Columbus Speedway’s ‘Cash Cow 100’ On March 18-19 Will Provide Major Challenge To Nation’s Top Late Model Drivers
Clanton & Stokes (photo above) Know ‘Baddest Bullring In The South’ Will Live Up To Its Nickname During World of Outlaws Late Model Series Spectacular
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
COLUMBUS, MS – March 2, 2011 – What kind of racetrack is Columbus Speedway, which hosts the inaugural World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘Cash Cow 100’ on March 18-19?
That’s a question easily answered by two men – Columbus promoter Johnny Stokes and WoO LMS star Shane Clanton – who have special connections to the steeply-pitched, one-third-mile oval.
“It’s very wild,” summed up Stokes, a former racer who is beginning his 11th season at the helm of his hometown Columbus Speedway. “It’s high-banked, intense, right-rear-up-against-the-wall, sparks-flying, hammer-down racing.”
Clanton, who in recent years has been one of the best big-race performers at Columbus, is even more direct with his appraisal of the speedway. He describes the track’s racing in one word: “Fierce.”
Indeed, Columbus Speedway – aka ‘The Bullring’ – has a well-deserved reputation among those in the dirt Late Model community for producing some of the division’s most fan-pleasing and driver-challenging racing. The competition can be likened to a rolling backyard brawl on a ribbon of Mississippi clay.
“They don’t call it the ‘Baddest Bullring in the South’ for nothing,” Stokes said with a laugh. “I didn’t give it that name. The fans did.”
That unique, tough-to-tame aura will be on display for two action-packed nights during the ‘Cash Cow 100’ weekend, which brings the WoO LMS back to Columbus for the first time since March 2007. Time trials and qualifying heat races are scheduled for Fri., March 18, and the B-Mains and 100-lap A-Main, which pays a whopping $20,000 to win, headlines the featured program on Sat., March 19.
Stokes, 57, is the man responsible for creating the track surface that puts Columbus on the map. He takes great pride in his work with blade and water.
“Shane Clanton told me I’m the hardest-working promoter on a racetrack he’s ever seen,” said Stokes, who, at the height of his racing career, won a WoO LMS A-Main on July 8, 1988, at Enid (Okla.) Speedway during the tour’s inaugural season organized by late WoO Sprint Car Series founder Ted Johnson. “Buy hey, you gotta go out there and work on it if you want a good track. I don’t want to see a bad race and neither do the fans and racers, so I’ll be out there from Monday until Saturday (of race week), from dawn to dusk at least, to do everything I can to make sure there’s a good track.”
Combine a meticulously-prepared surface with a high-banked, concrete-shrouded bullring that drivers usually whip around in 13 to 14 seconds, and the ingredients for a memorable extra-distance race are in place. The ‘Cash Cow 100’ figures to be an event run on fast-forward, a true test of man and machine.
“One-hundred laps at Columbus is a challenge,” said Stokes, currently the only promoter of a track on the 2011 WoO LMS schedule who has won a tour event. “It’s a very physical, demanding racetrack on a driver, so you better be in good shape to go the distance. A lot of times that really fast groove is right up there against that wall, and that ain’t for everybody.”
The hard-charging style necessary for success at Columbus has clearly been mastered by Clanton. A 35-year-old Outlaw stalwart from Fayetteville, Ga., he’s been the scourge of the track’s prestigious late-season event, the Magnolia State 100, over the last four years, winning it in 2007 and 2009, finishing second in 2010 (with a damaged car) and leading 86 laps of the 2008 edition before a flat tire with six circuits remaining relegated him to an eighth-place finish.
“I guess I just like the racetrack,” bottom-lined Clanton, who owns finishes of third (2007) and 12th (2006) in the two WoO LMS A-Mains that have been contested at Columbus. “The shape of it, the speed, and just the way you gotta stay up on the wheel for the whole race – I guess it just fits my driving style.
“I like the little bullrings everywhere we go. They just seem to fit me better than the big tracks. The smaller the racetrack, the tighter the corners, the more demanding the racetrack…the better I seem to run.”
Clanton, who plans to enter his new Marshall Green-built Capital Race Cars machine in the ‘Cash Cow 100’ after making some front-end geometry changes to it following its abbreviated debut during last month’s DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at Florida’s Volusia Speedway Park, knows what it takes to win a long-distance show at The Bullring.
