BLOOMQUIST POCKETS $100,000 WITH DREAM XXIV WIN
(Courtesy DirtOnDirt.com Staff Reports)
ROSSBURG, Ohio (June 9) - By the end of Saturday’s Dream XXIV feature at Eldora Speedway, Scott Bloomquist left little doubt who had the fastest car. The Hall of Fame driver from Mooresburg, Tenn., dominated the second half of the 100-lap main event at the famed half-mile oval, cruising to a record eighth Dream victory while becoming the first driver to claim the event’s $100,000 top prize in back-to-back seasons.
After battling Jonathan Davenport for a dozen laps, the 15th-starting Bloomquist, 54, took the lead from the Blairsville, Ga., driver on lap 40 and never looked back, steadily stretching his advantage over the final 60 circuits until it reached a whopping 9 seconds by race’s end. Bloomquist finished ahead of 16th-starting Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., while Davenport settled for third after leading 26 laps. Twelfth-starting Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., charged forward late to grab fourth and Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., rallied from the rear of the field after pitting with a flat tire on lap 33.
Bloomquist’s rally was reminiscent - if not quite as spectacular - of his 2014 World 100 victory when he stormed from the tail of the field after being penalized for using an unapproved window net. It was McDowell, in fact, who chased Bloomquist to the checkers that day as well. Following Saturday’s win, however, Bloomquist said his Andy Durham-powered Sweet-Bloomquist machine was likely even more potent this year.
“I really think that it was. I think some cars were better than they were then, but … I could do anything I wanted out there,” Bloomquist said. “It was enjoyable. I probably could’ve stood being a little bit tighter, but not on the restarts. It was spot-on. After we’d run a little bit I’d get a little bit free, but I’ll tell you what, it was about as good as you could ask for. Even though I might tail out a little, it still had traction and I still was maneuverable in traffic.”
Bloomquist was mired in the middle of Saturday’s feature starting grid in part because he didn’t participate in Friday’s planned preliminary action. He was on hand to compete in Friday’s afternoon session - heats and features originally scheduled for Thursday, but pushed back 17 hours thanks to pesky rain showers - but missed the entirety of the nightcap after a fall near the front of his trailer re-aggravated a nagging shoulder injury. Subsequently, Bloomquist spent much of the evening in a Greenville, Ohio, ER where doctors checked on his left shoulder and eventually cleared him to compete on Saturday.
“Friday night I slipped in mud and was gonna land on the tongue of my trailer and I reached back. I was gonna land on my back. I was like, ‘whoa’ and it pulled my arm way back,” said Bloomquist. “I hadn’t experienced that before and I felt like it was really done. We went to emergency in Greenville. They X-rayed and pretty much said they release me to go back and see my orthopedic surgeon.”
While Bloomquist’s absence from Friday’s night session created more than its share of drama, it also left him 75th in qualifying points among 78 drivers. That put him 13th in Saturday’s third heat during which he had to quickly hustle his car forward to grab a transfer spot for the main event. His 13th-to-third rally in the heat merely served as a precursor to his rally in the feature.
“I didn’t know how today would go after we didn’t make it last night,” said Bloomquist. “(The) track was passable today. (That) made it where it wasn’t a big problem.”
With Bloomquist starting deep in the feature, it was Davenport who flexed his muscle early. The 2015 Dream winner started eighth and was up to third by lap four. Second-starting Jason Jameson of Lawrenceburg, Ind., jumped out to a big lead early but his torrid pace was slowed on lap eight when Jared Landers of Batesville, Ark., slowed in turn two to bring out the first yellow.
That gave Davenport the opportunity he needed. Taking advantage on the restart, by lap 10 he was at the front. Jimmy Mars shuffled Jameson back to third, while Madden and Bloomquist made their way into the top five.
With Davenport leading the way, the front runners wasted little time reaching lapped traffic. Bloomquist was third on lap 15 and gained another spot when he passed Mars for second on lap 20. He managed to nose ahead of the leader on the backstretch on laps 29 and 30, but each time, Davenport used the momentum from his high side line to stay ahead at the flagstand.
Bloomquist finally inched ahead on lap 36 and led the next two circuits before Davenport wrestled the point away again to lead lap 39. It marked the last lap Davenport would lead.
“I really wasn’t going that hard,” said Davenport of the laps he led. “I wasn’t running 100 percent anyway. You know I thought that was a good pace. I was just trying to let some fuel burn off ‘cause (the car) was laying on the right rear just a little bit.
