Handicapping Eldora's 44th annual World 100
By Andy SavaryDirtonDirt.com staff writer
Handicapping the 44th annual World 100, the $47,000-to-win, UMP DIRTcar-sanctioned non-touring event slated for Sept. 4-6 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio (complete World 100 coverage):
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn.
Eldora history: With three major victories at Eldora to his name, Owens is one of only six drivers to win both the Dream and World.
Dream performance: Owens won a Thursday preliminary feature and rallied from 25th to finish fourth in Saturday’s 100-lapper.
World 100 outlook: It’d be stunning if Owens doesn’t find victory lane at least once, and if he starts near the front Saturday, these odds may not be low enough.
Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga.
Eldora history: With his Dream XX victory in June, McDowell joined the elite group drivers who have won Eldora biggies.
Dream performance: McDowell was far from done after winning a Friday prelim, rallying from the 22nd spot to claim a $100,000 victory in Saturday’s finale.
World 100 outlook: Entering fresh and a winner in his most recent start, McDowell showed in June that he’s a threat to win no matter where he starts.
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn.
Eldora history: Bloomquist has three globes (and six Dreams) in his trophy case, but hasn’t triumphed in the World 100 since 2001.
Dream performance: After starting fifth on Saturday, Bloomquist led roughly half of the 100-lapper before falling to fourth late.
World 100 outlook: He’s been on the brink of something special all year and nobody has broken through more often in big moments than Bloomquist has over the years.
Darrell Lanigan (29), Union, Ky.
Eldora history: Lanigan was the 2003 Dirt Late Model Dream winner and the runner-up in last year’s World 100.
Dream performance: The head of Club 29 finished second in a Friday prelim but was the first retiree in Saturday’s main event.
World 100 outlook: Is this year Lanigan finally gets it done? We asked the same question before Lernerville Speedway's Firecracker 100 and it played out to be true.
Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind.
Eldora history: After decades of trying, O’Neal won his first Eldora biggie in 2011, when he topped Moyer in the Dream.
Dream performance: O’Neal appeared to biding his time in the main event when a sudden tangle with Jonathan Davenport ended his chances.
World 100 outlook: While the twilight of O’Neal’s career has been kind to him, he only has so many more chances to raise the globe.
John Blankenship (23), Williamson, W.Va.
Eldora history: Blankenship scored his first crown jewel victory with a 12th-to-first rally in last year’s World 100.
Dream performance: He recorded his most memorable performance of 2014 in charging forward from 24th to claim runner-up honors during Saturday’s finale.
World 100 outlook: If the World 100 goes anything like Blankenship’s season thus far, he’ll either be a serious contender or out of the race altogether.
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark.
Eldora history: No driver has won the sport’s biggest race more times than Moyer, who has six globes in the books with the most recent coming in 2010.
Dream performance: Moyer wasn’t far off the pace in June, leading briefly in the early stages of Saturday’s finale and running in the top five.
World 100 outlook: He’s already got a record number of globes, but one more could extend that to a number that may never fall.
Brian Birkhofer (15B), Muscatine, Iowa
Eldora history: He has never realized a $100,000 Dream at the Big E, but Birkhofer is one of only seven drivers to win more than one globe.
Dream performance: Birkofer nipped Rick Eckert in the ultimate photo finish to win a Friday prelim, but engine woes ended his Saturday very early.
World 100 outlook: Birky hasn’t run up to his usual standards in long-distance races recently, but that didn’t matter in a similar situation in 2012.
Jonathan Davenport (6), Blairsville, Ga.
Eldora history: Fast in spots over the years, but Davenport has never really put it all together under the spotlight at The Big E.
Dream performance: Davenport was likely on the way to his best-ever finish on Saturday before a top-five run came to a crashing halt with O’Neal.
World 100 outlook: There may not be a funner driver to watch throughout the weekend, but if he’ll have to be there at the end Saturday in order to win it.
Eddie Carrier Jr. (28), Salt Rock, W.Va.
Eldora history: Carrier came up just short of stealing a World 100 victory from Owens in the final corners during the 2011 running.
Dream performance: After leading briefly early in Saturday’s finale, Carrier slipped back to seventh as the race progressed.
World 100 outlook: Little Eddie won his first crown jewel in Florence Speedway’s North-South 100 and Eldora provides his best chance at adding No. 2.
Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis.
Eldora history: Mars burst onto the scene with a victory in the famous 1997 Dirt Late Model Dream but has had inconsistent success at the Big E since.
