Big Block Modifieds

Big Block Modifieds

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

2014 Natty Open - Vegas Oddsmakers

National Open weekend is upon once again. A race that mirrors the Knoxville Nationals and Kings Royal in historical significance has played a role in the racing scene for generations. It's more than just a race - it's an event that brings together the best drivers and fans in the world. The addition of the National Open Benefit is a nice touch as well because let's be honest, dirt track fans are some of the most generous people in the world.

So who finds victory lane on Saturday night? Does Schatz continue his tear, extend his point lead, and build upon his record-setting season? Can Pittman keep pace with the hot streak he set into course when he visited the Northeast region earlier this year? Or will one of the natives defend their home turf like has so many times before?

Sadly the oddsmakers in Vegas missed this opportunity, so we'll pick up the slack and give you the chances of the top drivers claiming 50 G's.

Daryn Pittman  

Stevie Smith

Donny Schatz

Greg Hodnett

Don Kreitz, Jr

Danny Dietrich

Lance Dewease

Brian Montieth

Kerry Madsen

Joey Saldana

Brent Marks

Cody Darrah

Alan Krimes

Steve Kinser

Sunday, September 28, 2014

This Week in DIRT; Birky's Swan Song; Smith Makes History; Schatz Doubles; Lucas Late Models to Invade Pittsburgh in 2015

Welcome to another edition of TWID (This Week In DIRT) here at TDN. We flip the switch on this segment whenever the season starts winding down and keep it up until the tracks start opening back up in the spring.

Ever have one of those weeks where you may have been (select one) inebriated, incarcerated, at a family function all weekend, face down in a gutter, detained at work against your will, or otherwise, not at a dirt track and not near a computer or iPhone?

Don't worry! We'll catch you up on some of what you missed and even if you are tuned into to the current stories, we'll have a bit that you may have overlooked from time to time to!

So, with that being said. here's this weeks TWID.

Birky's Swan Song:

Brian Birkhofer trumped Derek Jeter this weekend in the category of dramatic, end of career, fairy tale moments by winning the 11th annual Lucas Oil Late Model Nationals at Knoxville Raceway. 

Birkhofer passed Scott Bloomquist, who had just broken something on the car in the final set of turns on the final lap to claim his 2nd victory in the event, and the $40,000 that comes with it.  Derek Jeter....overrated! For our money, Birky's story was far better. More of us can relate to him a lot closer than we can Jeter anyhow.

Birky might not be alone in wanting to hang it up though as Billy Moyer, Bloomquist and others seemed to indicate that there are real concerns over costs and sponsor support that they've all explained to the national touring series.  It was the buzz throughout the three days at Knoxville in the three day event, evidenced in press conferences as well.

But all that aside, we congratulate Mr. Birkhofer on an outstanding weekend, he also won Friday night's preliminary night feature, and an outstanding career! You gave em hell Birky!

You can check out our Knoxville Nationals Recaps/Coverage here: Knoxville Late Model Nationals Central Page

Smith Makes History:

Stevie Smith bested a 52 car field at Lincoln Speedway (PA) Friday night in the inaugural Dirt Classic presented by Kasey Kahne.

Smith held off Lance Dewease and Shane Stewart through heavy lapped traffic to secure the 40 lap, $20,000 main event win, witnessed by a standing room only crowd at the legendary Central PA speedway.
Pat Miller Photo

Our own Pat Miller was on the scene and took some brilliant phototgraphs of the night which you can see here: Dirt Classic Album- Pat Miller

You can also catch the recap of the classic from Bill Meyer here: Classic Goes to Stevie Smith

Schatz Doubles:

Donny Schatz doubled on the weekend to bring his total World of Outlaws wins to 24. He picked up wins at Bloomington, IN on Friday, and a dirt covered Berlin Speedway in Marne, MI on Saturday.  This is getting fairly ridiculous now, his domination knows no bounds.

The highest win total in recent history for a season belongs to Steve Kinser who won 25 in 2003. Kinser also eclipsed the 30+ victory plateau in the early nineties and late eighties. Will Schatz ever be able to reach those gaudy numbers one of these seasons? 

He did prove he is human in a late model this weekend though as he put his self owned piece on the track at Knoxville, IA, Thursday night in an attempt to qualify for preliminary night one. He transferred from the C-Main, but could not move forward enough to qualify for the final.  Schatz has won smaller regional shows in his late model, but only additional seat time could make him more competitive on a national level, which we're pretty sure he'd not really be interested in anyway. So not to worry late model fans, you're safe...for now.

Lucas Late Models Set To Invade Pittsburgh in 2015:

The Pittsburgher will have a new lease on life in 2015! The Lucas Oil Late Model Series has released it's schedule for the upcoming season. It's pretty much business as usual too, except for August 28th and 29th when the Lucas boys will take on the regional heavy hitters at Pittsburgh Pennsylvania's Motor Speedway.

The event, an annual late model special at PPMS, has undergone numerous incarnations over the years, going from a nationally sanctioned event, a regional one and even UMP or unsanctioned and has seen varied degrees of success from a car count standpoint.

It appeared to have been revived in 2013 when the now defunct NDRL leased the facility and hosted a two day show with a $25,000 to win final on Saturday. But with the recent announcement, it appears the two day Pittsburgher with nationally recognizable drivers in the field racing for a big payday is now in a much better set of circumstances.

