It is said that variety is the spice of life. However, that is often times not the case in the monkey-see, monkey-do world of Dirt Late Model racing as one particular chassis brand or one particular engine will become the trendy piece of choice among many competitors. Drivers and teams frequently see one particular item winning races and switch to that brand away from whatever the brand of choice was the last time they made their purchases.
But during the two nights of preliminary action held on Thursday and Friday at the Eldora Speedway leading up to the $125,000-to-win Dirt Late Model Dream there has been very noticeable variety visiting victory lane. Not only have there been four different drivers to win the four races but there are four different chassis builders who can now claim that their cars have won on the famed Ohio clay. And success among engine builders is almost as widespread as three different power plant producers can claim that checkered flags have waved over their creations.
Each of the four preliminary features paid $10,000 to its victor.
On Thursday night, Darrell Lanigan executed a last lap pass to score a win in the first feature event of the weekend. The Union, Kentucky driver and his team do not have to rely on other chassis builders to supply their rides as the Club 29 Race Cars they employ come right out of their own shop. However, the power that drives that ride does come from elsewhere(although within the same state) as the No. 29 car has a Kentucky-produced Cornett Racing Engine installed under its hood.
The second preliminary winner on Thursday evening was Canadian Ricky Weiss. This driver works very closely with Scott Bloomquist concerning the fine tuning of the Sweet-Bloomquist Race Cars he puts on the track. The driver of the No. 7 machine often points to his Hall of Fame mentor as the provider of setup advice on the chassis built in the Mooresburg, Tenn. garage. The power in those cars comes from a shop not far from the chassis builder’s locale as Vic Hill Racing Engines out of Mosheim, Tenn. are the supplier of choice for Weiss.
Georgia’s Jonathan Davenport took the win in the first feature held on Friday night at “The Big E” as he roared across the finish line to beat the pack and claim the glory. The No. 49 car was, as has been the case for many of his biggest victories, a Longhorn Chassis, making that brand the third different winner in three races held up to that point in the weekend. The only repeat winner so far this weekend among the chassis and engine suppliers has been Cornett Racing Engines, which is the driving force inside Davenport’s Lance Landers-owned ride.
And finally Shane Clanton, took the last of the prelims on Friday night as his Capital Race Car outran the field to the checkered flag to earn a trip to the elevated victory lane in front of the main grandstand. The No. 25 car driven by the Georgia native gets his horsepower from the “House of Power” where Clements Racing Engines are produced.
Four different winners in four different chassis brands using three different types of engines. So there still can be variety in the often times copy cat world of Dirt Late Model racing.
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