ROSSBURG, Ohio — Over the second half of Saturday’s 48th annual World 100, Tim McCreadie left his 29 competitors with little to say at the historic Eldora Speedway. And then the 44-year-old driver from Watertown, N.Y., after rolling onto the victory stage, struggled to find the words to describe his $51,000 domination.
“I don’t know. I really don’t know what to say,” McCreadie said moments after his trademark clap-for-the-fans celebration from atop his Sweeteners Plus Longhorn Chassis. “I’m not usually at a loss for words, but seeing all these people and seeing how excited they are, we’ll be down here for a while. So make sure you stop by … it’s that little dualie over here.”
And with that the crowd roared its approval at the likable driver who came up through the Northeast’s big-block modified ranks, burst on the Late Model scene 15 years ago as a bleach-blond upstart and has now etched his name among the winner’s of the full-fendered division's most prestigious race.
“You hear a lot of people complaining about funding, and we just shut our mouths and keep on digging along with what we’ve got,” said McCreadie, who has endured an up-and-down season in 2018 after two $50,000 paydays and a near-miss of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series title last season. “I owe this to Justin Labonte, Longhorn Chassis, Phil, Matt, all these guys, everybody at the shop, Jonathan (Davenport has) been helping out a lot, his whole team … Man, it feels good to be down here, that’s for sure.
“Some days you gotta get a little luck,” added McCreadie, who got a break in Saturday’s afternoon preliminaries when two disqualified drivers improved his starting spot. “We tried a whole different setup in the (afternoon) feature than what we ran here in (June’s) Dream, and we were like, ‘Yeah, that’s not it.’ Even though we ran second, we said ’That’s not the way to go, we’ve gotta get more balance.’ Like I said, these guys, it’s amazing the effort they put in, and I get to go home and be with my wife and my two beautiful kids. They do it all. It’s pretty cool.”
McCreadie found the balance and then some in building a lead of as large as six seconds and turning back any would-be challengers after taking the lead from polesitter Devin Gilpin on the 45th lap. He took the checkers 2.683 seconds ahead of Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., in a race where he’d previously finished no better than fifth.
Tyler Erb of New Waverly, Texas, summoned a late high-side charge to finish third while four-time race winner Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., settled for fourth. Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., coasted across the finish line in fifth in improving nine positions in a race where everyone futilely chased McCreadie the final 55 laps.
“I’ll tell you what, I’ve sat up there (in the bleachers) with you guys for a bunch of these features, so to be down here, it's pretty amazing,” said McCreadie, said that track owner Tony Stewart’s suggestion to drive his Late Model "like a big-block” turned out to work just fine. “And that’s what I did.
“This sport, it’ll humble you, it’ll pick you up, and you deserve it all. You deserve to get humbled once in a while, and you deserved to be picked up, and tonight we’re picking each other up.”
Owens got his best crack at McCreadie on a restart with 17 laps remaining, but he simply couldn’t keep up with the winner.
“We had a good car the whole time— or a decent car. But what about McCreadie? He had a junk car yesterday and he sure turned that around, didn’t he?” Owens said. “We’ve had a good car all weekend. We just missed it a little bit … we didn’t have enough for Timmy. I thought maybe we did when we got to second, but he showed us pretty quick we didn’t.”
“It’s pretty awesome,” added Owens, a two-time World 100 winner whose previous top-five finish in the event came in 2014. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had a satisfactory run here, and I’m pretty happy to get second.”
Erb rallied to fifth before halfway when his charge appeared to stall, but he found new life in the final laps after Overton used the high side to briefly reach the third position.
“On that last caution, when Overton showed me the top was alive again, I was like, ‘Man, I need to get up there and (overtake Bloomquist). It was a really good run,” he said, thanking his teammates and supporters. “I think slowly but surely we’re making a statement.
“Man, honestly, before this year, I don’t think I’ve ever even finished a 100-lap race. And I ran eighth at Knoxville and run third here. I’m just maturing a little bit behind the wheel and trying to take care of my equipment … I don’t know, it just takes time. I’m only 21, so we’ll just have to see what happens next year.
“It was awesome. I really honestly didn’t get to race with Jimmy there. We got to (a lapped car) and I just made a mistake and drove it into the fence off of (turn) two. And I was like, ‘Man, I just need to slow down and maintain and run third and get out of this place.’ It was an awesome, awesome run, and I’m super proud of my team."
Gilpin led from the outset, pulling away early before Shane Clanton tracked him down to make it a two-car race with McCreadie further back after five laps. Clanton took a shot at Gilpin entering turn three on the ninth lap, but Gilpin repelled the charge as McCreadie continued to track down the top two with Owens further back in fourth.
Gilpin remained in control when the leaders began lapping slower cars on the 14th lap while McCreadie began peeking underneath Clanton in the corners.
Gilpin stretched his lead to 1.277 seconds after 16 laps while facing a trio of slower cars — Chase Junghans, Chris Simpson and Brian Shirley — running three abreast ahead of him. At 20 laps Gilpin had a half-straightaway lead with Clanton easing away from McCreadie as Owens and Bloomquist moved into the mix.
