Upset Special: Chris Garnes Defends Home Turf With Dominating ‘Ripley RaceFest’ Victory At I-77 Raceway Park
Track Champion Outruns Talented Field For First-Ever World of Outlaws Late Model Series Triumph
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
RIPLEY, WV – May 27, 2012 – Chris Garnes of Evans, W.Va., pulled off one of the biggest upsets in World of Outlaws Late Model Series history, shocking the touring stars with a convincing run to victory in Sunday night’s 50-lap ‘Ripley RaceFest’ A-Main at I-77 Raceway Park.
The 25-year-old talent authored the race of his life, dominating his reconstructed home track’s first-ever WoO LMS event after inheriting the lead when a shorted-out battery caused Steve Shaver of Vienna, W.Va., to slow on a lap-five restart. He was never challenged during the 45 laps of uninterrupted green-flag action that closed the race.
With a growing resume that features dirt Late Model points titles at I-77 in each of the last two seasons, Garnes entered Sunday’s program with plenty of confidence in his ability to battle the high-profile invaders. But he still struggled to grasp the enormity of his accomplishment after rolling his 2011 Swartz car, which he co-owns with his father, into Victory Lane before a loud partisan crowd.
“I don’t know what to say,” said an awed Garnes, whose only previous WoO LMS appearance came in 2009 and resulted in a DNQ. “(Winning a national event is) something that every local kid thinks of whenever they’re growing up and racing at these no-name tracks that nobody knows of. Maybe it’ll soak in here in about a year or two.”
Garnes, who started from the outside pole and led laps 1-2 before Shaver took over for a brief stint at the front of the pack, cruised under the checkered flag 2.827 seconds – nearly a full straightaway – ahead of Chickamauga, Ga.’s Dale McDowell. The former WoO LMS regular grabbed second place from Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y., on lap 13 but couldn’t put even a slight dent in Garnes’s edge over the remaining distance.
Tim Dohm of Cross Lanes, W.Va., who won I-77’s season opener on May 12, finished third. Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., was the highest-finishing WoO LMS traveler after pounding the extreme outside of the three-eighths-mile oval to move from the 11th starting spot to fourth at the finish, and defending WoO LMS champion Rick Eckert of York, Pa., hustled forward from the 13th starting position to place fifth.
Garnes, who won a weekly feature at I-77 on May 19, became the 46th driver to win a WoO LMS A-Main since the circuit was restarted in 2004 under the World Racing Group banner. He also joined a select group of local-level competitors who have managed to capture a WoO LMS event at the track closest to their home.
“It just makes me proud to bring this big of a race back to the local community,” said Garnes, who lives less than 15 minutes from I-77 and, of course, began his dirt-track career there in 2001 as a 14-year-old in the Semi-Late division and has been a regular in the dirt Late Model class since ’05.
Garnes, who celebrated his 25th birthday on May 23, demonstrated a cool approach on Sunday, refusing to allow any pressure – on and off the track – to derail his efforts.
“Everybody else was pumped up and excited (about the WoO LMS event),” Garnes said of the family members, crewmen and friends who support his racing. “I would think people would try to calm me down before a race, but I was the one telling them, ‘Let’s just go do what we do every night. (The stars are) here, but just ignore them. They’re all just another car on the track. Let’s just run our own race and do what we do every week and see what happens.'”
The result was an unforgettable performance by Garnes, who earned a career-high payoff of $10,550, including a $500 bonus for being the highest-finishing driver who had never won a WoO LMS A-Main and wasn’t ranked among the top 12 in the points standings.
“I was just trying to give everything I had and get as many lapped cars between me and whoever was behind me,” Garnes said of his strategy once in command. “I seen a blue and white car stick his nose under me, but I didn’t know if it was a lapped car or second place so I started hugging the bottom a little bit tighter those last five, eight laps.”
McDowell, 46, had no success running down Garnes with his Team Dillon Warrior machine and hailed the upset victor afterward.
“They said he runs here a little bit, so he’s obviously taken good notes,” said McDowell, who started eighth. “I think the rest of us were a little bit different on tires. I think he was a little harder than we were.
