Monday, October 8th, 2007
Orr, Bloomquist end Eldora season in style
By Jim Morrison
James Esses, left, interviews Scott Bloomquist after "The Bloomer" won the 40-la. . .
ROSSBURG - Scott Orr and Scott Bloomquist ended the Eldora Speedway season with victories in the UMP Nationals on Saturday night, claiming the Bob Memmer Cup for the modifieds and late models, respectively.
Orr collected a $3,000 check for the modified feature and Bloomquist $10,000 for the late model main event.
Bloomquist, one of the top dirt late-model racers in the country, started mid-pack in the 28-car field, gradually moving to the front while Iowa driver Dan Schielper and then Josh "The Rocket" Richards led.
The Bloomer played his usual "cat-and-mouse" game of watching others lead the early laps and then moving to the front late in the race.
Bloomquist, with wins during his career in the World 100 and The Dream, ran at Knoxville, Iowa, over three days in September with a fourth being his best finish with his Tommy Hix-prepared Bloomquist race car. He followed that with a sixth at East Moline, Ill, and his crew tore the car down.
"We found a few things that needed some attention," said Bloomquist. "That was one of the reasons we came up here. We wanted to be sure that we have everything to our liking."
The Mooresville, Tenn., driver has more than 450 career wins and Saturday night's win was his 11th of the season.
Bloomquist finished third behind Jimmy Owens in this year's World 100. Owens was driving one of the race cars constructed by Bloomquist for the win, but the third place was still disappointing.
"We should have been set up like this in that race," said Bloomquist.
Orr, a regular in modifieds at the half-mile western Ohio oval led all 25 laps, but held off a mid-race challenge from Jeff Leka to claim the top spot. Leka, last year's Race of Champions winner, started at the rear of the field after making the main event.
Orr ran the top groove around Eldora's high banking while Leka worked the low and high lines. The closest Leka could come was to pull even with the winner as he exited through the fourth turn two-thirds of the way through. After that, Orr pulled away to a comfortable win.
"I held off the best two racers in the division," Orr said in victory lane, noting that Leka and Denny Schwartz, 2007 UMP late-model champion, finished second and third.
Schwartz, who also started in the rear with a poor finish in his heat race, won the UMP Modified Race of Champions on Friday night. Jimmy Westerfield was the fastest qualifier for the modifieds with a lap of 18.502 seconds.
Wes Steidinger was the fastest qualifier in late models with a time of 16.045 seconds. Steidinger also won the UMP Nationals Late Model Race of Champions race on Friday evening.
The trophies for winning the UMP Nationals were named for the first time after Bob Memmer, founder of the organization who fostered growth in dirt track late model and modified racing in the Midwest.
Memmer, a correspondent for racing publications such as National Speed Sport News for many years, recognized the growth possible in dirt late model and modified racing if common rules were used by many tracks and initiated UMP in the early 1980s.