Thursday Big E features go to McDowell, Owens
By Todd Turner, Kevin Kovac and Alli CollisDirtonDirt.com
ROSSBURG, Ohio (Sept. 4) — Live blog-style updates from Thursday’s preliminary $5,000-to-win double features preceding the 44th annual World 100, Dirt Late Model racing’s most prestigious event at Eldora Speedway (complete World 100 coverage):
What Jimmy Owens lacked early in the night at Eldora Speedway, he made up for it in the night’s closing 25-lap feature.
Roaring to the front from his 14th starting spot in the 24-car field, the Newport, Tenn.,driver went from fourth to first over a four-lap stretch just past the race’s midpoint, overtaking polesitter Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., on the 15th lap and racing to victory.
Only a hangup with lapped cars in the closing laps allowed Kent Robinson to close in as Owens took the checkers 1.330 seconds ahead of the Bloomington, Ind., driver.
Fifth-starting Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., was third while Madden settled for fourth. Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill., came from 12th to fifth while tail-starting Billy Moyer Jr. rallied to finish seventh.
Jeff Babcock of Wayne, Ohio, started outside the front row and led the first five laps, but he slipped to an eighth-place finish in a race with a single caution flag.
The first start was called back when for the tail-starting Dustin Linville’s turn-two spin.
Finish: Jimmy Owens, Kent Robinson, Tim McCreadie, Chris Madden, Frank Heckenast Jr., John Blankenship, Billy Moyer Jr., Jeff Babcock, Brian Shirley, Earl Pearson Jr., Shane Clanton, Chris Simpson, Doug Drown, Dustin Linville, Mason Zeigler, Steve Francis, Dennis Erb Jr., Eddie Carrier Jr., Jason Hughes, Greg Johnson, Jerry Bowersock, Bobby Pierce, Brandon Overton, Randy Korte.
Dale McDowell is obviously still dreaming about his Eldora success. Starting outside the front row, the 48-year-old driver from Chickamauga, Ga., led all 25 laps in the first of two preliminary features Thursday on the opening night of the 44th annual World 100 weekend. The victory is McDowell’s third in a row at Eldora going back to June’s Dream XX weekend when he won a preliminary feature and $100,000 windfall.
McDowell stayed ahead of a late challenge from Randy Weaver of Crossville, Tenn., who started eighth and turned in his best career Eldora finish with a runner-up showing. Weaver was on the move early, taking second from polesitter Gregg Satterlee of Indiana, Pa., on ninth lap and trying to cut into McDowell’s half-straightaway advantage.
Weaver slowly edge a bit closer, then with six laps remaining began driving harder into turns one and three to close in on McDowell as he approached lapped traffic.
But Weaver never got closer than five lengths as McDowell kept him at bay in running the high side all race long.
Satterlee settled for third while two-time World 100 winner Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, rallied from his 12th starting spot to finish fourth. Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., finished fifth, dropping two spots from his starting position.
The race ran caution free with all but one driver running at the finish.
Finish: Dale McDowell, Randy Weaver, Gregg Satterlee, Brian Birkhofer, Jimmy Mars, Brad Neat, Cody Mahoney, Darrell Lanigan, Terry Phillips, Tyler Reddick, Brandon Sheppard, Jason Feger, Jonathan Davenport, Eric Wells, Devin Moran, Chris Brown, Matt Miller, Ryan Gustin, Wendell Wallace, Curtis Roberts, Austin Hubbard, Mike Marlar, Chase Junghans, Rusty Schlenk.
Terry Phillips and Randy Korte won the first two consies. ... After Matt Miler stole the final transfer spot from Jared Landers in the first odd consy, Landers spun Miller in turn two on the cool-down lap. … Jacob Hawkins made a run for the third and final transfer spot in the second consolation, but dropped back to finish fourth after getting into the backstretch wall. … Outside polesitter Chase Junghans finished with a commanding lead over veteran Wendell Wallace and Austin Hubbard in the third consolation. … Billy Moyer Jr. bested his father Billy Moyer in Thursday’s fourth and final consolation. Moyer Jr. finished third, with the elder Moyer running fourth. … Jerry Bowersock picked up the win in the fourth consolation after polesitter Tanner English dropped back to finish sixth.
Brad Neat’s spirits were riding sky-high after his victory in the first odd heat. “This thing’s awesome tonight,” he bubbled after crossing the scales. “We can’t ask for anything better. I just hope it stays this way for the rest of the weekend.” … Scott James wasn’t happy after spinning between turns three and four on lap three of the first even heat and getting clipped hard in the left-front corner by Chad Ruhlman, leaving his car with significant damage. “I just got out of the moisture and got in the slick and spun out,” James angrily said immediately after climbing out of his car. A short time later, after changing into street clothes, James was still disgusted with his fate. The hit from Ruhlman severely twisted the front clip of his machine; when asked if it could repaired, he quipped, “If we go to Rocket (in Shinnston, W.Va.),” indicating that his weekend was likely over. … Scott Bloomquist’s apparent cruise to victory in the second odd heat was short-circuited by a broken fuel pump that caused him to slow heading to the white flag and fail to qualify. Jason Feger inherited the victory. “It’s always good to be lucky,” he said. “We got a break there. My car felt pretty good. We’re happy with it.” … After finishing fifth in the second odd heat, Mike Spatola had to replace his car’s busted radiator. … No heat winner sounded as confident about the performance of their car than Darrell Lanigan, who captured the third odd heat by a commanding margin of a full straightaway. “The car was really good,” he pronounced. “We ran through the middle and it didn’t really slide up, so we got a good piece here.” … After winning the third even heat, Kent Robinson reported that he felt an alarming chatter in the left-front corner of his car. “I got hit by three cars so that’s probably part of it,” said Robinson, who won a preliminary feature three months ago during the Dream. “We’ll figure out the problem.” … Former Eldora track champion Jeff Babcock was smiling after his victory in the fifth even heat gave him the outside pole for his group’s 25-lap feature. “The car felt really good rolling up there along the wall,” he said. … Chris Madden received a pleasant surprise after conducting a post-race interview following his victory in the sixth odd heat. He mentioned that he would be starting sixth in he feature, but he actually will take the green flag from the pole position. … Heat winner and last year's World 100 winner John Blankenship often finds himself midpack at Eldora, so he was glad to run up front throughout the prelim. “That was a little different getting to start up front there,” he said. … Heat winner Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., was pleased with his car, although it took him a moment to get rolling. “The wheels spun on the start a little bit. After that the car felt good. We’ll see what happens in the feature.”
First odd consolation (top three transfer): Terry Phillips, Ryan Gustin, Matt Miller, Jared Landers, R.J. Conley, Don O'Neal, Scott Bloomquist, Rick Eckert, Donald McIntosh, Casey Noonan, Nick Latham, Jon Henry, Tim Lance, David Breazeale, Ross Nicastri, George Lee, Brian Gray. Scratched: Mike Spatola.
First even consolation (top three transfer): Randy Korte, Jason Hughes, Dustin Linville, Jacob Hawkins, Timothy Culp, Bub McCool, Shannon Babb, Chad Ruhlman, Aaron Scott, Jim Schereck, Wayne Chinn, Billy Ogle Jr., Jon Hodgkiss, Brett Wyatt, Cecil Eunice, Charles LaPlant. Scratched: Scott Bowersock, Mark Dotson, Scott James.
Second odd consolation (top three transfer): Chase Junghans, Wendell Wallace, Austin Hubbard, Brandon Kinzer, Morgan Bagley, Vic Hill, Jason Riggs, Brian Ruhlman, Josh Adkins, Jason Welshan, Don Hammer, Mack McCarter, Don Gordon, Bryant Dickinson, James Rice, Steve Casebolt. Scratched: Delmas Conley, McKay Wenger, Rodney Hamblin.
Second even consolation (top three transfer): Jerry Bowersock, Greg Johnson, Billy Moyer Jr., Billy Moyer, Rod Conley, Tanner English, Duane Chamberlain, Jeep Van Wormer, Brian Diveley, Walker Arthur, Steve Lance Jr., Dan Schlieper, Terry Wolfenbarger, Jay Johnson, J.T. Conley, Shannon Thornsberry, Ron McQuerry, Chris Nash.
