DirtNews Digest Your Online News Source for Late Model Dirt Track Racing "Get Some Dirt On Your Computer!" Todd Turner, editor Email address: DirtNews@aol.com Web site: ...
DirtNews Digest Your Online News Source for Late Model Dirt Track Racing "Get Some Dirt On Your Computer!" Todd Turner, editor
Email address: DirtNews@aol.com Web site: http://members.aol.com/dirtnews/digest =================================== CONTENTS: Dream IV results (published June 8) =================================== UNITED MIDWESTERN PROMOTERS (UMP) Dirt Late Model Dream IV
ROSSBURG, Ohio (Saturday) An unbelievable Bloomquist-Frye clash was followed by an improbable Jimmy Mars dash. The dramatic double feature Saturday at Eldora Speedway was well worth the price of admission for Dirt Late Model Dream IV.
The 25-year-old Mars, holding off a determined bid from Steve Barnett over the final 30 laps, won the battle of underdogs for the 100-lap victory worth $100,000, dirt late model racing's most lucrative winning purse. Barnett ended up second, two car lengths behind for his biggest career payday at $20,000, while Rick Aukland, Clint Smith and Terry Phillips rounded out the top five. Rick Eckert and Skip Arp followed as the final two drivers on the lead lap and Wendell Wallace, Tim Hitt and Willy Kraft, who didn't finish, rounded out the top 10.
"This is the Dream! This is unbelievable," Mars said in victory lane, tears of joy in his eyes. "I know we've had (wins) the past couple of years, but this is just top right here."
"Our car was really tight but it kept getting better and better," said Mars, whose previous biggest win came at Wisconsin's Cedar Lake Speedway, his home track, in the USA Outlaw Nationals last August. "We had a little fortune there with Scott Bloomquist dropping out, and (Bill) Frye, and a couple of them other guys, but hey, that's racing."
Mars inherited the lead on the 70th lap when Bloomquist -- looking unbeatable most of the race in his new Rayburn chassis decaled with the yin-yang symbol -- dropped out with a faulty ignition, giving up his half-lap lead and coasting to the infield pits.
Bloomquist's departure upped the ante for a Mars-Barnett tussle that began about lap 40 as a race for second place. With Mars taking the lead, Barnett continued to hound him, trying desperately to slip under Mars, particularly in Turn 3, as the pair followed the low line around the half-mile oval in eastcentral Ohio.
"We had a good line, and if Steve had got by us, he may have pulled away, but we don't know," Mars said. "But he ran a fast race, too."
While Mars' unpredictable victory kept fans cheering the last half of the race, the first half of the race had its own fireworks. A Bloomquist-Frye collision cost Frye the lead and officials instructed Frye to park his car after he retaliated under caution by ramming Bloomquist three times.
When the race began, the polesitting Bloomquist jumped quickly to the point and built a full straightaway lead by the 15th lap. Frye gradually began cutting down that margin as Bloomquist entered lapped traffic. Frye sliced the margin to just a dozen lengths by the 22nd lap, then grabbed the lead three laps later as a quartet of slower cars provided some of the most exciting racing of the night. Frye picked his way through the low side and Bloomquist edged around the outside of the soon-to-be-lapped cars.
When the leaders cleared the traffic, Frye was leading the 29th lap into Turn 1 when the pair made contact and Frye ended up sideways as Bloomquist, initially easing off to avoid any more contact, stayed in the throttle, went around Frye and maintained the lead as the caution flag waved.
"I got spun out," said Frye, still livid 45 minutes later in the pits. "We've talked about it before, what happens when you race for $100,000 to win. Everybody I've ever talked to said you've got to have integrity to race just like it was $1,000 to win."
The crowd roared its disapproval with Bloomquist as a stunned Frye righted his car. Instead of taking his position at the tail, Frye circled the field, moving back up to the front under the yellow and crunching Bloomquist's left-rear quarter panel in Turn 4 as the fans were whipped into a frenzy.
Frye wasn't through. As Bloomquist slowly rolled onto the front stretch, Frye banged the passenger-side of his No. 66 against the driver's side of Bloomquist's black-and-white car, eventually wedging Bloomquist against the front-stretch wall as hundreds of fans stormed to the fence to jeer or cheer the Mooresburg, Tenn., driver.
"I should have done it a lot harder," Frye said. "I should have gotten out of the car and beat the hell out of him when I done it. That's my feelings right now. He cost me $80,000 or $100,000, it's as simple as that."
Although Frye was never shown the black flag, track official Dean Miracle signaled him to the infield. Bloomquist's car appeared to only suffer damage from the initial hit, but the bent quarter panel didn't seem to be rubbing his tire and his car was as fast as ever when the race resumed.
Bloomquist blew out to another big lead over Troy Green, Ronnie Johnson, Mars, Aukland and Smith on the lap-28 restart, and Johnson looked to be the next-best contender as he moved past Green. However, when the caution appeared a few laps later for flat tires on the No. 15s of Steve Francis and Brian Birkhofer, Johnson ducked into the pits with overheating problems and soon parked his car.
Bloomquist again dashed quickly away from the field, building yet another full straightaway lead -- this time over Mars after he and Barnett got past Green -- by the 39th circuit. Another caution on the 56th lap bunched the field, but Bloomquist had built nearly a half-lap lead when he slowed on the backstretch with ignition failure.
Again the crowd roared as Bloomquist dropped of the pace on lap 69, and all eyes turned to Mars and Barnett, who had been battling side-by-side for many laps. Because Bloomquist had been so far ahead, it wasn't clear if Mars and Barnett realized their battle for second had become a battle for first. But Mars had seen Bloomquist leave the track, and Barnett's crew had signaled him.
