Scott Bloomquist won the inaugural Gateway Dirt Nationals in St. Louis on Saturday night.PHOTO BY LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC
Scott Bloomquist won the inaugural Gateway Dirt Nationals on Saturday night, leading all 40 laps of the debut dirt Super Late Model event inside the Dome at America’s Center.
He held off several challenges from Don O’Neal to win $20,000 and earn the honor of becoming the first winner and what seems destined to become an annual winter event within the heartland of America. The 53-year-old Hall of Famer paced the field after every start and drove a defensive line when in lap traffic.
“We could get away a little bit, but I didn’t push it too hard,” Bloomquist said on the Dirt on Dirt website live broadcast. “You could see we were leaving the ground quite a bit in places, and right where I wanted to turn the car, there was a rough spot in the corner, it would just throw really hard. It was about as much abuse as I’ve had in a while. O’Neil managed to stay ahead of Brandon Sheppard with Bobby Pierce and Hunter Rason completing the top-five. In recent years, Pierce has made a name for himself in the annual Eldora Speedway NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event.
With the victory, Bloomquist became the first winner of an indoor Late Model main event since Jack Boogs won a 1982 race at the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan. Bloomquist praised the event and repeatedly called for fans to fill the arena up next December. The race was promoted by Cody Sommer.
“It was really phenomenal racing all weekend,” Bloomquist said. “I was shocked right off the bat I saw the outside working for guys in the heats. I’ve seen a lot of bigger tracks not works as good.”
The track was just a fifth-mile with wide sweeping corners built into the center of the former Edward Jones Dome.