First odd consolation
Row 1: Terry Phillips, Ryan Gustin
Row 2: Rick Eckert, Matt Miller
Row 3: Mike Spatola, Don O'Neal
Row 4: Casey Noonan, R.J. Conley
Row 5: Jared Landers, David Breazeale
Row 6: Tim Lance, Ross Nicastri
Row 7: Jon Henry, Brian Gray
Row 8: Nick Latham, George Lee
Row 9: Scott Bloomquist, Donald McIntosh
First even consolation
Row 1: Jacob Hawkins, Randy Korte
Row 2: Dustin Linville, Jason Hughes
Row 3: Wayne Chinn, Shannon Babb
Row 4: Timothy Culp, Aaron Scott
Row 5: Bub McCool, Charlie LaPlant
Row 6: Billy Ogle Jr., Mark Dotson
Row 7: Scott James, Jim Shereck
Row 8: Brett Wyatt, Chad Ruhlman
Row 9: Jon Hodgkiss, Cecil Eunice
Second odd consolation
Row 1: Jason Riggs, Chase Junghans
Row 2: Wendell Wallace, Brandon Kinzer
Row 3: Austin Hubbard, Brian Ruhlman
Row 4: Vic Hill, Steve Casebolt
Row 5: Jason Welshan, Don Gordon
Row 6: Morgan Bagley, James Rice
Row 7: Delmas Conley, Don Hammer
Row 8: Josh Adkins, McKay Wenger
Row 9: Mack McCarter, Rodney Hamblin
Second even consolation
Row 1: Tanner English, Jerry Bowersock
Row 2: Billy Moyer Jr., Greg Johnson
Row 3: Billy Moyer, Duane Chamberlain
Row 4: Dan Schlieper, Jeep Van Wormer
Row 5: Rod Conley, Terry Wolfenbarger
Row 6: Steve Lance Jr., Jay Johnson
Row 7: Shannon Thornsberry, J.T. Conley
Row 8: Brian Diveley, Ron McQuerry
Row 9: Walker Arthur, Chris Nash
Sixth even heat
Winning the pole for the even feature, Chris Madden cruised to victory from outside the front row, taking the checkers ahead of polesitter Frank Heckenast Jr. Fourth-starting Doug Drown got the third and final transfer spot, taking the position from Billy Moyer Jr. at the midway point. Moyer got a great start, nearly slipping under Heckenast heading into turn one at the outset, but that was his high-water mark as he settled for fourth. Duane Chamberlain was further back in fifth.
Finish (top three transfer): Chris Madden, Frank Heckenast Jr., Doug Drown, Billy Moyer Jr., Duane Chamberlain, Rod Conley, Jay Johnson, Brian Diveley, Chris Nash, Curtis Deisenroth.
Sixth odd heat
Gregg Satterlee led all the way from the pole while Brian Birkhofer, Rusty Schlenk and Wendell Wallace mixed it up behind him. Wallace got a piece of the turn-four wall to slip by on the third lap while Birkhofer began to close on Satterlee near halfway. While Birkhofer never caught Satterlee — who earned the pole for the 25-lap odd feature — the battle for the third spot was a thriller. Wallace recovered to grab third from Schlenk on the sixth lap, but Schlenk drove hard into the corners on the low side and regained the spot heading for the checkers. Wallace settled for fourth in a caution-free race.
Finish (top three transfer): Gregg Satterlee, Brian Birkhofer, Rusty Schlenk, Wendell Wallace, Brian Ruhlman, Jason Welshan, James Rice, Josh Adkins, Rodney Hamblin.
Fifth even heat
In one of tightest heat battles up front early, front-row starters Jeff Babcock and Eddie Carrier Jr. ran nearly side-by-side the first few laps before Babcock took firmer control on the fourth lap. Carrier chased him in second on the high side while fifth-starting Dennis Erb Jr. grabbed the third and final transfer spot on the fifth lap. Erb turned the quickest laps of the race Jerry Bowersock was fourth ahead of six-time World 100 winner Billy Moyer in the caution-free prelim.
Finish (top three transfer): Jeff Babcock, Eddie Carrier Jr., Dennis Erb Jr., Jerry Bowersock, Billy Moyer, Jeep Van Wormer, Steve Lance Jr., J.T. Conley, Walker Arthur, Ernie Cordier.
Fifth odd heat
Picking up where he left off in June, Dream winner Dale McDowell jumped into the lead at the start, snookered the field on an early restart and raced to victory ahead of a charging Jonathan Davenport. The battle for second was a tight one between the sixth-starting Davenport and Mike Marlar, with Davenport sliding under Marlar in turn four on the third lap. Marlar held on to third while Chase Junghans was solid in fourth. Third-starting Austin Hubbard, driving Chad Stapleton's car spun between turns one and two on the second lap, and Mack McCarter narrowly missed him; Hubbard ended up fifth.
Finish (top three transfer): Dale McDowell, Jonathan Davenport, Mike Marlar, Chase Junghans, Austin Hubbard, Steve Casebolt, Morgan Bagley, Don Hammer, Mack McCarter, Bryant Dickinson.
Fourth even heat
Outside front-row starter blitzed polesitter Steve Francis early and pulled away for an easy victory, winning by more than a straightaway. Francis was left to battle with fourth-starting Brandon Overton in the early laps, with Francis fending off challenges by Overton and then edging away. Overton was a comfortable third while Tanner English was a distant fourth in the caution-free heat.
