Five inverted for Thursday’s Heat Races
When all was said and done after Wednesday night’s preliminary Feature action at Eldora Speedway, two former Modified stars were among those standing tallest, like the globe trophies they chased as champion of the world’s most prestigious dirt track race – the World 100.
A stacked field of 80 DIRTcar Late Models lined the infield of the famed Western Ohio half-mile and competed in two qualifying Features, where Johnny Scott and Tim McCreadie emerged victorious after 25 laps apiece.
Scott, the former Open-Wheel Modified ace from Las Cruces, NM, became the first driver from his home state to win a World 100 Feature of any kind. McCreadie, the former Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified regular from Watertown, NY, scored his second career World 100 prelim Feature win – all in front of a packed Eldora crowd that enjoyed being back in the grandstands for their biggest event of the year.
GROUP A FEATURE – Johnny Scott
Johnny Scott made his debut at Eldora Speedway just two years ago at the 25th Dirt Late Model Dream, and also appeared the World 100 later that fall. While he rode a wave of struggle in dealing with the learning curve, he never gave up.
Fast forward just two years later, and the young New Mexican has reached Victory Lane on the biggest stage of them all. Wednesday night’s Group A preliminary Feature showcased not only Scott’s speed, but his ability to rise to the occasion.
Scott started to the outside of polesitter and fellow Modified star Nick Hoffman and jumped right into a battle for the lead, holding his own to Hoffman’s outside in the opening circuits.
With some precise car control and great speed on the top side, Scott made the pass for the lead on Lap 2.
“It kinda skated off of four, and Nick got under me. And I thought, if I can get into Turns 1-2 one more time real good and get a run, maybe I can get down there. I hit it just perfect and I had enough to get by Nick on the backstraight, and I moved down a lane and just tried to run my marks, hit them every lap. It paid off for us,” Scott said.
Scott continued to widen the advantage on the field and maintained it through traffic, leading the field all the way back around to the checkers unchallenged for the $10,000 prize. He was overjoyed at the win, and rightfully so, knowing the history and prestige of the event.
“It’s unbelievable, really,” Scott said. “Starting on the front row and leading this whole deal… I didn’t think it was possible. I really didn’t.”
Before Wednesday, Scott had been battling engine issues that he attributes to the quality of his recent results. But that’s all behind him now as he popped in a new Clements Racing Engine under the hood, giving him the speed he needed to get the job done.
“That’s all we changed. I qualified better and just put myself in a position – I think that’s what helped us more than anything. Just starting up front and getting in clean air,” Scott said.
Hoffman ended up second while heavy-hitters Brandon Sheppard, Bobby Pierce and Jonathan Davenport rounded out the top-five.
A-Feature – (25)Laps
- 1ST-Johnny Scott; 2. 0NH-Nick Hoffman; 3. 1-Brandon Sheppard; 4. 32-Bobby Pierce; 5. 49-Jonathan Davenport; 6. 76-Brandon Overton; 7. 44-Chris Madden; 8. 22F-Chris Ferguson; 9. 19R-Ryan Gustin; 10. 66-Kyle Bronson; 11. 1T-Tyler Erb; 12. 6-Kyle Larson; 13. 17-Zack Dohm; 14. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr; 15. 28-Dennis Erb Jr; 16. 0-Scott Bloomquist; 17. 25Z-Mason Zeigler; 18. 2S-Stormy Scott; 19. 10-Joseph Joiner; 20. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr; 21. 28M-Jimmy Mars; 22. 14-Josh Richards; 23. 8-Kyle Strickler; 24. 21-Robby Hensley
GROUP B FEATURE – Tim McCreadie
Some drivers worry about a chassis adjustment, others are more concerned with shocks and springs. But on Wednesday night at Eldora Speedway, Tim McCreadie was making a lane-choice selection – one that won him $10,000.
The former World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series champ began his march to the front from all the way back in ninth, using some terrific low-groove speed to make passes in the caution-less event.
Before Lap 10, he had broken into the top-five and entered the thick of a battle for second by Lap 14. Front-row starters Shannon Babb and Darrell Lanigan had been battling lap after lap for the top spot since the drop of the green, allowing McCreadie to close the gap to both of them in traffic.
He found something on the low lane and was not about to give it up with only a handful of circuits remaining.
“I was in a little bit of a mud ring down there, a traction ring, and I wasn’t going to get out of it because we were passing cars. Normally, I don’t run that low. Normally, I try to arch-in and try to clip the middle, but I just stayed in the lane that felt the best,” McCreadie said.
He slowly closed the gap to the two leaders and made smart moves on them as they maneuvered through slower traffic, getting Lanigan for second on Lap 16 and Babb for the lead two circuits later. Lanigan tried to fire back and retake second immediately after, but to no avail.
“When I got by him, he showed back beside me off of Turn 2 and I thought, ‘son of a bitch, he’s actually pretty good.’ Then I never saw him again, and Babb just looked like he was kinda struggling a little bit and didn’t know which lane to be in,” McCreadie said.
From that point, T-Mac went unchallenged and led the field back around to a $10,000 payday – the second of his World 100 career.
The former Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified star learned a lot of things from Big-Blocks that he used in making the conversion to Late Model racing back in 2004-2005. One of which he used in making those passes down low on Wednesday.
“That’s how I grew up racing. That’s Big Block racing – whether you’re on the top or the bottom, you’re staying in the traction. You don’t want to slip the tires, and that’s what we tried to do,” McCreadie said.
A-Feature – (25)Laps
- 39-Tim McCreadie; 2. 18-Shannon Babb; 3. 29-Darrell Lanigan; 4. 71-Hudson O’Neal; 5. 20-Jimmy Owens; 6. 9-Devin Moran; 7. 25-Shane Clanton; 8. 22-Gregg Satterlee; 9. 23-John Blankenship; 10. 17M-Dale McDowell; 11. 97-Michael Chilton; 12. 157-Mike Marlar; 13. 11H-Spencer Hughes; 14. 58-Mark Whitener; 15. 7-Ricky Weiss; 16. 6W-Ashton Winger; 17. 3S-Brian Shirley; 18. 25S-Chad Simpson; 19. 91P-Jason Papich; 20. 0E-Rick Eckert; 21. 99B-Boom Briggs; 22. 4G-Kody Evans; 23. 0K-Freddie Carpenter; 24. 83F-Jensen Ford
The action continues from the 51st World 100 at Eldora Speedway Thursday night, Sept. 9, with a full show, including the 100-lap, $54,000-to-win finale. Be sure to follow DIRTcar Racing on all social media channels for live updates and extra content all week long.