Bloomquist surges up to No. 6 in power rankings
After slipping out of the top 10 in recent weeks, Scott Bloomquist’s victory Saturday at Eldora Speedway’s Dream XIX presented by Ferris Commercial Mowers spurred him back to the No. 6 spot in DirtonDirt.com’s Top 25 power rankings. Bloomquist earned one of 23 first-place votes in moving up six positions in the weekly rankings presented by JRi Shocks.
World of Outlaws Late Model Series points leader Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., who lost the third spot in Dream XIX at the scales, held onto the No. 1 spot with 13 first-place votes with Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series points leader Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., No. 2 with nine first-place votes.
Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., is still No. 3 while Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., slipped two spots to No. 4. Dream runner-up Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., moved up three slots to break into the top five while Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., slipped out of the top five for the first time this season at No. 7.
Two drivers are new to the poll. Matt Miller of Whitehouse, Ohio, who had two preliminary victories at Eldora’s Dream weekend and ran as high as second in the 100-lapper, broke into the poll at No. 21. Ultimate Super Late Model Series points leader Casey Roberts of Toccoa, Ga., who has three series victories over the past month, entered the rankings at No. 24.
After restricting poll voting to staffers the previous two seasons, DirtonDirt.com invited more than 30 media members and drivers along with track, series and manufacturer representatives to vote in 2013’s rankings. Twenty-three submitted ballots this week. Weekly polls continue through mid-November.
1. Josh Richards, Shinnston, W.Va.
Comment: After prelim victory, rallies from 28th to third at Dream XIX before coming up light at scales for first time ever. Series points: 1st (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 1st (nc)
2. Jimmy Owens, Newport, Tenn.
Comment: Two-runner-up finishes in Dream prelims and a fifth-place in 100-lapper after picking up several spots late. Series points: 1st (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 4th (+2)
3. Darrell Lanigan, Union, Ky.
Comment: Chances at making Dream XIX zapped in tangle with Jimmy Mars on first lap of heat race at Eldora. Series points: 3rd (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 3rd (nc)
4. Shane Clanton, Zebulon, Ga.
Comment: Dream XIX weekend starts with fast time on Thursday, but fizzles out quickly; motor forced him out of 100-lapper. Series points: 2nd (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 2nd (-2)
5. Dennis Erb Jr., Carpentersville, Ill.
Comment: Career-richest $25,900 weekend with Dream prelim victory and rallying runner-up finish in the main event. Series points: Tie-5th (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 8th (+3)
6. Scott Bloomquist, Mooresburg, Tenn.
Comment: Scoring his first victory since February and first at Eldora since 2008, he cruises last 36 laps at Dream XIX. Series points: 7th (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 12th (+6)
7. Don O’Neal, Martinsville, Ind.
Comment: Eldora’s unforgiving concrete bites MasterSbilt house car in Dream XIX heat; he was fourth in a prelim feature. Series points: 4th (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 5th (-2)
8. Tim McCreadie, Watertown, N.Y.
Comment: Not among the movers and shakers at Eldora, but he leaves Dream XIX with an 11th-place finish in finale. Series points: 6th (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 6th (-2)
9. John Blankenship, Williamson, W.Va.
Comment: Thursday wreck forces him to backup (primary?) car, but he’s not a factor in Dream after getting last transfer. Series points: 2nd (Lucas Oil). Last week’s ranking: 7th (-2)
10. Steve Francis, Ashland, Ky.
Comment: Manhandles an overheating car from eighth to third in Dream heat; finishes eighth in main event. Series points: 3rd (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 10th (nc)
11. Brian Birkhofer, Muscatine, Iowa
Comment: Whipping new style MB Customs car into shape, scores a third-place finish at Eldora’s Dream XIX. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 13th (+2)
12. Jonathan Davenport, Blairsville, Ga.
Comment: Dream XIX fast qualifier part of exciting Thursday prelim, then caught up in wreck during 100-lapper. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: 11th (-1)
13. Billy Moyer, Batesville, Ark.
Comment: Finishes third and seventh in prelims, but surface isn’t his cup of tea for finale as he misses Dream lineup. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 9th (-4)
14. Rick Eckert, York, Pa.
Comment: Highest-ranked driver to skip Dream; drives Paul Crowl’s Rocket to back-to-back Appalachian Mountain Speedweek wins. Series points: 4th (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 14th (nc)
15. Steve Casebolt, Richmond, Ind.
Comment: Caught up in Dream XIX feature accident; scores a third-place finish in Friday’s preliminary feature. Series points: 1st (Spring Nationals). Last week’s ranking: 15th (nc)
16. Dale McDowell, Chickamauga, Ga.
Comment: Picks his way to a fourth-place finish in Dream XIX after middling runs during Eldora’s preliminary features. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 17th (+1)
17. Brady Smith, Solon Springs, Wis.
Comment: After skipping Dream, he’s set to run run a handful of Summernationals races, then Firecracker 100. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: 17th (-1)
18. Jimmy Mars, Menomonie, Wis.
Comment: Leads laps 23-64 at Dream XIX, but failure to fire on late restarts shuffles him back to sixth in 100-lapper. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: 19th (+1)
19. Eddie Carrier Jr., Salt Rock, W.Va.
Comment: Passes on preliminary night race at Eldora, he wins Saturday heat but not a factor in finishing 12th. Series points: 9th (Lucas Oil). Last week’s ranking: 18th (-1)
20. Chris Simpson, Oxford, Iowa
Comment: Among six drivers making first Dream starts, he was an early retiree after 30 laps for a 22nd-place finish. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: 20th (nc)
21. Matt Miller, Whitehouse, Ohio
Comment: Rick Delong Racing driver scored two preliminary Dream victories and held second in 100-lapper when driveshaft broke. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: Unranked
22. Earl Pearson Jr., Jacksonville, Fla.
Comment: Frustrating weekend at Eldora with undiagnosed engine problems; scratches from Saturday’s action. Series points: Tie-5th (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 22nd (nc)
23. Mike Marlar, Winfield, Tenn.
Comment: After bypassing Dream, Bryson Motorsports team heading for Lucas Oil’s Clash at the Mag in Columbus, Miss. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 21st (-2)
24. Casey Roberts, Toccoa, Ga.
Comment: Home-track victory at Toccoa Speedway is second in a row on Ultimate Series and third over the last month. Series points: 1st (Ultimate). Last week’s ranking: Unranked
25. Doug Drown, Wooster, Ohio
Comment: Sore and swollen after bout with mud clod Saturday at Dream; posted a fifth-place finish in preliminary feature. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: 25th (-2)
Dropped out: Chad Simpson, Bobby Pierce.
Editor’s note: The top 25 drivers are determined by a points system with 25 points for a first-place vote, 24 points for a second-place vote and so on through a single point for a 25th-place vote. The voting panel is made up of media members, drivers, and track, series and manufacturer representatives.