Bloomington's Jason Feger hopes to rediscover the magic that in recent years netted him a pair of top-five finishes in dirt late model racing's most prestigious event.
This time, he hopes to find it in the late model ranks' most lucrative outing, "The Dirt Late Model Dream," a $100,000-to-win extravaganza this weekend at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
"We've definitely had some good runs out there," said Feger of a fifth-place finish in 2012 and a fourth-place run in 2014, both in the sport's signature event, The World 100.
"There for a few years, I think we had some stuff figured out pretty good and had a really good program out there," he said. "But stuff has kind of changed in the aerodynamics and the suspension set-ups and we got a little bit behind."
Trying to catch up, Feger's been dialing in a new Rocket Chassis that's powered by a spanking new motor for this weekend's "Dream."
Action was to get underway Thursday night with a pair of 25-lap features paying $5,000 to the winner. A full program with $10,000 going to the winner is on tap for Friday. Heat races and B-Mains on Saturday will set the starting field for the 100-grand to win main event that evening.
Feger's attempting to qualify for his fifth "Dream" feature. He most recently finished 15th in 2016.
"You never know out there, you definitely need some luck," Feger said. "We're working hard on getting the car ready. I feel like we made a few little gains on the car (last) weekend."
After earlier scoring a fifth-place finish in a World of Outlaws late model race in Indiana, Feger competed in a pair of MARS-sanctioned events last weekend. He raced from 10th to fifth on Friday at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City before finishing sixth Saturday at Fayette County Speedway in Brownstown.
"We actually ran third for quite a while and the car felt great," Feger said of last Saturday's feature. "But we had a soft tire on and some guys had a harder tire. When the track changed, we fell back at the end, but I felt like the car was pretty good."
Feger is competing in a Rocket Chassis for the first time and says he's slowly getting more comfortable in the car.
"Sometimes I get a little frustrated, but I've only raced 13 nights this year and that's not a lot of time to get a new car figured out," he said. "If it's good anywhere, it should be (at Eldora). I'm definitely looking forward to getting it out there, getting it on the big track and seeing how it handles."
Eldora Speedway and its half-mile layout presents a different challenge to dirt late model competitors who are accustomed to banging around on quarter-mile county fairgrounds bullrings.
A stout motor is vital, especially if the track gets tacky.
"Anymore lately, usually they've had (the track) pretty slick," Feger said. "That makes the motor not nearly as important as it used to be. But, you never know and if you have a cloudy day or you get a little bit of rain, the track can get tacky and you definitely need a monster motor.
"It takes a lot of horsepower because you need to turn some higher RPMs when the track gets tacky, so you need a motor that runs better on the top end."
Tennessee driver Scott Bloomquist won the race for a record sixth time last season and is again among the favorites for the top prize.