ROSSBURG, Ohio (Sept. 5) — As a six-time World 100 winner, Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., is no stranger to Eldora Speedway’s victory lane. The 61-year-old Hall of Famer returned to the Big E’s big stage on Thursday night, winning the first of two $10,000-to-win preliminary features.
Starting on the pole of the 25-lap main event, Moyer led the entire distance, fighting back early challenges from third-starting Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind. Surviving a late-race restart and three-lap dash to the finish, Moyer bested Robinson at the checkered flag for his 840th career victory.
“It means a lot,” Moyer said. “We’ve had, I think, the worst year of my career this year. We’ve just not been hitting on much of anything. I’m not giving up, my guys aren’t giving up. It kind of shows we’re gaining slow.
“I’m not pounding my chest too much. We started on the front row, that means a lot. The car’s pretty good, but I know if we started back there in the rear, things would have been a little bit different probably. We still have some work to do.”
Moyer shot to the front of the field at the drop of the green flag, with Robinson powering past outside polesitter Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., to run second. Robinson challenged Moyer through the opening laps, the pair racing nearly side-by-side out of turn four on the fourth lap.
As the top two cars distanced themselves from the field in the early on, seventh-starting Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., was on the move, overtaking third-running Erb on the eighth lap. Moyer was able to pull away a bit as he worked through lapped traffic, only to have Robinson close back in again when the race leader nearly slipped over the berm in turn two on lap 15.
All the while, Owens had joined the battle up front, edging ahead of Robinson out of turn four to take second on the 19th circuit. The race was slowed by its lone caution a few laps later, setting up a three-lap dash to the checkers. Electing to restart from the inside lane, Moyer maintained his lead when the race when back green, holding off a final challenge from Robinson to score his fifth victory of the 2019 season.
“There’s so many cars in front of me, anything can happen at that point too,” Moyer said of the late-race caution. “I seen Jimmy (Owens) and Kent (Robinson) there in second and third. They’re both real clean guys. I knew they weren’t going to come across my air, so I felt good about that part of it. I just knew we needed a good restart and it all worked out.”
Robinson finished runner-up, with fifth-starting Chris Ferguson of Mount Holly, N.C., powering ahead of Owens on the lap-22 restart to run third. Owens finished fourth, with Erb rounding out the top five.
“I can’t hang my head running second to Billy Moyer at Eldora,” Robinson said. “It was a great show. I’m glad that last yellow came out because I messed up a couple of times there in (turn) three and let (Jimmy) Owens get around me. I was driving my ass off but I thought I was going to end up third. It worked out. If Billy would have made one mistake, I was close enough.”
Joining the mix late-race, Ferguson was happy with another solid Eldora finish. He ran fourth in June’s Dream XXV.
“This whole year has been good up here so far,” Ferguson said. “We got a second and a fourth here in June and now we’re right here in the hunt. That was fun.”
Row 1: Billy Moyer, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 2: Kent Robinson, Brian Shirley
Row 3: Chris Ferguson, Don O’Neal
Row 4: Jimmy Owens, Stormy Scott
Row 5: Michael Page, Tyler Erb
Row 6: Greg Johnson, Doug Drown
Row 7: Ricky Weiss, Chris Madden
Row 8: Zack Dohm, Johnny Scott
Row 9: Cory Hedgecock, Darrell Lanigan
Row 10: Shane Clanton, Josh Rice
Row 11: Kody Evans, Dale McDowell
Row 12: Chad Simpson, Earl Pearson Jr.
Polesitter Dale McDowell charged to the front of the field at the drop of the green flag, as third-starting Earl Pearson Jr. worked the high side through early running as he attempted to reel in second-starting Freddie Carpenter. Pearson and Carpenter raced door-to-door at the line on the seventh circuit, with Pearson pulling ahead to take second on the following lap. As McDowell worked through lapped traffic, Pearson closed the gap between himself and the race leader, but McDowell nosed ahead at the line to win the consolation.