By lap 25, the top five of Gilpin, Clanton, McCreadie, Owens and Bloomquist were all on the same straightaway in a five-car breakaway, and by lap 27 there were no lapped cars between them. Two laps later, McCreadie dove under Clanton in turn three to take the second spot.
Meanwhile, the 16th-starting Erb got rolling on the high side and began to pressure Bloomquist for the fifth spot with one-third of the race complete.
McCreadie continued to creep closer to Gilpin before a lap-36 caution appeared for a slowing Mike Marlar just after Owens took the third spot from Clanton.
On the restart, Owens and McCreadie faced off in a side-by-side battle for second while Gilpin eased away again. Bloomquist took fourth from Clanton while Erb continue his high-side assault, joined by another high-flying driver in 17th-starting Bobby Pierce.
By lap 40, McCreadie began turning up the heat on Gilpin, cutting down his margin and crossing the line side-by-side with the race-long leader on lap 44. McCreadie dove under Eldora’s Late Model points leader entering turn one and led lap 45, quickly stretching his margin out to more than a second while the third-running Bloomquist was another second behind Gilpin. Owens held fourth while Erb’s first-half rally began to fizzle as he held the fifth spot over Pierce and a fading Clanton.
McCreadie settled into the bottom groove at halfway with Gilpin a half-straight behind just ahead of Bloomquist. Bloomquist put heavy pressure on Gilpin on lap 59 as they began running higher on the track, but McCreadie began stretching his margin, moving out to a full straightaway by the time Bloomquist briefly took second on lap 61.
Gilpin answered Bloomquist’s move by regaining the second spot while the cruising McCreadie had a cushion of two lapped cars in holding a 3.087-second margin at lap 65.
Owens regained third from Bloomquist on lap 67 and began his own pursuit of Gilpin, but all three were beginning to lose sight of McCreadie, who by lap 70 had three lapped cars protecting him from his pursuers.
McCreadie had a cushion of five lapped cars by the time Owens moved into the second spot on lap 74 with Bloomquist just behind and Gilpin beginning to fade in fourth.
A lap-83 caution for Pierce erased McCreadie’s six-second lead, but the winner edged away from Owens on the restart while Overton came alive on the high side, grabbing third on lap 87.
Overton’s charge was dramatic, but it was no match for the steady McCreadie, who moved out to a half-straightaway advantage over Owens in the race’s late stages.
Erb revived his charge to take fourth from Overton and get rolling again on the high side, but by the time he was up to third on lap 91, McCreadie had all but wrapped up his first crown jewel victory at Eldora.
48th annual World 100
Pos. Driver (car no.), hometown, chassis, earnings
1. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., Longhorn, $51,000
2. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., Rocket, $20,000
3. Tyler Erb (91), New Waverly, Texas, Rocket, $12,500
4. Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., Sweet-Bloomquist, $10,000
5. Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., Rocket, $8,750
6. Devin Gilpin (1G), Columbus, Ind., MasterSbilt, $7,500
7. Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., Rocket, $6,500
8. Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., Sweet-Bloomquist, $6,000
9. Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., Black Diamond, $5,500
10. Kent Robinson (7R), Bloomington, Ill., MB Customs, $5,000
11. Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., Rocket, $4,000
12. Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., Capital, $3,000
13. Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., Rocket, $2,950
14. Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., Rocket, $2,900
15. Ricky Thornton Jr. (20RT), Chandler, Ariz., Club 29, $2,875
16. Devin Moran (9), Dresden, Ohio, Rocket, $2,850
17. Michael Chilton (97), Salvisa, Ky., Rocket, $2,825
18. Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., Club 29, $2,800
19. Shanon Buckingham (50B), Morristown, Tenn., Longhorn, $2,775
20. Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., Moyer Victory, $2,750
21. Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., Rocket, $2,725
22. Rod Conley (71R), Wheelersburg, Ohio, Rocket, $2,700
23. Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., MB Customs, $2,675
24. Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., Longhorn, $2,650
25. Brian Birkhofer (30), Muscatine, Iowa, Black Diamond, $2,625
26. Zack Dohm (17), Cross Lanes, W.Va., Swartz, $2,600
27. Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., Longhorn, $2,575
28. Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., Rocket, $2,550
29. Brian Shirley (3s), Chatham, Ill., Rocket, $2,525
30. Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, Black Diamond, $2,500
Lap leaders: Gilpin 1-44; McCreadie 45-100
Fast qualifier (among 104 cars): Sheppard, 14.761 seconds
Heat race winners: Bloomquist, McCreadie, Marlar, Clanton, Birkhofer, Gilpin
Consolation winners: Zeigler, McDowell
Consolation scramble winners: Darrell Lanigan, Frank Heckenast Jr.