Dream performance: After a pair of mid-pack finishes in Thursday and Friday prelims, Mars failed to qualify for Saturday’s 100-lap finale.
World 100 outlook: We’ve seen Mars have trouble early in the night, but if he gets in Saturday’s finale, he’s among the best crown jewel racers in the sport.
Matt Miller (3), Whitehouse, Ohio
Eldora history: The reigning track champion bagged his lone crown jewel victory at Eldora in the 2005 Dirt Late Model Dream.
Dream performance: The standout of the 2013 Dream couldn’t duplicate his success, running mid-pack each night in 2014.
World 100 outlook: When Miller is good at Eldora, he looks to be near unbeatable, and we should learn a lot about his Saturday chances on Thursday and Friday.
Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill.
Eldora history: No driver has lost the World 100 in more heartbreaking fashion than Babb, who finished first in 2005 but came up light at the scales.
Dream performance: He was fourth in a Friday prelim, but Saturday didn’t go his way as he retired early in the 100-lapper.
World 100 outlook: Babb seemed to have delivered Illinois its first World 100 win in 2005, and though it didn’t stick, he’s still the most likely Illini driver to win it in 2014.
Rick Eckert (1), York, Pa.
Eldora history: The 1999 Dirt Late Model Dream winner notched his best World 100 finish of fourth in the same year.
Dream performance: Eckert’s most notable moment came in the tight loss to Birkhofer during a Friday prelim, but he rebounded nicely to finish eighth Saturday.
World 100 outlook: His Rocket house car experience has been less than stellar thus far, but the team showed Eldora promise in June. A globe would make everything right.
Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky.
Eldora history: It’s hard to believe, but 15 years have passed since Francis visited Eldora victory lane in the 1999 World 100.
Dream performance: Francis failed to record a single top-10 finish during the weekend and was 12th in Saturday’s finale.
World 100 outlook: He may have lost his touch at Eldora in recent trips, but that’s certainly not to say that he’ll never get it back.
Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C.
Eldora history: A former World 100 polesitter, Madden has collected seven career top-10 finishes in Eldora’s crown jewel events.
Dream performance: Madden earned finishes of fifth (Friday), sixth (Thursday) and 10th (Saturday), but never seriously contended for a victory.
World 100 outlook: Like Carrier, he’s come close before and if he continues to put himself in contention frequently, the cards will fall his way at some point.
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y.
Eldora history: T-Mac won a World 100 tune-up on Friday in 2013 and has a recorded top-five finish in both the Dream and World during his career.
Dream performance: McCreadie’s weekend started with a 10th-place finish on Thursday and deteriorated each night as he ultimately missed Saturday’s feature.
World 100 outlook: There wouldn’t be a more popular victory among fans if he’s able to pull it off, but he’s been volatile in big events this year.
Steve Casebolt (c9), Richmond, Ind
Eldora history: Casebolt swept the Late Model portion of Eldora’s Mudsummer Classic in July and won the 2007 Dream while driving for Dale Beitler.
Dream performance: The former race winner did not enter, instead readying for his July switch to Club 29 Race Cars.
World 100 outlook: The competition is much stiffer, but if he runs anything like he did six weeks back, he’ll spend time on or near the stage at some point.
Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga.
Eldora history: Another of the six drivers who have won both Eldora crown jewels, but Clanton has not finished a major event at the Big E since his Dream win in 2012.
Dream performance: Clanton suffered through a weekend to forget that ended with an early retirement in Saturday’s feature and a 27th-place finish.
World 100 outlook: The season hasn’t been kind to Clanton, but he’s showed signs as of late and if there’s one place he might turn things around, it’s Eldora.
Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn.
Eldora history: An Eldora visitor for roughly a decade now, Marlar has earned a pair of top-10 finishes in World 100 action.
Dream performance: Marlar was the overall fastest qualifier and used a provisional from that to start Saturday’s feature, where he placed 13th.
World 100 outlook: The friendly modified graduate has won some big Late Model races, but a globe would elevate his status to the next level.
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill.
Eldora history: The 17-year-old opened eyes with a high-flying, fourth-place run in his first World 100 appearance last season.
Dream performance: Pierce finished second to Owens on Thursday, but experienced all trouble from there and did not start Friday or Saturday’s events.
World 100 outlook: After setting the bar extremely high in 2013, it’ll be difficult, but not impossible, for Pierce to match his Saturday success again.
Kent Robinson (7r), Bloomington, Ind.
