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Volusia Speedway Park

Bloomquist dominates Volusia's Friday opener

February 24, 2012, 11:57 am
From series and staff reports
Scott Bloomquist picked up his first win of the season in Volusia's day race. (stlracing.com)
Scott Bloomquist picked up his first win of the season in Volusia's day race. (stlracing.com)

BARBERVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 24) – Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., mastered Friday’s daytime track conditions at Volusia Speedway Park, dominating the postponed 25-lap DIRTcar UMP Late Model A-Main during the 41st UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment.

In an event pushed to Friday afternoon following a rainout on Wednesday night, Bloomquist took advantage of starting from the pole position to lead the entire feature distance. He was never seriously challenged en route to a $7,000 triumph. | Complete Speedweeks coverage

The 48-year-old dirt Late Model legend scored a runner-up finish in Thursday evening’s World of Outlaws Late Model Series 50-lapper that was contested on a heavy, physical track surface, but on Friday a surface baked hard by the Florida sun allowed him to cruise to the checkered flag.

“Talk about night and day – that’s what this was,” said Bloomquist, comparing the Thursday night and Friday afternoon programs. “We really didn’t have to change much on the race car though, just a couple small things. The (Team Zero by Bloomquist) car is very versatile, and the (Roush-Yates) engine is just awesome.”

Bloomquist owed much of his winning effort to his qualifying performance. With the four fastest drivers in each of six group qualifying sessions inverted for heat-race action, Bloomquist turned in a lap that was placed him on the pole for his preliminary. He won the heat with ease and then picked the number one starting slot for the feature, propelling him to Victory Lane.

“It’s tough to come from behind, especially in a day race like this,” said Bloomquist, who recorded his fifth win since 2003 at Volusia but just his second in UMP-sanctioned competition (his most recent wins – one in ’04 and two in ’11 – came under the WoO LMS banner). “So definitely, starting from the pole was important.

“This is the first time (he ran an afternoon event at Volusia), so we really weren’t sure what to expect,” he added. “I tried to take it easy on the tires. It looks like we used ‘em up pretty good, but didn’t blister them. The car was good neutral.”

Bloomquist drove away from the pack after the race’s two caution flags, on the opening lap for a multi-car tangle in turn one that eliminated Thursday-night WoO winner Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., and Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., and on lap 10 for the stopped car driven by Tuesday-night UMP Late Model victor Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark.

Dennis ‘Rambo’ Franklin of Gaffney, S.C., finished a distant second, 5.960 seconds behind Bloomquist in the AES Racing Barry Wright car. The veteran racer, who started third, passed outside-polesitter Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., for second on lap one and maintained the spot to register a career-best outing at Volusia.

Smith settled for third place, followed by fifth-starter Donnie Moran of Dresden, Ohio, and seventh-starter Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va.

Rounding out the top 10 was Morgan Bagley of Longview, Texas; Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., who fought forward from the 10th starting spot; DIRTcar Big-Block standout Billy Decker of Unadilla, N.Y., who slipped to eighth after taking the green flag from the fourth spot; Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind.; and Jim Yoder of Selinsgrove, Pa.

UNOH DIRTcar Nationals: (1) Scott Bloomquist, (2) Dennis Franklin, (3) Clint Smith, (4) Donnie Moran, (5) Josh Richards, (6) Morgan Bagley, (7) Jonathan Davenport, (8) Billy Decker, (9) Don O’Neal, (10) Jim Yoder, (11) Michael Norris, (12) Dan Stone, (13) Frank Heckenast Jr., (14) Billy Ogle Jr., (15) Bobby Pierce, (16) John Blankenship,(17) Mason Zeigler, (18) Billy Moyer, (19) Rick Eckert, (20) Brian Shirley, (21) Brady Smith, (22) Lance Matthees, (23) Jason Feger, (24) Austin Hubbard, (25) Dennis Erb Jr. Fast qualifier (among 61 cars): Eckert, 16.435 seconds. Heat race winners: Bloomquist, Moran, Bagley, Decker, C. Smith, Franklin. Consolation race winners: Zeigler, Ogle, Eckert. Provisional starter: Shirley.

Third consolation

Rick Eckert led every lap in winning the final consolation race over Frank Heckenast Jr. They'll both make the main event lineup. The race's only caution came with four laps complete when Jill George, Phil Ausra and Duane Harbough piled up in turn one.

Finish: Rick Eckert, Frank Heckenast Jr., Tim Lance, Gregg Satterlee, Jason McBride, Jill George, Phil Ausra, Duane Harbough, Dillon Wood.

Second consolation

Billy Ogle Jr. held off Michael Norris to win the caution-free race and make his first feature of the week. Norris looked under Ogle a number of times early, but faded late. He'll also start his first feature of the week. J.R. Hotovy started from the front row, but spun his tires on the start and slid high, allowing the entire seven-car field to drive by.

