ROSSBURG, Ohio (Sept. 11) — Retaking the lead from Josh Richards on a lap-23 restart, Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., led the final seven laps to win Friday’s Intercontinental Classic prelim feature at Eldora Speedway. Babb finished 0.694 seconds ahead of Richards, of Shinnston, W.Va., for a $10,000 victory.
Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., improved one position to finish third, while sixth-starting Chris Ferguson of Mount Holly, N.C., finished fourth. Kyle Strickler of Mooresville, N.C., the fastest overall qualifier, charged from 15th to complete the top five after taking a fast-time provisional to start the main event.
“This (Bloomquist Race Car) is bad to the bone,” said Babb, who finally officially won his first career feature race at The Big E while also picking up his first victory in a Bloomquist Race Car since acquiring one of the chassis from the hall of fame driver in the Spring. “It was just a matter of me dialing in and then trying to get it to fit me. You know it’s … man … it’s been a long time since I’ve been on this stage. I don’t know, about 20 years. I’m just pumped.
“I gotta thank Cody Sommer. He personally built this chassis and welded it up himself. He said the first race he’s gonna give me a kiss. He hasn’t yet. Nick, he’s been working on the shocks and Scott, everything under the sun trying to make me fast. Ed (Petroff) at home, you know this is Ed’s baby. You know, Jeremy Hobbs at CJI, he’s watching. Keebler, Donley, just everybody. The Clements engine ran great. I’m just really tickled that we were able to have a great race and see the front for once.”
Babb’s adjustment to the Bloomquist Race Car has progressed slowly — he’s gone back and forth between it and his tried and true Rocket XR1 Chassis most of the season, winning two features in the Rocket — but he said he knew the car was a solid piece after finishing 12th in the Comp Cams Topless 100 at Batesville (Ark.) Motor Speedway last month.
“We were were at Batesville a couple of weeks ago … Saturday for the feature the car was great. I mean it really was,” said Babb. “I was just rolling around there … Batesville is my favorite place to race … I can really read a car. I could tell then it was really good. You know I bumped into Earl (Pearson Jr.). I wasn’t ready for Earl to change his lane like that. I have to fault that a little bit as the driver. You know I just didn’t have patience at the time and now that I know the car is really good I just need to slow my self down and learn how to drive it even better.”
He couldn’t have been much better in Friday’s 30-lapper, a race that was slowed by only two cautions. Mason Zeigler of Chalk Hill, Pa., slowed to bring out a yellow on lap nine and Jason Jameson of Lawrenceburg, Ind., drew a yellow as he took his ailing machine to the pit area on lap 23.
From the outside front row, Babb took the lead on the opening lap and slowly eased away. He led Richards by 1.580 seconds when the pace was slowed on lap nine for Zeigler. Babb had no trouble pulling back ahead on the first restart, but Richards stayed close and as Babb began working lapped traffic he was there to pounce.
“Shannon got the run on the first start and I was following him there and he pulled away by a little bit,” said Richards. “Then I could start to run the top pretty well and I could inch away and inch away at him. He did a great job. He caught those lapped cars and was a sitting duck and I was able to squeeze by him there.”
The second caution, which came out a lap after Babb lost the lead to Richards as they diced through traffic, gave Babb a chance to reclaim the top spot. He didn’t hesitate as they took the green, zipping back around Richards sailing away.
“I was just choosing the outside because there was a cushion up there,” said Babb. “When he took the outside (on the second restart) that gave me the run into (turn) one and we weren’t gonna give up.”
Richards said he chose the top on the final restart because he’d been comfortable there all weekend, but simply didn’t get the start he needed to keep Babb at bay.
“On that restart I’m like man that bottom might be better but I don’t want to pick the bottom,” said Richards. “We’ve been picking the top all weekend and the top’s been better. So I’ll just pick the top and roll down in there. But once we took off, my car hasn’t been very good on restarts, in particular at this race track. I spun (the tires) just a little bit and Shannon took off and got the lead there and he did a great job. I tried to take a stab at it at the end.”