Finish (top two transfer): Dale McDowell, Earl Pearson Jr., R.J. Conley, Freddie Carpenter, Rod Conley, Jason Riggs, Ryan King, Will Roland, Blake Spencer, Joey Moriarty, Vic Hill, Austin Holcombe, Jonny Hodgkiss, Vern LeFevers.
With the front-row starters racing side-by-side down the backstretch, Kody Evans nosed ahead of polesitter Chad Stapleton at the line to lead the opening lap. As Evans stretched his lead in the early running, Jeep Van Wormer challenged Stapleton for second, with Chad Simpson and Tyler Carpenter not far behind. With Van Wormer falling back, Simpson powered ahead, racing door-to-door with second-running Stapleton as the pair exited turn four on the ninth lap. Simpson overtook Stapleton on the following circuit, as Evans held nearly a full straightaway lead. Evans won the consolation, with Simpson finishing second to transfer to the feature.
Finish (top two transfer): Kody Evans, Chad Simpson, Michael Norris, Chad Stapleton, Jeep Van Wormer, Tyler Carpenter, Gordy Gundaker, Dalton Polston, Steve Casebolt, Jackie Boggs, Kye Blight, Robby Hensley, Jeff Curl.
(12 laps; top two transfer)
Row 1: Chad Stapleton, Kody Evans
Row 2: Chad Simpson, Tyler Carpenter
Row 3: Dalton Polston, Jeep Van Wormer
Row 4: John Tweed, Gordy Gundaker
Row 5: Jeff Curl, Robby Hensley
Row 6: Kye Blight, Jackie Boggs
Row 7: Michael Norris, Steve Casebolt
Row 8: Zak Blackwood
Row 1: Dale McDowell, Freddie Carpenter
Row 2: Earl Pearson Jr., Jason Riggs
Row 3: R.J. Conley, Ryan King
Row 4: Rod Conley, Will Roland
Row 5: Blake Spencer, Joey Moriarty
Row 6: Jonny Hodgkiss, Vic Hill
Row 7: Austin Holcombe, Vern LeFevers
Heat race notes
Brian Shirley might have won the first heat, but he sounded afterward like a driver who still wants to fine-tune his Bob Cullen-owned machine. “We don’t have that great of a base setup (for Eldora),” he said, “so we’re just glad to be running good.” … Michael Norris’s slap of the outside wall in turns three and four on the opening lap of a Heat 1 incident that also included Zak Blackwood thoroughly crunched his family-owned car’s nose, but it appeared there was little other damage. His crew quickly replaced the nosepiece in hopes of being ready for the B-main. … The bulk of the damage to Blackwood’s car was on its right-rear corner. … Australian Kye Blight led his first lap of World 100 action in Heat 1, but a blown right-rear tire the following circuit on his Paul Stubber-owned car left him downtrodden. “Heartbreaking,” Blight mourned. “I think I ran over something left over after the crash (involving Norris and Blackwood).” … Heat 2 winner Don O’Neal wore a smile when asked about the performance of his Clint Bowyer Racing machine. “Pretty good race car,” said O’Neal, who is in his second week back after being sidelined two months following knee surgery. “It’s just tight a little bit.” … After seemingly asserting after last year’s World 100 that he wouldn’t race again at Eldora, 61-year-old Billy Moyer was not only back in action at the half-mile oval but a winner in the third heat. He said negotiating lapped traffic in the final circuits was difficult, leaving him “just trying to get to the end.” … Heat 4 winner Kent Robinson said his car was “really good” on the bottom of the racetrack, but he noted that the Eldora surface was quite difficult to get around. “The track is so technical right now,” he related. “It’s slick but still has grip in it.”
