MANSFIELD, Ohio (Aug. 25) — It was just a couple of weeks ago that Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., experienced one of the most heartbreaking moments of his seasoned career when he suffered a flat tire while leading Florence Speedway’s Sunoco North-South 100.
But the stars aligned and the four-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion gained a dose of redemption on Saturday night as he became the inaugural winner of Mansfield Motor Speedway’s Dirt Million presented by Arizona Sport Shirts.
“I don’t event know where to begin,” Pearson said in victory lane. “I can’t believe this. It’s just a dream come true.”
Running side-by-side with Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., with just 10 laps remaining in the 100-lap feature, Pearson, 46, shot ahead of the race leader on the backstretch to assume the point on 92nd circuit. He then fought back late-race challenges from Pierce to pace the final nine laps and a career-high $202,940 payday in the second-richest race in Dirt Late Model history.
“I’ve got to give it to Bobby Pierce,” Pearson said. “When you’re on the line for this kind of money, he could have slid me down here. He’s a class act and I’m sure he’s going to win a lot of money in his career. This is a big thing for our sport, this kind of money.”
The 21-year-old Pierce finished in the runner-up spot, 0.904 of a second behind Pearson. The 16th-starting Gregg Satterlee of Indiana, Pa., finished third after rallying from an early pit stop, while Ricky Weiss of Headingly, Manitoba, who led laps 10-15, finished fourth, and 18th-starter Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., rounded out the top five after recovering from a pair of pit stops to change tires.
It was a hard-fought victory for Pearson, who pitted early after he was involved in a lap-19 tangle with Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., and several other cars and made four additional pit stops to make more adjustments and change tires. Working his way back through the field, Pearson was running third when a lap-89 caution fell for the slowing Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill.
Gaining momentum from the restart, Pearson challenged Pierce for the lead on lap 90 with the former DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion edging ahead at the line to maintain his lead. But Pearson’s charge wouldn’t be slowed, as the Black Diamond house car pilot powered to the front of the field just two laps later en route to scoring his fifth Lucas Oil Series victory of the season.
“I can’t say enough for my guys,” Pearson said. “We got in this wreck down here and had to go all the way back to the tail. We kept coming in and working on the car. I knew once we got to the front we had a shot at it.
“When I started on the outside, I knew my car was pretty good on the starts there. I got ahead of Ricky (Weiss) there and me and Bobby (Pierce) had a good little race. I knew was going to run the top. So once I got in front of him, I knew I had to get up top. That’s the only way I was going to keep him behind me. The good Lord above he was looking out for us.”
Pierce, who led laps 83-91, was disappointed to fall short of the huge six-figure payoff but took solace in a still-lucrative runner-up finish.
“It’s a big money difference, but still $40,000, I’ll take it,” Pierce said after the race. “That was such a fun race. … I didn’t need that last caution. I don’t know how big of a lead I had. I know my dad was signaling I had a pretty big lead. I guess Earl (Pearson) came in and put some new tires on and it definitely showed to work pretty good there because I was kind of hanging on.”
Charging from the 22nd starting spot, Pierce rallied to run in fourth on lap 25 as Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., and Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., showed the way out front. With Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., overtaking Babb for the lead on lap 77, Pierce slipped past Marlar and his fellow Illinois driver to run in second when a lap-81 yellow flag waved.
Owens’s demise was Pierce’s advantage, as the youngster assumed the point on lap 83 when the former Lucas Oil Series champion retired his smoking No. 20 to the infield with radiator damage that melted down his engine. But Pierce was unable to hold off Pearson in the final circuits.
“If (turns) one and two was a little smoother, I could have rolled (the corners),” Pierce said. “I was rolling (turns) three and four really well. My right-front tire was giving out. I kind of got into (Marlar) there. I was going to go down and slide him in the corner going into one and his car bobbled around and I got right on his left-rear tire. I’m sure I messed him up too, but my right-front got pretty messed up in that.”
Satterlee, meanwhile, recovered from a lap-31 pit stop to change a flat left-front tire to emerge as the third-place finisher, earning $20,294.
