Column By: MIKE WARREN / DIRTCAR – ROSSBURG, OH – Eldora Speedway is the biggest stage in Dirt Late Model racing. However, this season boasts the most-anticipated event in more than 20 years.
For only the second time in the track’s illustrious history, the Eldora Million returns to the Rossburg, OH facility—a life-changing opportunity for one DIRTcar Late Model competitor.
Drivers begin their quest on Wednesday, June 8, with Qualifying, Heat Races, and twin 25-lap $12,000-to-win split-field Features. Those races will set the six Heat Race lineups for Thursday, June 9, as drivers battle their way into the 101-lap, $1,002,022-to-win Feature.
While the Eldora Million is the main entrée for the week at “The House that Earl Built,” there’s still room left over for dessert.
The 28th Dirt Late Model Dream is also on tap for the DIRTcar Late Models June 10-11, following the same traditional Eldora format leading up to Saturday’s $128,000-to-win 100-lap Feature.
Here are some of the Storylines Entering This week’s event at Eldora:
Big Sexy is Back: Brandon Overton dominated Eldora Speedway in its four crown jewel events last season, including three wins (2 Dirt Late Model Dreams and 51st World 100) and a third.
The Evans, GA driver, made more than $300,000 at the track last year and has the chance to eclipse that number with an Eldora Million victory.
This season, “Big Sexy” has seven victories to his credit, including one at Volusia Speedway Park during DIRTcar Nationals.
Overton hopes to have his Longhorn Chassis dialed for the second straight year after winning a Feature on all four nights in June during last year’s “Double-Dreams.”
Superman’s Planet: The only man to beat Overton in an Eldora Crown Jewel last season was 50th World 100 winner Jonathan Davenport—his fifth crown jewel win at the Ohio facility.
The Blairsville, GA driver has five wins this season, including two $50,000 triumphs (All-Tech, West Virginia) and three others at Bristol, Mississippi Thunder, and Brownstown.
He also finished second at Eldora during an event earlier this season.
Illinois Outlaw: World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series points leader Dennis Erb Jr. enters the week at Eldora on a run of consistency throughout the season.
The 2016 Dirt Late Model Dream winner has five wins in 2022 on all different types of tracks. (Volusia, East Bay, Spoon River, Marion Center, Clarksville).
The dynamic duo of Erb and Crew Chief Heather Lyne has hit on something so far in 2022, and the right combination could lead to a million-dollar victory later this week.
B-Shepp Looks to Cash-in: It’s been three years since current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series points leader Brandon Sheppard has tasted victory lane in an Eldora Crown Jewel—the 2019 Dirt Late Model Dream.
The New Berlin, IL driver enters the weekend with eight victories this season on all types of tracks, including his last win at Spoon River during Illinois Speedweeks the previous month.
Sheppard led the first 60 laps of last year’s 27th Dirt Late Model Dream before Overton passed him for the win.
He’ll be looking for redemption and the million-dollar check once the checkered flag flies Thursday night.
Smoke on the Water: Chris Madden has won a lot of big races in his career, but a crown jewel win at Eldora has eluded the Gray Court, SC driver.
However, there’s one thing different about this year’s traditional June trip to Western, OH. Madden is on fire entering the weekend, off to the best start in his career.
“Smokey” is the leading money winner this season, as three of his seven wins are worth $50,000.
Madden has taken a few weeks off to prepare for this week’s events, not appearing since mid-May at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. It may be one of the keys for “Smokey” to finally break through with a win at “The Big E.”
Breaking the Curse: Dresden, OH driver Devin Moran, is another driver hoping for a breakthrough at Eldora.
The Moran name is forever attached to the Eldora Million, as his father Donnie won the inaugural event in 2001.
Since then, Devin Moran hasn’t been able to win at “The House that Earl Built.”
This season, the “Mailman” got off to a hot start with three wins and a “Big Gator” trophy and has momentum after wins at Hilltop Speedway and West Virginia Motor Speedway.
Fergy Time: When the Summer months arrive, crown jewel season is upon us for Dirt Late Models.
Chris Ferguson struck first this season, grabbing the biggest win of his career at the Show-Me 100 at Lucas Oil Speedway.
Add that to his win at Bristol Motor Speedway earlier this year, and the Mt. Holly, NC driver, has proven he’s a threat to take home the Million this season.
Ferguson scored two top-fives last year at Eldora, a third in the 26th Dirt Late Model Dream, and a fifth in the 50th World 100.
Voodoo Child’s Slight Return: If there’s one driver at Eldora Speedway that can bring fans to their feet and perhaps tear the house down, it’s Scott Bloomquist.
The 12-time Eldora crown jewel winner (8 Dreams, 4 World’s) would love nothing more than to cap off his historic career with a victory in Thursday’s Eldora Million.
While he hasn’t won since 2020 at Thunder Mountain Speedway, the “Voodoo Child” has put several good runs together, including four top-fives between The Dirt Track at Charlotte and Bristol Motor Speedway.
Bloomquist has thrived in his career when the lights are the brightest, and there’s no bigger stage than Thursday at Eldora.
Mac Daddy Million: Dale McDowell’s comeback story from his cancer diagnosis has been in the front of many fans’ minds in 2022—especially after scoring a win at Sunshine Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in January. He also scored another victory at Volusia in February and a win at Bristol Motor Speedway in March.
Now, the “Mac Daddy” has his sights on another half-mile, one he’s been successful at in the past few years.
In the last nine June races at Eldora, McDowell has nine straight top-10s and an average finish of fourth.
We’ll see if the Chickamauga, GA driver and his brother Shane can earn another triumph at “The House that Earl Built” worth a million dollars.
Those drivers only begin the list of competitors hoping to find Eldora glory this week at “The Big E” and etch their name into Dirt Late Model history.