Finish (top three transfer): Bobby Pierce, Steve Francis, Brandon Overton, Tanner English, Greg Johnson, Dan Schlieper, Terry Wolfenbarger, Shannon Thornsberry, Ron McQuerry.
Fourth odd heat
Jimmy Mars won an early duel with Brandon Sheppard and pulled away for a victory in the prelim. Sheppard chased Mars on the high side to sew up the second spot, while Texan Chris Brown, who briefly lost the third spot to Vic Hill early and then again to Jason Riggs late, got the final transfer spot. Riggs edged ahead on the sixth lap in the low groove, but Chris Brown's higher line carried him back ahead in the final laps. Delmas Conley retired after a single lap.
Finish (top three transfer): Jimmy Mars, Brandon Sheppard, Chris Brown, Jason Riggs, Brandon Kinzer, Vic Hill, Don Gordon, Delmas Conley. Scratched: Butch Kruckeberg, McKay Wenger.
Third even heat
Recovering from a tough start, polesitter Kent Robinson worked under outside front-row starter Brian Shirley on the sixth lap to grab the lead and the victory in the eight-lap prelim. Shirley held on for second ahead of a hard-charging Mason Zeigler, who grabbed the final transfer spot. He took the position from Dustin Linville, who started third but slipped under Robinson heading into turn one on the first start, dropping the winner to third. Robinson gathered his car, went under Linville and then tracked down
Finish (top three transfer): Kent Robinson, Brian Shirley, Mason Zeigler, Dustin Linville, Shannon Babb, Bub McCool, Mark Dotson, Cecil Eunice, Brett Wyatt, Andrew Gordon.
Third odd heat
Darrell Lanigan dominated from outside the front row for an easy victory while Eric Wells stormed from the tail to finish second, taking the spot from Cody Mahoney on the sixth lap. The polesitting Mahoney, former crew chief for Don O'Neal, outdueled O'Neal to finish second, while O'Neal slipped to fourth behind Rick Eckert on the final lap. Eckert had lost ground when Wells went past mid-race. The first start was called off when Nick Latham spun in turn one, drawing a caution.
Finish (top three transfer): Darrell Lanigan, Eric Wells, Cody Mahoney, Rick Eckert, Don O'Neal, Jared Landers, Ross Nicastri, Nick Latham, Donald McIntosh, Tim Sabo.
Second even heat
Polesitter Tim McCreadie took control early and raced to an eight-lap victory while Shane Clanton and Randy Korte mixed it up for second early in the race. Clanton used the high side to pull away from Korte, who found his hands full with fifth-starting Jimmy Owens at halfway. Owens slipped past on the sixth lap to drop Korte to fourth while Wayne Chinn, shuffled back early from his third starting spot, was further back in fifth.
Finish (top three transfer): Tim McCreadie, Shane Clanton, Jimmy Owens, Randy Korte, Wayne Chinn, Aaron Scott, Billy Ogle Jr, Jim Shereck, Jon Hodgkiss, Scott Bowersock.
Second odd heat
When Scott Bloomquist slowed leading on the sixth lap, polesitter Jason Feger regained the lead to win the caution-free prelim. Feger took control early but had his hands full with Randy Weaver and Bloomquist, who grabbed second from Weaver on the third lap. Bloomquist went under Feger on the low side exiting turn four to lead at halfway and edged away before his car fell off the pace. Feger and Weaver moved up to first and second while Devin Moran picked up a transfer spot with Bloomquist's demise.
Finish (top three transfer): Jason Feger, Randy Weaver, Devin Moran, Ryan Gustin, Mike Spatola, R.J. Conley, Tim Lance, Brian Gray, Scott Bloomquist. Scott Knepley.
First even heat
John Blankenship turned back and early challenge from Chris Simpson and raced to an eight-lap victory. Simpson held the second spot most of the way, but fifth-starting Earl Pearson Jr. made his way past with two to go. Simpson held on for the third and final transfer spot over a fast-closing Jacob Hawkins and Jason Hughes, who briefly moved into third on an early restart. One caution slowed the action on the third lap. Scott James was running fourth when he spun in turn four and collected Chad Ruhlman, who was driving his brother Brian's backup car.
Finish (top three transfer): John Blankenship, Earl Pearson Jr., Chris Simpson, Earl Pearson Jr., Jacob Hawkins, Jason Hughes, Timothy Culp, Charles LaPlant, Scott James, Chad Ruhlman. Scratched: Austin Smith.
