Hall of Fame Driver Reaches Victory Lane At Volusia Speedway Park For Fourth Consecutive Year
BARBERVILLE, FL – Feb. 19, 2014 – A slower track surface played right into Scott Bloomquist’s hands on Wednesday night at Volusia Speedway Park.
Making his first start in a new car he designed in a collaboration with noted parts manufacturer Randy Sweet, the 50-year-old superstar from Mooresburg, Tenn., mastered the sprawling half-mile oval to capture the 40-lap A-Main that closed the DIRTcar Late Model portion of the 43rdannual DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment.
Bloomquist swept past fellow Hall of Famer Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., for the lead on lap 20 and never looked back in the caution-free event. He pocketed $10,000 for his ninth career win during the DIRTcar Nationals by Summit.
“The racetrack was awesome tonight,” said Bloomquist, who began the six-night full-fender meet at VSP with finishes of sixth (Monday) and fifth (Tuesday). “It’s a little different when you just don’t sit out there and have everybody hold it on the floor all night. You gotta have a little bit of foot, a little bit of patience.”
Bloomquist showed plenty of those traits on his way to crossing the finish line 1.497 seconds ahead of Chickamauga, Ga.’s Dale McDowell, who made a strong advance from the 14th starting spot. McDowell reached second on lap 30 and briefly closed on Bloomquist before losing ground and settling for runner-up money.
Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., who started fifth, climbed as high as second on lap 24 before being overtaken by McDowell six circuits later and placing third – his second podium finish in the week’s three DIRTcar Late Model events. Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., started and finished fourth and Moyer faded to fifth at the checkered flag after starting from the outside pole and leading laps 1-19.
In a race completed in a rapid 12 minutes, 35.182 seconds, Bloomquist started third and chased Moyer and polesitter Rick Eckert of York, Pa., through the early circuits. Bloomquist wrestled second from Eckert on lap 15 and quickly ran down Moyer.
With a burst off the inside of turn four, Bloomquist shot past Moyer to assume command for good as lap 20 was scored.
“We moved around and just tried to find where we could work well on the racetrack,” said Bloomquist, who won an A-Main during the DIRTcar Nationals by Summit for the fourth consecutive year. “I really felt great all over the racetrack, but finally we got to the middle of (turns) three and four. It looked like not too many guys could carry that much speed through the middle.
“(Moyer) looked like he was just kind of fading and we were coming to him,” he continued. “He might have went with a little different tire combination. But I knew all the guys up front had the same thing, so we just had the superior piece and I felt like we drove a pretty good race.”
Putting the new car in Victory Lane in its debut gave Bloomquist a definite confident boost.
“We finished this car while we were racing in Tampa (last week at East Bay Raceway Park),” said Bloomquist. “We’ve had a pretty rough two-week period, so to get the car finally done and get out here – this is the first laps on it this week – we really know we got something going on with this race car. I think there’s gonna be a lot of victories to come.”
McDowell, 47, appeared primed to stop Bloomquist’s march after surging past Lanigan and Wells to claim second place on lap 30. The veteran drew his Team Dillon Warrior within a half-second of Bloomquist before his bid stalled.
“I got to gaining a little bit there but just got to turning hard,” said McDowell, who was chasing his first DIRTcar Nationals by Summit victory since the 1999 finale. “I got kind of balanced out the last five, six laps, and got a little bit tight, and Scott was good rolling right through that middle. We’ll try to fix that problem and see if we can’t get up front the rest of the week.”
Eckert finished sixth after running in the top five until just past the halfway point. Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., placed seventh, advancing from the 15 th starting spot. Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., started and finished eighth; Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., slipped two spots from his starting position to finish ninth; and sixth-starter Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., rounded out the top 10.
With 42 cars signed in for action, group qualifying was utilized to set the starting lineups for four heat races.
Moyer registered the fastest overall qualifying lap at 15.999 seconds – the second time in three nights that the veteran was quickest overall. Other group fast-timers were Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill. (16.320), Sheppard (16.146) and John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va. (16.153).
