FLETCHER: Who’s Late-Model Racing’s Top Dog? Bloomquist, Or Moyer?

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EAST LEROY, Mich.

It will be debated forever who was better, Scott Bloomquist or Billy Moyer.

It is especially being discussed now, after this season, which featured another re-emergence of Moyer, and Bloomquist reaching the 500-victory milestone.

Those two remarkable wheelmen have made it a historical year in dirt-late-model racing.

What Moyer did at the Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals earlier this month, sweeping both preliminary nights and the $40,000 main on Saturday, was unexpected, and due to that race’s format and competition level, virtually impossible most would’ve agreed.

The Batesville, Ark., veteran also won both major events at Eldora Speedway, taking home more than $140,000 from the Dream and World 100.

Also, unexpected and damn difficult to accomplish.

There are numerous ways to measure success in this sport, and many do it just that way: the number of Eldora victories. Or, more specifically, World 100 wins.

Moyer has six. Bloomquist owns three. But if you include Dream wins, they’re tied with eight total victories. In reality, both races are equally as difficult to win. It’s the same track, same competition and practically the same format.

See, this could be argued from now on. What about four-time World 100 winner Donnie Moran?

I generally shy away from such conversations. If somebody asks me who’s best, I’ll simply answer “Purvis.” The person asking the question usually knows I’m referring to former late-model star Jeff Purvis, who pretty much ended his dirt-track career after the 1989 season to go pavement racing.

In approximately 12 years, Purvis won some 350 races, including three World 100 victories and three second-place finishes in only eight starts.

By comparison, Bloomquist has made 21 World 100s, has won 500 races and been driving for 30 years. Moyer has been in 20 World 100s, and won 738 races in 33 years.

Bloomquist is 46, Moyer 52. Purvis left the scene when he was only 30.

I don’t know who is or was the best on dirt, or exactly how to gauge it, but Tennessean Purvis has to be included in any debate.

Those who’ve been around for decades also will throw in a few other names, like Bob Pierce, Freddy Smith, Jack Boggs, Mike Duvall, Larry Moore, Charlie Swartz, Buck Simmons and Rodney Combs.

And 15 years from now, we’ll probably be talking about Shannon Babb, Josh Richards, Jimmy Owens and a few more.

See why I stay away from this kind of stuff?

Fact is Moyer and Bloomquist really do outshine most drivers. They’re still here. They both travel extensively and they both win often in equipment they built themselves. And with the added attention being paid to the sport via a growing fan base and the electronic media, they’re certainly the most talked about.

Both drivers have varied their schedules over the years. When they’ve tried series racing, they were very successful, just as when they raced an independent, outlaw-type schedule.

Mooresburg, Tennessee’s Bloomquist over the past several seasons has generally shied away from lesser-paying events, while Moyer has competed many times for less money closer to home.

For that, he’s often been mis-labeled as a “cherry picker.” Longtime Moyer crew chief Steve Norris just laughs off such comments.

“You look at miles traveled for money spent, you just gotta do what’s smart,” Norris said. “We race where it’s convenient, where it’s economical.”

As of this writing, in events paying $20,000 or more to win this year, Moyer has four wins, Bloomquist three. No other driver has more than one.

It will be debated forever who was better.

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