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.
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.).
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. 3||Volusia (FL)||Steve Francis||Bart Hartman||Shannon Babb|
|Feb. 4||Volusia (FL)||Bart Hartman||Scott Bloomquist||Dale McDowell|
|Feb. 6||Volusia (FL)||Shannon Babb||Rick Eckert||Billy Moyer Sr.|
|Feb. 8||Volusia (FL)||Scott Bloomquist||Rick Eckert||Terry English|
|March 13||Atomic (TN)||Billy Moyer Sr.||Scott Bloomquist||Mike Balzano|
|March 14||Atomic (TN)||Dale McDowell||Dan Schlieper||Greg Johnson|
|March 27||Volunteer (TN)||Brian Birkhofer||Greg Johnson||Randle Chupp|
|April 16||Lone Star (TX)||Dale McDowell||Ronny Adams||Steve Francis|
|April 17||Lone Star (TX)||Bart Hartman||Chub Frank||Scott Bloomquist|
|April 23||Lernerville (PA)||Chub Frank||Steve Francis||Dale McDowell|
|April 24||Hagerstown (MD)||Rick Eckert||Steve Francis||Bart Hartman|
|April 30||Smoky Mountain (TN)||Rick Eckert||Scott Bloomquist||Darrell Lanigan|
|May 1||North Georgia (GA)||Shane Clanton||Steve Francis||Skip Arp|
|May 14||Eagle (NE)||Steve Francis||Scott Bloomquist||Dan Schlieper|
|May 15||Farley (IA)||Scott Bloomquist||Darren Miller||Chub Frank|
|June 19||Thunder Valley (PA)||Dale McDowell||Steve Francis||Rick Aukland|
|June 20||Orange County (NY)||Rick Eckert||Steve Francis||Chub Frank|
|June 21||Fulton (NY)||Scott Bloomquist||Chub Frank||Rick Aukland|
|June 26||Sharon (OH)||Davey Johnson||Mike Balzano||David Scott|
|July 3||Portsmouth (OH)||Dale McDowell||Scott Bloomquist||Clint Smith|
|July 4||Portsmouth (OH)||Scott Bloomquist||Steve Francis||Robbie Blair|
|July 5||Challenger (PA)||Davey Johnson||Earl Pearson Jr.||Steve Francis|
|July 16||Outlaw (OK)||Bart Hartman||Steve Francis||Billy Moyer Sr.|
|July 21||Delaware (DE)||Scott Bloomquist||Steve Francis||Bart Hartman|
|July 23||Potomac (MD)||Darrell Lanigan||Chub Frank||Dale McDowell|
|July 24||Hagerstown (MD)||Rick Eckert||Gary Stuhler||Davey Johnson|
|July 31||Tri-State (IN)||Dale McDowell||Billy Moyer Sr.||Scott Bloomquist|
|Aug. 1||Tri-City (IL)||Darrell Lanigan||Scott Bloomquist||Steve Francis|
|Aug. 4||I-35 (IA)||Rick Eckert||Steve Francis||Darrell Lanigan|
|Aug. 7||Red River Valley (ND)||Steve Francis||Chub Frank||Dale McDowell|
|Aug. 10||Davenport (IA)||Brian Birkhofer||Dale McDowell||Billy Moyer Sr.|
|Aug. 13||Lernerville (PA)||Dale McDowell||Chub Frank||Rick Eckert|
|Aug. 28||Milan (TN)||Scott Bloomquist||Dan Schlieper||Clint Smith|
|Sept. 4||Atomic (TN)||Scott Bloomquist||Steve Francis||Dan Schlieper|
|Sept. 5||Portsmouth (OH)||Bart Hartman||Dan Schlieper||Scott Bloomquist|
|Sept. 25||Pennsylvania (PA)||Bart Hartman||Dan Schlieper||Scott Bloomquist|
|Oct. 1||West Virginia (WV)||Jackie Boggs||Bart Hartman||Steve Francis|
|Oct. 2||West Virginia (WV)||Jackie Boggs||Scott Bloomquist||Steve Francis|
|Oct. 9||Fulton (NY)||Dan Schlieper||Steve Francis||Chub Frank|
|Oct. 29||Delta Bowl (MS)||Scott Bloomquist||Rick Eckert||Steve Francis|
|Oct. 30||Delta Bowl (MS)||Scott Bloomquist||Steve Francis||Rick Eckert|