After starting fourth, Davenport battled Ferguson for much of the feature before finally securing the third spot. He didn’t have enough time — or enough green flag laps — to run down Richards or Babb.
“We just needed the leaders to get into lapped traffic,” Davenport said. “Clean air is so huge, especially when it’s that fast here. Somebody (should) lose the key to the water truck (Saturday). This thing will race a whole lot better when it slows down. Me and Chris (Ferguson) raced pretty good there. We had a little bit harder tire on. If we could ever get some long green flag runs like we had I think they’d come back to us when they got in traffic.
“I just gotta thank my guys. We’ve really been tuning on this thing. We’ve struggled a lot this year, but this is one place we really excel at and we kept tuning on it today and really got it balanced. (Thursday) night it really wasn’t balanced at all. So we’ll just tune on this for tomorrow and I think we’ll be really good.”
Notes: This was Babb’s first victory at Eldora since Sept. 5, 2018 when he won a heat race for a World 100 prelim feature. That same year he also won a heat race for a Dream prelim feature. … Babb finished first in the 2005 World 100 but the win was stripped when he was nine pounds light in the post-race weigh-in, handing the victory to Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga. … Nineteen of the 24 starters completed all 30 laps. … Scott Bloomquist started fifth, but struggled early. He pitted on lap nine while running 13th. He returned to the track and finished 17th. … Jimmy Owens finished 21st after pitting on lap 23. … Brandon Overton finished a quiet 18th.
Preliminary notes and results
Row 1: Josh Richards, Shannon Babb
Row 2: Brandon Sheppard, Jonathan Davenport
Row 3: Scott Bloomquist, Chris Ferguson
Row 4: Spencer Hughes, Ricky Weiss
Row 5: Darrell Lanigan, Tim McCreadie
Row 6: Brandon Overton, Kyle Bronson
Row 7: Bobby Pierce, Jimmy Owens
Row 8: Kyle Strickler, Dale McDowell
Row 9: Mike Marlar, Ryan King
Row 10: Dennis Erb Jr., Frank Heckenast Jr.
Row 11: Mason Zeigler, Jason Jameson
Row 12: Ross Bailes, Chris Madden
Both Thursday-night feature winner Josh Richards and Jonathan Davenport captured heat victories for the second consecutive evening. Richards starts from the pole position while J.D. rolls off fourth. … Shannon Babb had a simple comment about his Bloomquist Race Car after winning the third heat: “It was beautiful.” … Scott Bloomquist grabbed the runner-up spot in the first heat with a last-lap pass of Spencer Hughes, putting him into his first Eldora feature in five tries this season. … Friday’s heartbreak kid was Zack Dohm, who limped across the finish line as the winner of the second heat after his car’s engine seized up on the final lap. Without a backup car or engine along, Dohm arranged to jump in Jerry Bowersock’s machine to earn points for starting the feature and keep himself in contention for a decent starting position in a Saturday heat, but he had to scrap that plan because rules dictated he would have to run Bowersock's car the rest of the weekend. Dohm's father, Tim, was back home in Cross Lanes, W.Va., on standby to drive an engine out to Eldora but the team decided against it. … Ashton Winger lost a transfer spot in the fourth heat due to a flat tire; after the race he began packing up his hauler, opting to scratch from the remainder of the weekend’s action in order to save his equipment for Tuesday night’s $15,000-to-win event at Fairbury (Ill.) Speedway. … Kody Evans also called it a weekend after failing to qualify in his heat; he plans to enter Saturday night’s $10,000-to-win show at Atomic Speedway in Alma, Ohio.
Frank Heckenast Jr. led all the way to win the second consolation race. Heckenast survived a scrape with the wall to win by 1.195 seconds ahead of Jason Jameson, while Chris Madden held on to take the third and final transfer spot.
