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Batesville Motor Speedway

Madden, O'Neal on the front row for Topless 100

August 20, 2010, 8:12 pm
By Todd Turner
DirtonDirt.com chief writer
Jonathan Davenport heads for a heat race victory. (DirtonDirt.com)
Jonathan Davenport heads for a heat race victory. (DirtonDirt.com)

LOCUST GROVE, Ark. (Aug. 20) — Fast qualifier Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., and Don O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., will start on the front row of Saturday's 18th annual Comp Cams Topless 100 after capturing Friday heat races at steamy Batesville Motor Speedway. They'll lead the 24-car field for the $40,000-to-win Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event at the 3/8-mile oval. | Complete Topless 100 coverage

Other heat race winners who will start in rows two and three were Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga.; Ray Cook of Brasstown, N.C.; Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga.; and hometown driver Jared Landers.

Saturday's action is scheduled to include two consolation races, transferring two drivers apiece to the main event, along with the 100-lap feature. Temperatures near 100 are expected again in northcentral Arkansas. Blog-style reports from Friday's action (updates with official finishes):

Sixth heat

Finishing the night with the third straight caution-free heat race, polesitter Jared Landers raced to victory in the final prelim to earn a third-row starting spot in Saturday's main event. Brady Smith closed on Landers amid traffic midway through the race, but Landers was never threatened. Terry Phillips fought off Andrew McKay's bid to regain third in turn four with five laps remaining as Phillips grabbed the third and final transfer spot, joining teammate Jeremy Payne in the main event. McKay, who started outside the front row and lost spots to Smith and Phillips in the early laps, was fourth and Jack Sullivan fifth.

Finish: Jared Landers, Brady Smith, Terry Phillips, Andrew McKay, Jack Sullivan, John Blankenship, Stacy Taylor, Jeremy Glasgow, Dewaine Hottinger, Curtis Cook, Brian Ritchie, Leon Henderson. Scratched: Gary Christian.

Fifth heat

Polesitter Ray Cook cruised in a caution-free fifth heat, lapping all but six competitors in his domination. Third-starting Jeremy Payne ran a solid second while Jason Cliburn, who fought off a lap-four challenge from Billy Moyer, got the third and final transfer spot. Moyer briefly took the third spot exiting turn four, but Cliburn reclaimed it in turn one and Moyer ended up slipping to fifth behind Dennis Erb Jr., where he finished.

Finish: Ray Cook, Jeremy Payne, Jason Cliburn, Dennis Erb Jr., Billy Moyer, Tim Isenberg, Chase Washington, Eric Turner, Donald Bradsher, Shane Harris, Jimmy Miller. Scratched: Bo Gordon.

Fourth heat

Don O'Neal dominated a caution-free 20-lapper, jumping out to a big lead and cruising to victory by a full straightaway over third-starting Jon Mitchell. Shannon Babb made up ground on Mitchell in the second half of the race, but never seriously challenged in settling for the third and final transfer spot. Steve Casebolt also closed in late in the race but was fourth, far ahead of Bill Frye. Al Purkey slowed early in the race and pulled off the track outside turn three.

Finish: Don O'Neal, Jon Mitchell, Shannon Babb, Steve Casebolt, Bill Frye, Keith Foss, Raymond Merrill, Josh Danzy, Scott Creel, Dalton Alexander, Al Purkey. Scratched: John Blankenship (started in sixth heat).

Third heat

Outside front-row starter Dale McDowell stalked polesitter Wendell Wallace throughout the race in the high groove, then ducked low amid traffic exiting turn two on the 15th lap to take the lead. Wallace couldn't answer and settled for second with Earl Pearson Jr. just behind in the third and final transfter spot. Eric Wells was a steady fourth but never contended for a transfer spot. One yellow slowed the action when Odie Green spun in turn two on the first start to force a complete restart.

Finish: Dale McDowell, Wendell Wallace, Earl Pearson Jr., Eric Wells, Billy Moyer Jr., Chris Simpson, Kyle Beard, Rylan Long, Jason Utter, Kyle Cummings, Wade Byars, Odie Green

Second heat

Polesitter Jonathan Davenport ran unchallenged in the second heat, topping third-starting Scott Bloomquist in the 20-lapper slowed by a single yellow. Dan Schlieper ran well ahead of outside front-row starter Ray Moore for the third and final transfer spot. A lap-six caution appeared for tail-starting Jon Kirby, whose right-side wheels briefly climbed the turn-two wall before the car returned to the track on all four tires. Kirby's No. 11 was towed off the track.