And that's it! Have a great week everyone and we'll see you at the track this weekend! Lots of great events to follow, the National Open at the Grove, Outlaw 200 big block modified classic at Fulton, NY and the Lucas boys head down to Georgia for their two day swing at Dixie and Rome.

Stay DIRTY folks!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

11th Annual Knoxville Nationals Central Page

Swan Song? Birkhofer Completes Storybook Weekend with Last Turn Pass

In what was perhaps the most fairy tale like ending in dirt racing this year, or perhaps in many, Brian Birkhofer rode off into the sunset with $40,000 and a Knoxville Late Model Nationals trophy Saturday night.

The veteran late model pilot pulled out a victory in a race in which he had the lead, gave it up and got it back, on the last lap, in the last turn, in front of thousands of fans who probably were left hoarse for days to come after witnessing their home state driver win in such dramatic fashion.

Birkhofer led the first 61 laps, fighting off strong challenges from Darrell Lanigan and Scott Bloomquist before the latter dove underneath him in turn two on lap 62. Bloomquist then stretched out a half a straight-a-way lead as the laps dwindled down while Birkhofer switched his "hunted" cap to "hunter", shaving down the deficit just enough to give himself a chance at the end. until the last final set of turns when he passed Bloomquist coming out of turn four for the win.

Bloomquist may have had something break on the car coming down to the wire, he explained in the post race presser, but the night belonged to Birkhofer who claimed his 2nd Nationals championship.

As of this moment, Birkhofer has no plans on racing in 2015, and may have just taken part in the last race of his life. And though we've seen false or "semi" retirements over the years, but if this was the last night for him, it couldn't have ended better for him if a Hollywood script writer had tried to fashion it.

Lucas Oil Late Models- $40,000 to win Finals/Late Model Nationals- Knoxville Raceway

100 Laps:

1. Brian Birkhofer
2. Scott Bloomquist
3. Mike Marlar
4. Jimmy Mars
5. Don O'Neal
6. Steve Francis
7. Jimmy Owens
8. Frank Heckenast Jr
9. Chase Junghans
10. Chad Simpson
11. Wendell Wallace
12. Jason Hughes
13. Jason Papich
14. Denny Eckrich
15. Dennis Erb Jr
16. Jared Landers
17. Eddie Carrier Jr
18. Jonathan Davenport
19. Darrell Lanigan
20. John Blankenship
21. Brandon Sheppard
22. Earl Pearson Jr
23. Rick Eckert
24. Morgan Bagley
25. Dale McDowell
26. Brady Smith
27. Kent Robinson
28. Billy Moyer
29. Brandon Overton
30. Brian Shirley
31. Shannon Babb
32. AJ Diemel
33. Rodney Sanders
34. Terry Phillps

The Stories:

  • WoO Late Model Rookie of the Year candidates Frank Heckenast Jr and Chase Junghans both ended up with top 10 finishes
  • Darrell Lanigan who'd challenged for the lead earlier succumbed to a caution on lap 86 while running 6th
  • Don O'Neal needed a provisional to start the final and had looked very ordinary in the preliminary nights, charged from 31st starting spot to a top 5 finish
  • Jimmy Owens started 32nd and finished 7th after being the beneficiary of a "lucky dog" to preserve his status on the lead lap earlier in the race.

Alphabet Soup:

B-Main Transfers: Wendell Wallace, Rick Eckert, Chase Junghans, Morgan Bagley, Terry Phillips, Denny Eckrich

C-Main Transfers: Billy Moyer Jr, Scott James, Chris Simpson, Tim Lance

D-Main Transfers: Ryan Gustin, Jordan Yaggy, Mike Fryer, Skip Frye

 September 27, (The Finals)

And we've come down to the finals tonight. First thing's first, the weather! Tonight it looks as if it'll be outstanding, temps in the low 70's and upper 60's for race time and only a slight chance of a shower with mostly sunny skies and a few clouds.

So tonight, they'll go 100 laps for $40,000 to win! The starting 24 were determined by highest point finish in either preliminary night, it'll be Brian Birkhofer's race to start when the green flag drops.


Row 1: Brian Birkhofer - Darrell Lanigan
Row 2: Jonathan Davenport - Earl Pearson Jr
Row 3: Dale McDowell - Scott Bloomquist
Row 4: Eddie Carrier Jr - Brandon Sheppard
Row 5: Kent Robinson - Steve Francis
Row 6: Rodney Sanders - Billy Moyer
Row 7: Frankie Heckenast Jr - Shannon Babb
Row 8: John Blankenship - AJ Diemel
Row 9: Jared Landers - Jimmy Mars
Row 10: Brandon Overton - Brady Smith
Row 11: Chad Simpson - Brian Shirley
Row 12: Mike Marlar - Dennis Erb Jr

The rest of the field (6 cars) will come from tonight's B-Main

B-Main Lineup: Top 6 advance to the Final

Row 1: Jason Feger - Wendell Wallace
Row 2: Rick Eckert - Will Vaught
Row 3: Morgan Bagley - Chase Junghans
Row 4: Jason Rauen - Mark Dotson
Row 5: Jason Papich - Terry Phillps
Row 6: Tim McCreadie - Vic Coffey
Row 7: Jesse Stovall - Gregg Satterlee
Row 8: Jimmy Owens - Tyler Bruening
Row 9: Don O'Neal - Denny Echrich