“We actually had a softer right-rear (tire) on than Bobby and Earl and there was actually a lot of tread left,” Satterlee said. “I could really get going on them restarts. I could take off and actually gain a lot of positions in a lap or two and then it kind of evened out.
"I did have a right-front flat that we had to come in and change, but overall, with a lot of attrition amongst all the cars, we fared pretty good. Our car was pretty good, well balanced, so I was able to make some time but not kill my tires.
“These good finishes keep our morale up,” he added. “It’s not easy every night racing with these guys. I guess it shows we’re capable of running well.
Satterlee had a front-row seat for the late-race battle between Pearson and Pierce.
“Those last 10 laps, I don’t know what it looked like from the grandstand, but it looked crazy from where I was sitting,” Satterlee said. “I was really close to where I thought, if they did crash or have an incident, I was gonna be right there.”
Six different drivers led the race. Polesitter Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., led laps 1-9 before retiring due to a broken jackshaft on lap 18; Weiss paced laps 10-15; Babb led laps 16-76; Owens went ahead for laps 77-82; Pierce topped laps 83-91; and Pearson led the final nine circuits.
The race was slowed by 11 caution flags. One red flag was also needed on lap 51 when the track’s flagman was struck by a clod of mud and needed medical attention; he continued flagging for the remainder of the race with a swollen left eye after taking some time to gather himself.
Dirt Million finish
Pos. Driver (car no.), hometown, chassis, earnings
1. Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., Black Diamond, $202,940
2. Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., Rocket, $40,588
3. Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa., Rocket, $20,294
4. Ricky Weiss (7), Headingley, Manitoba, Sweet-Bloomquist, $12,176
5. Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., Sweet-Bloomquist, $8,118
6. Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., Rocket, $7,712
7. Steve Casebolt (c9), Richmond, Ind., MasterSbilt, $7,306
8. Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., Sweet-Bloomquist, $6,900
9. Darrell Lanigan (14), Union, Ky., Club 29, $6,697
10. Max Blair (111), Centerville, Pa., Rocket, $6,494
11. Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., Longhorn, $6,291
12. Tyler Erb (91), New Waverly, Texas, Rocket, $6,088
13. Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., Rocket, $5,885
14. Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., Rocket, $5,682
15. Brian Birkhofer (30), Muscatine, Iowa, Black Diamond $5,479
16. Tyler Horst (14H), Waynesboro, Pa., Rocket, $5,276
17. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., Rocket $5,073
18. Chris Ferguson (22), Mount Holly, N.C., Sweet-Bloomquist, $4,871
19. Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., Rocket, $4,465
20. Ben Mott (1), Wadsworth, Ohio, Rocket, $4,424
21. Nick Hoffman (2H), Mooresville, N.C., Rocket, $4,383
22. Matt Irey (36), Ashland, Ohio, Swartz, $4,302
23. Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., Rocket, $4,140
24. Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., Longhorn, $4,059
25. Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., Rocket, $4,059
26. Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., Club 29, $4,059
27. Tyler Carpenter (28), Parkersburg, W.Va., Kryptonite, $4,059
28. Devin Moran (9), Dresden, Ohio, Rocket, $4,059
Lap leaders: O’Neal 1-9; Weiss 10-15; Babb 16-76; Owens 77-82; Pierce 83-91; Pearson 92-100
Fast qualifier (among 77 cars): Richards, 16.727 seconds
Preliminary feature winners: Lanigan, Davenport
Dash winner: O'Neal
Heat winners: T. Erb, Babb, Junghans, Birkhofer, Blair, McDowell, Sheppard, Satterlee
Consolation winners: Pearson, Bloomquist, Owens, D. Erb.
Provisional starters: B. Mott, Carpenter, Horst, Irey
Preliminary results and notes:
Lap 100: Fighting back Pierce's challenges, Pearson wins the Dirt Million.
Lap 92: Pulling ahead of Pierce down the backstretch, Pearson takes the lead.
Lap 90: Racing side-by-side down the backstretch, Pierce edges ahead of Pearson at the line to maintain his lead.