“It was kind of crazy to think hard tires would be the way to go (in the feature), because the heat races were all won on soft tires, and then the consie was soft tires and the times didn’t really fall off. But once the racetrack cleaned up and got shiny all the way across, he was better. He made the right call.
“And good for him,” added McDowell. “I know how he feels. I remember when I used to race around home and those big guys would come in and I’d get a shot to compete with ’em. Beating them was the biggest deal in the world.
“Congratulations to him. He had a great night. I hope he celebrates big.”
Dohm, 51, also had high praise for Garnes after steering his self-owned MasterSbilt car to a career-best WoO LMS finish of third.
“He does good on the slick tracks here every week,” Dohm said of Garnes, whose car carried an engine built by Pro Power Performance of Beckley, W.Va. “He wins the track championship here and over at Skyline (Raceway in Stewart, Ohio), so it’s good to see him win tonight. I wish it was me, but if it wasn’t me, I wish it were my son Zack (Dohm) – and if it wasn’t him, I’m glad to see one of the guys who race here every week do it.
“He earned it. He was gone. He was fast. Shaver might have had something for him, but he did what he needed to do. It was a heck of a run. My hat’s off to him.”
Three caution flags slowed the race, all in the first five laps.
WoO LMS points leader Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., saw his bid for a sweep of the tour’s three-race holiday weekend end with a sixth-place finish. He started 19th after failing to qualify through a heat race for the first time this season (he won the B-Main) and battled forward to put himself in the mix for a top-five run.
Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., ran as high as fifth but settled for a seventh-place finish – the same position from which he started. Rick Williams of Beckley, W.Va., made a strong advance from the 16th starting spot to place eighth, Coffey was ninth after climbing up to second early in the distance and polesitter Walker Arthur of Forest, Va., slipped to 10th in the final rundown.
McCreadie was quickest in the 31-car Ohlins Shocks Time Trials session, turning a lap of 13.660 seconds to earn his first fast-time of 2012. It was the 12th such honor on the WoO LMS but first since March 27, 2010, at Lone Star Speedway in Kilgore, Texas.
Heat winners were Shaver, Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga., and Garnes, who provided a preview of what was to come when he went to the outside of the track and rocketed from fourth to the lead in short order. Lanigan captured the B-Main.
The WoO LMS returns to action on Thurs., May 31, with a trip to Delaware International Speedway in Delmar for the running of the Fulton Bank 50.
Results of WoO Late Model Series ‘Ripley RaceFest’ at I-77 Raceway Park (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (2) Chris Garnes/50 $10,550
2. (8) Dale McDowell/50 $5,000
3. (5) Tim Dohm/50 $3,050
4. (11) Chub Frank/50 $3,050
5. (13) Rick Eckert/50 $2,650
6. (19) Darrell Lanigan/50 $2,350
7. (7) Tim McCreadie/50 $2,100
8. (16) Rick Williams/50 $1,300
9. (6) Vic Coffey/50 $1,750
10. (1) Walker Arthur/50 $1,100
11. (12) Travis Brookover/50 $1,100
12. (4) Shane Clanton/50 $1,550
13. (17) Harold Redman Jr./50 $950
14. (25) Jack Sullivan/49 $650
15. (15) Clint Smith/49 $1,400
16. (23) Bub McCool/49 $1,350
17. (14) Jared Hawkins/49 $770
18. (10) Zack Dohm/49 $750
19. (22) Chris Ferguson/49 $780
20. (18) Pat Doar/49 $1,250
21. (9) Mike Gault/49 $700
22. (21) Kenney Newhouse/49 $700
23. (20) Kent Robinson/30 $1,250
24. (24) Tim Fuller/9 $1,250
25. (3) Steve Shaver/5 $700
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 19 Mins., 7.237 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 2.827 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 3 (Laps 0, 5, 5)
Lap Leaders: Garnes (1-2); Shaver (3-5); Garnes (6-50)
Provisional Starters: McCool, Fuller (WoO); Sullivan (WoO emergency)
Rookie of the Race: Sullivan ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Garnes ($500)
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 13.660
2. 25-Shane Clanton/Fayetteville, GA 13.690
3. 87-Walker Arthur/Forest, VA 13.695
4. 6-Steve Shaver/Vienna, WV 13.705
5. 6T-Tim Dohm/Cross Lanes, WV 13.740
