ROSSBURG, Ohio (June 9) — By the end of Saturday’s Dream XXIV feature at Eldora Speedway, Scott Bloomquist left little doubt who had the fastest car. The Hall of Fame driver from Mooresburg, Tenn., dominated the second half of the 100-lap main event at the famed half-mile oval, cruising to a record eighth Dream victory while becoming the first driver to claim the event’s $100,000 top prize in back-to-back seasons.
After battling Jonathan Davenport for a dozen laps, the 15th-starting Bloomquist, 54, took the lead from the Blairsville, Ga., driver on lap 40 and never looked back, steadily stretching his advantage over the final 60 circuits until it reached a whopping 9 seconds by race’s end. Bloomquist finished ahead of 16th-starting Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., while Davenport settled for third after leading 26 laps. Twelfth-starting Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., charged forward late to grab fourth and Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., rallied from the rear of the field after pitting with a flat tire on lap 33.
Bloomquist’s rally was reminiscent — if not quite as spectacular — of his 2014 World 100 victory when he stormed from the tail of the field after being penalized for using an unapproved window net. It was McDowell, in fact, who chased Bloomquist to the checkers that day as well. Following Saturday’s win, however, Bloomquist said his Andy Durham-powered Sweet-Bloomquist machine was likely even more potent this year.
"I really think that it was. I think some cars were better than they were then, but … I could do anything I wanted out there,” Bloomquist said. “It was enjoyable. I probably could’ve stood being a little bit tighter, but not on the restarts. It was spot-on. After we’d run a little bit I’d get a little bit free, but I’ll tell you what, it was about as good as you could ask for. Even though I might tail out a little, it still had traction and I still was maneuverable in traffic.”
Bloomquist was mired in the middle of Saturday’s feature starting grid in part because he didn’t participate in Friday’s planned preliminary action. He was on hand to compete in Friday’s afternoon session — heats and features originally scheduled for Thursday, but pushed back 17 hours thanks to pesky rain showers — but missed the entirety of the nightcap after a fall near the front of his trailer re-aggravated a nagging shoulder injury. Subsequently, Bloomquist spent much of the evening in a Greenville, Ohio, ER where doctors checked on his left shoulder and eventually cleared him to compete on Saturday.
“Friday night I slipped in mud and was gonna land on the tongue of my trailer and I reached back … I was gonna land on my back … I was like, ‘whoa’ and it pulled my arm way back,” said Bloomquist. “I hadn’t experienced that before and I felt like it was really done. We went to emergency in Greenville. They X-rayed and pretty much said they release me to go back and see my orthopedic surgeon.”
While Bloomquist’s absence from Friday’s night session created more than its share of drama, it also left him 75th in qualifying points among 78 drivers. That put him 13th in Saturday’s third heat during which he had to quickly hustle his car forward to grab a transfer spot for the main event. His 13th-to-third rally in the heat merely served as a precursor to his rally in the feature.
“I didn’t know how today would go after we didn’t make it last night,” said Bloomquist. “(The) track was passable today. (That) made it where it wasn’t a big problem.”
With Bloomquist starting deep in the feature, it was Davenport who flexed his muscle early. The 2015 Dream winner started eighth and was up to third by lap four. Second-starting Jason Jameson of Lawrenceburg, Ind., jumped out to a big lead early but his torrid pace was slowed on lap eight when Jared Landers of Batesville, Ark., slowed in turn two to bring out the first yellow.
That gave Davenport the opportunity he needed. Taking advantage on the restart, by lap 10 he was at the front. Jimmy Mars shuffled Jameson back to third, while Madden and Bloomquist made their way into the top five.
With Davenport leading the way, the front runners wasted little time reaching lapped traffic. Bloomquist was third on lap 15 and gained another spot when he passed Mars for second on lap 20. He managed to nose ahead of the leader on the backstretch on laps 29 and 30, but each time, Davenport used the momentum from his high side line to stay ahead at the flagstand.
Bloomquist finally inched ahead on lap 36 and led the next two circuits before Davenport wrestled the point away again to lead lap 39. It marked the last lap Davenport would lead.
“I really wasn’t going that hard,” said Davenport of the laps he led. “I wasn’t running 100 percent anyway. You know I thought that was a good pace. I was just trying to let some fuel burn off ‘cause (the car) was laying on the right rear just a little bit.
“As long as that brown was out there I could steer pretty good, but the blacker (the track) got, the tighter I got getting in (the turns) and I never could steer to try to get down in the middle (to) the line that Scott was running. I just couldn’t do that. I had to rely on the banking to help me turn.
“I turned the wick up a little bit when I saw (Bloomquist). Then I realized how hard I was having to go and he could roll that bottom so good and through the middle. I knew what was gonna happen pretty much the rest of the race once he got out front. Congrats to Scott. He definitely had the best car for sure, and Dale (McDowell) was pretty good also.”