Slipping under polesitter Doug Drown down the backstretch, third-starting Kent Robinson edged ahead out of turn four to take an early lead. Fourth-starting Chris Ferguson began reeling in Robinson at the halfway mark, as Johnny Scott challenged Josh Rice for fourth. Pulling away again in the final laps, Robinson won the heat, with Ferguson finishing second. Drown ran third, with Scott edging Rice on the final lap to finish fourth. Rice took the fifth and final transfer spot.
Finish (top five transfer): Kent Robinson, Chris Ferguson, Doug Drown, Johnny Scott, Josh Rice, Freddie Carpenter, Jason Riggs, Ryan King, Will Roland, Joey Moriarty, Vic Hill, Vern LeFevers.
Outside polesitter Billy Moyer shot to an early lead, with sixth-starting Jimmy Owens overtaking Greg Johnson to run in second by the third lap. The top two cars distanced themselves from the field at the halfway mark, as Owens started reeling in Moyer. With just a few laps remaining, it was a tight battle for the final transfer spot, with Shane Clanton pulling ahead of Earl Pearson Jr. to run fifth on lap seven. Holding off Owens in lapped traffic, Moyer won the heat, with Owens, Johnson, Zack Dohm and Clanton transferring to the feature.
Finish (top five transfer): Billy Moyer, Jimmy Owens, Greg Johnson, Zack Dohm, Shane Clanton, Dale McDowell, Earl Pearson Jr., R.J. Conley, Rod Conley, Blake Spencer, Jonny Hodgkiss, Austin Holcombe.
Splitting the front-row starters down the frontstretch, fourth-starting Don O’Neal charged to the lead at the drop of the green flag. Sixth-starting Tyler Erb was on the move early, challenging Dennis Erb Jr. for third at the halfway mark. O’Neal stretched his lead to a full straightaway late-race, as a three-car battle ensued for third between Erb, Chris Madden and Darrell Lanigan. O’Neal won the heat with Erb Jr. and Erb rounding out the podium.
Finish (top five transfer): Don O’Neal, Dennis Erb Jr., Tyler Erb, Chris Madden, Darrell Lanigan, Kody Evans, Tyler Carpenter, Jeep Van Wormer, Gordy Gundaker, Robby Hensley, Jackie Boggs, Steve Casebolt.
A yellow flag waved on the opening lap when Michael Norris and Zak Blackwood spun in turn three. Outside polesitter Kye Blight shot to the front of the field as the race went green, with fourth-starting Ricky Weiss losing several positions after tagging the turn-one wall. Third-starting Brian Shirley overtook Blight on the second lap, with Blight slowing with a flat tire in the following corner to draw a caution. Shirley held his lead on the restart, with Chad Simpson and Stormy Scott battling for third. Fourth-running Simpson slowed with a flat tire to draw a caution on lap eight. Scott overtook second-running Michael Page on the restart, the pair racing side-by-side on the final lap. Shirley won the heat, with Scott edging out Page to finish runner-up. Weiss ran fourth, with Cory Hedgecock rounding out the top five.
Finish (top five transfer): Brian Shirley, Stormy Scott, Michael Page, Ricky Weiss, Cory Hedgecock, Chad Stapleton, Chad Simpson, Dalton Polston, John Tweed, Jeff Curl, Kye Blight, Michael Norris, Zak Blackwood.