Lap 89: Fifth-running Sheppard slows in turn one. Babb pits under the caution with a flat tire. Pierce leads Weiss, Pearson, Satterlee and Birkhofer.
Lap 83: Pierce assumes the point as Owens pulls his smoking No. 20 to the infield.
Lap 81: Tyler Erb spins in turns one and two to draw a caution. Owens leads Pierce, Babb, Sheppard and Weiss.
Lap 80: After running as high as second, Marlar pits with a flat tire. He sustained earlier damage to his left rear quarter panel after making contact with Pierce.
Lap 77: Owens slips under Babb in turns one and two to take the lead.
Lap 75: Babb continues to lead but is fighting back challenges from Owens.
Lap 66: Hoffman slides into the inside turn four wall to draw a caution. Babb continues to show the way out front over Marlar, Owens, Pierce and Richards.
Lap 63: A yellow flag waves when Ferguson slows with a flat tire. Babb leads Marlar, Pierce, Richards and Owens.
Lap 60: Babb stretches his lead as Pierce challenges Marlar for second.
Lap 51: A red flag falls when the flagman is injured by debris.
Lap 43: The frontrunners enter lapped traffic. Babb continues to lead Marlar, Richards, Pierce and Jimmy Owens.
Lap 31: Gregg Satterlee slows off the pace to draw a caution. Babb leads Marlar, Pierce, Richards and Brandon Sheppard, who started 12th.
Lap 29: A yellow flag waves when Pearson slows in turn four with a flat tire.
Lap 25: After starting 22nd, Bobby Pierce is up to fourth. Babb leads Marlar, Richards, Pierce and Weiss.
Lap 19: Making slight contact with Weiss, fifth-running Davenport spun in turn two, collecting Chase Junghans, Earl Pearson Jr., Chris Ferguson and several other cars to draw a caution. Darrell Lanigan and Pearson pit under the yellow. Babb leads Marlar, Richards, Weiss and Zeigler.
Lap 18: A yellow flag waves when O'Neal slows in turn three with a broken rear-end. Babb leads Weiss, Marlar, Jonathan Davenport and Richards. Scott Bloomquist and Nick Hoffman pit under the caution.
Lap 16: Powering to second on the lap-14 restart, Babb slides ahead of Weiss in turns three and four to take the lead.
Lap 14: Tyler Carpenter slows off the pace to draw a caution. Weiss leads O'Neal, Marlar, Zeigler and Shannon Babb.
Lap 10: Shooting ahead of O'Neal down the backstretch, Weiss takes the lead.
Lap eight: Gaining momentum on the restart, Weiss battles O'Neal for the lead, as Zeigler falls back to fourth.
Lap seven: The first yellow flag waves when eighth-running Devin Moran slows on the backstretch exiting turn two. O'Neal leads Mason Zeigler, Ricky Weiss, Mike Marlar and Josh Richards.
Lap one: Rolling around the top side, polesitter Don O'Neal leads the opening lap.
10:23 p.m.: Feature cars begin rolling out for pace laps.
10:19 p.m.: Introductions are complete and drivers have been given the call to fire engines.
9:54 p.m.: Feature cars have made their way to the frontstretch and driver introducations will get under way shortly.
Inaugural Dirt Million lineup
Row 1: Don O’Neal, Mason Zeigler
Row 2: Ricky Weiss, Devin Moran
Row 3: Josh Richards, Mike Marlar
Row 4: Jonathan Davenport, Darrell Lanigan
Row 5: Shannon Babb, Dale McDowell
Row 6: Brian Birkhofer, Brandon Sheppard
Row 7: Tyler Erb, Chase Junghans
Row 8: Max Blair, Gregg Satterlee
Row 9: Earl Pearson Jr., Scott Bloomquist
Row 10: Jimmy Owens, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 11: Nick Hoffman, Bobby Pierce
Row 12: Chris Ferguson, Steve Casebolt
Row 13: Benjamin Mott, Tyler Carpenter
Row 14: Tyler Horst, Matt Irey
Outside polesitter Dennis Erb Jr. took an early lead, as third-running Jeep Van Wormer made contact with the wall while trying to reel in Steve Casebolt for second. With Erb holding a comfortable lead at the halfway mark, Van Wormer made up ground, running on the back bumper of Casebolt on lap nine. A yellow flag waved on lap 11 when Zach McMillan slowed on the frontstretch with a flat tire. Erb won the consolation, with Casebolt grabbing the final transfer spot.