Provisional starters: Richards, Dohm
Sept. 6 preliminary feature winners: Owens, Bloomquist
Oct. 12 preliminary feature winners: Richards, Thornton
Main event notes
Lap 100: McCreadie wins the World 100.
Lap 87: Using momentum from the restart, Brandon Overton charges aroud the high side to briefly take third.
Lap 84: Bobby Pierce slows on the frontstretch to draw a caution.
Lap 75: McCreadie continues to lead Owens, Bloomquist, Gilpin and Erb.
Lap 60: With McCreadie holding almost a full straightaway lead as he works through lapped traffic, GIlpin and Bloomquist battle for second.
Lap 50: At the halfway mark, McCreadie leads Gilpin, Bloomquist, Owens and Erb.
Lap 45: After racing door-to-door at the line, McCreadie slides ahead of Gilpin in turn one to take the lead.
Lap 36: Ninth-running Mike Marlar slows to draw a caution. Gilpin leads McCreadie, Owens, Clanton and Bloomquist. Mason Zeigler pits under the yellow flag.
Lap 30: After racing side-by-side, McCreadie edges ahead of Clanton at the line to take second.
Lap 25: Gilpin leads Clanton, McCreadie, Jimmy Owens and Scott Bloomquist. After starting 16th, Tyler Erb is up to seventh.
Lap 12: As the frontrunners catch the tail end of the field, Gilpin continues to show the way out front, with Shane Clanton turning back Tim McCreadie's challenges for second.
Lap 1: Polesitter Devin Gilpin leads the opening lap.
9:55 pm. The green flag waves over the 48th annual World 100.
9:53 p.m.: Feature starters make a four-wide parade lap.
9:47 p.m.: Driver introductions are complete and feature starters are given the call to fire engines.
9:25 | Starting field stats
Tennessee and Georgia have the best representation in the 30-car starting field with four drivers apiece. Illinois and Indiana have three drivers apiece while Iowa, Ohio, West Virginia and Florida have two drivers each. States with one starter: Arkansas, Pennsylvania, New York, Texas, Wisconsin, Arizona, Kansas and Kentucky. … Rocket Chassis has far and away the best representation among manufacturers with 13 of 30 starters. Next is Longhorn Chassis (four cars), Black Diamond (three), Sweet-Bloomquist (two), Club 29 (two) and MB Customs (two). Chassis with a single starter: MasterSbilt, Capital, Club 29, Moyer Victory and Swartz have one driver apiece. … MasterSbilt has its first polesitter in Devin Gilpin since Chad Simpson started on the pole in 2012. … Four drivers are starting the World 100 for the first time: Tyler Erb, Devin Gilpin, Ricky Thornton Jr., Chase Junghans. Thornton is the first-ever Arizona starter and Junghans the first-ever Kansas starter.
9:22 p.m. | World 100 starting grid
Row 1: Devin Gilpin, Brian Birkhofer
Row 2: Shane Clanton, Mike Marlar
Row 3: Tim McCreadie, Scott Bloomquist
Row 4: Jimmy Owens, Brandon Sheppard
Row 5: Devin Moran, Don O'Neal
Row 6: Kent Robinson, Kyle Bronson
Row 7: Billy Moyer, Brandon Overton
Row 8: Brian Shirley, Tyler Erb
Row 9: Bobby Pierce, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 10: Josh Richards, Zack Dohm
Row 11: Mason Zeigler, Dale McDowell
Row 12: Jonathan Davenport, Shanon Buckingham
Row 13: Jimmy Mars, Michael Chilton
Row 14: Ricky Thornton Jr., Chris Simpson
Row 15: Chase Junghans, Rod Conley
9:14 p.m. | McDowell wins second consy
Outside polesitter Dale McDowell took an early lead, with fifth-starting Michael Chilton sliding into second on the opening lap. A yellow flag waved on lap three when Joey Coulter slowed with a flat right-front tire and other front-end issues. Chilton challenged McDowell for the lead on the restart, with Shanon Buckingham advancing from sixth to run third. With McDowell stretching his lead to a half straightaway on lap seven, Chilton and Buckingham raced side-by-side for second. It was also a close battle for fourth, between Chris Simpson, Matt Miller and Rod Conley, with the advantage going to Simpson. As the frontrunners worked through lapped traffic on lap 12, second-running Buckingham closed the gap between himself and McDowell. The two raced door-to-door at the line on lap 14, with McDowell edging ahead to maintain his lead. Along with the battle for the lead, with was a tight race for the fifth and final transfer spot between Conley and Frank Heckenast Jr. McDowell pulled away late-race to win the consolation, with Buckingham and Chilton rounding out the podium. Simpson ran fourth, with Conley edging out Heckenast for the fifth and final transfer spot. Heckenast won the scramble.
Finish (top five transfer): Dale McDowell, Shanon Buckingham, Michael Chilton, Chris Simpson, Rod Conley, Frank Heckenast Jr., Jerry Bowersock, Matt Miller, Dennis Erb Jr., Chris Madden, Jason Jameson, Jeep Van Wormer, Doug Drown, Ryan King, Dwight Falcon Sr., Austin Smith, Blake Spencer, Shannon Thornsberry, Nick Fenner, Ernie Cordier, Jon Henry, Greg Johnson, Joey Coulter.
