Batesville Motor Speedway
Madden, O'Neal on the front row for Topless 100
By Todd TurnerDirtonDirt.com chief writer
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):
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.
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
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.
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)
- Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., 13.254
- Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., 13.485
- Wendell Wallace (88), Batesville, Ark., 13.493
- Ronny Lee Hollingsworth (18), Northport, Ala., 13.674
- Ray Moore (93), Haughton, La., 13.718
- Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 13.741
- Bub McCool (57j), Vicksburg, Miss., 13.760
- Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 13.779
- Brian Birkhofer (15b), Muscatine, Iowa, 13.790
- Earl Pearson Jr. (44), Jacksonville, Fla., 13.790
- Dan Schlieper (9), Sullivan, Wis., 13.847
- Eric Wells (18), Hazard, Ky., 13.858
- Chris Wall (71), Springfield, La., 13.871
- Mike Marlar (36), Winfield, Tenn., 13.903
- Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 14.023
- Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., 14.045
- Brad Neat (41), Dunnville, Ky., 14.063
- Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 14.146
- R.C. Whitwell (02), Tucson, Ariz., 14.301
- Klint Byars (5b), Carrollton, Miss., 14.372
- Brandon Smith (115), Floral, Ark., 14.385
- Kyle Beard (86), Trumann, Ark., 14.390
- Robbie Stuart (6r), DeRidder, La., 14.442
- Austin Rettig (94), Sikeston, Mo., 14.500
- Dwight Falcon (F4), Walker, La., 14.504
- Wade Byars (05), Carrollton, Miss., 14.511
- Chad Simpson (25), Mount Vernon, Iowa, 14.533
- Richie Tosh (11x), Salado, Ark., 14.546
- Rylan Long (18), Lockwood, Mo., 14.634
- Jason Utter (31j), Columbus Junction, Iowa, 14.960
- Shane Harris (0), Sheridan, Ark., 15.073
- Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 15.095
- Mark Stephens (11), Arlington, Tenn., 15.103
- Odie Green (15x), Fouke, Ark., 15.722
- Phil Edmondson (7), Marionville, Mo., 15.779
- Kyle Cummings (R5), Minden, La., no time
- Tyler Reddick (11), Corning, Calif., no time
- Don O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 13.932
- Ray Cook (53), Brasstown, N.C., 13.973
- Jared Landers (777), Batesville, Ark., 14.011
- Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 14.050
- Stacy Taylor (27), Jacksonville, Ark., 14.072
- Jason Cliburn (888), Star, Miss., 14.122
- Andrew McKay (71), Edina, Minn., 14.146
- Jon Mitchell (5), Texarkana, Texas, 14.181
- Jeremy Payne (74), Springfield, Mo., 14.183
- Brady Smith (2), Solon Springs, Wis., 14.217
- Steve Casebolt (c9), Richmond, Ind., 14.314
- Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 14.354
- Jack Sullivan (1), Greenbrier, Ark., 14.365
- Keith Foss (95), Winona, Minn., 14.419
- Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 14.419
- Terry Phillips (75), Springfield, Mo., 14.492
- Scott Creel (31), Franklinton, La., 14.515
- Tim Isenberg (9T), Marshfield, Wis., 14.572
- Jeremy Glasgow (7), Caledonia, Miss., 14.599
- Donald Bradsher (93), Burlington, N.C., 14.659
- Bill Frye (66), Greenbrier, Ark., 14.675
- Gary Christian (58x), Broken Bow, Okla., 14.737
- Al Purkey (33), Coffeyville, Kan., 14.761
- Eric Turner (99t), Springfield, Mo., 14.786
- Curtis Cook (601), Conway, Ark., 14.927
- Josh Danzy (F5), Heflin, La., 14.985
- Brian Ritchie (2x), Newport, Ark., 15.013
- Raymond Merrill (12m), Sallisaw, Okla., 15.019
- Leon Henderson (10), Laurel, Miss., 15.479
- Dalton Alexander (3D), Proctor, Ark., 15.688
- Jimmy Miller (15m), Conway, Ark., 15.730
- Jon Kirby (11k), Russellville, Ark., 15.790
- Chase Washington (38), Houlka, Miss., 15.802
- Dewaine Hottinger (65), Russellville, Ark., 15.927
- John Blankenship (23), Williamson, W.Va., no time
- Bo Gordon (34), Shaw, Miss., no time