BARBERVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 16) — After Scott Bloomquist finished fourth in Monday’s 47th annual DIRTcar Nationals opener, the Hall-of-Fame driver from Mooresburg, Tenn., felt like he had a pretty good race car. Unfortunately, he had to wait until Friday to find out just how good it really was.
Piloting a 3-race old Sweet-Bloomquist Race Car, Bloomquist led the final 36 laps of Friday’s World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series race at Volusia Speedway Park, holding off Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., as they raced through lapped traffic in the waning laps.
The polesitting Bloomquist lost the lead at the start, but reclaimed the top spot for good from Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., on lap 15 and led the rest of the way. His biggest challenge came with three laps remaining when Madden closed to Bloomquist’s rear deck but couldn’t find away around as the lead duo diced through heavy traffic.
Madden settled for second, while Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., marched from 13th to finish third. Mason Zeigler of Chalk Hill, Pa., finished fourth, with Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., completing the top five.
Bloomquist, the 2004 series champion, earned $10,000 for his 31st career World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series victory.
It marked Bloomquist’s third top-five finish in three DIRTcar Nationals starts this season. Following his fourth-place finish in the opener, he didn’t climb back behind the wheel until Thursday. While Tuesday’s event was rained out, Bloomquist left the track Wednesday to attend a Living Legends racing affair in which longtime friend and business partner Randy Sweet was being honored and instead turned his car over to protege Ricky Weiss of Headingley, Manitoba, who failed to qualify for the season-opening World of Outlaws show.
But after climbing back in the cockpit on Thursday and registering a fifth-place finish, Bloomquist was confident his new car simply needed a bit of tweaking.
“We just kept dialing in on it and the car got pretty dang good,” said Bloomquist. “After Monday, I felt like we definitely were good. It’s a new car. We first ran it Monday night. It just felt good out of the box. I knew we just needed to fine-tune it a little bit. I knew coming back here after (Thursday) night … (we) made a couple of mistakes. You know, we qualified fast, won our heat. We were pretty good actually early and (the car) was just too tight in the race. I knew what to do for tonight.”
Though he started from the pole, Bloomquist didn’t assert himself until a dozen laps into the feature. Marlar grabbed the lead early as Bloomquist got shuffled back to fourth. He slipped by second-running Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., on lap nine and wasted little time trekking down Marlar.
Bloomquist nipped Marlar at the line by a mere .019 of a second to lead lap 13, but Marlar didn’t yield easily as he battled back to lead lap 14. Once Bloomquist motored ahead on lap 15, however, he wasn’t challenged again until Madden caught him with just a few laps remaining.
“Generally our cars and our setups, they’ll fire up good — obviously we’ve had fast time both nights — but when you get harder tires on I think our setups are for the long haul,” said Bloomquist. “They don’t always fire up the best, but about 10 laps in, 15, just let the tires get a little bit of heat in ‘em and usually everybody else will be overheating one corner or another by then.
"I couldn’t ask for a better car tonight. It was perfect. The top guys ran the same tires, so it wasn’t a tire issue.”
After finally catching Bloomquist late in the race, sixth-starting Madden had his path blocked by slower cars. Unable to get by, he couldn’t help but long for a few more laps.
“We definitely had a great race car out there, especially at the end of the race,” said Madden. “We approached a different line down there in (turns) one and two coming to the white flag. We had a big run. I think we had him passed there. Going down the back straightaway we run up on (Kyle) Bronson and he slipped right in front of me and took my line and took my air off of me and they allowed Scott to get a couple of car lengths and there wasn’t but one (lap) to go.
“I wish we had a few more laps. My race car was awesome tonight. I’m glad for Barry (Wright) and everybody who’s been working hard at the shop on this thing. We finally got a good run in tonight.”
A day after winning his first Volusia feature since 1999, McDowell registered yet another solid finish as well. He felt as though it could have been a little better had he changed his line a bit sooner.
