McDowell realizes Dream with $100,000 at Big E
By Todd Turner and Kevin KovacDirtonDirt.com
ROSSBURG, Ohio (June 7) — Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., completed some unfinished business on Saturday night at Eldora Speedway.
Nine years after inheriting a victory in the prestigious World 100 that left him feeling less than satisfied, the 48-year-old veteran captured the half-mile oval’s other crown-jewel event with a convincing drive to the checkered flag in the Dream XX presented by Ferris Mowers.
McDowell stormed forward from the 22nd starting spot to grab the lead from six-time Dream champion Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., and never looked back en route to claiming the $100,000 first-place prize.
Defending World 100 winner John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va., charged from the 24th starting spot to place second, about a half-straightaway behind McDowell. Bloomquist settled for third place after leading laps 33-78, 25th-starter Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., finished fourth and Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., who led laps 1-16, completed the top five.
Eddie Carrier Jr. of Salt Rock, W.Va., led laps 17-32 but faded to a seventh-place finish.
Dream XX presented by Ferris Mowers
Pos. Driver (car no.), hometown, chassis, earnings
1. Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., Warrior, $100,000
2. John Blankenship (23), Williamson, W.Va., Rocket, $20,000
3. Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., Sweet-Bloomquist, $10,000
4. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., Club 29, $6,000
5. Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., Longhorn, $5,000
6. Jared Landers (777), Batesville, Ark., Rocket, $4,000
7. Eddie Carrier Jr. (28), Salt Rock, W.Va., Rocket, $3,500
8. Rick Eckert (1), York, Pa., Rocket, $3,000
9. Jeep VanWormer (55), Pinconning, Mich., Rocket, $2,500
10. Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., Bloomquist, $2,475
11. Matt Miller (3), Whitehouse, Ohio, Rocket, $2,450
12. Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky., Barry Wright, $2,425
13. Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., Rocket, $2,400
14. Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa., Rocket, $2,375
15. Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., Longhorn, $2,350
16. Kent Robinson (7R), Bloomington, Ind., Club 29, $2,325
17. Jason Hughes (12), Westville, Okla., Bloomquist, $2,300
18. Jason Riggs (81Jr), Harrisburg, Ill., Rocket, $2,275
19. Randy Korte (00), Highland, Ill., Rocket, $2,250
20. Jonathan Davenport (6), Blairsville, Ga., Longhorn, $2,200
21. Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., Barry Wright, $2,175
22. Brad Neat (16N), Dunnville, Ky., Bloomquist, $2,150
23. Jason Feger (25F), Bloomington, Ill., Hustler, $2,125
24. Chris Simpson (32), Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Rocket, $2,100
25. Ryan Gustin (19R), Marshalltown, Iowa, Rocket, $2,075
26. Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., Rocket, $2,050
27. Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., Capital, $2,025
28. Darrell Lanigan (29), Union, Ky., Club 29, $2,000
Fast qualifier (among 78 cars): Marlar, 15.777 seconds
Heat race winners: Satterlee, Bloomquist, O’Neal, Carrier, Moyer, Van Wormer.
Consolation winners: Davenport, McDowell
Consolation scramble winners: Erb, McCreadie
Provisional starters: Marlar, Neat, Robinson, Babb
Lap 100: McDowell wins the Dream for the first time...and he's ready for a big celebration. He's also a World 100 winner, but he won that race in 2005 after Shannon Babb was disqualified for weighing in light.
Blankenship finishes second, followed by Bloomquist, Owens, Moyer, Landers, Carrier, Eckert, Van Wormer and Madden.
Lap 95: McDowell maintaining his edge over Blankenship, with Bloomquist, Moyer and Owens following.
Lap 88: McDowell as about an 8 car-length lead over Blankenship, who passed Bloomquist for second on lap 84.
Lap 79: McDowell finally completes an inside pass of Bloomquist, taking the lead as he seeks his first-ever Dream victory.
Lap 70: McDowell runs second and is beginning to creep closer to Bloomquist....Carrier is third, followed by Moyer and Blankenship (on the move).