Finish (top two transfer): Dennis Erb Jr., Steve Casebolt, R.J. Conley, Jeep Van Wormer, Tyler Carpenter, Jason Feger, Ryan Unzicker, Gordy Gundaker. Scratched: Alex Ferree, D.J. Miller, Ross Bailes, Corey Conley.
Polesitter Jimmy Owens charged to the front of the field at the drop of the green flag, as Frank Heckenast Jr. and Eddie Carrier Jr. battled for third in the early running. Owens stretched his lead to nearly a full straightaway by lap four, as Heckenast started reeling in second-running Chris Ferguson. Heckenast raced on Ferguson’s back bumper for several laps but was never able to complete the pass for position. Owens pulled away to win the consolation, with Ferguson outrunning Heceknast to runs second and transfer to the feature.
Finish (top two transfer): Jimmy Owens, Chris Ferguson, Frank Heckenast Jr., Eddie Carrier Jr., Jared Miley, Ryan Markham, Kent Robinson, Jackie Boggs, Mike Maresca, Colton Flinner, Benjamin Mott. Scratched: Russ Frohnapfel, Lauren Longbrake, Brian Shirley.
Polesitter Scott Bloomquist edged ahead of Rick Eckert at the line to lead the opening lap, with third-starting Bobby Pierce challenging Eckert for second one circuit later. As Bloomquist stretched his lead at the halfway mark, Pierce slowed his charge, with Eckert running a comfortable second. A yellow flag waved on lap seven when Brandon Overton slowed with a flat tire. Bloomquist held his lead on the restart, with Pierce slipping under Eckert out of turn four to take second on lap eight. Bloomquist won the consolation, with Pierce grabbing the second and final transfer spot.
Finish (top two transfer): Scott Bloomquist, Bobby Pierce, Rick Eckert, Dave Hess Jr., Matt Irey, Kyle Bronson, Austin Rettig, Jason Miller, Austin Rettig, Dave Hornikel, Chris Hackett, Ryan Scott, Brandon Overton. Scratched: Jared Landers, Tim McCreadie, Garrett Mott, Mike Benedum.
Rolling around the high side, outside polesitter Ricky Thornton Jr. slipped past fellow front-row starter Earl Pearson Jr. to take an early lead. With Thornton showing the way out front, third-running Nick Hoffman attempted to reel in Pearson for the final transfer spot, but lost ground by lap five. Edging ahead out of turn four on the final lap, Pearson won the consolation, with Thornton falling back to fourth with a flat tire. Hoffman finished second to transfer to the main event.
Finish (top two transfer): Earl Pearson Jr., Nick Hoffman, Doug Drown, Ricky Thornton Jr., Zack Dohm, Dan Angelicchio, Billy Moyer Jr., Chub Frank, Tyler Horst, Steve Sabo, Chris Simpson, Mike Wonderling. Scratched: Chad Simpson, Billy Moyer, Greg Oakes, Kyle Moore.
(12 laps; top two transfer)
Row 1: Earl Pearson Jr., Ricky Thornton Jr.
Row 2: Nick Hoffman, Doug Drown
Row 3: Dan Angelicchio, Zack Dohm
Row 4: Chris Simpson, Chub Frank
Row 5: Billy Moyer Jr., Chad Simpson
Row 6: Mike Wonderling, Tyler Horst
Row 7: Steve Sabo, Billy Moyer
Row 8: Greg Oakes, Kyle Moore
Row 1: Scott Bloomquist, Rick Eckert
Row 2: Bobby Pierce, Matt Ivey
Row 3: Kyle Bronson, Dave Hess Jr.
