Chickamauga's Dale McDowell Has $100,000 Dream Night At Eldora Speedway

Sunday, June 8, 2014
ROSSBURG, Ohio - Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., co-owner and operator of the Boyd's Speedway in Chattanooga/Ringgold, completed some unfinished business on Saturday night at Tony Stewart's Eldora Speedway.

  Nine years after inheriting a triumph in the prestigious World 100 that left him feeling less than satisfied, the 48-year-old veteran captured the famed one-half mile oval's other, richer crown-jewel event with a convincing drive to the checkered flag in the 20th annual DIRTcar-sanctioned Dirt Late Model Dream presented by Ferris Mowers.

  McDowell stormed forward from the 22nd starting spot to grab the lead from six-time Dream champion Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tn., on lap 79 and never looked back en route to claiming the richest pay day of the year for dirt late model racing, $100,000.

McDowell will try to overstuff his wallet even more later this month when he competes in Lernerville Speedway's $30,000-to-win Firecracker 100 on June 26-27-28 in Sarver, Pa., near Pittsburgh.

  "Thanks goodness that I made it to victory lane," said the relieved McDowell, who has been pursuing a full-fledged party on Eldora's grand stage since his tempered World 100 post-race. "I won the World in 2005, but Shannon Babb actually won it. I just was the recipient of his misfortune (Babb was disqualified for being 10 pounds light), so it feels great to be able to celebrate in victory lane."

  McDowell was never challenged once in command. He steered his Team Dillon Racing Warrior car across the finish line with a half-straightaway edge over defending World 100 winner John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va., who charged from the 24th starting spot to take the $20,000 runner-up payoff.

  Bloomquist settled for third place after leading laps 33-78, 25th-starter Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., finished fourth and Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., who started second and led laps 1-16, completed the top five.

  Eddie Carrier Jr. of Salt Rock, W.Va., led laps 17-32 but faded to a seventh-place finish.
McDowell failed to transfer through a heat race on Saturday night, pulling back his high hopes coming off a win in one of the previous evening's 25-lap preliminary features. He came back to win a B-Main but still wasn't overly confident about his chances.

  "I'm lost for words," said McDowell, whose best previous finish in 11 previous Dream feature starts was third in 2010. "We didn't do well in the heat race - I'm just no damn good up on the cushion (that was dominant during qualifying) - and we started 22nd, so I really didn't have expectations of getting to the front. Honest to God I didn't. 

"But shoot, it was just our turn tonight - finally." McDowell got rolling in the fast and furious 100-lapper; however, cracking the top 10 just after the race's first caution flag flew on lap 32 for Ryan Gustin of Marshalltown, Iowa, stopping on the inside of turn one. He found himself in a battle for fifth by lap 55 and vaulted up to third on lap 60 when Don O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., and Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., tangled and spun between turns three and four while racing for position with McDowell.

  Then, after the race restarted for the final time on the 60th circuit, McDowell took second place from Carrier and chased after Bloomquist. He made his deciding move on lap 79, working the inside lane off turn two to snatch the top spot for good.

  "There late in the race I could run top and bottom and didn't know where I needed to be," McDowell said. "This racetrack was flawless. You could race all over it, but you just can't feel the speed in the seat, so my brother (and crew chief) Shane was down there giving me hand signals and I was trying to look for him and see what was going on.

  "Man, them last 15 laps, I looked up on the board and I didn't think they were ever gonna click off."

  McDowell held on to become the sixth driver to win both of Eldora's crown-jewel events, joining Bloomquist, Moyer, Owens, Donnie Moran of Dresden, Ohio, and Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga.

  Blankenship, 32, broke into second place with a lap-84 pass of Bloomquist. He appeared to be catching McDowell for a short time before gradually losing ground in the closing laps.
"I had a great car and I was just pushing it a little hard at the end," said Blankenship, who matched his career-best Dream finish of second in 2012. "I was hoping he'd get hung up and stuck on the track a little bit with those lapped cars, but that was really the only shot I had. I kind of ran out of race car.

  "Either way, hat's off to my crew. I ran into the wall twice this week and tore it up, and they did an excellent job getting it back together."

  The 50-year-old Bloomquist pushed forward from the fifth starting spot to take the lead from Carrier on lap 33, but he couldn't stay in front the whole way to become the first driver in the Dream's 20-year history to win the race in consecutive years.

  "It looks like we just had some tire-size issues," said Bloomquist, who made his 18th career start in a Dream A-Main. "It's our fault. I didn't have the stagger we needed, so I had to shear the car to turn it and that caused the tires to give up on us some.

  "We really felt like we had the car to beat but we just kind of beat ourselves tonight. But congratulations to Dale and all that bunch - he looked like he was pretty good there, and that's all we had at the end."

DIRTcar UMP Late Model Statistical Report; 20th Dirt Late Model Dream; Eldora Speedway; Rossburg, Ohio
100 Lap - FEATURE - 1. 17M-Dale Mcdowell [22]; 2. 23B-John Blankenship [24]; 3. 0-Scott Bloomquist [5]; 4. 20-Jimmy Owens [25]; 5. 21-Billy Moyer [2]; 6. 777-Jared Landers [8]; 7. 28C-Eddie Carrier Jr [3]; 8. 1E-Rick Eckert [7]; 9. 55-Jeep Vanwormer [1]; 10. 44M-Chris Madden [10]; 11. 3-Matt Miller [DNF]; 12. 15-Steve Francis [13]; 13. 157-Mike Marlar [DNF]; 14. 22S-Gregg Satterlee [DNF]; 15. 25Z-Mason Zeigler [DNF]; 16. 7R-Kent Robinson [DNF]; 17. 12-Jason Hughes [DNF]; 18. 81JR-Jason Riggs [DNF]; 19. 00K-Randy Korte [DNF]; 20. 6D-Jonathan Davenport [DNF]; 21. 5-Don Oneal [DNF]; 22. 16N-Brad Neat [DNF]; 23. 25F-Jason Feger [DNF]; 24. 32-Chris Simpson [DNF]; 25. 19R-Ryan Gustin [DNF]; 26. 18-Shannon Babb [DNF]; 27. 25C-Shane Clanton [DNF]; 28. 29-Darrell Lanigan [DNF].

Randy Smith: Mark Richt Gets "Fulmered" By UGA

I recently warned Georgia about firing head football coach Mark Richt. They obviously didn't listen. On a Sunday morning when I was fully expecting Les Miles to be fired at LSU, I find  that the Bengal Tigers were keeping Miles and Georgia was firing their head coach after fifteen seasons. Fifteen years with a record of 145 wins and 51 losses; a bowl record of 9-5 as well as ... (click for more)

UTC's Huesman Named CFPA National Performer Of The Week

The College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) named University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's Jacob Huesman the National Performer of the Week for his play in the Mocs' win over Fordham on Saturday.  Huesman led UTC to a 50-20 victory against the 14th-ranked Rams in the first round of the FCS Playoffs. The senior quarterback was 17-25 passing for 211 yards, while tying ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Under Flood Watch Through Wednesday

With a steady rain set to continue through Wednesday, Chattanooga is under a flood watch. Over four inches of rain are expected in some areas. Here is the advisory from the National Weather Service: ...LOCALIZED FLOODING POSSIBLE ACROSS EAST TENNESSEE AND SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING... .THE COMBINATION OF DEEP SUBTROPICAL MOISTURE AND A SLOW MOVING FRONTAL ... (click for more)

Fire Destroys $350,000 Home On Sea Haven Drive

Firefighters from Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene of  6329 Sea Haven Drive to find a fire through the roof and a partial collapse of the home on Sunday night. No one was home at the time of the fire. The family was driving home from the Washington, D.C. area after visiting family over the holidays. A dog did expire in the fire. Neighbors had been ... (click for more)

Why Are We Allowing Poor Architecture And Urban Design Downtown?

   Over the past four decades our fair city has enjoyed striking improvements to our City Center and Northshore areas in large part due to citizen input and the guidance of the former Urban Design Studio. We are now widely recognized as a hotbed of entrepreneurship, neighborhood revitalization and good Urban Design. At the most recent City Council meeting, the leader and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Great Thanksgiving

In order for you to best understand this, last Thursday was the first Thanksgiving I have ever spent alone.  Don’t misunderstand, I had a fistful of kind invitations but I am the only remaining member of my immediate family around here and I guess I started dwelling on that a little too much as the holiday neared. Making out my “thankful” list helped, and I ate enough with ... (click for more)