Drought Over: Clanton Nips Richards At Line In ‘Land of Lincoln 50’ Thriller

By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director

LINCOLN, IL – May 7, 2010 – Shane Clanton ended his 13-month winless drought on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series in the most dramatic way possible. 

Taking advantage of a problem in lapped traffic that Josh Richards experienced on the final lap, Clanton jumped to the outside racing off turn four and beat the defending tour champion to the finish line by mere inches to capture Friday night’s caution-free ‘Land of Lincoln 50’ at Lincoln Speedway.

Clanton, 34, of Locust Grove, Ga., appeared headed to a second-place finish after Shinnston, W.Va.’s Richards used the inside groove to grab the lead on lap 43. But Richards scrubbed off significant speed when he tangled with a slower car entering turn three for the last time, opening the door for Clanton to steal his first WoO LMS triumph since April 4, 2009, at Farmer City (Ill.) Raceway.

“I’d rather be lucky than good any time,” said Clanton, who snapped a 44-race winless streak with his 12th career victory on the WoO LMS. “We needed a win bad, so we’ll take it any way we can get it.”

The 22-year-old Richards finished second in his Rocket Chassis house car. Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, advanced from the 10th starting spot to place third in his MB Customs mount, followed by Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who led laps 2-3 and ran second for much of the distance in the Sweeteners Plus Rocket, and Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., in the Sheltra Construction Rocket.

Clanton, who started from the pole position with Richards alongside, wrestled the lead from McCreadie on lap four and built as much as a half-straightaway edge during the clean-and-all-green race. But Richards, who slipped as far back as fourth, found the extreme inside line to his liking after the halfway mark and steadily made his way toward Clanton’s RSD Enterprises Rocket car.

Richards caught Clanton on lap 42 and assumed command the following circuit, seemingly putting him in position for his series-leading third victory of 2010. Clanton was almost ready to concede the race to his young rival.

“My car got to where it wouldn’t steer a little in the middle of the corner, so I was having to hustle it,” said Clanton. “I don’t know if I sealed the right-front tire or something, but it was taking me the whole corner to steer in. When Josh got by me, he could get in the gas sooner and he just started driving away from us.”

Opportunity presented itself to Clanton on the final lap, however, in the form of a pack of four slower cars running tightly in front of the leader. Richards, who had nearly a half-straightaway advantage over Clanton, momentarily came together with the machine driven by Ryan Unzicker of El Paso, Ill., on the inside of turn three and lost too much speed to stave off Clanton.

“They went down the racetrack together and they he was,” Clanton said of the lapped traffic that blocked Richards’s path to the checkered flag. “It stopped his momentum just enough for me to catch up and pass him.

“I seen him get in the gas and spin the tires hard off (turn) four, but I had a run and said, ‘Just be smooth and don’t spin the tires.’ We just beat him to the line.”

Richards was gracious in defeat. He interrupted the post-race ceremonies to congratulate Clanton on becoming the 10th different winner in 11 WoO LMS A-Mains this season.

Clanton’s victory, worth $10,575, also was his first since a late-January/early-February hospital stay for treatment of a serious thumb infection.

“I didn’t know how far ahead I was,” said Richards. “I thought maybe I’d creep around the bottom underneath that 24 car (Unzicker) and clear him going down the backstraightaway, but I didn’t get enough of a run and I slowed way up. Then he came down and we just got hooked. I was stopped almost before I could get going again.

“It was one of those deals. We had an awesome car and everyone did a great job, but we just weren’t meant to win tonight.”

Richards’s runner-up finish did move him back into a tie for the WoO LMS points lead with McCreadie, who led the standings by just four markers entering the evening’s program.

Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., broke out of a close-running pack to finish sixth. Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., charged from the 18th starting spot to place seventh, followed by Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., who ran in the top five for much of the distance; Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., who started fourth and ran as high as third; and sixth-starter Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky.

Thirty-nine cars were signed in for the event, which was run on under brisk, chilly weather conditions.

Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., was quickest in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials, lapping the black-clay oval in 12.977 seconds to register his first fast-time honor of the 2010 season.

Heat winners were Richards, McCreadie, Clanton and Hubbard. Rick Eckert of York, Pa., and Fuller captured the B-Mains.

The WoO LMS will complete a weekend doubleheader in the Midwest on Saturday night (May 8) at Bluegrass Speedway in Bardstown, Ky. A 50-lap A-Main paying $10,000 to win headlines the ‘My Old Kentucky Home Shootout.’