9:07 p.m. | Chamberlain update
A tweet issued by Eldora Speedway announced that Duane Chamberlain was evaluated in the Premier Health Infield Care Center following his involvement in an accident during the fourth heat race and was then transferred by ambulance to a local hospital for further observation. Chamberlain's car struck the outside wall between turns one and two and then rolled over after being hit by Dustin Nobbe.
8:56 p.m. | Zeigler wins first consy
Shooting ahead of front row starters Jimmy Mars and Chris Ferguson out of turn two, third-starting Mason Zeigler took an early lead. It was a tight battle for third in the early running, with Ricky Thornton Jr. sliding ahead of Ferguson to take the position. As the frontrunners entered lapped traffic on lap seven, Mars and Thornton began closing in on Zeigler, with defending World 100 winner Jonathan Davenport briefly falling back to sixth. Ferguson and Thornton battled for third on lap 14, with Davenport running a close fifth. Racing three-wide for second out of turn two, Ferguson took the position on lap 17. A yellow flag waved just moments later when Ferguson collided with Mars, spinning on the backstretch. Another caution fell on the ensuing restart for debris on the racetrack. Zeigler maintained his lead on the restart, with Davenport sliding ahead of Mars and Thornton to run second. Zeigler won the consolation with Davenport finishing runner-up. Mars ran third, with Thornton and Junghans taking the final transfer spots. Darrell Lanigan won the scramble.
Finish (top five transfer): Mason Zeigler, Jonathan Davenport, Jimmy Mars, Ricky Thornton Jr., Chase Junghans, Darrell Lanigan, Gordy Gundaker, Scott James, Chad Stapleton, Mike Spatola, Jason Hughes, Jason Feger, Chris Ferguson, Colten Burdette, Kyle Hammer, Steven Roberts, Curtis Roberts, Rob Anderzack, Jon Hodgkiss, Dwight Falcon, Donald McIntosh, Joey Moriarty.
8:47 p.m. | Tight consy battle
With Mason Zeigler leading the first consy with three laps remaining, Jimmy Mars and Chris Ferguson tangled on the backstretch battling for second to draw a lap-17 caution. Ferguson went for a spin and fell from contention while Mars forged ahead despite damage. The top five transfer.
8:39 p.m. | Consolation lineups
(20 laps; top five transfer)
Row 1: Jimmy Mars, Chris Ferguson
Row 2: Mason Zeigler, Ricky Thornton Jr.
Row 3: Jonathan Davenport, Chase Junghans
Row 4: Darrell Lanigan, Donald McIntosh
Row 5: Mike Spatola, Scott James
Row 6: Steven Roberts, Curtis Roberts
Row 7: Joey Moriarty, Jason Feger
Row 8: Chad Stapleton, Dwight Falcon Jr.
Row 9: Jason Hughes, Rob Anderzack
Row 10: Robby Hensley, Colten Burdette
Row 11: Jon Hodgkiss, Kyle Hammer
Row 12: Gordy Gundaker, Nick Latham
Row 1: Jerry Bowersock, Dale McDowell
Row 2: Frank Heckenast Jr., Matt Miller
Row 3: Michael Chilton, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 4: Rod Conley, Chris Simpson
Row 5: Shanon Buckingham, Ryan King
Row 6: Jason Jameson, Doug Drown
Row 7: Austin Smith, Greg Johnson
Row 8: Joey Coulter, Dwight Falcon Sr.
Row 9: Kody Evans, Jon Henry
Row 10: Nick Fenner, Blake Spencer
Row 11: Jeep Van Wormer, Chris Madden
Row 12: Ernie Cordier, Shannon Thornsberry
8:38 p.m. | Special feat for Gilpin
Devin Gilpin of Columbus, Ind., was almost floating on air after winning the sixth heat to claim the pole position for the World 100.
An open-wheel modified ace who has flashed plenty of potential driving Jim Beeman’s MasterSbilt car in recent years, Gilpin showed plenty of emotion after crossing the scales to crack the prestigious event’s starting field for the first time in his career.
“It’s unbelievable … on the pole for the World 100!” Gilpin said. “I sat up in those stands many times as a kid just hoping to make it someday.”
8:37 p.m. | Birky chasing third World
Fan favorite Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, isn’t sure if he’s yet back in the form that brought him two World 100 crowns before he walked away from the sport in September 2014, but he showed some spunk with a victory in the fifth heat that put him on the outside pole for the main event.
“We’re on the front, back at the World 100,” a smiling Birkhofer said. ““There’s a lot of race left. Hopefully we get our stuff right and we’ll be there at the end.”
Birkhofer, who has returned to more regular competition late this year driving fellow Iowan Jason Rauen’s car, is making his 14th career World 100 feature start but first appearance in the headliner since 2013.