First odd heat
Overall fast qualifier Brad Neat used his outside front-row starting spot to built a half-straightaway lead on the first lap. He never looked back and cruised to an eight-lap victory while Tyler Reddick and Curtis Roberts battled for second in the early laps. Reddick pulled away by the fourth lap and held onto the second spot while Roberts got the final transfer spot, fending off challenges from Terry Phillips in the caution-free prelim. Four Ohio drivers — Matt Miller, Casey Noonan, Jon Henry and George Lee — will head to a consolation race.
Finish (top three transfer): Brad Neat, Tyler Reddick, Curtis Roberts, Terry Phillips, Matt Miller, Casey Noonan, Jon Henry, David Breazeale, George Lee, Rodney Melvin.
More post-qualifying notes
After registering the fastest lap in qualifying, Brad Neat of Dunnville, Ky., can savor his accomplishment — unlike three months ago, when his second-fastest lap in Friday-night qualifying for the Dream was dulled by the fact that terminal engine woes left him unable to compete in the evening’s preliminary program. “We’re excited,” said Neat, who is once again driving a car from the Rattliff Racing stable (though minus his teammate Justin Rattliff, who is recovering from a broken hand suffered during the summer). “I gotta thank these guys on the car. They’ve worked their hind ends off to give me a chance come do something I like.” … Eric Wells’s slam of the turn-one wall during hot laps left his Rocket by BruceBilt car with too much damage for him to qualify. After a whirlwind scramble that saw his crew replace virtually all suspension parts and straighten every body panel on the car’s right side, Wells will start at the back of a heat race. What caused his accident? “I think I got oil on the right-front (tire),” said Wells, noting that overflow oil from the engine was visible on the inside of the car. “I just slid right into the wall.”
Odd heat lineups
First odd heat
Row 1: Tyler Reddick, Brad Neat
Row 2: Terry Phillips, Curtis Roberts
Row 3: Matt Miller, Casey Noonan
Row 4: David Breazeale, George Lee
Row 5: Rodney Melvin, Jon Henry
Second odd heat
Row 1: Jason Feger, Randy Weaver
Row 2: Scott Bloomquist, Tim Lance
Row 3: R.J. Conley, Mike Spatola
Row 4: Devin Moran, Ryan Gustin
Row 5: Brian Gray, Scott Knepley
Third odd heat
Row 1: Cody Mahoney, Darrell Lanigan
Row 2: Don O’Neal, Jared Landers
Row 3: Rick Eckert, Donald McIntosh
Row 4: Nick Latham, Ross Nicastri
Row 5: Tim Sabo, Eric Wells
Fourth odd heat
Row 1: Brandon Sheppard, Jimmy Mars
Row 2: Chris Brown, Vic Hill
Row 3: Jason Riggs, Delmas Conley
Row 4: Brandon Kinzer, McKay Wenger
Row 5: Don Gordon, Butch Kruckeberg
Fifth odd heat
Row 1: Dale McDowell, Mike Marlar
Row 2: Austin Hubbard, Chase Junghans
Row 3: Steve Casebolt, Jonathan Davenport
Row 4: Morgan Bagley, Mack McCarter
Row 5: Bryan Dickinson
Sixth odd heat
Row 1: Gregg Satterlee, Brian Birkhofer
Row 2: Wendell Wallace, Rusty Schlenk
Row 3: James Rice, Josh Adkins
Row 4: Brian Ruhlman, Jason Welshan
Row 5: Rodney Hamblin
Even heat lineups
First even heat
Row 1: Chris Simpson, John Blankenship
Row 2: Jason Hughes, Scott James
Row 3: Earl Pearson Jr., Jacob Hawkins
Row 4: Chad Ruhlman, Timothy Culp
Row 5: Charles LaPlant, Austin Smith
Second even heat
Row 1: Tim McCreadie, Shane Clanton
Row 2: Wayne Chinn, Randy Korte
Row 3: Jimmy Owens, Billy Ogle Jr.
