Every Dirt Late Model driver would love to win the 47th Annual World 100 this Saturday night at the Eldora Speedway. But obviously, only one person will come away from the Rossburg, Ohio track with the famed globe trophy and the winner’s paycheck. So realistically, each racer has to set his own goals as to what he hopes to accomplish as he heads to the Tony Stewart-owned facility.
Dawsonville, Georgia driver Donald McIntosh has raced a total of only three times on the Eldora clay and knows that winning the race would be a dream come true. At the same time, the 24-year-old who pilots Larry Garner’s Blount Motorsports ride just hopes to turn his Eldora luck in the right direction.
“Man, I just want to make the show,” McIntosh declared in an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com. “If I could make the show that would be huge for me. For me to think about winning it, I’ve not paid enough dues in the sport to win a show like that. I’m not saying I’m not going to try to win, but making the show would mean the world to me.”
Having raced there so few times, McIntosh does not have the experience of drivers such as Bloomquist, Moyer or Owens to fall back on in preparation for the World 100. And that preparation is made even more difficult due to the fact that there are so few tracks he competes on regularly that compare to Eldora Speedway.
“It’s its own bird,” McIntosh explained. “It’s big like Smoky Mountain(Maryville, TN) and has kind of similar speed, but not the same. It’s probably a cross between Rome(GA) Speedway and Smoky Mountain. It’s bigger than Smoky Mountain but Rome is more similar in shape.”
But for this young racer, a trip to Eldora is about more than just racing.
“It’s just the atmosphere you’re in from the time you pull up and park. It’s a feeling like no other,” McIntosh said. “It’s like being at a Cup race or something. I’ve never had any luck there but it’s fun. I really enjoy it. The track is awesome and the people are awesome.”
And the World 100 is more than just a race. While the event offers up a $50,000 payout to the eventual winner, the prestige and glory associated with it adds that much more to the experience.
“It’s the history of it,” he explained. “I think in the 70’s when it started it paid $3,000-to-win and Earl Baltes(former track owner) said he would make it go up by $1,000 every year after that. It started out as a big event and attracted everybody by putting on good racing. It is the granddaddy. It’s the one everybody wants to win.”
While it would be easy to get overwhelmed in that atmosphere and by the level of competition, McIntosh tries to just relax and savor the experience of racing in such a big event with the sport’s top drivers and teams on hand.
“It’s cool to see everybody but you don’t think about it and let it get in your head,” he insisted. “You just go out and do the best that you can. It’s cool. I talked to Shannon Babb during the interviews last time and he was cool as can be. That was the first time I had been around him. I enjoy meeting different people and taking in more than just the racing.”
McIntosh also uses the opportunity to not only race against drivers he doesn’t often compete with to observe their driving techniques. Bobby Pierce, in particular, is one who has caught McIntosh’s eye with his aggressive style.
“It’s cool to be around other guys and see their driving styles,” he said. “I went and watched Florence for the North/South 100 and just watching Bobby is cool. He’s just doesn’t care. He’s going to go as hard as he can go and I like that in a driver. It’s fun to watch.”
So ultimately, what does McIntosh hope to accomplish this weekend?
“My World 100 weekend would be great if I can make the show on Saturday night. That would just tickle me pink.”