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World 100 Notebook: Zeigler's upset bit falls short


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World 100 Notebook: Zeigler’s Upset Bid Falls Short After Tangle With McDowell in DIRTcar UMP-Sanctioned Event -
Bloomquist Ends Streak of Near-Misses while Davenport Suffers More Bad Luck


ROSSBURG, Ohio - Sept. 9, 2014 - Before Scott Bloomquist made his last-to-first run to win Saturday's World 100 A-Main, there was another driver who charged through the field in the finale of Eldora Speedway's crown jewel event.


Storming forward from his 21st starting spot, Mason Zeigler of Chalk Hill, Pa., put on a show of his own in the prestigious DIRTcar UMP-sanctioned race, only to reach a disappointing end when he tangled with Dale McDowell while battling for the lead on lap 61.


"It's just so frustrating," the 22-year-old Zeigler said after his bid for a major upset victory ended in heartbreak. "It's awesome to come here at a race like this and run like we did, but at the same time it really sucks. It just sucks to come that close and have something like that happen."


Zeigler took the blame for the contact that sent his Longhorn Chassis spinning and admitted that it was likely a case of him being overanxious. Indeed, after advancing to second just 46 laps into the 100-lap race, Zeigler easily caught McDowell by lap 50 and appeared to be much quicker than the race's outside polesitter.


At first, Ziegler showed patience in the lead battle, especially when his lap-59 slidejob attempt in turns three and four came up short. He wisely backed out of the move.


He wasn't so prudent two laps later. With a strong run exiting turn two, Ziegler closed in on McDowell down the back straightaway and attempted to drive under the leader with a hard charge into turn three. The bold charge proved disastrous as Zeigler's momentum carried him too far and toward McDowell, who had moved lower on the racetrack after running a higher line for much of the race.

Hoping to avoid hitting McDowell, Ziegler turned left, made slight contact with the inside wall and spun.


"I did all I could to keep from hitting him and actually took myself out," said Zeigler, whose spin also collected third-running Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis. "We were just fighting for the same real estate and it was either I was gonna hit him or hit the wall. I ended up hitting the wall. I didn't want to take him out too; at least one of us got to continue on.


"I should've waited and tried to work him on the top or something, but that's some experience I guess."


While the experience may turn out to serve Ziegler well in the future, it didn't do much to ease the pain of Saturday's disappointing end.


"It's unfortunate," said Zeigler, who was making his first World 100 A-Main start. "It sucks for me and my entire crew and everyone here. We thought we were in contention to win. I don't know if I was using my stuff up too early, but it was good up until that point, for sure. Who knows what would've happened if I had been a little more patient?"


Bloomquist Ends Streak of Near-Misses


In claiming his fourth World 100 victory Saturday night, Scott Bloomquist ended a frustrating string of near-misses on the 2014 season.

His biggest near-miss came in Eldora's Dirt Late Model Dream in June. The National Dirt Late Model Hall of Famer, who owns six Dirt Late Model Dream victories at Eldora to go along with his four World 100 trophies, was in contention to claim his seventh Dream win in June until ending up third behind Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., and John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va.


Other missed opportunities included a fourth-place finish after leading laps in the $30,000-to-win Show-Me 100, a runner-up finish in the $50,000-to-win North-South 100 and a 23rd-to-fourth charge at the $40,000-to-win Topless 100.


All those top-five finishes may be enough to satisfy many dirt Late Model drivers, but for one of the winningest drivers in the history of the sport, even finishing second is disappointing.


"This is about as sweet as it gets," Bloomquist, 50, of Mooresburg, Tenn., said in his World 100 post-race interview. "It's been a really disappointing year. This makes up for all the disappointments that we've had this year.


"I think we've been the fastest we've ever been compared to the competition this year, but haven't capitalized on it. I thought this was gonna come a lot sooner in the season because I knew how good we were."


More Bad Luck for Davenport


Jonathan Davenport is growing far too accustomed to leaving Eldora Speedway wondering what might have been. For the third consecutive time in one of Eldora's crown jewel events, Davenport, 30, of Blairsville, Ga., had a car he thought was capable of winning Saturday's World 100 A-Main only to have a poor-luck situation keep him from contending.


Davenport started third in the 2013 World 100 only to fade to eighth with brake pressure issues. He charged from 21st into the top five during the Dream in June only to be derailed by a clash with Don O'Neal. And finally, his chances on Saturday were severely hampered when a lapped car spun in front of him while running second in his heat race, forcing him into the wall and causing heavy damage to the right side of his Longhorn Chassis.


"I figured starting up front in our heat, we'd be safe there, get a top three and get in the race so we had time to get prepared," said Davenport, whose optimism had been boosted by a preliminary feature on Friday night. "Last night we made some changes and was really, really good. I thought we had a car to at least run top five and maybe contend for the win, not go out there and run where we did. We should've been a lot better than that.


Davenport was able to nurse his car through the final laps and finish fourth in the heat race, and his K&L Rumley Enterprises team made repairs in time for him to win one of Saturday's two B-Mains. But the heat race setback was ultimately too much to overcome.

"We just didn't have time to get prepared like we needed to be and I'm sure there's still stuff bent on the car that we didn't catch or didn't have time to change," said Davenport, who ended up 14th in Saturday's final rundown. "Instead of adjusting the car like we thought would help us win the race, all we had time to do was piece it back together."


While disappointed in the outcome, Davenport at least takes solace in knowing that he can compete in Eldora's major events.

"I've had a bunch of good cars here just had dumb luck every time," Davenport said. "I've finally figured out a little bit how to get around this place, now if we can just get some luck our way, I think we'll be just fine."


For more information on DIRTcar Racing, visit www.dirtcar.com. For more information on Eldora Speedway and the World 100, visit www.eldoraspeedway.com.

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