Lap 60: Caution flies for a tandem spin in turns three and four involving Davenport and O'Neal, who came together battling for third place. Bloomquist leads Carrier, McDowell, Moyer, Landers, Satterlee, Owens, Blankenship, Eckert and Miller.
Lap 55: Bloomquist leads Carrier, O'Neal, Moyer, McDowell (charging), Davenport, Landers, Satterlee, Miller and Eckert.
Lap 47: Carrier challenging Bloomquist for the lead, diving to the inside through the corner. O'Neal, meanwhile, is closing behind in third.
Lap 33: Bloomquist moves back into the lead, passing Carrier with an outside move following the restart. Moyer and O'Neal continue to battle for third.
Lap 32: The first caution flag flies for Ryan Gustin, who stopped on the inside of turn one. Carrier leads Bloomquist, O'Neal (grabbed third on lap 31), Moyer, Satterlee, Landers, VanWormer, Eckert, Davenport (21st starting spot) and Zeigler.
Lap 25: Carrier holds short edge over Bloomquist, with Moyer, O'Neal and Satterlee rounding out top five....still caution-free.
Lap 15: Carrier ducks inside Bloomquist to assume command.
Lap 12: Bloomquist grabs the lead lead from Moyer.
Lap 5: Moyer leads Bloomquist, Carrier, O'Neal and VanWormer.
10:05 p.m. | Engines fired
The command to start engine has been given and the field is beginning to roll off the homestretch for pace laps. Updates of the Dream XX will now continue by lap number.
9:50 p.m. | Field lined up
The 28-car Dream XX field has assembled on the frontstretch in the traditional single-file lineup for an Eldora crown-jewel event. Drivers have gathered in the pit area and introductions will soon begin.
9:29 p.m. | Pre-feature notes
The final provisionals went to Kent Robinson and Shannon Babb based on best average finishes of Thursday and Friday's prelims. They'll start on the last row. ... Illinois has the most starters with four drivers. Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Tennessee have three drivers apiece while Arkansas, West Virginia and Iowa have two drivers apiece. Single-driver states: Michigan, West Virginia, Indiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Ohio. ... Rocket has 13 starters followed by Bloomquist (4) and Longhorn and Club 29 with three apiece. Barry Wright has two cars while three chassis have one driver each (Warrior, Hustler and Capital). ... At least three drivers are first-time starters: Jason Hughes, Jason Riggs and Ryan Gustin.
9:11 p.m. | McCreadie wins second scramble
Second consolation scramble: Tim McCreadie, Jeff Babcock, Duane Chamberlain, Morgan Bagley, Jacob Hawkins, Eric Wells, Jason Hiett, Scott James, Wendell Wallace, Jerry Bowersock, Jay Johnson, Brian Shirley, Rob Williams, Ernie Cordier. Scratched: Jon Henry.
9:06 p.m. | McDowell wins second consy
Dale McDowell made a mid-race pass of Ryan Gustin and went on to victory in the second consy. John Blankenship dropped Gustin to third as they all three transferred to the main event.
Second consolation finish: Dale McDowell, John Blankenship, Ryan Gustin, Tim McCreadie, Duane Chamberlain, Jeff Babcock, Jacob Hawkins, Eric Wells, Brandon Sheppard, Eric Wells, Morgan Bagley, Jason Hiett, Brian Shirley, Terry Phillips, Wendell Wallace, Jon Henry, Scott James, Vic Hill, Jerry Bowersock, Jay Johnson, Rob Williams, Ernie Cordier, Wayne Chinn, Kent Robinson, Aaron Scott.