Eldora history: K-Rob won Eldora’s Baltes Classic Sunday and has started one of the track’s major events in each of the last four years.
Dream performance: Opened his weekend with a flag-to-flag victory in a Thursday prelim and finished fifth and 16th on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
World 100 outlook: The big question will be how his injured ribs hold up on Eldora’s aggressive surface for 100 laps, but he’s proven that he has the ability to run up front.
Jeep Van Wormer (55), Pinconning, Mich.
Eldora history: No driver has had as many fun runs (or left as many marks) against Eldora’s walls as Van Wormer, who is a former track champion and World 100 podium finisher.
Dream performance: Van Wormer was consistently quick, but not quite quick enough, notching an eighth-place finish and a pair of ninth-place runs.
World 100 outlook: The fan favorite has been on the verge before and if he can make his car last for 100 laps on Eldora’s treacherous cushion, he may be there again.
Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill.
Eldora history: It took some laps to get his feet wet, but Feger has become more of a threat at Eldora and recorded a fifth-place finish in the 2012 World.
Dream performance: His high-water mark of third came Friday and was sandwiched between a pair of finishes in the 20s on Thursday and Saturday.
World 100 outlook: Feger has moved past the stage of hoping to make the race and into the stage where he should aim to be a contender.
Jared Landers (777), Batesville, Ark.
Eldora history: Landers has flown under the radar and lurked near the front at times during his career at the Big E, including in June.
Dream performance: Couldn’t get much going on Thursday or Friday, but quietly ended up sixth at the end of Saturday’s 100-lapper.
World 100 outlook: The key for Landers will be avoiding trouble early in the evening, and if he does, he’s shown he can move forward in the finale.
Earl Pearson Jr. (44), Jacksonville, Fla.
Eldora history: Pearson was victorious in arguably the most famous World 100 ever in 2006, but has produced sporadically at Eldora since.
Dream performance: His dismal weekend included a 17th-place finish in Thursday’s preliminary action and a pair of did-not-starts on Friday and Saturday.
World 100 outlook: Things likely can’t go worse than they did in June, but the former race winner needs to find a lot of speed quickly if he’s going to make noise.
Brandon Sheppard (B5), New Berlin, Ill.
Eldora history: Sheppard has made the World 100 each of the past three seasons and posted a best-career finish of seventh in 2012.
Dream performance: In a strange turn, he was never up to speed and failed to crack the feature lineup on each of the three nights.
World 100 outlook: After hitting rock bottom in early June, B-Shepp regained past form over the summer and should be heard from this time around.
Ryan Gustin (19r), Marshalltown, Iowa
Eldora history: The modified graduate made his first-ever Late Model appearance at Eldora during this summer’s Dream.
Dream performance: Though he never contended, Gustin did make the feature field each night in June.
World 100 outlook: Gustin is probably still laps away from contending for a globe, but there’s no doubt that the famed track suits his driving style.
Devin Moran (99m), Dresden, Ohio
Eldora history: The youngster is still getting his feet wet at yhe Big E, a place where his Dream-, World- and Eldora Million-winning father, Donnie, made his name.
Dream performance: Moran had little chance to show his stuff Saturday after being swept up in a heat race incident on the opening lap.
World 100 outlook: He’s been arguably the best driver from the state of Ohio in 2014 and he’s capable of posting some nice runs.
Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark.
Eldora history: The younger Moyer finished 19th in his only crown jewel start at The Big E during the 2012 World 100.
Dream performance: Started the weekend with 13th- and 14th-place runs in preliminary features, but failed to crack Saturday’s lineup.
World 100 outlook: Eldora has never been Moyer Jr.’s forte, but his Longhorn cars have been in 2014, and he’ll likely make gains during his second visit with them.
Brad Neat (41), Dunnville, Ky.
Eldora history: Neat’s most notable Eldora moment is a third-place finish during the 2012 World 100.
Dream performance: The second quickest qualifier fell back on a provisional after swapping out an engine Friday and finished 22nd in the finale.
World 100 outlook: His stint with Justin Rattliff’s team has gone quite well, including at the Dream, and they could put together another good weekend.
Terry Phillips (75), Springfield, Mo.
Eldora history: Phillips sat on the pole and led early during last year’s World 100, where he finished sixth and turned in one of his best Eldora performances.
Dream performance: Following a pair of forgettable performances on Thursday and Friday, Phillips did not qualify for Saturday’s 100-lapper.