Heat race lineups
(10 laps; top five transfer)
Row 1: Michael Page, Kye Blight
Row 2: Brian Shirley, Ricky Weiss
Row 3: Chad Simpson, Stormy Scott
Row 4: Michael Norris, Cory Hedgecock
Row 5: Dalton Polston, Chad Stapleton
Row 6: Jeff Curl, Zak Blackwood
Row 7: John Tweed
Row 1: Kody Evans, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 2: Darrell Lanigan, Don O’Neal
Row 3: Chris Madden, Tyler Erb
Row 4: Steve Casebolt, Jeep Van Wormer
Row 5: Robby Hensley, Gordy Gundaker
Row 6: Jackie Boggs, Tyler Carpenter
Row 1: Greg Johnson, Billy Moyer
Row 2: Zack Dohm, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 3: Shane Clanton, Jimmy Owens
Row 4: Dale McDowell, R.J. Conley
Row 5: Blake Spencer, Rod Conley
Row 6: Austin Holcombe, Jonny Hodgkiss
Row 1: Doug Drown, Josh Rice
Row 2: Kent Robinson, Chris Ferguson
Row 3: Ryan King, Johnny Scott
Row 4: Will Roland, Freddie Carpenter
Row 5: Jason Riggs, Vic Hill
Row 6: Joey Moriarty, Vern LeFevers
More pre-race notes
Making his first Eldora crown jewel appearance since failing to qualify for the 2015 World 100 (in the wake of his memorable sixth-place Dream finish three months earlier in his first big-show start at the half-mile oval), 21-year-old Josh Rice of Veronia, Ky., is running a Brucebilt XR1 Rocket fielded by Sunesis Construction’s Rick Jones that looks very familiar to longtime Eldora fans. Its number (1b), quarter-panel sponsor (Brooks Electric) and color scheme mirror that used by his father, Jerry, when the elder Rice captured the 2006 Eldora Super Late Model title. … Six-time World 100 champion Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., is back in action at Eldora after skipping June’s Dream XXV activities — and after sounding quite assertive following last year’s World 100 that he had made the final Eldora start of his legendary career. … The oldest driver in the field is Vern LeFevers of Cincinnati, Ohio, a soon-to-be 81-year-old who returned to competition this season for the first time in 17 years to drive a Crate Late Model at Florence Speedway in Union, Ky. The 1978 Eldora Late Model track champion and a four-time World 100 feature starter — his first came in 1975 and last was in 1984 (a career-best ninth-place finish) — LeFevers decided to take another shot at Eldora behind the wheel of Gary Engle’s Rocket No. 15. … Among the drivers sporting new colors for the weekend are Chris Ferguson of Mt. Holly, N.C. (swapped his black scheme for white), Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind. (his No. 7R’s light blue base with fluorescent accents is a throwback to his 2005 sportsman car) and Jackie Boggs of Grayson, Ky. (his No. B4 is predominantly red). … Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa, has a Busch Light-inspired wrap on his No. 32. “I told him he better have nothing but Busch Light in his trailer now,” quipped Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, who is also in the field driving Jason Rauen’s No. 15b. … Donald McIntosh of Dawsonville, Ga., is driving his family-owned 007 machine with a Buick engine under the hood rather than his usual Blount Motorsports ride. … Making his first career attempt at the World 100, Jeff Curl of Fairbury, Ill., finds himself parked in the same inside backstretch pit stall that was occupied by last year’s World 100 winner Tim McCreadie. With Curl’s conventional enclosed trailer closely resembling the transporter that famously carried McCreadie’s race-winning car in 2018, Curl has been joking that perhaps some of T-Mac’s magic from a year ago will rub off on him.
The World 100 weekend kicks off under wonderful weather conditions: partly sunny skies and a comfortable high temperature in the mid-70s. Friday and Saturday boast virtually identical forecasts. … The 98 entered racers were reminded during the drivers’ meeting that the World 100 entry form stated this year’s qualifying format for preliminary nights will invert six cars from qualifying for the heats and the top two finishers in each heat will start the 25-lap features from the first four rows inverted by the time-trial laps. In addition, it was noted that the minimum weight standard this weekend is 2,350 pounds on Thursday and Friday and 2,300 pounds for Saturday’s 100-lap finale; DIRTcar Racing director Sam Driggers said the lower weight rule for the century grind is a “safety thing” requested by drivers so a quick turnaround between B-mains and the long-distance feature won’t force teams into a rush to add lead weights to their cars. … Defending World 100 champion Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., decided to enter the weekend’s action in the K&L Rumley Longhorn car (carrying his usual Sweeteners Plus No. 39 regalia) that he ran in June’s Dream XXV rather than the Longhorn house car he piloted to victory last year at Eldora. … The walking wounded teammates — Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn. (still hobbling from his right hip and leg injuries suffered in March) and Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C. (fractured right eye socket from a golf cart accident just over two weeks ago at Ohio’s Mansfield Motor Speedway) — are ready for competition parked side-by-side in the upper pit area. … Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., heads into the weekend having captured a preliminary feature during four of the last five crown jewel events at Eldora. He ranks as the driver with the most World 100 feature starts (24) without a victory in the race, however. … John Blankenship of Knoxville, Tenn., the 2013 World 100 winner, is making his first start since finishing ninth in June’s 100-lap Dream. … Hudson O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., is racing on his 19th birthday as he begins his quest to make his second World 100 feature field. He finished 18th in the 2017 event but sat out last year’s World 100 weekend while recovering from shoulder surgery.
