ROSSBURG, Ohio (Sept. 4) — With the World 100 on the horizon, Dale McDowell’s dreamy Eldora success is continuing.
Starting outside the front row, the 48-year-old driver from Chickamauga, Ga., led all 25 laps in the first of two preliminary features Thursday on the opening night of the 44th annual World 100 weekend. The victory is McDowell’s third in a row at Eldora going back to June’s $100,000 payday in Dream XX and a preliminary feature the night before that windfall.
While McDowell has a different Warrior Race Car than the piece that carried him to success three months ago, his No. 17m appeared to be just as fast as when he rallied from 22nd in the 100-lap Dream.
“I think the race car’s pretty good,” McDowell said. “It’s a different car than we had here for the Dream. We wrecked the other one up at Lernerville (Speedway) and didn’t have time to get it back together. But so far, so good.”
He knows three wins in his last three starts at Eldora means things have been falling into place for Team Dillon Racing.
“There’s a lot of good racers here, so there’s a lot of ingredients that has to go in to having a good night,” McDowell said. “All these guys here are professionals. It could be anybody’s night. We just hope that we put all the pieces together to make it ours.”
While McDowell led comfortably most of the way he stayed ahead of a late challenge from Randy Weaver of Crossville, Tenn., who started eighth and turned in his best career Eldora finish with a runner-up showing. Weaver was on the move early, taking second from polesitter Gregg Satterlee of Indiana, Pa., on ninth lap and trying to cut into McDowell’s half-straightaway advantage.
Weaver slowly edged a bit closer past the halfway point, then with six laps remaining began driving harder into turns one and three to close in on McDowell as the frontrunners approached lapped traffic.
But Weaver never got closer than five lengths as McDowell kept him at bay in running the high side all race long.
“I can’t say enough about my team. We’ve got really good equipment and we’re just finally getting to get out and hopefully show some of that,” Weaver said. “We took off pretty good and seemed like I used my tires up pretty early. I thought I could run Dale down, but we just kind of got to him and set about the same pace. But this is Eldora and this guy’s done proved he could win here.
“We feel good about our car. We qualified third tonight. So hopefully the rain will stay away tomorrow and we’ll get some more of it tomorrow. Anytime you can make laps at this place it’s very valuable. Hopefully the track will be about the same tomorrow … make a few little tweaks … and we might can be somewhere up toward the front.”
Satterlee settled for third while two-time World 100 winner Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, rallied from his 12th starting spot to finish fourth. Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., finished fifth, dropping two spots from his starting position.
The race ran caution-free with all but one driver running at the finish.
First heat (top three transfer): John Blankenship, Earl Pearson Jr., Chris Simpson, Earl Pearson Jr., Jacob Hawkins, Jason Hughes, Timothy Culp, Charles LaPlant, Scott James, Chad Ruhlman. Scratched: Austin Smith.
Second heat (top three transfer): Tim McCreadie, Shane Clanton, Jimmy Owens, Randy Korte, Wayne Chinn, Aaron Scott, Billy Ogle Jr, Jim Shereck, Jon Hodgkiss, Scott Bowersock.
Third heat (top three transfer): Kent Robinson, Brian Shirley, Mason Zeigler, Dustin Linville, Shannon Babb, Bub McCool, Mark Dotson, Cecil Eunice, Brett Wyatt, Andrew Gordon.
Fourth heat (top three transfer): Bobby Pierce, Steve Francis, Brandon Overton, Tanner English, Greg Johnson, Dan Schlieper, Terry Wolfenbarger, Shannon Thornsberry, Ron McQuerry.
Fifth heat (top three transfer): Jeff Babcock, Eddie Carrier Jr., Dennis Erb Jr., Jerry Bowersock, Billy Moyer, Jeep Van Wormer, Steve Lance Jr., J.T. Conley, Walker Arthur, Ernie Cordier.
Sixth heat (top three transfer): Chris Madden, Frank Heckenast Jr., Doug Drown, Billy Moyer Jr., Duane Chamberlain, Rod Conley, Jay Johnson, Brian Diveley, Chris Nash, Curtis Deisenroth.
