Monday, June 14th, 2010
Moyer wins Eldora's Dream
By Mike Ernst
ROSSBURG - Throughout the 1990s, Batesville, Arkansas native Billy Moyer was the man to beat at Eldora Speedway.
He captured $100,000 in winning the 1998 Dream and on five different occasions took home the famed globed trophies that signify a win in the prestigious World 100.
But Moyer has not won a major Eldora event since the 2000 World 100.
Sunday afternoon at the rain-delayed Dream, that all changed.
Moyer grabbed the lead from Ray Cook on a lap 21 restart and led the remaining 79 laps to pick up his second $100,000 winner's check from Eldora.
"It feels better than you can imagine, we haven't even been close here the last couple of years," said the 52-year old Moyer with a slight tear in his eye. "I didn't know if it was ever going to happen. I think for a while there, I did not realize how tough these things are to win here, but trust me, I know how tough this is now."
Moyer started on the pole after winning Saturday night's sixth heat race just prior to the rain hitting the track, but fell in behind Cook who jumped to the lead from the outside pole starting position.
Moyer sized Cook up on the lap 17 restart and then made the winning pass on the restart four laps later.
"That is the advantage to running second, I kind of new where his weak spot was," Moyer said. "I thought I could have passed him on the first restart, but I didn't want to be an idiot and wreck us both, so I just pulled up beside him there but he had the momentum.
"I just got a good run off the top and he was running the middle and I was just going faster when we took the green (on the restart)," Moyer said. "I got him cleared in one and two. It was still early in the race but with the way the track was, I thought I better get after this right now."
Once out front, Moyer stretched the lead to about a straightaway advantage but there was plenty of excitement behind him as the 26-car field tried to navigate around the high-banked, half-mile, which was extremely slick with a fast groove just inches from the outside wall.
Just 25 laps into the event, nearly every car had some sort of damage from contact with the outside wall.
2008 World 100 winner Shane Clanton came to life as the race reached the halfway mark. Clanton, who started 10th, worked his way into the top five when he passed Friday's fast qualifier Tim McReadie on lap 53, and then on a restart on lap 58, quickly moved around 2007 Dream winner Steve Casebolt and tried to make a move around third-place Jonathan Davenport.
The two made contact, sending Davenport into the turn-two wall, where he collected Casebolt and sixth-place John Blankenship. Davenport and Blankenship both continued with damage, while the car of Casebolt was damaged beyond repair and was done for the day.
On lap 61, Clanton got to the outside of Cook in turn three and made a breathtaking pass just inches from the outside concrete wall and it appeared the Locust Grove, Georgia driver was the fastest car on the track.
He ran down Moyer and pulled to his rear deck lid, but just as it appeared he was going to make a move for the lead, Clanton's car slowed with a broken shock bolt in the right rear ending his day.
From there Moyer was relatively unchallenged but did have to negotiate his way around the tricky surface.
"This place was so tough today," Moyer said. "There was just so little room for error. You had to hit your marks just right or you were into the fence."
Cook, from Braston, North Carolina, had his best ever finish at Eldora by coming home in second place.
"I got into the wall one time, which by the way things look, just about everyone did at least once, and that hurt us a little," Cook said. "I was joking with Billy earlier that he is just about a senior citizen now, but I guess he still has a little left in him."
Dale McDowell drove the Clint Bowyer owned car through the field to finish third after winning the B-main and starting the main event 20th.
Chris Madden also worked his way to the front and finished fourth, while five-time Dream winner Scott Bloomquist recovered from a flat tire on lap 75 to come back through the depleted field to finish in fifth place.
Josh Richards finished in sixth, while Don O'Neal, who started the day in the C-main, worked all the way through the B-main and came home seventh. He was followed by Blankenship, who was the last car on the lead lap, Jeep VanWormer and Dan Schlieper. Only 11 cars were running at the conclusion of the race.
Eldora is always of both man and machine and Moyer said he had been physically preparing for Eldora for the past month.
"I usually work out a lot through the winter but didn't this year and I could tell earlier in the year," Moyer said. "About 30 or 40 days ago I started to work out a little, I'm no Hulk Hogan or anything, but I would go down in my basement and work out with this race in mind and I really think that helped me today."
Moyer also builds the Victory Circle Chassis with which he won the race.
"We've been tweaking on this car for about the last three years and I finally think we got it to where we want it and it was really good today on this slick (track)," Moyer said. "I am just really glad I won another one here. I think this is the most special one I have ever won here."