There are many races that are special just because they are. The World 100 is such a race.
At Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway last weekend, they ran the 42nd edition of the famed World 100. A total of 123 of the best dirt late models were unloaded to race for the $50,000 first-place prize money. Although the purse is among the best offered in dirt late model racing, the title is probably more important to the competitors than the prize money.
When a driver has won one of the premier races, he will be remembered for the win long after the money has been spent. Some other such races are the Chili Bowl Nationals, the Knoxville Nationals, the Night Before the 500 and the Little 500.
When the cars were lined up for the green flag, Chad Simpson and Tyler Reddick were on the front row. Although he is only 16, Reddick has turned in impressive finishes all season.
Simpson took the early lead and held it until Don “the Real Deal” O’Neal of Martinsville took the point. Unfortunately, O’Neal was forced pitside for repairs on Lap 35.
Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, inherited the lead. He indicated that he had considered skipping the World 100 because he didn’t believe that he was ready for Eldora. This is, indeed, odd since he won the World 100 for the first time in 2002.
After taking the lead, Birkhofer was on a mission. He continued to stretch his lead until one of the frequent yellow flags stopped the forward progress. He commented, “Side by side restarts throw a wrinkle in it. Usually, the leader kind of gets his spot. Here you kind of have to kind of dictate ... make one mistake and he’s beside you and takes the lead. The crowd is walking away hopefully thinking they saw an awesome race; and the place will be packed again next year. That’s all that matters.”
Scott Bloomquist began reeling in Birkhofer, but Birkhofer would not be denied and took the title. Brad Neat started 23rd and finished third, followed by Darrell Lanigan, Jason Feger, Steve Francis, Brandon Sheppard, Eddie Carrier, Jr., Shannon Babb and Michael Chilton.
U.S. Nationals complete
The area drag racers competing in the U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway completed their final runs last Saturday. David Neal, who had won his class, red-lighted and was done. However, he was not discouraged. He came back and raced at Bean Blossom.
Ernie Neal cut a perfect light (0.000 second reaction time) on his first run; and, on his second run, he had a reaction time of 0.004 seconds. Unfortunately, something was amiss in his engine, and he missed his target speed.
David Tincher won his first round on Saturday but was defeated in the second round.
While all three racers would have preferred to run better, they still had a successful Nationals. A good portion of the credit for the success of all three drivers must certainly go to Neal. Through his years of drag racing, he has amassed a storehouse of knowledge to get the maximum performance from a Chevrolet V8.
Bloomington Speedway finale
Bloomington Speedway will wrap up its season Friday night with the Mitchell-Priest Family Fall Clash. All four of their regular classes (sprint cars, modifieds, super stocks and hornets) will be in competition.
The sprint car portion of the program will be sanctioned by the Midwest Sprint Car Series. The current points leaders are: 1. Jon Stanbrough, 2. Kyle Cummins, 3. Robert Ballou, 4. Brady Short, 5. Jonathan Hendrick, 6. Chase Stockon, 7. Blake Fitzpatrick, 8. Brayton Fitzpatrick, 9. Hunter Schuerenberg, 10. Damion Gardner and 11. Dakota Jackson of Elizabethtown.
Going into the final race of the season, the Bloomington Speedway points leaders are:
Sprint cars: 1. Brady Short, 2. Danny Holtsclaw, 3. Chase Briscoe, 4. Bub Cummings, 5. Jordan Kinser, 6. Dakota Jackson of Elizabethtown, 7. Josh Burton, 8. Bobby Stines, 9. Eric Edwards, 10. Chris Babcock.
Modifieds: 1.John DeMoss, 2. Richie Lex, 3. Greg Amick, 4. Bradley Sterrett, 5. John Humphrey, 6. Brian Yeatman, 7. Blake Davis, 8. Bennie Smith, Jr., 9. Karlie Holt, 10. Dustin Modglin.
Super stock: 1. Steve Hollars, 2. Troy Clark of North Vernon, 3. Roy Bruce, Jr., 4. Kenny Carmichael, Sr., 5. Will McRoberts, 6. Jack Frye, 7. Steve Hawkins, 8. Kenny Carmichael, Jr., 9. Brad Cummings, 10. Jeremy Carpenter.
Hornets: 1. Bryson Clark, 2. Justin Patterson, 3. Greg Garrison, 4. Mike Miller, 5. Brandon Fehrenbach, 6. Felisha Deweese of Columbus, 7. Curt Malicoat, 8. Cole Miles, 9. Matt Hamilton, 10. Dan Morgan.
Tim McKinney is an auto racing columnist for The Republic. He can be reached at 372-3936.
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