ROSSBURG, Ohio — It may not have been a points-paying victory, but after Wednesday night’s Super DIRTcar Series All-Star Invitational, Billy Whittaker will always be able to say he won at Eldora Speedway.
Whittaker stormed from the front row and led all 20 laps of the half-mile dirt oval, holding a lead as large as 3.5 seconds at times and staving off a late-race charge from Hall of Famer Brett Hearn to win by 1.033 seconds.
The victory was Whittaker’s first of any kind with the Super DIRTcar Series big-block modifieds.
“I run at Fulton Speedway on Saturday nights and I’ve won some local stuff, but these guys are tough and to be standing here right now is unbelievable,” Whittaker said. “I knew if I could get up front, I could stay there … and we got some luck with the redraw. After that, it was what it was. I’m so excited we could get this victory. No one has any idea how happy I am right now.”
Though Hearn was consistently clicking off laps that were a quarter-second faster than Whittaker in the second-half of the race, Whittaker was unfazed.
In fact, he said he never realized just how big of a lead he had, nor did he know that the field was coming in hot behind him.
“I had no clue they were back there,” Whittaker laughed. “I was just trying to hit my marks. I didn’t know how many laps were left … I was just thinking, ‘Where’s the noise? Where’s the tires? Where are all these guys at?’ And they never got to me.”
“The car was good. We got a little bit loose at the end, and my line started going away a little bit … but I adapted and we made it happen.”
With Wednesday night potentially being the final appearance of the Super DIRTcar Series at Eldora for the foreseeable future, Whittaker said being able to secure a win at one of the most prestigious dirt tracks in America was an “inexplicable” moment.
“It’s our all-star race. There’s no other way to look at it. All the best were out there and we beat them all tonight. I hope it’s not the last time … but I’ve won here and they can’t take it away from me.”
Hearn, Tuesday-night winner Billy Decker, Max McLaughlin and Mat Williamson completed the top five.
Billy Whittaker, Brett Hearn, Billy Decker, Max McLaughlin, Mat Williamson, Matt Sheppard, Jimmy Horton, Larry Wight, Kyle Coffey, Keith Flach, Brandon Walters, Chris Hile, Ryan Watt, Peter Britten, Rich Scagliotta, Mike Maresca, Pat Ward, Jimmy Phelps, Josh Hohenforst, Tim Fuller.