Race Recap: Action From “The Dream” At Eldora

The Dream was a vision of Eldora creator Earl Baltes to have a Late Model race that was truly special with a massive payout. For the past 24 years, The Dream has given the best in Late Model racing 100,000 reasons to test their skills against each other, the half-mile of Eldora, and in 2018, they battled Mother Nature. The 24th installment of The Dream was another special event that provided fans with plenty of jaw-dropping moments on the track and helped add on to the legend of the winner Scott Bloomquist.

Things got off to a very rough start at The Dream on Thursday when Mother Nature decided to show how she isn’t much of a racing fan. Hot Laps kicked off without any issues and rolled into qualifying before the sky opened up with just seven cars left to take the track. After a heavy and unrelenting rain, the Eldora staff made the call to call the race for the night and roll everything into a double-header on Friday.

All photos by Brian Wagner.

With a packed schedule for Friday, and since several cars didn’t get a chance to qualify on Thursday, the decision was made to only give the racers a single lap to qualify. After everyone had a chance to tackle the track, Tim McCreadie took the pole with a 15.958 lap for the first 25 lap race. Following qualifying, the eight heat races were contested to set the fields for the feature and twin B-mains. In the end, it was Jeep Van Wormer and Chase Junghans that were able to fight there way into the first main event of the day.

Main Event number one kicked off with Shannon Babb and Josh Richards on the front row but that changed quickly. Jonathan Davenport went hammer down coming into the first turn to take the lead by slicing between the front row cars and he never looked back. For the rest of the race, Davenport was glued to the top of the track and was able to hold off all challengers to pick up the win in the first 25 lap feature.

The second main event of The Dream roared to life with Scott Bloomquist and Chris Madden on the front row. As the 25 laps wore on, Madden was able to hold onto the lead with Darrell Lanigan and Bloomquist on his tail. With a handful of laps remaining, Madden made hard contact with the wall that folded the nose of his car under the right front preventing him from turning, and that led to Lanigan making contact with him. Madden ended up having to retire from the race and Lanigan was able to take over the lead while fending off a charging Jimmy Owens to pick up the win in the second main event from Thursday.

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With the event caught up from the Thursday rainout, it was time to begin the Friday program, but Mother Nature decided to throw the red flag yet again. Heavy rain began to fall until nearly 10:00 pm leaving lots of standing water on the infield of the track. Determined to get the race in, the Eldora staff began working on the track and created an amazing racing surface for the next pair of main events.

Before racing even began there was some pretty big drama in the pits. 2017 Dream winner Scott Bloomquist’s car was still under its cover and he didn’t run any laps before racing began. As it turns out, Bloomquist took a nasty tumble when he slipped on his trailer that required a trip to the Emergency Room. The rumor in the pits was a potential aggravation of his rotator cuff injury and there were some serious doubts that he would even be able to race come Saturday.

After qualifying was completed for the second set of main events, Kent Robertson found himself on the pole with a blistering 15.265 lap that put him ahead of Jimmy Owens. The racing during the heat races was even more intense than what took place for the rain-delayed Thursday event, with drivers taking advantage of the prime surface. After the heat races were complete, it was time to set the field with the final two B-mains of the night.

During B-main 1 Shannon Babb took advantage of a great start to pass Austin Smith and Joey Moriarty to take an early lead. Babb rode the high side of the track for the remainder of the race and was able to check out to pick up the win. The second B-main was the Jimmy Owens show as he lead the field into the first turn and never looked back.

The first main event on Friday turned out to be the most exciting race of the day. Jonathan Davenport and Don O’Neal led the race from the front row and proceeded to put on one heck of a show. Both Davenport and O’Neal traded the lead several times during the course of the race, but as the laps wound down Earl Pearson Jr was able to take advantage of a bobble by Davenport sneak past to pick up the win with the crowd on their feet screaming.

The second main event on Friday was led by Chris Madden and Ricky Weiss when the green flag flew. As the race took shape, Madden was able to build a commanding lead over Weiss and held him off without any issues. After building a several second lead, Madden found his way into some lap traffic but that didn’t impact his lead and he still picked up the win.

Saturday began pretty much the same as every other day at Eldor for the 2018 Dream with rain, wind, and the added bonus of a power outage at the facility for a brief period of time. When the rain stopped and the sun came out the track was groomed to perfection and it was time to go racing for the big payday.

The questions surrounding Scott Bloomquist’s participation in the Dream were quickly answered during hot laps when he went out and finished second. Things got really interesting during Bloomquist’s heat race where had had to start from the tail. As the heat race unfolded, Bloomquist was able to move from the back to the front by putting on a clinic to earn a transfer spot to the Dream’s main event.

Darrell Lanigan and Jason Jameson sat on the front from for the 24th Dream, with this being the first time Jameson made the show. It was also the first time regional star Rod Conley was on the grid for the Dream. As the race began to unfold Bloomquist began his slow march from the 15th spot and was ready to make his move on the leaders.

With around 65 laps to go Bloomquist and Davenport begin an epic duel that lasted for several laps. The racing was close and intense as both drivers were welded together at their doors trying to hold to any type of lead. In the end, Bloomquist was able to clear Davenport and began build a sizeable lead that grew to over three seconds. Things started to get very interesting as Bloomquist began to deal with lap traffic and Davenport slashed Bloomquist’s lead to just two seconds. Bloomquist was able to seal the deal by threading the needle between a pair of backmarkers and put six seconds between him and Davenport as he cruised to his unprecedented eighth win of The Dream.

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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