8:58 p.m. | Second consolation lineup
(20 laps; top three transfer)
Row 1: Ryan Gustin, Duane Chamberlain
Row 2: Dale McDowell, John Blankenship
Row 3: Morgan Bagley, Tim McCreadie
Row 4: Jeff Babcock, Jacob Hawkins
Row 5: Brandon Sheppard, Terry Phillips
Row 6: Eric Wells, Wayne Chinn
Row 7: Jon Henry, Jerry Bowersock
Row 8: Wendell Wallace, Vic Hill
Row 9: Brian Shirley, Jay Johnson
Row 10: Jason Hiett, Scott James
Row 11: Rob Williams, Ernie Cordier
Row 12: Aaron Scott, Kent Robinson
Jason Feger’s team is swapping an engine after the Dream’s 12th-place starter overheated an engine in his heat race. … Bobby Pierce also overheated in his heat, but he had to retire early after his engine apparently blew off a belt and the rising water temperature didn’t register in the cockpit. … Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., who earned $1,000 in the first consolation scramble, is planning to get a new Barry Wright Race Car soon. He fielded buddy Jason McBride’s Barry Wright machine during the weekend at Eldora.
8:54 p.m. | Erb wins first scramble
First consolation scramble: Dennis Erb Jr., Brandon Kinzer, A.J. Diemel, Chase Junghans, Mike Benedum, Nick Latham, Curtis Roberts, Josh Adkins.
8:50 p.m. | Davenport wins first consolation
Jonathan Davenport won the two-lap shootout after a wild finish with Shane Clanton's lap-19 slide job getting the second spot from Jimmy Owens, who was the third and final car transferring.
First consolation finish: Jonathan Davenport, Shane Clanton, Jimmy Owens, Brandon Kinzer, Dennis Erb Jr., A.J. Diemel, Mike Benedum, Chase Junghans, Nick Latham, Curtis Roberts, Josh Adkins, Kyle Bronson, Jimmy Mars, Billy Moyer Jr., Davey Johnson, R.J. Conley, Dustin Neat, Tim Sabo. Scratched: Shannon Babb, Bobby Pierce, Devin Moran, Brian Birkhofer.
8:47 p.m. | Wild first consolation
The night is over for Jimmy Mars is over after Kyle Bronson's errant slide job slammed both of them into the wall on a green-white checkered restart. Bronson had led the second half of the race but lost the lead on the restart after a late yellow required a two-lap shootout. Jonathan Davenport leads Jimmy Owens still with two laps remaining.
8:30 p.m. | First consolation lineup
(20 laps; top three transfer)
Row 1: Kyle Bronson, Jonathan Davenport
Row 2: Curtis Roberts, Mike Benedum
Row 3: Jimmy Owens, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 4: R.J. Conley, Shane Clanton
Row 5: Jimmy Mars, A.J. Diemel
Row 6: Davey Johnson, Nick Latham
Row 7: Dustin Neat, Brandon Kinzer
Row 8: Tim Sabo, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 9: Chase Junghans, Josh Adkins
Scratched: Shannon Babb, Brian Birkhofer, Bobby Pierce, Devin Moran
7:59 p.m. | Van Wormer wins final heat
Jeep Van Wormer led all the way for a 15-lap victory, staying just ahead of a wild multilap battle for second between Jason Feger and Dale McDowell. "It feels great to be able to start on the front," said Van Wormer, who earned the pole for the 100-lapper. Matt Miller jumped into the Feger-McDowell fray on lap 10, dropping McDowell to fourth. Feger broke free from the battle to track down Van Wormer late, but he settled for second while the sixth-starting Miller got the final transfer spot. Kent Robinson wasn't a factor but he's in line to get a provisional starting spot.
Sixth heat finish: Jeep Van Wormer, Jason Feger, Matt Miller, Dale McDowell, Tim McCreadie, Brandon Sheppard, Wayne Chinn, Wendell Wallace, Jay Johnson, Kent Robinson, Rob Williams, Michael Asberry. Scratched: Charles LaPlant.
7:52 p.m. | Moyer wins fifth heat
Fourth-starting Billy Moyer slipped back to seventh early, then came alive on the 10th lap to attack the frontrunners, completing his rally to the front with a lap-14 slide job on Mason Zeigler. Zeigler, who started fifth, blew around outside front-row starter Chris Simpson on the backstretch of the fifth lap but couldn't stem Moyer's charge. Simpson held on for third while drivers who at one point held third — Duane Chamberlain, Morgan Bagley and Dusty Moore (who retired) — didn't transfer.