C-Main Lineup:  Top 4 advance to the tail of the B-Main

Row 1: Donny Schatz - Scott James
Row 2: Mason Zeigler - Billy Moyer Jr
Row 3: Jason Utter - Tim Lance
Row 4: Rich Bell - Chris Simpson
Row 5: Ray Guss Jr - Brian Harris
Row 6: Jason Hughes - Jay Johnson
Row 7: Chris Spieker - Jake Meier
Row 8: Dave Eckrish - Todd Frank
Row 9: Justin Duty - Jonathan Brauns

D-Main Lineup: Top 4 advance to the tail of the C-Main

Row 1: Jordan Yaggy - Ryan Gustin
Row 2: Charlie McKenna - Mike Fryer
Row 3: John Duty - Greg Kimmons
Row 4: Skip Frey - Lyle Zanker
Row 5: Rob Moss - Matt Furman
Row 6: Andy Eckrich - Spencer Diercks
Row 7: Steve Lance jr - Dustin Walker
Row 8: Roger Brickler - Jordan Heiman
Row 9: Curt Schroeder - Al Humphrey
Row 10: Junior Coover


Birkhofer Snags Win and 2nd Podium Finish of Nationals

Muscatine, Iowa's Brian Birkhofer will be in a good position to take his second Knoxville Late Model Nationals victory Saturday night, courtesy of a preliminary night two victory.  Modified star and possible late model star in the making, Rodney Sanders started on the front row of the 25 lap feature and led the first half of the race. But once in heavy lapped traffic, Birkhofer made his way around and then held off a hard charging Billy Moyer for the win.

Lucas Oil Late Models- $7,000 to win- A-Main: 25 Laps- Friday September 26

1. Brian Birkhofer
2. Billy Moyer
3. Steve Francis
4. Brandon Sheppard
5. Rodney Sanders
6. Scott Bloomquist
7. Dale McDowell
8. Shannon Babb
9. Frankie Heckenast Jr
10. Jonathan Davenport
11. AJ Diemel
12. Jason Feger
13. Earl Pearson Jr
14. Brian Shriley
15. Darrell Lanigan
16. Jared Landers
17. Morgan Bagley
18. Kent Robinson
19. Jimmy Mars
20. Rick Eckert
21. Terry Phillips
22. Will Vaught
23. Dennis Erb Jr
24. Mark Dotson

The Stories:

  • Jimmy Owens, Billy Moyer Jr and Don O'Neal have yet to make a feature for various reasons (Jason Feger).
  • Brandon Sheppard is quietly having a good run with two top 5's in two nights

Night 2: Friday September 26

74 Cars have answered the bell for night 2. Weather looks good tonight, partly cloudy with temps hanging in the upper 60's and little chance of rain.

Alphabet Soup: (Transfers to A-Main)

D-Main Transfers: Denny Eckrich, Brian Harris, Chris Speiker, Mike Fryer

C-Main Transfers: Ray Guss Jr, Tyler Bruening, Chris Simpson, Chad Simpson

B-Main Transfers: Darrell Lanigan, Jared Landers, Dennis Erb Jr, Kent Robinson, Rick Eckert, Jimmy Mars (Make up the final six starters in the A-Main)

Heat Results:  Top 3 to the A-Main

Heat 1:  Brandon Sheppard, Shannon Babb, Mark Dotson, Jimmy Mars, Darrell Lanigan, Gregg Satterlee, Mike Marlar, Jay Johnson, Todd Frank, Charlie McKenna, John Duty, Chris Spieker, Ryan Gustin

Heat 2: Brian Shirley, AJ Diemel, Earl Pearson Jr,  Wendell Wallace, Chase Junghans, Scott James, Ray Guss Jr, Jordan Yaggy, Justin Duty, Briah Harris, Mason Zeigler, Vic Coffey

Heat 3: Steve Francis, Jason Feger, Will Vaught, Jason Papich, Jimmy Owens, Kent Robinson, John Blankenship, Chris Simpson, Tim Lance, Mike Fryer, Jordan Heiman, Jonathan Brauns

Heat 4: Frankie Heckenast Jr, Billy Moyer, Dale McDowell, Eddie Carrier Jr, Rick Eckert, Dennis Erb Jr, Chad Simpson, Brandon Overton, Jason Hughes, Jason Eckrich, Steve Lance Jr, Matt Furman, Rob Moss

Heat 5: Jonathan Davenport, Brian Birkhofer, Brady Smith, Scott Bloomquist, Tim McCreadie, Brady Smith, Jason Utter, Jason Rauen, Jake Meier, Greg Kimmons, Lyle Zanker, Denny Eckrich, Spencer Diercks

Heat 6: Rodney Sanders, Terry Phillips, Morgan Bagley, Don O'Neal, Jared Landers, Rich Bell, Jesse Stovall, Tyler Bruening, Skip Frye, Dustin Walker, Roger Brickler, Billy Moyer Jr,

Heat Lineups:

Heat 1:
Frank-Gustin Dotson-Babb Sheppard-Mars Satterlee-Lanigan Marlar-Duty5d Johnson-Spieker McKenna

Heat 2:
James-Shirley Coffey-Diemel Harris-Zeigler Pearson-Wallace Guss-Duty15d Junghans-Yaggy

Heat 3:
Fryer-Feger Blankenship-Vaught Francis-Owens Papich-Robinson Simpson32-Heiman Lance-Brauns

