ROSSBURG, Ohio (Sept. 6) — Jonathan Davenport knew he had a fast race car during Friday’s preliminary action for the 49th annual World 100. But he also knew he needed to show a little patience even if the evening’s preliminary feature was only a 25-lapper. Rather than press the issue, the fifth-starting Davenport waited until just the right time to make his move.
The Blairsville, Ga., driver pulled ahead of early leader Josh Rice of Verona, Ky., on lap 15 and led the final 11 laps to win Friday’s second preliminary feature. Davenport finished 3.230 seconds ahead of Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., to collect a $10,000 victory, his second career World 100 preliminary feature triumph.
“The car was really balanced. I took the lead there on the bottom. I was trying to run the middle behind Scott (Bloomquist) and just, his wake going through the air was making me really, really loose,” said Davenport. “So I just tried to be patient until we got strung out there for a few laps. Then I saw Josh was really good on top. I kinda got loose and went to the top one time and caught some traction off of (turn) four here and I said, ‘Well, I want to see just how good it is.’
“I just didn’t know about (Bloomquist’s) dirty air. But we got far enough behind him and to the outside of him that I got a really good run on him so I slid him. Then Josh got in that lapped traffic and I knew he’d be slowing down because he was (at the top) where all that grit was blowing. So I just hung around that wall down here in (turns) three and four and she turned right around through there.”
Davenport made a quick move to get to third on the opening lap and then settled in behind Bloomquist, who tried in vain to get by the rim-riding Rice. With Bloomquist appearing to struggle a bit entering turn one, Davenport banged off the fence on lap 11 and made the pass to take over second as they completed lap 12. Three laps later, he darted by Rice.
After taking the lead, Davenport needed to negotiate a pair of restarts — cautions slowed the race on lap 16 and lap 19 — before holding off Lanigan and Kyle Bronson of Brandon, Fla., who started sixth before grabbing the final podium spot. Bloomquist of Mooreburg, Tenn., finished fourth after starting second, while Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., advanced six spots to complete the top five. Rice slipped to eighth after leading the first 14 laps from the pole.
Davenport led Bronson by 1.276 seconds, with third-running Lanigan close behind, when the final caution appeared for a spin by Stormy Scott of Las Cruces, N.M., with just six laps remaining. With Bronson to his outside, Davenport knew the restart was critical.
“I just (had) to beat him to turn one ‘cause I knew clean air was big,” said the two-time World 100 winner. “I was running the top, which I thought was the best. I could move around a little bit. If I knew somebody else that wasn’t gonna run the top was behind me, I could move down and dirty their air up a little bit. My hot rod was awful good on the top. I could go just about as fast as I wanted to there.”
It turned out to be plenty fast. Davenport pulled away, leaving Lanigan, Bronson and Bloomquist to battle for the runner-up spot. Lanigan took second from Bronson on the restart, but Bronson fired a slider at the 2003 Dream winner in turn one on lap 21 to nose back ahead. Lanigan was quick to answer as he crossed back under Bronson in turn two and drove away.
“The car was really good tonight,” said Lanigan. “Under that last caution we lost power steering and didn’t have power steering on that last run. Our car was really good. If it hadn’t been that good, we couldn’t have ran up there, especially with no power steering. I’d kinda like to have seen if we had the power steering if we could have ran with him. Like I said, we had a good piece tonight.”
Bronson was pleased with third, but felt like he perhaps left the door open unnecessarily for Lanigan.
“We changed some stuff there before the feature and it really paid off,” said Bronson. “I really wanted to get that win there. When Darrell got by me on that restart, I kinda messed up there and took the wrong line.”
Notes: Davenport’s previous World 100 preliminary feature win came in 2014. He went on to finish 14th in the World 100 that year. … Davenport said after a heat race run-in, his Lance Landers-backed team had to make repairs to the front suspension of his Longhorn Chassis. “I tore it up a little bit,” he said. “We had to change spindles and a few other things after that heat race. But it still drove pretty good with all that stuff bent on it, so I knew we was gonna have a good car. We just went back a little bit towards … drifting back towards our notes we had for the Dream and this thing was pretty spot on.” … Twenty of the 24 starters completed all 24 laps. … Scott James of Bright, Ind., slapped the wall in turn four to draw the first caution (lap 16). … Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., was fifth on the final restart, but got shuffled back to sixth by Pierce. … After winning a preliminary feature on Thursday, Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., finished 18th. … After winning his heat to start fourth in the feature, Australian Kye Blight faded to 20th.