Finish (top three transfer): Frank Heckenast Jr. Jason Jameson, Chris Madden, Jason Feger, Kent Robinson, Doug Drown, Scott James, Jon Henry, Logan Martin, Matt Miller, Jerry Bowersock, Ashton Winger, Kody Evans.
Driving to a convincing victory in the first consolation race, Mike Marlar topped Dennis Erb Jr. by more than three seconds. Marlar led all 12 laps with Erb in tow, while Mason Zeigler grabbed the final transfer spot in front of Ross Bailes.
Finish (top three transfer): Mike Marlar, Dennis Erb Jr., Mason Zeigler, Ross Bailes, Hudson O’Neal, Chase Junghans, Cory Hedgecock, Steven Roberts, Jeep Van Wormer, Chad Simpson, Earl Pearson Jr., Gordy Gundaker Zack Mitchell, Gregg Satterlee, Shane Clanton.
(12 laps; top three transfer)
Row 1: Mike Marlar, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 2: Mason Zeigler, Ross Bailes
Row 3: Chase Junghans, Shane Clanton
Row 4: Jeep Van Wormer, Cory Hedgecock
Row 5: Chad Simpson, Hudson O’Neal
Row 6: Gregg Satterlee, Steven Roberts
Row 7: Zack Mitchell, Gordy Gundaker
Row 8: Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 1: Frank Heckenast Jr., Jason Jameson
Row 2: Chris Madden, Jason Feger
Row 3: Kent Robinson, Doug Drown
Row 4: Jerry Bowersock, Matt Miller
Row 5: Jon Henry, Ashton Winger
Row 6: Kody Evans, Logan Martin
Row 7: Scott James
Thursday winner Josh Richards took the lead on lap one and pulled away from polesitter Ashton Winger. Fifth-starting Chris Ferguson moved to second on lap three and gave chase. Winger slowed with a flat tire on lap four to draw a caution. Ferguson was unable to make a bid for the lead on the restart aw Richards pulled away to win the heat. Ferguson was second, with Kyle Bronson and Dale McDowell completing the top four. Scott James was an early retiree.
Finish (top four transfer): Josh Richards, Chris Ferguson, Kyle Bronson, Dale McDowell, Jason Jameson, Jason Feger, Doug Drown, Matt Miller, Ashton Winger, Logan Martin, Scott James.
Outside front row starter Shannon Babb got the jump on Ricky Weiss on the start and led the distance to win the caution-free third heat. Babb pulled away to beat Weiss by 2.519 seconds, while fourth-starting Darrell Lanigan improved one spot to finish third ahead of Bobby Pierce.
Finish (top four transfer): Shannon Babb, Ricky Weiss, Darrell Lanigan, Bobby Pierce, Frank Heckenast Jr., Ryan King, Chris Madden, Kent Robinson, Jerry Bowersock, Jon Henry, Kody Evans.
Zack Dohm led the second heat flag to flag but barely beat Brandon Sheppard to the finish when the When Virginian’s car lost power heading to the checkered flag. Dohm’s car had a puddle of oil under it as he coasted to the scales. He finished a scant 0.105 of a second head of Sheppard, while Tim McCreadie finished third. Jimmy Owens grabbed the fourth spot from Dennis Erb Jr. with two laps two go after a race-long battle for the final transfer spot.
Finish (top four transfer): Zack Dohm, Brandon Sheppard, Tim McCreadie, Jimmy Owens, Dennis Erb Jr., Ross Bailes, Shane Clanton, Cory Hedgecock, Hudson O’Neal, Steven Roberts, Gordy Gundaker, Earl Pearson Jr.
Polesitter Jonathan Davenport bolted ahead of fellow front row starter Spencer Hughes on the opening lap and drove away leaving Hughes to battle with Scott Bloomquist for the runner-up spot. Hughes held the Hall of Famer off until the final lap as Bloomquist nipped the young Mississippi driver at the finish by a nose. Davenport finished 2.205 seconds ahead of Bloomquistm with Hughes third and Brandon Overton fourth. Overall fast qualifier Kyle Strickler was fifth.
