North Carolina Standout Prepares For Crown-Jewel Weekend Featuring Twin Preliminary Features on Thursday & Friday & $100,000-to-win Finale on Saturday
ROSSBURG, Ohio – June 3, 2015 – With a string of impressive performances and breakthrough victories, Chris Ferguson is well on his way to making 2015 the best season of his career. This weekend, he’ll attempt to add even more luster to his stellar season with a strong showing on the sport’s biggest stage at Eldora Speedway’s Dream XXI presented by Ferris Commercial Mowers.
“We’ve been blessed to have the success we’ve had this year and it’s been awesome,” said the 25-year-old Ferguson, whose breakthrough WoO LMS victories came at Friendship Motor Speedway in Elkin, N.C., on May 1 and Fayetteville (N.C) Motor Speedway on May 2. “To go up to Eldora and back that up with a strong showing at the Dream, that would just make it all that much more meaningful.”
Ferguson is riding plenty of momentum entering Eldora’s crown jewel event, which features twin preliminary features on both Thursday and Friday nights that determine drivers’ starting spot in Saturday’s heat races. With its $100,000 winner’s paycheck, Saturday’s 100-lap DIRTcar UMP Late Model-sanctioned finale serves as the highest paying annual Dirt Late Model event.
Along with his two WoO LMS triumphs, Ferguson has a pair of regional victories on the Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series for a total of four victories in 12 A-Main starts this season.
He has also fared well away from the Carolinas with trips to Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex in Markleysburg, Pa., for a Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event and Tyler County Speedway in Middleburg, W.Va., for a pair of WoO LMS events during the Jackpot 100 weekend. Ferguson impressed during both trips, with a top-five at Roaring Knob and a top five and a top 10 at Tyler County. He also set fast time and won his heat race at both Roaring Knob and in the Tyler County opener.
“Right now, we’re kind of on Cloud Nine with the way we’ve been running,” said Ferguson, who will return to Eldora this weekend for the first time since 2012. “We’re not doing anything crazy to the race car. We’re unloading every week with the same thing and we’re fast right out of the box.
“I’ve ran good in some big races before with national tours and other big races, but I’ve never been this competitive week to week against these guys. Running all these big races, I think that’s really going to help us to go (to Eldora) with confidence, where before we’ve always just gone up there somewhat unsure of ourselves.”
Even with his big-race success this season, Ferguson still heads to Eldora as a considerable underdog in an event that will feature the sport’s biggest national stars and top regional standouts. But that’s a role that Ferguson and his low-budget, family-owned race team have grown accustomed to over the years. While Ferguson certainly hopes his success may lead to opportunities to race nationally more often with perhaps a top-level race team, he’s enjoying his current underdog status.
“I like being that guy that comes to the track with one car and one motor and surprises everyone,” said Ferguson, whose team fields a single Longhorn Chassis powered by a Clements Racing Engine. “Sometimes I don’t like it so much, but it makes you feel all that much better when you go out and win against guys that do it for a living with the big rigs and the full-time crews.
“If I ever got a chance to race for a top team and travel, I’d love to be able to do it and I think I could run good. But you just never know. I know we’re pretty competitive in our area racing like we are. I’d love to have the opportunity to go out and race all over country and see how I do, but right now I’m happy with our team and the way we do things and what we’ve accomplished.”
Ferguson knows he’ll be racing against one of the toughest fields of competitors of any event all season this weekend at Eldora, but even with that knowledge and his underdog status, he’s confident in his chances of running well.
He’s shown flashes of promise in his limited experience at Eldora. A 23rd-place finish in the 2011 World 100 marks Ferguson’s only A-Main start in four appearances between the Dream and World. He ran well early in that race, advancing from 25th to 11th before dropping out with mechanical issues.
Ferguson has also typically qualified well at Eldora, including a fourth-fastest qualifying effort in his most recent trip to Eldora for the 2012 Dream. He nearly made the A-Main for that event as well, but mechanical problems while running in a feature transfer spot in his heat race ended his weekend.
With three years since his last Eldora appearance, Ferguson will have to readjust himself to the famed track and the new expanded three-night format instituted for the Dream and World 100 in 2013. But he’s confident the extra track time provided by the new format will help him do just that.
“When we made the show (at the 2011 World 100), I was so much more comfortable the next time we went back there,” Ferguson said. “Back when we were going up there before, you got so little track time that it was hard to get comfortable and get your car how you needed. Now, I’m looking forward to going up there and getting all those extra laps.”
This week’s action will feature a slight tweak to the three-night format with drivers prelim feature finishes on Thursday and Friday determining their starting spots for Saturday’s heat races, whereas in the past only qualifying times from Thursday and Friday factored into Saturday’s action. With that in mind, Ferguson knows it’s important to perform well during the preliminary action.
“We have a good baseline setup for just about anywhere we go, but then Eldora isn’t just anywhere,” Ferguson said. “Hopefully we will make both preliminary features and have some time to learn the track and learn my car even more and at the same time put ourselves in good position for a heat race on Saturday.”
Like many regional competitors heading to Eldora, Ferguson’s goal for the weekend is simply to make the 28-car starting field for Saturday’s 100-lap main event. But he’s certainly not ruling out challenging for a career-best victory.
“If we can go up there and run good Thursday and Friday and make the show on Saturday, that would just be a good trip for us,” Ferguson said. “But to be a contender or run a top 10, that would definitely say a lot about us and the success we’ve had. It’d not only validate the way we’ve ran all year close to home, but it would also show people we can go run with those guys even at the biggest races.”
The Dirt Late Model Dream, sanctioned by DIRTcar, is the richest dirt late model race in the world with $100,000 going to the winner of Saturday night’s 100-lap feature event. A total purse of $306,625 is available for the three nights of racing, including $214,875 available on Saturday.
For more information on the Dream and Eldora Speedway, visit www.eldoraspeedway.com. For more information on DIRTcar Racing and to see the complete final points standings for all DIRTcar-sanctioned divisions, visit www.DIRTcar.com.
DIRTcar racing action is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including: American Racing Custom Wheels (Official Custom Wheel), Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), Lincoln Welder (Official Welder), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), VP Racing Fuel (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award) and McCarthy’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award); in addition to contingency sponsors: Butlerbuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Edelbrock, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, Mobil 1, MSD, Ohlins Shocks, QuarterMaster, Penske Shocks, Roush Yates Performance Parts, Superflow Dynos and Wrisco Aluminum; along with manufacturer sponsors Capital Race Cars, Integra Shocks, Intercomp, Jake’s Carts, Racing Electronics, Rocket Chassis, and TNT Rescue.