By the time McDowell managed to get around Davenport for the runner-up spot, Bloomquist was long gone. He passed an equal number of cars as Bloomquist after the pair started alongside each other on the eighth row, though it took him a little longer to do so.
“I found a line right around the middle and I was better,” said McDowell. “Then I got into a little bit of a skirmish there on one of the restarts and I fell back and lost five or six positions but once we got there we were … I couldn’t see Scott. He was on out there cruising it looks like … but we were all there racing like crazy for second.”
“Right there at the end we got a little tight, so we’ll take some notes. This is one of their (Sweet-Bloomquist) cars, so the adjusting part, (Bloomquist) knows exactly where to go and we’re probably this much behind,” added McDowell, squeezing his thumb and finger together, signifying just how close he thought his car’s setup was to the winner’s. “Sometimes we’re that much ahead, but tonight we was a little bit behind, so congratulations to those guys.”
Notes: Sixteen cars finished the race, with eight completing all 100 laps. … Bloomquist’s previous Dream victories came in ’95, ’02, ’04, ’06, ’08, ’13 and ’17). … The race was slowed by eight cautions. All were for cars slowing with tire issues or for solo spins, with the exception of a caution for debris on lap 14. … Jason Jameson finished 18th after leading the first nine laps. … Mike Marlar gave up the 10th spot when he pitted during a lap-40 caution. He subsequently made a number of stops before finishing 22nd. … After a tough round of preliminaries, Kent Robinson rebounded to finish eighth in the main event, the last driver on the lead lap. … Canadian Ricky Weiss was the feature’s top-finishing first-time starter. He placed 12th. … Clint Bowyer teammates Don O’Neal and polesitter Darrell Lanigan were never a factor after they each had an outstanding two rounds of prelims.
Correction: Corrects Weiss as top-finishing first-timer starter instead of rookie.
Dream XXIV finish
Pos. Driver (car no.), hometown, chassis, earnings
1. Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., Sweet-Bloomquist, $100,000
2. Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., Sweet-Bloomquist, $20,000
3. Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., Longhorn, $12,500
4. Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., Rocket, $10,000
5. Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., Barry Wright, $8,750
6. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., Longhorn, $7,500
7. Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., MB Customs, $6,500
8. Kent Robinson (7r), Bloomington, Ind., MB Customs, $6,000
9. Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., Club 29, $5,500
10. Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, Longhorn, $5,000
11. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., Rocket, $4,000
12. Ricky Weiss (7), Headingley, Manitoba, Sweet-Bloomquist, $3,000
13. Darrell Lanigan (14), Union, Ky., Club 29, $2,950
14. Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hills, Pa., Rocket, $2,900
15. Rod Conley (71r), Wheelersburg, Ohio, Rocket, $2,875
16. Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., Black Diamond, $2,850
17. Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., Rocket, $2,825
18. Jason Jameson (12), Lawrenceburg, Ind., Swartz, $2,800
19. Nick Hoffman (2), Mooresville, N.C., Rocket, $2,775
20. Michael Chilton (97), Salvisa, Ky., Rocket, $2,750
21. Shanon Buckingham (50), Morristown, Tenn., Longhorn, $2,725
22. Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., Rocket, $2,700
23. Brent Larson (B1), Lake Elmo, Minn., Longhorn, $2,675
24. Hudson O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., Club 29, $2,650
25. Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., Capital, $2,625
26. Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., Rocket, $2,600
27. Michael Page (18x), Douglasville, Ga., Stinger, $2,550
28. Jared Landers (1), Batesville, Ark., Black Diamond, $2,500
Lap leaders: Jameson 1-8; Davenport 9-35, 39; Bloomquist 36-38, 40-100.
Fast qualifier (among 78 cars): Robinson, 15.265 seconds
Heat race winners: Richards, Marlar, Clanton, Mars, Jameson, Lanigan
Consolation winners: Simpson, Zeigler
Scramble winners: Brandon Sheppard, Freddie Carpenter
Provisional starters: Owens, Babb
Preliminary feature winners: Davenport, Lanigan, Pearson, Madden
Main event notes
Lap 100: Bloomquist wins Dream XXIV.
Lap 87: Bloomquist has lapped up to the 13th position, setting a blistering pace out front.
Lap 79: With Bloomquist caught up in lapped traffic, second-running Davenport starts reeling in the race leader.
Lap 74: Bloomquist continues to show the way out front, with McDowell closing in on Davenport for second.
Lap 60: Nick Hoffman spins in turns one and two to draw a caution. Bloomquist leads Davenport, McDowell, Madden and Mars.
Lap 57: A yellow flag waves on the ensuing restart when Mike Marlar spins in turn two.
Lap 57: Michael Chilton slows to draw a caution. Bloomquist leads Davenport, McDowell, Mars and McCreadie.
