There is a chill in the air and in the racing world that can only mean one thing, the Dirt Track World Championship is just around the corner. This weekend at the Portsmouth Raceway Park, the Lucas Oil Dirt Series will sanction the major event. For the first time in the history of the event it will be paying $100,000 to the winner. This event has a long history that dates back to the historic Pennsboro Speedway where Jim Dunn came from the rear to win the first ever DTWC event. The event has grown over the years and Carl Short has turned it into the second biggest event in Late Model racing behind the World 100.
Jonathan Davenport – Davenport has to be considered the favorite in this show. His track record in 2015 includes 12 Lucas Oil victories and he will clinch the Lucas Oil championship by showing up this weekend at Portsmouth. He won both major events at Eldora this year, and he won the North/South 100 as well. He has won too many crown jewel events to name so far this season and doesn’t look to be slowing down. Davenport will be a contender for the richest DTWC winner’s share in history this weekend.
Scott Bloomquist – If Davenport is favorite #1, then Bloomquist has to be 1-A. Bloomquist is the most recent Lucas Oil winner at Portsmouth and he is also the defending champion of the DTWC which was also held at Portsmouth. The track fits Bloomquist’s style and Bloomquist has also had a way of finding victory lane in the biggest of events.
Jimmy Owens – Owens has had a down year by his standards but he has been knocking on the door for a big victory this season for a while now. He was leading the North/South before contact from behind by the lapped car of John Gill took him out of contention. His track record at Portsmouth is very good as well. He won the event there previously, and he has not finished outside the top 5 in the three runnings of the event at Portsmouth.
Mike Marlar – Marlar has been on fire ever since bringing a Capital chassis into his stable. Marlar has never won a crown jewel event but he has lasted 100 laps in numerous big events including Knoxville just a few weeks ago. Jared Landers was the surprise winner of that event, and while Marlar wouldn’t be a surprise it feels as if anyone winning outside of Davenport or Bloomquist would be an upset at this point. Look for Marlar to be in contention on Saturday.
Don O’Neal – O’Neal is another driver with a pretty good track record at Portsmouth who hasn’t experienced as much success this year as what he’s used to. He has been much faster as of late though, and I would look for O’Neal to be a contender on Saturday.
Jared Landers – The winner of this year’s Knoxville Late Model Nationals has been tough lately, and after knocking off his first major crown jewel victory in years just a few weeks ago, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him in victory lane Saturday at Portsmouth
Brandon Sheppard – Remember that guy that won both his qualifying features at Eldora for the World 100, but then failed to qualify for the feature? Yea he’s pretty good and he also took home the win in the DTWC at Portsmouth a few years back while running the Rocket house car. I look for Sheppard to have a good night on Saturday
Jackie Boggs – Mr. Portsmouth himself. Boggs has always ran good at Portsmouth and is a real threat to win this weekend. Here’s the key though, the hard driving Boggs has to be able to last 100 laps to win the show. If he can save the car enough don’t be surprised to see Boggs picking up the popular victory on Saturday.
Devin Moran – Moran has run good at Portsmouth recently and knows the track well. While Moran may be very young, he has a great pedigree and a father who has won all the major races. If Moran is going to pick up a crown jewel soon, this could be the one.
Bobby Pierce – Pierce has been on fire lately and had one of the fastest cars at Eldora during the World 100 just about a month ago. It should come as no surprise if Pierce picks up his first career crown jewel win at Portsmouth.
One thing is for sure the event will be interesting. With the double heat, passing points format on Friday it will force guys to race hard and earn their respective starting positions for the 100 lap feature on Saturday night. Look for a great show, and if you can make it I highly recommend making the trip.