World 100 outlook: Despite his lackluster success in June, Phillips should have plenty of confidence after a strong summer in both his Late Model and modified.
Tyler Reddick (11), DuQuoin, Ill.
Eldora history: A former World 100 heat winner, Reddick finished 11th during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' Mudsummer Classic at Eldora in late July.
Dream performance: Because of commitments with his pavement career, Reddick was not able to enter the Dream in June.
World 100 outlook: Reddick has no fear of Eldora, and though he has made only a few starts on dirt in 2014, he did collect his richest career Late Model victory.
Gregg Satterlee (22), Rochester Mills, Pa.
Eldora history: Satterlee has made five starts in Eldora’s big events, but he has never faired better than 14th.
Dream performance: Satterlee won the opening heat race Saturday but was mired to a 16th-place finish in the 100-lapper.
World 100 outlook: We frequently hear that Eldora is a track where you simply need laps, and as Satterlee continues to gain them, he’ll only become more dangerous.
Brian Shirley (81), Chatham, Ill.
Eldora history: Shirley claimed a heat race during last year’s World 100 and owns a top performance of sixth-place from the 2008 edition of the event.
Dream performance: His only feature start of the weekend ended with an eighth-place finish in Friday’s first prelim.
World 100 outlook: A slow start to 2014 carried into June’s Dream, but he’s been considerably improved during the summer and should have a better World weekend.
Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa
Eldora history: Simpson has made the race during his last three trips to Eldora with a best showing of 12th-place in last year’s World 100.
Dream performance: A member of a feature field each night, Simpson posted his best result of the weekend on Thursday, finishing third in a prelim.
World 100 outlook: Simpson consistently finds ways to crack the starting fields at Eldora and there’s certainly something to be said for that.
Randy Weaver (116), Crossville, Tenn.
Eldora history: Weaver made his lone start in an Eldora crown jewel event during the 2007 Dream and was a disappointing 25th.
Dream performance: With his father ailing, Weaver elected to pass on the Dream and stayed home to provide care.
World 100 outlook: In the past, Weaver’s game hasn’t fit Eldora, but after his scalding-hot summer in a new Longhorn, that may just change.
Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa.
Eldora history: Zeigler has yet to crack the starting field for the World, but has taken the green flag in each of the last two Dreams.
Dream performance: Posted a pair of top-10 finishes in preliminaries and ended the weekend with a 15th-place run in Saturday’s finale.
World 100 outlook: Zeigler will have increased expectations after notching a pair of Summernationals wins and a podium finish in Fairbury's Prairie Dirt Classic this summer.
The field: 15-1
Other drivers expected to enter: Josh Adkins, Walker Arthur, Jeff Babcock, Morgan Bagley, Mike Benedum, Jerry Bowersock, Scott Bowersock, David Breazeale, Chris Brown, Duane Chamberlain, Michael Chilton, Wayne Chinn, Delmas Conley, J.T. Conley, Rod Conley, R.J. Conley, Ray Cook, Ernie Cordier, Timothy Culp, Curtis Deisenroth, Bryant Dickinson, Brian Diveley, Mark Dotson, Doug Drown, Dennis Erb Jr., Cecil Eunice, Tim Fuller, Don Gordon, Brian Gray, Rodney Hamblin, Jacob Hawkins, Jared Hawkins, Frank Heckenast Jr., Jake Henry, Jon Henry, Vic Hill, Jon Hodgkiss, J.R. Hotovy, Austin Hubbard, Jason Hughes, Matt Irey, Scott James, Davey Johnson, Jay Johnson, Chase Junghans, Brandon Kinzer, Austin Kirkpatrick, Scott Knepley, Randy Korte, Butch Kruckeberg, Steve Lance, Tim Lance, Nick Latham, Charles LaPlant, Dustin Linville, Cody Mahoney, Tim Manville, Dona Marcoullier, Mack, McCarter, Bub McCool, Donald McIntosh, Rodney Melvin, Dusty Moore, Chris Nash, Ross Nicastri, Ted Nobbe, Casey Noonan, Billy Ogle Jr., Brandon Overton, James Rice, Jason Riggs, Andrew Reaume, Curtis Roberts, Brian Ruhlman, Chad Ruhlman, Rusty Schlenk, Aaron Scott, Jim Shereck, Austin Smith, Mike Spatola, Shannon Thornsberry, Ryan VanderVeen, Wendell Wallace, Kevin Weaver, Eric Wells, Jason Welshan, McKay Wenger, Jeff Wolfenbarger and Terry Wolfenbarger.