Batesville Motor Speedway
Handicapping the 22nd Comp Cams Topless 100
By Andy SavaryDirtonDirt.com
Handicapping the 22nd annual Comp Cams Topless 100 presented by Crop Production Services, the $40,000-to-win Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event slated for Aug. 15-16 at Batesville (Ark.) Motor Speedway (complete Topless 100 coverage):
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn.
Batesville history: A past winner of both Batesville’s Topless 100 and Bad Boy 98, Owens has not finished outside of the top-five in the Topless since 2008.
Recent performance: Still rolling, but fell just a few laps short of collecting his second $50,000 victory in eight days in Florence Speedway’s North-South 100 last weekend.
Topless 100 outlook: A serious contender in every major event he has entered this summer, Owens will be among the heavy favorites for each of the remaining crown jewels.
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn.
Batesville history: Bloomquist is one of two four-time Topless 100 winners, with his most recent victory coming in 2011.
Recent performance: Led for much of 100-lap distance at Florence, but saw the race get away from him down the stretch and was frustrated with second.
Topless 100 outlook: Bloomquist’s performance at Batesville speaks for itself and it’s only surprising when he is not running up front.
Jonathan Davenport (6), Blairsville, Ga.
Batesville history: Davenport made four Topless 100 starts from 2009-2012 with three top-10 finishes and best overall finish of sixth in 2010.
Recent performance: With 16 total victories (including at least one in every month since February), Davenport is among the winningest drivers in the country this season.
Topless 100 outlook: After contending for major victories at Eldora, Lernerville and Fairbury only to have them slip away, Davenport will be plenty hungry for the $40,000 top prize at Batesville.
Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky.
Batesville history: Francis has collected top-10 finishes in each of the last three Topless 100s, including a $40,000 victory in 2012.
Recent performance: May have turned a corner in recent weeks after posting solid finishes in both Cedar Lake Speedway's USA Nationals and Florence’s North-South 100.
Topless 100 outlook: Batesville has been good to Francis in his Barry Wright Race Cars and there is no reason to believe that should change this weekend.
Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga.
Batesville history: The 2004 Topless 100 winner showed third in the event last season after pressuring for the lead in the race’s middle stages.
Recent performance: McDowell has made limited starts this summer, but he did win the sport’s richest race in Eldora Speedway’s Dirt Late Model Dream.
Topless 100 outlook: It may not be flashy, but McDowell is among the most likely to be left standing at the end of the often attrition-filled 100-lap finale.
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark.
Batesville history: Along with Bloomquist, Moyer is one of just two four-time Topless 100 winners, though he has not been victorious since 2005.
Recent performance: The Hall of Famer was nearly unbeatable on the UMP DIRTcar Summernationals circuit this summer while collecting seven victories.
Topless 100 outlook: It has been a minute since Moyer ran up front in the Topless, but his overall performance has not faltered and he can never be counted out.
Terry Phillips (75), Springfield, Mo.
Batesville history: After two decades of trying, Phillips put the almost to rest and finally broke through for his first Topless 100 victory in 2013.
Recent performance: Though he has focused more on his modified racing recently, Phillips has turned in his best Late Model season in years.
Topless 100 outlook: With nothing left to prove and no points to race for, Phillips can throw caution to the wind while gunning for a repeat victory.
Jared Landers (777), Batesville, Ark.
Batesville history: Landers followed up his shocking 2010 Topless 100 victory with a pair of podium runs in 2011 and 2012.
Recent performance: Landers’ trajectory has been a roller coaster this season with strings of both good and bad runs.
Topless 100 outlook: The Batesville native should wheel it for all he’s got to win an event that clearly means a lot to him.
Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind.
Batesville history: The Topless 100 is a rare major event where O’Neal has never seriously challenged, with his best career finish of fifth coming in 2009.
Recent performance: Things didn’t go his way at Cedar Lake or Florence, but overall O’Neal has enjoyed one of his most consistent seasons.
Topless 100 outlook: O’Neal has knocked off quite a few crown jewel events over the past four seasons and has a notable chance to add the Topless to that list this weekend.
Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill.
Batesville history: The 2003 Topless 100 winner has had mixed results in limited starts at the track since his $40,000 victory.
Recent performance: Though he only has a handful victories in 2014, a workmanlike effort helped the Illini driver capture his fourth UMP DIRTcar Summernationals crown this summer.