Finish: Billy Ogle Jr., Michael, Norris, Freddie Carpenter, Tyler Bruening, Brandon Sheppard, Todd Frank, J.R. Hotovy

First consolation

Mason Zeigler cruised to victory in the first of three consolation races while John Blankenship topped Greg Johnson for the final transfer spot in the eight-lapper. A large number of drivers scratched from the lineup.

Finish: Mason Zeigler, John Blankeship, Greg Johnson, Charlie Sandercock, Donald Beyers, Mike Hammerlee, Don Gordon, Billy Moyer Jr.

Redraw

Still looking for his first 2012 Speedweeks victory, Scott Bloomquist will start from the pole of today's feature after a redraw among heat race winners. Clint Smith will join Bloomquist up front, while Dennis Franklin and Billy Decker will share row two. Donnie Moran and Morgan Bagley will start fifth and sixth. ... The race has has been shortened to 25 laps.

Sixth heat

Polesitter Dennis Franklin dominated the final heat, pulling to more than a straightaway advantage over runner-up Jason Feger during the caution-free race. Gregg Satterlee pulled alongside Bobby Pierce for third at the white flag, but Pierce closed the door in turn two, nearly squeezing Satterlee into the wall. Piece continued on to claim the final transfer spot, while Satterlee slid back to fifth from the incident.

Finish: Dennis Franklin, Jason Feger, Bobby Pierce, Dillon Wood, Gregg Satterlee, Jason McBride, Duane Harbough, Phil Ausra, Jared Landers. Scratch: Terry Casey.

Fifth heat

Clint Smith cruised to the win in the fifth heat, leading every lap after taking the lead over Austin Hubbard on the start. Hubbard was a distant second at the finish while Brady Smith held off Rick Eckert to claim the third and final transfer position. Jill George nearly pulled off the day's first high-side pass during a battle with Tim Lance back in the pack, but she lost momentum when she got loose exiting turn four. Another turn-one scramble on the opening lap caused Jared Hawkins to hit the inside wall, sending him to the pit area.

Finish: Clint Smith, Austin Hubbard, Brady Smith, Rick Eckert, Frank Heckenast Jr., Tim Lance, Jill George, Jared Hawkins.

Fourth heat

Polesitter Billy Decker moved to the lead on the start and held off third-starting Jonathan Davenport for the win. Davenport settled for second and will transfer to feature along with third-place finisher Lance Matthees. The race took three attempts to get started. Eric Jacobsen slowed on the first start to bring out the caution while Todd Frank and Steve Isenberg tangled on the next attempt. The race's other caution came with five laps complete when Steve Isenberg spun in turn four directly in front of Eric Jacobsen.

Finish: Billy Decker, Jonathan Davenport, Lance Matthees, J.R. Hotovy, Brandon Sheppard, Tyler Bruening, Todd Frank, Steve Isenberg, Eric Jacobsen.

Third heat

Polesitter Mogan Bagley grabbed the lead on the start and pulled to a comfortable advantage to topping Don O'Neal and Billy Moyer at the finish. O'Neal challenged Bagley on the opening lap, but fell back through the remainder of the race in finishing second. Moyer held off Billy Ogle Jr. to grab the final transfer spot. A battle to get to the preferred bottom line caused a five-car pileup on the first attempted start when O'Neal and JImmy Owens tangled in turn two. Owens and Pat Doar went to the pit area, while the others involved continued for the complete restart.

Finish: Morgan Bagley, Don O'Neal, Billy Moyer, Billy Ogle Jr., Stacy Boles, Michael Norris, Brian Shirley, Freddie Carpenter, Jimmy Owens, Pat Doar.

Second heat

Second-starting Donnie Moran moved to the lead on the start of the race and led every lap to take the win. Jim Yoder and polesitter Dan Stone finished second and third to also transfer to the feature. The race's only caution came on the opening lap when Charlier Sandercock got into the back of Jimmy Mars in the middle of turns one and two, knocking both cars out of the race. Mars was the group's fast qualifer.

Finish: Donnie Moran, Jim Yoder, Dan Stone, Mason Ziegler, Justin Rattliff, Donald Beyers, Jimmy Mars, Charlie Sandercock, Tim McCreadie. Scratch: Tim Fuller.

First heat

Polesitter Scott Bloomquist beat fellow front-row starter Josh Richards in a race to get to the bottom of turn one and on the start of the eight-lap prelim and led a every lap for the victory. Richards turned back a challenge from Dennis Erb Jr. on a mid-race restart and claimed the runner-up finish. Erb, the group's fast qualifier, finished third after starting fourth and will also make the main event. John Blankenship moved to second early in the race, but slipped up out of the groove, allowing Richards and Erb to move by.

Finish: Scott Bloomquist, Josh Richards, Dennis Erb Jr., John Blankenship, Greg Johnson, Chub Frank, Eric Wells, Mike Hammerlee, Don Gordon, Billy Moyer Jr.