Finish (top four transfer): Jonathan Davenport, Scott Bloomquist, Spencer Hughes, Brandon Overton, Kyle Strickler, Mike Marlar, Mason Zeigler, Chase Junghans, Jeep Van Wormer, Chad Simpson, Gregg Satterlee, Zack Mitchell.
Heat race lineups
(10 laps; top four transfer)
Row 1: Spencer Hughes, Jonathan Davenport
Row 2: Scott Bloomquist, Brandon Overton
Row 3: Kyle Strickler, Chase Junghans
Row 4: Zack Mitchell, Mason Zeigler
Row 5: Mike Marlar, Gregg Satterlee
Row 6: Jeep Van Wormer, Chad Simpson
Row 1: Zack Dohm, Brandon Sheppard
Row 2: Dennis Erb Jr., Tim McCreadie
Row 3: Jimmy Owens, Cory Hedgecock
Row 4: Ross Bailes, Shane Clanton
Row 5: Hudson O’Neal, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 6: Steven Roberts, Gordy Gundaker
Row 1: Ricky Weiss, Shannon Babb
Row 2: Bobby Pierce, Darrell Lanigan
Row 3: Ryan King, Frank Heckenast Jr.
Row 4: Kody Evans, Kent Robinson
Row 5: Jerry Bowersock, Chris Madden
Row 6: Jon Henry
Row 1: Ashton Winger, Josh Richards
Row 2: Kyle Bronson, Dale McDowell
Row 3: Chris Ferguson, Jason Feger
Row 4: Logan Martin, Doug Drown
Row 5: Jason Jameson, Scott James
Row 6: Matt Miller
Friday’s Intercontinental Classic preliminary program is running on a day in which skies have been party sunny with a high temperature hitting the low 70s. … Two drivers in the 48-car field have scratched from further competition after hurting motors on Thursday: Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., and Josh Rice of Verona, Ky. … Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill., contemplated heading home after being sidelined by terminal motor trouble during Thursday’s hot laps, but he’s pulled out his backup car to continue racing this evening. … Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., will remain behind the wheel of his second car that he jumped into for Thursday’s feature after finding engine trouble in his primary machine following a runner-up finish in his heat. … Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., and his crew had to make some significant repairs to their Ronnie Delk-owned mount after Marlar’s bout with the thick cushion during Thursday’s feature left the car’s nosepiece battered and broke a bar that crosses in front of the radiator. … Chris Ferguson of Mt. Holly, N.C., also faced an extensive repair job after his Bloomquist Race Car was damaged when he overran a slowing Kyle Bronson of Brandon, Fla., in the A-main. He said “everything seems to be straight” following his hours of work. … Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., made an engine change in his Rum Runner Racing car for Friday’s action. … Ross Bailes of Clover, S.C., lost a transfer spot in a Thursday B-main due to a broken yoke on the back of his Big Frog Motorsports No. 58’s transmission. … Making his first-ever Super Late Model start at Eldora eight years after his only previous appearance for a Crate Late Model show, Zack Mitchell of Enoree, S.C., qualified for the feature but was an early retiree after losing a battle with the half-mile oval’s ample cushion. Beyond the nose damage his Barry Wright Race Car sustained, mud pushed its radiator into the fan.
