On A Roll: Clanton Scores Victory On Tazewell’s Towering Banks

By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director

TAZEWELL, TN – July 3, 2010 – Shane Clanton didn’t let a pole position start slip through his fingers for the second time in 24 hours. 

The 34-year-old who now calls Fayetteville, Ga., home took full advantage of the opportunity presented to him on Saturday night, continuing his early-summer hot streak with a decisive victory in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘Coca-Cola 50’ at Tazewell Speedway.

Clanton, who also started from the pole on Friday night at Wartburg (Tenn.) Speedway but settled for a runner-up finish in the 50-lap A-Main, led the entire distance on Saturday evening before a near-capacity crowd that turned out for the national tour’s first-ever visit to the high-banked, one-third-mile oval. He repelled several challenges from Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., and barely escaped two incidents en route to his third WoO LMS triumph of 2010 and the 14th of his career.

“I let two races go this year (failed to win after starting from the pole) so I wasn’t gonna lose another one,” said Clanton, who earned $10,500. “After Michelle (Davies, his girlfriend and designated position drawer) picked me the pole, I told her, ‘If you do your job, I’ll do mine.’”

Clanton mastered the wicked-fast bullring, keeping his Malcuit-powered RSD Enterprises Rocket car out front in a rough-and-tumble event that was slowed by seven caution flags and one red and lasted just over 47 minutes. He crossed the finish line 1.053 seconds ahead of Francis, who started fourth but chased Clanton from the second spot for the final 35 laps in his Valvoline Rocket machine.

Defending WoO LMS champion Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., calmly moved forward from the sixth starting spot to finish third despite running the last 15 circuits on seven cylinders because an engine lifter apparently broke in his father Mark’s Seubert Calf Ranches Rocket. He doubled his tour points lead to 36 markers over Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who finished 12th after pitting on lap 20 to change a flat left-rear tire.

Tommy Kerr of Maryville, Tenn., advanced from the 12th starting spot to finish a WoO LMS career-best fourth in his Rocket car, earning him the $500 ‘Bonus Bucks’ cash for being the highest-finishing driver who hadn’t won a series A-Main and wasn’t ranked among the top 12 in the points standings. Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., placed fifth in his Corry Rubber/Hino Toyota Rocket, surviving an overheating engine to register his second straight top-five finish.

“I knew we had a good car, but we made some more changes right before the feature and it made it a lot better,” said Clanton, whose victory gave him two wins (including a $30,000-plus score on June 26 in the Firecracker 100 at Pennsylvania’s Lernerville Speedway) and two runner-up finishes in his last five WoO LMS starts. “We tightened the car up and it made a world of difference.”

Clanton was fast enough to hold off Francis, who ran within striking distance but couldn’t pull off a pass.

“I thought I heard him under me a couple times,” Clanton said of Francis, “but the bottom of (turns) one and two got so rough I said, ‘If he passes me down there, he’s gonna have to make a perfect line.’ I thought I was gonna break something in the race car if I ran down there, so I just married myself to the top and said, ‘If he beats me, he beats me.’”

Francis, 42, was satisfied with $5,600 in second-place money.

“I think I was more maneuverable, but he could run a faster lane in the open every lap,” Francis said of Clanton. “There wasn’t enough off of (turn) four to really pass. He was gonna have to make a mistake for me to get by him.

“We ran first and second, though, so I’m happy. Me and Shane have been working on a lot of stuff together, so it was a good race for both of us.”

Clanton experienced a couple very anxious moments, however, while pacing the field. The first came on lap 15 when Rick Rogers of Knoxville, Tenn., came off the turn-four wall and rolled his car in front of Clanton and several of his pursuers; later, on lap 48, Mike Collins of Carter Lake, Iowa, spun directly ahead of Clanton.

“As that guy was flipping he came right over my nose,” said Clanton. “It scraped the nose of my car all the way up to the air filter. I was lucky it didn’t knock the carburetor off.

“When I got to him I just gassed it up – I said, ‘I’m not stopping here.’ I guess I got him up in the air and he landed on the ‘1’ car (then second-place runner Vic Hill of Morristown, Tenn.) behind me.