“Really I tried to use the line I used to come up through there last night too long,” McDowell said. “Once I moved up (car owner and brother) Shane (McDowell) actually told me where Scott was and where those guys were, and once I moved up I was able to get a little bit better of a run. It worked out for us. I just got to get qualifying down. Man, we’re burying ourselves qualifying and that’s me. Just wide open against that cushion, I hadn’t got that figured out yet, but we’ve got another night to work on it.”
Notes: The race marked Bloomquist’s 12th Winternationals victory at VSP. … Bloomquist won by .457 seconds. … The victory moved Bloomquist alone into sixth on the all-time WoO win list, breaking a tie with Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y. Bloomquist last won a WoO feature on June 25, 2016, at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa. … After leading 13 laps, Mike Marlar faded to 11th. … Reigning series champion Brandon Sheppard started 12th and climbed as high as third on the extreme high side. But he lost a couple spots late. “I could get rolling on the restarts. Then after five or six laps my tires would get really hot. Overheated. They would get overheated and I’d start slowing down more and more and more,” said Sheppard. … Jonathan Davenport said bent front suspension components from a mid-race run-in kept him from climbing beyond sixth place. … Chub Frank and Morgan Bagley used series provisionals to start the feature. … Brandon Overton was slated to start 27th after receiving an emergency provisional, but scratched from the main event. … Chase Junghans, Brent Larson, Chris Ferguson, Rusty Schlenk and Tyler Millwood started the feature by virtue of an emergency provisional. Larson’s 18th-place finish was tops among those five drivers.
Preliminary results and notes:
Row 1: Scott Bloomquist, Mike Marlar
Row 2: Dennis Erb Jr., David Breazeale
Row 3: Brian Shirley, Chris Madden
Row 4: Rick Eckert, Shane Clanton
Row 5: Billy Moyer Jr., Mason Zeigler
Row 6: Tim McCreadie, Brandon Sheppard
Row 7: Dale McDowell, Devin Moran
Row 8: Darrell Lanigan, Jonathan Davenport
Row 9: Kyle Bronson, Josh Richards
Row 10: Timothy Culp, Michael Norris
Row 11: Tyler Bruening, Nick Hoffman
Row 12: Chub Frank, Morgan Bagley
Row 13: Chase Junghans, Brent Larson
Row 14: Brandon Overton, Chris Ferguson
Row 15: Rusty Schlenk, Tyler Millwood
Heat 1 winner Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., expressed a distinct sense of confidence when asked if he was ready to score his first win of Speedweeks. “Yeah, no doubt about it,” said the polesitting Bloomquist, who has won at least one feature in his last six DIRTcar Nationals appearances (2011-16; he didn’t compete last year). … Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., who starts third, has one career win at Volusia: a WoO event in 2012. … Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., felt much better about his prospects after capturing the fourth heat. “We started off good Monday, but the last two nights we’ve struggled. I’m glad we got this thing turned around. It’s tough to get your car right on this racetrack.” … David Breazeale of Four Corners, Miss., is hopeful that his Heat 3 triumph is a sign that he’s regained the speed he showed on Monday in winning a heat and finishing ninth in the feature — his first Volusia start since 2009. … Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., scratched from further action after mechanical trouble forced him out of his heat. … Mike Maresca of Potsdam, N.Y., was pushed into the pit on lap two of the third heat after his car’s fan was shoved into the radiator. … Michael Norris of Sarver, Pa., was unable to take advantage of his pole starting slot in the third heat, slipping completely out of a transfer spot due to handling problems. His crew discovered a bolt stuck in the right-front tire that was bolting on just before the heat, forcing them to hastily put on a replacement tire that wasn’t right for the conditions. … Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., saw his rough DIRTcar Nationals continue with his involvement in a tangle on the opening lap of the third heat. His crew had to make significant repairs to his car’s nose so he could start the feature using a provisional.
Josh Richards held off a charge from Boom Briggs on lap eight and went on to win the second B-main ahead of Michael Norris. Nick Hoffman charged from sixth in the final three laps to grab the final transfer position. Richards comfortably led the first seven laps until Mike Maresca stopped in turn two to bring out a caution with three laps remaining.
Finish (top three transfer): Josh Richards, Mike Norris, Nick Hoffman, Boom Briggs, Earl Pearson Jr., Rusty Schlenk, Colton Flinner, Tyler Millwood, Zach McMillan, Dean Carpenter, Blake Spencer, Mike Maresca. Scratch: Jimmy Owens, Chub Frank, Austin Smith.
Kyle Bronson of Brandon, Fla., led flag-to-flag to win the first B-main. Timothy Culp picked up the runner-up spot, with Tyler Bruening nabbing the third and final transfer spot. Donny Schatz and Don O’Neal were fourth and fifth, respectively. Jeff Mathews spun to draw a caution on lap three.
Finish (top three transfer): Kyle Bronson, Timothy Culp, Tyler Bruening, Donny Schatz, Don O’Neal, Chase Junghans, Chris Ferguson, Morgan Bagley, Coleby Frye, Hudson O’Neal, Joey Coulter, Jeff Mathews, Reid Millard. Scratch: Brandon Overton.
(10 laps, top 3 transfer)
Row 1: Kyle Bronson, Tyler Bruening
Row 2: Coleby Frye, Timothy Culp
Row 3: Chris Ferguson, Donny Schatz
Row 4: Don O’Neal, Morgan Bailey
Row 5: Brent Larson, Brandon Overton
Row 6: Hudson O’Neal, Joey Coulter
Row 7: Chase Junghans, Jeff Mathews
Row 8: Reid Millard
Row 1: Josh Richards, Rusty Schlenk
Row 2: Michael Norris, Boom Briggs
Row 3: Nick Hoffman, Tyler Millwood
Row 4: Earl Pearson Jr., Blake Spencer
Row 5: Dean Carpenter, Colton Flinner
Row 6: Zach McMillan, Mike Maresca
Row 7: Chub Frank, Jimmy Owens
Row 8: Austin Smith
Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., slid by Brian Shirley exiting turn four on lap six to take command of the fourth heat. Marlar led the opening two laps, before Shirley led laps 3-5. Marlar picked up the win, with Shirley finishing second. Eighth-starting Brandon Sheppard finished third ahead of Jonathan Davenport, who moved up after starting seventh. Colton Flinner spun to bring out the only caution. Mike Maresca gave up the fourth spot under the caution. Jimmy Owens pulled off while running third.
Finish (top four transfer): Brian Shirley, Mike Marlar, Brandon Sheppard, Jonathan Davenport, Rusty Schlenk, Boom Briggs, Tyler Millwood, Blake Spencer, Colton Flinner, Mike Maresca, Jimmy Owens.
David Breazeale of Four Corners, Miss., muscled his way into the lead in turn four on lap two, passing Shane Clanton and leader Michael Norris. Breazeale finished 1.926 second ahead of Clanton. Tim McCreadie rallied after an opening-lap mishap to finish third, while Darrell Lanigan finished fourth. Clanton jumped the cushion on the opening lap. When Austin Smith, who had a good run off of turn two got on the brakes trying to avoid Clanton, the result was a chain reaction crash that collected Tim McCreadie, Chub Frank, Dean Carpenter and Zach McMillin.
Finish (top four transfer): David Breazeale, Shane Clanton, Tim McCreadie, Darrel Lanigan, Josh Richards, Michael Norris, Nick Hoffman, Earl Pearson Jr., Dean Carpenter, Zach McMillan, Chub Frank, Austin Smith.
Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., dominated the early portion of the second heat before holding off a late charge by Chris Madden. Erb won by .634 seconds ahead of Madden. Mason Zeigler finished third, while Devin Moran grabbed the fourth spot in the caution-free race.
Finish (top four transfer): Dennis Erb Jr., Chris Madden, Mason Zeigler, Devin Moran, Tyler Bruening, Timothy Culp, Donny Schatz, Morgan Bagley, Brandon Overton, Joey Coulter, Jeff Mathews.
Backing up his overall fast time, polesitter Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., eased by Billy Moyer Jr. on the second lap and drove away for a 1.983-second victory over Rick Eckert. Eckert passed Moyer for second midway through the 10-lapper. Moyer finishe third, with Thursday winner Dale McDowell finishing in the fourth and final transfer spot. The race was slowed by two cautions.
