Owens & Robinson Claim Eldora Victories
ROSSBURG, Ohio — A pair of Club 29 Race Car (chassis) drivers showed the way Thursday as Eldora Speedway opened a busy weekend for the 20th annual Dirt Late Model Dream presented by Ferris Mowers with a pair of fast-paced Twin 25-lap features.
Jimmy Owens led the final 10 laps of the opening feature, while Kent Robinson led all the way in the finale. The drivers earned $2,500 apiece and will be among nearly 80 drivers gunning for Saturday’s $100,000 payday. Twin 25-lappers paying $5,000-to-win are scheduled for Friday.
With the track splitting the field for two complete programs following the multi-car time trial runs, Owens came out on top in the opening feature.
Combining patience with an impeccably handling machine, Owens ran down and passed race-long pacesetter Bobby Pierce for the lead on lap 15 and then rolled to victory.
“It’s good to come up here and win and have a pretty versatile car,” said Owens, a past winner of Eldora’s Dream (2009) and World 100 (’07, ’11). “I was pretty good wherever I wanted to go actually — I could run high, through the middle and on the bottom. I was really pleased.”
Owens, 42, failed to jump out to the lead at the initial green flag from his pole position starting spot, but that was the only blemish on his run. He glided by the 17-year-old Pierce, who started second, just after the halfway mark and controlled the remainder of the distance to pocket a $2,500 check.
Pierce settled for a runner-up finish, 1.441 seconds behind Owens. Eric Wells earned a career-best Eldora finish of third after surging past Jacob Hawkins on the restart following the race’s only caution flag (and only second of the entire night), on lap 22. John also passed Hawkins on the final restart to place fourth, leaving Hawkins fifth at the checkered flag.
In the second feature, Robinson captured what he called the biggest victory of his career.
“Any time you get on the stage here, it’s a big deal,” the 27-year-old driver said. “It might not have paid the highest (purse) I’ve ever won, but it definitely means the most to me.”
The polesitter jumped into the early lead in the caution-free event and built a comfortable half-straightaway margin on second-running Scott Bloomquist, a six-time Dream winner.
But as the frontrunners approached traffic after 10 laps, Robinson’s margin narrowed and it appeared as if Bloomquist might track him down. Instead, Robinson turned up the wick amid the slower cars, stretching his lead and giving his No. 7r a cushion of three lapped cars as Bloomquist vainly tried to keep up.
“When you get to dirty air, it really makes your car handle different. I knew I had a big lead. I was getting signs, a big enough lead, but I had to press hard enough to get around those guys to put some cars in between me and Scott,” Robinson said. “The car was really maneuverable. Once the tires fired off, it was really good — spot on. I don’t know if it could’ve gotten better, but that’s a good feeling. It makes my job a lot easier.”
Robinson ran unchallenged the rest of the way to take the checkers nearly three seconds ahead of Bloomquist, who started fourth and took the second spot from outside front-row starter Jonathan Davenport on the third lap.
Chris Simpson, who started fifth, advanced two positions for his best Eldora performance while Rick Eckert rallied from 11th to finish fourth in the Rocket Chassis house car.
Eddie Carrier Jr. was the fast qualifier for the 78-car field with a lap of 16.433 seconds on the half-mile oval.
First feature: Jimmy Owens, Bobby Pierce, Eric Wells, John Blankenship, Jacob Hawkins, Chris Madden, Brian Birkhofer, Jeep Vanwormer, Eddie Carrier Jr., Shannon Babb, Tim McCreadie, Jason Riggs, Billy Moyer Jr., Jimmy Mars, Morgan Bagle, Darrell Lanigan, Don O’Neal, Jason Hiett, Jeff Babcock, Terry Phillips, A.J. Diemel, Shane Clanton, Jared Landers, Jason Feger.
Second feature: Kent Robinson, Scott Bloomquist, Chris Simpson, Rick Eckert, Duane Chamberlain, Dale McDowell, Jonathan Davenport, Billy Moyer, Mike Marlar, Mason Zeigler, Steve Francis, Brad Neat, R.J. Conley, Ryan Gustin, Matt Miller, Gregg Satterlee, Earl Pearson Jr., Jon Henry, Curtis Roberts, Delmas Conley, Kyle Bronson, Michael Asberry, Devin Moran, Wayne Chinn.