Bloomquist Gets Sixth Eldora Dream!
ROSSBURG, Ohio — Scott Bloomquist authored another vintage performance at Eldora Speedway to capture Saturday night’s 100-lap Dirt Late Model Dream XIX Presented by Ferris Commercial Mowers.
Simultaneously ending a rare five-year absence from Victory Lane at Tony Stewart’s famed high-banked, half-mile oval and busting out of an early-season slump, Bloomquist methodically marched forward to take the lead from Jimmy Mars on lap 65 and dominated the remainder of the distance. The 49-year-old easily handled two late-race restarts to claim the DIRTcar UMP-sanctioned event’s $100,000 top prize for a record sixth time.
“It’s been kind of a rough spring,” said Bloomquist. “We’ve not had the wins that we are used to or accustomed to. We’ve had a lot of bad luck, just a lot of crazy things happening to us. It’s been bad, but I told everybody (entering the Dream), ‘This is gonna turn around. It’s gonna turn around quick and big. We’re gonna go win this hundred-grand. That will be the end of this bad luck streak.’
“Everybody was just kind of looking at me like, What are you doing? I said, ‘Don’t worry — we can do it.’”
Indeed he did – and in no-doubt-it fashion. No one was able to threaten Bloomquist once he completed his advance from the sixth starting spot to the lead in dirt Late Model racing’s richest race.
Dennis Erb Jr. chased Bloomquist under the checkered flag, finishing 1.527 seconds back in second place. But Erb, who started 17th, didn’t even crack the top five until lap 91 — and after vaulting from fifth to second on a restart that circuit, he spent the final circuits fighting to maintain the runner-up spot rather than attempting to challenge Bloomquist.
Brian Birkhofer, who won last September’s World 100 at Eldora, placed third, Dale McDowell was fourth and 21st-starter Jimmy Owens took advantage of restarts on laps 91 and 98 to sneak up the rundown and complete the top five.
Josh Richards crossed the finish line in third place after climbing as high as second from the 28th starting spot, but the fast-time provisional starter was disqualified and placed last in the rundown when his Rocket Chassis house car weighed in 32 pounds below the 2,300-pound minimum at the post-race weigh-in. He attributed the inspection failure to his forgetting to bolt a lead weight to the car during his team’s scramble to repair damage sustained in a heat-race tangle.
Bloomquist, who made his 17th career Dream A-Main start, pointed to Friday night’s preliminary feature as a key to his convincing triumph. He started at the rear of the 25-lap race, using it as a test session to tune his self-built Team Zero machine.
“Racing ain’t getting any easier,” said Bloomquist, whose previous Dream victories came in 1995, 2002, ’04, ’06 and ’08. “The competition is getting tougher. You gotta just never quit looking and searching.
“That’s one thing that last night did for us — instead of getting out there and racing hard, I came in and I tried a couple of things. When the cautions came out I’d try something drastic just to give me some direction to go. We hardly ever get that (type of opportunity) here.”
Once Bloomquist realized at the start of the Dream headliner that his car was working so well that he “could do no wrong with it,” he settled into a familiar pattern. He demonstrated the patience that has brought him so much success at Eldora, watching from a comfortable distance as 17-year-old Tyler Reddick jumped off the pole position to lead laps 1-22 before breaking a driveshaft and then Mars inherited the top spot and set the pace.
“Early I let them get away from me,” said Bloomquist, who ran fifth for much of the race’s first half. “I just did not want to spin the tires. I knew I was running a fast enough pace not to get passed, so I just sat there, waiting, letting heat build in my tires, and trying not rip all the edges off by trying to go too fast to soon.
“That’s definitely what made it feel like the old days (at Eldora). We used to do that a lot – just wait for the last 30 (laps), and everybody would already have all the edges gone (off their tires) and burnt their stuff up and then everybody would go, ‘Where did he find a half-second?’
“Well, I just wasn’t pushing yet,” he added, “and I would have enough edges left to push it at the end.”
Bloomquist passed Tim Fuller for third on lap 47 and Duane Chamberlain for second on lap 53. He then ran down Mars, who had inherited the lead when Reddick departed on lap 22, and sailed in front for good on lap 65.
Within 10 laps Bloomquist had built more than a straightaway lead. He stretched his edge to nearly a half-lap at one point and was still in front by over five seconds on lap 91 when a caution flag flew for Matt Miller, a preliminary feature winner on both Thursday and Friday whose late bid to run down Bloomquist ended five laps after he passed Mars for second place due to a broken driveshaft.