Finish (top four transfer): Scott Bloomquist, Rick Eckert, Billy Moyer Jr., Dale McDowell, Kyle Bronson, Coleby Frye, Chris Ferguson, Don O’Neal, Brent Larson, Hudson O’Neal, Chase Junghans, Reid Millard.
(10 laps, top 4 transfer)
Row 1: Scott Bloomquist, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 2: Rick Eckert, Kyle Bronson
Row 3: Coleby Frye, Chris Ferguson
Row 4: Dale McDowell, Chase Junghans
Row 5: Brent Larson, Don O’Neal
Row 6: Hudson O’Neal, Reid Millard
Row 1: Chris Madden, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 2: Timothy Culp, Devin Moran
Row 3: Donny Schatz, Mason Zeigler
Row 4: Tyler Bruening, Morgan Bagley
Row 5: Joey Coulter, Jeff Mathews
Row 6: Brandon Overton
Row 1: Michael Norris, Shane Clanton
Row 2: David Breazeale, Austin Smith
Row 3: Darrell Lanigan, Tim McCreadie
Row 4: Nick Hoffman, Josh Richards
Row 5: Earl Pearson Jr., Chub Frank
Row 6: Dean Carpenter, Zach McMillan
Row 1: Mike Marlar, Mike Maresca
Row 2: Tyler Millwood, Rusty Schlenk
Row 3: Jimmy Owens, Brian Shirley
Row 4: Jonathan Davenport, Brandon Sheppard
Row 5: Blake Spencer, Colton Flinner
Row 6: Boom Briggs
For the second night in a row, Scott Bloomquist of Mooreburg, Tenn., topped World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series qualifying. Going out 10th in the first group, Bloomquist, the 2004 series champion, stopped the clock at the 15.821-second mark to earn the pole for the first heat. Bloomquist was the only driver among the 46 entries to crack the 15-second mark. Others earning the pole for their respective heats: Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C.; Michael Norris of Sarver, Pa.; and Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn.
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 15.821
Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., 16.035
Billy Moyer Jr. (21JR), Batesville, Ark., 16.111
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 16.125
Rick Eckert (7), York, Pa., 16.222
Timothy Culp (C8), Prattsville, Ark., 16.251
Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 16.283
Devin Moran (9), Dresden, Ohio, 16.324
Coleby Frye (0F1), Dover, Pa., 16.326
Donny Schatz (15), Fargo, N.D., 16.334
Chris Ferguson (22), Mount Holly, N.C., 16.403
Mason Ziegler (25Z), Chalk Hill, Pa., 16.405
Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 16.426
Tyler Bruening (16), Decorah, Iowa, 16.496
Chase Junghans (18c), Manhattan, Kan., 16.506
Morgan Bagley (14M), Tyler, Texas, 16.516
Brent Larson (B1), Lake Elmo, Minn., 16.555
Joey Coulter (2C), Miami Beach, Fla., 16.557
Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., 16.598
Jeff Mathews (33), Apollo Beach, Fla., 16.646
Hudson O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 16.895
Brandon Overton (116), Evans, Ga., 16.909
Reid Millard (14m), Jefferson City, Mo., 17.614
Michael Norris (72), Sarver, Pa., 16.088
Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 16.103
Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 16.189
Mike Maresca (7mm), Potsdam, N.Y., 16.228
David Breazeale (54), Four Corners, Miss., 16.261
Tyler Millwood (31), Kingston, Ga., 16.287
Austin Smith (84), Rome, Ga., 16.348
Rusty Schlenk (cj1), McClure, Ohio, 16.401
Darrell Lanigan (14), Union, Ky., 16.414
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 16.430
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 16.439
Brian Shirley (22*), Chatham, Ill., 16.471
Nick Hoffman (2), Mooresville, N.C., 16.497
Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., 16.507
Josh Richards (1R), Shinnston, W.Va., 16.557
Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., 16.575
Earl Pearson Jr. (1P), Jacksonville, Fla., 16.817
Blake Spencer (6), St. Augustine, Fla., 16.857
Chub Frank (1*), Bear Lake, Pa., 16.858
Colton Flinner (75), Allison Park, Pa., 16.893
Dean Carpenter (51), Coldwater, Miss., 16.990
Boom Briggs (99B), Bear Lake, Pa., 17.038
Zach McMillan (14Z), Gladewater, Texas, 17.782
