BULLS GAP, Tenn. (Aug. 21, 2014) Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Georgia, has won a national touring dirt series championship and crown jewel races during his illustrious racing career. And over the years he's captured special event victories at Volunteer Speedway.
Thursday night before a huge crowd at "The Gap" for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series $10,000-to-win 11th annual Scorcher, presented by Reece Monument Co. and O'Reilly Auto Parts, the 48-year-old McDowell wrote his name in the track's record books with his first-ever Scorcher victory.
In preliminary action, Scott Bloomquist set fast-time during qualifying amongst the 27 entries with a quick lap at 12.242 seconds. Bloomquist, McDowell, and Eddie Carrier Jr. won their respective heat races, with three-time defending series champion Jimmy Owens winning the B-main.
Bloomquist jumped out to the lead at the start over McDowell and Blankenship, but the event's first caution waved just two laps in when defending Scorcher winner Chris Madden's car broke a driveshaft.
Immediately back under green and racing down the backstretch into the third turn, leader Bloomquist ran over debris remaining from Madden's broken driveshaft with the right-rear tire exploding on his car. Behind him a major pileup collected Eddie Carrier Jr., Earl Pearson Jr., Eric Jacobsen, Brad Neat, Steve Francis, Chad Ogle, Jason Papich, and Jason Welshan between turns three and four to bring out the caution and then red flag to allow for cleanup.
With Bloomquist pulling into the pits for attention from his crew, along with other drivers stopping on the front straightaway to let series officials pull away bent sheet-metal, Neat was the only driver to retire from the race.
McDowell inherited the lead for the ensuing restart, and with a clear track ahead he flexed the muscle under his ECR Engines/Klotz Synthetic Lubricants/Cometic Gasket/Ferris Commercial Mowers/Bad Boy Buggies/National Boiler Service/Big Dog Motorsports/FK Rod Ends/Integra Racing Shocks/Allstar Performance/Schoenfeld/Hoosier Racing Tires/Warrior Race Cars/Team Dillon Racing/No. 17m Chevrolet Impala SS, to quickly start putting some distance between himself and his closest challengers Blankenship and Mike Marlar.
Bloomquist, who was battling his way back up through the field following his early race incident, was involved in the race's final caution on lap 22 after tangling with Jason Welshan, Ellery Leake and Pearson between turns one and two.
Once again on the restart McDowell moved back out ahead over Blankenship and Marlar, while behind the front-running trio racing action all around the track was two- and three-wide at times as drivers battled for real estate around the high banks. After having to run the B-main, the night got even tougher for current points leader Owens as he dropped out with transmission issues at the midpoint of the race.
With McDowell setting a blistering pace out front during the final 28 consecutive laps under green, eyes were focused on the battle for second place between Blankenship and Marlar. But you could definitely hear a buzz from the crowd as they were noticing the hard-charging Bloomquist making his way back up through the field after being involved in two cautions.
After Bloomquist got around Billy Ogle Jr., Don O'Neal and Jared Landers to settle in the fourth position with just eight laps remaining, he managed to close to Marlar and Blankenship to make it a tight three-car battle behind leader McDowell.
But there would be no denying McDowell a trip to victory lane, his first in Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series competition since back in the fall of 2010 at Portsmouth (Ohio) Raceway Park. He also became the 15th driver to win with the series this season.
McDowell was chased to the checkered flag by Marlar, Blankenship, Bloomquist and Landers.
Completing the top 10 finishers were O'Neal, Billy Ogle Jr., Jacobsen, Dennis Erb Jr. and Papich.
"It's been a while since we last won a Lucas Oil race," said a smiling McDowell after climbing from his car on the front straightaway in victory lane. "I want to thank all you fans that came out tonight, man, what an awesome crowd. We didn't really start off so well early in the night during hotlaps, but we made some changes on the car and timed-in fifth fastest in qualifying and then won the second heat. But there on the start, Scott (Bloomquist) really jumped out quickly to a pretty good lead in just two laps. I don't think any of us had anything for him had he stayed out front.
"Once you get out into the lead you just never want to get feeling too comfortable, because when Bloomquist and those other cars got together and wrecked between turns one and two, somehow I just barely made it through there. I'm thinking maybe it was the 29-car (Jason Welshan) I got into a little bit, and it tore the door up pretty good on my car. I want to thank everyone at Team Dillon Racing and my brother, Shane McDowell, and all the other guys on the crew. Also, we had a really good Warrior Race Car tonight and I want to thank Sanford Goddard and those guys down there. Being they're just down the road in Knoxville, this is like a home-track Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series national touring win for them."
Greg Estes of Jonesville, Virginia, was class of the field as he cruised to victory in the Modified Hobby feature over Chris Rickett, Jamie Whitt, Ronnie "Fireball" Roberts and Willie Bussler.