Row 4: Aaron Scott, Jim Shereck
Row 5: Jon Hodgkiss, Scott Bowersock
Third even heat
Row 1: Kent Robinson, Brian Shirley
Row 2: Dustin Linville, Mason Zeigler
Row 3: Shannon Babb, Brett Wyatt
Row 4: Bub McCool, Mark Dotson
Row 5: Cecil Eunice, Andrew Gordon
Fourth even heat
Row 1: Steve Francis, Bobby Pierce
Row 2: Greg Johnson, Brandon Overton
Row 3: Shannon Thornsberry, Tanner English
Row 4: Dan Schlieper, Terry Wolfenbarger
Fifth even heat
Row 1: Eddie Carrier Jr., Jeff Babcock
Row 2: Billy Moyer, Jerry Bowersock
Row 3: Dennis Erb Jr., Jeep Van Wormer
Row 4: Steve Lance Jr., J.T. Conley
Row 5: Ernie Cordier
Sixth even heat
Row 1: Frank Heckenast Jr., Chris Madden
Row 2: Billy Moyer Jr., Doug Drown
Row 3: Rod Conley, Duane Chamberlain
Row 4: Brian Diveley, Curtis Deisenroth
Row 5: Chris Nash
The high hopes that McKay Wenger brought to his first appearance at Eldora were quickly destroyed when his qualifying attempt was cut short by terminal engine trouble. “This isn’t helping me learn how to get around this place,” said a mournful Wenger. The young racer said his freshened powerplant had “something in the bottom-end” let go — a malfunction bad enough to break off a piece of its block. Wenger has another engine in his trailer, but he’s unsure if he’ll install the less-powerful piece to continue racing on Friday and Saturday. “We’ll sit down and talk about it,” said Wenger. “We might be OK if the track stays slick, but if it’s fast we would probably be in trouble.” … Mason Zeigler of Chalk Hill, Pa., had a simple explanation for his slap of the outside wall during time trials that left his car’s right-rear corner badly smashed: “I just got too close to the wall.” … Defending World 100 champion John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va., was all smiles after turning a time-trial circuit that put him at the top of the qualifying board for much of the session’s first half. “A lot better than the Dream,” quipped Blankenship, who had both of his qualifying attempts in June hampered by scrapes with Eldora’s concrete.
Brad Neat of Dunnville, Ky., topped 118 drivers Thursday in the first night of action at the World 100. Neat, who tripped the clock at 15.667 seconds, spun a two on the inversion wheel and will start outside the front row in his heat race. Other time trial details: John Blankenship, Randy Weaver, Shane Clanton and Darrell Lanigan round out the top five. ... McKay Wenger slowed with engine problems during his time-trial session. ... Jon Henry had a right-front flat tire and never got a quick lap. ... Rick Eckert hit the turn one wall on his first qualifying lap. ... Austin Smith spun in turns one and two on his first qualifying lap. ... Scott Knepley spun in turn four on his first lap. ... Andrew Gordon got into the turn four wall on his first qualifiying lap, retiring to the pit area.
Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., plowed into the first-turn wall during hot laps, tearing up the right side of his car. His Tommy Hicks-led crew had significant bodywork repairs to make before qualifying. … Three-time World 100 winner Larry Moore is in the pit area visiting with long-time friends. … Brian Ruhlman of Clarklake, Mich., has two cars entered in the weekend’s action with his younger brother, Chad Ruhlman of Bemus Point, N.Y., in the second machine. … The Wheelersburg, Ohio-based Conley Motorsports team is seemingly occupying an entire portion of infield pit area’s back row with four cars in competition. The Conley assault includes Delmas, a 72-year-old dirt-racing legend who made the first of his nine World 100 feature starts in 1974; his sons Rod, 52 (one World 100 feature start, in 1997) and R.J., 50 (five World 100s); and R.J.’s 25-year-old son J.T., a first-time World 100 entrant. The family’s best finish in the World 100 is seventh, courtesy of Delmas in 1991 and ’94 and R.J. in 2003. … Ryan Gustin of Marshalltown, Iowa, and his crew were sent into scramble mode after the World 100 rookie was felled by a busted fan during hot laps. Gustin and Co. hastily unpacked a brand-new radiator and fan and worked quickly to install it before time trials. … McKay Wenger of Fairbury, Ill., was pushed into the pit area after slowing during hot laps, but the problem wasn’t serious. “The power steering cap came off,” said Wenger. “We got lucky.” ... Bryant Dickinson was a late arrival and grew the car count to 118. ... Brett Wyatt is driving the No. 360 Delk Motorsports car normally driven by Michael Asberry. ... Tim Sabo is driving his brother Steve's car.
Twin 25-lap features are on tap Thursday at Eldora for the opening night of Dirt Late Model racing’s most prestigious weekend. More than $280,000 will be paid out over three days starting with a pair of $5,000-to-win features tonight.
With 118 cars on the grounds, the field will be split after time trials into odd and even groups (qualifiers 1, 3, 5, 7, etc. in the first group; qualifiers 2, 4, 6, 8, etc. in the second group).
From that point on, the separate groups will run complete programs with six eight-lap heat races and two 10-lap consolation races apiece leading to a pair of 25-lap features. Heat lineups are staggered an inverted by the spin of a wheel with the tp three finishers transferring to the features, finishers 4-9 transferring to consolation races; everyone else is done for the night. A nearly-identical format is scheduled for Friday.