As Volusia Speedway Park’s DIRTcar Nationals winds down to its next-to-last night of competition on Friday, weather conditions are absolutely perfect with brilliant sunny skies and high temperatures in the low 80s. … The big news of the day: Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., is returning to his father Mark’s Rocket house car team for the first time since the end of the 2016 campaign. With Josh’s Best Performance Motorsports team heading home after breaking a harmonic balancer as he won his heat on Thursday night, Mark decided to bring his soon-to-be 30-year-old son back into the fold to end the DCN as a teammate to Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill. When Mark Richards was asked how observers would be able to tell apart B-Shepp and Josh’s cars, he said, “One is blue and white, and the other’s blue and white.” Actually, though, Josh has a bright Day-Glo green number 1 on his doors. … Josh jumped into WoO sprint car star Donny Schatz’s XR1 Rocket for Thursday’s feature with his own mount sidelined. “Someone said to me, ‘Schatz didn’t make it, see if he’ll let (Josh) drive,’” Mark Richards said. “I said, ‘Donny, You want him to drive?’ He said, ‘Heck yeah. I want him to drive. Get him in here.’” Josh “was a little uncomfortable” in Schatz’s seat, Mark noted, because Schatz is shorter in stature and thus Josh ended up sitting higher in the cockpit, but the elder Richards said “it looked to me like he was back there driving the heck out of it” before a broken water pump forced him out on lap 34 of the feature. … Thursday-night A-main winner Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., took the checkered flag just a bit too early — as he celebrated the victory, his girlfriend, Tiffany, was Ubering over to the track after landing at the Daytona Beach airport. … Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., struggled with transmission problems — his car would only run in high gear — throughout Thursday’s program. He was an early retiree as a result, finishing 29th; he’s also fighting to get his car freed up more to his liking and said tonight he’s throwing a “Hail Mary” at his mount in hopes of knocking out its tight condition. … Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark., pulled out of Thursday’s feature because he simply wasn’t running up to snuff, so he and his crew pulled a late-nighter to swap the motor from the Longhorn car he entered Thursday into the frame rails of the machine he drove on Wednesday. … Tyler Erb of New Waverly, Texas, can’t compete in the final two programs because he’s serving a two-race WoO suspension for his post-race altercation with Hudson O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., on Wednesday night, but he’s still in the pit area spectating. In addition, he is reportedly considering putting another driver behind the wheel of his car for Saturday evening’s finale. … Tim McCreadie enters the evening leading the WoO points standings by two points over Jonathan Davenport, 10 over Chase Junghans, 12 over Shane Clanton and 14 over Brandon Sheppard — though, of course, this year drivers will only count their two best finishes from the four DCN events, which will certainly keep the standings close leaving Volusia.
The third of four World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series programs to close the 47th annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park highlights Friday’s action. Comprising the other half of the evening’s doubleheader are the DIRTcar big-block modifieds, which will compete in a 30-lap feature.
Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., was victorious in Thursday night’s WoO feature, earning his first DIRTcar Nationals triumph since 1999.
With 46 cars on hand, Friday night’s WoO card includes split-group qualifying, four heat races, two B-mains and a 50-lap headliner paying $10,000 to win. The heat winners will redraw for positions 1-4 and the runners-up will pick for spots 5-8.
10 a.m.: Pit gate opens for team entry
1 p.m.: Pit pass sales begin
3 p.m.: Pit area secured; pit passes required after 3 p.m.
5 p.m.: Grandstands open
5:30 p.m.: Fan pit pass gate opens
6 p.m.: Hot laps
- SDS Big Block Modifieds
- WoO Late Models
6:30 p.m.: Time trials
- SDS Big Block Modifieds
- WoO Late Models
7:20 p.m.: Opening ceremonies