Finish: Jonathan Davenport, Scott Bloomquist, Dan Schlieper, Ray Moore, Mike Marlar, Brad Neat, Robbie Stuart, Richie Tosh, Klint Byars, Mark Stephens, Dwight Falcon, Jon Kirby.

First heat

Polesitter Chris Madden led all the way, fighting off Ronny Lee Hollingsworth's challenge on a lap-seven restart and maintaining control in the first 20-lapper. Hollingsworth got second while Bub McCool edged Brian Birkhofer for the third and final transfer spot. Four cautions slowed the action. Phil Edmondson drew an early yellow and Tyler Reddick spun in turn four on the seventh lap. Jimmy Owens spun in turn two on the ninth lap and Austin Rettig's smoking car rolled to a stop in turn four on lap 14. Jimmy Mars ducked to the infield for a lap-14 tire change.

Finish: Chris Madden, Ronny Lee Hollingsworth, Bub McCool, Brian Birkhofer, Chris Wall, Jimmy Owens, Jimmy Mars, Chad Simpson, Brandon Smith, R.C. Whitwell, Austin Rettig, Tyler Reddick, Phil Edmondson.

Qualifying

Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., the first of 73 qualifiers on the track, set fast time Friday night for the 18th annual Comp Cams Topless 100 at Batesville Motor Speedway. Madden blazed to a lap of 13.254 seconds at the 3/8-mile oval as qualifying set heat race lineups for the $40,000-to-win Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event.

Madden spun a "1" on the Lucas Oil inversion wheel as the series dusted off the shelved inversion system for the special occasion of the big-purse event. That means six 20-lap heat races will start straight up according to time trials.

Unofficial, heat race polesitters are Madden; Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga.; Wendell Wallace of Batesville; Don O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind.; Ray Cook of Brasstown, N.C.; and Jared Landers of Batesville.

Qualifying was marred by two hard crashes in turn four as John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va., and Gary Christian of Broken Bow, Okla., both slid high and made hard contact with tire barriers protecting the butt end of the concrete wall. Blankenship's car bounded into the air and landed on its tires, but the 16-year-old Christian's roofless car flipped and landed on it's rollcage. Neither driver was injured but both cars suffered significant damage.

Saturday's action at Batesville includes consolation races and the 100-lap main event.

Pre-heat notes

The Mooney Starr-promoted event drew 73 race cars to the high-speed 3/8-mile oval in northcentral Arkansas, five more than last year's event. ... Among the previous winners on hand are Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn.; hometown drivers Billy Moyer and Wendell Wallace; Bill Frye of Greenbrier, Ark.; Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis.; Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga.; Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill.; last year's winner Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn. ... The Lucas Oil Series used two-cars-at-a-time qualifying. ... Kyle Cummings got into the wall on his qualifying lap. ... The powerplant in the car of last year's winner Jimmy Owens didn't sound good as he struggled in time trials. ... The 73-car field was split into two groups for time trials. The first group will set the lineup for the first three heats and the second group will set the lineup for heats 4-6. ... Heat races will be 20 laps and have single-file restarts. .... Jack Sullivan's GRT house car has been joined by two cars with near-identical decal schemes driven by Raymond Merrill of Sallisaw, Okla., and Richie Tosh of nearby Salado, Ark., who is making his first Topless 100 start in five years. ... R.C. Whitwell of Tucson, Ariz., is fielding the No. 02 Late Model owned by Jeff Sires of Silver City, N.M.; Missouri driver Eric Turner drove the Sires car during January action at USA Raceway in Tucson. ... Turner is driving his regular No. 99T owned by Steve Rushin; that team recently parked its GRT Race Cars in favor of a Larry Shaw Race Car. ... Texan Chris Brown scratched from the event after suffering damage to his Bloomquist Race Car in Thursday's practice session. ... The event has drawn nine Victory Circle Chassis cars, a California-based brand popularized by Batesville's Billy Moyer, who is the only dealer in the eastern U.S. ... Batesville has drawn a healthy Friday night crowd for prelims; last year's event drew a record-setting crowd. ... IMCA modifieds are also in action, but fewer than a dozen are on hand.

