ROSSBURG, Ohio – The first 20 races were always magical and exciting. But just like in life, when you hit 21, it means it’s time to get a little rowdy. And with it being the month of June, with clear skies and sun shining, the fans, crews and drivers are ready for #DLMDreamXXI.
The 21st annual $100,000-to-win Dirt Late Model Dream Weekend presented by Ferris Commercial Mowers is this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 4, 5 and 6 at the legendary Eldora Speedway.
The Dirt Late Model Dream, sanctioned by DIRTcar, is the richest dirt late model race in the world with $100,000 going to the winner of Saturday night’s 100-lap feature event. A total purse of $306,625 is available for the three nights of racing, including $214,875 available on Saturday.
The entries have been coming in rapidly as 77 cars have been entered as of June 2. And several past champions are on that list including the 2014 winner, Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Georgia.
Six time champion Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tennessee is entered as is Billy Moyer of Batesville, Arkansas (1998 and 2010 winner). Other winners entered are: Jimmy Mars of Elk Mound, Wisconsin (1997), Darrell Lanigan of Union, Kentucky (2003), Matt Miller of Waterville, Ohio (2005), Steve Casebolt of Richmond, Indiana (2007), Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tennessee (2009), Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Indiana (2011) and Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Georgia (2012).
McDowell will try to become the first driver ever to win the race in consecutive years. Last year he started 22ndafter making the A-Feature by winning the Last Chance Race after failing to qualify via the heat races. Bloomquist appeared to be on his way to his seventh victory and his second straight win in the Dream, but McDowell chased him down on lap 79. Bloomquist fell to third, while John Blankenship came from 24th to finish an impressive second and collect $20,000.
It’s an All-Star field ready for an exciting three nights of racing at Eldora and only Bloomquist and Moyer have won more than once. While several past champions will try to join them, some notables are going for their first wins in the event. Josh Richards has finished in the top-10 three times, while Blankenship, who is running just the Dream and World 100 this year, finished second in 2012 and 2014. He won the World 100 in 2013.
The hottest driver coming in is Jonathan Davenport, who has never finished in the top-10 in the Dream, but left the crowd on their feet with a hard charge to the front. Also scheduled to return are Michigan’s Jeep VanWormer and Illinois’ Jason Feger, two drivers whose throwback driving styles have made them fan favorites at Eldora.
The format for 2015 has been changed slightly from 2014 to streamline Thursday and Friday’s preliminary programs and give racers more opportunities to improve their seeding for Saturday’s traditional six qualifying Heat Races.
On Thursday and Friday, multi-car group qualifying, using groups coming from a random draw at inspection, will be used to determine that group’s heat race lineup. The driver’s fastest time from Thursday and Friday will be used as a tiebreaker, if necessary, for Saturday’s lineups.
The preliminary format plans for eight heat races of eight laps in distance. Cars finishing first through fifth advance into one of two A-Features and the balance of the finishers will advance into one of two B-Features.
Heats one, three, five and seven will determine the first A-Feature and at least one B-Feature. Heats two, four, six and eight will determine the second A-Feature and at least one B-Feature. The B-Features are 10 laps and assuming Eldora has four B-Features, cars finishing first and second will advance to their respective A-Feature.
Each preliminary night will continue to run two A-Features of 25-laps, starting 24 cars. Starting positions one through 20 will be lined up by heat race finish. The redraw procedure will be detailed at the driver meeting. Starting positions 21 through 24 will be lined up by B-Feature finish.
The winner of the Thursday night races gets $2,500, while Friday it moves up to $5,000.
On Saturday night, there will be six heat races of 15 laps in distance. Pre-invert lineups established by average finish from preliminary nights in staggered order with ties broken by
1) Best finish from Thursday or Friday races
2) Fastest qualifying time
3) Postmark of entry blank
The inversion, up to six cars, will be determined randomly. Cars finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the heat races advance to the Dirt Late Model Dream presented by Ferris Mowers. Cars finishing fourth through 11th advance to a B-Feature, in order of finishing position.
Heats one, two and three will determine the first B-Feature and heats four, five and six will determine the second B-Feature. There will be two B-Features of 20 laps in distance. Cars finishing first through fourth will advance to the Dirt Late Model Dream presented by Ferris Commercial Mowers. The remaining cars may choose to restart in their current running order for a B-Scramble of five laps in distance.
The two fastest qualifiers not advancing through the Heat Races will start 19th and 20th in the Dirt Late Model Dream presented by Ferris Commercial Mowers (if they finished in a B-Feature qualifying position, they will be removed and the finish of that Heat Race adjusted accordingly).
The Dirt Late Model Dream present by Ferris Commercial Mowers will be 100 laps in distance, starting 28 cars.
Tickets for the Dirt Late Model Dream or any other event can be purchased at www.eldoraspeedway.com or by calling (937) 338-3815.
-Eldora Speedway Press Release. Photo credit: DirtonDirt.com