First consolation (top three transfer): Randy Korte, Jason Hughes, Dustin Linville, Jacob Hawkins, Timothy Culp, Bub McCool, Shannon Babb, Chad Ruhlman, Aaron Scott, Jim Schereck, Wayne Chinn, Billy Ogle Jr., Jon Hodgkiss, Brett Wyatt, Cecil Eunice, Charles LaPlant. Scratched: Scott Bowersock, Mark Dotson, Scott James.
Second consolation (top three transfer): Jerry Bowersock, Greg Johnson, Billy Moyer Jr., Billy Moyer, Rod Conley, Tanner English, Duane Chamberlain, Jeep Van Wormer, Brian Diveley, Walker Arthur, Steve Lance Jr., Dan Schlieper, Terry Wolfenbarger, Jay Johnson, J.T. Conley, Shannon Thornsberry, Ron McQuerry, Chris Nash.
Pos. Driver (car no.), hometown, time
Brad Neat (41), Dunnville, Ky., 15.667
Randy Weaver (116), Crossville, Tenn., 15.781
Darrell Lanigan (29), Union, Ky., 15.844
Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., 15.938
Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 15.985
Brian Birkhofer (15B), Muscatine, Iowa, 16.051
Tyler Reddick (11), Corning, Calif., 16.065
Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 16.086
Cody Mahoney (4), Hanover, Ind., 16.094
Brandon Sheppard (B5), New Berlin, Ill., 16.120
Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 16.143
Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa., 16.187
Terry Phillips (75), Springfield, Mo., 16.213
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 16.215
Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., 16.226
Chris Brown (21), Spring, Texas, 16.237
Austin Hubbard (32), Seaford, Del., 16.254
Wendell Wallace (1), Batesville, Ark., 16.277
Curtis Roberts (9r), Coleman, Mich., 16.279
Scott James (83), Lawrenceburg, Ind., 16.293
Randy Korte (00), Highland, Ill., 16.303
Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pga., 16.327
Brandon Overton (5) Appling, Ga., 16.343
Jerry Bowersock (95j), Wapakoneta, Ohio, 16.378
Doug Drown (20), Wooster, Ohio, 16.411
Earl Pearson Jr. (44), Jacksonville, Fla., 16.439
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 16.457
Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 16.460
Shannon Thornsberry (17), Martin, Ky., 16.488
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 16.519
Rod Conley (71r), Wheelersburg, Ohio, 16.545
Jacob Hawkins (20), Fairmont, W.Va., 16.576
Donald McIntosh (7), Dawsonville, Ga., 16.622
Brett Wyatt (360), Crossville, Tenn., 16.632
Tanner English (96), Benton, Ky., 16.667
Jeep Van Wormer (55), Pinconning, Mich., 16.697
Duane Chamberlain (20c), Richmond, Ind., 16.711
Chad Ruhlman (49c), Bemus Point, N.Y., 16.745
Aaron Scott (33), Newark, Ohio, 16.762
Bub McCool (57j), Vicksburg, Miss., 16.774
Dan Schlieper (15) Oak Creek, Wis. , 16.792
Steve Lance Jr. (25), Cuba, Ill., 16.828
Jay Johnson (93), West Burlington, Iowa, 16.851
Walker Arthur (87), Forest, Va., 16.923
George Lee (21), Millersburg, Ohio, 17.004
Ryan Gustin (19r), Marshalltown, Iowa, 17.038
Ross Nicastri (3), Camden, New South Wales, 17.061
McKay Wenger (42), Fairbury, Ill., 17.081
Mack McCarter (51), Gatlinburg, Tenn., 17.287
Jason Welshan (29), Maryville, Tenn., 17.329
Rodney Melvin (27), Benton, Ill., 17.355
Brian Gray (3), Hamilton, Ohio, 17.509
Tim Sabo (16), Toledo, Ohio., 17.678
Don Gordon (33), Chatham, Ontario, 18.163
Bryant Dickinson (5*), Ionia, Mich., 18.523
Rodney Hamblin (14), Downs, Ill., 19.067
Jon Henry (15), Ada, Ohio, 24.186
Scott Knepley (30k), Spiceland, Ind., no time
Eric Wells (18), Hazard, Ky., no time
Butch Kruckeberg (76), Edwardsville, Ill., no time
Correction: Fixes that McDowell won his third straight feature at Eldora, not second.