Fifteen different drivers have tried, starting with Freddy Smith back in 1994. None have succeeded.
To date, no driver has repeated as the Dirt Late Model Dream champion at Eldora Speedway. Tennessee’s Scott Bloomquist, the polarizing driver fans love to cheer and jeer, takes another shot at living the Dream when the defending champion leads the field in pursuit of dirt late model racing’s biggest purse.
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Bloomquist has won seven Dream titles and, more important, seven of those $100,000 checks to the winner. This year’s three-day event features a purse of $396,900. That, according to DirtonDirt.com, is the richest weekend in dirt late model racing since Donnie Moran won the Eldora Million in 2001.
The Dream weekend kicked off Thursday night with a pair of $5,000-to-win, 25-lap features. Friday night features a pair of 25 lappers for $10,000 each. Saturday’s heat race lineups will be determined by Thursday and Friday’s time trials, heat races and features.
“This place is the place you want to (win). The crowd. The competition. The race track. There’s very few race tracks like this,” Bloomquist said after his victory in 2017. “Knoxville, Iowa, we love racing there. Other than that race track this is it.”
Much like his relationship with the fans, Bloomquist has experienced a love/hate relationship with Eldora Speedway’s legendary high-banked, half-mile clay oval lined with unforgiving concrete walls.
After winning his first Dream in 1995, Bloomquist started a unique trend winning the Dream in every even numbered year starting in 2002 and ending in 2008. He nearly did it again, this time with odd years winning in 2013, 2015 – though he was eventually disqualified – and 2017.
In 2015, Bloomquist crossed the finish line first in the 100-lap feature but came up 25 pounds light of the required 2,300 minimum on the post-race scales. In seconds he went from winning $100,000 to settling for $2,000 for 28th place. Prior to his win last season Bloomquist and his crew had the car 20 pounds over the minimum. Bloomquist told the crew to add another 40 pounds just to make sure.
So how has Bloomquist fared the next season following a Dream win? Pretty good. In 1996 he finished eighth. He failed to make the race in 2003. He was third in 2005, second in both 2007 and 2009 and third in 2014. During a stretch from 2004-2009 Bloomquist won three Dreams, finished second twice and finished third once.
For comparison, it took 14 races for a repeat winner in Eldora’s other 100-lap, dirt late model crown jewel event – the World 100 in September. Jeff Purvis won consecutive races in 1983-84 and was followed by Billy Moyer in 1993-94 and Moran in 1996-97. Twenty-nine different drivers have won the World 100 since the first race in 1971.
“It’s awesome to win here,” Bloomquist said in 2017. “We have a lot of fans and a lot of naysayers but that’s what makes it all go around.”
While Bloomquist is one of 15 Dream champions – including multiple winners Smith (2) and Moyer (2) – Iowa’s Brian Birkhofer is still searching for his first. Birkhofer is the only driver with four or more top-five finishes without a Dream trophy. He finished second in both 2003 and 2008.