Lap 56: Bloomquist sets a torrid pace over the field, as Madden is back up to eighth after drawing an early caution.
Lap 49: Kent Robinson slows in turn two to draw a caution. Bloomquist continues to lead Davenport, Mars, McDowell and McCreadie.
Lap 45: After starting 16th, Dale McDowell is up to fourth.
Lap 42: Using momentum from the restart, Mars, takes the second-place spot on lap 41, only to fall to Davenport one circuit later.
Lap 40: Hudson O'Neal slows on the frontstrech to draw a caution. Bloomquist leads Davenport, Mars, McCreadie and Jameson. Davenport led lap 39, with Bloomquist retaking the lead just as the caution fell.
Lap 36: Working the bottom of the racetrack, Bloomquist edges Davenport at the line for the race lead.
Lap 33: A yellow flag waves as third-running Madden slows on the backstretch with a flat right-rear tire. Davenport leads Bloomquist, Mars, Jameson and Tim McCreadie.
Lap 31: The Davenport-Bloomquist battle continues, as the race leader fights back challenges from the Hall of Famer.
Lap 22: With the frontrunners approaching lapped traffic, Davenport and Bloomquist race side-by-side for the lead.
Lap 16: Bloomquist slips past Jameson to grab the third-place spot.
Lap 14: Another caution falls for debris on the racetrack. Davenport leads Mars, Jameson, Chris Madden and Scott Bloomquist, who started 15th.
Lap nine: Davenport edges ahead of Jameson at the line to take the lead.
Lap eight: The first yellow flag waves when Jared Landers slows in turn two. Jameson leads Jimmy Mars, Jonathan Davenport, Shane Clanton and Darrell Lanigan. Mars was closing in on Jameson when the caution fell.
Lap one: The green flag waved at 11 p.m. Outside polesitter Jason Jameson led the opening lap.
10:48 p.m. | Starting field variety
There are nine chassis brands represented in this year’s Dream (down from nine in 2017), with Rocket once again leading the way with nine entrants. There are five different manufacturers represented in the first three rows alone. Other chassis brands with multiple entrants include Club 29/Black Diamond (5), Longhorn (5), Sweet-Bloomquist (3) and MB Customs (2). Barry Wright, Capital, Stinger and Swartz each have single entries.
Sixteen states and one Canadian province are represented in the starting field, led by Georgia, Indiana and Tennessee with four drivers each. Kentucky and Illinois have two drivers apiece in the field, while Wisconsin, West Virginia, Florida, South Carolina, New York, Minnesota, Arkansas, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Headingly, Manitoba have one driver each.
10:18 p.m. | Dream first-timers
Among drivers making the Dream starting lineup for the first time are Jason Jameson of Lawrenceburg, Ind., Michael Chilton of Salvisa, Ky., Ricky Weiss of Headingley, Manitoba, Rod Conley of Wheelersburg, Ohio, Michael Page of Douglasville, Ga., Nick Hoffman of Mooresville, N.C., and Brent Larson of Lake Elmo, Minn. Chiton, Conley, Page and Hoffman previously qualified for the World 100, while Jameson, Weiss and Larson are making their first Eldora crown jewel starts.
10:15 p.m. | Dream XXIV lineup
Row 1: Darrell Lanigan, Jason Jameson
Row 2: Jimmy Mars, Shane Clanton
Row 3: Mike Marlar, Josh Richards
Row 4: Earl Pearson Jr., Jonathan Davenport
Row 5: Chris Madden, Don O’Neal
Row 6: Tim McCreadie, Bobby Pierce
Row 7: Ricky Weiss, Brent Larson
Row 8: Scott Bloomquist, Dale McDowell
Row 9: Shanon Buckingham, Jared Landers
Row 10: Jimmy Owens, Shannon Babb
Row 11: Chris Simpson, Mason Zeigler
Row 12: Rod Conley, Kent Robinson
Row 13: Hudson O’Neal, Michael Chilton
Row 14: Michael Page, Nick Hoffman
10:11 p.m. | Zeigler wins second consolation
Polesitter Kent Robinson shot to an early lead, with Billy Moyer Jr. and Michael Chilton battling for the final transfer spot. Second-running Mason Zeigler started reeling in Robinson on lap five, with Chilton overtaking Joey Moriarty for third. Racing side-by-side down the backstretch, Zeigler slid ahead of Robinson out of turn four to lead lap eight. With the top three cars distancing themselves from the field, 12th-starting Nick Hoffman moved into fourth at the halfway point, closing in on Chilton with five laps remaining. A yellow flag waved on lap 17 when Jon Henry spun on the backstretch. Another yellow flag flew on the ensuing restart when fifth-running Moyer Jr. got into the turn one wall. A three-car battle for fourth ensued on the next restart, with Hoffman, Tyler Bruening and Devin Gilpin battling for the final transfer spot. Zeigler won the consolation, with Robinson and Chilton rounding out the podium. Hoffman edged ahead at the line to finish fourth and transfer to the feature. Gilpin won the five-lap scramble.