Preliminary notes and results
Row 1: Josh Rice, Scott Bloomquist
Row 2: Jason Feger, Kye Blight
Row 3: Jonathan Davenport, Kyle Bronson
Row 4: Darrell Lanigan, Brandon Sheppard
Row 5: Chase Junghans, Brian Shirley
Row 6: Bobby Pierce, Dale McDowell
Row 7: Jacob Hawkins, Jeep Van Wormer
Row 8: Johnny Scott, John Blankenship
Row 9: Chris Ferguson, Chad Simpson
Row 10: Kyle Strickler, Zack Dohm
Row 11: Frank Heckenast Jr., Scott James
Row 12: Billy Moyer, Stormy Scott
Scott James dominated the second consolation race, winning by a commanding 3.961 seconds ahead of Stormy Scott, who ran comfortably ahead of Casey Noonan. The 12-lapper ran caution free.
Finish (top two transfer): Scott James, Stormy Scott, Casey Noonan, Robby Hensley, Brent Larson, Duane Chamberlain, Jerry Bowersock, Vic Hill, Ryan King, Tyler Carpenter, Justin Shipley, Bryant Dickinson, Josh Robertson, John Tweed.
Frank Heckenast Jr. won the first consolation race, finishing 0.758 seconds in front of Billy Moyer. Moyer took the second position when Donald McIntosh crashed in turns one and two. Brining out the third caution, McIntosh caught a rut and got into the wall on lap nine, costing the Georgian the second position while collecting fourth-running Brandon Overton, who clipped McIntosh as he tried to slip by. Third-running Greg Johnson slowed on lap three to bring out the first caution. The second caution was for Shannon Thornsberry, who got onto the turn one wall on lap six.
Finish (top two transfer): Frank Heckenast Jr., Billy Moyer, Brian Birkhofer, R.J. Conley, Jason Riggs, Freddie Carpenter, Jackie Boggs, Will Roland, Jeff Curl, Austin Holcombe, Larry Greer, Donald McIntosh, Brandon Overton, Shannon Thornsberry, Greg Johnson.
(12 laps; top two transfer)
Row 1: Frank Heckenast Jr., Greg Johnson
Row 2: Donald McIntosh, Jason Riggs
Row 3: Freddie Carpenter, Billy Moyer
Row 4: Brandon Overton, Jackie Boggs
Row 5: Brian Birkhofer, Jeff Curl
Row 6: R.J. Conley, Larry Greer
Row 7: Will Roland, Shannon Thornsberry
Row 8: Austin Holcombe
Row 1: Scott James, Casey Noonan
Row 2: Stormy Scott, Robby Hensley
Row 3: Vic Hill, Duane Chamberlain
Row 4: Jerry Bowersock, Brent Larson
Row 5: Justin Shipley, Bryant Dickinson
Row 6: Tyler Carpenter, Josh Robertson
Row 7: John Tweed, Ryan King
Heat race notes
Few Eldora heat-race winners have ever flashed as bright a smile as Kye Blight, the Australian who captured the first qualifier driving fellow car fielded by fellow Aussie Paul Stubber. The 26-year-old who served as Stubber’s crew chief during this year’s DIRTcar Summer Nationals pulled into the post-race inspection compound pumping his fist and revving his engine in excitement. “I don’t know what to say, mate,” he said. “This car is just fantastic. I’m absolutely living the dream.” … After failing to qualify for a feature on Thursday, Scott Bloomquist hit the invert perfectly and took advantage to win the second heat from the pole position. He was very happy with his car’s performance. “We got a tall gear in this thing and it’s really pulling it,” he said. “It’s feeling real strong for tonight. I’m looking forward to it.” … Josh Rice used a simple strategy to surge into the lead at the start of the third heat: “I knew it was gonna be a race to (turn one) so I never lifted.” The 21-year-old led the remainder of the distance in his Sunesis Construction machine that sports a throwback wrap mirroring the car his father, Jerry, drove to the 2006 track title at Eldora. “We finally got this thing freed up enough to where I could drive it,” Rice said. … Despite winning the fourth heat and expressing satisfaction with the speed in his Six Pack-inspired car, Jonathan Davenport was concerned about the possible effects of a rough start to the race. “I did exactly what I didn’t want to do this weekend before the big race — hit the right-front on something,” said Davenport, who was hopeful that he wouldn’t find any problem on the right-front of his machine.
Pulling away following a caution on lap six, Jonathan Davenport outran Brandon Sheppard to win the final heat. Davenport finished 1.475 seconds ahead of Sheppard, while Dale McDowell improved two spots to finish third. Second-starting John Blankenship was fourth, with eighth-starting Zack Dohm fifth. Ryan King took the lead on the opening lap, but he pushed up the track in turn two, allowing John Blankenship to pull alongside. King stayed in front until Davenport slid ahead in turn two on the fourth circuit. A lap later Brandon Sheppard slid in front of King exiting turn two, forcing King to check up. King’s heat came to an end on lap six when spun in turns one and two. During the lap six caution, Brent Larson pitted to change a tire.