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

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

1. (1) Shane Clanton/50 $10,575
2. (2) Josh Richards/50 $5,600
3. (10) Brian Birkhofer/50 $3,000
4. (3) Tim McCreadie/50 $3,100
5. (5) Shannon Babb/50 $2,000
6. (8) Darrell Lanigan/50 $2,300
7. (18) Tim Fuller/50 $1,900
8. (7) Dennis Erb Jr./50 $1,300
9. (4) Austin Hubbard/50 $1,950
10. (6) Steve Francis/50 $1,700
11. (9) Brady Smith/50 $1,550
12. (11) Don O’Neal/50 $1,500
13. (13) Clint Smith/50 $1,500
14. (17) Rick Eckert/50 $1,475
15. (14) Chub Frank/50 $1,350
16. (16) Ryan Unzicker/50 $800
17. (15) Brian Shirley/49 $770
18. (20) Donny Walden/49 $750
19. (24) Brent Robinson/49 $730
20. (21) Bobby Pierce/49 $700
21. (23) Russell King/48 $1,300
22. (22) Eric Smith/48 $700
23. (12) Jason Feger/26 $700
24. (19) Steve Lance Jr./19 $700

* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses

Yellow Flags: None
Lap Leaders: Clanton (1); McCreadie (2-3); Clanton (4-42); Richards (43-49); Clanton (50)
Provisional Starters: King, Robinson
Rookie of the Race: Hubbard ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: O’Neal ($500)
Chizmark & Larson Insurance Hard Luck Award: King ($100)

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

1. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 12.977
2. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 12.985
3. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA 13.016
4. 19H-Austin Hubbard/Seaford, DE 13.069
5. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 13.076
6. 18-Shannon Babb/Moweaqua, IL 13.201
7. 15-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 13.210
8. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 13.219
9. 28-Dennis Erb Jr./Carpentersville, IL 13.228
10. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 13.255
11. 9-Eric Smith/Bloomington, IL 13.274
12. 25F-Jason Feger/Bloomington, IL 13.278
13. 2-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, WI 13.279
14. 15b-Brian Birkhofer/Muscatine, IA 13.279
15. 3s-Brian Shirley/Chatham, IL 13.292
16. 24U-Ryan Unzicker/El Paso, IL 13.325
17. 5s-Steve Sheppard Jr./New Berlin, IL 13.360
18. 3-Brent Robinson/Smithfield, VA 13.362
19. 48-Tim Lance/Brimfield, IL 13.363
20. 11-Tyler Reddick/Corning, CA 13.487
21. 41-Brad Neat/Dunnville, KY 13.489
22. 25L-Steve Lance Jr./Cuba, IL 13.534
23. 71-Don O’Neal/Martinsville, IN 13.578
24. 75-Brian Harris/Davenport, IA 13.582
25. 56-Russell King/Bristolville, OH 13.597
26. s9-Dan Schlieper/Sullivan, WI 13.611
27. 91-Jeremy Nichols/Decatur, IL 13.626
28. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 13.630
29. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 13.638
30. b12-Kevin Weaver/Gibson City, IL 13.650
31. 21b-Rich Bell/Sheffield, IL 13.702
32. 1W-Donny Walden/Towanda, IL 13.759
33. 32-Bobby Pierce/Decatur, IL 13.803
34. 22-Jill George/Cedar Falls, IA 13.817
35. 74-Russ Adams/Princeville, IL 13.881
36. 38L-Ryan Little/Springfield, IL 13.886
37. 82-Roger Brickler/Springfield, IL 14.191
38. 11K-Terry Reed/Decatur, IL 15.208
39. b5-Brandon Sheppard/New Berlin, IL N/T

Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Richards, Erb, B. Smith, C. Smith, Eckert, Brickler, Neat, King, Pierce, S. Sheppard (DQ)

Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): McCreadie, Babb, Birkhofer, Frank, Robinson, E. Smith, Weaver, Steve Lance Jr., George, Reed

Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Clanton, Francis, O’Neal, Shirley, Schlieper, Bell, Nichols, Adams, T. Lance

Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Hubbard, Lanigan, Feger, Unzicker, Fuller, Reddick, Harris, Walden, Little

B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Eckert, Steve Lance Jr., Pierce, Brickler, Schlieper, Robinson, George, Weaver, Reed (DNS) Neat, King

B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Fuller, Walden, E. Smith, Reddick, Harris, Bell, Little, Adams, Nichols (DNS) T. Lance

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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 and Wrisco Aluminum.