Row 4: Brandon Overton, Chris Hackett
Row 5: Austin Rettig, Jason Miller
Row 6: Dave Hornikel, Jared Landers
Row 7: Ryan Scott, Tim McCreadie
Row 8: Garrett Mott, Mike Benedum
Row 1: Jimmy Owens, Chris Ferguson
Row 2: Frank Heckenast Jr., Eddie Carrier Jr.
Row 3: Kent Robinson, Ryan Markham
Row 4: Jared Miley, Jackie Boggs
Row 5: Mike Maresca, Colton Flinner
Row 6: Nick Davis, Russ Frohnapfel
Row 7: Benjamin Mott, Lauren Longbrake
Row 8: Brian Shirley
Row 1: Steve Casebolt, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 2: R.J. Conley, Jeep Van Wormer
Row 3: Tyler Carpenter, Zach McMillan
Row 4: Ryan Unzicker, Jason Feger
Row 5: Gordy Gundaker, Boom Briggs
Row 6: Alex Ferre, D.J. Miller
Row 7: Ross Bailes, Corey Conley
Front-row starters Don O’Neal and Mason Zeigler raced side-by-side down the backstretch, with O’Neal pulling ahead out of turn four to lead the opening lap. As O’Neal stretched his lead early, it was Josh Richards on the move, advancing from eighth to run fifth on lap four. O’Neal won the dash to earn the pole position for Saturday’s 100-lapper.
Finish: Don O’Neal, Mason Zeigler, Ricky Weiss, Devin Moran, Josh Richards, Mike Marlar, Jonathan Davenport, Darrell Lanigan.
Pulling ahead out of turn four, polesitter Gregg Satterlee led the opening lap, with fellow front-row starter Dennis Erb Jr. in tow. Satterlee maintained a comfortable lead at the halfway mark, with the top two cars distancing themselves from the rest fo the field. Holding a half straightaway lead in the final laps, Satterlee won the heat race to transfer to the main event.
Finish (winner transfers): Gregg Satterlee, Dennis Erb Jr., Jeep Van Wormer, Zach McMillan, Jason Feger, Boom Briggs. Scratched: Ross Bailes, Corey Conley.
Polesitter Brandon Sheppard stretched his lead in the early running, as fellow front-row starter Gordy Gundaker dropped back to the tail of the field. Sixth-starting Tyler Carpenter worked his way through the field, challenging R.J. Conley for third at the halfway mark. Holding a straightway lead at the finish, Sheppard picked up the heat race win.
Finish (winner transfers): Brandon Sheppard, Steve Casebolt, R.J. Conley, Tyler Carpenter, Ryan Unzicker, Gordy Gundaker. Scratched: Alex Ferree, D.J. Miller.
Polesitter Dale McDowell charged to an early lead, with fellow from-row starter Chris Ferguson in tow. With the top two cars distancing themselves from the field, Ferguson closed in on McDowell at the halfway mark, with less than a cars-length between the pair. Holding off Ferguson, McDowell won the heat to transfer to the feature.
Finish (winner transfers): Dale McDowell, Chris Ferguson, Eddie Carrier Jr., Ryan Markham, Jackie Boggs, Colton Flinner, Russ Frohnapfel. Scratched: Lauren Longbrake, Brian Shirley.
Outside polesitter Max Blair shot to the lead at the drop of the green flag, as fourth-starting Kent Robinson battled Frank Heckenast Jr. for second in the early running. It was Jimmy Owens on the move on lap four, battling second-running Heckenast and challenging Blair for the lead. Owens and Blair took the white flag side-by-side, with Blair edging ahead of Owens to win the heat.
Finish (winner transfers): Max Blair, Jimmy Owens, Frank Heckenast Jr., Kent Robinson, Jared Miley, Mike Maresca, Nick Davis, Benjamin Mott.
Racing door-to-door, front-row starters Jared Landers and Brian Birkhofer collided in turns three and four on the first lap, with Birkhofer pulling ahead to take an early lead. A yellow flag waved on lap two, with Landers making hard contact with the backstretch wall as the field slowed. Birkhofer maintained his lead on the restart, as Matt Irey attempted to reel in Rick Eckert for the second-place spot. Holding a comfortable lead in the final laps, Birkhofer grabbed the heat race win.
