- June 13 - Dream Recall - How Moyer Bagged the Big One by Sam Holbrooks


Moyer's perfect line - Eldora Late Model Dream

Billy Moyer executes the tricky but perfect winning line after taking the lead from #53 Ray Cook at Eldora. (Mike Ruefer)

Dream Redux: How Moyer Bagged the Big One (and how others didn't)

By Kevin Kovac

ROSSBURG, Oh. - June 13. “Your mind’s gotta be razor sharp to run on that ledge for a hundred laps like that and never bobble,” said Billy Moyer, describing the thin cushion just inches from Eldora Speedway's high-banked, half-mile oval’s concrete barrier. Moyer indeed walked a tight rope to victory in Sunday's postponed DIRTcar Racing-sanctioned Dirt Late Model Dream XVI at Eldora Speedway.

The 52-year-old dirt Late Model Hall of Famer from Batesville, Ark., overtook outside polesitter Ray Cook for the lead on a lap-20 restart and never made a mistake the remainder of the 100-lap distance. He tamed a slick daytime track surface dominated by a precarious top lane to pocket the prestigious race’s $100,000 winner’s check for the second time in his legendary career.

In a race that saw cars repeatedly sustain right-rear body damage from bouts with the Big E’s unforgiving outside wall – including those driven by runner-up Cook and third-place finisher Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga. – Moyer got his Victory Circle Chassis to the checkered flag virtually unscathed.

Josh Richards - Chris Madden - Late Model Dream

For some, like 16th starting Josh Richards and 21st starter Chris Madden (#44), it was a matter of driving smart and staying off the wall and out of trouble. The tactic worked for the pair who finished fourth and sixth at the wire. (Mike Ruefer)

 “This track is like running on an ice cube. You just slide in there and time it just perfectly to where you get your right front on that lip first. If you get in there a little bit too hard, you’re in the wall over that little berm,” Moyer explained later.

Moyer weathered a mid-race challenge from 2008 World 100 winner Shane Clanton before pulling away from Cook during the final laps. He crossed the finish about a half-straightaway ahead of Cook.

McDowell, who started 19th, benefitted from the race’s attrition to place a quiet third in NASCAR star Clint Bowyer’s Warrior machine. Chris Madden of Grey Court, S.C., started 21st and wasn’t far behind McDowell throughout the distance en route to a fourth-place finish, while Madden’s chassis builder, five-time Dream winner Scott Bloomquist, completed the top five after recovering from a lap 75 pit stop to change a flat right-rear tire.

Moyer’s triumph returned him to the spotlight at Eldora, a track he dominated during the ‘90s. He won the World 100 a record five times between 1991 and 2000 and captured the Dream in 1998.

“The last three or four years I haven’t even been close here,” said Moyer, who joined Bloomquist (five) and Freddy Smith (two) as repeat winners of the event. “I’ve been working to try and figure this place out again. Things are so much different from the last time I won here".

“The sport evolves so fast and you just gotta stay on top of it, and I think we finally found something that works here again.”

As for Moyer's winning pass, it was delayed slightly, and for good reason.

“I measured him up there on that first (re)start,” said Moyer. “I could’ve did it (made the pass) that first time, but I went in a little soft and I just didn’t want be an idiot and wreck us both like that.

“The next (restart) I just kind of knew where his little weak spot was. It was really early in the race, but I figured the way the track was I better get after it right now and get into the lead.”

Cook, 38, had already damaged the right-rear corner of his car from slapping the wall, but he credited Moyer with a slick move to take command.

“Billy done a good job there,” said Cook, a five-time Dream starter who matched his career-best event finish of second in 2000. Cook was happy to secure a $20,000 runner-up finish, despite racing nearly the entire distance with a crushed rear spoiler and losing second place briefly to Clanton.

“I knocked that (spoiler) off while we were leading actually,” said Cook, who added to his car’s body damage when he slid into the turn four wall while battling for second with Clanton on lap 61. “I just got up there (in the corner) too hard.

Billy Moyer in Victory Lane - Late Model Dream

Moyer with the ladies of Eldora after his second "Dream" win. (Mike Ruefer)

“This track was probably as challenging as it gets because it was just really, really slick right to that concrete cushion. But it’s Eldora, and you just gotta stay after it. We almost got it done, so we’ll just come back and try it again.”

Moyer likely saw his stiffest late-race threat disappear when Clanton’s bid came to an abrupt end. Sixth at the halfway mark after starting 10th, the 34-year-old driver vaulted up to second by lap 61 and caught Moyer moments later.

Clanton ducked underneath Moyer once on lap 65, but that was as close as he got to the lead. His attempt to join Moyer, Bloomquist, Donnie Moran and Jimmy Owens as the only drivers to win both the World 100 and the Dream evaporated when he slowed with a broken right-rear shock bolt on lap 69, bringing out the seventh of the race’s eight caution flags.

The rough-and-tumble A-Main was slowed by three caution flags for debris on the track and four for disabled cars. Several potential challengers saw their hopes dashed by smacks of the wall that tore up their cars and led to their early departures. That group included ars Steve Francis, who hit the concrete on lap one but still ran fourth until a turn-four wall encounter on lap 41 ended his day; Tim McCreadie, who climbed from the 13th starting spot to fifth in just eight laps, but bent up his mount’s front end when he caught the turn-two wall three circuits later (he ultimately retired with an overheating engine while still holding fifth on lap 55); and Darrell Lanigan, who was bidding for sixth when he crushed the right-rear corner of his mount on lap 49.

Sunday’s preliminary action saw Doug Drown of Wooster, Ohio, emerge victorious in the 15-lap C-Main and McDowell capture the 20-lap B-Main.

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Updated 11/17/10

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