8:31 p.m. | Gilpin earns pole
Outside polesitter Devin Gilpin charged to the lead at the drop of the green flag, with fourth-starting Kyle Bronson sliding ahead of Shanon Buckingham out of turn four to take second on the opening lap. With Gilpin continuing to show the way out front, Earl Pearson Jr. began closing the gap between himself and Bronson, racing right on his back bumper on lap eight. As the frontrunners entered late-race lapped traffic, Bronson and Pearson began reeling in Gilpin, the top three cars all running close together. Gilpin held off Bronson to win the sixth heat, with Pearson taking the third and final transfer spot.
Finish (top three transfer): Devin Gilpin, Kyle Bronson, Earl Pearson Jr., Frank Heckenast Jr., Dennis Erb Jr., Shanon Buckingham, Doug Drown, Joey Coulter, Jon Henry, Jeep Van Wormer, Shannon Thornsberry, Casey Noonan, Jason Whitaker.
8:28 p.m. | Good omen for Clanton?
Winning the fourth heat to earn the third starting spot in the World 100 conjured some sweet memories for Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga.
“If I can recall,” Clanton said, “when we won (the World 100 in 2008), we started third. Maybe this is a good omen.”
Clanton will start the World 100 headliner for the seventh straight year and 11th time overall.
8:24 p.m. | Birkhofer wins fifth heat
Rolling around the outside, second-starting Brian Birkhofer edged ahead of fellow front-row starter Bobby Pierce to lead the opening lap. It was a tight battle for second in the early running, with Kent Robinson challenging Pierce for position. As Pierce got into the turn-two fluff, Robinson shot to second on lap five. Birkhofer maintained a comfortable lead at the halfway mark, successfully navigating through late-race lapped traffic. Robinson began closing in on the race leader with three circuits remaining, with Pierce running a close third. Birkhofer held off Robinson to win the heat, with Pierce rounding out the top three.
Finish (top three transfer): Brian Birkhofer, Kent Robinson, Bobby Pierce, Dale McDowell, Michael Chilton, Chris Simpson, Jason Jameson, Greg Johnson, Kody Evans, Blake Spencer, Ernie Cordier, Will Roland.
8:16 p.m. | Clanton wins fourth heat
Polesitter Shane Clanton powered to an early lead, with fellow front-row starter Chris Madden running a solid second. A red flag fell on lap four when Dustin Nobbe and Duane Chamberlain tangled in turns one and two, with Chamberlain rolling his No. 20c machine to a stop. Getting a run down the backstretch, Madden raced side-by-side with Clanton on the restart but the race leader maintained the advantage at the line. Second-running Madden slowed and retired on lap 11, giving the position to Don O’Neal. Clanton won the heat, with O’Neal finishing second. Tyler Erb took the third and final transfer spot.
Finish (top three transfer): Shane Clanton, Don O’Neal, Tyler Erb, Jerry Bowersock, Matt Mille, Rod Conley, Ryan King, Austin Smith, Dwight Falcon Sr., Nick Fenner, Chris Madden, Duane Chamberlain, Dustin Nobbe.
8:12 p.m. | Speedy conditions
Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., provided a logical synopsis of his victory in the third heat on an extremely quick racing surface.
“The track was way faster than I thought it would end up being,” said Marlar, the current World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series points leader. “It won’t be nothing like the track we’ll race on (in the A-main), but you gotta be up front anyway.”
Marlar will start fourth in the World 100. It’s his eighth career start in an event in which he scored a career-best finish last year.
8:03 p.m. | Chamberlain's rollover
Duane Chamberlain's car went for a rollover ride between turns one and two during an incident involving Dustin Nobbe on the sixth lap of the fourth heat. Chamberlain, who has had neck issues that have hampered his racing, was reported to be OK by track crews attending him, but he was taking some extra time climbing from the car to make sure all is well. Chamberlain climbed into an ambulance to get checked out at the infield medical center while track crews cleaned up the wreck under a red flag.
8:01 p.m. | T-Mac's solid starting spot
Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., thought his closer pursuer in the second heat might have been faster than him, but he couldn’t complain after winning the prelim to earn the fifth starting spot in the World 100.
After all, he hasn’t had a whole lot of success in the World 100. His best previous finish in nine feature starts is fifth in 2008, so he had to be pleased with the way he began his evening.
“Hopefully when the the speeds (of the surface) come down we’ll be better,” he said, “but this is probably the best we’ve ever started the race.”
7:58 p.m. | Marlar wins third heat
Sliding ahead of polesitter Brian Shirley out of turn four, second-starting Mike Marlar led the opening lap, stretching his lead in the early running. A yellow flag waved on lap five when Nick Latham slowed on the frontstretch. Marlar held his lead on the restart, with Devin Moran and Zack Dohm shooting past second-running Shirley. Moran began closing in on Marlar at the halfway mark, as Shirley zipped past Dohm to take third on lap 10. Marlar won the heat, with Moran finishing second. Shirley finished third to transfer to the feature.