6. 12b-Travis Brookover/Kenna, WV 13.758
7. 32c-Vic Coffey/Caledonia, NY 13.837
8. 17N-Kenney Newhouse/Elkview, WV 13.917
9. 28-John Lobb/Frewsburg, NY 13.938
10. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 13.950
11. 17M-Dale McDowell/Chickamauga, GA 13.961
12. 42-Chris Garnes/Evans, WV 13.974
13. 17d-Zack Dohm/Cross Lanes, WV 14.027
14. 37-Jared Hawkins/Fairmont, WV 14.059
15. 17G-Mike Gault/Gaffney, SC 14.064
16. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 14.102
17. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 14.137
18. 7R-Kent Robinson/Bloomington, IN 14.143
19. 12-Rick Williams/Beckley, WV 14.145
20. 28R-Harold Redman Jr./Cross Lanes, WV 14.146
21. 11-Pat Doar/New Richmond, WI 14.172
22. 57J-Bub McCool/Vicksburg, MS 14.215
23. s2-Tim Senic/Elkins, WV 14.229
24. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 14.317
25. 22F-Chris Ferguson/Mt. Holly, NC 14.333
26. 1s-Jack Sullivan/Greenbrier, AR 14.367
27. c4-Freddie Carpenter/Parkersburg, WV 14.405
28. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 14.471
29. 64-Marshall Wilbin/Charleston, WV 14.555
30. 04-David Watts/Buchannon, VA 14.579
31. 2x-Dallas Carpenter/Sissoenville, WV N/T
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Shaver, Coffey, McCreadie, Z. Dohm, Eckert, Williams, Lanigan, McCool, Ferguson, Fuller (DNS) D. Carpenter
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Clanton, T. Dohm, McDowell, Frank, Hawkins, Redman, Newhouse, Senic, Sullivan, Wilbin
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Garnes, Arthur, Gault, Brookover, Smith, Doar, Robinson, Watts, F. Carpenter, Lobb
B-Main (12 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Lanigan, Robinson, Newhouse, Ferguson, Senic, F. Carpenter, McCool, Fuller, Sullivan, Watts, Lobb, Wilbin, D. Carpenter
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:
Arizona Sport Shirts ($100 product certificate to 23rd-place finisher I n A-Main or next highest w/decal): Clint Smith
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Travis Brookover
Cometic Gasket ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Jack Sullivan
Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Travis Brookover
Comp Cams ($50 product certificate to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Chub Frank
Dominator ($50 cash to 6th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Tim McCreadie
Eibach Springs (one free spring to each B-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Kenney Newhouse
Gravely ($50 cash to 7th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Tim McCreadie
JE Pistons ($50 cash to 16th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Bub McCool
JE Pistons (one compete set of JE Pro Seal rings to 11th-place finisher or next highest w/decal – $285 value): Travis Brookover
JE Pistons (one complete set of JE Pro Seal rings to 21st-place finisher or next highest w/decal – $285 value): Kent Robinson
Klotz Synthetic Lubricants ($50 cash to 17th-place finisher or next highest finisher): Chris Ferguson
MSD Ignition ($50 cash to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Chris Garnes
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Tim Fuller
Ohlins Pole Award ($50 cash to fast qualifier or next highest w/decal): Tim Dohm
Quartermaster ($100 product certificate to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Rick Eckert
Quartermaster ($50 product certificate to 5th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Tim McCreadie
Quartermaster ($25 product certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Clint Smith
Roush-Yates Performance Products ($50 cash to 4th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Jack Sullivan
Roush-Yates Performance Products (carburetor repair kit to 18th-place finish in A-Main or next highest w/decal – $100 value): Kent Robinson
Roush-Yates Lap Leader Award (one pair of Wiley X Sunglasses to driver who leads most laps in A-Main): Chris Garnes
STP ($50 cash to 2nd-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Chub Frank
SuperFlow ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Jack Sullivan
VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to 9th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Vic Coffey