"When I saw him go out I knew I was in second there, and I knew I had the lead," Mars said. "After there was no lapped traffic in front of us we could get running pretty good and I could run any line I wanted."
Mars led the restart on lap 72 after Tim Hitt stopped on the front stretch, and Mars began the chore of keeping his white No. 28 in front of Barnett, who seldom dropped back more than a few car lengths.
"We had the same line and we probably was real close to the same setup and same tires, because it seemed like every bobble he'd make I'd make the same bobble," said Barnett, who made a remarkable run from his ninth-row starting spot. "That one time (on lap 79) I about tore myself up because I was about to run into him (in Turn 2), and I didn't want to do that."
Barnett dropped back a dozen lengths on the backstretch on the 79th lap, but quickly made up the lost ground. He got his last chance at Mars on a restart when Troy Green hit the wall between Turns 3 and 4 and coasted to a stop on the front stretch, bringing out the final caution at lap 88.
"I was just hoping I didn't screw up," Mars said. "I've been known to do that a few times. I was just glad not to do anything wrong. I knew I had a fast car and I would have to screw up pretty bad there for Steve to get by us."
Barnett battled fiercely but never made contact with Mars.
"I really feel like I was the fastest car, but it was a good race," Barnett said. "You can't run into a guy like that -- any race you can't just run into people -- it costs you a lot of money not to run into him, but you just can't do that. I felt like I should've won, but he won."
Mars became the fourth winner in four Dream races. Inaugural winner Freddy Smith didn't make the field, 1995 winner Bloomquist broke, and 1996 winner Donnie Moran struggled early in the race before hitting the wall between Turns 3 and 4 while running fifth on the 56th lap. Moran tried to return damage didn't allow it.
Billy Moyer, a three-time World 100 winner at Eldora but never a Dream winner, would have been a strong contender, but wrecked early in the race for the second year in a row. On the sixth lap, Rodney Combs bounded high out of the groove after hitting a bump in Turn 4 and Moyer had nowhere to go, sending Combs out of the race and leaving Moyer with damage to his right front that would force him to retire several laps later.
Because of rain showers Friday night, the entire event -- including qualifying -- was run Saturday.. Drivers got just one lap of qualifying because of the postponement and the top 120 raced in Saturday evening's heat and consolation events to battle for feature positions. Monday Motorsports teammates Wendell Wallace and Dale McDowell took provisional starting spots in the feature's 10th row as the two fastest qualifiers.
CAR COUNT: 178 late models.
FAST QUALIFIER: Wendell Wallace (6m), Batesville, Ark., 15.901 seconds (half-mile oval).
HEAT WINNERS (complete results appear in a separate email report): Rodney Combs, Jimmy Mars, Troy Green, Rick Aukland, Skip Arp, Scott Bloomquist.
FEATURE (Pos., driver, car no., hometown, chassis) 1. Jimmy Mars (28), Elk Mound, Wis., MasterSbilt 2. Steve Barnett (89), Franklin, Ind., Rayburn 3. Rick Aukland (12), Fargo, N.D., Rayburn 4. Clint Smith (1), Griffin, Ga., GRT 5. Terry Phillips (75), Springfield, Mo., GRT 6. Rick Eckert (24), York, Pa., Rayburn 7. Skip Arp (31), Georgetown, Tenn., GRT 8. Wendell Wallace (6m), Batesville, Ark., GRT 9. Tim Hitt (68), Weston, W.Va., Rocket 10. Willy Kraft (83), Lakefield, Minn., Rayburn 11. Troy Green (3), Independence, Ky., GRT 12. Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky., Rocket 13. C.S. Fitzgerald (100), Lexington, Va., Barry Wright 14. Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., Rayburn 15. Donnie Moran (99), Dresden, Ohio, MasterSbilt 16. Kris Patterson (0), St. Johns, Mich., GRT 17. Dale McDowell (17m), Rossville, Ga., GRT 18. Ronnie Johnson (5), Chattanooga, Tenn., MasterSbilt 19. Brian Birkhofer (15), Muscatine, Iowa, Howe 20. Bill Frye (66), Greenbrier, Ark., GRT 21. Jerry Rice (1B), Verona, Ky., Warrior 22. Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., MasterSbilt 23. Rodney Combs (5), Harrisburg, N.C., GRT 24. Randle Chupp (114), Knoxville, Tenn., MasterSbilt
LAP LEADERS (unofficial): Bloomquist 1-24; Frye 25-28; Bloomquist 29-69; Mars 70-100.
NOTES: Bill Frye T-shirts and autographs were hugely popular after the race .... a crowd also jammed around Scott Bloomquist's trailer after the race .... when Bloomquist left the race and entered the infield, his crew met him and pushed his tarp-covered car to their pit, where he quickly jumped out of the car and into the hauler as a crowd began to gather .... GRT led with nine starters, followed by five cars apiece for chassis-builders MasterSbilt and C.J. Rayburn .... while Tennessee led the way with four feature starters, only four states had multiple starters in a field that represented an amazing 16 states .... first-time Dream starters were winner Jimmy Mars, Rodney Combs, Brian Birkhofer, Dale McDowell, C.S. Fitzgerald, Willy Kraft and runner-up Steve Barnett .... with Jack Boggs, Darrell Lanigan and Bob Pierce failing to make the feature, only four drivers (Rick Aukland, Scott Bloomquist, Steve Francis and Donnie Moran) have made every Dream field .... the feature started about 10:35 and lasted more than an hour .... sprinkles of rain were beginning just as the feature ended, and it became a bit heavier during the victory-lane ceremonies. ------------------------------------------------------- CREDIT: Todd Turner <DirtNews@aol.com> of DirtNews Digest. -------------------------------------------------------