Race Weekend Central

This Weekend in Dirt: Jonathan Davenport Wins Snoozer of an Eldora Dream, Macedo Escapes Fire at Knoxville

Dirt Racing’s Winning Moment: Jonathan Davenport made what would be the winning pass on lap 30 of the 100-lap Dirt Late Model Dream feature at Eldora Saturday night (June 10), besting Bobby Pierce and then staying out front of a determined Chris Madden on a rubbered-down surface.

The typically pristine Eldora surface was a letdown for the richest scheduled dirt late model race of 2023, as rubber turned the event into a low-side parade for pretty much the entire second 50 laps. Madden did close to within a car length on several occasions in the closing laps, but even acknowledged in his post-race interview that all he could do was hope Davenport would make a mistake in front of him.

2023 DIRT LATE MODEL DREAM RACE RESULTS

Dirt Racing’s Dramatic Moment: Danny Dietrich pulled an inch-perfect crossover move to steal the Ohio Sprint Week victory from Cap Henry Saturday night at Fremont Speedway, his first win on the All-Star Circuit of Champions tour in 2023.

Buddy Kofoid finished fifth in the event, posting strong results on his debut weekend with the Vermeer Motorsports team after he was announced as a replacement for longtime ASCoC regular Hunter Schuerenberg earlier this week.

What Dirt Racing Fans’ll Be Group Chatting About This Morning

Thank God Carson Macedo walked away following what will hopefully be the worst wreck sprint car racing sees in 2023. 

Hard to know which was scarier, the crash itself or the fireball that emerged as soon as Macedo’s car landed. If there’s a silver lining to this, the response time from the World of Outlaws and Knoxville Raceway officials was about as fast as physically possible in response to the crash.

UNBELIEVABLE: Carson Macedo terrible crash, praying for him and his family🙏🏁 #dirttrackracing #sprintcar

Posted by Slinging Dirt on Sunday, June 11, 2023

After listening to Madden compare the end of Saturday’s dream to a “Cherokee Sunday cruise,” hoping Davenport would cut down a tire, I don’t want to hear a single complaint from anyone the next time I lament the state of the racing at Cherokee Speedway. Even the home-state ringers admit it.

The Eldora surface proved especially racy Friday night, as all but one of the heat races contested on the evening was won by a driver who didn’t start on the front row. Still, I’ve got to side with Davenport’s frustration that the “wheel of misfortune” that the track uses to set the invert it uses for its actual Dream program doesn’t provide even a single shot at there being no invert.

After watching Friday night’s preliminary action at Eldora, I’d have bet the entirety of the 50/50 pool at the track that if there was one driver in the field that would spoil a caution-free race, it’d be Josh Rice (more on that later).

After all the nonsense about banning signal sticks at Eldora, by the end of the Dream weekend it was official policy that spotters using gloves and other hand signals were permitted to do said signaling from the top of their haulers in the infield as opposed to a defined area away from catchfences. That seems like an awful biased approach to take towards teams with larger toter haulers.

The fact that in a span of 48 hours this first-time rule already had changed from signals only in a defined area to signals from elevated positions in the infield should speak volumes as to how impossible this rule is to enforce. Besides, the first signal-stick-free Dream was pretty much a nightmare by Eldora standards.

Dirt Racing’s Heroes of the Weekend

Before leaving Eldora, the hero of Saturday actually came in a B-main, with Dustin Sorenson earning his first career start in the crown jewel event with an absolute steal of the final transfer spot from Chris Ferguson.

Brad Sweet, Giovanni Scelzi and Spencer Bayston were all seen on video rushing to the aid of Macedo after the fire broke out during his sprint car accident at Knoxville Saturday. Enough said.

One of the more notable names NOT to enter the Dream at Eldora this weekend was Gregg Satterlee, who opted instead to stay local and run the newly-resurrected Appalachian Sprint Week mini series. I’ve got nothing against the Dream, as it’s a legitimate crown jewel race and pays enough that it deserves to draw 90-plus cars. But, regional super late model racing is on the decline, and it’s going to take drivers the caliber of Satterlee staying home sometimes to keep it going.

Dirt Racing’s Villain/Victims of the Weekend

Tim McCreadie may be a borderline inclusion in this section, given that he finished top-five on both of his preliminary nights. But arguably the best shot he’s had in sometime at winning a first-career Dream went out the window in Saturday’s heat racing when he tangled with Kyle Strickler.

It’s questionable who was at fault here, though from the replays I saw it certainly appeared that Strickler moved down the track. The bigger story is whether McCreadie can shake this one off given that his No. 39 team has been faster the past two weeks than they have been since Florida.

Brandon Overton had easily the roughest Eldora weekend of any driver in the field, enduring hard crashes twice in two days. Friday saw Overton clobber the turn 1 wall during his heat race (Davenport speculated that he had to have cut a tire given how sudden impact was).

Fast forward to Saturday and Overton lost another car, this time plowing into Joseph Joiner after the Hunt the Front driver wrecked in front of him, leaving him nowhere to go.

As unceremonious an end to his three-race winning streak in the Dream as could be.

Lastly, if there was a villain on the weekend, it was Josh Rice on Friday night. Rice not only brazenly took out Mason Zeigler for no apparent reason as the two waged a pitched battle during the second preliminary feature on the evening, he then caused the Big One in the feature after keeping his damaged car on the track and stacking up the field when he failed to get up to speed on the ensuing restart.

It’s exciting to see a driver bang the boards running the cushion, it’s something else to see a driver trying to knock the wall down out of apparent control. Rice was on the other side of that line. That it resulted in another driver being taken out for no good reason and resulted in Rice causing two other yellows (the wreck and a later one when he cut a tire down) made him an unnecessarily big influence on Friday’s second feature.

Up Next: Frontstretch will be back Tuesday morning (June 13) with coverage of the XR Super Series from Kokomo Speedway in Indiana. Coverage can be found on RaceXR.

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