Finish (top five transfer): Jonathan Davenport, Brandon Sheppard, Dale McDowell, John Blankenship, Zack Dohm, Casey Noonan, Robby Hensley, Duane Chamberlain, Brent Larson, Bryant Dickinson, Josh Robertson, Ryan King.
Josh Rice raced to a flag-to-flag win in the caution-free third heat. Rice, the polesitter, pulled ahead of Bobby Pierce on the opening lap and was never challenged in winning by 0.829 seconds over fourth-starting Kyle Bronson. Bronson grabbed second from Pierce on lap two when Pierce slipped up the track in turn four. Pierce settled for third, with Johnny Scott and Kyle Strickler taking the final two transfer positions.
Finish (top five transfer): Josh Rice, Kyle Bronson, Bobby Pierce, Johnny Scott, Kyle Strickler, Scott James, Stormy Scott, Vic Hill, Jerry Bowersock, Justin Shipley, Tyler Carpenter, John Tweed.
Winning a three-lap shootout after a late caution, Scott Bloomquist topped Darrell Lanigan to win the second heat. Brian Shirley finished third, with Jeep Van Wormer and Chad Simpson completing the top five. Bloomquist easily won the battle through turns one and two on the opening lap, while third-starting Billy Moyer slid up in front of second-starting Jason Riggs, who had to get on the binders to keep from hitting the hall-of-famer in turn two. That allowed Lanigan to shoot through as they headed down the backstretch. Lanigan grabbed second from Moyer in turn four. The caution waved on lap seven for Kentuckian Shannon Thornsberry, erasing Bloomquist’s 1.120-second advantage over Lanigan. On the restart, Moyer was shuffled from fourth to eighth.
Finish (top five transfer): Scott Bloomquist, Darrell Lanigan, Brian Shirley, Jeep Van Wormer, Chad Simpson, Greg Johnson, Jason Riggs, Billy Moyer, Jackie Boggs, Jeff Curl, Larry Greer, Shannon Thornsberry.
Australian Kye Blight rolled around the top to grab the lead from polesitter Jason Feger in turn two on the opening lap of the first 10-lap feature and cruised to a 2.371-second victory. Blight easily stretched his lead in his Paul Stubber-owned manchine, while Feger, who finished second, gave chase. Blight rebounded from a flat tire that hampered his effort in his heat on Thursday. Chase Junghans finished third, while overall fast qualifier Jacob Hawkins finished fourth. Chris Ferguson took the fifth and final transfer spot.
Finish (top five transfer): Kye Blight, Jason Feger, Chase Junghans, Jacob Hawkins, Chris Ferguson, Frank Heckenast Jr., Donald McIntosh, Freddie Carpenter, Brandon Overton, Brian Birkhofer, R.J. Conley, Will Roland, Austin Holcombe.
Heat race lineups
(10 laps; top five transfer)
Row 1: Jason Feger, Kye Blight
Row 2: Chase Junghans, Chris Ferguson
Row 3: Donald McIntosh, Jacob Hawkins
Row 4: Frank Heckenast Jr., Brandon Overton
Row 5: R.J. Conley, Freddie Carpenter
Row 6: Will Roland, Austin Holcombe
Row 7: Brian Birkhofer
Row 1: Scott Bloomquist, Jason Riggs
Row 2: Billy Moyer, Brian Shirley
Row 3: Darrell Lanigan, Chad Simpson
Row 4: Shannon Thornsberry, Greg Johnson
Row 5: Jeep Van Wormer, Jackie Boggs
Row 6: Jeff Curl, Larry Greer
Row 1: Josh Rice, Bobby Pierce
Row 2: Johnny Scott, Kyle Bronson
Row 3: Kyle Strickler, Stormy Scott
Row 4: Scott James, Vic Hill
Row 5: Jerry Bowersock, Justin Shipley
Row 6: Tyler Carpenter, John Tweed
Row 1: Ryan King, John Blankenship
Row 2: Brent Larson, Jonathan Davenport
Row 3: Dale McDowell, Brandon Sheppard
Row 4: Casey Noonan, Zack Dohm
Row 5: Duane Chamberlain, Robby Hensley
Row 6: Josh Robertson, Bryan Dickinson
Overcast conditions with cool temperatures (highs reached the lower 70s) prevailed on Friday; once again no rain appears to be in the forecast, however. … One record was set on Friday: the largest age difference in preliminary-night feature winners since Eldora’s pair of crown jewels went to the three-day format with two nights of twin 25-lap A-mains leading into Saturday’s finale. The gap between victors Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark. (61) and Hudson O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind. (19) is a robust 42 years, 10 months and 17 days. … Hudson O’Neal became the first teenager to score a feature win during a crown jewel weekend at Eldora since 19-year-old Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., captured a preliminary A-main and the World 100 in 2016. … Pierce, who survived an original start scrape in a Thursday B-main to transfer and then advanced from 23rd to finish 11th in his feature, is using a Pro Power engine owned by Viper Motorsports’ Shawn Martin of