Finish (top three transfer): Mike Marlar, Devin Moran, Brian Shirley, Zack Dohm, Mason Zeigler, Chase Junghans, Mike Spatola, Curtis Roberts, Chad Stapleton, Rob Anderzack, Jon Hodgkiss, Nick Latham, Freddie Carpenter.
7:52 p.m. | Bloomquist oozes confidence
Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., wasn’t especially outspoken after winning the evening’s first heat. He was certainly confident, however.
“The car felt pretty good,” Bloomquist said after locking into his 28th career World 100 main event. “The engine’s running cool, everything’s looking. We’re looking forward to the race.”
The 54-year-old superstar had one message for his fans: “Keep the faith. It’s all good.”
7:50 p.m. | Richards saves his ride
Armed with a provisional starting after finishing the preliminary programs atop the World 100 points standings, Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., decided late in the evening’s first heat that his best bet for success in the feature event was to save a few laps of wear-and-tear on his Best Performance Motorsports machine.
After some bumping-and-grinding early in the heat dropped him from his third starting spot to sixth, Richards headed pitside during a lap-13 caution period.
“We were a little tight and we were running a little hot,” Richards said after retiring and taking the 19th starting spot in the 100-lapper.
7:48 p.m. | McCreadie wins second heat
Polesitter Tim McCreadie took an early lead, with third-starting Brandon Sheppard closing in on the race leader by the fourth lap. The pair raced side-by-side for several circuits, with McCreadie holding the advantage when lapped traffic slowed Sheppard’s momentum. As the top two cars distanced themselves from the field, Sheppard continued to challenge McCreadie with five laps remaining in the heat. Pulling away in the final laps, McCreadie won the heat, with Sheppard and fifth-starting Brandon Overton grabbing feature transfer spots.
Finish (top three transfer): Tim McCreadie, Brandon Sheppard, Brandon Overton, Chris Ferguson, Jonathan Davenport, Donald McIntosh, Steven Roberts, Jason Feger, Jason Hughes, Colten Burdette, Gordy Gundaker, Bryant Dickinson, Steve Casebolt.
7:41 p.m. | Bloomquist wins first heat
Outside polesitter Scott Bloomquist charged to the front of the field at the drop of the green flag, racing side-by-side with fellow front-row starter Jimmy Owens as the pair exited turn four on the second circuit. A yellow flag waved on lap five when Kyle Hammer and Joey Moriarty tangled in the top of turns three and four. Bloomquist maintained his lead on the restart, with third-running Darrell Lanigan briefly falling back to fifth. With Bloomquist setting a torrid pace out front, the top two cars distanced themselves from the field at the halfway point. As afternoon prelim winner Josh Richards retired under green, a caution fell on lap 13 when Shannon Babb slowed his smoking No. 18 in the top of turn four. Bloomquist won the heat, with Owens running second. Overtaking Thornton on the final restart, Billy Moyer grabbed the third and final transfer spot.
Finish (top three transfer): Scott Bloomquist, Jimmy Owens, Billy Moyer, Jimmy Mars, Ricky Thornton Jr., Darrell Lanigan, Scott James, Joey Moriarty, Dwight Falcon, Robby Hensley, Kyle Hammer, Shannon Babb, Josh Richards.
7:38 p.m. | Provisional for Richards
Josh Richards, who slipped back after running fourth early, retired after 11 laps in the first heat and will take a provisional starting spot in the 10th row of the main event. Shannon Babb also pulled up lame in his smoking machine while running sixth on the 13th lap. Scott Bloomquist is trying to complete a first-heat victory.
7:33 p.m. | Night's first caution
Joey Moriarty ended up facing the wrong direction in turn three on the fourth lap of the first heat. Scott Bloomquist is leading Jimmy Owens narrowly early in the 15-lapper with Bloomquist turning the fastest lap iof 15.615 seconds so far.
7:29 p.m. | Right direction for Junghans
Racing at Eldora Speedway has been nothing but frustrating for Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan., in recent years, but his performance Saturday afternoon finally gave him a reason to smile. The 25-year-old World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series regular captured a heat race and placed a steady fourth in the second 25-lap feature
“This is better than I’ve ever run here,” Junghans said during the break between programs. “It’s the first time I won a heat race.”
According to Junghans, his Eldora improvement is the result of many man hours in the shop.
“We’ve been working hard, changing a lot of stuff,” said Junghans, who starts sixth in the evening’s third heat as he seeks his first career World 100 feature appearance. “We’ve been trying to get me more comfortable here, and so far today I definitely feel like we’re headed in the right direction.”
7:27 p.m. | Pre-race ceremonies complete
Engines are fired in the infield and heat races are upon us after the completion of pre-race ceremonies, including the national anthem with horses touring the track carrying Old Glory and other flags. Drivers representing the 20 states in the field carried state flags. The first heat will be starting shortly.
