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Quick Time: Breakdown of long-distance events

October 16, 2013, 10:47 am
By Todd Turner
DirtonDirt.com managing editor

Take a quick lap around the proverbial dirt track with managing editor Todd Turner for a roundup of Dirt Late Model racing through the latest weekend of action along with some other quirks of racing (and the occasional ax-grinding). Quick Time, presented by PFC Brakes, appears throughout the regular season every Wednesday at DirtonDirt.com:

Frontstretch: Drivers of the Week

National: Competing in the Pittsburgher for the first time in 10 years, Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., dominated the 100-lap NDRL-sanctioned finale for a $25,000 payday and his fourth victory in Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway’s revitalized event.

Regional: Dustin Linville of Bryantsville, Ky., notched his career-richest victory at Ponderosa Speedway’s 23rd annual Fall Classic, earning $5,000 at the Junction City, Ky., oval.

Weekly: While he’s leading the points on the Southern All Star tour, Riley Hickman of Ooltewah, Tenn., stayed closed to home Oct. 11-12 to sweep Limited Late Model races at Boyd’s Speedway in Ringgold, Ga., and Cleveland (Tenn.) Speedway. He earned $2,500 for his Cleveland victory over Shawn Chastain.

Crate: Upstart 16-year-old Ryan Montgomery of Fairmont, W.Va., swept Sweeney Chevrolet-Buick-GMC RUSH Series action at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway’s Pittsburgher weekend, collecting $4,500 and taking the tour points lead with two races remaining.

Turn 1: Long-distance breakdown

The cream rises to the top in the long-distance races when the big money is on the line. DirtonDirt.com staffer Andy Savary put together a breakdown of statistics among the season’s 22 Super Late Model races in 2013 of races 75 laps or longer paying at least $15,000-to-win:

Victories
4: Jimmy Owens, Newport, Tenn.
3: Josh Richards, Shinnston, W.Va.
2: John Blankenship, Williamson, W.Va.; Scott Bloomquist, Mooresburg, Tenn.; Darrell Lanigan, Union, Ky.; Billy Moyer, Batesville, Ark.; Don O’Neal, Martinsville, Ind.
1: Shannon Babb, Moweaqua, Ill.; Brian Birkhofer, Muscatine, Iowa; Mike Marlar, Winfield, Tenn.; Tim McCreadie, Watertown, N.Y.; Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.

Lap leaders
(Drivers leading at least 100 laps)
441: Jimmy Owens
290: Josh Richards
226: Don O’Neal
150: Scott Bloomquist
130: Jason Feger
127: Dennis Erb Jr.
123: Darrell Lanigan
(Overall, 26 drivers led at least one lap in the 22 events)

Top-five finishes
(Four or more)
11: Jimmy Owens
8: Billy Moyer, Josh Richards
6: John Blankenship, Darrell Lanigan
5: Scott Bloomquist, Tim McCreadie, Don O’Neal
4: Steve Francis, Dale McDowell

Lead changes
Average lead changes per race: 2
Most lead changes in one event: 6 (Fairbury American Legion Speedway’s Prairie Dirt Classic)
Flag-to-flag winners: 3

Winner’s starting position
Average starting position: Fifth
Front-row winners: Nine

Winners starting 11th or worse: 2 (John Blankenship started 12th at the World 100 and Billy Moyer started 16th in NDRL’s Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex event).

Turn 2: Spreading the DTWC wealth

Jimmy Owens, who has already wrapped up his third straight Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series heading into this weekend’s season finale, is clearly among the favorites at Portsmouth (Ohio) Raceway Park’s 33rd annual Red Buck Dirt Track World Championship.

But recent history isn’t on his side. The Carl Short-promoted event has had just one driver — Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill. — win more than once over the last 19 runnings of the $50,000-to-win race.

The stretch of 10 years without a repeat winner is longer than any other streak among Dirt Late Model racing's crown jewel events (Iowa's Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals and Batesville Motor Speedway’s Comp Cams Topless 100 in Arkansas have each gone seven seasons, including this year, without repeat winners).

The DTWC’s recent history is opposite the earlier years of the event, which was hosted by the legendary Pennsboro (W.Va.) Speedway for 17 years before being shuffled among six other tracks in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.

Over the first 18 events, four Hall of Fame drivers — Freddy Smith, Ronnie Johnson, Jack Boggs and Billy Moyer — combined to win 11 races, leaving scraps for everyone else. After four different drivers won the first four races from 1981-84, the DTWC never went more than three years without a repeat winner until — you guessed it — Shannon Babb’s second victory in 2006. Babb’s first victory came in 2002.

Backstretch: Tweets of the week

Twitter reactions after Scott Bloomquist’s victory at the 25th annual Pittsburgher:

Tyler Beichner ‏@tyler_beichner: I've just been informed that the fastest lap of the race was Bloomquist's last lap. I would say he still had a little saved up for the end.

Shawn ‏@Rounsie: @racecarman55 @The_NDRL pittsburgher was one of the best ran shows I have been to in a long time ran smooth and fast no BS at all.

Nick Lohrmann ‏@NickLohrmann: “I'd like to check out please”; “Name, sir?”; “Bloomquist” #Pittsburgher100

Turn 3: Dirt track truths

• Every team has one crew member known only by a nickname.

• Drivers wearing their own T-shirts need to find another shirt.

• If you’re starting on the pole and you’re asked to carry an in-car camera, they’re expecting you to wreck.

• Statistics listing top-10 finishes don’t impress.

• Track surfaces that pull the shoes off your feet are sure to dazzle.

Turn 4: Turn back the clock

Five items from this week in Dirt Late Model history:

Oct. 20, 1984: In the Southern All Star Dirt Racing Series season finale at Talladega Short Track, Jerry Inmon of Bruce, Miss., put a cherry on top of his tour title with a victory at the Eastaboga, Ala., track. The victory was Inmon’s series-best fourth of the season.

Oct. 13, 1996: Bob Pierce of Danville, Ill., earned $10,000 for a 40-lap victory in the season-ending UMP Fall Nationals at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Pierce took the checkers ahead of Lance Matthees, Jimmy Mars, Randy Korte and Kris Patterson.

Oct. 16, 2004: Frank Plessinger, the long-time owner and promoter of Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway, was honored as Lowe's Motor Speedway Promoter of the Year during pre-race festivities for the UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series event in Concord, N.C.

Oct. 20, 2007: Jason Cliburn of Star, Miss., earned his richest victory with a $15,000 triumph in the Coors Light Cotton Pickin’ 100 at Magnolia Motor Speedway in Columbus, Miss.

Oct. 18, 2011: Two-time Mississippi State Championship Challenge champion David Breazeale of Four Corners, Miss., announced he was scaling back to part-time racing after 15 seasons to focus on his logging business.

Checkered flag: Five fearless DTWC predictions

• Portsmouth's fast qualifier will lower the track record of 14.15 seconds, held by Jackie Boggs.

• Home-state drivers will be shut out of the top five in the 100-lapper.

• Three house car drivers will finish among the top 10.

• Swartz Race Cars will put three chassis into the main event for the first time at the DTWC.

• A home-state driver will win the non-qualifiers’ race.

(Oct. 2: Two of three predictions correction; two rained out)

 
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