap for a tangle in turns three and four involving Jeremiah Hurst and Shanon Buckingham. Without a lap complete, the race was brought to a complete restart. As the race went green, Jimmy Mars shot ahead of polesitter Donald McIntosh down the backstretch to take an early lead. Running in second, McIntosh got in to the turn one wall on the second lap, retiring to the pits. Mars stretched his lead on a straightaway a the halfway mark, with Casey Roberts reeling in Brandon Kinzer for the third-place spot. A yellow flag waved on lap nine when third-running Roberts got into the turn one wall, heavily damaging his No. 101 machine. Mars the final laps to win the head race, with Shirley finishing second. Kinzer ran third, with Vic Hill taking the fourth and final transfer spot.
Finish (top four transfer): Jimmy Mars, Brian Shirley, Brandon Kinzer, Dustin Nobbe, Lance Elson, Chase Porter, Casey Roberts, Donald McIntosh, Jeremiah Hurst, Shanon Buckingham. Disqualified: Vic Hill.
Working around the high side, outside polesitter Bobby Pierce charged to the lead on the first lap, with fourth-starting Mike Marlar slipping past Kent Robinson in turns three and four to run in second on lap two. As the top two cars distanced themselves from the field at the halfway mark, Tim McCreadie battled Robinson for the third-place spot, pulling ahead on lap five. A yellow flag waved on the fifth lap when Nicholas Fenner spun in turn four. Pierce held his lead on the restart, with McCreadie shooting into the second spot. Marlar pulled back ahead of McCreadie on lap eight, with Riley Hickman edging ahead of Robinson to run in fourth. Pierce won the heat, with Marlar finishing runner-up. McCreadie and Hickman finished third and fourth to transfer to the feature.
Finish (top four transfer): Bobby Pierce, Mike Marlar, Tim McCreadie, Riley Hickman, Kent Robinson, Steve Francis, Chase Junghans, Gregg Satterlee, Paul Stubber, Shannon Thornsberry, Nicholas Fenner.
Odd heat lineups
(10 laps; top four transfer)
Row 1: Kent Robinson, Bobby Pierce
Row 2: Tim McCreadie, Mike Marlar
Row 3: Gregg Satterlee, Riley Hickman
Row 4: Shannon Thornsberry, Chase Junghans
Row 5: Steve Francis, Paul Stubber
Row 6: Nicholas Fenner
Row 1: Donald McIntosh, Jimmy Mars
Row 2: Brandon Kinzer, Dustin Nobbe
Row 3: Brian Shirley, Casey Roberts
Row 4: Vic Hill, Jeremiah Hurst
Row 5: Shanon Buckingham, Lance Elson
Row 6: Chase Porter
Row 1: Shannon Babb, Brandon Sheppard
Row 2: Hudson O’Neal, Darrell Lanigan
Row 3: Jeep Van Wormer, Gordy Gundaker
Row 4: Walker Arthur, Nick Hoffman
Row 5: Dustin Mitchell, Jon Hodgkiss
Row 1: Jon Henry, Scott James
Row 2: Jonathan Davenport, Jacob Hawkins
Row 3: Cody Mahoney, Curtis Roberts
Row 4: Steven Roberts, Casey Noonan
Row 5: Jesse Lay, Troy Worrick
Row 1: Tim Lance, Chris Simpson
Row 2: Eddie Carrier Jr., Billy Moyer
Row 3: Jeff Babcock, Steve Lance
Row 4: Mark Whitener, Travis Stemler
Row 5: Tanner English, Brett Miller
Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., was smiling after turning a lap of 15.291 seconds to top the 103 entrants in time trials.
“My car was just real maneuverable,” Marlar said of his 3-race-old Ronnie Delk-owned XR1 Rocket. “I think that was the key.”
Marlar is hopeful that the strong start to the weekend will lead to success in Saturday night’s World 100, a race he’s started six times since 2003. He best finish is ninth, in ’05.
When Marlar received his fast-time recognition on Eldora’s homestretch stage, he offered his best wishes and asked the racing community to pray for legendary chassis builder C.J. Rayburn, who is scheduled to undergo open-heart surgery on Friday.
