ROSSBURG, OH – June 6, 2019 – The 25th running of the Dirt Late Model Dream started out with everything the Dirt Late Model world was hoping for on a Thursday night – clear skies, warm weather and a record car-count not seen in 7 years. The only thing left on the list was some incredible racing from the industry’s best competitors. And boy, did they ever deliver on that.
92 of the best DIRTcar Late Model drivers in the world packed the pit area and put on a show the Eldora Speedway crowd would not soon forget, starting with Darrell Lanigan’s incredible last-lap pass for the win over Jonathan Davenport in Group A’s Feature. Fellow World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series regular Ricky Weiss also put the moves on his competition, driving around World of Outlaws veteran Chris Madden and Thursday’s fast qualifier Jacob Hawkins to pick up his very first win at Eldora in the Group B Feature.
Group A Competition:
Lanigan came right out of the gate swinging, setting fast time in Group A and picking up a redraw spot from his second-place effort in Heat 1. Meanwhile, Davenport qualified 10th in the group, but muscled his way to a victory in Heat 2, setting him up for an outside-pole redraw.
From the drop of the green, every fan in attendance likely thought it was going to be another smooth-sailing cruise to victory for “Superman.” He hit a thick part of lapped traffic on lap 10, but expertly maneuvered through it to hold his lead over Chatham, IL’s Brian Shirley. But this advantage would fade quickly, as Lanigan put a strong move on Shirley going down the backstretch on lap 15. With 10 laps remaining, “J.D.” was now a sitting duck.
Without a doubt, Lanigan’s Club 29 car was the fastest machine on the racetrack in the final laps, as he closed the gap rapidly. With three laps left, there was almost no gap between he and Davenport, and that’s when Lanigan knew it was time to crack the whip and set up to make the move.
Two lapped cars sat in Davenport’s way – Brandon Overton on the low side, John Blankenship on the top. With no choice but to get off the bottom, Davenport moved to the middle-top in turns three and four to take away Lanigan’s line, coming to the white flag. Naturally, Lanigan turned it back underneath Davenport and drag-raced him down the front-stretch.
“Once we took the white, I saw a black car beside me and I didn’t know who it was,” Davenport said. “It sounded like he was in the gas pretty hard, so I figured it was somebody.”
Into turn one they raced, and with minimal contact, Lanigan drew a nose in front of Davenport. They drag-raced again down the backstretch, around Overton, and when Davenport slipped way up to the top in turn three, Lanigan saw just enough room to get by underneath and made the most of it. Davenport made a last-ditch effort to try and swipe the spot away on the bottom, but to no avail.
It was over. The “Bluegrass Bandit” had won the third Dirt Late Model Dream preliminary Feature of his career, and what a ride it was from his perspective.
“I got a good run off the bottom [of turn three] and got up beside him,” he said. “We rubbed a little bit getting into turn one, and then we went three-wide with the lapped car. I think Davenport was rubbing the wall [back into turn three], but we came out ahead, and it was fun.”
On the other side, Davenport knew he had let one slip away, but was in light spirits, as a second-place finish in a preliminary feature gave him a great start to his weekend in event points.
“I think [my night] went really well, up until the last 200 yards,” Davenport said with a chuckle.
In hindsight, Davenport said sticking to the low line may not have been the absolute best idea, but knows of how also refusing to move from the high side has cost him wins at the very same track in previous starts.
“I just didn’t move off of the bottom fast enough,” he said. “I was just concentrating on running around the bottom and should have moved up.”
“But I’ll just take those growing pains,” Davenport continued. “Keep them in the back of my head and remember to move around a bit more.”
