Standing room only crowd watches Mooresburg native capture $20,000 payday
Volunteer Speedway has hosted several big-purse special events since the track opened in the mid-1970s, but in just three short years the Scorcher 100 continues to grow in national prominence in the dirt Late Model racing world.
Before a track-record, standing-room-only crowd Thursday night, Scott Bloomquist of nearby Mooresburg thrilled the partisan East Tennessee crowd as he led flag-to-flag to capture the Scorcher 100 victory and a $20,000 payday.
“What a crowd and what a race the fans saw here tonight,” said a smiling Bloomquist after emerging from his car in victory lane. “We don’t really get to race locally all that much anymore, and to be able to win before so many people who watched me race back many years ago when I was first getting started out is cool. To be able to win over such a strong field of the best dirt Late Model racers in the business is great. I’d have to say this is the most competitive field of cars ever assembled here at Volunteer Speedway.
“We had a really good car, but I do believe that the key to our win tonight was getting the lead on the start over (Chris) Madden. With the new dirt surface on the track this year, it’s really not the same as in the past. It’s kind of tough getting the car to work up in the high groove, but we made some changes on the car following practice and I felt we would be able to really drive off hard into the first turn and make it stick up high. I knew if we could carry the momentum up high through turns one and two without getting the car out of shape, I’d be able to launch off (turn) two down the backstretch. Fortunately for us that’s how it played out, because Madden also had a very strong car.”
Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., driving the JP Drilling/Turkey Creek Snacks/BASE Race Fuels/Integra Racing Shocks/Oval Craft Racing Aluminum Designs/RaceTek Racing Engines/Hooiser Tire/GRT Race Cars/No. 44 Pontiac GTO, set fast-time at 13.590-seconds (105.960 mph) in qualifying Wednesday night over the stellar 63-car field, with Darren Miller of Chadwick, Ill., second-quickest with a lap of 13.630. Six heat races were run with the top-three finishers from each transferring into the Scorcher 100 starting lineup. Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., recorded the win in the first heat, with Bloomquist capturing the victory in the second heat.
Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., won heat three, with Scott Sexton of Pigeon Forge, Tenn., rolling to victory in the fourth heat. Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., captured the win in the fifth heat, while defending Scorcher 100 winner Rick Eckert of York, Pa., recorded the win in heat six.
Three last chance consolations Thursday evening advanced the top-two finishers from each into the Scorcher 100 field, with Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., winning the first race, while Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, Tenn., and Mark Douglas of Knoxville, Tenn., were winners of heats two and three, respectively.