Finish (top four transfer): Mason Zeigler, Kent Robinson, Michael Chilton, Nick Hoffman, Devin Gilpin, Tyler Bruening, Tim Manville, Freddie Carpenter, Nick Latham, Rob Anderzack, Joe Godsey, Dustin Nobbe, Bryant Dickinson, Billy Moyer Jr., Jon Henry, Joey Moriarty. Scratched: Jeep Van Wormer, Kyle Bronson, Jason Feger, Adam Bowman, Timothy Culp, Devin Moran, Gregg Satterlee.
9:55 p.m. | Simpson wins first consolation
Passing Rod Conley during a two-lap shootout to the finish, sixth-starting Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa, won the first consolation race. Conley, who led 10 laps of the consolation, finished second to transfer to his first Dream. Hudson O’Neal finished third, while Michael Page used the late caution to pass Brandon Sheppard to gain entry in the 100-lap main event. Dennis Erb Jr. grabbed the lead on a lap-four restart and led four laps before slowing on the backstretch with apparent engine problems, handing the lead to Conley, who had Simpson and O’Neal just behind him on a lap-eight restart. Polesitter Casey Noonan slid ahead of Conley on the opening lap and set the pace early. Colton Flinner rolled to a stop in turn four to bring out the third caution with just two laps remaining, setting up the dash to the finish. Ryan Fenech brought out the second yellow as he slowed on lap seven. During the lap-seven caution, Hall of Famer Billy Moyer slowed with a flat tire. Ryan King slowed on lap four with a left front flat to bring out the first caution. Brandon Sheppard won the five-lap scramble.
First consolation finish (top four transfer): Chris Simpson, Rod Conley, Hudson O’Neal, Michael Page, Brandon Sheppard, Casey Noonan, Matt Miller, Frank Heckanast Jr., Jerry Bowersock, Andy Haus, Steven Roberts, Aaron Ridley, Austin Smith, Ben Nicastri, Paul Stubber, Ernie Cordier, Colton Flinner, Alex Ferree, Dennis Erb Jr., Billy Moyer, Jeff Roth, Ryan Fenech, Ryan King, Jesse James Lay.
9:25 p.m. | Consolation race lineups
(20 laps; top four transfer)
Row 1: Casey Noonan, Rod Conley
Row 2: Dennis Erb Jr., Ben Nicastri
Row 3: Hudson O’Neal, Chris Simpson
Row 4: Steven Roberts, Billy Moyer
Row 5: Brandon Sheppard, Michael Page
Row 6: Ryan Fenech, Alex Ferree
Row 7: Steve Casebolt, Andy Haus
Row 8: Jesse James Lay, Austin Smith
Row 9: Aaron Ridley, Shad Badder
Row 10: Frank Heckenast Jr., Colton Flinner
Row 11: Jerry Bowersock, Matt Miller
Row 12: Kody Evans, Ernie Cordier
Row 13: Paul Stubber
Row 1: Kent Robinson, Joey Moriarty
Row 2: Mason Zeigler, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 3: Joey Godsey, Michael Chilton
Row 4: Devin Gilpin, Jon Henry
Row 5: Tim Manville, Tyler Bruening
Row 6: Jeep Van Wormer, Nick Hoffman
Row 7: Nick Latham, Kyle Bronson
Row 8: Rob Anderzack, Freddie Carpenter
Row 9: Jason Feger, Adam Bowman
Row 10: Duane Chamberlain, Timothy Culp
Row 11: Dustin Nobbe, Bryant Dickinson
Row 12: Devin Moran, Gregg Satterlee
9:24 p.m. | Dream polesitter
Darrell Lanigan survived a final-corner scare passing a lapped car to nip Bobby Pierce for the checkered flag in the sixth heat. More importantly, though, the 2003 Dream champion secured the pole position for the 100-lapper that he will start for the 19th time in his career.
The Union, Ky., driver will look over at a familiar face as he heads to the green flag in the Dream. His former crew chief, Jason Jameson, is the outside polesitter.
“That’s pretty cool,” Lanigan said when informed that Jameson will start alongside him. “How much better can you write it right there?”
9:14 p.m. | Lanigan wins sixth heat
A yellow flag waved on the opening lap when Gregg Satterlee and Bobby Pierce made contact, sending Satterlee into the turn four wall. Working around the top of the racetrack, Darrell Lanigan shot of the lead as the race went green, with fourth-starting Jared Landers in tow. Five laps in, it was a three-car battle for the lead, with Pierce right on the heels of Lanigan and second-running Landers. Pierce took the second spot from Landers on lap seven, reeling in Lanigan. Holding off Pierce, Lanigan won the heat, with Landers taking the third and final transfer spot.