VP Racing Fuels ‘Nice Jugs Award’ (one VP 5-gallon container to fastest qualifier who misses A-Main or next highest with decal – $30 value): John Lobb
WIX Filters ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Jack Sullivan
Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner if decal displayed – $200 value): Chub Frank
XS Power ($50 cash to 3rd-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Darrell Lanigan
XS Power ($60 product certificate to 8th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Travis Brookover
XS ‘Power Move of the Race’ ($60 product certificate): Chris Garnes
2012 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of May 27 – 14 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Darrell Lanigan 2002
2. Rick Eckert 1900 (-102)
3. Chub Frank 1846 (-156)
4. Shane Clanton 1796 (-206)
5. Tim McCreadie 1788 (-214)
6. Vic Coffey 1764 (-238)
7. Clint Smith 1734 (-268)
8. Bub McCool 1698 (-304)
9. Pat Doar 1606 (-396)
10. Kent Robinson 1572 (-430)
11. Tim Fuller 1526 (-476)
12. Mike Marlar 1498 (-504)
13. Jack Sullivan 1496 (-506)
14. John Lobb 1466 (-536)
15. Greg Johnson 1390 (-612)
16. Jill George 1108 (-894)
17. Brandon Sheppard 1046 (-956)
18. Josh Richards 974 (-1028)
19. Jared Hawkins 968 (-1034)
20. Steve Shaver 934 (-1068)
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), Gravely Tractors (Official Lawn Equipment), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing Fuel (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award) and McCarthy’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award); in addition to contingency sponsors Butlerbuilt, Cometic Gaskets, Comp Cams, Dominator Race Products, Eibach Springs, JE Pistons, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, QuarterMaster, Roush Yates Performance Parts, Superflow Dynos, Wix Filter, Wrisco Aluminum and XS Power Racing Batteries; along with manufacturer sponsors Integra Shocks, GRT Chassis, Jake’s Carts, Longacre, Racing Electronics, Rocket Chassis, TNT Rescue, and Warrior Chassis.
LIVE UPDATES 5/27: Ripley Race Fest at I-77 Raceway Park
News, notes and results from the night’s action…
I-77 track champion Chris Garnes pulled off one of the biggest upsets in WoO LMS history, rolling to a convincing victory in the 50-lap Ripley RaceFest A-Main. He inherited the lead on lap five when Steve Shaver stopped with a shorted-out battery and never looked back, dominating the remainder of the caution-free event to score the most important — and richest — triumph of his career.
The 25-year-old up-and-comer was almost at a loss for words when he climbed out of his car in Victory Lane and was bathed in adulation from the big crowd. He ran uncontested to the checkered flag, beating Dale McDowell by nearly a full straightaway.
A-Main Finish (50 laps): 1. Chris Garnes, 2. Dale McDowell, 3. Tim Dohm, 4. Chub Frank, 5. Rick Eckert, 6. Darrell Lanigan, 7. Tim McCreadie, 8. Rick Williams, 9. Vic Coffey, 10. Walker Arthur, 11. Travis Brookover, 12. Shane Clanton, 13. Harold Redman Jr., 14. Jack Sullivan, 15. Clint Smith, 16. Bub McCool, 17. Jared Hawkins, 18. Zack Dohm, 19. Chris Ferguson, 20. Pat Doar, 21. Mike Gault, 22. Kenney Newhouse, 23. Kent Robinson, 24. Tim Fuller, 25. Steve Shaver
Third time a charm?
9:05 p.m. – Steve Shaver has run up front in both the Wayne County and Tyler County events this weekend, but his speed hasn’t lasted. He faded from the fourth starting spot to a sixth-place finish at Wayne County and settled for seventh — one lap down — in Tyler County’s Jackpot 100 after leading the first 16 laps.
“We were too hard last night and too soft on Friday,” said Shaver, shaking his head. “I think we had a car that could challenge Lanigan both nights, but we just made the wrong decisions.
“I guess tonight I’m gonna sneak through the pits, and whatever everybody else is putting on (for tires), I’m putting on. Maybe after going the wrong way two nights in a row, we’ll go the right way tonight.”
Mountaineer makes good
9:00 p.m. – Chris Garnes of Evans, W.Va., a winner this year in weekly action at I-77, was the story of the heat races. He drew a rise from the big crowd by charging to the top side when the green flag flew in Heat 3 and surging straight to the front from the fourth starting spot. He won his first-ever WoO LMS heat race and drew the outside pole starting slot for the 50-lap A-Main moments later.
