Richards & Miller Open Dirt Late Model Dream XIX by Ferris Weekend With Preliminary Feature Victories At Eldora Speedway
Tremendous Racing Highlights Start Of New Expanded Dream Format
ROSSBURG, OH – June 6, 2013 – Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., and Matt Miller of Whitehouse, Ohio, kicked off the new expanded Dirt Late Model Dream XIX Presented by Ferris Commercial Mowers weekend with victories in Thursday night’s Twin 25-lap features at Eldora Speedway.
With the DIRTcar UMP-sanctioned event’s 84-car field split in half by time-trial results, Richards captured the frenetic first A-Main for odd-numbered qualifiers and Miller soared to the checkered flag in the nightcap reserved for even-numbered qualifiers.
Richards, 25, pulled off a dramatic last-lap pass of Ashland, Ky.’s Steve Francis to grab the $2,500 top prize in the wildly-competitive first feature, which included seven lead changes among four drivers. A caution flag with two laps remaining put Richards on Francis’s outside for the restart and he took full advantage of the opportunity, surging by Francis off the top of turn two on the final circuit.
“It was a fun race,” said Richards, who started sixth driving a Valvoline-sponsored Rocket Chassis house car that he debuted last Saturday night. “The track had some speed to it even though it was hard, and you could really move around on it and race. You had to be aggressive if you were gonna pass somebody and that’s what we did at the end.”
After beating Francis to the finish line by about a car length, Richards admitted that he felt fortunate to earn his second career win at the high-banked, half-mile oval. He was nearly knocked from contention in an opening-lap scramble in turn two that stacked up several cars, including John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va.
“(Brian) Shirley slid up through there when we were racing and I got turned sideways (at the start) and I thought we were done right then,” said Richards, whose previous Eldora triumph came in an American Late Model Series event on May 25, 2008. “But somehow we survived that with only some cosmetic damage and we got to keep our spot.”
The victory gave Richards high hopes of enjoying an even greater celebration after Saturday night’s 100-lap Dream A-Main, which boasts a $100,000 winner’s purse. The current World of Outlaws Late Model Series points leader has made five Dream 100 starts since 2005 with a top finish of sixth in 2010.
“I didn’t really feel all that great hot-lapping, qualifying or heat-racing even though we were fast, but we changed our package around a little bit and actually I feel really comfortable now,” said Richards. “Just a few minor tweaks and I feel we’ll have something a lot better for Saturday than we have in the past.”
Francis settled for a runner-up finish after swapping the lead five times with Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga. Davenport passed outside-polesitter Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., for the lead on lap three and appeared primed for a breakthrough Eldora victory until Francis, who started seventh in NASCAR star Clint Bowyer’s Barry Wright car, moved in to start a dogfight for the top spot.
Francis gained control on lap 10, but Davenport returned the favor with an outside charge to move back ahead on lap 16. It was Francis on top on lap 18, Davenport on lap 19 and Francis again on lap 20.
Lanigan, who led laps 1-2, finished third. Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., broke into the top five following the final restart to place fourth and Davenport slipped back to fifth in the official rundown.
Miller flexed some serious muscle in the second 25-lapper, steering Rick Delong’s Rocket No. 3 around the extreme outside of the ‘Big E’ to take the lead from race-long pacesetter Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., on lap 11. The 2005 Dream winner never looked back en route to a 2.163-second victory over Owens, who outdueled Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., for second-place money.
“This is one of those places where if you slow yourself down you lose your rhythm,” said Miller, who wasn’t seriously challenged once he took control of a race slowed by only a single caution flag on lap 20. “So I felt better just attacking. If I’m racing, I’m not thinking about laps.”
The $2,500 score put Miller in the right frame of mind for the remainder of the Dream XIX by Ferris weekend.
“That was fantastic,” said Miller, who since 2005 has won six American Late Model Series A-Mains at Eldora. “We came here a couple weeks (earlier this year) and struggled. There were some late nights sitting there sleepless trying to figure out how we could fix this thing, and the guys and I came together with Mark Richards and those guys (at Rocket Chassis) and that thing was on rails tonight.”
Owens, who started from the outside pole, exchanged the runner-up spot several times with McCool late in the distance before securing the second-place finish. Owens is one of only five drivers to win both of Eldora’s marquee dirt Late Model events, the Dream and World 100.