Heat 4:
Heckenast-Furman Moyer-Eckert Simpson25-Carrier Erb-McDowell Hughes-Moss Eckrich58e-Lance Overton

Heat 5:
Diercks-Smith Davenport-Rauen Eckrich50-McCreadie Birkhofer-Bloomquist Utter-Meier Zanker-Kimmons

Heat 6:
Phillips-Bagley ONeal-Stovall Sanders-Bruening Landers-MoyerJR Bell-Walker Frey-Brickler

Time Trials:
Group "A"

1.Darrell Lanigan   17.865
2.Wendell Wallace   17.902
3. Kent Robinson   18.038
4. Gregg Satterlee  18.345
5. Earl Pearson Jr   18.346
6. Jason Papich  18.396

Group "B"

1. Dale McDowell   18.121
2. Scott Bloomquist   18.323
3. Billy Moyer Jr.   18.381
4. Dennis Erb Jr.   18.461
5. Brian Birkhofer   18.568
6. Jared Landers  18.665

Hot Laps:
The leaders:

1. Scott Bloomquist  17.288
2. Billy Moyer  17.838
3. Jonathan Davenport   17.871
4. Jared Landers   17.942
5. Tim McCreadie   18.048


Davenport Dominates

Patrick Davis Photo

Superman Jonathan Davenport pocketed $7,000 with his win from the pole tonight in preliminary night one action at the Lucas Oil Knoxville Late Model Nationals. Davenport led all 25 laps and was never seriously challenged in his first victory at the historic Knoxville Raceway. It was not the first preliminary night win at a crown jewel event in 2014, he took home such a victory in Eldora just a few weeks ago during the World 100 preliminary nights. 

Lucas Oil Late Models- $7,000 to win- A-Main: 25 Laps- Thursday September 25

1. Jonathan Davenport
2. Darrell Lanigan
3. Brian Birkhofer
4. Earl Pearson Jr
5. Brandon Sheppard
6. Kent Robinson
7. Scott Bloomquist
8. Eddie Carrier Jr
9. Frankie Heckenast Jr
10. Tim McCreadie
11. Dale McDowell
12. Steve Francis
13. Brady Smith
14. Mike Marlar
15. Rick Eckert
16. AJ Diemel
17. Will Vaught
18. Jared Landers
19. John Blankenship
20. Jason Rauen
21. Vic Coffey
22. Brandon Overton
23. Chad Simpson
24. Chase Junghans

*There were no provisionals used (Non Points Night)

The Stories: 

  • It was an "R" Rated night in Knoxville as a multitude of crashes scarred opening night. One of the worst involved one Jimmy Owens who was basically taken out by one Jason Feger in heat race action.  Owens had some strong words for Feger, none of which need to be relayed here. (Basically he called Feger an "effin idiot"). At any rate, Owens car was sent flipping hard entering turn one and ended up a twisted wreck. Owens was physically okay after the incident and pulled out a backup car in D-Main

  • Sprint car pilot Donny Schatz took his chances on making the show and came up short with a mid-pack finish in the B-main. Schatz's chances for a Saturday night starting spot are not looking all that great as of now, but are not impossible.
  • Kent Robinson keeps on making believers out of former cynics with his recent performances. Robinson's World 100 finish was eye opening, but after tonight's performance, he's definitely one to watch if you're looking for a darkhorse.
  • Brandon Sheppard was the night's hard charger. Sheppard came from the 22nd starting spot to earn a top five finish in the brief, 25 lap A-main

Thursday September 25:

We'll keep this page updated as best we can. Looks like it'll be a great evening for some racing. The forecast calls for some clouds, but no chance of rain and temps in the 60's after sunset.

So far, there are 79 cars in the pits for preliminary night 1. Events will be underway soon.

7:45 PM (EST) Hot Laps:

Just a couple of times

1.Jared Landers: 17.762
2. Brian Birkhofer: 17.886
3. Billy Moyer: 17.900
4. Darrell Lanigan: 18.013
5. Jonathan Davenport: 18.014
6. Mason Zeigler: 18.015

8:15 PM (EST) Time Trials:

Group "A"

1. Dale McDowell 17.635
2. Dennis Erb Jr  17.845
3. Earl Pearson Jr 17.884
4. Steve Francis  17.885
5. John Blankenship 17.903

Group "B"

1. Eddie Carrier Jr  17.836
2. Chad Simpson   17.842
3. Darrell Lanigan  17.922
4. Terry Phillips  17.925
5. Brian Birkhofer   17.945
6. Jason Hughes  17.991

 Heats: There'll be an invert of 8 tonight. Top three in each heat, to the show!

Heat Finishes: (12 Laps)
Heat 1: Brady Smith, Kent Robinson, Dale McDowell, Steve Francis, Jesse Stovall, Jason Papich, Jay Johnson, Brian Harris, Rich Bell, Skip Frey, Shannon Babb, Curt Schroeder, Billy Moyer, Jordan Heiman

Heat 2: John Blankenship, Will Vaught, Chase Junghans, Dennis Erb Jr, Gregg Satterlee, Tim Lance, John Duty, Greg Kimmons, Lyle Zanker, Jimmy Mars, Andy Ekrich, Tyler Breuning, Junior Coover

Heat 3: Brandon Overton, Earl Pearson Jr, Vic Coffey, Morgan Bagley, Wendell Wallace, Jason Rauen, Brian Shirley, Donny Schatz, Dave Eckrich, Rob Moss, Steve Lance, Roger Brickler, Spencer Diercks

Heat 4: Jonathan Davenport, AJ Diemel, Eddie Carrier Jr, Mark Dotson, Jared Landers, Billy Moyer Jr, Terry Phillips, Jason Utter, Tim McCreadie, Chris Simpson, Jonathan Brauns, Al Humphrey, Mike Fryer

Heat 5: Mike Marlar, Brian Birkhofer, Frankie Heckenast Jr, Don O'Neal, Denny Eckrich, Chad Simpson, Rodney Sanders, Scott James, Jordan Yaggy, Todd Frank, Justin Duty, Matt Furman, Ryan Gustin,

Heat 6: Rick Eckert, Scott Bloomquist, Darrell Lanigan, Mason Zeigler, Brandon Sheppard, Ray Guss Jr, Jake Meier, Charlie McKenna, Chris Spieker, Dustin Walker, Jimmy Owens, Jason Feger, Jason Hughes. 

Alphabet Soup:

D-Main Transfers: Chris Simpson, Brauns, Babb & Gustin

C-Main Transfers: Terry Phillips, Scott James, Tim McCreadie, Donny Schatz

B-Main Transfers: Chad Simpson, Jared Landers, Steve Francis, Brandon Sheppard, Jason Rauen, Tim McCreadie

For the next three days, the smooth, rich-black surface at Knoxville, IA will play host to the 2014 Knoxville Late Model Nationals! This will serve as a central page, so you can completely follow the action and stay updated. We'll post the standings as soon as we can and may even have some real time updates on Saturday Night, so check back often! 

2013 Knoxville Late Model National Highlights

When:   Thursday, Friday and Saturday September 25-27

At Stake:  Two Preliminary night events one each Thursday and Friday worth $7,000 to the winner. $40,000 to win on Saturday

Watch:  You can watch both Thursday and Friday via PPV at 
Click here for details: Knoxville LM Nationals PPV Information

Format: A point system will determine the field for the final 100 lap A-main Saturday night based on either preliminary night. Drivers are not required to take part on Friday as their highest point total on either night will be used (one night only).  The field on Saturday will be 30 cars, the first 24 coming from preliminary nights. The remaining six spots will come from the B-main. 

DRIVERS LIST: (Pre-Entries)

0 Scott Bloomquist - Mooresburg, TN
1 Rick Eckert - York, PA
1M Rob Moss - Iowa City, IA
1w Wendell Wallace - Batesville, AR
2 Brady Smith - Solon Springs, WI
3X Skip Frey - Swisher, IA
B5 Brandon Sheppard - New Berlin, IL 
5 Don O'Neal - Martinsville, IN
5D John Duty - Happy Valley, OR
5M Mike Fryer - Freeport, IL
6 Jonathan Davenport - Mount Airy, NC
7R Kent Robinson - Bloomington, IN
8 Sonny Findling - Kirksville, MO
9 Lyle Zanker - Rockford, IL
12 Jason Hughes - Watts, OK
14M Morgan Bagley - Gladewater, TX
15 Steve Francis - Ashland, KY
15B Brian Birkhofer - Muscatine, IA
15c Curt Schroeder - Ames, IA
15D Justin Duty - Happy Valley, OR
15R Brian Harris - Davenport, IA
15s Dan Schlieper - Newport, IL
15x Donny Schatz - Fargo, ND
17M Dale McDowell - Chickamauga, GA
18 Shannon Babb - Moweaqua, IL
18c Chase Junghans - Manhattan, KS
19R Ryan Gustin - Marshalltown, IA
20 Jimmy Owens - Newport, IN
20x Jake Meier - Tipton, IA
21 Billy Moyer - Batesville, AR
21B Rich Bell - Sheffield, IL
21F Todd Frank - Montrose, IA
21JR Billy Moyer, Jr. - Batesville, AR
22 Gregg Satterlee - Indiana, PA
22B Jonathan Brauns - Muscatine, IA
23 John Blankenship - Knoxville, TN
24 Ryan Unzicker - El Paso, IL
25 Chad Simpson - Mt. Vernon, IA
25F Jason Feger - Bloomington, IL
25L Steve Lance - Cuba, IL
27 Greg Kimmons - Pleasant Plains, IL
28 Eddie Carrier, Jr. - Salt Rock, WV
28E Dennis Erb, Jr. - Carpentersville, IL 
28M Jimmy Mars - Menomonie, WI
29 Darrell Lanigan - Union, KY
29x Spencer Diercks - Davenport, IA
31 Jason Utter - Columbus Junction, IA
32 Chris Simpson - Oxford, IA
38 Jordan Heiman - Sioux Falls, SD
44 Earl Pearson, Jr. - Trinity, NC
48 Tim Lance - Brimfield, IL
50 Denny Eckrich - Tiffin, IA
51 Matt Furman - Columbus, OH
56 Chris Spieker - Massena, IA
56E Andy Eckrich - Oxford, IA
58 Ray Guss, Jr. - Milan, IL
58D AJ Diemel - Elk Mound, WI
58E Dave Eckrich - Oxford, IN
77 Jordan Yaggy - Rochester, MN
82 Roger Brickler - Springfield, IL
85D Mark Dotson - Cameron, MO
91P Jason Papich - Nipomo, CA
93 Jay Johnson - West Burlington, IA
98 Jason Rauen - Farley, IA
99 Frank Heckenast Jr. - Frankfort, IL
777 Jared Landers - Batesville, AR
WING 10 Jr. Coover - Norfolk, NE
Previous Winners:

  • 2013: Darrell Lanigan
  • 2012: Steve Francis
  • 2011: Don O'Neal
  • 2010: Billy Moyer
  • 2009: Scott Bloomquist
  • 2008: Tim McCreadie
  • 2007: Brady Smith
  • 2006: Brian Shirley
  • 2005 : Scott Bloomquist
  • 2004: Brian Birkhofer

Favorites:  Coming into this one, Bloomquist is the hottest driver on the planet, late model wise. Fresh off his fourth World 100 victory and a win the next week in the Jackson 100, he's had the most dominant car out there, either with or without a window net! 

But, Darrell Lanigan has been fairly dominant in 2014 too and will be looking to repeat as champion. We've got to mention Brian Birkhofer here too, the inaugural champion is always a home state favorite and should be considered a strong candidate once again this year. Of course, Jimmy Owens and Don O'Neal can't be overlooked either.

Watch List:  Donny Schatz will be there Thursday and may very well be there Saturday if all goes well. There's really no telling how he'll do, but whatever happens, you can be assured that the eyes of both the 410 sprint fan base and the late model lovers will be watching with intrigue.  But, if you're looking for a dark horse, keep an eye on Ryan Gustin. He might not win, but it wouldn't surprise us if he had a particularly strong showing. 


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Saldana Gets Second Straight WoO Win, Wagner Impresses at Lernerville

Cheryl Fleming Photo

Joey Saldana rocketed to the lead from the outside pole and fended off a challenge from David Gravel to pick up the Commonwealth Clash at Lernerville Speedway. While Saldana was impressive in his win, 410 rookie Logan Wagner also made some noise with a memorable performance even if it had a tough ending.

Wagner, a semi-regular at Lernerville who picked up his first career 410 win in the track's regular season finale, was able to win heat four to put himself in the dash. After a young fan pulled an eight for the redraw all of the sudden the driver of the RG3 sprint car was on the dash pole.

"Coming into tonight our goal was to make the show," Wagner said. "When I found out I was on the pole for the dash I was ecstatic."

Pat Miller Photo
Wagner got the jump on Saldana and led all eight laps to earn the pole for the 35 lap main event.

Wagner and Saldana led the field of 24 cars to green and drag raced down the front stretch. Wagner bobbled on the cushion a little bit coming off of turn two allowing the driver of the Motter Motorsports 71m to take the early lead.

The leaders quickly started to get into lapped traffic and as Saldana dealt with the slower cars, Wagner and third starting David Gravel started to close in.

"It seemed like the harder I banged the cushion the closer I would get to (Saldana)," Wagner said.

Wagner was reeling in Saldana, but Gravel was closing in quickly on him as well. On lap 11 Gravel made a move to the inside of Wagner coming off turn four and the two came together on the front stretch causing Wagner to spin into the inside Jersey barrier. Wagner was ok, but his storybook night unfortunately came to an end.

On the restart Saldana pulled away from the field again. Fast qualifier Ed Lynch, Jr went over the back stretch on that restart and pulled in a lap later.

Gravel was able to gain ground on the leader and on lap 21 briefly made his way around Saldana, but the Brownsburg, IN native got right back by to keep the top spot.

The Roth Motorsports pilot stalked Saldana in traffic, but couldn't find his way by. Meanwhile seventh starting Paul McMahan, made his way up to third passing both Shane Stewart and Danny Holtgraver.
Runner Up /David Gravel (Pat Miller Photo)
Saldana worked the bottom of the track and patiently waited for about five laps to get around the lapped car of Lucas Wolfe to create a buffer between him and Gravel which gave him enough of a cushion to pick up his first victory at the Sarver speedway since 2009.

"I thought that running the bottom would make it tough for (Gravel) to get around me," Saldana said.

The win was his second straight triumph in as many nights and even though they've had a great weekend Saldana feels they can continue improving.

"We are getting better, but we are still not where we need to be," Saldana said.

McMahan was third, followed by Stewart and Holtgraver. You can get the full results here Commonwealth Clash Quick Results.

Saldana, Gravel, Stewart along with Wagner won the heat races and Jason Sides picked won the Last Chance Showdown.

Friday, September 19, 2014

North East Modified Rankings; Volume 5;

And we're back for Volume 5! The home tracks have wrapped up for the most part and we're into the post season for dirt's favorite ground pounders. And the picture is becoming either more clear, or more cloudy depending on your point of view.

And now our criteria:

Alright then, so here's what our criteria is based on:

1. How many races did the driver partake in
2. How big are the purses for any special events
3. What's the level of competition at home tracks or in special events
4. Bad luck factor wrecks, mechanical problems..etc are taken into account these things happen. However should the driver rebound with solid finishes afterwards, it shall diminish the effect of a bad night. 

Basically, WRG events including home tracks, ROC events and American Racer home tracks and 358 modified in both Niagara region, Eastern Ontario and Quebec,  and Eastern PA/NJ are all taken into account as well as the new Short Track Super Series events. Sail panels or not, Hoosier or American Racer, it doesn't matter

For Volume 5, we'll be using results from August 11th through this past weekend. Now, let's see where they rank!

1.Matt Sheppard:   Last Month: 3rd
Super Matt climbs back on top of the rankings by virtue of a Utica/Rome win, a Canandaigua win, a victory in the Coal Cracker 72 at Big Diamond against some of the toughest competition in eastern, PA and NJ. But wait, there's more! Sheppard took checkers at Mowhawk in Super DIRTcar Series action this past Saturday. Combine that with a host of other top 5's in races he didn't win, and it's a pretty easy decision. Now if he can nail down the title in the coming weeks remains to be seen. 

2. Brett Hearn: Last Month: 4th
The jet climbs up two spots this month and is closing in fast. He pocketed three weekly wins in the last three months (2 Lebanon Valley, 1 Malta), but also took home the biggest purse of the month with his $17,500 victory in the Mr. DIRT Track USA, SDS tour event at the Valley against the best of the best. With the 150 point shows looming, he's hitting his stride at the right time of the year. 

3. Danny Johnson: Last Month: 1st
The Doctor kept it rolling this past month with three Ransomville wins, a Utica/Rome win, and a Short Track Super Series win at Penn Can on September 9th. He's had some bad finishes elsewhere in SDS and RoC action, and never really did battle at a home track other than Ransomville so that kind of kept him out of the top two spots, but still, a resurgent year for the Mr. Johnson. 

4. Erick Rudolph:  Last Month: 6th

We're going by action in the last month in these here rankings, and Rudolph has 2 Canandaigua wins, 2 second place finishes at Ransomville, a top 5 358 tour finish at Mowhawk, and then the next night, he breaks out a backup car for the SDS tour event, starts from tail the 30+ car field and still comes home with fourth. His season resume is not quite what the top three have, but he started committed big block driving a little later in the season. Some may find this one a head scratcher, but if you've been following the modifieds all season long, this is no surprise.

5. Larry Wight:  Last Month: Unranked
Lightnin Larry Wight has been a pretty consistent finisher in 2014, but may be saving his best for last. The young pilot took home a win in the New Yorker 200, RoC event at Utica/Rome September 1 and took two podium finishes on championship night at Brewerton and Fulton recently. Merge all that info with a pair of top 10 SDS tour finishes, and he's had himself one fine month. If you've never heard the name very much, get used to it, he's one to watch.

6. Stewart Friesen: Last Month: 6th
Stew's cooled off. Since it's a month to month ranking list, he's right where he should be for the time being. He took a weekly win at Glen Ridge in the last week of August and also posted a top 5 each in SDS action (Lebanon Valley) and RoC activity (New Yorker 200).It's probably the calm before the storm. Let's see if he can jump back in the top three with some heavyweight events on the horizon, one of which is this weekend at Fonda, a place he's virtually unbeatable at.

7. Billy Decker: Last Month: 2nd
Like Friesen, Decker has come back to earth a little bit following a sensational late July/early August. he took checkers at Brewerton in weekly action on August 15, but he's been out of the top five in bigger shows lately save for a 4th at the New Yorker 200. He was in position to overtake Sheppard just three weeks ago for the SDS tour point lead, but stubbed his toe. Not panic time for him though, there's too many big shows left to make up ground. 

8. Jimmy Phelps: Last Month: 7th
Still in search of his first special event of the year, Phelps did manage a hard fought 2nd at SDS/Mohawk on September 13. It's been hard to understand why there's been no weekly wins for him in 2014. It's most likely a mixture of bad luck and no luck at all.  He's battling in the toughest series though. And, good finishes against the best of the best still lands you on the list. Now let's see if there's a win coming his way soon...

9. David Hebert:  Last Month: Unranked
He's been the king of the Quebec portion of modified land, what we like to call the "Poutine Conference" in 2014 and deserves mention here. He took home wins at Autodrome Granby and Le RPM as well. The cherry on top was the win on September in the 358 tour stop in Granby, followed up with a 7th at Mowhawk. It would be great to see him mix it up at the big shows in October if for no other reason than to provide more side by side comparisons as he has stayed away from SDS or RoC tours except when they're close by. Still, Mr. Hebert has had a great month and a great year.

10. Billy Dunn:  Last Month: Unranked
The 2013 Syracuse winner has had an up and down year, but rebounded for a good month. Dunn had solid finishes at Canandaigua, but Mowhawk is where he really stood out with a weekly win, a 358 tour win, and a SDS top five in the past month. He's missed some SDS races and fell out of contention, but he may be on the upturn at the right time. It'll be interesting to see how much postseason noise he makes in the coming weeks. 

Honorable Mentions:

Doug Manmiller: Pocketed a Grandview win and a Big Diamond podium finish this month plus a top five in the Coalcracker 72. We'd love to see him race more.

Carey Terrance: 
The Hogansburg, NY driver had a great month for himself with weekly wins at Mowhawk and Cornwall and a 358 Mod tour event at Cornwall to boot.

Billy Van Pelt: The venerable Mayor of Woodhull scored a hat trick there in the past month with two weekly wins and a win in the Lyle Sherwood Memorial race there as well. 

Anthony Perrego: Wins at Accord and Five Mile Point on championship night plus a top five in the Sort Track Super Series event at Penn Can September 9th. He edges out Mike Maheny for the top spot among southern tier drivers so far in 2014. 

Western Frontier PA/OH:

1. Rex King Jr:  Last Month: 1st
He may very well be on the way to a hat trick in the area with a track championship at Lernerville and the BRP Modified tour already in hand. He just has to wrap it up at Sharon to finish the historic feat. Look out Syracuse, he's on his way and might just turn some heads! 

2. Rex King Sr: Last Month: 2nd
He edges out Swartzlander here with a few more appearances. He has put himself in the top 10 in 30 of 32 races in 2014, and of those 30, 25 were top fives. A complete model of consistency in the area!

3. Jim Weller Jr: Last Month: 5th
Weller only put the car on the track twice in the last month, and won them both including a weekly win and a BRP tour win in the "Russ King Memorial" , both at Sharon. 

4. Brian Swartzlander: Last Month: 4th:
Flyin Brian got one last final Lernerville win this past month. We'd love to see one in Charlotte in November. 

5. Dave Murdick: Last Month: 3rd
Murdick was within one slip of a BRP championship as a caution at Sharon on September 13 pretty much cost him the trophy. It's been a Murdick like season, he ends up on the podium, or with a DNF. Still one of the best in the region when he on.

6. Jeremiah Shingledecker: Last Month: 6th
Shingledecker came close to winning the King Memorial at Sharon and it would have been a great way to end his local campaign on an upswing. Still though, it was a great performance and indicative of a driver and car that might be coming together to surprise a few folks in Charlotte in November. 

7. Jimmy Holden:  Last Month: Unranked
He takes Eric Gabany's spot here as Mercer's top candidate heading into the post season with a weekly win there in the past month. Let's see if he can put another Small Guy Nationals trophy in the case.

And that'll about do it for this month, the month ahead will feature some big races to be on the lookout for.

  • September 21 SDS tour at Fonda
  • September 20  Held over Freedom 76er at Grandview
  • October 4  Outlaw 200 at Fulton
  • October 8-12  Super DIRT Week 

Take care and stay DIRTy everyone! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Dirt Network's Crate List- September 2014 Western PA Crate Late Model Rankings

"The Crate List" September 2014

Welcome back to The Dirt Network's monthly crate late model rankings page. I have been a bit occupied by my daily work responsibilities piling up so I apologize for this month's list being so late. Well that along with a trip to Eldora for the World 100 of course didnt help. The race season is fast approaching the finish line, with many weekly tracks finishing up points races in mid-September. The crate races we feature on this page were scored for 8 different tracks in August, a season high. Specials at Mckean County, Eriez, & Tyler County were supported by our weekly races at Sharon, PPMS, Marion Center, Dog Hollow, and Roaring Knob.

The Crate list will follow this format, I will be looking at weekly and touring race results for the crate tracks in the area with emphasis on the Fastrak and RUSH series. So here we go once again with The Crate List for September!

 1. Joe Martin -Joe Pulled the hat trick at Dog Hollow winning 3 races in a row in August. And don't forget that big win with the Rush Tour at Mckean over 42 other teams! Add in another win and a 4th place at Marion Center and Joe's late season return to dirt has been unforgettable. Yet again we have another new #1 driver for The Crate List this month.

2. Max Blair - A welcomed return to crates on a part time basis when his super late car is not on the road, Max is one of the best in the country at wheeling the 604 crate cars. A Fastrak tour win at Eriez and a 2nd at Mckean with the Rush Tour put Max on the list for the first time this year.

3. Alan Dellinger - "Jim Dandy Jr." owned Sharon in August pulling 2 victories and a 2nd place finish. Alan is running well on the new sealed shock program from Bilstein as well.

4. Daryl Charlier.- Daryl had a great month at his home track, PPMS with one win and two 2nd place finishes. The season has turned around for the #88 team (thanks Nick) with some podium finishes to build on.

5. Mike Laughard- A staple on the podiums at Marion Center and Dog Hollow, Mike racked up two 2nds and a 3rd at "The Dog" and a win, two 2nds and a 4th place finish at Marion Center.

Honorable Mention

Keep an eye on these drivers, they are knocking on the top 5's door!

1.  Derek Rogers - a second and 4th in a rare appearance at Roaring Knob was capped off with a big fastrak Tour win at Tyler County.
2.  Nolan Dalton -coming on strong at seasons end, Mr. Dalton captured a win, a 2nd and two 5th place  finishes at his home track, Roaring Knob.
3.  Josh Holtgraver - a PPMS regular, Josh added a win, a 3rd and a 5th to his strong resume at the 1/2 mile oval this year.


Here were the average car counts for August in the Crate Late Model division.

SHARON    14, 12, 10  avg = 12 cars
MARION CENTER   5, 10, 13, 5,   avg = 8 cars
DOG HOLLOW    14, 15, 13,  avg = 14 cars
ROARING KNOB  15, 22, 24, 20, 15,  avg = 19 cars
PITTSBURGH    18, 17, 19  avg =18 cars

MCKEAN COUNTY = 40 cars avg. (2 races)
ERIEZ  = 18 cars
TYLER COUNTY = 23 cars


RUSH   Friday, September 12 Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH) $1,500 to-win
("Apple Festival Nationals" - "Gary Knollinger Memorial")

RUSH  Saturday, September 13 Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway (Imperial, PA)
("Pittsburgher" plus "Steel City Roulette drawing)

RUSH   Saturday, September 27 Woodhull Raceway (Woodhull, NY) $1,500 to-win

Well thats it, that's the list for September! See Yinz at the races! - Brian "Dobie" Compton