“As long as that brown was out there I could steer pretty good, but the blacker (the track) got, the tighter I got getting in (the turns) and I never could steer to try to get down in the middle (to) the line that Scott was running. I just couldn’t do that. I had to rely on the banking to help me turn.
“I turned the wick up a little bit when I saw (Bloomquist). Then I realized how hard I was having to go and he could roll that bottom so good and through the middle. I knew what was gonna happen pretty much the rest of the race once he got out front. Congrats to Scott. He definitely had the best car for sure, and Dale (McDowell) was pretty good also.”
By the time McDowell managed to get around Davenport for the runner-up spot, Bloomquist was long gone. He passed an equal number of cars as Bloomquist after the pair started alongside each other on the eighth row, though it took him a little longer to do so.
“I found a line right around the middle and I was better,” said McDowell. “Then I got into a little bit of a skirmish there on one of the restarts and I fell back and lost five or six positions but once we got there we were … I couldn’t see Scott. He was on out there cruising it looks like … but we were all there racing like crazy for second.”
“Right there at the end we got a little tight, so we’ll take some notes. This is one of their (Sweet-Bloomquist) cars, so the adjusting part, (Bloomquist) knows exactly where to go and we’re probably this much behind,” added McDowell, squeezing his thumb and finger together, signifying just how close he thought his car’s setup was to the winner’s. “Sometimes we’re that much ahead, but tonight we was a little bit behind, so congratulations to those guys.”
Notes: Sixteen cars finished the race, with eight completing all 100 laps. … Bloomquist’s previous Dream victories came in ’95, ’02, ’04, ’06, ’08, ’13 and ’17). … The race was slowed by eight cautions. All were for cars slowing with tire issues or for solo spins, with the exception of a caution for debris on lap 14. … Jason Jameson finished 18th after leading the first nine laps. … Mike Marlar gave up the 10th spot when he pitted during a lap-40 caution. He subsequently made a number of stops before finishing 22nd. … After a tough round of preliminaries, Kent Robinson rebounded to finish eighth in the main event, the last driver on the lead lap. … Canadian Ricky Weiss was the feature’s top-finishing rookie. He placed 12th. Clint Bowyer teammates Don O’Neal and polesitter Darrell Lanigan were never a factor after they each had an outstanding two rounds of prelims.
Dream XXIV Finish
Pos./ Driver / (Car No.), / Hometown, / Chassis, / Earnings
1. Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., Sweet-Bloomquist, $100,000
2. Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., Sweet-Bloomquist, $20,000
3. Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., Longhorn, $12,500
4. Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., Rocket, $10,000
5. Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., Barry Wright, $8,750
6. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., Longhorn, $7,500
7. Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., MB Customs, $6,500
8. Kent Robinson (7r), Bloomington, Ind., MB Customs, $6,000
9. Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., Club 29, $5,500
10. Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, Longhorn, $5,000
11. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., Rocket, $4,000
12. Ricky Weiss (7), Headingley, Manitoba, Sweet-Bloomquist, $3,000
13. Darrell Lanigan (14), Union, Ky., Club 29, $2,950
14. Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hills, Pa., Rocket, $2,900
15. Rod Conley (71r), Wheelersburg, Ohio, Rocket, $2,875
16. Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., Black Diamond, $2,850
17. Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., Rocket, $2,825
18. Jason Jameson (12), Lawrenceburg, Ind., Swartz, $2,800
19. Nick Hoffman (2), Mooresville, N.C., Rocket, $2,775
20. Michael Chilton (97), Salvisa, Ky., Rocket, $2,750
21. Shanon Buckingham (50), Morristown, Tenn., Longhorn, $2,725
22. Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., Rocket, $2,700
23. Brent Larson (B1), Lake Elmo, Minn., Longhorn, $2,675
24. Hudson O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., Club 29, $2,650
25. Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., Capital, $2,625
26. Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., Rocket, $2,600
27. Michael Page (18x), Douglasville, Ga., Stinger, $2,550
28. Jared Landers (1), Batesville, Ark., Black Diamond, $2,500
Lap Leaders: Jameson 1-8; Davenport 9-35, 39; Bloomquist 36-38, 40-100.
Fast Qualifier (Among 78 cars): Robinson, 15.265 seconds
Heat Race Winners: Richards, Marlar, Clanton, Mars, Jameson, Lanigan
Consolation Winners: Simpson, Zeigler
Scramble Winners: Brandon Sheppard, Freddie Carpenter
Provisional Starters: Owens, Babb
Preliminary Feature Winners: Davenport, Lanigan, Pearson, Maddenwww.eldoraspeedway.com