Finish (winner transfers): Brian Birkhofer, Rick Eckert, Matt Irey, Dave Hess Jr., Chris Hackett, Jason Miller, Jared Landers. Scratched: Mike Benedum.
Polesitter Chase Junghans led the opening lap, with third-starting Scott Bloomquist slipping under Kyle Bronson in turns one and two to take second. With Bronson falling further to fourth-starting Bobby Pierce, Bloomquist attempted to reel in Junghans at the halfway mark, never able to seriously challenge the leader. Junghans won the heat, with Bloomquist holding off Pierce to finish second.
Finish (winner transfers): Chase Junghans, Scott Bloomquist, Bobby Pierce, Kyle Bronson, Brandon Overton, Austin Rettig, Dave Hornikel, Ryan Scott. Scratched: Tim McCreadie.
Polesitter Shannon Babb shot to the front of the field at the drop of the green flag, as Ricky Thornton Jr. powered from fifth to third in a single circuit. A yellow flag waved on the first lap when Tyler Horst slowed in turn three. Babb maintained his lead on the restart, with second-running Chad Simpson slowing with a flat tire to draw a lap-two caution. It was a tight battle for fourth at the halfway mark, with Zack Dohm overtaking Chub Frank for the position. Holding a comfortable lead through the final laps, Babb picked up the heat race win.
Finish (winner transfers): Shannon Babb, Ricky Thornton Jr., Doug Drown, Zack Dohm, Chub Frank, Chad Simpson, Mike Wonderling, Tyler Horst, Steve Sabo.
Front-row starters Tyler Erb and Earl Pearson Jr. raced side-by-side exiting turn four on the opening lap, with the advantage going to Erb at the line. Pearson attempted to slip under Erb in turn two on the fourth lap but his challenge came up short. With the top-two cars distancing themselves from the rest of the field late-race, Erb held off Pearson to win the heat and transfer to the feature.
Finish (winner transfers): Tyler Erb, Earl Pearson Jr., Nick Hoffman, Dan Angelicchio, Chris Simpson, Billy Moyer Jr. Scratched: Billy Moyer, Greg Oakes, Kyle Moore.
Heavy rain struck the track early in the afternoon, but the precipitation ceased around 2 p.m. and sunshine soon began peaking through the clouds. While some big puddles were left in the paved pit area, the racing surface was sealed up when the rain hit and hot laps began rolling toward the track at 6:15 p.m., just 15 minutes behind schedule. The forecast calls for the chance of rain rising to around 50 percent around 11 p.m. … Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., and his Sweeteners Plus-backed Longhorn house car team departed Mansfield after his wild flip on lap one of Friday night’s first 30-lap Duel. The car he debuted just two weeks ago at Florence Speedway in Union, Ky., will need at least a new front clip so it couldn’t be raced this evening and the team did not have a backup car along because they towed in with a dualie truck pulling a small enclosed trailer; Boom Briggs of Bear Lake, Pa., and Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa, were among the racers who offered their backup cars to McCreadie, but, with the event offering only Lucas Oil Series show-up points, he declined and headed home. … Other drivers who scratched from Saturday’s action include Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., who broke an oil-pump belt during Friday’s hot laps and decided to call off the remainder of his Mansfield visit; Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., who was reportedly headed to an Iron-Man Series event at Lake Cumberland Speedway in Burnside, Ky., on Saturday night; and Ross Bailes of Clover, S.C., whose rough Friday in G.R. Smith’s car began with a slap of the outside wall during qualifying that broke the machine’s j-bar and fifth-coil. … Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., saw his first start as the substitute for teenager Hudson O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., in the SSI Motorsports car go badly during preliminary action on Friday when a rock kicked up off the track and punctured the oil line entering the oil tank, causing terminal engine damage. He started the feature in Matt Irey’s car using his team’s Lucas Oil provisional but is back in the SSI Club 29 mount tonight after his crew swapped engines. … Hudson O’Neal was seen socializing in the pit area Saturday, making his first racetrack appearance since undergoing season-ending left shoulder surgery on Aug. 15. His left arm is being kept motionless by a velcro brace that attaches to a “girdle” around his waist. … Many teams were seen adding rock-guard screens to their cars in an effort to provide the drivers more protection from the rocks that flew around during Friday’s racing. … The 28 starters in the 100-lap Dirt Million feature will be called to a tent in the pit area before the start of the race for meeting and to sign various pieces of event memorabilia. The drivers’ crew members will take the race cars to the homestretch during that time.
