ROSSBURG, Ohio (Sept. 10) — After finishing third in Friday’s first 25-lap preliminary feature for Saturday’s 50th annual World 100, Brandon, Fla.’s Kyle Bronson had arguably the best question of the night.
“The first thing I want to know: Did Brandon Overton play the 50-50, ‘cause if he did, he probably won that son of a bitch,” quipped Bronson.
Indeed, it does seem like Overton has a Midas touch at Eldora Speedway’s famed half-mile oval. While he opted not to press his luck and purchase a ticket for the night’s 50/50 drawing — which was worth a record $143,258 — Overton’s good fortune on the track continued Friday night as the Evans, Ga., driver turned in a dominating performance in the main event.
Racing unchallenged for 25 caution-free laps, Overton cruised to victory from the pole position, finishing 3.734 seconds ahead of fifth-starting Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn. Overton banked $10,000 for his sixth triumph at Eldora this season.
“I said it Thursday, I remember coming here and getting up there and getting to watch it with y’all,” said Overton, pointing toward the massive crowd, “because I was too slow and didn’t make (the feature). It’s unbelievable, an unbelievable feeling. I’ve got an awesome team behind me. I get all the credit, but if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be standing up here either.”
Third-starting Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., finished behind Bronson, who started fourth, while eighth-starting Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., completed the top five.
While Overton’s night didn’t start out quite like many may have expected — he qualified 19th and finished second in his heat — he ended it in typical Overton fashion. He remained patient, took advantage of the inversion that put him on the front row, and then fell into Eldora’s middle groove where he’s been so dominant this season.
“This (car) is just awfully good right now. I’m really proud of it,” Overton said. “To be able to do that, it’s cool. I love this place and I love coming here. I’ve been saying it all week, there ain’t no place like it, you know.”
Unlike his five previous victories at the Big E, Overton didn’t have to pass a car in Friday’s main event.
Though he’s grown accustomed to starting near the front — his seventh-place starting position in Dream XXVI is the worst he’s started in any of his now six Eldora wins — this marked the first time he’s won from the front row at the Tony Stewart-owned facility.
With a clear path ahead of him, Overton’s mind was already turning toward Saturday’s $53,000-to-win 50th annual World 100. He certainly wasn’t counting his money though. Instead, he was thinking of ways to improve his already fast Wells and Sons Motorsports-backed Longhorn Chassis.
“It felt really good. I was just getting close to cars and kinda moving around and seeing where they would get (the car) upset, just steadily thinking about Saturday. You know, you gotta be good in traffic, you said it the other night, you gotta have a balanced car so you can move around,” Overton told FloRacing’s Ben Shelton during his victory lane interview. “We’re just gonna keep on working on it and hopefully we got enough to get it done.”
Overton admitted that as good as his car has been during feature races, it has been hard to mess with the set-up during prelims, which could have played a factor in his lackluster qualifying effort.
“It’s hard to mess with (the car),” he said. “When the track gets slick like that, it goes right around there. It’s stuck. It does everything perfect, so I have a hard time making myself screw it up or get it to do something (else) early when I know it doesn’t matter. So we’re looking forward to (Saturday) and we’ll see what we got.”
Despite coming up one spot sport, Owens was still happy with his Ramirez Motorsports Rocket XR1.
“I was really, really pleased with the car,” said the two-time World 100 winner. “We got into traffic, Brandon can get through that traffic a lot better than me. I felt like we was closing a little bit on him, but who knows. What he’s doing here is awesome and congratulations to him for having such a successful season and everything.
“The car is really, really good. It was a whole lot better than we had (Thursday) night (in the 51st Dream). The team keeps digging and making small steps and we’re getting a little better and it felt better. This is our car from last year and we drug it back out of the stable. We didn’t qualify in as good as we wanted to, but it’s run really good. Like tonight, was really, really great and I could put it wherever I wanted to on the track.”
A day after completing just 27 laps in the 51st World 100, Bronson was in better spirits after winning the second heat and then improving one spot to finish third in the 25-lapper.
“We had a good car tonight. Our tires didn’t fire from the get-go and they got going and the top got backed in and I worked up,” Bronson said. “Our car is pretty good. We had to make a couple of adjustments from when we was really good here at the Dream (in June). The same stuff ain’t really working for us right now. But we’re getting her figured out and getting closer to money day (Saturday) and we got a good hot rod. I hope I can support these guys on the front of this car here well.”
Notes: Dale McDowell, the high points person heading into Saturday, spun a 4 on the inversion wheel, meaning the six highest drivers in accrued Friday points will start fourth in their heat races. … Overton, who has grown quite popular with Eldora fans, had to thank his apparel provider. “Big shout out to my T-shirt guy. Ya’ll have been keeping him busy,” he said.
