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OUTLAWS REMEMBERED: Dirty Dozen Takes Late Model Racing by Storm in 2004

Bloomquist Tops Legendary Group in Epic Season of Revival

In commemoration of the 20th season for the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series coming in 2021, we’re remembering the past and looking back on the years that led us to today.

Following a 15-year dormancy, the World of Outlaws Late Models returned in 2004 and quickly changed the course of dirt late model racing history.

Creating the Dirty Dozen, a group of 12 elite racers banded together to fully support the series with intention of guaranteeing great competition in return for bigger sponsors, higher payouts, television coverage, and much more.

The original Dirty Dozen included:

  • Rick Aukland of Zanesville, Ohio
  • Mike Balzano of Parkersburg, West Virginia
  • Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tennessee
  • Rick Eckert of York, Pennsylvania
  • Steve Francis of Ashland, Kentucky
  • Chub Frank of Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania
  • Bart Hartman of Zanesville, Ohio
  • Darrell Lanigan of Union, Kentucky
  • Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Georgia
  • Billy Moyer of Batesville, Arkansas
  • Dan Schlieper of Sullivan, Wisconsin
  • Wendell Wallace of Batesville, Arkansas

Relaunched under the World Racing Group banner, the 2004 comeback for the World of Outlaws Late Models came with a huge 41-race schedule. Taking the Dirty Dozen all across the country from February to October, the ’04 calendar included trips to Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Georgia, Nebraska, Iowa, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Delaware, Indiana, Illinois, North Dakota, West Virginia and Mississippi.

In all, 28 different venues hosted the Dirty Dozen in 2004 with the series traveling between 17 states.

The Outlaw Late Models go four-wide in the first race of a new era at Volusia on February 3, 2004.

Just how good were these guys? At the end of a grinding eight-month season, the top four in the standings were still separated by only 105 points with the championship decided by a mere 13 markers; coming down to the final race of the year between Bloomquist, Francis, Eckert and McDowell.

In the end, Black Sunshine reigned supreme as the 2004 king of the Outlaws. The Tennessee racer guided his No. 0 to 26 top fives, 34 top tens, and a series-high nine victories at Volusia (Fla.), Farley (Iowa), Fulton (N.Y.), Portsmouth (Ohio), Delaware (Del.), Milan (Tenn.), Atomic (Tenn.), and a sweep of the season finale at Delta Bowl (Miss.) which helped him seal the title.

The Kentucky Colonel Steve Francis came a close second to Bloomquist, falling just 13 points shy of topping the 2004 title. Leading the way with a series-high 28 top five finishes, the Ashland, Ky. native also banked 33 top tens and three triumphs including the season opener at Volusia (Fla.), a May showdown at Eagle (Neb.), and an August affair at Red River Valley (N.D.).

Behind Bloomquist and Francis in the 2004 point standings came Scrub Rick Eckert in his Raye Vest No. 24. The York, Penn. native chalked up a series-high 36 top tens in 41 races, but a handful of DNF’s proved costly in his chase for a championship. The eventual 2011 World of Outlaws Late Model champion nabbed five wins that first year in 2004 at Hagerstown (Md.), Smoky Mountain (Tenn.), Orange County Fair (N.Y.), I-35 (Iowa).

Dale McDowell and Bart Hartman, who rounded finished out the top five in Dirty Dozen points, were also notable winners on the year with six and five victories to their name, respectively. The MacDaddy from Chickamauga, Ga. topped appearances at Atomic (Tenn.), Lone Star (Tex.), Thunder Valley (Penn.), Portsmouth (Ohio), Tri-State (Ind.) and Lernerville (Penn.). Hartman followed suit with his own winning ways at Volusia (Fla.), Lone Star (Tex.), Outlaw (Okla.), Portsmouth (Penn.), and Pennsylvania (Penn.).

Eventual champion, Bloomquist, got his second of nine wins in 2004 on this night at Farley, Iowa.

Closing out the top ten in the 2004 standings was Chub Frank, Dan Schlieper, Billy Moyer, Mike Balzano, and Georgia’s Clint Smith, who replaced Wendell Wallace following his early-season departure.