“My cousin came up to me while I was waiting (to go on the track for his heat) and told me everybody was running down around the tires (on the inside),” said Garnes. “The top usually is pretty good here so I went up there and it worked.”
Garnes will start alongside Walker Arthur of Forest, Va., who drew the pole just two days after registering a career-best WoO LMS finish of fifth at Wayne County Speedway. Heat 1 winner Steve Shaver will start third, Heat 2 victor Shane Clanton will go from fourth, Tim Dohm will start fifth and Vic Coffey will take the green flag from sixth.
For complete results from time trials and the heat races, click here.
8:25 p.m. – The first of three 10-lap heats is on the track after the completion of time trials, which saw Tim McCreadie blaze to fast time with a lap of 13.660 seconds.
It was the 12th fast-time honor of McCreadie’s career, but his first since March 27, 2010, at Lone Star Speedway in Kilgore, Texas. He said the fast-time is another sign that “we’re getting better,” but he didn’t spend much time relishing his accomplishment.
“We were pretty good, but I’m worried about tire choice for the heat,” said McCreadie before hitting the track for his qualifier. “I don’t want to be too hard with the tire.”
Cars on the track
7:30 p.m. – Action is underway at I-77. WoO LMS hot laps were just completed with Shane Clanton turning the fastest lap (13.628 seconds), followed by Zack Dohm, Steve Shaver, Chris Ferguson and Kenney Newhouse.
Ohlins Shocks Time Trials for the 31 cars signed are being aligned and will begin shortly.
Bub McCool can’t catch a break this weekend. First, on Friday night at Wayne County Speedway, he was running second — one spot ahead of eventual winner Darrell Lanigan — when a broken axle forced him to retire during a lap-32 caution period. Last night at Tyler Count Speedway, the Mississippian had advanced from 20th to 14th in the Jackpot 100 when he was swept up in a turn-two tangle on a lap-17 restart, ending his evening.
The Rookie of the Year points leader said last night’s accident was severe enough that he’ll need to put a new front clip on his five-race-old Victory Circle by Moyer machine. It will be the second clip-job the chassis has already undergone, coming just three weeks after he was involved in a crash at North Carolina’s 311 Motor Speedway.
McCool, who is running his backup car tonight, said he drove the new car to a pair of Mississippi State Challenge Series wins over the last two weekends off from WoO LMS competition. He also thought he had a shot at winning Friday’s WoO LMS A-Main at Wayne County.
“I felt like we had a car that could beat Lanigan,” said McCool. “I was gonna take a good shot at it anyway.”
6:35 p.m. – As the drivers’ meeting gets underway under the direction of WoO LMS race director Bret Emrick, Tim Fuller is hoping the engine problem that put him out of last night’s Jackpot 100 at Tyler County has been repaired for tonight’s action. He was an early retiree from last night’s 100-lapper when his powerplant shut down, but he thinks the damage wasn’t motor-killing.
“I’m going to try it in hot laps and see how it is,” said Fuller. “If it’s not O.K., I’ll have to pull out the backup and I’ll be down to one motor.”
Fuller and Tim McCreadie, by the way, would like to see an early end to tonight’s program so they can start heading north to Utica-Rome Speedway in Vernon, N.Y., where they’re both scheduled to run a $10,000-to-win Big-Block Modified show tomorrow night.
WoO LMS Rookie of the Year contender Kent Robinson matched his career-best finish on the tour last night at Tyler County, registering a solid sixth-place run. He was the first driver one lap down at the finish of the Jackpot 100.
“That’s three sixths now for us,” said the personable Robinson, who celebrated his 25th birthday on Friday night. “We had one last year and two this year. Hopefully we can get into the top five pretty soon.”
Robinson’s latest near-top-five was no ordinary sixth place, however. It came in the richest one-day dirt Late Model race in the country — total purse: over $125,000 — and he earned a cool $6,000 paycheck.
“That’s the most I’ve ever won racing,” said Robinson, who ranks second in the WoO LMS Rookie of the Year standings behind Bub McCool. “I won $5,000 once for a (UMP) Modified win, so getting $6,000 last night was pretty cool.”