VOLUNTEER SPEEDWAY (BULLS GAP, TN) LUCAS OIL LATE MODEL DIRT SERIES ($10,000-TO-WIN) "REECE MONUMENT CO. & O'REILLY AUTO PARTS 11th ANNUAL SCORCHER" AUGUST 21, 2014
Showing Finish Position, Starting Position In Parentheses, Driver Name, Car Number, Hometown, Money Earned
1. (2) Dale McDowell #17m-Chickamauga, GA $10,000
2. (12) Mike Marlar #157-Winfield, TN $5,500
3. (4) John Blankenship #23-Williamson, WV $3,500
4. (1) Scott Bloomquist #0-Mooresburg, TN $2,750
5. (16) Jared Landers #777-Batesville, AR $2,250
6. (9) Don O'Neal #5-Martinsville, IN $1,800
7. (11) Billy Ogle Jr. #201-Knoxville, TN $1,500
8. (7) Eric Jacobsen #5-Watsonville, CA $1,300
9. (15) Dennis Erb Jr. #28e-Carpentersville, IL $1,200
10. (21) Jason Papich #91-Nipomo, CA $1,100
11. (13) Chad Ogle #10-Sevierville, TN $1,075
12. (14) Vic Hill #1-Mosheim, TN $1,050
13. (17) Jason Hughes #12-Watts, OK $1,025
14. (3) Eddie Carrier Jr. #28-Salt Rock, WV $1,000
15. (19) Jimmy Owens #20-Newport, TN $950
16. (18) Jason Welshan #29-Maryville, TN $925
17. (23) Ellery Leake #34-Knoxville, TN $900
18. (10) Steve Francis #15-Ashland, KY $875
19. (6) Earl Pearson Jr. #44-Jacksonville, FL $850
20. (20) Mark Vineyard #4-Powell, TN $825
21. (22) Brian Smith #7-Gray, KY $800
22. (8) Brad Neat #41-Dunnville, KY $800
23. (5) Chris Madden #44-Gaffney, SC $800
24. (24) Jeff Wolfenbarger #28w-Clinton, TN $800
Miller Welders Fast Time: Scott Bloomquist - 12.242 seconds
Fast Shafts Heat Race #1 Finish (10 Laps - Top 6 Transfer): 1. Scott Bloomquist #0, 2. John Blankenship #23, 3. Eric Jacobsen #5, 4. Steve Francis #15, 5. Chad Ogle #10, 6. Jared Landers #777, 7. Jimmy Owens #20, 8. Jason Papich #12, 9. Ryan King #30
Eibach Springs Heat Race #2 Finish (10 Laps - Top 6 Transfer): 1. Dale McDowell #17m, 2. Chris Madden #44, 3. Brad Neat #41, 4.Billy Ogle Jr. #201, 5. Vic Hill #1, 6. Jason Hughes #12, 7. Mark Vineyard #4, 8. Ellery Leake #34, 9. Travis Greer #11g
Simpson Performance Products Heat Race #3 Finish (10 Laps - Top 6 Transfer): 1. Eddie Carrier Jr. #28, 2. Earl Pearson Jr. #44, 3. Don O'Neal #5, 4. Mike Marlar #157, 5. Dennis Erb Jr. #28e, 6. Jason Welshan #29, 7. Jeff Wolfenbarger #28w, 8. Brian Smith #7 - Bryan Hendrix #5 (DNS)
JRi Shocks B-Main (12 Laps - Top 4 Transfer): 1. Jimmy Owens #20, 2. Mark Vineyard #4, 3. Jason Papich #91, 4. Brian Smith #7, 5. Ryan King #30, 6. Ellery Leake #34, 7. Jeff Wolfenbarger #28w - Travis Greer #11g (DNS), Bryan Hendrix #5 (DNS)
Lap Leaders: Scott Bloomquist (Laps 1-2); Dale McDowell (Laps 3-50)
Cautions: Debris (Lap 2); Eddie Carrier Jr., Eric Jacobsen, Brad Neat, Steve Francis, Jason Papich, Chad Ogle, Jason Welshan, Earl Pearson Jr. (Lap 2); Jason Welshan, Eddie Carrier Jr., Scott Bloomquist, Ellery Leake (Lap 22)
Time of Race: 29 minutes, 9 seconds
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: N/A
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Emergency Provisionals: N/A
Miller Welders Fast Time Provisionals: Ellery Leake, Jeff Wolfenbarger
Wrisco Feature Winner: Dale McDowell
Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race: Jared Landers (Started: 16th - Finished: 5th; Advanced 11 Positions)
Keyser Mfg. Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: Jimmy Owens
Allstar Performer of the Race: Jared Landers
Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Jared Landers
Dunn Benson Ford Rookie of the Race: Jason Papich
Midwest Sheet Metal Highest Finishing Rookie: Jason Papich
COMP Cams Engine Builder of the Race: ECR Engines
Ohlins Shocks Chassis Builder of the Race: Rocket Chassis
Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race: Shane McDowell (Dale McDowell)
HAWK Performance Fastest Lap of the Race: Dale McDowell (Lap # 3 - 12.774 seconds)
MODIFIED HOBBY (30 laps)
1. Greg Estes #31
2. Chris Rickett #36
3. Jamie Whitt #1
4. Ronnie Roberts #21
5. Willie Bussler #31B
6. Austin Atkins #14
7. Dave Smith #10
8. Bret Banks #3
9. Clynis Phillips #1w
10. David Bullington #20
11. Dale Reed #52
12. Jon Cook #0z
13. Terry Dean #4
14. Landon Steele #18
Did Not Start: Jeff Ferguson #24
Volunteer Speedway special events co-promoter Vic Hill: 423-312-4206.
Volunteer Speedway: 423 235-5020 www.VolunteerSpeedway.com
Phyllis Loven - Track Owner: 423-676-9081