The preliminary nights reflect on Saturday’s programs. A driver’s best time trial lap from the first two nights will set Saturday’s heat race lineups. Additionally, the two drivers with the best average finish from Thursday and Friday’s features who don’t make the 100-lap lineup otherwise will earn provisional starting spots for Saturday’s finale.
The car count of 118 is six more than last year. ... Hot laps began just after 6 p.m.; Brian Shirley was quickest in practice at 15.636 seconds followed by Shannon Babb (15.704) and Mike Marlar (15.717). … Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., is piloting the No. 32 of Edinburgh, Ind., driver Chad Stapleton. … Brandon Sheppard has a new face on his crew with the arrival of Jon Herzog, a young mechanic from Fairbury, Ill., who helped Ryan Unzicker in the past. Sheppard enlisted Herzog’s assistance following the recent departure of teenager Blake Kemp-Irvin. … Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., is receiving some additional pit-area help from Sam Epling, a 44-year-old Dirt Late Model racer from Bancroft, Mich., who has been helping Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., at selected events this season. Epling gave T-Mac a hand for the first time during the second night of the July 25-26 Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury American Legion Speedway — after Smith headed home early following problems in qualifying — and plans to hook up again with McCreadie for next weekend’s World of Outlaws Late Model Series doubleheader at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway and November’s World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in Concord, N.C. ... Veteran Billy Ogle Jr. of Knoxville, Tenn., is making just his fourth career appearance in a crown-jewel event at Eldora. His last visit for the World 100 came in 2002, when he cut down a tire on the first lap of a heat race and did not qualify. “I think I have like 10 laps around this place,” said the 50-year-old driver, whose only other World 100 attempt came in the early ‘90s when he left after Friday’s time trials to run at another track. (He also missed the cut in his one Dream appearance.) ...
Pos., Driver (car no.), hometown
- Brad Neat (41), Dunnville, Ky., 15.667
- John Blankenship (23), Williamson, W.Va., 15.669
- Randy Weaver (116), Crossville, Tenn., 15.781
- Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 15.824
- Darrell Lanigan (29), Union, Ky., 15.844
- Brian Shirley (81), Chatham, Ill., 15.869
- Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., 15.938
- Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 15.956
- Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 15.985
- Jeff Babcock (1), Wayne, Ohio, 16.025
- Brian Birkhofer (15B), Muscatine, Iowa, 16.051
- Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., 16.052
- Tyler Reddick (11), Corning, Calif., 16.065
- Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 16.086
- Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 16.086
- Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 16.090
- Cody Mahoney (4), Hanover, Ind., 16.094
- Kent Robinson (7r), Bloomington, Ind., 16.107
- Brandon Sheppard (B5), New Berlin, Ill., 16.120
- Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky., 16.126
- Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 16.143
- Eddie Carrier Jr. (28), Salt Rock, W.Va., 16.160
- Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa., 16.187
- Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 16.200
- Terry Phillips (75), Springfield, Mo., 16.213
- Jason Hughes (12), Watts, Okla., 16.214
- Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 16.215
- Wayne Chinn (1), Bradford, Ohio, 16.218
- Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., 16.226
- Dustin Linville (D8), Bryantsville, Ky., 16.227
- Chris Brown (21), Spring, Texas, 16.237
- Greg Johnson (80), Bedford, Ind., 16.253
- Austin Hubbard (32), Seaford, Del., 16.254
- Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 16.266
- Wendell Wallace (1), Batesville, Ark., 16.277
