Race winner Scott Bloomquist was then light at the scales; Driver comments on wild night in Dirt Late Model Dream
Eldora Speedway hosted three days of dirt racing in Rossburg, Ohio. It’s the second biggest dirt late model race of the year, paying $125,000 to the race winner.
Heat races were lined up by points in the final night at Eldora Speedway on Saturday night. The top five cars were inverted based on points from the previous two nights.
Defending race winner Scott Bloomquist was injured in a motorcycle accident back in March. The polarizing driver was set for his return after being absent for the previous three months of competition.
Following the invert, Bloomquist started on the pole position in heat five. He led from the green. Until lap 7, Bloomquist jumped the restart. The caution came out and he was sent to row two.
The green dropped again and Bloomquist was back to the lead in one lap. On lap 11, the caution came out for Hudson O’Neal as he slowed on the track.
Rain falls during heat race at Eldora Speedway
The race restarted with just five laps to go. The winner of this race was set to start on the outside pole position for the Dirt Late Model Dream.
Bloomquist was clear by a car length into turn one. But, when he got to the corner, the car didn’t turn.
The race leader slid up the banking, over the cushion and into the wall. Dennis Erb did the same and slammed the left side door of Bloomquist.
Behind them, the entire outside lane pounded the outside wall. The inside lane pounded into the outside lane. Nobody could turn, because rain had fallen on the track just as they went green.
“I didn’t know it was raining. I went off into turn one, I pushed and I seen Scott and the #28 car and I knew it was raining then,” Shane Clanton said, the driver who was running 4th when the rain fell.
“The official didn’t know it was raining. But, we sure knew when we got there,” Clanton concluded.
Usually water is good for a dirt track. But, this was well into the night. Rubber had built up on the surface. When the brief rain shower fell, it wasn’t able to work into the track. Instead, it sat on top of the rubber build up and created a black ice situation for heat five.
Eldora officials react to the rain shower
The rain came quickly and without notice. Most of the field now had torn up race cars. The race might have been able to resume but only a few cars would have been able to restart.
Instead, officials made the call to work on the track then resume with heat six. That gave the heat five competitors time to fix their machines.
Once heat six was complete, heat five would be restarted from the moment before the rain came. All drivers that hit the wall would get their spots back and it would be like that restart never happened.
There’s only one other situation like this that I can remember. That was in the NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
In that situation, NASCAR allowed teams to roll out the backup cars. They then restarted the race as if the green never dropped before the rain came.
“Everyone’s up here saying they’ve never been a part of this before,” Eldora Speedway general manager Roger Slack said during the chaos. “I’ve one of those few people that has been because I was working at Charlotte during The Winston when this happened.”
Scott Bloomquist light at the scales
The teams of Ricky Weiss, Dale McDowell and others all surrounded the Bloomquist machine to try and get it repaired. They did.
As the race restarted, Bloomquist drove off to win heat five. He was now set to start on the outside front row for the race paying $125,000 to win.
But, after each race drivers roll across the infield scales. They must make weight, per the rulebook.
When a car makes weight, a green light appears. Bloomquist hit the scales, no green light. He was 2 pounds light.
The race winner began shaking the steering wheel, jacking the weight within the chassis. The light would blink green. But, it wouldn’t stay green.
Officials put their thumbs down. They told the disqualified race winner to remove his car from the scales. He was no longer the race winner and would be sent to the tail of the finishing order.
Dennis Erb Jr was declared the winner of heat five. Bloomquist started at the tail of the last chance qualifier race, as an alternative for cars that had dropped out of the event. He drove to 11th but failed to qualify for the 2019 Dirt Late Model Dream.
This morning, Scott Bloomquist commented on last night at Eldora, “Best car I’ve ever had at the Dream. S**T happens. Will be back at the WORLD 100.”