Time trials

Rick Eckert of York, Pa., was the fastest of 61 qualifiers at Volusia Speedway Park Friday afternoon during time trials for the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment event that was postponed from Wednesday.

Eckert posted a lap of 16.435 seconds around the half-mile track to top the last of six qualifying groups. He’ll start fourth in his heat race coming up after an inversion of the top four drivers in each qualifying group. Other group fast timers: Thursday’s winner Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill.; Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis.; Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill.; Dillon Wood of New Smyrna Beach, Fla.; and Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn.

Heat race polesitters after inversions will be Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn.; Dan Stone of Thompson, Pa.; Morgan Bagley of Longview, Texas; Billy Decker of Unadilla, N.Y.; Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga.; Dennis Franklin of Gaffney, S.C.

The top three finishers from each eight-lap heat will transfer to the $7,000-to-win main event with the six heat winners redrawing to determine their starting order. Three consolation races will each transfer two drivers, while a UMP provisional starter will round out the 25-car starting field.

Qualifying order

Top four will invert for heat races by group

First group
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 17.722
John Blankenship (23), Williamson, W.Va., 17.929
Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., 17.938
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 18.048
Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 18.22
Chub Frank (1*), Bear Lake, Pa., 18.228
Greg Johnson (49), Bedford, Ind., 18.584
Eric Wells (18), Hazard, Ky., 18.6
Kent Robinson (7r), Bloomington, Ind., 18.993
Mike Hammerle (16), St. Charles, Mo., 19.833
Don Gordon (33), Chatham, Ontario, 20.025
Second group
Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., 17.473
Jim Yoder (27), Selinsgrove, Pa., 17.604
Donnie Moran (99), Dresden, Ohio, 17.659
Dan Stone (21D), Thompson, Pa., 17.76
Charlie Sandercock (57), Belleville, Ontario, 17.834
Aaron Ridley (16), Chatsworth, Ga., 17.895
Tim Fuller (19), Watertown, N.Y., 17.93
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 17.968
Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., 18.035
Donald Beyers (27D), Pana, Ill., 18.728
Third group
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 16.898
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 17.113
Don O'Neal (1D), Martinsville, Ind., 17.387
Morgan Bagley (14m), Longview, Texas, 17.56
Brian Shirley (3s), Chatham, Ill., 17.609
Billy Ogle Jr. (201), Knoxville, Tenn., 17.615
Michael Norris (72), Sarver, Pa., 17.658
Stacy Boles (11B), Clinton, Tenn., 17.788
Freddie Carpenter (c4), Parkersburg, W.Va., 17.834
Pat Doar (11), New London, Wis., 17.848
Fourth group
Brandon Sheppard (B5), New Berlin, Ill., 17.042
Jonathan Davenport (15), Blairsville, Ga., 17.06
Lance Matthees (90), Winona, Minn., 17.408
Billy Decker (91), Unadilla, N.Y., 17.413
J.R. Hotovy (13), Covert, Mich., 17.518
Eric Jacobsen (5), Seacliff Beach, Calif., 17.534
Steve Isenberg (9), Marshfield, Wis., 17.653
Tyler Bruening (16), Decorah, Iowa, 17.732
Todd Frank (21F), Green Bay, Wis., 18.53
Hunter Peacock (12), Macon, Ga., no time
Fifth group
Rick Eckert (24), York, Pa., 16.435
Brady Smith (2), Solon Springs, Wis., 16.841
Austin Hubbard (11), Seaford, Del., 17.242
Clint Smith (44), Senoia, Ga., 17.278
Jared Hawkins (37), Fairmont, W.Va., 17.333
Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 17.466
Tim Lance (48), Brimfield, Ill., 17.523
Jill George (22), Cedar Falls, Iowa, 17.527
Jack Sullivan (1s), Greenbrier, Ark., 17.693
John Lobb (28), Frewsburg, N.Y., no time
Sixth group
Dillon Wood (1w), New Smyrna Beach, Fla., 16.85
Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 16.889
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 16.94
Dennis Franklin (37c), Gaffney, S.C., 16.98
Gregg Satterlee (22), Rochester Mills, Pa., 17.022
Jared Landers (5), Batesville, Ark., 17.164
Terry Casey (42), New London, Wis., 17.409
Jason McBride (77m), Carbondale, Ill., 17.721
Phil Ausra (15), Dowagiac, Mich., 17.73
Duane Harbough (87), Hedgesville, W.Va., 17.756

Feature lineup

Row 1: Bloomquist, C. Smith
Row 2: Franklin, Decker
Row 3: Moran, Bagley
Row 4:
Richards, Yoder
Row 5: O’Neal, Davenport
Row 6: Hubbard, Feger
Row 7: Erb, Stone
Row 8: Moyer, Matthees
Row 9: B. Smith, Pierce
Row 10: Zeigler, Ogle
Row 11: Eckert, Blankenship
Row 12: Norris, Heckenast
Row 13: Shirley

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