Heat winners were Eckert, Moyer, Bloomquist and Lanigan. The B-Mains were captured by Jared Landers of Batesville, Ark., and Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y.
The DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit continue on Thursday night (Feb. 20) with the first of three straights of competition featuring the World of Outlaws Late Model Series. A 50-lap WoO LMS A-Main paying $10,000 to win will top the program, which also includes a 30-lap feature for the Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds.
Race time is 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
For more information on the DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH, log on to www.DIRTcarNationals.com.
DIRTcar Late Model 40-Lap A-Main Finish (Finish Pos./Start Pos./Driver/Laps Completed):
1. (3) Scott Bloomquist/40
2. (14) Dale McDowell/40
3. (5) Eric Wells/40
4. (4) Darrell Lanigan/40
5. (2) Billy Moyer/40
6. (1) Rick Eckert/40
7. (15) Steve Francis/40
8. (8) Tim McCreadie/40
9. (7) Brandon Sheppard/40
10. (6) Mike Marlar/40
11. (21) Brady Smith/40
12. (18) Vic Coffey/40
13. (20) Bobby Pierce/40
14. (23) Don O’Neal/40
15. (13) Brian Shirley/39
16. (17) Jared Landers/39
17. (27) Chad Hollenbeck/34
18. (10) Casey Roberts/32
19. (19) Kenny Pettyjohn/32
20. (25) Jeff Babcock/31
21. (24) Morgan Bagley/29
22. (11) Frankie Heckenast Jr./24
23. (28) Eric Jacobsen/16
24. (12) Shane Clanton/13
25. (16) John Blankenship/11
26. (9) Gregg Satterlee/10
27. (22) Clint Smith/7
28. (26) Mike Hammerle/4
Heat No. 1 (8 laps – Top 4 Transfer): 1. Rick Eckert, 2. Eric Wells, 3. Gregg Satterlee, 4. Brian Shirley, 5. Jared Landers, 6. Bobby Pierce, 7. Chase Junghans, 8. Morgan Bagley, 9. Clint Smith, 10. Jeff Babcock, 11. Jeff Beyers
Heat No. 2 (8 laps – Top 4 Transfer): 1. Billy Moyer, 2. Mike Marlar, 3. Casey Roberts, 4. Dale McDowell, 5. Chad Hollenbeck, 6. Jack Sullivan, 7. Stacy Boles, 8. Mike Hammerle, 9. Chuck Julien, 10. John Garvin (DNS) Kyle Bronson
Heat No. 3 (8 laps – Top 4 Transfer): 1. Scott Bloomquist, 2. Brandon Sheppard, 3. Frankie Heckenast Jr., 4. Steve Francis, 5. Kenny Pettyjohn, 6. Dan Stone, 7. Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs, 8. Chub Frank, 9. Eric Jacobsen (DNS) Dennis Erb Jr.
Heat No. 4 (8 laps – Top 4 Transfer): 1. Darrell Lanigan, 2. Tim McCreadie, 3. Shane Clanton, 4. John Blankenship, 5. Vic Coffey, 6. Brady Smith, 7. Tim Fuller, 8. Don O’Neal, 9. Jason Fitzgerald, 10. John Winge
B-Main No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): 1. Jared Landers, 2. Bobby Pierce, 3. Clint Smith, 4. Morgan Bagley, 5. Chad Hollenbeck, 6. Stacy Boles, 7. Chase Junghans, 8. Jack Sullivan, 9. Jeff Babcock, 10. Jeff Beyers, 11. Chuck Julien, 12. Mike Hammerle (DNS) Kyle Bronson, John Garvin
B-Main No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): 1. Vic Coffey, 2. Kenny Pettyjohn, 3. Brady Smith, 4. Don O’Neal, 5. Tim Fuller, 6. Chub Frank, 7. Eric Jacobsen, 8. Dan Stone, 9. Jason Fitzgerald, 10. John Winge, 11. Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs (DNS) Dennis Erb Jr.
Provisional Starters: Jeff Babock, Mike Hammerle (DIRTcar national points); Chad Hollenbeck, Eric Jacobsen (DCN points)