- Curtis Roberts (9r), Coleman, Mich., 16.279
- Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 16.2791
- Scott James (83), Lawrenceburg, Ind., 16.293
- Tim Lance (48), Brimfield, Ill., 16.295
- Randy Korte (00), Highland, Ill., 16.303
- Jared Landers (777), Batesville, Ark., 16.322
- Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pga., 16.327
- Vic Hill (1), Mosheiim, Tenn., 16.334
- Brandon Overton (5) Appling, Ga., 16.343
- Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., 16.360
- Jerry Bowersock (95j), Wapakoneta, Ohio, 16.378
- Rusty Schlenk (11), McClure, Ohio, 16.383
- Doug Drown (20), Wooster, Ohio, 16.411
- Matt Miller (3), Whitehouse, Ohio, 16.415
- Earl Pearson Jr. (44), Jacksonville, Fla., 16.439
- R.J. Conley (71c), Wheelersburg, Ohio, 16.456
- Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 16.457
- Rick Eckert (1), York, Pa., 16.457
- Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 16.460
- Jason Riggs (81jr), Harrisburg, Ill., 16.467
- Shannon Thornsberry (17), Martin, Ky., 16.488
- Steve Casebolt (c9), Richmond, Ind., 16.509
- Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 16.519
- James Rice (11r), Verona, Ky., 16.520
- Rod Conley (71r), Wheelersburg, Ohio, 16.545
- Casey Noonan (1n), Sylvania, Ohio, 16.548
- Jacob Hawkins (20), Fairmont, W.Va., 16.576
- Mike Spatola (89), Manhattan, Ill., 16.578
- Donald McIntosh (7), Dawsonville, Ga., 16.622
- Billy Ogle Jr. (201), Knoxville, Tenn., 16.622
- Brett Wyatt (360), Crossville, Tenn., 16.632
- Delmas Conley (71), Wheelersburg, Ohio, 16.658
- Tanner English (96), Benton, Ky., 16.667
- Jonathan Davenport (6), Blairsville, Ga., 16.692
- Jeep Van Wormer (55), Pinconning, Mich., 16.697
- Josh Adkins (19m), Talladega, Ala., 16.709
- Duane Chamberlain (20c), Richmond, Ind., 16.711
- David Breazeale (54), Four Corners, Miss., 16.728
- Chad Ruhlman (49c), Bemus Point, N.Y., 16.745
- Devin Moran (99m), Dresden, Ohio, 16.748
- Aaron Scott (33), Newark, Ohio, 16.762
- Nick Latham (31), Winchester, Ohio, 16.765
- Bub McCool (57j), Vicksburg, Miss., 16.774
- Brandon Kinzer (18), Allen, Ky., 16.784
- Dan Schlieper (15) Oak Creek, Wis. , 16.792
- Morgan Bagley (14m), Longview, Texas, 16.800
- Steve Lance Jr. (25), Cuba, Ill., 16.828
- Brian Ruhlman (49), Clarklake, Mich., 16.831
- Jay Johnson (93), West Burlington, Iowa, 16.851
- Don Hammer (45), Clinton, Ill. , 16.897
- Walker Arthur (87), Forest, Va., 16.923
- Brian Diveley (11D), Springfield, Ill., 16.931
- George Lee (21), Millersburg, Ohio, 17.004
- Timothy Culp (c8), West Monroe, La., 17.031
- Ryan Gustin (19r), Marshalltown, Iowa, 17.038
- Jim Shereck (17), St. Charles, Mo., 17.055
- Ross Nicastri (3), Camden, New South Wales, 17.061
- Mark Dotson (85D), Cameron, Mo., 17.073
- McKay Wenger (42), Fairbury, Ill., 17.081
- Terry Wolfenbarger (14), Powell, Tenn., 17.127
- Mack McCarter (51), Gatlinburg, Tenn., 17.287
- J.T. Conley (71j), Wheelersburg, Ohio, 17.324
- Jason Welshan (29), Maryville, Tenn., 17.329
- Curtis Deisenroth (102D), Oak Harbor, Ohio, 17.349
- Rodney Melvin (27), Benton, Ill., 17.355
- Charles LaPlant (3c), East Prairie, MO., 17.403
- Brian Gray (3), Hamilton, Ohio, 17.509
- Jon Hodgkiss (69), Kennedy Township, Pa., 17.530
- Tim Sabo (16), Toledo, Ohio., 17.678
- Cecil Eunice (22), Blackshear, Ga., 17.716
- Don Gordon (33), Chatham, Ontario, 18.163
- Ron McQuerry (24hr), St. Albans, Mo., 18.249
- Bryant Dickinson (5*), Ionia, Mich., 18.523
- Ernie Cordier (4c), Brodhead, Ky., 18.530
- Rodney Hamblin (14), Downs, Ill., 19.067
- Chris Nash (54), Kalamazoo, Mich., 19.107
- Jon Henry (15), Ada, Ohio, 24.186
- Austin Smith (11), Cedartown, Ga., no time
- Scott Knepley (30k), Spiceland, Ind., no time
- Scott Bowersock (26), Wapakoneta, Ohio, no time
- Eric Wells (18), Hazard, Ky., no time
- Andrew Gordon (18g), Dubois, Pa., no time
- Butch Kruckeberg (76), Edwardsville, Ill., no time
Corrections: Fixes cars on ground to 117; 124 drivers entered with seven no-shows; fixes and adds format details; adds Dale McDowell's qualifying time, fixes unofficial times; fixes McDowell's victory as his third in a row at Eldora, not second.