6:53 p.m. | How the field is set
A reminder of how the 30-car World 100 starting field is set. The sixth heat winner starts on the pole:
Row 1: Sixth heat winner, fifth heat winner
Row 2: Fourth heat winner, third heat winner
Row 3: Second heat winner, first heat winner
Row 4: First heat runner-up, second heat runner-up
Row 5: Third heat runner-up, fourth heat runner-up
Row 6: Fifth heat runner-up, sixth heat runner-up
Row 7: First heat third place, second heat third place
Row 8: Third heat third place, fourth heat third place
Row 9: Fifth heat third place, sixth heat third place
Row 10: Provisional starters
Row 11: First consy winner, second consy winner
Row 12: First consy runner-up, second consy runner-up
Row 13: First consy third place, second consy third place
Row 14: First consy fourth place, second consy fourth place
Row 15: First consy fifth place, second consy fifth place
6:40 p.m. | Hot laps get rolling
After a lengthy track prep session, hot laps got rolling about 40 minutes behind schedule. It appears some drivers (including Jimmy Owens and Scott Bloomquist) have decided to skip hot laps.
6:35 p.m. | More odds and ends
In pre-race awards, Austin Smith of Rome, Ga., picked up $500 as the top performing rookie in the two preliminary programs. That’s part of the Shane Unger Memorial Rookie Awards that doles out $5,000 in all. Saturday evening’s highest-performing rookie will receive $2,000. … The top five drivers in the first heat (Jimmy Owens, Scott Bloomquist, Josh Richards, Darrell Lanigan and Billy Moyer) are all winners of multiple national touring titles. … The four preliminary race winners (from Sept. 6 and Oct. 13) are also all in the first heat (Owens, Bloomquist, Richards and Ricky Thornton Jr.). … The highest-finishing heat race starters who have never started a World 100: Ricky Thornton Jr. (fifth in first heat); Steven Roberts (sixth in second heat); Chase Junghans (sixth in third heat); Tyler Erb (fourth in fourth heat); Greg Johnson (fifth in fifth heat); and Devin Gilpin (second in sixth heat). … Eldora co-founder Berniece Baltes arrived in the tower about 6:30 p.m., bundled up and ready to enjoy the racing.
6:26 p.m. | Chamberlain’s shock woes
Duane Chamberlain of Richmond, Ind., was set up perfectly for a positive Saturday-afternoon preliminary feature outing when he landed the pole position in the redraw among the top two finishers in each heat. Then the 25-lap race began and his hopes evaporated virtually in seconds.
When Chamberlain gassed up his St. Henry Nite Club machine, it simply didn’t respond like he was expecting. He struggled to get rolling, slipped out of the top five by the backstretch and, after his car continued to run sluggishly, pulled up lame on lap six to draw a caution flag.
The culprit? A broken left-rear shock.
“I think that was the problem right from the start,” Chamberlain said. “The car just didn’t get any grip (at the green flag).”
Chamberlain’s crew bolted a new shock on the vehicle and returned him to the race five laps behind in hopes of picking up a couple more spots for World 100 points. He still finished 23rd, leaving him with the eighth starting spot in this evening’s fourth heat.
“We’ll just start a little deeper in the field now,” Chamberlain said, keeping his head up after the daytime disappointment.
6:15 p.m. | Penalty hurts Moyer
Six-time World 100 champion Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., saw his fortunes crater in excruciating fashion when he was disqualified — along with fellow Hall of Famer Scott Bloomquist and Jason Jameson — from his Saturday-afternoon heat transfer finish because he failed to immediately report to the post-race technical inspection area in the pit area.
Moyer, who celebrates his 61st birthday on Oct. 19, was the runner-up in the second even heat race and drew the outside pole for the feature after crossing the scales. But he then made a left and drove directly back to his trailer rather than to the inspection area in the middle of the pit area as was required of the top three finishers in each event.
While Moyer conceded that he heard the event’s race director instruct the top three finishers over the one-way radio to head to the post-race inspection after weighing in, it totally slipped his mind to do that after he drew his feature starting spot.
“I’m already thinking about the next race we’ve gotta be in,” Moyer said. “I don’t ever recall them doing that before (following heats) so I wasn’t even thinking about it.”
Moyer ended up missing the preliminary feature entirely after failing to reach a transfer spot in a B-main. A runner-up in a prelim feature back on Sept. 6, he starts fifth in this evening’s fifth heat.
“It was a big, big blast, that’s for sure,” Moyer said of the penalty.
6:06 p.m. | Babb’s stiff test
Is there a driver who faces a bigger uphill climb to crack the World 100 starting lineup than Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill.? Just look at the lineup of his evening heat race and that question is easily answered.
Babb, 44, starts 10th in the first heat, a race that is dripping with star power. In a prelim that transfers three drivers to the A-main, Babb will take the green flag behind not only both Saturday afternoon feature winners (Josh Richards and Ricky Thornton Jr.) but also GOAT contenders Scott Bloomquist and Billy Moyer and accomplished standouts Jimmy Owens, Darrell Lanigan and Jimmy Mars.