Time trial results
Driver (car no.), hometown, time
Stormy Scott (2), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.269
Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas, 15.323
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 15.343
Johnny Scott (1st), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.375
Chad Simpson (1), Mount Vernon, Iowa, 15.461
Chris Madden (0M), Gray Court, S.C., 15.470
Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 15.554
Ryan King (1G), Seymour, Tenn., 15.579
Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., 15.585
Ricky Weiss (7W), Headingley, Manitoba, 15.585
Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., 15.633
Chris Ferguson (22), Mount Holly, N.C., 15.643
Brian Shirley (3S), Chatham, Ill., 15.645
Darrell Lanigan (29), Union, Ky., 15.657
Zack Dohm (17), Cross Lanes, W.Va., 15.672
Kent Robinson (7R), Bloomington, Ind., 15.692
Kye Blight (31K), Bunbury, Australia, 15.771
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 15.783
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 15.792
Josh Rice (1B), Verona, Ky., 15.820
Michael Page (18), Douglasville, Ga., 15.825
Kody Evans (4G), Camden, Ohio, 15.840
Greg Johnson (17J), Bedford, Ind., 15.902
Doug Drown (12D), Wooster, Ohio, 15.909
Michael Norris (72), Sarver, Pa., 15.917
Steve Casebolt (C9), Richmond, Ind., 15.923
Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 15.927
Will Roland (22R), Jasper, Ga., 15.958
Cory Hedgecock (23), Loudon, Tenn., 15.973
Jeep Van Wormer (55), Pinconning, Mich., 16.014
R.J. Conley (71C), Wheelersburg, Ohio, 16.015
Dalton Polston (00), Lithia Springs, Ga., 16.081
Freddie Carpenter (0K), Parkersburg, W.Va., 16.082
Robby Hensley (21H), Walton, Ky., 16.109
Blake Spencer (6S), St. Augustine, Fla., 16.110
Jason Riggs (81JR), Harrisburg, Ill., 16.214
Chad Stapleton (32), Edinburgh, Ind., 16.217
Gordy Gundaker (11), St. Charles, Mo., 16.246
Rod Conley (71R), Wheelersburg, Ohio, 16.317
Vic Hill (1), Mosheim, Tenn., 16.351
Jeff Curl (12), Fairbury, Ill., 16.381
Jackie Boggs (4B), Grayson, Ky., 16.480
Austin Holcombe (8A), Elm City, N.C., 16.518
Joey Moriarty (51), Phoenix, Ariz., 16.556
Zak Blackwood (93), Columbus, Ind., 16.659
Tyler Carpenter (28), Parkersburg, W.Va., 16.735
Jonny Hodgkiss (69), Pittsburgh, Pa., 16.980
Vern LeFevers (15), Cincinnati, Ohio, 17.424
John Tweed (5T), Greenville, Tenn., 17.888
Tentative numerical roster
Driver (car no.), hometown
Freddie Carpenter (K), Parkersburg, W.Va.
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn.
Chris Madden (0M), Gray Court, S.C.
Dalton Polston (00), Lithia Springs, Ga.
Brent Larson (B1), Lake Elmo, Minn.
Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas
Vic Hill (1), Mosheim, Tenn.
Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla.
Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill.
Chad Simpson (1), Mount Vernon, Iowa
Ryan King (1G), Seymour, Tenn.
Casey Noonan (1N), Sylvania, Ohio
Johnny Scott (1st), Las Cruces, N.M.
Nick Hoffman (2), Mooresville, N.C.
Stormy Scott (2s), Las Cruces, N.M.
Brian Shirley (3S), Chatham, Ill.
Josh Hampton (4c), Crab Orchard, Ky.
Bob Gardner (4G), East Peoria, Ill.
Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind.
John Tweed (5), Greeneville, Tenn.
Bryant Dickinson (5*), Ionia, Mich.
Dustin Nobbe (5N), Batesville, Ind.
Blake Spencer (6S), St. Augustine, Fla.
Ricky Weiss (7), Headingley, Manitoba
Donald McIntosh (7), Dawsonville, Ga.
Justin Shipley (08), Douglasville, Ga.
Rob Anderzack (8), Swanton, Ohio
Kyle Strickler (8), Mooresville, N.C.
Austin Holcombe (8A), Elm City, N.C.
Steve Casebolt (C9), Richmond, Ind.
Gordy Gundaker (11), St. Charles, Mo.
Jeff Curl (12), Fairbury, Ill.
Doug Drown (240), Wooster, Ohio
Jason Jameson (12), Lawrenceburg, Ind.
Ashton Winger (12), Hampton, Ga.
Josh Richards (14), Shinnston, W.Va.
Vern LeFevers (15), Cincinnati, Ohio
Brian Birkhofer (15B), Muscatine, Iowa
Zack Dohm (17), Cross Lanes, W.Va.
Shannon Thornsberry (17), Martin, Ky.
Greg Johnson (17J), Bedford, Ind.
Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga.
Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill.
Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan.
Michael Page (18x), Douglasville, Ga.
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn.
Chad White (20), Stevensville, Ind.
Duane Chamberlain (20c), Richmond, Ind.
Robby Hensley (21H), Walton, Ky.
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark.
Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark.
Chris Ferguson (22), Mount Holly, N.C.
Will Roland (22), Jasper, Ga.
Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa.
Cory Hedgecock (23), Loudon, Tenn.
Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga.
Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill.
Tyler Carpenter (28), Parkersburg, W.Va.
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill.
Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis.
Darrell Lanigan (29), Union, Ky.
Paul Stubber (31aus), Bunbury, Australia
Kye Blight (31K), Bunbury, Australia
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill.
Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa
Jon Henry (33), Ada, Ohio
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y.
Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla.
Tim Lance (48), Brimfield, Ill.
Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga.
Shanon Buckingham (50), Morristown, Tenn.
Joey Moriarty (51), Phoenix, Ariz.
Jeep Van Wormer (55), Pinconning, Mich.
Tanner English (58), Benton, Ky.
Jon Hodgkiss (69), Kennedy Township, Pa.
R.J. Conley (71C), Wheelersburg, Ohio
Rod Conley (71R), Wheelersburg, Ohio
Michael Norris (72), Sarver, Pa.
Jason Riggs (81), Harrisburg, Ill.
Scott James (83), Bright, Ind.
Ross Bailes (87), Clover, S.C.
Andrew Reaume (88), Blenheim, Ontario
Mike Spatola (89), Manhattan, Ill.
Jay Johnson (93), West Burlington, Iowa
Jerry Bowersock (95j), Wapakoneta, Ohio
Michael Chilton (97), Salvisa, Ky.
Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill.
Steven Roberts (111), Jesup, Ga.
Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn.
6 p.m.: Hot laps followed by time trials
- Invocation and national anthem
- Heat races (10 laps; alternating Group A/B; top four transfer to features)
- Consolation races (12 laps; top two transfer to features)
- Group A feature (25 laps)
- Group B feature (25 laps)