Late model stars preparing for a late model dream
The stars of the latest dirt racing model are preparing to overtake the race at Eldora Speedway. (Photo by Zach Yost)
ROSSBURG, Ohio – The return of the world’s richest annual late model dirt race is almost here.
The 26 and 27 years of the Dirt Late Model Dream will take place at Eldora Speedway from June 9 to 12. The 26th (2020) Dream, postponed to 2021 due to health restrictions from the pandemic last June, will take place on Friday and Saturday evening after the 27th (2021) Dream, contested on Wednesday and Thursday.
An incredible $ 293,000 in first place cash is up for grabs for each of the four days. Both qualifying nights, Wednesday and Friday, will host dual 25-lap features, $ 10,000 up for grabs, to help define the Heat race rosters for the 100-lap finals, $ 127,000 and $ 126,000 up for grabs on Thursday and Saturday.
With the addition of Day 4 to this year’s mega version of the famous event, the stakes and pressure on pilots and crews will also be boosted. Defending Dream champion Brandon Sheppard, of New Berlin, IL, and the Rocket1 Racing crew will return to the half-mile this year in search of their second Dream title, and have stayed true to their guns to defend the many titles they won. collected over the past decade.
“That’s why we’re here nightly evenings, to try to win,” Sheppard said. “If you let the pressure get to you there, you’re just going to fold, so you just have to let that be another race and try to win.”
A fourth night of competition also means another night of equipment wear. 2016 World 100 winner Bobby Pierce has taken on new additions to his crew this year, but he’s confident in his abilities as a team to keep the car in shape.
“I know I’m going to be prepared for it,” Pierce said. “You just have to keep pace with your gear. Every day that you run it’s gonna be tough, just make sure everything is okay.
Given that the event ends just four days before the start of the DIRTcar Summer Nationals Late Model 2021 tour, of which Pierce is a three-time champion, the Double Dream will likely be a test to see how good he and his new team are. well prepared. to face a busy summer.
“It’s a bit of a deal like the Summer Nationals. It seems like you are running everyday, and you might be behind on checking things out. Really, your crew’s help has to be good over those long distances, ”he said.
For the first time in over a year, Eldora is once again welcoming spectators to the stands for its annual racing shows. Pierce, the 24-year-old from Oakwood, Ill., First captured the eyes of motorsport’s biggest world in Eldora with his second place finish in the 2015 Dirt Derby with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and always held their attention. since.
Historically speaking, the three-time national champion DIRTcar Late Model has always been a turn of the head when it comes to him and The Big E. His flashy and special car designs that only come out for his appearances in Eldora always coincide with a new t-shirt design, which is sure to be a big seller on the merchandise line now that fans are back in the seats.
“So many people go to the dream and the world  and some of those great races, but mostly in Eldora. Heck, there are people who only go one run a year and go to Eldora. Of course we missed some opportunities there [last year]so it’s going to be good to get the fans back and get that energy back all over the track, ”said Pierce.
Sheppard echoes the same sentiment, as it just wouldn’t be the same for him to attempt a Dream rehearsal without a full house to witness the action.
“It’s really really electric whenever the fans are around it gets loud on Saturday night,” he said. “It’s definitely going to be a lot better now that the fans are back. Hope we never have to [without fans] again, because it was empty there without the fans for sure.
Despite all the anticipation and excitement lost during last year’s Dream (and World 100) postponements, the staff at Eldora Speedway continue their commitment to providing excellent racing entertainment for their fans and an opportunity for their fans. pilots to win big wins in running. two of her biggest late model events in back-to-back editions. Needless to say, the drivers and the teams are grateful.
“Eldora is really holding our head doing this and allowing us to be able to run for so much money,” Sheppard said. “It’s really cool of them to do that.”
“Lots of money at stake… compared to when they had the million dollars to win, it’s the craziest weekend ever. Two races for [$126,000 and] $ 127,000 up for grabs in four days is crazy, ”said Pierce.