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Bloomquist makes his return at The Dream

Jeff Birchfield • Updated Jun 11, 2019 at 9:03 PM

Hawkins County racing legend Scott Bloomquist made his return to the track last Saturday night at Eldora (Ohio) Speedway.

The longtime Mooresburg resident suffered injuries to his hip and leg in a Florida motorcycle accident in March and had been sidelined since then.

The 55-year-old Bloomquist, a nine-time national champion and winner of over 600 races, returned for the Dirt Late Model Dream. It’s one of the biggest races of the year and a race in which Bloomquist is an eight-time winner.

Bloomquist was comfortably ahead in his heat race when a heavy rain shower came at once, causing him and others to wreck. After the track was cleared, Bloomquist went on to win his heat race — but his damaged car weighed two pounds light at the scales, which disqualified him.

The result put Bloomquist at the back of the field in a last-chance qualifier race where he finished 11th. Only the top four cars transferred to the A-Main, which saw Illinois driver Brandon Sheppard win over Georgia driver Dale McDowell in a classic paint-trading, fender-rubbing race to the finish line.

Bloomquist posted on twitter that it was the best car he had at Eldora and vowed to come back strong to the track’s other major late model race, the World 100, which he is a four-time winner.

LOCAL DIRT RACING

Most of the racing around East Tennessee was rained out last Saturday. It included Volunteer Speedway, which has undergone a series of improvements since Kingsport businessman Landon Stallard has taken over the track.

One track that was spared by the wet weather was 411 Motor Speedway in Seymour, where Loudon driver Cory Hedgecock won the $5,000-to-win JT Kerr Memorial Crate Late Model race. Hedgecock edged Johnson City driver Jensen Ford in a heat race — which helped determine the starting lineup for the 40-lap main event.

Ford finished fourth and Jonesborough’s Bobby Mays wound up 19th in a strong 24-driver field.

Volunteer Speedway has a weekly program scheduled for Saturday night with six divisions — Crate Late Model, Sportsman, Modified Street, Classic, Mini Stock and Stock. Grandstands open at 5 p.m. with hot laps scheduled for 7 p.m., followed by qualifying and racing.

One week after the announcement that racing operations had ceased at Clay Valley Speedway, it has been posted the track is for sale. The price is $1.5 million for the 39.2-acre property featuring the 3/8-mile clay oval with a 10,000-seat grandstand. All equipment to run the track is included in the price.

KINGSPORT SPEEDWAY

Kingsport Speedway has a full night of racing scheduled with the Food City 175 for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, featuring a 60-lap race for the Late Model Stock division and features for the Mod Street, Mod 4, Pure Street and Pure 4 divisions.

Nik Williams from Chuckey leads the Late Model Stock point standings 206-191 over Gray driver Joey Trent. Despite some early setbacks, defending track champion Zeke Shell of Johnson City rides third with 182 points. Wayne Hall of Bluff City and veteran Rick Pannell of Kingsport round out the top five.

Kevin Wolfe leads the Mod Street standings 226-177 over local evangelist Dennis Deese. Kevin Canter has a 30-point advantage over Zack Fritz in Mod 4.

The Pure 4 division features the tightest points battle with Bruce Crumbley holding a one-point lead over Keith Helton. Doug Austin leads 210-194 over Tony Dockery in Pure Street.

TENNESSEE THREE-STEP

Josef Newgarden added to his IndyCar points lead with his third win of the season at Texas Motor Speedway last Saturday night.

It required Newgarden in the No. 2 Chevrolet-powered Team Penske machine to hold off several late-race charges from Alexander Rossi. It was the 13th career win for the 28-year-old Hendersonville driver and his series-best third of the season after winning on the road circuits at St. Petersburg and Detroit. It was his fourth career oval track win, and his first on a superspeedway.

In his bid for a second series championship, Newgarden now holds a 25-point lead over Rossi with nine of 17 races completed.

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