McCool’s third-place finish in Chad Stapleton’s car was an Eldora career-best, while Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., started and finished fourth and polesitter Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., completed the top five.
Defending Dream champion Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., was the fastest qualifier in Thursday night’s multi-car time trials with a lap of 15.387 seconds, but after he spun a ‘4’ for the heat-race inversion he opted to park his Kennedy Motorsports Capital Race Car for the remainder of the night.
Among off-number qualifiers, heat-race winners were Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., Lanigan, Shirley and Davenport and the B-Mains were captured by Duane Chamberlain of Richmond, Ind., and R.J. Conley of Wheelersburg, Ohio. Even-number qualifier heat wins went to Erb, Owens, Miller and Bloomquist while Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., and Mason Zeigler of Chalk Hill, Pa., topped the B-Mains.
The Dream XIX by Ferris weekend continues on Friday night (June 7) with a second preliminary night of competition. Time trials will again split the field into two groups for heat races, B-Mains and 25-lap features that will pay $5,000 to win.
Heat races for Saturday night’s Dream XIX by Ferris will be aligned using drivers’ best qualifying laps from time trials on Thursday and Friday, putting plenty of importance on the second round against the clock on Friday night.
Hot laps are scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. on Friday with time trials to follow. Racing will get the green flag at 8 p.m.
Fans can obtain tickets information for the Dream XIX by Ferris by going online to www.EldoraSpeedway.com or contacting the Eldora offices at 937-338-3815.
Fans who can’t make it to Eldora in person this weekend can still watch all the action live by purchasing the live Pay-Per-View video broadcast of all three nights of action that is available at www.EldoraSpeedway.com.
For more information on DIRTcar Racing, visit www.dirtcar.com.
Odd-Number Qualifiers Feature Finish (25 laps): 1. 1. Josh Richards, 2. Steve Francis, 3. Darrell Lanigan, 4. Brian Shirley, 5. Jonathan Davenport, 6. Jeep VanWormer, 7. Brian Birkhofer, 8. Chris Simpson, 9. Eric Wells, 10. Duane Chamberlain, 11. Frankie Heckenast Jr., 12. Mike Spatola, 13. Jason Montgomery, 14. Nick Latham, 15. Tim Lance, 16. Jacob Hawkins, 17. R.J. Conley, 18. Jimmy Mars, 19. Dustin Neat, 20. Dale McDowell, 21. Terry Phillips, 22. Shannon Thornsberry, 23. John Blankenship, 24. Jeff Provinzino
Even-Numbers Qualifiers Feature Finish (25 laps): 1. Matt Miller, 2. Jimmy Owens, 3. Bub McCool, 4. Scott Bloomquist, 5. Dennis Erb Jr., 6. Chad Simpson, 7. Billy Moyer, 8. Jeff Babcock, 9. Tyler Reddick, 10. Scott James, 11. Brandon Sheppard, 12. Jerry Bowersock, 13. Doug Drown, 14. Billy Moyer Jr., 15. Jared Landers, 16. Dusty Moore, 17. Morgan Bagley, 18. Wayne Chinn, 19. Chad Stapleton, 20. Mason Zeigler, 21. Jeremy Payne, 22. Kent Robinson, 23. Donnie Moran, 24. Tim McCreadie
Dirt Late Model Dream by Ferris Time Trials Results (Unofficial):
1. 25-Shane Clanton/Zebulon, GA 15.387
2. 15-Jon Henry/Ada, OH 15.430
3. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 15.483
4. 18-Shannon Babb/Moweaqua, IL 15.544
5. 28-Dennis Erb Jr./Carpentersville, IL 15.591
6. 3s-Brian Shirley/Chatham, IL 15.628
7. 21-Billy Moyer/Batesville, AR 15.628
8. 1b-Jeff Babcock/Wayne, OH 15.659
9. 99Jr-Frankie Heckenast Jr./Orland Park, IL 15.674
10. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 15.691
11. 44-Chris Madden/Gray Court, SC 15.703
12 71-Don O’Neal/Martinsville, IL 15.719
13. 15b-Brian Birkhofer/Muscatine, IA 15.738
14. 25z-Mason Zeigler/Chalk Run, PA 15.790
15. 17M-Dale McDowell/Chickamauga, GA 15.791
16. 0-Scott Bloomquist/Mooresburg, TN 15.822
17. C9-Steve Casebolt Jr./Richmond, IN 15.915
18. 5-Jared Landers/Batesville, AR 15.918
19. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 15.935
20. 20-Jimmy Owens/Newport, TN 15.957
21. 71c-R.J. Conley/Wheelersburg, OH 15.966
22. 49-Jonathan Davenport/Blairsville, GA 15.982
23. 21Jr-Billy Moyer Jr./Batesville, AR 15.988
24. 6-Dustin Neat/Campbellsville, KY 15.995
25. 3-Matt Miller/Whitehouse, OH 16.021
26. 41-Brad Neat/Dunnville, KY 16.026
27. 55-Jeep VanWormer/Pinconning, MI 16.048
28. 1wc-Wayne Chinn/Bradford, OH 16.074
29. 19-Chad Smith/Miamisburg, OH 16.079
30. 20J-Jerry Bowersock/Wapakoneta, OH 16.092
31. 23-John Blankenship/Williamson, WV 16.093
32. 6-Steve Shaver/Vienna, WV 16.094
33. 75-Terry Phillips/Springfield, MO 16.148
34. 28-Eddie Carrier Jr./Salt Rock, WV 16.149
35. 20H-Jacob Hawkins/Fairmont, WV 16.155
36. 18-Eric Wells/Hazard, KY 16.190
37. 57J-Bub McCool/Vicksburg, MS 16.205
38. 44-Earl Pearson Jr./Jacksonville, FL 16.206
39. 20r-Jeremy Payne/Springfield, MO 16.210
40. 28M-Jimmy Mars/Menomonie, WI 16.214
41. 25-Chad Simpson/Mt. Vernon, IA 16.220
42. 63-Doug Drown/Wooster, OH 16.231
43. 20c-Duane Chamberlain/Richmond, IN 16.241
44. 21-Jason Montgomery/Jackson, OH 16.280
45. 99-Donnie Moran/Dresden, OH 16.304
46. 7R-Kent Robinson/Bloomington, IN 16.341
47. 11-Austin Hubbard/Seaford, DE 16.361
48. 11-Tyler Reddick/DuQuoin, IL 16.373
49. 32-Bobby Pierce/Oakwood, IL 16.430
50. 89-Mike Spatola/Manhattan, IL 16.448
51. 14M-Morgan Bagley/Longview, TX 16.461
52. 360-Michael Asbury/Crossville, TN 16.479
53. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 16.494
54. 15-Greg Johnson/Bedford, IN 16.509
55. 72-John Mason/Millersburg, OH 16.522
56. 75-Dusty Moore/Swanton, OH 16.575
57. 17-Shannon Thornsberry/Martin, KY 16.589
58. 555-Justin Coulter/Leamington, ONT 16.618
59. 48-Tim Lance/Brimfield, IL 16.623
60. M14-Brandon Thirlby/Traverse City, MI 16.636
61. 32-Chris Simpson/Oxford, IA 16.652
62. 16-Tyler Erb/Magnolia, TX 16.723
63. 3-Russ Nicastri/Smithfield, NSW, AUS 16.767
64. 8-Craig Smith/Brighton, IL 16.805
65. 46-Tim Rivers/Salem, IN 16.833
66. 2-Justin Chance/Lexington, OH 16.839
67. 11r-James Rice/Verona, KY 16.861
68. 11-Ryan Sutter/Coldwater, OH 16.935
69. 15-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 16.960
70. 93-Jay Johnson/W. Burlington, IA 16.984
71. 116-Randy Weaver/Crossville, TN 17.014
72. 32-Chad Stapleton/Edinburgh, IN 17.099
73. 25s-Jason Smith/Seymour, IN 17.185
74. 1g-Scott James/Bright, IN 17.257
75. 28-Jeff Provinzino/Hibbing, MN 17.409