Prelimimary notes and results:
Row 1: Brandon Overton, Jensen Ford
Row 2: Ricky Thornton Jr., Kyle Bronson
Row 3: Jimmy Owens, Kyle Strickler
Row 4: Spencer Hughes, Dale McDowell
Row 5: Austin Kirkpatrick, Devin Moran
Row 6: Frank Heckenast Jr., Shane Clanton
Row 7: Mike Marlar, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 8: Jonathan Davenport, Scott Bloomquist
Row 9: Max Blair, Stormy Scott
Row 10: Chris Simpson, John Blankenship
Row 11: Shannon Babb, Michael Page
Row 12: Kody Evans, Michael Norris
Thursday’s World 100 winner Brandon Overton flexed his muscle again in the fourth heat, recovering from a middling qualifying effort to go from fifth to second in four laps. Finishing in the runner-up spot after qualifying poorly put Overton perfectly into the feature’s 10-car invert; he starts from the pole position in the 25-lap feature. … After winning the first heat, the 55-year-old Dale McDowell offered a short-and-sweet comment when asked how Friday’s track surface differed from Thursday’s. “I’m out of breath,” he said with a smile, noting that the Eldora track crew had gotten more water in the speedway after the surface rubbered during Thursday’s 51st World 100. “It’s fast.” … Heat 2 victor Kyle Bronson expressed a desire for redemption after his promising run in Thursday’s World 100 ended early with damage from slapping the outside wall. “I had a good car last night,” he said. “I was the jack ass who put it in the fence.” … Jensen Ford was beaming after capturing the fourth heat. A top-10 finisher in a Dream preliminary feature, he said he had found some things to get his car rolling better after two quiet nights and will take the feature green flag from the outside pole. ... Group A fast-timer Mike Marlar slid high and scraped the wall through turns one and two on the opening lap of the first heat and lost four spots, but he rallied to gain them all back and transfer to the feature with a fourth-place finish. … Jonathan Davenport slid sideways off turn two and clipped the outside wall with his car’s right-rear corner while running third on a lap-one restart in the third heat. The three-time World 100 champion lost three spots, but he salvaged a fourth-place finish with a crunched rear spoiler.
Finish (top four transfer): Shannon Babb, Michael Page, Kody Evans, Michael Norris, Jason Papich, Scott James, Cory Hedgecock, Michael Chilton, Freddie Carpenter, Jason Feger, Steve Stultz, Kyle Lear, Billy Franklin, Jerry Bowersock, Jeff Curl, Tim Lance, Chris Nash, Jon Hodgkiss, Jason Riggs. DNS: Duane Chamberlain.
(12 laps; top four transfer)
Row 1: Kody Evans, Shannon Babb
Row 2: Michael Page, Jason Papich
Row 3: Scott James, Michael Norris
Row 4: Cory Hedgecock, Kyle Lear
Row 5: Michael Chilton, Freddie Carpenter
Row 6: Steve Stultz, Jason Feger
Row 7: Jerry Bowersock, Jon Hodgkiss
Row 8: Billy Franklin, Tim Lance
Row 9: Jason Riggs, Jeff Curl
Row 10: Chris Nash, Duane Chamberlain
Heat race results
First heat (top five transfer): Dale McDowell, Kyle Strickler, Frank Heckenast Jr., Mike Marlar, Max Blair, Kody Evans, Scott James, Michael Chilton, Jerry Bowersock, Jason Riggs.
Second heat (top five transfer): Kyle Bronson, Spencer Hughes, Devin Moran, Dennis Erb Jr., Stormy Scott, Shannon Babb, Michael Norris, Freddie Carpenter, Jon Hodgkiss, Jeff Curl.
Third heat (top five transfer): Jimmy Owens, Ricky Thornton Jr., Austin Kirkpatrick, Chris Simpson, Jonathan Davenport, Michael Page, Cory Hedgecock, Steve Stultz, Freddie Carpenter, Chris Nash.
Fourth heat (top five transfer): Jensen Ford, Brandon Overton, Shane Clanton, Scott Bloomquist, John Blankenship, Jason Papich, Kyle Lear, Jason Feger, Tim Lance. DNS: Duane Chamberlain.
