ROSSBURG, Ohio — Dale McDowell completed some unfinished business Saturday night at Eldora Speedway.
Nine years after inheriting a triumph in the prestigious World 100 that left him feeling less than satisfied, the 48-year-old veteran captured the famed half-mile oval’s other, richer crown-jewel event with a convincing drive to the checkered flag in the Dream XX presented by Ferris Mowers.
McDowell stormed forward from the 22nd starting spot to grab the lead from six-time Dream champion Scott Bloomquist on lap 79 and never looked back en route to claiming the $100,000 first-place prize.
“Thanks goodness that I made it victory lane,” said the relieved McDowell, who has been pursuing a full-fledged party on Eldora’s grand stage since his tempered World 100 post-race. “I won the World in 2005, but Shannon Babb actually won it. I just was the recipient of his misfortune (Babb was disqualified for being 10 pounds light), so it feels great to be able to celebrate in victory lane.”
McDowell was never challenged once in command. He steered his Team Dillon Racing Warrior car across the finish line with a half-straightaway edge over defending World 100 winner John Blankenship, who charged from the 24th starting spot to take the $20,000 runner-up payoff.
Bloomquist settled for third place after leading laps 33-78, 25th-starter Jimmy Owens finished fourth and Billy Moyer, who started second and led laps 1-16, completed the top five.
Eddie Carrier Jr. led laps 17-32 but faded to a seventh-place finish.
McDowell failed to transfer through a heat race on Saturday night, pulling back his high hopes coming off a win in one of the previous evening’s 25-lap preliminary features. He came back to win a B-Main but still wasn’t overly confident about his chances.
“I’m lost for words,” said McDowell, whose best previous finish in 11 previous Dream feature starts was third in 2010. “We didn’t do well in the heat race — I’m just no damn good up on the cushion (that was dominant during qualifying) — and we started 22nd, so I really didn’t have expectations of getting to the front. Honest to God I didn’t.
“But shoot, it was just our turn tonight — finally.”