Topless 100 outlook: It’s hard to tell what we’ll see from Babb at Batesville, but if it’s good, he’s proven it can be very good.
Brian Birkhofer (15B), Muscatine, Iowa
Batesville history: His last two Topless 100 starts ended on complete opposite ends of the spectrum, finishing 24th in 2010 and second in 2008.
Recent performance: Birkhofer got his new Rocket Chassis dialed in June, struggled a bit to end of July and then rebounded with a $10,000 victory at West Liberty (Iowa) Raceway on Aug. 5.
Topless 100 outlook: It’s been over a decade since Birkhofer last entered a Rocket at Batesville and it’s hard to know what to expect, but he has run up front in the Topless before and is capable of running there again.
John Blankenship (23), Williamson, W.Va.
Batesville history: Blankenship has not found much success in the Topless 100, but he did collect a $20,000 Bad Boy 98 victory at the track in 2013.
Recent performance: The defending World 100 winner has briefly caught lightning in a bottle at times, but for the most part has disappointed after breaking out last year.
Topless 100 outlook: Batesville could provide Blankenship with the victory he desperately needs to turn his season around.
Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis.
Batesville history: After skipping the event for a few years, the 2007 Topless 100 winner returned in 2013 with a sixth-place run.
Recent performance: Mars has notched multiple victories and been strong nearly every night in his return to the national scene over the last month.
Topless 100 outlook: With podium finishes in crown jewel events on each of the last two weekends, Mars isn’t far off from hitting major pay dirt.
Eddie Carrier Jr. (28), Salt Rock, W.Va.
Batesville history: Carrier made his first visits to Batesville last year and finished 18th in Sunday’s Topless 100 finale.
Recent performance: The Kentucky native collected his biggest career victory and became only the second home-state driver to win Florence’s North-South 100 on Aug. 9.
Topless 100 outlook: Now a member of the crown jewel club, Carrier will only get better at Batesville with more laps and experience.
Earl Pearson Jr. (44), Jacksonville, Fla.
Batesville history: Pearson has come close in Batesville’s major events, but he has never been able to finish off a victory.
Recent performance: The Bobby Labonte Racing driver had a tough weekend at Florence and continued a trend of up-and-down performances.
Topless 100 outlook: Pearson has not won a major event since 2010, but his history indicates that Batesville is as good a place as any for him to end that drought.
Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark.
Batesville history: The hometown driver has not finished better than 10th in six Topless 100 and Bad Boy 98 starts.
Recent performance: The younger Moyer posted his first top-five run and best career crown jewel finish during his last start at Cedar Lake.
Topless 100 outlook: Moyer Jr. continues to mature as a driver and build confidence in his new Longhorn Chassis, which could lead to a breakthrough victory in his hometown.
Jesse Stovall (00), Galena, Mo.
Batesville history: Stovall won a Topless 100 heat race in 2013 after posting a career-best finish of seventh in 2012.
Recent performance: The modified graduate made multiple starts with the Lucas Oil Series in July that included a fourth-place finish at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo.
Topless 100 outlook: Stovall has made great strides at Batesville, a track that seems to be to his liking, and it should not surprise anyone if he is in the hunt.
Wendell Wallace (1), Batesville, Ark.
Batesville history: Wallace won the Topless 100 in 1998 but has rarely been up to speed in Batesville’s crown jewel over the last decade.
Recent performance: Since jumping in Larry Moring’s No. 1, Wallace has produced mostly lackluster results and struggled with the learning curve.
Topless 100 outlook: His days of serious contention at the Topless seem to be a thing of the past, but perhaps his new Club 29 Race Car can rekindle the magic.
Other drivers expected to enter this weekend’s action include Garrett Alberson, Justin Asplin, Kyle Beard, Timothy Culp, Doug Drown, Dennis Erb Jr., Clay Fisher, Rick Hearnsberger, Jason Hughes, Gavin Landers, Bub McCool, Kody Mea, Jon Mitchell, Allen Murray, Brandon Overton, Jason Papich, David Payne, Jeremy Payne, Chandler Petty, B.J. Robinson, Shannon Scott, Brandon Smith, Robbie Stuart, Jack Sullivan, Tommy Surrett, Stacy Taylor, Will Vaught, Chris Wall, Tommy Weder Jr. and more.