Dirt Late Model racing has several headliner events, all marked by tight, intense competit
Ever wonder why Dirt Late Model racing is so popular? One big reason is the multitude of big-dollar races that are held throughout the season. Many of these races have been carried on for years, greatly increasing the prestige of winning one of them.
As a rule, most of the big dogs in the sport come out for these events, bringing out even more fans. Four of the biggest DLM races occur in a small area of Ohio and Kentucky.
To find out where they are, draw a triangle with the corners of Rossburg, Ohio, Chillicothe, Ohio, and Florence, Kentucky, and you have the track locations of Eldora Speedway, K-C Speedway, and Florence Speedway. The associated races for those tracks are The Dream at Eldora, the North-South 100 at Florence, the World 100 at Eldora, and the Dirt Track World Championship (DTWC) at K-C.
With the financial aspects of these races, it's not hard to understand why they attract race cars by the hundreds. Just take a look at the figures for this quartet of classic races. The total sum for the First-Place awards comes out to almost a quarter-million bucks with the combined purses sitting at $650,000. We're not talking about Nextel Cup here, but four Dirt Late Model races on four dirt short tracks.
Bart Hartman celebrated his win in the North-South 100. Tony Hammett
With the exception of The Dream, which has always paid $100,000 to the winner and came along in 1994, the other three races have been around since the '70s and '80s.
Through the years, many of the stars of the dirt sport have monopolized the races. In fact, superstar Donnie Moran was the only driver to win all four races: the DTWC in 1988 and the other three in 1996. That was the case until 2005 when Scott Bloomquist added a DTWC victory, making it all four for the Bloomer. The late Jack Boggs won three of the classic races, and Billy Moyer has also won three of the races, including five World 100s.
Great competition and huge crowds have been the hallmarks of this quartet of races, and 2005 was no different. But there was one interesting aspect as two of those races were decided at the scales following the checkered flags. So here's how things went with the '05 edition of each.
The DreamThe surprise winner was Matt Miller, but the victory didn't come easily by any means. The scales almost cost Miller the victory. The first time he rolled his car onto the scales, the news was bad as he was reported 2 pounds light. The second weighing showed him as being legal, but just barely, with 1 pound to spare. Needless to say, it was a period of utmost tension.
After the scales revealed a problem on a competitor's car, Dale McDowell put his No. 17 in
When the race started, Miller had his work cut out for him. In the early laps, it looked like the driver on the pole, Jackie Boggs, had it all together. But Miller was moving through the field, and on the 32nd lap he brought the crowd to its feet when he got around the formidable Bloomquist, who had won The Dream three times.
Boggs was still leading at the halfway point, but he started to have company as Miller pulled his car into the runner-up position. That's basically the way it stayed until Lap 78, when Boggs' engine went away. The rest of the race was a battle for First between Miller and Darrell Lanigan, with Miller taking the checkered and Lanigan finishing Second.
Bloomquist came back to finish Third, with Ray Cook in Fourth and Jerry Rice in Fifth. But Rice's finish was short-lived as the scales showed him to be 11 pounds light. That moved him to dead last with Earl Pearson Jr. taking his place.
The North-South 100With Bloomquist on the grounds for the North-South 100 at Florence Speedway, many fans had him penciled in as a solid favorite. He would come close, finishing Fourth, but the big honor went to a track favorite, Bart Hartman. If that name sounds familiar, it should, as his late father was a multiple winner with USAC in the '80s and a member of the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame.
Scott Bloomquist was the victor in the DTWC in the 25th anniversary of the event and Bloom
Don O'Neal took the North-South 100 lead early and was pulling away. The field shuffled around behind him, but it looked like he had things covered. The crowd, meanwhile, was also watching fast-moving Hartman, who had moved into Third from his starting position of Eighth.
At the halfway signal, Hartman took the lead and then started his moving-away maneuver. By the 60th lap, O'Neal had faltered and Ray Cook took over the runner-up position, followed by Bloomquist. On the 70th lap, Bloomquist moved to Second and he and Cook started to run down Hartman.
Suddenly, Earl Pearson Jr. moved into contention and was pressing Hartman during the final laps. He was even alongside him once before losing by a car length at the finish line.
Hartman smiled in Victory Circle and summarized that great evening of racing by saying, "Guess I earned that one, didn't I?"
The World 100At the World 100, Dale McDowell was the winner, but it came off in a most interesting situation.
McDowell actually crossed the finish line second to fan favorite Shannan Babb. But there was a problem at the scales for the No. 18 car, as Babb came up 11 pounds light and the race was then handed to McDowell. The new winner handled the sudden good luck with a ton of class, explaining that Babb deserved the win, and that the small amount of weight wouldn't have made any difference in the final result.
Before that unfortunate disqualification occurred, it was a race of great competition. Possibly the greatest competition came by just making the field. Consider that there were 216 cars vying for the 28 feature positions-that comes to about one position for every eight cars. Guess it's not surprising to learn that some of the best racing occurs in the heat races.
Boggs, who started First in the feature, stayed in front, as he had in The Dream, and for the first 19 laps looked unbeatable. But then he came to a stop, and his night was over with the lead taken by McDowell. As the laps progressed, Miller, the '05 Dream winner, moved to Second with Babb close in Third. At the halfway point, Babb made his pass for the lead and held on for the win, or so it seemed. The victory would be short-lived, though, much to the sadness of Babb's many fans.
The Dirt Track World Championship (DTWC)The number 25 was really important with this classic race. First, this was the 25th anniversary of the event, and secondly, it was the 25th year of racing for Bloomquist, the winner.
It was an all-encompassing victory for Bloomquist as he led all 100 laps around K-C Speedway's super-fast 31/48-mile oval. Bloomquist indicated that he had run well at the track on other occasions and felt that he had the car to win for this race. He was right, but it took some real doing to get the job done.
He had a great starting spot, being on the outside of the front row and diving for the lead on the first lap over pole sitter Brian Birkhofer. That was all it would take for Bloomquist to win the race, however. An easy win? Hardly, as Birkhofer did everything he could to get around the blazing Bloomquist.
Birkhofer tried every way imaginable to make the pass, but it was all done cleanly, with no intention of spinning out the leader. The two leaders cut through traffic, with Birkhofer looking for any advantage he could find. It had the crowd locked on the duo for the complete race. Bloomquist said after the race that it was an emotion he'll never forget. The remainder of the Top 5 included Hartman, Rick Eckert, and Chub Frank.