Fifth heat finish: Billy Moyer, Mason Zeigler, Chris Simpson, Duane Chamberlain, Morgan Bagley, Jacob Hawkins, Eric Wells, Jerry Bowersock, Brain Shirley, Ernie Cordier, Scott James, Dusty Moore. Scratched: Casey Noonan.
7:47 p.m. | Shirley spins in heat five
Brian Shirley spun exiting turn two trying to take the third spot from polesitter Dusty Moore on the third lap of the fifth heat. Chris Simpson leads fifth-starting Mason Zeigler. Billy Moyer got a poor start from his fourth starting spot, falling back to seventh. He'll try to gather himself on the early restart. Shirley, trying to join Riggs Motorsports teammate Jason Riggs in the feature, restarts on the tail.
7:43 p.m. | Carrier edges Madden
In a back-and-forth battle in the final laps, Eddie Carrier Jr. got the better of Chris Madden, who chose the inside lane on a restart with three laps remaining. Jason Riggs stuck with his low groove to get the third transfer spot ahead of Ryan Gustin, perhaps hampered by body damage. John Blankenship started on the tail and crossed the finish line with Jeff Babcock in a battle to close to call.
Fourth heat finish: Eddie Carrier Jr., Chris Madden, Jason Riggs, Ryan Gustin, Jeff Babcock, John Blankenship, Terry Phillips, Vic Hill, Jon Henry, Jason Hiett, Aaron Scott, Brandon Overton, Matt Irey.
7:38 p.m. | Madden leads fourth heat
A lap-12 caution flew in the fourth heat when Matt Irey shredded a tire exiting turn four. Chris Madden, Eddie Carrier Jr. and Jason Riggs hold the top three spots. Seventh-starting Ryan Gustin came to third early, but spoiler damage slowed his high-side run and Riggs moved underneath him just before the yellow for Irey. Brandon Overton started third but he retired before the caution.
7:28 p.m. | O'Neal wins third heat
Fifth-starting Don O'Neal, turning up the wick with five laps remaining, swept around race-long leader and outside front-row starter Jason Hughes on backstretch and led the final six laps. "We finally found us a real good line down there in turn three and four" and got rolling, O'Neal told Ben Shelton. Hughes, in his first full Dirt Late Model season, held on for second to make his first Dream with polesitter Randy Korte slipping back early but recovering to get the third and final transfer spot over Curtis Roberts, who ran as high as second. Dennis Erb Jr., last year's Dream runner-up, was an early retiree in Jason McBride's Barry Wright Race Car with a broken driveshaft.
Third heat finish: Don O'Neal, Jason Hughes, Randy Korte, Curtis Roberts, Billy Moyer Jr., Jimmy Mars, Nick Latham, Tim Sabo, Dennis Erb Jr., Shannon Babb, Devin Moran. Scratched: Rusty Schlenk.
7:22 p.m. | Wrecks open third heat
In the third heat, two drivers didn't survive a backstretch scramble, but neither were injured. Fourth-starting Shanon Babb got into the backstretch wall after jumping the cushion and getting into the fence. The postrace contact sent Devin Moran into the inside wall, and a red flag appeared so emergency crews could tend to him. Moran chalked it up to "guys trying to win it on the first lap" with tight racing. There'll be a complete restart.
7:18 p.m. | Bloomquist roars in second heat
Eighth-starting Scott Bloomquist blew past Darrell Lanigan at halfway and cruised to victory, turning laps a half-second better than competitiors. Not to be topped, Bloomquist's fellow fourth-row starter Jared Landers slid under Lanigan exiting turn four on the final lap to finish second. Lanigan got the final transfer spot. "The car feels awesome," Bloomquist said. Early leader Bobby Pierce ended up retiring with some type of engine problems.
Second heat finish: Scott Bloomquist, Jared Landers, Darrell Lanigan, Jonathan Davenport, Jimmy Owens, Shane Clanton, Davey Johnson, Bobby Pierce, Jeff Provinzino, Brad Neat. Scratched: Justin Rattliff, Earl Pearson Jr., Delmas Conley.