All in all, it was a groundbreaking year for the series, the drivers, the sponsors, and the fans. Today’s model you see night-in and night-out with the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series and even the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series, can be traced back to the Dirty Dozen.

The unity between drivers aligned with a sanctioned body changed the game forever. Sponsors came calling, fans showed up in crowds, television coverage began, purses grew, and the sport was changed forever.

Now, and forever, the Dirty Dozen will remain one of the most iconic groups in dirt late model racing history.

2004 World of Outlaws Late Model Races

Feb. 3Volusia (FL)Steve FrancisBart HartmanShannon Babb
Feb. 4Volusia (FL)Bart HartmanScott BloomquistDale McDowell
Feb. 6Volusia (FL)Shannon BabbRick EckertBilly Moyer Sr.
Feb. 8Volusia (FL)Scott BloomquistRick EckertTerry English
March 13Atomic (TN)Billy Moyer Sr.Scott BloomquistMike Balzano
March 14Atomic (TN)Dale McDowellDan SchlieperGreg Johnson
March 27Volunteer (TN)Brian BirkhoferGreg JohnsonRandle Chupp
April 16Lone Star (TX)Dale McDowellRonny AdamsSteve Francis
April 17Lone Star (TX)Bart HartmanChub FrankScott Bloomquist
April 23Lernerville (PA)Chub FrankSteve FrancisDale McDowell
April 24Hagerstown (MD)Rick EckertSteve FrancisBart Hartman
April 30Smoky Mountain (TN)Rick EckertScott BloomquistDarrell Lanigan
May 1North Georgia (GA)Shane ClantonSteve FrancisSkip Arp
May 14Eagle (NE)Steve FrancisScott BloomquistDan Schlieper
May 15Farley (IA)Scott BloomquistDarren MillerChub Frank
June 19Thunder Valley (PA)Dale McDowellSteve FrancisRick Aukland
June 20Orange County (NY)Rick EckertSteve FrancisChub Frank
June 21Fulton (NY)Scott BloomquistChub FrankRick Aukland
June 26Sharon (OH)Davey JohnsonMike BalzanoDavid Scott
July 3Portsmouth (OH)Dale McDowellScott BloomquistClint Smith
July 4Portsmouth (OH)Scott BloomquistSteve FrancisRobbie Blair
July 5Challenger (PA)Davey JohnsonEarl Pearson Jr.Steve Francis
July 16Outlaw (OK)Bart HartmanSteve FrancisBilly Moyer Sr.
July 21Delaware (DE)Scott BloomquistSteve FrancisBart Hartman
July 23Potomac (MD)Darrell LaniganChub FrankDale McDowell
July 24Hagerstown (MD)Rick EckertGary StuhlerDavey Johnson
July 31Tri-State (IN)Dale McDowellBilly Moyer Sr.Scott Bloomquist
Aug. 1Tri-City (IL)Darrell LaniganScott BloomquistSteve Francis
Aug. 4I-35 (IA)Rick EckertSteve FrancisDarrell Lanigan
Aug. 7Red River Valley (ND)Steve FrancisChub FrankDale McDowell
Aug. 10Davenport (IA)Brian BirkhoferDale McDowellBilly Moyer Sr.
Aug. 13Lernerville (PA)Dale McDowellChub FrankRick Eckert
Aug. 28Milan (TN)Scott BloomquistDan SchlieperClint Smith
Sept. 4Atomic (TN)Scott BloomquistSteve FrancisDan Schlieper
Sept. 5Portsmouth (OH)Bart HartmanDan SchlieperScott Bloomquist
Sept. 25Pennsylvania (PA)Bart HartmanDan SchlieperScott Bloomquist
Oct. 1West Virginia (WV)Jackie BoggsBart HartmanSteve Francis
Oct. 2West Virginia (WV)Jackie BoggsScott BloomquistSteve Francis
Oct. 9Fulton (NY)Dan SchlieperSteve FrancisChub Frank
Oct. 29Delta Bowl (MS)Scott BloomquistRick EckertSteve Francis
Oct. 30Delta Bowl (MS)Scott BloomquistSteve FrancisRick Eckert

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