Press Release

DREAMING BIG: Ohio Drivers Look to Add Names to Dirt Late Model Dream Winner List

DREAMING BIG: Ohio Drivers Look to Add Names to Dirt Late Model Dream Winner List

Donnie Moran captured the 1996 rain shortened Dream.

ROSSBURG, Ohio (June 5, 2017) – Twice. That’s the number of times an Ohio native has earned the $100,000 payday in the Dirt Late Model Dream at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.

Two victories in 23 years.

It’s safe to say that the home state contingent has a score to settle as they prepare for battle in the 23rd Annual Dirt Late Model Dream by Ferris Mowers at Eldora this coming Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Dresden’s favorite son, Donnie Moran, captured the 1996 event that was shortened to 89 laps by rain and Waterville’s Matt Miller surprised many by driving to the 2005 win. Since then, Buckeye state drivers have only been able to garner one top-five finish.

In 2006, Wheelersburg’s R.J. Conley picked up his second career 3rd-place finish., the last time an Ohio driver finished in the top-five when the checkered flag falls on the 100-lap event. In fact, second generation driver Devin Moran’s seventh-place finish a year ago was only the fifth top-10 finish for an Ohio driver since Miller’s 2005 win.

Entering this weekend’s Dream event, the real question is if an Ohio driver can take home the lion’s share of the record-breaking $391,900 event purse.

While Ohio natives have only taken top honors twice in the Dream, the 2017 event hosts a slew of home state contenders.

The younger Moran, son of Eldora Million winner Donnie Moran, picked up his first career World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series win at Atomic Speedway in Waverly, on May 26. He followed the victory up the next night with a runner-up finish across the state at Wayne County Speedway in Orrville. Moran has qualified for three Dream feature events with his 2016 seventh-place finish marking his career best.

Hometown favorite, Jon Henry, seems to always perform well in high-profile Dirt Late Model events at Eldora. Having won both the DIRTcar UMP Modified and Sonoco American Late Model Series (ALMS) track championships at the legendary ½-mile facility, Henry has qualified for two Dirt Late Model Dream features with his best finish of 13th coming in 2013. The Ada resident was strong in the preliminary events a year ago before posting a quiet 24th place finish in the main event.

Jeff Babcock of Wayne, has won at Eldora in both the ALMS series and the DIRTcar UMP Modified division but is still looking to qualify for his first Dream feature event. This year, Babcock has combined efforts with veteran crew chief, Mike “Saus” Lawrence, and the duo has been near the front in both of Eldora’s ALMS events this season.

Casey Noonan has already visited Eldora’s famed victory lane this season. The Sylvania driver picked up his second career win at the track when he captured the Johnny Appleseed Classic on May 28 in a thrilling photo finish over McClure’s Rusty Schlenk.

Schlenk has two career wins at Eldora and has been one of the hottest Dirt Late Model drivers in the country this year. Teaming with veteran chassis builder, C.J. Rayburn, this season, Schlenk has scored five wins to-date in 2017.

While the Dirt Late Model Dream at Eldora has been anything but sweet for Ohio competitors, drivers from southern states have hauled a lot of cash out of Darke County. A trio of Tennessee drivers have bested the field for a combined eight event triumphs for the Volunteer state. Mooresburg, Tennessee., native, Scott Bloomquist, has earned six Dream titles, while Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tennessee, has one career event victory. Freddy Smith captured two Dirt Late Model Dream titles, with one coming while a resident of Knoxville, Tennessee.

Three of the last five years, a driver from the state of Georgia has taken the $100,000 payday. Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Georgia, won in 2012, while Chickamauga’s Dale McDowell and Blairsville’s Jonathan Davenport followed suit with back-to-back wins in 2014 and 2015.

Dennis Erb, Jr.’s 2016 Dream victory put an end to the two-decade event drought for the Illini state, as the Carpentersville, Illlinois, driver picked up the biggest win of his career on Eldora’s stage last year.

The 23rd Annual Dirt Late Model Dream presented by Ferris Mowers begins this Thursday, June 8th, with a complete show featuring multi-car time trials, Heat Races, B-Features and the Twin 25-lap Feature events paying $5,000 to win. Friday, June 9th, will be another complete show featuring Twin 25-lap features paying $10,000 to win. The weekend concludes on Saturday, June 10th, with the traditional six Heat Race format, B-Features, $1,000 to win Scrambles and the 100-lap main event paying $100,000 to win.

Single day tickets start at just $20 with children (12 & younger) admitted free to general admission all three days of the Dirt Late Model Dream. For ticket prices and camping information, please call (937) 338-3815 or visit

About Eldora Speedway:
Since carved from a cornfield in the natural amphitheater that existed between the Eldora Ballroom and the Wabash River by bandleader Earl Baltes in 1954, Eldora Speedway has grown to be a frontrunner in motorsports growth and stability. Baltes chose to sell the legendary high-banked clay oval to motorsports entrepreneur and NASCAR, IndyCar and USAC champion Tony Stewart in 2004. Celebrating its 64th season in 2017, Eldora hosts the biggest events in short-track racing including the 23rd annual Dirt Late Model Dream; the 34th annual Kings Royal Weekend; the Camping World Truck Series’ Eldora Dirt Derby – the only NASCAR National Series race on dirt; and the 47th annual World 100. The complete schedule for Eldora’s 64th consecutive season, including ticket and campsite information, is available at and can be requested by phone at (937) 338-3815. Fans can get behind-the-scenes access of Eldora Speedway by following @EldoraSpeedway on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, hitting ‘Like’ at and subscribing to