Finish (top three transfer): Darrell Lanigan, Bobby Piece, Jared Landers, Mason Zeigler, Michael Chilton, Tim Manville, Nick Hoffman, Rob Anderzack, Adam Bowman, Dustin Nobbe, Gregg Satterlee. Scratched: Chase Junghans.
9:09 p.m. | J.J. on outside pole
Jason Jameson’s Rattliff Racing No. 12 was overheating as he crossed over the scales after winning the fifth heat, but he had a big smile on his face nonetheless. The victory sent him into his first Dream feature field as the outside polesitter.
“I can’t thank my crew enough for sticking with me,” said Jameson, the former crew chief of Dream winner Darrell Lanigan. “And I can thank James Rattliff enough for keeping this team going.”
9:07 p.m. | Jameson takes fifth heat
Jason Jameson of Lawrenceburg, Ind., slid by leader Jon Henry on a lap-one restart and pulled away to win the fifth heat. Jameson, who circled the top groove of the half-mile oval comfortably at the front, withstood a couple of late restarts to win in front of Tim McCreadie and Shanon Buckingham. Henry lost the second spot with two laps to go as he slid high in turn two, allowing McCreadie, Buckingham and Joey Moriarty to flash by on the back straightaway. McCreadie finished third after a race-long battle with Buckingham, who nipped Moriarty in a photo finish for the final transfer spot. The race was red-flagged on lap 13 after a grinding crash in turn one involving Kyle Bronson, Jeep Van Wormer and Jason Feger. The fifth-running Van Wormer slid high in turn one and touched the wall, leaving Bronson and Feger, who were both running on the top shelf, no where to go. The race was slowed after one completed lap for a spin in turn three. Jackie Boggs slowed in turn four on lap nine to bring out the second caution. A third caution waved on lap 11 when Timothy Culp tagged the frontstretch wall.
Fifth heat finish (top three transfer): Jason Jameson, Tim McCreadie, Shanon Buckingham, Joey Moriarty, Joe Godsey, Jon Henry, Jeep Van Wormer, Kyle Bronson, Jason Feger, Timothy Culp, Devin Moran, Jackie Boggs.
8:55 p.m. | Two decades later
A triumph in the fourth heat produced the third starting spot in the 100-lap feature for Jimmy Mars, who is anxious to take advantage of his primary position. He has registered only three top-10 finishes in his 10 Dream A-main starts since winning the $100,000 prize in his first attempt in 1997.
“I felt pretty good there in the heat,” Mars said. “It was pretty wide open. We’ll go back and see what we got for the feature.”
8:47 p.m. | Mars wins fourth heat
Rolling around the top side, second-starting Jimmy Mars shot to an early lead, with fifth-starting Don O’Neal powering into a transfer spot by lap four. A yellow flag waved on lap six when Bryant Dickinson slowed on the frontstretch. Mars, O’Neal and Kent Robinson went three-wide for the lead on the restart, with Mars maintaining the advantage. Charging from the sixth starting spot, Dale McDowell overtook Robinson for third on lap nine. O’Neal began closing in on Mars in the final laps but his charge would come up short. Mars won the heat, with O’Neal and McDowell taking the other feature transfer spots.
Finish (top three transfer): Jimmy Mars, Don O’Neal, Dale McDowell, Kent Robinson, Devin Gilpin, Billy Moyer Jr., Tyler Bruening, Duane Chamberlain, Freddie Carpenter, Nick Latham, Bryant Dickinson.
8:44 p.m. | Clanton’s in
Shane Clanton has started the Dream feature every year since winning the $100,000 in 2012, but his best finish during the stretch is a fifth in ’15. He feels he has a Capital Race Car capable of getting him back to the podium — or better — after capturing the third heat.
“Our car’s pretty good right now,” said Clanton, who will make his 12th overall career start in the Dream A-main. “I probably blistered a right-rear tire trying to get by that lapped car, but we’re good.”
8:40 p.m. | Clanton cruises in third heat
Fourth-starting Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., led all 15 laps of the caution-free third heat. Clanton was well ahead of a mad scramble for second that included Dennis ERb Jr., Chris Madden, Jimmy Owens and Scott Bloomquist. Bloomquist completed a 13th-to-third rally as he passed Erb and then closed on Madden on the final circuit. Madden finished second, while Bloomquist grabbed the third and final transfer spot. Erb led the field into turn three, but Clanton powered by to take the lead as they exited turn tour in the opening lap.
Third heat finish (top three transfer): Shane Clanton, Chris Madden, Scott Bloomquist, Dennis Erb Jr., Jimmy Owens, Chris Simpson, Brandon Sheppard, Alex Ferree, Jesse James Lay, Shad Badder, Jerry Bowersock, Ernie Cordier, Ryan King.
8:39 p.m. | Marlar seizes opportunity
A rough preliminary night outing helped propel Mike Marlar to a victory in the second heat that gave him the fifth starting spot for the 100-lapper.
“I had a little trouble there the other night with a hole,” Marlar said. “I got (good fortune) returned to me with a front-row (heat) start.”
Making his eighth career Dream feature start, Marlar will attempt to surpass his career-best finish of eighth in 2017.
8:32 p.m. | Marlar wins second heat
Polesitter Brent Larson edged ahead of fellow front row starter Mike Marlar to lead the first lap, with Marlar shooting to the front of the field on the second circuit. With Shannon Babb running a solid third, Jonathan Davenport and Hudson O’Neal battled for the fourth-place spot. As the race reached the halfway mark, Marlar began stretching his lead over the field, with Davenport closing in on the third-running Babb. Overtaking Babb with just a couple of laps remaining, Davenport set his sights on the second-running Larson. Marlar won the heat, with Davenport finishing second. Larson grabbed the final transfer spot.
Finish (top three transfer): Mike Marlar, Jonathan Davenport, Brent Larson, Shannon Babb, Rod Conley, Hudson O’Neal, Billy Moyer, Ryan Fenech, Andy Haus, Aaron Ridley, Colton Flinner, Kody Evans, Jeff Roth.
8:30 p.m. | Richards rebounds
After capturing the first 15-lap heat race, Josh Richards intimated that he and his Best Performance Motorsports crew considered bypassing this evening’s action after experiencing engine trouble during Friday’s evening program. They ultimately opted to bolt in a backup motor and take a shot at the $100,000 prize.
“We decided to stay and run,” said Richards, who will start sixth in the Dream finale. “It feels good that we’re in.”
There was one worry on Richards’s mind: he said he noticed his machine’s powerplant losing fuel pressure during the heat.
8:24 p.m. | Richards wins first heat
Polesitter Michael Page of Douglasville, Ga., led the first lap, but Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., grabbed the lead in turn four as the field headed to complete the second lap and pulled away from the field to win the first heat. Richards had to hold on after a late caution, but finished comfortably ahead of Earl Pearson Jr. Pearson slipped by Page for third on lap four and gave chase, but finished two car lengths back. Rick Weiss finished third. Frank Heckanast, the outside front row starter, jumped the start and was penalized one row. Former Dream winner Matt Miller spun on the front stretch to bring out the first caution after making slight contact with Heckenast. Steve Casebolt slowed in turn two with a flat tire to bring out the second caution.
First heat finish (top three transfer): Josh Richards, Earl Pearson Jr., Ricky Weiss, Casey Noonan, Ben Nicastri, Steven Roberts, Michael Page, Steve Casebolt, Austin Smith, Frank Heckenast Jr., Matt Miller, Paul Stubber. Scratched: Jonathan Rowan.
8:15 p.m. | Bloomquist back in action
Speculation ran wild concerning Scott Bloomquist’s status when he wasn’t at the racetrack for the delayed start of Friday night’s preliminary program until his longtime sponsor, Gerald Newton of Arizona Sport Shirts, issued a statement of Bloomquist’s behalf around midnight stating that Bloomquist had fallen on wet steps on his rig and was at the Greenville, Ohio, hospital emergency room having a shoulder/rotator cuff injury checked out.
UMP DIRTcar director Sam Driggers said Bloomquist was allowed to compete after producing documents showing he was medically cleared to race. He faces an uphill to defend his Dream crown as he starts last in the third heat.
8:11 p.m. | Heat races rolling
Opening ceremonies are complete and the first of six 15-lap heat races takes the track.
8:02 p.m. | Pre-heat notes
The speed charts from hot laps had several surprise names near the top, including Jason Jameson, whose lap of 15.753 seconds was the fastest in practice. In addition, Arizona’s Joey Moriarty was fourth-fastest and West Virginia’s Freddie Carpenter was fifth-quick, following former Dream winners Dale McDowell (second) and Scott Bloomquist (third). … Jon Henry, who won a heat race during both preliminary programs, clipped the wall during hot laps and limped into the pit area. … Kent Robinson was knocked out of Friday night’s action when a radiator hose blew off his MB Customs car. The team said their engine seems to be running strong despite the water it lost when the radiator came loose. … Josh Richards’s Best Performance Motorsports car was struck by engine trouble during Friday night’s program, forcing him to drop to the rear of his feature and quickly pull in. His Randall Edwards-led crew bolted a backup powerplant in the machine for this evening’s competition. … Tim McCreadie is sporting a sore, bruised right shoulder after absorbing a hit from something — a rock, clod of mud or debris — while racing to a fifth-place finish in the evening A-main. He starts sixth in Heat 6.