7:15 p.m. | Bloomquist to third
Scott Bloomquist went from sixth to third on the backstretch just after the lap-three restart in the second heat. Darrell Lanigan took the lead from Bobby Pierce on the restart, and Pierce fell to third on lap six.
7:13 p.m. | Second-heat caution
Jeff Provinzino spun in turn three on the third lap to draw a caution in the second heat. Bobby Pierce is out front after sliding in front of Shane Clanton on the first lap. Pierce is up after three laps on Darrell Lanigan, Shane Clanton and Jonathan Davenport in a fiesty battle up front. Scott Bloomquist runs sixth after three laps.
7:10 p.m. | Brutal second heat
The toughest heat is up next, stacked with four previous Dream winners.
7:09 p.m. | Satterlee wins first heat
In the first heat, Gregg Satterle got rolling on the high side and ran unchallenged virtually all the way. He had a half-straightaway lead at halfway and survived a little trouble in turn three on the second lap. Fellow Pennsylvanian Rick Eckert ran a solid second all the as the runner-up ahead of polesitter Steve Francis, who got the final transfer spot. Fast qualifier Mike Marlar was in a tight battle for third with Francis early but fell from contention by halfway. Most drivers up front stuck with the high groove in the caution-free affair. Brian Birkhofer pulled out after losing an engine.
First heat finish: Gregg Satterlee, Rick Eckert, Steve Francis, Mike Marlar, Kyle Bronson, Mike Benedum, A.J. Diemel, R.J. Conley, Dustin Neat, Brandon Kinzer, Chase Junghams, Josh Adkins.
7:03 p.m. | First heat on track
Heat races are ready to roll at Eldora. The 15-lappers send three drivers apiece to the 100-lap main event.
6:31 p.m. | Pre-race ceremonies coming up
Hot laps are wrapping up and pre-race ceremonies will begin shortly. Heat races are slated for 7 p.m.
6:11 p.m. | Other tidbits
Brandon Sheppard dropped a Pro Power Racing Engine in his car for tonight's action after being dissatisifed with his primary powerplant. ... Last year's World 100 winner John Blankenship started 13th and dead last in the fourth heat. ... St. Henry Nite Club teammates Duane Chamberlain and Jacob Hawkins will be battling each other in the fifth heat. They both posted fifth-place finishes in separate preliminary features on Thursday. ... Looking for its first Dream winner, racing-rich Illinois has three front-row starters in heat races: Randy Korte of Highland, Ill., Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., and Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill. ... Announcer James Essex points out four of the top five from last year's Dream are in different chassis makes in this year's event
6:08 p.m. | Four provisionals available
Four provisional starting spots are available in the 28-car starting field. The two fastest qualifiers who don't transfer through the heat races start in the 10th row. Right now that goes to Mike Marlar and Brad Neat, but if Marlar and/or Neat transfer, the next drivers in line are Don O'Neal, Eddie Carrier Jr., Mason Zeigler and Tim McCreadie.
Two other provisional starting spots go to the drivers with the best average finishes in Thursday and Friday preliminary features. Three drivers averaged third-place finishes — Rick Eckert, Scott Bloomquist and Kent Robinson — and they're in line for those provisionals if they don't make the race by heat or consolation races. Ties are broken by qualifying times, giving Eckert and Bloomquist the first chance at those provisionals with Robinson next in line.
6 p.m. | Checking in with officials
Eldora Speedway race director Larry Boos made last night's controversial photo-finish ruling that gave Brian Birkhofer a preliminary feature win over Rick Eckert the first item of business during Saturday afternoon's drivers' meeting, which was held publicly in the track's barn following an autograph session. "It seems like every year something comes up that we need to address," Boos said. "After last night, it's, Where is the finish line? What is the finish line?" After noting that the computerized transponder scoring system is used "for recording and timing the laps" because the scoring loop is positioned before the official start-finish line, he said fluorescent-colored poles have been placed just in front of the flag stand to clearly mark the start-finish line. … Boos also said that tonight's pre-heat hot laps, which were instituted last year after Eldora held strong to a no-practice policy on Saturday night before its big Late Model shows for years, were "definitely the best thing we ever did."
5:56 p.m. | Starting spot spotlight
The only previous Dream winner on the front row of a heat race is Shane Clanton in the second heat. ... Six-time Dream winner Scott Bloomquist starts eighth in the same heat. ... Bobby Pierce starts on the pole, and his father and chassis builder's advice is to get a good start and get rolling through one and two to stay clear of trouble. "You've gotta get through there clean," Bob Pierce said.
5:50 p.m. | Pole on the line
Jeep Van Wormer of Pinconning, Mich., starts up front in the sixth heat, and a victory in the prelim would put him on the pole of the 100-lap feature.
“There’s a lot of pressure there," Van Wormer said. "I mean, it’s probably 15 laps and there’s a lot of good guys in that heat. You’ve got Dale McDowell, you’ve got Kent Robinson, both those guys won races this weekend, so it’s going to be a pretty tough heat race. There’s going to be a lot of competition, but it would mean a lot to win that race.”
5:46 p.m. | Home-state surprise
Dusty Moore of Swanton, Ohio, is trying to keep his nerves in check before starting on the pole of the fifth heat.
“I’m just blocking it out … I’m just taking it one step at a time. I won’t know until I mash the loud pedal when they drop the green. The car’s ready. I’m ready. We’ll see what we’ve got," Moore said. “The only way I can go is backwards. We’re hoping that don’t happen.”
5:42 p.m. | Madden thinking ahead
Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., still looking for his first feature victory at Eldora after many visits, knows that a victory in the fourth heat will put him inside the second row for the 100-lapper — a nice place to be. He hopes things continue to play out in his favor.
“It seems like everything’s lining up for us," said Madden, whose best preliminary finish was fifth on Friday night. "You know, we’ve got a pole and a good heat race, and it should kind of invert us if we’re able to win the heat to the front of the feature. And maybe we can get out there and win this thing.”
5:38 p.m. | Korte's challenge
Making what’s expected to be his last Dream appearance, Randy Korte of Highland, Ill., starts on the pole of the third heat. If he can make the feature lineup, it’ll be his first of the week — he didn’t crack the starting lineup in either 25-lap feature Thursday or Friday.
“I feel pretty good about the car,” said Korte, who plans to retire this fall. “We ain’t been as good as we’d like to be, but we’ll see what we can do.”
5:35 p.m. | The toughest heat
Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., will lead what's assuredly the most-stacked heat race to the green flag in the second prelim. He's ready to mix it up with Shane Clanton, Darrell Lanigan, Jonathan Davenport, Jimmy Owesn, Scott Bloomquist and others.
“I’m pretty excited," the 17-year-old told Ben Shelton, "just to get to the opportunity to start on the pole of a heat race. It takes a lot of luck and, you know, just to get in that position. We’ve just gotta pull it off and see how it goes … we’ve got a really tough heat race, so it’d going to be pretty tough.”
5:32 p.m. | First heat polesitter
Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., has turned thousands of laps at Eldora Speedway, but the first lap of the first heat race can sometimes be interesting. He's starting on the pole of Saturday's first 15-lap heat.
“The only thing that’s kind of nerve-wracking about that is the fact that it’s that first heat race," said Francis, looking for his first big victory at Eldora since 1999. "You never know exactly what you’ve got for a racetrack, whether it’s going to be a little greasy here or there, or something like that. That’s the only big question mark for that one.”
5:22 p.m. | The finish line
As general manager Roger Slack hinted Friday night, Eldora officially designated the finish line with neon orange posts about 4 feet before the flagstand. There's a similar post across the track on the fence at the infield wall adjacent to the gate opening. The finish line was clarified following Friday's last-lap photo finish with Brian Birkhofer edging Rick Eckert when electronic scoring listed Eckert as the winner, but officials ruled Birkhofer the winner after reviewing the video replay.
5 p.m. | An hour before hot laps
DirtonDirt.com’s live pay-per-view coverage is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. with hot laps scheduled for 6 p.m. Cars will practice just a few laps organized by heat race lineups.
- Main event (100 laps; 28-car field)