In short-track racing, one driver’s name has been synonymous with creating headlines and capturing the attention of the motorsports world. On this week’s episode of The Dale Jr. Download, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and co-host Mike Davis sit down with that man: the legendary Scott Bloomquist. After arriving in Eastern Tennessee in the mid-1980s and taking the dirt late model scene by storm, Scott rose to prominence in the early ‘90s and has gone on to be regarded as one of the greatest race drivers of all time.
Dale asks Scott about the moment he realized he had become larger than life, and he references the 1988 running of the premiere dirt late model racing event, Eldora Speedway’s World 100. Scott explains that he had never been to the track before and found it intimidating, and upon learning that there were over 250 other entrants for the race he about decided to head back to Knoxville to compete closer to home. He ultimately was convinced to stay by a Hoosier Tire representative, and in the big showdown, Scott defeated late model standout Jeff Purvis, who was aiming for his fourth win in a row at this event.
Bloomquist is well known for his eccentric style and rockstar-like appearance. After being born in Iowa and spending the beginning of his childhood there, his father Ron decided to leave his electrician trade to pursue becoming a pilot. The career transition brought the family to California, where Scott discovered a love for surfing and fast cars. Another defining quality is Scott’s tendency to rebel, and when his father stated “I will never have no long-haired son”, well, you can guess where this is going. As a result, the image of Scott Bloomquist race fans have known for the last four decades was born, and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
The origin of Scott’s legendary racing career is in part thanks to his father’s interest in trying the craft out himself. After seeing a co-worker race at the local raceway in Corona, Ron bought an asphalt car and got it ready for dirt competition. One attempt was enough, and he quickly realized it wasn’t for him. He then offered Scott the opportunity to get behind the wheel, and the 16-year-old jumped at the chance to go fast. He ran well enough in his maiden voyage that the two decided to pursue the sport further, but when the car Ron built for Scott was destroyed in a crash at Manzanita Speedway, he told Scott he wasn’t spending a penny more. From then on, Scott was independent in his racing efforts.
Scott tells the story of how his family arrived in Mooresburg, Tennessee on a plot of land located on the cusp of the Cherokee River. When Ron began looking for property to retire to in the early 1980s, the family originally looked at property in Oregon. But Scott, who was fully immersed in the dirt racing scene by that point, recognized that Oregon’s racing was outdated and suggested Tennessee, where Robert Smawley and his NDRA outfit were operating and paying $10,000 to win. Upon arriving, Scott found success early at Kingsport Speedway and used the momentum to propel himself to the top of the division, where he has gone on to win more marquee events than any other driver in history.
However, Scott’s time at the top has not been without controversy and the interview touches on his various legal issues and suspensions over the years. Scott is open on the subject and explains how his appearance and success have led others to assume the worst about him. The infamy that came with the arrests boosted Scott’s reputation and ultimately led to him becoming a colossal figure in the sport.
Finally, no interview with Scott Bloomquist would be complete without discussing aliens and extraterrestrial beings. Scott details his neighbor's encounter and even touches on an experience of his own. Download listeners should tune in for an unforgettable episode and a peak into the mind of one of racing’s most iconic figures.
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This episode is from The Dale Jr. Download - Dirty Mo Media whose proprietor has full ownership and responsibility on its contents and artworks. It was shared using Castamatic, a podcast app for iPhone and iPad.