This past weekend Portsmouth Raceway Park welcomed what is believed to be the largest crowd in the 24-year history of the track, as the Coleman-Family-owned facility hosted the 34th Annual Optima Batteries Dirt Track World Championship presented by NAPA Auto Parts.
Mooresburg, TN’s Scott Bloomquist captured the $50,000-dollars-to-win Lucas Oil Late Model Series finale. Martinsville, IN’s Don O’Neal held off Newport, TN’s Jimmy Owens to win the Lucas Oil Points. Fairmont, WV’s Jake Hawkins won the Modified A-Main, and several local drivers represented themselves well in both the Late Model and Modified Divisions.
In total, 173 race teams rolled into Portsmouth for The DTWC. There were 89 Late Models and 84 Modifieds. The Late Model car count was PRP’s highest for a single event. It was the second highest car count of any major Late Model race in 2014, second only to Eldora’s World 100.
The weekend full of racing began on Thursday night with the Modifieds. In addition to time trials, there were six Modified heats, four B-Mains, and a non-qualifiers race. On Friday, the Late Models took to the track for time trials and six 20-lap heat races.
Saturday’s slate was rained out and postponed until Sunday where racing got underway at 1 p.m. with three 20-lap Late Model B-Mains, a 30-lap Modified feature, The Jim Dunn Memorial Late Model Non-qualifiers Race, and the 100-lap Late Model DTWC.
The Late Model feature witnessed hard racing throughout, as all 30 drivers who started the race took the initial green with hopes of pocketing the $50,000-dollar prize. There were four different leaders and five lead changes in an event that witnessed six cautions.
The race was made up of drivers representing 10 different states (OH, KY, WV, NC, IN, PA, AR, TN, IL, and GA). Wheelersburg racers Delmas, Rod, and R.J. Conley all raced their way in. The 2014 PRP Track Champ Ben Adkins of West Portsmouth received a track provisional as did Grayson, KY’s Jackie Boggs for winning the 2014 Boone Coleman Memorial “Gator 50” back in May.
Pole-sitter Eddie Carrier, Jr. led early but was quickly overhauled by Billy Moyer. Owens took the lead away from Moyer on Lap 39. Three laps later Bloomquist captured the lead from Owens. Owens charged back to the front on Lap 54, but on Lap 61 Bloomquist powered back out front to stay.
After fading midway through the race, Carrier rebounded for a second-place finish. Owens nabbed third. O’Neal captured fourth, and Jason Feger rounded out the top 5. Billy Moyer was sixth. Dennis Erb, Jr. charged from 24th to seventh. Dale McDowell finished eighth. Ashland, KY native Steve Francis was ninth, and Tim McCreadie capped the top 10.
The highest finishing PRP regular was Rod Conley, who came in 16th earning $2,200. Jackie Boggs fought his way up from 28th to 13th but had issues on Lap 70 and wound up pulling out of the race 30 laps shy of the finish.
One of the most breath-taking moments of the feature occurred off of turn 4 on lap 98, as O’Neal got way crossed up. The veteran made a nice save and avoided an accident which could’ve cost him the Lucas Championship.
Friday night’s Late Model Heats were all entertaining. They all went 20 laps with the top three coming out of each. Jonathan Davenport, Gregg Saterlee, and R.J. Conley all transferred from the first. Moyer, Mason Zieglar, and Rod Conley came out of the second. Bloomquist, Josh Richards, and Brandon Shepphard transferred out of the third. O’Neal, Feger, and Frank Heckenast, Jr. came out of the fourth. Owens, John Blankenship, and Doug Drown were the top three in Heat 5. Carrier, Steve Casebolt, and Delmas Conley came out of Heat 6.
The three B-Mains were each 20 laps. The top two transferred from those. Earl Pearson, Jr. and Tim McCreadie came out of the first B. Brandon Overton and Dale McDowell transferred from B-Main #2, and Dustin Linville and Dennis Erb, Jr. came out of the third B.
Scott James won The Jim Dunn Memorial but chose to leave with a secure $3,000 rather than opting to tag the tail of the feature which would’ve given him the chance at $50,000 but only guaranteed him $2,000.
R.J. Conley was the Late Model Fast Qualifier Friday night. He wound up pulling out of the feature on Lap 25 after his fan blade came off. The former PRP champion finished the A-Main in 29th.
As for the Modified portion of the show, Jake Hawkins led the feature from flag to flag, but a couple of late cautions made things very interesting. Nevertheless, Hawkins held off K.C. Burdette by less than two tenths of a second to take the win. Joey Kramer rounded out the top 3.
Two-time reigning PRP track champion Todd Robinson from South Point battled his way from 16th to fourth. Ironically, he would’ve not been able to race had Saturday’s action not have gotten pushed back to Sunday. The extra night enabled him and his crew to repair some mechanical issues to his car.
Another two-time PRP track champion, Tim Tribbey, also charged hard up through the field. The Waverly native started 26th and raced his way up to an eighth-place finish.