“Then with Collins – his eyes looked about the size of quarters when I seen him spinning in front of me,” added Clanton. “I thought I was gonna t-bone him, but he gassed it up and got out of the way just in time. The green stayed out and we made it to the finish.”

Rogers’s series of flips provided the most spectacular accident of the event. His car landed upside down after it slammed into the right side of the machine driven by Brent Robinson of Smithfield, Va., and also collected Hill, whose strong run came to an abrupt end due to damage his car sustained in the altercation.

Rogers, who started third but was relegated to the rear of the field after spinning out of fourth place on lap 10, escaped the crash without injury.

Finishing in positions 6-10 was Rick Eckert of York, Pa.; Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., who started 13th; 11th-starter Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky.; Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., who rallied from a pit stop on lap two to change a flat right-rear tire; and Eric Jacobsen of Sea Cliff Beach, Calif., who spun wildly in turn three late in the distance but continued without causing a caution flag.

Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., had a rough night, finishing 15th after retiring on lap 33 with right-front suspension woes. His hopes were dashed after he crushed the right-front nose of his car and slowed to bring out a caution flag on lap five.

The A-Main served as the third leg of the LaCrosse Extreme Tough Challenge, a unique mini-series that awards points to the top-five fulltime WoO LMS and Sprint Car Series drivers in 16 selected events – eight Late Model and eight Sprint Car – and will earn the champion of the combined standings a $5,000 bonus from a $15,000 points fund. Clanton earned five points for being the highest-finishing WoO LMS regular, boosting his overall lead in the standings. Also earning points were Francis (four), Richards (three), Frank (two) and Eckert (one).

Richards registered his second fast-time honor of 2010, blazing around the track in 11.189 seconds during the 27-car Ohlins Shocks Time Trials session.

Heat winners were Richards, Hill and Rogers, and Clint Smith captured the B-Main.

The WoO LMS will be idle for three days before commencing the four-race ‘Wild West Tour’ on Wed., July 7, with the ‘Gopher 50’ at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn. The swing also features events on Thurs., July 8, at Superior (Wis.) Speedway; Fri., July 9, at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D.; and Sat., July 10, at Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron, S.D.

For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.

Results of WoO Late Model Series ‘Coca-Cola 50’ (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):

1. (1) Shane Clanton/50 $10,500
2. (4) Steve Francis/50 $5,600
3. (6) Josh Richards/50 $3,725
4. (12) Tommy Kerr/50 $3,000
5. (7) Chub Frank/50 $2,500
6. (8) Rick Eckert/50 $2,200
7. (13) Austin Hubbard/50 $2,150
8. (11) Darrell Lanigan/50 $1,900
9. (19) Clint Smith/50 $1,750
10. (10) Eric Jacobsen/50 $1,100
11. (17) Russell King/50 $1,550
12. (14) Tim McCreadie/50 $1,600
13. (20) Mike Collins/47 $950
14. (21) Bryan Hendrix/32 $900
15. (9) Tim Fuller/32 $1,350
16. (16) Randy Weaver/24 $800
17. (5) Mike Marlar/19 $770
18. (15) Brian Smith/18 $750
19. (2) Vic Hill/15 $730
20. (3) Rick Rogers/14 $700
21. (23) Brent Robinson/14 $700
22. (18) Steve Smith/10 $700
23. (22) Chad Ogle/10 $700
24. (24) Jill George/0 $725

* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses

Time of Race: 47 Mins., 48.789 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 1.053 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 7 (Laps 2, 5, 10, 19, 20, 26, 33)
Red Flag: Lap 15
Lap Leaders: Clanton (1-50)
Provisional Starters: Robinson, George
Rookie of the Race: Hubbard ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Kerr ($500)

Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):

1. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 11.189
2. 1H-Vic Hill/Morristown, TN 11.227
3. 44R-Rick Rogers/Knoxville, TN 11.289
4. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA 11.290
5. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 11.317
6. 7-Brian Smith/Gray, KY 11.400
7. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 11.429
8. 157-Mike Marlar/Winfield, TN 11.457
9. 15-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 11.497
10. 19H-Austin Hubbard/Seaford, DE 11.522
11. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 11.540
12. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 11.557
13. 5-Eric Jacobsen/Sea Cliff Beach, CA 11.567
14. 56-Russell King/Bristolville, OH 11.572
15. 4T-Tommy Kerr/Maryville, TN 11.576
16. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 11.619
17. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 11.714
18. 3s-Steve Smith/Powell, TN 11.738
19. 116-Randy Weaver/Crossville, TN 11.783
20. 3c-Mike Collins/Carter Lake, IA 11.796
21. 5H-Bryan Hendrix/Knoxville, TN 11.895
22. 7c-Marty Calloway/Maynardville, TN 11.960
23. 10-Chad Ogle/Sevierville, TN 12.002
24. 14-April Farmer/Livingston, TN 12.018
25. 3-Brent Robinson/Smithfield, VA 12.149
26. 22-Jill George/Cedar Falls, IA 12.801
27. 201-Billy Ogle Jr./Harriman, TN N/T

Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Richards, Clanton, Frank, Jacobsen, Hubbard, Weaver, C. Smith, Robinson, Calloway

Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Hill, Marlar, Eckert, Lanigan, McCreadie, King, Collins, C. Ogle, George

Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Rogers, Francis, Fuller, Kerr, B. Smith, S. Smith, Hendrix, Farmer (DNS) B. Ogle

B-Main (12 laps – Top 4 Transfer): C. Smith, Collins, Hendrix, C. Ogle, Robinson, Calloway, George, Farmer (DNS) B. Ogle

World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:

Arizona Sports Shirts ($50 product certificate): Jill George
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main w/decal): Brian Smith
Eibach Springs (one free spring): Brent Robinson
MSD Ignition ($75 cash award): Josh Richards
MSD Ignition ($25 cash award): Jill George
Ohlins Pole Award ($50 cash award to fastest qualifier w/decal): Josh Richards
Pink Carburetors ($100 product certificate): Rick Eckert
Pink Carburetors ($50 product certificate): Jill George
Quartermaster ($100 product certificate): Shane Clanton
Quartermaster ($50 product certificate): Rick Eckert
Quartermaster ($25 product certificate): Tim Fuller
R2C Performance ($100 certificate): Shane Clanton
STP ($50 cash award): Clint Smith
VP Racing Fuels ‘Nice Jugs Award’ (two five-gallon plastic fuel jugs to fastest qualifier who does not make the A-Main if decal is displayed): Marty Calloway
Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner w/decal): Shane Clanton

2010 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of July 3 – 24 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):

1. Josh Richards 3266
2. Tim McCreadie 3230 (-36)
3. Darrell Lanigan 3188 (-78)
4. Steve Francis 3150 (-116)
5. Tim Fuller 3084 (-182)
6. Austin Hubbard 3078 (-188)
7. Shane Clanton 3052 (-214)
8. Rick Eckert 3012 (-254)
9. Chub Frank Bear 2946 (-320)
10. Clint Smith 2886 (-380)
11. Russell King 2710 (-556)
12. Brent Robinson 2400 (-866)
13. Brady Smith 2338 (-928)
14. Jill George 1756 (-1510)
15. April Farmer 1128 (-2138)

FOLLOW THE ACTION ON TWITTER: Fans can now keep up-to-date with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series online and through text messages on cell phones via Twitter, the internet’s fast-growing social-networking and micro-blogging website. Updates are provided to Twitter ‘followers’ of the WoO LMS throughout each race night, and fans also receive breaking news and interesting notes from the tour.

To sign-up as a WoO LMS ‘follower’ on Twitter to receive updates anywhere at anytime, visit http://twitter.com/WoOLateModels.

LISTEN ONLINE: If fans can’t get to a track to see the World of Outlaws Late Model Series, they can experience the excitement of the nation’s premier tour live on DIRTvision.com through the DIRT Radio Network.

To listen to the free audio broadcasts, log on to www.dirtvision.com and click on the DIRT Radio Network logo.

Listeners will need Windows Media Player 9 or higher to listen to the DIRT Radio Network. For technical support or questions, e-mail [email protected]

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), SuperClean (Official Cleaner-Degreaser), VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award) and Chizmark Larson Insurance; in addition to contingency sponsors Eibach Springs, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, Pink Carburetors, Pro Power Engines, Quartermaster, Rocket Chassis, R2C Performance and Wrisco Aluminum.