Weather conditions for the start of the World 100 weekend are decidedly fall-like with temperatures only reaching into the 60s and a steady breeze prevailing. … The 104-car field is down four entrants from 2016. … Dream winner Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., didn’t draw a qualifying pill before the close of the draw at 4:30 p.m. so he can’t participate in time trials. He will be allowed to tag the tail of a heat race. … Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., is behind the wheel of the G.R. Smith-owned XR1 Rocket that he began driving a month ago, but the personnel around him this weekend will bring back memories of his historic 2015 season that include a sweep of Eldora’s crown jewels. The trio that comprised Davenport’s K&L Rumley team in ’15 — crew chief Kevin Rumley, crewman Bryan Liverman and car owner/engine man Lee Roy Rumley — has reunited to assist the Smith-J.D. effort. Liverman has been working for Smith; Kevin Rumley joins the operation at the track for the first time this weekend and offering some week-day assistance in recent weeks. … Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., who during June’s Dream weekend won a preliminary feature and finished third in the 100-lap finale, has his Dream Racing No. 116 machine carrying a predominantly yellow-and-orange scheme that resembles cars driven in the past by his team manager Randy Weaver of Crossville, Tenn. … Hudson O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., has a wrap on his No. 71 that mirrors the yellow-and-red look of his father Don’s 2000 Rayburn car. The 17-year-old O’Neal, who surprised his father with the throwback mount, said he was just 2 days old when his dad competed in the 2000 World 100 with his similarly-painted car. … Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., prepared three Dirt Late Models for the weekend: a Billy Moyer Victory Race Car he’s driving, a Longhorn for Tim Lance of Brimfield, Ill., and a Victory machine for Steve Lance Jr. of Cuba, Ill. … Last year's World 100 winner Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., has his car adorned with a pair of comic book villains — the Joker and Harley Quinn — but he didn’t unveil the car by dressing up as the Joker and conducting a skit with his girlfriend and a crewman like he did last year. … Tanner English of Benton, Ky., said that his superb 2017 campaign (17 overall wins) prompted him to enter the World 100 for just the second time in his career. The 24-year-old failed to qualify in his first attempt in 2014. “The last time I didn’t have no business being here,” English said. “We didn’t have the motor we needed to run here, but we do now (a Dickens powerplant is under the hood of his XR1 Rocket).”
In the previous 16 World 100 preliminary features, there have been 13 different winners. Three drivers have scored two victories: Dale McDowell, Matt Miller and Brandon Sheppard. Surprisingly, June’s Dirt Late Model Dream winner, Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., has never captured a preliminary. … Eight of the previous 16 World 100 preliminary features have been won in flag-to-flag fashion. The farthest back any driver has started and won one? Jimmy Owens came from 14th during Thursday’s even feature in 2014. … In 2016's World 100 preliminaries there were 18 heat race winners; only Shane Clanton and Earl Pearson Jr. scored victories during each of their programs. Additionally, there were eight different consolation winners in as many races. … Only one time since 2000 has the weekend’s fast qualifier gone on to win Saturday's World 100: Jimmy Owens in 2007. … Only once in the four previous World 100 editions that have included preliminary features has an early winner gone on to win Saturday’s main event. The lone exception was Bobby Pierce, who won a Friday preliminary feature in 2016 and then went on to top the finale the next night.
Time trial results
Driver (car no.), hometown, time
- Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 15.291
- Devin Moran (9), Dresden, Ohio, 15.299
- Dustin Nobbe (5N), Batesville, Ind., 15.360
- Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., 15.360
- Darrell Lanigan (14), Union, Ky., 15.394
- Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., 15.427
- Jacob Hawkins (20), Fairmont. W.Va., 15.429
- Mike Norris (72), Bulter, Pa., 15.430
- Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 15.435
- Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 15.460
- Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 15.469
- Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., 15.479
- Brandon Kinzer (18), Allen, Ky., 15.490
- Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 15.505
- Hudson O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 15.506
- Michael Chilton (97), Salvisa, Ky., 15.510
- Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., 15.525
- Eddie Carrier Jr. (10), Salt Rock, W.Va., 15.527
- Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 15.528
- Jared Miley (H1), South Park, Pa., 15.542
- Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 15.547
- Steve Casebolt (C9), Richmond, Ind., 15.605
- Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis. 15.608
- Zack Dohm (17), Cross Lanes, W.Va., 15.620
- Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., 15.622
- Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., 15.633
- Scott James (83), Bright, Ind., 15.675
- Chris Ferguson (22), Mount Holly, N.C., 15.719
- Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 15.736
- Brandon Overton (116), Evans, Ga., 15.739
- Kent Robinson (7R), Bloomington, Ind., 15.740
- Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 15.748
- Donald McIntosh (7), Dawsonville, Ga., 15.756
- Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 15.758
- Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 15.764
- Timothy Culp (C8), Prattsville, Ark., 15.794
- Jon Henry (15), Ada, Ohio, 15.817
- Jason Jameson (12), Lawrenceburg, Ind., 15.818
- Tim Lance (48), Brimfield, Ill., 15.818
- Jackie Boggs (4B), Grayson, Ky., 15.822
- Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa., 15.827
- Tony Jackson Jr. (56), Lebanon, Mo., 15.832
- Brian Shirley (3S), Chatham, Ill., 15.840
- Doug Drown (240), Wooster, Ohio, 15.841
- Jeep Van Wormer (55), Pinconning, Mich., 15.862
- James Rice (11r), Verona, Ky., 15.863
- Cody Mahoney (4), Hanover, Ind., 15.876
- Mike Mataragas (1m), DeKalb, Ill., 15.885
- Jeff Babcock (7B), Wayne, Ohio, 15.887
- Ryan King (1G), Seymour, Tenn., 15.912
- Riley Hickman (R1), Ooltewah, Tenn., 15.927
- Brent Larson (B1), Lake Elmo, Minn., 15.931
- Casey Roberts (101), Toccoa, Ga., 15.948
- Connor Meade (00), Clay City, Ky., 15.951
- Gordy Gundaker (11), St. Charles, Mo., 15.952
- Andrew Reaume (88), Blenheim, Ontario, 15.960
- Curtis Roberts (9R), Coleman, Mich., 15.984
- Adam Bowman (77), Seymour, Ind., 16.043
- Steve Lance (48), Cuba, Ill., 16.052
- Billy Moyer Jr. (21), Batesville, Ark., 16.059
- Shannon Thornsberry (17), Martin, Ky., 16.068
- Nick Latham (31), Winchester, Ohio, 16.069
- Vic Hill (1), Mosheim, Tenn., 16.088
- Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., 16.094
- Walker Arthur (87), Forest, Va., 16.096
- Michael Page (18x), Douglasville, Ga., 16.109
- Steve Roberts (111), Jesup, Ga., 16.114
- Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 16.163
- Mark Whitener (C02), Middleburg, Fla., 16.165
- Jay Johnson (93), West Burlington, Iowa, 16.191
- Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., 16.217
- Raymond Merrill (12M), Sallisaw, Okla., 16.220
- Jeremiah Hurst (58), Dubuque, Iowa, 16.224
- Tim Manville (33), Highland, Ill., 16.233
- Nick Hoffman (2), Mooresville, N.C., 16.245
- Jerry Bowersock (95), Wapakoneta, Ohio, 16.253
- Casey Noonan (1N), Sylvania, Ohio, 16.300
- Duane Chamberlain (20C), Richmond, Ind., 16.302
- Travis Stemler (2TS), Ionia, Mich., 16.318
- Chad Stapleton (32), Edinburgh, Ind., 16.343
- Steve Francis (15), Bowling Green, Ky., 16.351
- Joey Coulter (2), Concord, N.C., 16.375
- Shanon Buckingham (50), Morristown, Tenn., 16.387
- Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 16.414
- Dustin Mitchell (89), Pine Level, N.C., 16.421
- Rob Toland (39), Davenport, Iowa, 16.441
- Jesse Lay (33), Walton, Ky., 16.449
- Jeff Alsip (128), Independence, Ky., 16.512
- Tanner English (96), Benton, Ky., 16.527
- Joey Moriarty (51), Peoria, Ariz., 16.531
- Paul Stubber (31AUS), Bunbury, W. Australia, 16.608
- Blake Spencer (6S), St. Augustine, Fla., 16.634
- Lance Elson (17E), Wellsburg, W.Va., 16.743
- Don Hammer (45H), Clinton, Ill., 16.849
- Jon Hodgkiss (69), Kennedy, Pa., 16.925
- Bryant Dickinson (79),Ionia, Mich., 16.996
- Troy Worrick (79), Marion, Ind., 17.106
- Bob Gardner (4G), East Peoria, Ill., 17.269
- Brett Miller (97M), Greeneville, Tenn., 17.352
- Chicky Barton (144), Middlesboro, Ky., 17.528
- Nicholas Fenner (22F), Morenci, Mich., 17.854
- Byron Meeks (28X), Parkersburg, W.Va., 17.874
- Chase Porter (34), DuQuoin, Ill., 18.395
- Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., no time
Thursday’s race schedule
6 p.m. - Hot laps by qualifying group
6:30 p.m. - Time trials
7:55 p.m. - Invocation and national anthem
8 p.m. - Racing begins
- Five odd/even heat races (10 laps; alternating odd/even with top four transferring to main event)
- Two odd/even consolation races (12 laps; two drivers apiece from each consy transfer to main event)
- Odd feature race (25 laps; heat race winners inverted)
- Even feature race (25 laps; heat race winners inverted)
6 a.m.-6 p.m.: Showers open (front of Lot 2)
7-11 a.m.: Breakfast at turn four concessions
8 a.m.: Hillside markings may begin
8 a.m.-8 p.m.: Turn-three race registration opens (pit passes and media credential sign-in)
9 a.m. Turn-three pit gate opens
9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.: Technical inspection for Late Models
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: All admission gates/suites/concessions open
5 p.m.: Drivers’ meeting
6 p.m.: Hot laps
8 p.m.: Racing begins
Thursday night party: Following the completion of racing in the Fan Zone