Weekly-Show Victory At Lernerville Speedway Gets Chub Frank Tuned Up For Fifth Annual Firecracker 100 On June 23-25
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
SARVER, PA – June 6, 2011 – Chub Frank was happy after winning last Friday night’s 25-lap DIRTcar UMP Late Model feature at Lernerville Speedway.
The 49-year-old veteran racer from Bear Lake, Pa., will be a lot happier, however, if his weekly-show success leads to a $30,000 victory in the four-tenths-mile track’s fifth annual Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com, a crown-jewel World of Outlaws Late Model Series event scheduled for June 23-25.
“That’s the one we want,” Frank said of the richest dirt Late Model race in his home state. “I could definitely use that money.”
With the WoO LMS idle since May 12, Frank has visited Lernerville twice in the last three weeks, expressly to get his new Rocket Chassis car tuned up for a Firecracker 100 weekend that features preliminary programs topped by 30-lap, $6,000-to-win A-Mains on Thurs., June 23, and Fri., June 24, and the grand 100-lap finale on Sat., June 25. He finished second on May 20 in his first start behind the wheel of the machine and then steered it to Victory Lane on June 3.
Combined with his back-to-back WoO LMS runner-up performances in Georgia on May 7 and 8 and a bridesmaid finish on May 29 at Little Valley (N.Y.) Speedway, Frank’s recent runs at Lernerville have helped him build some solid momentum for the track’s summer-starting spectacular. He heads into the Firecracker in a much stronger position than a year ago, when, despite having won twice in three early-season starts at Lernerville, he was struggling on the WoO LMS.
“Confidence-wise, I guess you can say I feel a little better going in there this year,” said Frank, who is looking to snap a 60-race winless streak on the WoO LMS that dates back to his last triumph on Aug. 22, 2009, at K-C Raceway in Alma, Ohio. “We’re running better overall this year and I feel like I have a car that is capable of winning the race, but I’ve been around long enough to know that doesn’t really mean anything. It’s whoever gets their car right in the conditions that particular night.”
Frank is hoping that his mastery of last Friday night’s racing surface at Lernerville is a good omen for his Firecracker prospects. On a clear, dry day, the speedway was very similar to what teams will face during the 100-lapper.
“The track was slippery – which was good, because it was more like it’s gonna be for the Firecracker,” analyzed Frank, who ranks sixth in the current WoO LMS points standings. “It was dead-smooth and you could race all over it, from top to bottom. You couldn’t ask for a better racetrack.
“We still need to work on (the car), but it was pretty good. We’ll probably go back (to Lernerville) next Friday (June 17) on the way to Winchester (Speedway in Virginia for a WoO LMS event on June 18) to spend one more night trying some stuff before the Firecracker.”
Frank is focused on finally thrusting himself into the mix for the unique Firecracker 100 trophy. While he owns WoO LMS victories in 2004 and 2005 among his 13 career wins at Lernerville, he’s been relatively quiet in what has quickly become the track’s marquee event. His best finish came in 2007, when he advanced from the 10th starting spot to place fifth in a race slowed by only three caution flags; he also has finishes of sixth in 2008, 12th in 2009 and another sixth (from the 17th starting spot) in 2010.
Last year might have been Frank’s best performance in the 100-lapper, but he had to make up too much ground to be a serious contender for the top prize. He was off the pace in the pair of full-point WoO LMS preliminary programs that led off the weekend for the first time, finishing 12th on Thursday and 24th (one lap down) on Friday.
“I like the (three-night) format because it gives you more chances to make money without moving your hauler,” said Frank. “But we qualified bad (in time trials) the first two nights and we weren’t very good in the features, so that put us behind for Saturday’s show (heat lineups are determined using each drivers’ best finish from the prelim A-Mains).
“We were good in the Firecracker last year, but it’s tough to start way back there and get to the front with so many good cars out there.”
Frank will face plenty of competition in the Firecracker 100, including former winners Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga. (2010), Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis. (2009), Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa (2008) and Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn. (2007) and a hungry group of his fellow World of Outlaws travelers that features two-time defending tour champion Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va. (a preliminary A-Main winner in ’10), Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky. (three straight runner-up finishes in the Firecracker 100), Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y. (a preliminary race victor last year) and current points leader Rick Eckert of York, Pa.
Of course, the Firecracker 100 weekend won’t be all setup worries, all the time, for Frank. An extremely popular driver known for his outgoing personality, he will allow himself to have a little fun during a weekend that is much more than just a race. He’ll sip some post-race brews in the pit area or perhaps at Friday’s parking-lot concert with his always large group of family, friends and fans, he’ll charm fans during the annual autograph session under the grandstand prior to Saturday night’s racing program, and he’ll shoot for an unprecedented third consecutive victory in the driver/fans horseshoes tournament on Saturday afternoon.
Frank especially enjoys the horseshoes tourney, which pairs drivers with lucky fans in a friendly competition. He’s split the $200 top prize with his partner the last two years.
“Maybe I’ll retire from the horseshoes deal and go out a winner,” Frank quipped with a smile. “It will be tough to win it again. I’ve just been lucky enough to have a partner the last two years who, if I was shooting bad, they were shooting good.
“But it’s like anything else you do when you’re competitive – you want to win,” he added. “You gotta make it fun, but you want to win. We’ll see what happens.”
Three-day reserved seat ticket packages are currently on sale for the Firecracker 100 weekend. Value-priced at $59 for adults and $19 for children 10-and-under, each package includes a free fan pit pass for the Thursday and Friday events and priority access to Saturday’s pre-race driver autograph session when purchased by midnight on June 22.
Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:50 p.m. each day of the Firecracker 100 weekend, which also includes the Mr. Firecracker pageant and a cornhole tournament after Thursday night’s racing action; a wienie roast on Saturday afternoon; and the $3,000-to-win ‘Uncle Sam 30′ Non-Qualifiers’ Race during Saturday night’s program.
Additional info on the Firecracker 100 can be obtained by logging on to www.lernerville.com.
Fans interested in details on the limited number of reserved camping spots still available should call the track office at 724-353-1511.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award), McCarthy’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award), Chizmark Larson Insurance, Factory Value Parts and RacingJunk.com; in addition to contingency sponsors Comp Cams, Eibach Springs, JE Pistons, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, Pro Power Engines, Quartermaster, Rocket Chassis, R2C Performance, Superflow Dynos, Wix Filters and Wrisco Aluminum.