Time trial results (unofficial)
Driver (car no.), hometown, time
Kyle Strickler (8), Mooresville, N.C., 15.250
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 15.336
Ryan King (1G), Seymour, Tenn., 15.473
Chris Ferguson (22F), Mount Holly, N.C., 15.498
Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., 15.510
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 15.525
Darrell Lanigan (29v), Union, Ky., 15.549
Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 15.581
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 15.590
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 15.619
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 15.695
Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 15.700
Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., 15.717
Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., 15.728
Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 15.734
Josh Richards (14), Shinnston, W.Va., 15.739
Spencer Hughes (11H), Meridian, Miss., 15.742
Zack Dohm (17), Cross Lanes, W.Va., 15.769
Ricky Weiss (7W), Headingley, Manitoba, 15.780
Ashton Winger (12), Hampton, Ga., 15.781
Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., 15.802
Cory Hedgecock (23), Loudon, Tenn., 15.834
Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 15.834
Jason Feger (25F), Bloomington, Ill., 15.861
Logan Martin (36), West Plains, Mo., 15.866
Zack Mitchell (57), Enoree, S.C., 15.874
Ross Bailes (58), Clover, S.C., 15.879
Kody Evans (4G), Camden, Ohio, 15.884
Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., 15.897
Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 15.923
Kent Robinson (7R), Bloomington, Ind., 15.936
Doug Drown (12D), Wooster, Ohio, 15.952
Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 15.975
Hudson O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 16.011
Jerry Bowersock (95j), Wapakoneta, Ohio, 16.016
Jason Jameson (12J), Lawrenceburg, Ind., 16.022
Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa., 16.081
Earl Pearson Jr. (1P), Jacksonville, Fla., 16.096
Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., 16.117
Scott James (83), Bright, Ind., 16.141
Jeep Van Wormer (55), Pinconning, Mich., 16.251
Steven Roberts (111), Jesup, Ga., 16.583
Jon Henry (15), Ada, Ohio, 16.794
Matt Miller (3), Whitehouse, Ohio, 16.822
Chad Simpson (25), Mount Vernon, Iowa, 17.006
Gordy Gundaker (11G), St. Charles, Mo., DQ’ed (light)
Brian Shirley (3s), Chatham, Ill., no time
Josh Rice (11R), Verona, Ky., no time
Intercontinental Classic points (after Thursday)
1. Brandon Overton - 741
2. Josh Richards - 739
3. Ricky Weiss - 729
4. Tim McCreadie 727
5. Jimmy Owens - 695
6. Brandon Sheppard - 694
7. Jonathan Davenport - 689
8. Chase Junghans - 678
9. Jason Feger - 676
10. Chad Simpson - 674
11. Shane Clanton - 664
12. Spencer Hughes - 662
13. Chris Madden - 656
14. Dennis Erb Jr. - 652
15. Josh Rice - 640
16. Kyle Bronson - 634
17. Zack Mitchell - 633
18. Shannon Babb - 632
19. Chris Ferguson - 625
20. Steven Roberts - 622
21. Gregg Satterlee - 622
22. Cory Hedgecock - 614
23. Zack Dohm - 608
24. Mike Marlar - 604
25. Darrell Lanigan - 588
26. Dale McDowell - 586
27. Kent Robinson - 584
28. Kyle Strickler - 584
29. Jason Jameson - 576
30. Scott James - 574
31. Gordy Gundaker - 572
32. Ross Bailes - 570
33. Jon Henry - 570
34. Logan Martin - 568
35. Jeep Van Wormer - 568
36. Hudson O’Neal - 366
37. Earl Pearson Jr. - 562
38. Ashton Winger - 558
39. Kody Evans - 558
40. Matt Miller - 558
41. Mason Zeigler - 556
42. Doug Drown - 554
43. Scott Bloomquist - 554
44. Bobby Pierce - 552
45. Jerry Bowersock - 546
46. Ryan King - 540
47. Frank Heckenast Jr. - 536
48. Brian Shirley - 532
Noon: Hauler staging in Camping Lots 1 and 2 (any hauler that left following Thursday’s event)
Noon: Medical screening (race officials)
12:30 p.m.: Medical screening (manufacturers, support and vendors)
1 p.m.: Medical screening (race teams at haulers)
1:15-4 p.m.: Hauler parking
1:30-4:30 p.m.: Inspection and registration
2:30 p.m.: Medical screening (broadcast team)
5 p.m.: Virtual drivers’ meeting
6:30 p.m.: Hot laps/multi-car qualifying by group
7:20 p.m.: Opening ceremonies