June 4, 2020
(By Tyson Graves)
It will be a completely different feel for the drivers when they enter the pit area today at Eldora Speedway. This weekend, normally the biggest paying race of the year has one of the largest fan turnouts of any race of the year. This year due to COVID-19 restrictions the Dream event was postponed and will return in 2021. But in its place with be the Dirt Late Model Steam Invitational. The fan-less event will feature nearly 50 competitors that is considered the best in the country.
This weekend's event will be streamed Live on FloRacing for the country to tune in and watch. Drivers will be joined by limited crew members, a small event staff, and media limited to the TV crew. Despite no fans Roger Slack and the staff are trying to make the most of this event that will pay $50,000 to the winner Saturday night. The format for this event will mirror that of the normal Dream weekend.
Story lines to watch this weekend:
- Can Scott Bloomquist, a regular visitor of victory lane at Eldora recapture his magic as he has struggled all 2020 so far. No matter how his season has gone in the past he has always found speed at the half-mile oval when the big money has been on the line.
- Brandon Sheppard picked up his first big win at Eldora last year in the Dream. He is on a role after his weekend sweep at Davenport and looks to put the Rocket house car in victory lane for the second year in a row during the June weekend at Eldora.
- Last December youngster Tyler Carpenter captured the Gateway Dirt Nationals in thrilling fashion. During his interviews over the weekend all he wants is to be included and among the superstars of the sport. Through the fan vote Tyler will get to compete on the big stage this weekend. He will be out to prove something this weekend in his Kryptonite Chassis.
- In 2020 Jimmy Owens has been one of the hottest drivers in the country with wins on both national tours. Jimmy also had a podium finish in last years World 100. With his confidence on high and recent results Owens might be your winner Saturday night.
- Ricky Weiss has asserted himself into a contender in the dirt late model community no matter where he goes. The 2019 World of Outlaw rookie of the year follow up campaign has seen him in victory lane twice in 2020. Last September Ricky found himself on the podium at Eldora. This team Zero driver could be a threat this weekend.
- Veteran driver Dale McDowell was inches away from picking up another Dream victory in 2019. Nearly beat at the line by Brandon Sheppard, Dale showed us once again he is a threat at the Big E year in and year out. Dale has had an up and down start to 2020 but Eldora may be just what Dale needs to get his season headed in the right direction.
- Over the past few years Superman Jonathan Davenport has been the most consistent driver to be on the winners stage at Eldora. With Dream and World 100 wins stacked up he has to be the odds on favorite to take home the Stream victory Saturday.
- There are a handful of drivers still looking for that first crown jewel win at Eldora Speedway. One's who have been close but misfortune or turns of events have kept them off the stage on Saturday night. Chris Madden calls Eldora his favorite place to race but all kinds of things have kept him from the big win there. Chris in his Team Zero machine has shown lots of speed and with the podium finish last weekend at Davenport he should have some confidence headed into the weekend. Other drivers to watch this weekend looking for that first crown jewel at Eldora win include: Tyler Erb, Josh Richards, Devin Moran, Shannon Babb, Kyle Bronson, Mason Zeigler, & Chris Ferguson.
- It was a surprise to see who turned down invites to this weekends event. Brian Birkhofer a past winner at Eldora declined his invite, Birky competed last weekend at Davenport. Mike Marlar the 2018 World of Outlaw champ withdrew his name from the roster, Mike struggled in his last event at 411 Motor Speedway missing the show. Jimmy Mars came home on the podium with the World of Outlaws last weekend and has had past Eldora success but will stay home this weekend. The final driver who turned down an invite was Brian Shirley. The Illinois driver has struggled at the Big E and after his equipment was beat up after three nights at East Bay he elected to stay home to prepare for the next Lucas Oil Series swing.
Just like you I will be watching from afar this weekend as the best in the country get after it. Who will be your winner Saturday night, there are too many to pick from as any one of these drivers could string together the perfect weekend. One thing is for certain the action on the track will be good, but the experience will not be the same with the empty stands at the sacred grounds in New Weston, Ohio.
Your Dirt Late Model Stream Roster
Earl Pearson Jr
Ricky Thornton Jr
Billy Moyer Jr
Dennis Erb Jr
Jeep Van Wormer
Frank Heckenast Jr
Fan Voted Drivers:
Provisional Drivers: (due to turned down invites)
Those who turned down invites: