Monday, September 13th, 2010
Moyer wins World 100 for a record sixth time
By Mike Ernst
ROSSBURG - Billy Moyer and Scott Bloomquist are arguably the two greatest dirt late model drivers ever, so the fact that the final laps of the sport's most prestigious event, The World 100 at Eldora Speedway, came down to a battle between the two came as a surprise to no one in the crowd.
Moyer, from Batesville, Arkansas, used the low groove around the high-banked, half-mile to hold off a late-race rally on the cushion by Bloomquist to capture and extend his record number of famed globed trophies to six. Meanwhile, Bloomquist was left to wonder what might have been.
A late afternoon shower delayed the start of the heat races by nearly 90 minutes. A heavy overcast sky with a light drizzle of rain kept plenty of moisture in the track and produced a multiple groove track for the main event.
"I have always thought you could run the bottom here if they ever put enough water on it," Moyer said. "Mother Nature took care of all that tonight."
After struggling in qualifying on Friday night, the 52-year old Moyer failed to qualify for the 100-lap finale through his heat race and had to use a runner-up finish in the first of two B-mains to qualify for the main event. He started the race 23rd but quickly worked his way to the front.
"The way the weekend started I never thought it was going to happen tonight," Moyer said. "But when you get backed into a corner, you start throwing things (set ups) at the car and that is how you learn."
The experiment worked as Moyer and Dale McDowell, who started 17th, worked their way through the field. McDowell, the 2005 race winner, took the top spot from defending champion Bart Hartman when the race leader suffered mechanical problems on lap 42.
McDowell, who was pressuring Hartman at the time, inherited the lead and led until lap 65, when Moyer powered off turn four into the top spot.
"Our car was good, I'm just disappointed in myself because once I got to the lead, I didn't know where to go on the race track," McDowell said. "This is such a momentum race track and the bottom is not the place to be, so we moved up to the middle and he went around us on the bottom. Sometimes it is easier to be running second or third here because then you can gauge off the leader, but when you are leading it is tough to gauge where you should be (on the track)."
"Dale was real good," Moyer said. "We followed him up through there and then he got away from us and I thought right there is your winner, but it seemed like something happened to his car and it went away a little bit and our car got a little bit better."
As the race reached its final 20 laps, a new player entered the battle at the front as, as three-time World 100 winner Bloomquist. H started fifth and dropped back as deep as seventh but moved his car to the cushion on the top of the race track and began to work his way to the front.
He passed 2007 World 100 winner Jimmy Owens on lap 82 for fourth place, Don O'Neal for third place on lap 85 and went around McDowell on lap 96 for the runner-up spot.
Bloomquist, who was looking for his 500th career win, was noticeably gaining on Moyer as the laps ticked away. A 15-car length advantage was trimmed to 10-car lengths, and then the lead was just five car lengths at the white flag. Bloomquist's charge ended three-car lengths short.
"The track was so easy on tires tonight, (Moyer) got away with running softer tires," Bloomquist lamented after the race. "We ran harder tires and it just took us too long to get going. If we could have had another three laps we could have won the race. At the end we finally got enough heat in the tires and we got rolling pretty good, but it was a little too late."
It was clear after the race that Bloomquist was a combination of upset and disappointed at missing out on what could have been a historical night.
"Second sucks. No one remembers who finishes second here," Bloomquist said. "There are no points. You come here to win the race. We didn't win but everyone here knows we had the best car we just got beat on a gamble (with tires)."
McDowell held on for third place, while O'Neal and Owens completed the top five. 2006 winner Earl Pearson, Jr., Darrell Lanigan, 2008 winner Shane Clanton, Rick Eckert and Josh Richards completed the top 10.
The six heat races were won by Chris Madden, Bloomquist, John Blankenship, Owens, O'Neal and Hartman. Brady Smith and Brian Shirley won the two B-mains.
Jacob Hawkins, who drove one of the two cars entered by Mercer County car owners Chuck Sanning and Bill Dues, finished second in the second B-main and qualified for the 100-lap main event.
It was the first time the Sanning/Dues team has qualified for the marquee event on the Eldora schedule. Hawkins dropped out of the main event just short of the half-way point and was credited with a 25th-place finish in the 28-car field.
The win completes a season sweep of the major late model races at Eldora for Moyer. As he did in 1998, Moyer won both the $100,000 to-win Dirt Late Model Dream in June and the World 100 in September.
"This place….The Dream…The World 100. The 21st win of the season for the 21 car," Moyer said while fighting back tears. "It is hard to explain what it means. I just know it was a lot of fun doing it."