Heat race lineups
(10 laps; top five transfer)
Row 1: Kody Evans, Kyle Strickler
Row 2: Dale McDowell, Mike Marlar
Row 3: Frank Heckenast Jr., Scott James
Row 4: Max Blair, Michael Chilton
Row 5: Jerry Bowersock, Jason Riggs
Row 1: Kyle Bronson, Stormy Scott
Row 2: Spencer Hughes, Devin Moran
Row 3: Shannon Babb, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 4: Michael Norris, Freddie Carpenter
Row 5: Jon Hodgkiss, Jeff Curl
Row 1: Ricky Thornton Jr., Jimmy Owens
Row 2: Jonathan Davenport, Austin Kirkpatrick
Row 3: Michael Page, Chris Simpson
Row 4: Cory Hedgecock, Billy Franklin
Row 5: Steve Stultz, Chris Nash
Row 1: Jensen Ford, John Blankenship
Row 2: Shane Clanton, Scott Bloomquist
Row 3: Brandon Overton, Jason Papich
Row 4: Kyle Lear, Jason Feger
Row 5: Tim Lance, Duane Chamberlain
Race officials announced a slight change to tire limit rule during Friday’s drivers’ meeting. Teams will be allowed five new tires for the entire program on Friday plus any of the marked tires they used during Wednesday or Thursday’s program. … The ongoing tire shortage was once again an issue at Eldora on Friday when a shipment of tires coming directly from Hoosier that was scheduled to be at the track by 4 p.m. was delayed by more than an hour. When the truck did arrive at approximately 5:15, drivers and crew members made a fireman line to help get the tires unloaded from the delivery truck and onto the truck staying at the track. The truck’s delayed arrival had many drivers worried as some faced the prospect of having to make it through Friday’s program on tires they ran Wednesday and Thursday. “We’re literally down to nothing,” said Milton, Fla., driver Joseph Joiner, who made Thursday’s 51st World 100 main event in his first Eldora appearance. “What we do have is barely good enough to hot lap on.” … Among the drivers departing Eldora after competing in the 51st World 100 are Kyle Larson of Elk Grove, Calif. (NASCAR Cup Series commitments in Richmond, Va.) and Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis. (hard crash during Thursday’s heat action). … Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., felt he had a top-five car in Thursday’s World 100 if not for the flat left-rear tire that forced him to pit on lap 10 while running inside the top 10. He rallied to finish 11th after replacing the tire, which he thought was cut in an early-race scrape. … Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., went the distance to finish 17th in Thursday’s World 100, marking his longest outing since July 24’s Silver Dollar Nationals at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Neb. Out of the cockpit from that date until this week due to a loss of feeling in his right leg and foot, the century grind left him with the same problem upon its completion; he hobbled back to his hauler after gingerly climbing out of his car. He’s ready to race again tonight, however. … New entries in Group A: Michael Norris of Sarver, Pa., who couldn’t get away from work at his family’s salvage yard to run the first half of the World 100 doubleheader, and Steve Stultz of Peoria, Ariz.
Time trial results
Driver (car no.), hometown, time (unofficial)
- Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 15.324
- Devin Moran (9), Dresden, Ohio, 15.435
- Austin Kirkpatrick (11), Ocala, Fla., 15.484
- Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 15.580
- Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 15.621
- Spencer Hughes (11H), Meridian, Miss., 15.644
- Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., 15.653
- Kyle Strickler (8), Mooresville, N.C., 15.685
- Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 15.694
- Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 15.695
- John Blankenship (23), Williamson, W.Va., 15.741
- Kody Evans (4G), Camden, Ohio, 15.761
- Kyle Bronson (66), Brandon, Fla., 15.779
- Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt), Chandler, Ariz., 15.803
- Jensen Ford (83F), Johnson City, Tenn., 15.808
- Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 15.839
- Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 15.848
- Michael Page (18x), Douglasville, Ga., 15.858
- Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., 15.883
- Scott James (83), Bright, Ind., 15.940
- Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 15.943
- Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 15.975
- Jason Papich (91P), Nipomo, Calif., 16.028
- Max Blair (111V), Centerville, Pa., 16.053
- Michael Norris (72), Sarver, Pa., 16.058
- Cory Hedgecock (23H), Loudon, Tenn., 16.093
- Kyle Lear (151), Severna Park, Md., 16.179
- Michael Chilton (97), Salvisa, Ky., 16.286
- Billy Franklin (17), Calera, Ala., 16.327
- Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 16.391
- Stormy Scott (2s), Las Cruces, N.M., 16.460
- Jerry Bowersock (95j), Wapakoneta, Ohio, 16.460
- Jon Hodgkiss (69), Kennedy, Pa., 16.479
- Freddie Carpenter (C4), Parkersburg, W.Va., 16.696
- Steve Stultz (78s), Peoria, Ariz., 16.755
- Tim Lance (48), Brimfield, Ill., 16.757
- Jason Riggs (81), Harrisburg, Ill., 17.140
- Jeff Curl (12), Fairbury, Ill., 17.186
- Chris Nash (354), Vicksburg, Mich., 17.404
- Duane Chamberlain (20c), Richmond, Ind., no time
6 a.m.-6 p.m.: Showers open (front of Lot 2)
9 a.m.: Turn one camping load-in
10 a.m.: Turn-three race registration opens (pit passes and media credential sign-in)
10 a.m.: Main gate ticket office opens (tickets, pit passes and will call)
10 a.m.: Turn-four ticket office opens (tickets and pit passes)
11 a.m.: Turn-three pit gate opens
11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.: Technical inspection for Late Models
11 a.m.: All ADA parking opens (permit required)
11 a.m.: Grandstand cleared and secured for grand opening
Noon: All admission gates/suites/concessions open
5 p.m.: Drivers’ meeting
6:30 p.m.: Hot laps
- Time trials
8 p.m.: Racing begins
- Consolation races
- Two $10,000-to-win 25-lap features