Eckert Turns Back Hometown Favorite McCreadie To Top ‘North Country 40’ At Can-Am

By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director

LAFARGEVILLE, NY – June 22, 2009 – Rick Eckert was apologetic to the standing-room-only crowd that watched him win Monday night’s World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘North Country 40’ at Can-Am Motorsports Park. 

The 43-year-old from York, Pa., had, after all, dashed what would have been a wildly popular victory party for Tim McCreadie, the local-boy-who’s-made-good from nearby Watertown, N.Y.

“I know I beat the hometown favorite,” said Eckert, who passed McCreadie en route to the front of the field and crossed the finish line 1.439 seconds ahead of the 2006 WoO LMS champion. “But we’re buddies, so I don’t think it’s that bad. Hopefully nobody’s mad at me for winning tonight.”

The huge throng of fans that attended the first-ever WoO LMS event at the half-mile oval didn’t have a problem with Eckert, who registered his second triumph of 2009 on the national tour. He became the third driver with multiple victories on this year’s series, joining Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky. (five wins) and Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va. (three wins, including the previous two on the ‘Great Northern Tour’).

Driving his familiar Raye Vest Racing/J&K Salvage Team Zero by Bloomquist car, Eckert marched methodically forward from the fifth starting spot in a race that was slowed by just two caution flags during the first five laps. He grabbed the lead from a fading Francis on lap 28 and never looked back on his way to a paycheck worth $7,650.

McCreadie, 35, overtook Francis for second one circuit later and soon closed within a couple car lengths of Eckert, but he lost ground once Eckert cleared lapped traffic and settled for a runner-up finish in the Sweeteners Plus Rocket. It was the second consecutive bridesmaid finish for McCreadie, who returned to the cockpit last Thursday night after being sidelined for five months with a back injury.

T-Mac’s Sweeteners Plus teammate, 2008 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y., made a late charge to finish third in his Rocket car, less than a car length behind McCreadie at the checkered flag. It was a career-best WoO LMS run for the 2007 DIRTcar big-block Modified champion at Can-Am, who started sixth but didn’t come alive until his machine’s hard tires heated up.

Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y. – like McCreadie, a North Country native who spent the early days of his racing career competing in Can-Am’s DIRTcar 358-Modified division – finished fourth in his Gypsum Express Rocket and 11th-starter Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., scored a season-best finish of fifth after overtaking Francis for the position on lap 37.

Francis, who started second and outgunned the polesitting McCreadie for the lead at the initial green flag, fell to sixth in the final rundown after leading laps 1-27. He built an advantage that reached nearly three seconds before a run-in with a lapped car sent him high in turn two on lap 22 and his soft-compound tires gave up on the hard surface.

Eckert nailed his tire selection, using hard-compound Hoosier rubber that proved to be perfect for the conditions. It took plenty of deliberation, however, before Eckert bolted on the tires.

“It was tough for everybody because we were at a racetrack where nobody’s ever raced with open tires,” said Eckert. “We kept going back-and-forth on our tire choice. We changed the tires three times before going on the track – twice after the (eight-minute lineup) horn (was blown).

“It took about 10 laps until I knew we made the right decision. I wasn’t spectacular (at the start), but then I started getting better and better and I was like, ‘Man, they’re sort of in my way now.’”

Using the inside lane, Eckert slid by McCreadie for third on lap eight and overtook Fuller for second on lap 27. One circuit later Eckert surged past Francis to gain control of the A-Main, but he never relaxed.

“I kept looking at the scoreboard and I saw that ‘39’ (of McCreadie) of there in second,” said Eckert. “One thing about Tim McCreadie is he gets better every lap, so I knew I couldn’t make any mistakes.”

While the partisan crowd’s hopes of a dramatic McCreadie victory were raised when he got close to Eckert in lapped traffic, McCreadie didn’t have enough speed to please his public.

“That lapped traffic held him up and let me get close,” said McCreadie, who also finished second the previous night at Cornwall (Ont.) Motor Speedway. “Once he got clear of traffic at the end, he got back out to a lead. He had a harder right-rear (tire) than we did. That might have been the difference, but he was good all night so I can’t complain too much.

“But second place isn’t as much fun as I thought it would (after being sidelined for so long) – especially here.”

Eckert’s victory was the 18th of his WoO LMS career, giving him him sole possession of second on the tour’s win list since 2004. He had been tied with 2004 WoO LMS champion Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., since capturing his first triumph of 2009 on May 17 at Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway.

The race’s pair of caution flags were caused by minor incidents. Tony Knowles of Tyrone, Ga., was eliminated in an opening-lap tangle between turns three and four that also involved teenagers Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., and Larry Wight of Baldwinsville, N.Y., and 14-year-old Tyler Reddick of Corning, Calif., slowed the action on lap five when he stopped on the inside of turn two.

Finishing in positions 7-10 was Josh Richards, who maintained his points lead despite struggling with an incorrect tire choice; Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., who started fourth; Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga.; and Gregg Satterlee of Rochester Mills, Pa.

The event’s $500 WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ cash was claimed by Coffey, who slipped out of the top 12 in the points standings after missing the two Canadian stops of the ‘Great Northern Tour.’ The ‘Bonus Bucks’ go to the highest-finishing driver who has never won a tour A-Main and isn’t ranked among the top 12 in the points.

A field of 31 cars assembled for the historic event at the track located just 15 minutes south of the Canadian border.

Eckert was fastest in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials, earning a $50 bonus for his lap of 18.939 seconds. He was the only driver to break into the 18-second bracket.

Heat winners were Eckert, Lanigan and McCreadie, and Matt Lux of Franklin, Pa., captured the B-Main.

The WoO LMS ‘Great Northern Tour’ continues on Tuesday night (June 23) at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Speedway; June 24 at Big Diamond Raceway in Minersville, Pa.; and June 25-27 at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa. (the postponed Showdown in Sarvertown on June 25 at the $30,000-to-win Firecracker 100 on June 26-27).

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

Results of WoO Late Model Series ‘North Country 40’ (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):

1. (5) Rick Eckert/40 $7,650
2. (1) Tim McCreadie/40 $3,100
3. (6) Vic Coffey/40 $2,500
4. (3) Tim Fuller/40 $2,200
5. (11) Clint Smith/40 $2,000
6. (2) Steve Francis/40 $1,900
7. (8) Josh Richards/40 $1,700
8. (4) Darrell Lanigan/40 $1,750
9. (7) Shane Clanton/40 $1,500
10. (14) Gregg Satterlee/40 $1,000
11. (9) Billy Decker/40 $850
12. (10) Austin Hubbard/40 $800
13. (13) Dan Stone/39 $750
14. (17) Brady Smith/39 $1,240
15. (19) