Race Story


(Story courtesy Mike Ernst)

ROSSBURG, OH – Ricky Thornton, Jr. and Bobby Pierce entered Eldora Speedway’s Dirt Late Model Dream weekend as two of the favorites to take home the $100,000 top prize on Saturday night.  If Thursday’s action in the 50-lap preliminary feature is any indication, the duo should be right in the thick of things on Saturday night.

Thornton, Jr. led early but was passed by Pierce on lap 16, who then built a lead of more than a three seconds, before his car went up in smoke on lap 38 ending his night and handing the lead back to Thornton.

Thornton, who now calls Martinsville, Indiana home, led the remaining 12 laps, holding off defending World 100 champion Hudson O’Neal on a lap 47 restart to claim the $25,000 top prize.

“(Pierce) blew by me there and pulled away from us,” Thornton said.  “But then I thought we were starting to come back to him, and I really thought I had a chance to catch him but we will never know.  Catching and passing him are two different things.  I hate it for him and his guys, but they’ll still be factor on Saturday.”

In the new format for the event this year, all of Thursday’s competitors now take a night off and the other half of the 99 entrants will compete on Friday night, meaning Thornton is now done racing until his heat race on Saturday night when he takes another shot at his first major Eldora win.

“We’ve got really good speed and the car felt really good tonight,” Thornton said.  “Hopefully we will be this good on Saturday night.  If we are, I think we will have a shot at it.  You can win a lot of races over and over, but until you win here you still have a box to check.”

O’Neal started the main evefront stretchmethodically worked his way forward moving into the top five on lap 30 and had moved to second place when the caution flag flew on lap 47 when Shannon Babb slowed on the frontstretch with a flat tire.

“I didn’t get near as good of a start there with three to go as I did earlier and I was a little worried about Huddy or Josh sliding me,” Thornton said.  “I figured if I just kept running the top even if they did slide me, I would be able to turn back under them.”

O’Neal saw the opening but decided to play it safe.

“He spun his tires there on the restart and maybe I should have tried to slide him,” O’Neal said.  “There just wasn’t much to lean on up there in turn two and I didn’t really want to put us both in a bad spot and take a chance of tearing up a really good car.  We had dug out of a big hole after qualifying and I didn’t want to throw it all back away.”

Josh Rice started beside Thornton on the front row and drove a steady race coming home in third-place.

“We got to be happy with that,” Rice said.  We just do this as a hobby so to run up here with these guys says a lot about my guys.  We found a power steering leak right before we went for the feature.  We filled it up but it had all ran out and it was a handful there at the end.  We didn’t have anything for those two, so we are really happy with third.”

Chris Madden, the runner-up finisher in the last three Dream main events, advanced 10 positions and finished in fourth-place, while Max Blair completed the top five.  Shane Clanton, Kyle Bronson, Cade Dillard, Tim McCreadie and three-time Dream winner Brandon Overton completed the top ten.

Thornton topped the 49-car field in qualifying turning a lap of 15.259 seconds around the high-banked, one-half mile oval.

Thursday’s heat races were won by Rice, Carson Ferguson, Bronson and Max Blair.  Dustin Linville and 2016 Dream winner Dennis Erb, Jr. won the two B-main events.

The 30th annual Dirt Late Model Dream continues with another preliminary night on Friday night.  The other half of the 99 entrants will compete, highlighted by another 50-lap, 25,000 to-win feature event.  Hot laps begin at 6:30 PM with the first heat race scheduled to take the green flag at 8:00 PM.

Race Results

Event Box Score

Late Models – Qualifying
1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr, 15.239; 2. 18D-Daulton Wilson, 15.264; 3. 11R-Josh Rice, 15.299; 4. 76-Brandon Overton, 15.385; 5. O-Scott Bloomquist, 15.422; 6. 25B-Mike Benedum, 15.497; 7. 96-Tanner English, 15.569; 8. 93-Carson Ferguson, 15.617; 9. 44-Chris Madden, 15.712; 10. 31AUS-Kye Blight, 15.724; 11. 18B-Brad Dyer, 15.725; 12. C6-Oakley Johns, 15.772; 13. 6L-Dustin Linville, 15.785; 14. 5-Mark Whitener, 15.793; 15. 71M-Pierce McCarter, 15.797; 16. 36V-Cory Hedgecock, 15.813; 17. 18-Shannon Babb, 15.827; 18. 12E-Jamie Elam, 15.864; 19. 4G-Kody Evans, 15.935; 20. 6H-Clay Harris, 15.986; 21. 15-Ethan Hunter, 16.078; 22. 79-Donald McIntosh, 16.078; 23. 79B-Kyle Bryant, 16.109; 24. B4U-Bradley Eitniear, 16.607; 25. 28C-Tyler Carpenter, 99.990; 26. 32-Bobby Pierce, 15.291; 27. 97-Cade Dillard, 15.296; 28. 1-Tim McCreadie, 15.570; 29. 99-Dylan Thompson, 15.759; 30. 111S-Steven Roberts, 15.796; 31. 22-Chris Ferguson, 15.811; 32. 40B-Kyle Bronson, 15.813; 33. 111-Max Blair, 15.901; 34. 74X-Ethan Dotson, 15.937; 35. 71-Hudson O’Neal, 15.937; 36. 10-Joseph Joiner, 15.979; 37. 28-Dennis Erb Jr, 16.008; 38. 17SS-Brenden Smith, 16.030; 39. 20TC-Tristan Chamberlain, 16.092; 40. 126-Kaede Loudy, 16.177; 41. 25-Shane Clanton, 16.178; 42. 22GR-G.R. Smith, 16.207; 43. 95-Jerry Bowersock, 16.248; 44. 388-Jackson Hise, 16.300; 45. 39-Mike Hildebrand, 16.302; 46. 28M-Sam Mars, 16.354; 47. C8-Cole Perine, 16.359; 48. 8A-Rob Anderzack, 16.590; 49. 5D-Bryant Dickinson, 17.570