June 6th, 2019
Qualifying – Group A (2 Laps) : 1. Darrell Lanigan (15.593); 2. Scott James (15.628); 3. Andrew Reaume (15.644); 4. Kyle Bronson (15.703); 5. Johnny Scott (15.712); 6. Gregg Satterlee (15.732); 7. Chris Ferguson (15.771); 8. Chris Simpson (15.772); 9. Dylan Yoder (15.790); 10. Jonathan Davenport (15.819); 11. Brian Shirley (15.840); 12. Brandon Kinzer (15.858); 13. Chad Simpson (15.860); 14. Michael Page (15.878); 15. Earl Pearson Jr (15.910); 16. Tim McCreadie (15.932); 17. Trent Ivey (15.946); 18. Mike Mataragas (15.959); 19. John Blankenship (15.968); 20. Hudson O’Neal (15.983); 21. Zack Dohm (16.003); 22. Mason Zeigler (16.005); 23. Frank Heckenast Jr (16.030); 24. Bobby Pierce (16.035); 25. Steven Roberts (16.092); 26. Jason Jameson (16.092); 27. Paul Stubber (16.121); 28. Brandon Overton (16.125); 29. Ryan King (16.138); 30. Nick Hoffman (16.139); 31. Dennis Erb Jr (16.161); 32. Kyle Hardy (16.238); 33. Michael Norris (16.272); 34. Jerry Bowersock (16.366); 35. Vic Hill (16.370); 36. Freddie Carpenter (16.396); 37. Casey Noonan (16.445); 38. Dustin Nobbe (16.545); 39. Dalton Polston (16.565); 40. Jim Yoder (16.579); 41. Kolby Vandenbergh (16.583); 42. Jeep Van Wormer (16.848); 43. Jeff Roth (16.915); 44. Chuck Hummer (17.524); 45. Nick Fenner (18.215);
Heat 1 – Group A (10 Laps – Top 5 Transfer ) : 1. Chad Simpson; 2. Darrell Lanigan; 3. Dylan Yoder; 4. Johnny Scott; 5. Brandon Overton; 6. Bobby Pierce; 7. Zack Dohm; 8. Freddie Carpenter; 9. Trent Ivey; 10. Kyle Hardy; 11. Jim Yoder; 12. Chuck Hummer;
Heat 2 – Group A (10 Laps – Top 5 Transfer) : 1. Jonathan Davenport; 2. Mason Zeigler; 3. Gregg Satterlee; 4. Scott James; 5. Michael Page; 6. Michael Norris; 7. Mike Matarages; 8. Ryan King; 9. Steven Roberts; 10. Casey Noonan; 11. Kolby Vandenbergh; 12. Nick Fenner;
Heat 3 – Group A (10 Laps – Top 5 Transfer) : 1. Earl Pearson Jr; 2. Brian Shirley; 3. Chris Ferguson; 4. Andrew Reaume; 5. John Blankenship; 6. Nick Hoffman; 7. Jerry Bowersock; 8. Jason Jameson; 9. Jeep Van Wormer; 10. Kody Evans; 11. Dustin Nobbe;
Heat 4 – Group A (10 Laps – Top 5 Transfer) : 1. Tim McCreadie; 2. Kyle Bronson; 3. Chris Simpson; 4. Hudson O’Neal; 5. Dennis Erb Jr; 6. Frank Heckenast Jr; 7. Vic Hill; 8. Brandon Kinzer; 9. Dalton Polston; 10. Paul Stubber; 11. Jeff Roth;
B Feature 1 – Group A (12 Laps – Top 2 Transfer) : 1. Zack Dohm; 2. Bobby Pierce; 3. Michael Norris; 4. Freddie Carpenter; 5. Ryan King; 6. Kyle Hardy; 7. Casey Noonan; 8. Trent Ivey; 9. Steven Roberts; 10. Kolby Vandenbergh; 11. Jim Yoder; 12. Chuck Hummer; 13. Nick Fenner;
B Feature 2 – Group A (12 Laps – Top 2 Transfer) : 1. Nick Hoffman; 2. Frank Heckenast Jr; 3. Jerry Bowersock; 4. Jeep Van Wormer; 5. Vic Hill; 6. Brandon Kinzer; 7. Jason Jameson; 8. Kody Evans; 9. Dalton Polston; 10. Dustin Nobbe; 11. Paul Stubber; 12. Jeff Roth;
Dream XXV Thursday Group A Preliminary Feature:
- Darrell Lanigan – $10,000
- Jonathan Davenport
- Brian Shirley
- Chris Ferguson
- Tim McCreadie
- Earl Pearson Jr.
- Gregg Satterlee
- Chad Simpson
- Mason Zeigler
- Hudson O’Neal
- Scott James
- Kyle Bronson
- Andrew Reaume
- Michael Page
- Dennis Erb Jr.
- Chris Simpson
- Zack Dohm
- John Blankenship
- Brandon Overton
- Bobby Pierce
- Johnny Scott
- Frank Heckenast Jr.
- Dylan Yoder
- Nick Hoffman