Time trials (unoffical)

First group
Driver (car no.), hometown, time
  1. Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., 13.254
  2. Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., 13.485
  3. Wendell Wallace (88), Batesville, Ark., 13.493
  4. Ronny Lee Hollingsworth (18), Northport, Ala., 13.674
  5. Ray Moore (93), Haughton, La., 13.718
  6. Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 13.741
  7. Bub McCool (57j), Vicksburg, Miss., 13.760
  8. Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 13.779
  9. Brian Birkhofer (15b), Muscatine, Iowa, 13.790
  10. Earl Pearson Jr. (44), Jacksonville, Fla., 13.790
  11. Dan Schlieper (9), Sullivan, Wis., 13.847
  12. Eric Wells (18), Hazard, Ky., 13.858
  13. Chris Wall (71), Springfield, La., 13.871
  14. Mike Marlar (36), Winfield, Tenn., 13.903
  15. Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 14.023
  16. Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., 14.045
  17. Brad Neat (41), Dunnville, Ky., 14.063
  18. Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 14.146
  19. R.C. Whitwell (02), Tucson, Ariz., 14.301
  20. Klint Byars (5b), Carrollton, Miss., 14.372
  21. Brandon Smith (115), Floral, Ark., 14.385
  22. Kyle Beard (86), Trumann, Ark., 14.390
  23. Robbie Stuart (6r), DeRidder, La., 14.442
  24. Austin Rettig (94), Sikeston, Mo., 14.500
  25. Dwight Falcon (F4), Walker, La., 14.504
  26. Wade Byars (05), Carrollton, Miss., 14.511
  27. Chad Simpson (25), Mount Vernon, Iowa, 14.533
  28. Richie Tosh (11x), Salado, Ark., 14.546
  29. Rylan Long (18), Lockwood, Mo., 14.634
  30. Jason Utter (31j), Columbus Junction, Iowa, 14.960
  31. Shane Harris (0), Sheridan, Ark., 15.073
  32. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 15.095
  33. Mark Stephens (11), Arlington, Tenn., 15.103
  34. Odie Green (15x), Fouke, Ark., 15.722
  35. Phil Edmondson (7), Marionville, Mo., 15.779
  36. Kyle Cummings (R5), Minden, La., no time
  37. Tyler Reddick (11), Corning, Calif., no time
Second group
Driver (car no.), hometown, time
  1. Don O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 13.932
  2. Ray Cook (53), Brasstown, N.C., 13.973
  3. Jared Landers (777), Batesville, Ark., 14.011
  4. Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 14.050
  5. Stacy Taylor (27), Jacksonville, Ark., 14.072
  6. Jason Cliburn (888), Star, Miss., 14.122
  7. Andrew McKay (71), Edina, Minn., 14.146
  8. Jon Mitchell (5), Texarkana, Texas, 14.181
  9. Jeremy Payne (74), Springfield, Mo., 14.183
  10. Brady Smith (2), Solon Springs, Wis., 14.217
  11. Steve Casebolt (c9), Richmond, Ind., 14.314
  12. Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 14.354
  13. Jack Sullivan (1), Greenbrier, Ark., 14.365
  14. Keith Foss (95), Winona, Minn., 14.419
  15. Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 14.419
  16. Terry Phillips (75), Springfield, Mo., 14.492
  17. Scott Creel (31), Franklinton, La., 14.515
  18. Tim Isenberg (9T), Marshfield, Wis., 14.572
  19. Jeremy Glasgow (7), Caledonia, Miss., 14.599
  20. Donald Bradsher (93), Burlington, N.C., 14.659
  21. Bill Frye (66), Greenbrier, Ark., 14.675
  22. Gary Christian (58x), Broken Bow, Okla., 14.737
  23. Al Purkey (33), Coffeyville, Kan., 14.761
  24. Eric Turner (99t), Springfield, Mo., 14.786
  25. Curtis Cook (601), Conway, Ark., 14.927
  26. Josh Danzy (F5), Heflin, La., 14.985
  27. Brian Ritchie (2x), Newport, Ark., 15.013
  28. Raymond Merrill (12m), Sallisaw, Okla., 15.019
  29. Leon Henderson (10), Laurel, Miss., 15.479
  30. Dalton Alexander (3D), Proctor, Ark., 15.688
  31. Jimmy Miller (15m), Conway, Ark., 15.730
  32. Jon Kirby (11k), Russellville, Ark., 15.790
  33. Chase Washington (38), Houlka, Miss., 15.802
  34. Dewaine Hottinger (65), Russellville, Ark., 15.927
  35. John Blankenship (23), Williamson, W.Va., no time
  36. Bo Gordon (34), Shaw, Miss., no time

Topless 100 lineup

Row 1: Madden, O'Neal
Row 2: Davenport, Cook
Row 3: McDowell, Landers
Row 4: Hollingsworth, Mitchell
Row 5: Bloomquist, Payne
Row 6: Wallace, B. Smith
Row 7: McCool, Babb
Row 8: Schlieper, Cliburn
Row 9: Pearson, Phillips
Row 10: Consy transfers
Row 11: Consy transfers
Row 12: Provisionals
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