76. 88-Andrew Reaume/Blenheim, ONT 17.506
77. 31-Nick Latham/Winchester, OH 17.748
78. 33-Don Gordon/Chatham, ONT 18.259
79. 4c-Ernie Cordier/Brodhead, JY 18.891
80. 99M-Devin Moran/Dresden, OH 19.013
81. 22-Gregg Satterlee/Rochester Mills, PA 19.043
82. 79-Shane Unger/Versailles, OH 19.267
83. 18-Danny Mitchell/Clarksburg, WV 19.316
84. B5-Brandon Sheppard/New Berlin, IL N/T
Odd-Number Qualifiers Heat 1 Finish (8 laps/top 4 transfer): 1. Jimmy Mars, 2. Frankie Heckenast Jr., 3. Terry Phillips, 4. Dustin Neat, 5. Tim Lance, 6. Mike Spatola, 7. Jason Smith (DNS) Shane Clanton, Steve Casebolt Jr., Tim Rivers, Gregg Satterlee
Odd-Number Qualifiers Heat 2 Finish (8 laps/top 4 transfer): 1. Darrell Lanigan, 2. Josh Richards, 3. Jacob Hawkins, 4. Jeep VanWormer, 5. Duane Chamberlain, 6. Chris Madden, 7. Brandon Thirlby, 8. Jeff Provinzino, 9. Danny Mitchell, 10. James Rice (DNS) Tim Fuller
Odd-Number Qualifiers Heat 3 Finish (8 laps/top 4 transfer): 1. Brian Shirley, 2. Steve Francis, 3. Brian Birkhofer, 4. Eric Wells, 5. R.J. Conley, 6. Austin Hubbard, 7. Chris Simpson, 8. Nick Latham, 9. Chad Smith (DNS) John Mason
Odd-Number Qualifiers Heat 4 Finish (8 laps/top 4 transfer): 1. Jonathan Davenport, 2. John Blankenship, 3. Dale McDowell, 4. Shannon Thornsberry, 5. Jason Montgomery, 6. Randy Weaver, 7. Ross Nicastri, 8. Earl Pearson Jr., 9. Ernie Cordier (DNS) Shannon Babb
Odd-Number Qualifiers B-Main 1 Finish (10 laps/top 4 transfer): 1. Duane Chamberlain, 2. Jeff Provinzino, 3. Tim Lance, 4. Mike Spatola, 5. Brandon Thirlby, 6. Danny Mitchell
Odd-Number Qualifiers B-Main 2 Finish (10 laps/top 4 transfer): 1. R.J. Conley, Chris Simpson, 3. Nick Latham, 4. Jason Montgomery, 5. Randy Weaver, 6. Austin Hubbard, 7. Ross Nicastri, 8. Chad Smith, 9. Ernie Cordier, 10. Earl Pearson Jr.
Even-Number Qualifiers Heat 1 Finish (8 laps/top 4 transfer): 1. Dennis Erb Jr., 2. Chad Simpson, 3. Tim McCreadie, 4. Scott James, 5. Donnie Moran, 6. Jared Landers, 7. Morgan Bagley, 8. Justin Chance, 9. Jon Henry, 10. Shane Unger (DNS) Brad Neat
Even-Number Qualifiers Heat 2 Finish (8 laps/top 4 transfer): 1. Jimmy Owens, 2. Doug Drown, 3. Kent Robinson, 4. Wayne Chinn, 5. Brandon Sheppard, 6. Andrew Reaume, 7. Ryan Sutter, 8. Michael Asbury, 9. Greg Johnson (DNS) Don O’Neal, Eddie Carrier Jr.
Even-Number Qualifiers Heat 3 Finish (8 laps/top 4 transfer): 1. Matt Miller, 2. Bub McCool, 3. Tyler Reddick, 4. Billy Moyer, 5. Mason Zeigler, 6. Dusty Moore, 7. Jerry Bowersock, 8. Tyler Erb, 9. Jay Johnson, 10. Don Gordon
Even-Number Qualifiers Heat 4 Finish (8 laps/top 4 transfer): 1. Scott Bloomquist, 2. Billy Moyer Jr., 3. Jeff Babcock, 4. Jeremy Payne, 5. Chad Stapleton, 6. Justin Coulter, 7. Craig Smith, 8. Steve Shaver, 9. Bobby Pierce (DNS) Devin Moran
Even-Number Qualifiers B-Main 1 Finish (10 laps/top 4 transfer): 1. Brandon Sheppard, 2. Donnie Moran, 3. Jared Landers, 4. Morgan Bagley, 5. Ryan Sutter, 6. Greg Johnson, 7. Andrew Reaume, 8. Justin Chance, 9. Shane Unger
Even-Number Qualifiers B-Main 2 Finish (10 laps/top 4 transfer): 1. Mason Zeigler, 2. Jerry Bowersock, 3. Chad Stapleton, 4. Dusty Moore, 5. Justin Coulter, 6. Jay Johnson, 7. Tyler Erb, 8. Devin Moran, 9. Bobby Pierce, 10. Don Gordon