Sarver, PA – The collective eyes of the Dirt Late Model world were focused squarely on the famed Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, OH this past weekend for the Dirt Late Model Dream. In its 20th year, “The Dream” is one of the Crown Jewels of Dirt Late Model Racing and Chickamauga, GA’s Dale McDowell prevailed over a Who’s Who of Dirt Late Model racing. With a cool, $100 Grand in his pocket, McDowell now has his sights set next on the 8th Annual Firecracker 100 presented by www.GottaRace.com on Thursday-Friday-Saturday, June 26-27-28.
McDowell stormed forward from the 22nd starting spot to grab the lead from six-time Dream champion Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., on lap 79 and never looked back en route to claiming the $100,000 first-place prize. Before winning the $100,000 grand prize, McDowell won the B-Feature earlier in the night and won a Preliminary A-Feature on Friday Night.
Now behind the wheel of the Team Dillon Racing Warrior car, McDowell confirmed with World of Outlaws Late Model Series officials this weekend that he will also contend for Lernerville’s Crown Jewel later in the month. McDowell’s best Firecracker finish to date has been a pair of fifth place finishes in 2010 and most recently in 2012.
While McDowell is coming off the biggest win of the season, Union, KY’s Darrell Lanigan is clearly the hottest driver on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series tour again this year with four wins and the points lead to his credit. Lanigan, however, has come up just short of Firecracker glory on four different occasions crossing the finish line in second place; 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012. He also finished on the podium last year in third place.
Lanigan scored his first WoO LMS feature win of the season back in February at Bubba Raceway Park, but more recently won three Outlaw A-Mains in the month of May at Fayetteville (NC) Motor Speedway, Lavonia (GA) Speedway and Duck River (TN) Raceway Park.
Gregg Satterlee, of Rochester Mills, PA, has won a pair of World of Outlaws Late Model Series A-Mains and over a dozen Late Model features at Lernerville, but has yet to win a World of Outlaws race at one of his home tracks. To join sprint car drivers Tim Shaffer and Ed Lynch Jr. as local drivers to defend their home turf against the World of Outlaws and the best drivers in the country would be the highlight of his still rising career.
To be fair, Satterlee, like Shaffer when he won his two Silver Cups, is not a true regular weekly competitor, but winning a huge, national race in your own backyard with all of your family, friends and sponsors on hand is something a driver will never forget! His best Firecracker finish to date was a rousing fourth place run last season; trailing only Josh Richards, Tim McCreadie and Darrell Lanigan!
Running a schedule independent of any regional or national touring series, Satterlee has already won six feature this season. Five of those wins came in the month of May and four of his wins this season have paid $3,000 or more. His most recent feature win came just over a week ago on May 31 at Hagerstown Speedway during Appalachian Mountain Dirt Late Model Speedweek. He also finished second at the USA 100 at Virginia Motor Speedway in Jamaica, VA on May 17.
Another World of Outlaws star looking for his first Firecracker 100 victory is Rick Eckert. Always a fan favorite at Lernerville Speedway due to being from the Keystone State, “Scrub” is now behind the wheel of the Rocket Chassis house car that swept the event last year with Josh Richards at the helm. Eckert has been a stalwart at the Firecracker 100, but his best finish came in 2011 when he stood on the podium with winner Jimmy Mars and runner-up Scott Bloomquist. The model of consistency, Eckert is currently second in World of Outlaws Late Model Series points with six top fives and 10 top 10s in 13 races, plus five heat race wins. He also had a rock solid Dream weekend at Eldora finishing in the top ten in Saturday’s finale and in the top five in both of his preliminary features Thursday and Friday.
Tim McCreadie is a fan favorite and a threat to win everywhere he goes. If his recent trend of Firecracker 100 finishes hold true, (third in 2012 and second in 2013), he will be the one hoisting the big $30,000 check in Sheetz Victory Lane on Saturday, June 26! In addition to his two recent podium finishes, McCreadie also won Firecracker Friday Night’s Preliminary A-Main in 2010 and then went on to finish fourth in that year’s 100-lap Saturday Night A-Main. “T-Mac” currently sits third in World of Outlaws points with one tour win to his credit this season at the 201 Speedway in Sitka, KY on Friday, May 16.
Shane Clanton currently rides fourth in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series and he won the 4th Annual Firecracker 100 presented by www.GottaRace.com back in 2010. Coincidence? Absolutely, but Clanton has showed that he has what it takes to win the 100-lapper and always enjoys his time spent at the Action Track. Should Clanton repeat his 2010 triumph, he would join Scott Bloomquist and Jimmy Mars as the only two-time winners of Lernerville’s Crown Jewel.
Tyler, TX’s Morgan Bagley has very limited experience at the Sarver Speedplant, but in his first ever appearance at the Action Track back in 2012, he won the $3,000-to-win Uncle Sam 30 non-qualifiers race. He recently took advantage of a World of Outlaws Late Model Series rainout two weeks ago to spend the Friday Night competing against the Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Models where he finished third to Budweiser Points leaders Alex Ferree and Russ King. That Friday Night of research and competition could pay huge dividends at the end of the month when the finest Late Model drivers in the world ascend on the Action Track for the Firecracker 100.
Another fan favorite of Lernerville Speedway’s avid fan base is Bear Lake, PA’s Chub Frank. “Chubzilla” has taken advantage of the past two off weekends to invade the Action Track for some fine tuning leading into the 8th Annual Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com. He finished second Friday Night to runaway winner Jared Miley in a caution-free 25-lap A-Main. On the tour, Frank finished on the podium at the most recent World of Outlaws Late Model Series A-Main at Tyler County Speedway’s Jackpot 100. His best Firecracker 100 runs to date were a pair of sixth place finishes in 2008 and 2010.
The rest of the World of Outlaws Late Model Series Elite 11 consists of Eric Wells, Clint Smith, Frankie Heckenast Jr., Chase Junghans and semi-Lernerville regular Rick “Boom” Briggs. Of these five drivers, none has had much success yet at the Firecracker 100, but Clint Smith has turned enough laps at the Action Track over the past 10 years that he is overdue to make a huge impact at this year’s Firecracker 100. Boom Briggs has scored a pair of runner-up finishes the past two seasons in the $3,000-to-win Uncle Sam 30, but one would think that he’d much prefer to skip the Uncle Sam 30 this year and get back into the 28-car field of the Firecracker 100 A-Main instead.
If the past seven years has showed us anything, it’s that Lernerville Speedway has some of the best local and regional Late Model drivers in the country. In addition to the aforementioned Gregg Satterlee, Chub Frank and Boom Briggs, Defending Track Champion and current Budweiser Points Leader Alex Ferree, 2009 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year Russ King and last week’s Lernerville feature winner Jared Miley are all expected to defend the Action Track at the end of the month and all three have had success in Firecrackers of the past seven years.
Alex Ferree has made five of the seven A-Mains. Russ King has had more success in the Uncle Sam 30 with a win and second place finish in the past three seasons, but he did make the A-Main field in 2010 and 2009. Of the true locals, Jared Miley has had the most success with an eighth place finish in 2012; his fourth straight A-Main appearance. A trio of “Juniors” have also represented the local contingent well, as John Garvin Jr., Mike Pegher Jr. and Dave Hess Jr. have all made the 100-lap A-main in recent seasons.
A more complete list of drivers scheduled to compete for the $30,000-to-win grand prize of the 8th Annual Firecracker 100 will be released as the race draws near. For more information about the upcoming Firecracker 100 weekend, log on to www.Lernerville.com/firecracker-100-presented-by-gottaracecom.