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Bloomquist makes his return at The Dream

Jeff Birchfield • Jun 12, 2019 at 12:45 AM

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

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

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 Bloomquist has won eight times.

He was comfortably ahead in his heat race when a heavy rain shower hit, causing him and others to wreck. After the track was cleared, Bloomquist went on to win his heat race but his damaged car weighed 2 pounds light at the scales, disqualifying him.

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

In a Twitter post, Bloomquist said 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. He’s won that race four times.

IN THE DIRT

Most of the racing around East Tennessee was rained out last Saturday, including at Volunteer Speedway.

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’s Jensen Ford in a heat race that helped determine the starting lineup for the 40-lap main event.

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

Volunteer Speedway, which has undergone a series of improvements since Kingsport businessman Landon Stallard took over the track, 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. Hot laps are scheduled for 7 p.m., followed by qualifying and racing.

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

KINGSPORT SPEEDWAY

Kingsport Speedway has a full night of racing set for Friday.

The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Food City 175 is a 60-lap race for the Late Model Stock division, and there are feature races in the Mod Street, Mod 4, Pure Street and Pure 4 divisions.

Nik Williams of Chuckey leads the Late Model Stock points standings 206-191 over Gray’s Joey Trent. Despite 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 points 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 Tony Dockery 210-194 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 on Saturday night.

Newgarden, a 28-year-old Hendersonville native who drives the Team Penske No. 2 machine, earned his 13th career win and series-best third of the season. He also won on the road circuits at St. Petersburg and Detroit.

Newgarden, bidding for a second series championship, holds a 25-point lead over Alexander Rossi with nine of 17 races completed.

Contact Jeff Birchfield via email at jbirchfield@johnsoncitypress.com.

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