Weasel Rhoades was the Modified quick qualifier on Thursday but had a flat in his heat and suffered rear-end damage in his B-Main which prevented him a shot at making the field.
The 2015 Dirt Track World Championship will return to PRP and will pay a DTWC record $100,000 to the Late Model winner!!!
WAYCROSS, GA (October 14, 2014) – The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series season finale will take place this weekend in Portsmouth, OH on October 17th and 18th with the running of the 34th Annual Optima Batteries Dirt Track World Championship – Presented by NAPA Auto Parts. This event, held at Portsmouth Raceway Park, is promoted by hall of fame promoter Carl Short, along with track promoters Donna Rayburn and Tim Coleman. The Dirt Track World Championship event has been Carl’s signature event, over the years, which have been filled with great history, thrilling racing action, hall of fame winners and numerous facilities hosting the event in the past 33 years. This year’s DTWC will, once again, pay $50,000 to win and $2,000 to start.
In the previous 33 DTWC events, there have been 24 different drivers to visit victory lane and capture this crown jewel event. Dating back to the inaugural running in 1981, there have been five drivers that have won the prestigious event more than once. Hall of Famer Freddy Smith of Seymour, TN leads the way with five wins, followed by the late Jack Boggs of Grayson, KY, who won the race three times. Two time winners of the DTWC include: Billy Moyer of Batesville, AR; Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN and Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, IL. Some of the sport’s biggest names have won the DTWC at least once over the 33 years of the event, including names like: Larry Moore (’87); Donnie Moran (’88); Steve Francis (’99); Darrell Lanigan (’03); Rick Eckert (’04); Chub Frank (’07); Brian Birkhofer (’08); Jimmy Mars (’09); Earl Pearson Jr. (’10); Don O’Neal (’11), Jimmy Owens (’12) and the youngest driver to ever win the event, Brandon Sheppard in 2013.
Included among the many activities at the DTWC is a $3,000 to win Jim Dunn Memorial Non-Qualifiers Race-Presented by DirtonDirt.com. The top 26 drivers that fail to transfer into the DTWC feature event through a heat race or B-Main get to compete for a chance to earn additional prize money through this race. The winner of this event can elect to forfeit the $3,000 first place prize money and start on the tail of the DTWC feature event for a chance to win the $50,000. In honor of Jim Dunn and his legacy of being the very first winner of the DTWC, Carl Short added the non-qualifiers race to the DTWC event schedule as a tribute to the late Jim Dunn and his family.
The 34th Annual Optima Batteries Dirt Track World Championship - Presented by NAPA Auto Parts will once again be filmed by the award winning Lucas Oil Production Studios. This event will air on NBC Sports and on the MAVTV American Real Networks in 2014. “We really feel partnering with the Lucas Oil Series has helped to grow the event even more with the TV coverage they bring to this event. I’m looking forward to this year’s event and enjoy working with the great staff at Portsmouth Raceway Park”, stated Carl Short, promoter of the DTWC.
Activities for the 34th Annual Optima Batteries Dirt Track World Championship - Presented by NAPA Auto Parts will get underway on Thursday, October 16th with Modified Qualifying, Heat Races and Consolation races. On Friday, October 17th the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will take to the track for Hot-Laps, Miller Welders Time Trials and Heat Races. Also, on Friday night there will be a Non-Qualifiers race for the Modifieds. Then, on Saturday, October 18th the schedule will include the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series B-Mains, the Modified Feature event, the $3,000 to Win Jim Dunn Memorial Non-Qualifiers Race-Presented by DirtonDirt.com and the $50,000 to win/$2,000 to start DTWC 100-lap feature.
WAYCROSS, GA (October 7, 2014) – The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and famed promoter Carl Short are pleased to announce the 2014 Miss Dirt Track World Championship, Katelynne Newton. She will be assisting sponsors and staff during the 34th Annual Optima Batteries Dirt Track World Championship race weekend.
Katelynne is the daughter of Gerald and Carissa Newton and is a freshman at Indiana State University. She is a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority and actively gives back to her community by volunteering with Susan G. Komen for Breast Cancer Awareness and The American Heart Association as a National Youth Heart Health Advocate.
This past year she served as Miss Teen Indiana International and competed on the International stage for the title of Miss Teen International. She was voted online fan favorite among 39 other contestants this past July. Katelynne also serves as the current reigning Miss Gotta Race for Arizona Sport Shirts and has held numerous other titles in past years.
Katelynne will be attending and representing The 34th Annual Optima Batteries DTWC – Presented by NAPA Auto Parts at Portsmouth Raceway Park in Portsmouth, Ohio on October 16th through 18th. The three-day event is the final event for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series 2014 season and will conclude with the 100-lap $50,000 to win feature event on Saturday night October 18th.
An avid race fan, Katelynne has been attending dirt racing events since the age of six weeks old. She has grown up around racing and loves to attend when she can. She will be available for autographs and photos throughout the event weekend at the Arizona Sport Shirts trailer.
To conclude the weekend events, Katelynne will assist The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and promoter Carl Short in awarding the trophy and check to the 2014 DTWC race winner.