“You gotta go all-out every lap,” said Clanton, who is tied for 11th in the WoO LMS points standings entering the weekend at Columbus. “It don’t matter if it’s 50 laps or a hundred laps – there ain’t no riding there. You gotta go from lap one to lap 100.
“And at that place, you can go 70 or 80 laps of green-flag racing in a row so you gotta be in shape. If you’re not, you can go 50 laps and you’ll be tired. You’ll be falling out of the seat and they’ll drive right by you because it don’t matter when it is during the night – somebody’s gonna be tail-dragging you, or you’re gonna be in lapped traffic.”
Clanton will lead the WoO LMS contingent into the ‘Cash Cow 100,’ which stands as the biggest early-season event ever run at Columbus. His name will share the marquee with former tour champions Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., who was just 18 when he won the August 2006 WoO LMS A-Main at Columbus, Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark. (winner of the last tour event at The Bullring in March 2007), Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., and Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y.
The roster of Outlaw travelers will also include Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., a Columbus special-show veteran who won his first Southern All-Star Series event at the track in 1992, Rick Eckert of York, Pa., 2010 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., Jill George of Cedar Falls, Iowa, Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y., and 2011 Rookie of the Year contenders Ron Davies of Warren, Pa., Pat Doar of New Richmond, Wis., John Lobb of Frewsburg, N.Y., and Brian Reese of Sharpsburg, Ga.
Dozens of talented drivers from far-and-wide are making plans to challenge the Outlaws in the country’s richest dirt Late Model event scheduled during the month of March. Among those expected to compete are Bobby Labonte Motorsports teammates Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., and Brad Neat of Dunnville, Ky.; Chris Wall of Holden, La.; Dane Dacus of Lakeland, Tenn.; Tony Knowles of Tyrone, Ga.; Alabama’s Anthony Burroughs of Rogersville, Ronny Lee Hollingsworth of Gulfport and William Thomas of Phenix City; Arkansas chauffeurs Wendell Wallace of Batesville and Kyle Beard of Trumann; and a group of Mississippi racers that includes Bub McCool of Vicksburg, David Breazeale of Four Corners, Leon Henderson of Laurel, Chad Thrash of Meridan, Scott Flurry of Armory, Ross Camponovo of Clarksdale and Greg Fore of Greenville.
General admission tickets – both multi- and single-day options – for the ‘Cash Cow 100’ weekend can be purchased on-line at www.worldofoutlaws.com/tickets or by calling the event hotline at 877-395-8606. Fans who buy a two-day weekend pass in advance will receive special perks, including a discounted price and the opportunity to enter the grandstand area 15 minutes prior to the general front-gate opening time for a show that is expected to pack the track’s grandstand.
Advance-sale two-day passes (Friday-Saturday) for the ‘Cash Cow 100’ cost $40 for ages 16-and-over – a savings of $5 from the $45 weekend price at the track.
Single-day tickets are available in advance and on race day. Friday ticket prices are $15 (ages 16-and-over) and $5 (children 6-15), while Saturday tickets cost $30 (ages 16-and-over) and $10 (children 6-15). Kids 5-and-under will be admitted free of charge both days.
Pit passes will be sold only at the track for $30 on Friday, $40 on Saturday and $60 for a two-day pass. DIRTcar members will receive a $5 discount on pit admission.
The ‘Cash Cow 100’ weekend will kick off on Thurs., March 17, with an open practice session from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. CST. Pit admission will be $20, and fans will be permitted to enter the grandstands free of charge.
On Fri., March 18, pit gates will open at 12 noon and spectator gates will be unlocked at 4 p.m. for early-ticket buyers and 4:15 for race-day purchasers. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. with racing at 7 p.m.
The schedule on Sat., March 19, calls for pit gates to open at 12 noon, with the front gates opening at 3 p.m. for advance ticket holders and 3:15 p.m. for all other fans. Racing is set to get the green flag at 6 p.m.
Other divisions on the weekend program are unsanctioned crate Late Models (running under NeSmith rules) and the Mississippi Street Stocks. The crate Late Models will compete in full programs for $600 to win on Friday and $1,000 to win on Saturday, while the Street Stocks will chase top prizes of $300 on Friday and $500 on Saturday.
Columbus Speedway is located in the northern half of Mississippi, just miles from the Alabama border and about two hours west of Birmingham.
For more information, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com and www.columbusspeedway.net.
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.