(Eight laps; sets first four rows of feature lineup)
Row 1: Don O’Neal, Mason Zeigler
Row 2: Ricky Weiss, Devin Moran
Row 3: Darrell Lanigan, Mike Marlar
Row 4: Jonathan Davenport, Josh Richards
Heat race lineups
(Eight laps; winner transfers)
Row 1: Tyler Erb, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 2: Nick Hoffman, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 3: Billy Moyer, Chris Simpson
Row 4: Dan Angelicchio, Greg Oakes
Row 5: Kyle Moore
Row 1: Shannon Babb, Chad Simpson
Row 2: Chub Frank, Doug Drown
Row 3: Ricky Thornton Jr., Zack Dohm
Row 4: Mike Wonderling, Tyler Horst
Row 5: Steve Sabo
Row 1: Chase Junghans, Kyle Bronson
Row 2: Scott Bloomquist, Bobby Pierce
Row 3: Tim McCreadie, Brandon Overton
Row 4: Austin Rettig, Dave Hornikel
Row 5: Ryan Scott
Row 1: Brian Birkhofer, Jared Landers
Row 2: Dave Hess Jr., Rick Eckert
Row 3: Matt Irey, Jason Miller
Row 4: Chris Hackett, Garrett Mott
Row 5: Mike Benedum
Row 1: Frank Heckenast Jr., Max Blair
Row 2: Kent Robinson, Jimmy Owens
Row 3: Jared Miley, Mike Maresca
Row 4: Nick Davis, Benjamin Mott
Row 1: Dale McDowell, Chris Ferguson
Row 2: Eddie Carrier Jr., Ryan Markham
Row 3: Jackie Boggs, Colton Flinner
Row 4: Lauren Longbrake, Russ Frohnapfel
Row 1: Brandon Sheppard, Gordy Gundaker
Row 2: R.J. Conley, Steve Casebolt
Row 3: Tyler Carpenter, Ryan Unzicker
Row 4: Alex Ferree, D.J. Miller
Row 1: Gregg Satterlee, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 2: Zach McMillan, Jeep Van Wormer
Row 3: Jason Feger, Boom Briggs
Row 4: Ross Bailes, Corey Conley
Mansfield (Ohio) Motor Speedway’s inaugural Dirt Million wraps up on Saturday with the 100-lap finale paying an excess of $189,000 to the winner. Eight drivers were locked in to the main event through Friday’s 30-lap duels.
With the event’s unique format, fans, sponsors and teams have helped grow Saturday’s crowd-funded feature purse through the purchase of tickets, camping reservations and pay-per-view packages. The purse will continue to increase up until Saturday’s opening ceremonies.
Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., and Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., were the winners of Friday’s duels. The pair will join the top-four finishers from each of Friday’s features in an eight-lap dash that will determine the first four rows of Saturday’s feature lineup
Along with the dash, Saturday’s program will include eight eight-lap heat races, four 12-lap consolations and the 100-lap main event. The winner of each heat race will redraw for their feature starting spot, with the top two finishers from each consolation transferring to the main event. A ticker countdown will be included in pre-race ceremonies.
5:30 p.m. - Drivers’ meeting
6 p.m. - Hot laps
7 p.m. - Opening ceremonies
- Heat races (eight laps; winners redraw for feature starting spot)
- Dirt Million dash (eight laps; determines first four rows of feature lineup)
- Consolations (12 laps; top two transfer)
Pre-race ceremonies (ticker countdown)
- Dirt Million (100 laps)