8 p.m. | Rookies recognized
Of the 78 drivers on hand for Dream XXIV, 17 were first-time event entrants. Michael Page of Douglasville, Ga., earned three bonus checks as the top rookie performer in Friday’s two rounds of preliminary action. Brent Larson of Lake Elmo, Mo., followed Page with the second-best overall rookie performance.
7:48 p.m. | Trouble for Noonan
Eldora stalwart Casey Noonan of Sylvania, Ohio, and his crew were sent into scramble mode after his No. 1N was pushed off the track during hot laps due to a broken driveshaft.
Noonan’s crew quickly retrieved a new driveshaft from their trailer as Noonan dived underneath the machine to begin making repairs. Amidst the flurry of activity Noonan did, however, have time to stop for a moment and place sound-protecting ear muffs over the ears of his young son, who was watching the action near the team’s pit box.
There isn’t much time for Noonan to make the driveshaft swap: he starts eighth in the first heat.
7:40 p.m. | Leaky wall
As the evening’s optional hot laps were about to begin several members of Eldora’s track crew were seen on the homestretch, spreading lime over a wet spot at the base of the wall just past the starter’s stand.
According to longtime Eldora official Dean Miracle, water was spotted seeping through a joint in the homestretch fence as a byproduct of the heavy rain over the past three days. He said the use of lime helps soak up the moisture so drivers won’t experience any traction problems when they race along the wall.
7:18 p.m. | Hanging with the big dogs
There’s an unusual sight in the Eldora pit area this evening: an open trailer parked on the front row of the pits amidst the toter homes and stacker trailers that normally dominate that part of the infield.
The interloper is Andy Haus of Hamburg, Pa., the former Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway champion making his first career visit to Eldora. He spent the first two days parked in two different spots on the back row of the pits, but he spotted an opening on the turn-one end of the front row when he pulled into the infield this afternoon — he’s left the track with his truck and trailer each evening to drive back to his hotel with his crew — and seized it.
Haus, who decided to make the 9-hour trip to Eldora just two weeks ago, is scheduled to start eighth in the second heat
7:10 p.m. | Canadian cautiously optimistic
Ricky Weiss of Headingley, Manitoba, feels real good about the Sweet-Bloomquist car he’s brought to Eldora to take his second career shot at the Dream weekend. He’s worried, though, that he might have run a bit too well in Friday’s preliminary doubleheader.
With finishes of eighth in the afternoon feature and fifth in the evening 25-lapper, Weiss finds himself as one of the top points-getters in the 78-car field. That means he’s starting fifth in the first heat, which is infamously the toughest of a crown-jewel night because the track surface is usually still coming around.
“The car’s great,” Weiss said as he made final preparations before hot laps. “It’s got good speed. It’s good turning. The invert just kind of sucks for us.”
Weiss is bidding to start his first crown jewel show at Eldora. He failed to qualify for last year's Dream and his two previous appearances at the World 100.
6:50 p.m. | Action awaits
Saturday’s drivers’ meeting just wrapped up and hot laps are planned for 7:15 p.m. Drivers will hot lap by their heat race group, with opening ceremonies will follow. Six 15-lap heat races are on tap for tonight and the top three finishers from each heat will transfer to the weekend’s main event. The program will also include a pair of consolations and two $1,000-to-win five-lap scrambles.
5:35 p.m. | Drying out
The rain has all but stopped over the track as the skies have become noticeably brighter, prompting teams to begin stirring in the pit area around their cars.
Officials also announced that the autograph session in the multi-purpose building outside turns three and four will begin at 5:45 p.m. and the public drivers’ meeting will follow in that same place at 6:30 p.m.
5:15 p.m. | Rain delay
Saturday’s program was put into a holding pattern when late-afternoon thunderstorms ripped through the area, bringing heavy rain to the track beginning about 3:35 p.m. The precipitation is currently falling only lightly and skies have begun to brighten to the west, but it’s clear that the scheduled 6:30 p.m. start time for hot laps won’t be met.
The autograph session that was scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. and the ensuing public drivers’ meeting set for 4:30 p.m. were postponed by officials before the storms arrived and attendees are awaiting a new time for the functions.
Dream heat lineups
(15 laps; top 3 transfer)
Row 1: Michael Page, Frank Heckenast Jr.