Heat #1 – (10)Laps – Top 5 Transfer
1. 11R-Josh Rice[3]; 2. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[4]; 3. O-Scott Bloomquist[2]; 4. 44-Chris Madden[5]; 5. 96-Tanner English[1]; 6. 6L-Dustin Linville[7]; 7. 18-Shannon Babb[9]; 8. 18B-Brad Dyer[6]; 9. 15-Ethan Hunter[11]; 10. 79B-Kyle Bryant[12]; 11. 71M-Pierce McCarter[8]; 12. 28C-Tyler Carpenter[13]; 13. 4G-Kody Evans[10]

Heat #2 – (10)Laps – Top 5 Transfer
1. 93-Carson Ferguson[1]; 2. 18D-Daulton Wilson[4]; 3. 76-Brandon Overton[3]; 4. 31AUS-Kye Blight[5]; 5. 79-Donald McIntosh[11]; 6. 36V-Cory Hedgecock[8]; 7. 25B-Mike Benedum[2]; 8. 5-Mark Whitener[7]; 9. 6H-Clay Harris[10]; 10. 12E-Jamie Elam[9]; 11. B4U-Bradley Eitniear[12]; 12. C6-Oakley Johns[6]

Heat #3 – (10)Laps – Top 5 Transfer
1. 40B-Kyle Bronson[1]; 2. 1-Tim McCreadie[3]; 3. 32-Bobby Pierce[4]; 4. 10-Joseph Joiner[6]; 5. 17SS-Brenden Smith[7]; 6. 126-Kaede Loudy[8]; 7. 388-Jackson Hise[10]; 8. 28M-Sam Mars[11]; 9. 22GR-G.R. Smith[9]; 10. 8A-Rob Anderzack[12]; 11. 74X-Ethan Dotson[5]; 12. 111S-Steven Roberts[2]

Heat #4 – (10)Laps – Top 5 Transfer
1. 111-Max Blair[1]; 2. 22-Chris Ferguson[2]; 3. 97-Cade Dillard[4]; 4. 71-Hudson O’Neal[5]; 5. 25-Shane Clanton[8]; 6. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[6]; 7. 95-Jerry Bowersock[9]; 8. 99-Dylan Thompson[3]; 9. 20TC-Tristan Chamberlain[7]; 10. C8-Cole Perine[11]; 11. 39-Mike Hildebrand[10]; 12. 5D-Bryant Dickinson[12]

B-Feature #1 – (12)Laps – Top 2 Transfer
1. 6L-Dustin Linville[1]; 2. 18-Shannon Babb[3]; 3. 36V-Cory Hedgecock[2]; 4. 28C-Tyler Carpenter[13]; 5. 18B-Brad Dyer[5]; 6. 5-Mark Whitener[6]; 7. 25B-Mike Benedum[4]; 8. 6H-Clay Harris[8]; 9. C6-Oakley Johns[14]; 10. 15-Ethan Hunter[7]; 11. 12E-Jamie Elam[10]; 12. B4U-Bradley Eitniear[12]; 13. 79B-Kyle Bryant[9]; 14. 71M-Pierce McCarter[11]; 15. 4G-Kody Evans[15]

B-Feature #2 – (12)Laps – Top 2 Transfer
1. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[2]; 2. 95-Jerry Bowersock[4]; 3. 126-Kaede Loudy[1]; 4. 388-Jackson Hise[3]; 5. 74X-Ethan Dotson[14]; 6. 22GR-G.R. Smith[7]; 7. 20TC-Tristan Chamberlain[8]; 8. C8-Cole Perine[10]; 9. 111S-Steven Roberts[12]; 10. 28M-Sam Mars[5]; 11. 39-Mike Hildebrand[11]; 12. 8A-Rob Anderzack[9]; 13. 5D-Bryant Dickinson[13]; 14. 99-Dylan Thompson[6]

A-Feature – (50)Laps
1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[2]; 2. 71-Hudson O’Neal[15]; 3. 11R-Josh Rice[1]; 4. 44-Chris Madden[14]; 5. 111-Max Blair[11]; 6. 25-Shane Clanton[19]; 7. 40B-Kyle Bronson[8]; 8. 97-Cade Dillard[6]; 9. 1-Tim McCreadie[5]; 10. 76-Brandon Overton[7]; 11. O-Scott Bloomquist[10]; 12. 18D-Daulton Wilson[3]; 13. 93-Carson Ferguson[12]; 14. 96-Tanner English[13]; 15. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[22]; 16. 18-Shannon Babb[23]; 17. 79-Donald McIntosh[20]; 18. 10-Joseph Joiner[17]; 19. 6L-Dustin Linville[21]; 20. 31AUS-Kye Blight[16]; 21. 17SS-Brenden Smith[18]; 22. 32-Bobby Pierce[4]; 23. 22-Chris Ferguson[9]; 24. 95-Jerry Bowersock[24]


Images from the Event

Photos by Mike Campbell


Video Highlights From The Event

06.06.24 DLM Dream Night #1 | Feature Highlights

Thursday Points