Jill George update
5:45 p.m. – Jill George’s husband, Rick Hartzell, called about an hour ago to report that Jill was released from a West Virginia hospital late this afternoon and they are on the highway headed home to Cedar Falls, Iowa.
George, who was removed from his cockpit on a backboard after crashing viciously last night at Tyler County Speedway, spent the night in the hospital undergoing treatment for a cut on her left shin and other tests. Hartzell said his wife received stiches on a “silver-dollar size gash about four inches above her ankle” and is bruised and sore but otherwise uninjured.
George’s car, of course, was a write-off. The impact she made with the outside wall after tangling with Kris Southern at the checkered flag of Heat 2 sheared off all of her car’s front, leaving a smoking pile of debris that included the machine’s entire engine, frame rails, suspension parts and wheels. Three wreckers brought the remains of the car, engine and front-end parts back to her pit area.
“We don’t know when we’ll see you again,” said Hartzell, referring to WoO LMS officials, “but you guys have been good to us and we thank you for all the kind words after the accident last week.”
Looking for some help
It’s been a rough weekend for Shane Clanton, who entered the tripleheader one man short after the recent departure of his mechanic Brantley Hardin. Clanton only fulltime crewman for the trip was his longtime friend, Buddy Chapman.
Of course, Clanton was supposed to have some reinforcements for Friday night’s WoO LMS program at Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio. His older brother, former ASA and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular Joey Clanton, now serves as the crew chief for budding 14-year-old Georgia asphalt racer Anderson Bowen, and, with Bowen running a weekend JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour event at Columbus (Ohio) Speedway, Joey said he’d be able to come over to Wayne County to help his sibling after Bowen’s Friday-evening practice was completed.
Well, Joey and six other members of Bowen’s team, including the young driver, made the short drive over to Wayne County, but they were of little help to Shane. Their trip took much longer than expected because they got lost — they entered the address of the track office into their GPS unit rather than the speedway’s physical address, putting them well off course — so they walked into the pit area just as the A-Main field was pulling onto the track.
Shane certainly could have used some extra hands on Friday. After his car’s left-rear wheel flew off during time trials because the lug nuts weren’t tightened due to a miscommunication, he scrambled to repair an array of damage to his car’s left-rear suspension and brakes. He failed to qualify and had to use a provisional to start the A-Main.
Clanton was hoping to have the services of Tim Logan, a Kentucky car owner and former WoO LMS mechanic for Steve Francis, on Saturday, but Logan was unable to make it to Tyler County, leaving Clanton and Chapman to fend for themselves with some assistance from his Kennedy Motorsports teammate John Lobb’s crew. It appeared Clanton was on his way to a strong finish after winning a heat race and moving to third place early in the Jackpot 100, but on a lap-17 restart he spun in turn two, setting off a multi-car tangle that left the right-rear corner of his car mangled. Clanton pitted and returned, but he could only manage a 13th-place finish.
Logan has arrived joined up with Clanton today and is lending a hand in the pits. The team needs it as they’ve spent the last hour pitching in to remove an engine from Clanton’s backup car and install in Lobb’s machine, which was sidelined last night by terminal motor trouble after Lobb wont a B-Main.
Back in action
3:55 p.m. – After internet connection problems prevented us from offering live updates of last night’s ‘Jackpot 100’ at Tyler County Speedway, we’re back rolling again tonight here at I-77 Raceway Park.
With temperatures soaring into the 90s and plenty of sunshine beating down, traveling teams and several locals are unloaded in the I-77 pit area and sweating through the clothing to prepare their machines for tonight’s 50-lap, $10,000-to-win event. More than 20 cars are already on hand, with such drivers as Dale McDowell, Chris Ferguson and West Virginia’s Rick Williams leading the list of challengers to the Outlaws.
Unfortunately, the field will apparently be missing a trio of racers who have been WoO LMS regulars all season. Mike Marlar lost a motor last night while running sixth with two laps remaining and has headed home early with his Bryson Motorsports equipment; rookie candidate Greg Johnson is not entering tonight’s program after a reported disagreement with team owner Jack Rainey; and Jill George was hospitalized last night for a checkup (including a possible shin injury) after riding out a vicious heat-race accident that totally destroyed her car.
Look for an update on George’s condition as soon as one comes available.