Carlisle, Pa., who is at the track spectating this evening. … Dream XXV winner Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., experienced a rare off night on Thursday, finishing 18th in the second 25-lapper with crunched right-rear bodywork on his Rocket Chassis house car. He timed eighth-fastest in his qualifying group but was a victim of the six-car invert; he fell from fifth to sixth early in his heat and wasn’t able to move up to transfer, forcing him to run a B-main. … Tim Lance of Brimfield, Ill., has moved into Bloomington, Ill., driver Jason Feger’s backup car for Friday’s action after the Bobby Pierce Racing machine he started the weekend in was damaged in a qualifying smack of the outside wall. … Australian Paul Stubber has scratched for the remainder of the weekend after slamming the turn-three wall hard in his Thursday heat, damaging a left-side frame rail in his car. He still is fielding his team car driven by his crew chief and fellow Aussie Kye Blight. … Kyle Strickler of Mooresville, N.C., and his Wells and Sons Motorsports team relocated their hauler from the infield to the upper pit area to get away from the noise and activity inside the track. He’s hoping the different perspective jump starts his effort after a frustrating opening night during which he finished 21st in the second preliminary feature. “(Racing in) dirty air is so bad, I thought my car was broke last night,” Strickler said. “It really messes with your head. The veteran guys, they know how to adjust. I have to learn.” … Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., made a solid charge forward in the first feature, finishing 10th after starting 22nd. His crew had to scramble to get him out for the B-main after a broken fan blade at the end of his heat forced them to install a new blade and radiator. ... Josh Hampton of Crab Orchard, Ky., tagged the turn one wall during hot laps, severely damaging his red No. 4c. Hampton nursed his machine back to the pit area with the right front tire and wheel kicked back under the car showing heavy damage.
Time trial results
Driver (car no.), hometown, time
Jacob Hawkins (8H), Fairmont. W.Va., 15.377
Chad Simpson (1), Mount Vernon, Iowa, 15.420
Stormy Scott (2), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.490
Brandon Sheppard (1S), New Berlin, Ill., 15.496
Donald McIntosh (7M), Dawsonville, Ga. , 15.523
Darrell Lanigan (29), Union, Ky., 15.575
Kyle Strickler (8), Mooresville, N.C., 15.596
Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 15.634
Chris Ferguson (22F), Mount Holly, N.C., 15.636
Brian Shirley (3S), Chatham, Ill., 15.647
Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 15.660
Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., 15.673
Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., 15.716
Billy Moyer (21M), Batesville, Ark., 15.760
Johnny Scott (1st), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.777
Brent Larson (B1), Lake Elmo, Minn., 15.778
Kye Blight (31K), Bunbury, Australia, 15.790
Jason Riggs (81jr), Harrisburg, Ill., 15.793
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 15.826
John Blankenship (23B), Knoxville, Tenn., 15.827
Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 15.827
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 15.840
Josh Rice (1B), Verona, Ky., 15.842
Ryan King (1GK), Seymour, Tenn., 15.844
Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 15.852
Shannon Thornsberry (17T), Martin, Ky., 15.901
Scott James (83), Bright, Ind., 15.903
Casey Noonan (1N), Sylvania, Ohio, 15.907
Brandon Overton (2), Evans, Ga., 15.914
Greg Johnson (17J), Bedford, Ind., 15.917
Vic Hill (1V), Mosheim, Tenn., 15.930
Zack Dohm (17D), Cross Lanes, W.Va., 15.967
R.J. Conley (71C), Wheelersburg, Ohio 15.989
Jeep Van Wormer (55), Pinconning, Mich., 16.012
Jerry Bowersock (95j), Wapakoneta, Ohio, 16.072
Duane Chamberlain (20c), Richmond, Ind., 16.168
Freddie Carpenter (K), Parkersburg, W.Va., 16.179
Jackie Boggs (4B), Grayson, Ky., 16.192
Justin Shipley (08s), Douglasville, Ga., 16.192
Robby Hensley (21H), Walton, Ky., 16.275
Will Roland (22R), Jasper, Ga., 16.446
Jeff Curl (12), Fairbury, Ill., 16.508
Tyler Carpenter (28), Parkersburg, W.Va., 16.669
Josh Robertson (P3), Defiance, Ohio, 16.702
Austin Holcombe (8A), Elm City, N.C., 16.717
Larry Greer (9G), Bowling Green, Ky., 16.893
John Tweed (5T), Greeneville, Tenn., 16.908
Bryant Dickinson (5*), Ionia, Mich., 16.964
Brian Birkhofer (15), Muscatine, Iowa, no time
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)