You would think that a ninth-place finish in the afternoon’s first preliminary feature would have set Babb up with a much better starting position in a heat, but that wasn’t the case because of his results in the Sept. 6 World 100 preliminary program. He missed his heat race last month because of a miscommunication and didn’t recover in a B-main to qualify for the feature, burying him in the World 100 points standings.
6:03 p.m. | Thornton’s Eldora cred
Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., has the biggest race of the Dirt Late Model season to prep for this evening, but he couldn’t help enjoying the few hours he had to revel in his Saturday afternoon preliminary feature victory before going back to work.
The 28-year-old open-wheel modified ace who is finishing the 2018 as the sidelined Hudson O’Neal’s sub in the SSI Motorsports machine was a very popular driver as he stood by his car in Eldora’s pit area during the break in the action.
“There’s a lot of people coming up, saying, ‘Good job,’ ” said Thornton, who Saturday night will try to become the first Arizona driver to start the World 100. “And a lot of drivers have come over, too. That part’s really cool.”
Thornton said he’s won about two dozen Dirt Late Model features in his career — all with open-competition motors — but they’ve come in West Coast series events in his native Arizona and California. Nothing he’s previously captured compares to scoring a $10,000 Super Late Model triumph at one of the country’s most famous dirt tracks.
“For how prestigious this place is, there’s not a lot of people that can say they’ve won here,” said Thornton, who starts sixth in this evening’s extremely stacked first heat. “I know I’ll tell people now, ‘I’ve won at Eldora.’ ”
5:59 p.m. | Richards tops prelims
Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., and Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill. each accrued 1,945 in the two World 100 preliminary events, but Richards broke the tie for the top spot with his Saturday prelim feature victory.
They’re guaranteed starting spots in Saturday’s 100-lapper as provisional starters in the 10th row. If they transfer to the feature through heat races, the provisionals are passed down to other drivers with the most prelim points. The rest of the top 10: Zack Dohm, Don O’Neal, Dale McDowell, Earl Pearson Jr., Scott Bloomquist, Chris Ferguson, Mike Marlar and Chris Madden.
5:55 p.m. | Pre-race tidbits
Hot laps are scheduled for 6 p.m. with pre-race ceremonies at 6:30 and heat races starting at 7 p.m …. It’s the first year Eldora has held a prelim and the World 100 on the same day since 2015. …. While Late Models will pull out of Eldora after tonight’s racing, Eldora will run its season finale on Sunday with World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Cars and DIRTcar modifieds in action. … The World 100 is running on a weekend other than its original date for the first time since 1990. The race was also postponed in 1974, ’76 and ’89.
Heat race lineups
(15 laps; top three transfer)
Row 1: Jimmy Owens, Scott Bloomquist
Row 2: Josh Richards, Darrell Lanigan
Row 3: Billy Moyer, Ricky Thornton Jr.
Row 4: Jimmy Mars, Robby Hensley
Row 5: Joey Moriarty, Shannon Babb
Row 6: Dwight Falcon, Kyle Hammer
Row 7: Scott James
Row 1: Tim McCreadie, Chris Ferguson
Row 2: Brandon Sheppard, Jonathan Davenport
Row 3: Brandon Overton, Steven Roberts
Row 4: Donald McIntosh, Jason Feger
Row 5: Jason Hughes, Gordy Gundaker
Row 6: Steve Casebolt, Bryant Dickinson
Row 7: Colten Burdette
Row 1: Brian Shirley, Mike Marlar
Row 2: Zack Dohm, Devin Moran
Row 3: Mason Zeigler, Chase Junghans
Row 4: Mike Spatola, Freddie Carpenter
Row 5: Chad Stapleton, Nick Latham
Row 6: Rob Anderzack, Jon Hodgkiss
Row 7: Curtis Roberts
Row 1: Shane Clanton, Chris Madden
Row 2: Don O’Neal, Tyler Erb
Row 3: Ryan King, Dustin Nobbe
Row 4: Austin Smith, Duane Chamberlain
Row 5: Rod Conley, Jerry Bowersock
Row 6: Matt Miller, Nick Finner
Row 7: Dwight Falcon Sr.
Row 1: Bobby Pierce, Brian Birkhofer
Row 2: Dale McDowell, Kent Robinson
Row 3: Greg Johnson, Nick Hoffman
Row 4: Michael Chilton, Jason Jameson
Row 5: Chris Simpson, Kody Evans
Row 6: Will Roland, Blake Spencer
Row 7: Ernie Cordier
Row 1: Shanon Buckingham, Devin Gilpin
Row 2: Earl Pearson Jr., Kyle Bronson
Row 3: Dennis Erb Jr., Frank Heckenast Jr.
Row 4: Doug Drown, Jon Henry
Row 5: Shannon Thornsberry, Jeep Van Wormer
Row 6: Casey Noonan, Joey Coulter
Row 7: Jason Whitaker