Row 2: Matt Miller, Josh Richards
Row 3: Ricky Weiss, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 4: Austin Smith, Steve Casebolt
Row 5: Steven Roberts, Casey Noonan
Row 6: Paul Stubber, Ben Nicastri
Row 7: Jonathan Rowan
Row 1: Brent Larson, Mike Marlar
Row 2: Billy Moyer, Hudson O’Neal
Row 3: Shannon Babb, Jonathan Davenport
Row 4: Rod Conley, Andy Haus
Row 5: Ryan Fenech, Aaron Ridley
Row 6: Jeff Roth, Kody Evans
Row 7: Colton Flinner
Row 1: Chris Simpson, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 2: Brandon Sheppard, Shane Clanton
Row 3: Chris Madden, Jimmy Owens
Row 4: Ryan King, Jerry Bowersock
Row 5: Jesse James Lay, Shad Badder
Row 6: Ernie Cordier, Alex Ferree
Row 7: Scott Bloomquist
Row 1: Kent Robinson, Jimmy Mars
Row 2: Billy Moyer Jr., Devin Gilpin
Row 3: Don O’Neal, Dale McDowell
Row 4: Freddie Carpenter, Duane Chamberlain
Row 5: Tyler Bruening, Nick Latham
Row 6: Bryant Dickinson, Vic Hill
Row 7: Blake Spencer
Row 1: Shanon Buckingham, Jon Henry
Row 2: Jason Feger, Jason Jameson
Row 3: Kyle Bronson, Tim McCreadie
Row 4: Jeep Van Wormer, Timothy Culp
Row 5: Joey Moriarty, Joe Godsey
Row 6: Devin Moran, Jackie Boggs
Row 7: Brandon Overton
Row 1: Chase Junghans, Tim Manville
Row 2: Darrell Lanigan, Jared Landers
Row 3: Gregg Satterlee, Bobby Pierce
Row 4: Mason Zeigler, Adam Bowman
Row 5: Nick Hoffman, Rob Anderzack
Row 6: Dustin Nobbe, Michael Chilton
Row 7: Lance Elson
1. Earl Pearson Jr. 1,937
1. Jonathan Davenport 1,937
3. Jimmy Owens 1,925
4. Dale McDowell 1,913
5. Tim McCreadie 1,906
6. Bobby Pierce 1,899
7. Ricky Weiss 1,896
8. Shannon Babb 1,892
9. Chris Madden 1,885
10. Don O’Neal 1,884
11. Kyle Bronson 1,858
12. Gregg Satterlee 1,855
13. Josh Richards 1,840
14. Hudson O’Neal 1,837
15. Shane Clanton 1,826
15. Devin Gilpin 1,826
17. Jason Jameson 1,816
18. Jared Landers 1,807
19. Matt Miller 1,794
19. Billy Moyer 1,794
21. Brandon Sheppard 1,782
22. Billy Moyer Jr. 1,778
23. Jason Feger 1,774
24. Darrell Lanigan 1,771
25. Frank Heckenast Jr. 1,770
26. Mike Marlar 1,766
27. Dennis Erb Jr. 1,757
28. Jimmy Mars 1,750
28. Jon Henry 1,750
30. Tim Manville 1,746
31. Michael Page 1,746
32. Brent Larson 1,740
33. Chris Simpson 1,714
34. Kent Robinson 1,714
35. Shanon Buckingham 1,704
36. Chase Junghans 1,698
37. Austin Smith 1,688
38. Rod Conley 1,670
39. Ryan King 1,659
40. Freddie Carpenter 1,658
41. Jeep Van Wormer 1,656
42. Mason Zeigler 1,646
43. Steve Casebolt 1,610
44. Andy Haus 1,608
45. Jerry Bowersock 1,604
46. Duane Chamberlain 1,602
46. Timothy Culp 1,602
48. Adam Bowman 1,600
49. Steven Roberts 1,598
50. Ryan Fenech 1,572
51. Jesse James Lay 1,560
52. Tyler Bruening 1,554
53. Joey Moriarty 1,538
54. Nick Hoffman 1,532
55. Casey Noonan 1,518
55. Aaron Ridley 1,518
55. Shad Badder 1,518
58. Nick Latham 1,472
58. Joe Godsey 1,472
60. Rob Anderzack 1,466
61. Paul Stubber 1,450
62. Jeff Roth 1,446
63. Ernie Cordier 1,414
64. Bryan Dickinson 1,392
65. Devin Moran 1,312
66. Dustin Nobbe 1,296
67. Ben Nicastri 1,292
68. Kody Evans 1,272
69. Alex Ferree 1,253
70. Vic Hill 1,238
71. Jackie Boggs 1,190
72. Michael Chilton 1,182
73. Jonathan Rown 1,158
74. Colton Flinner 1,132
75. Scott Bloomquist 983
76. Blake Spencer 720
77. Brandon Overton 438
78. Lance Elson 346
Saturday’s event schedule
3:30 p.m.: Driver autograph session
4:30 p.m.: Public drivers’ meeting
6:30 p.m.: Hot laps (at track's discretion)
8 p.m.: Racing begins
- Heat races (15 laps; top three transfer)
- Consolation races (20 laps; top four transfer)
- Dream XXIII (100 laps)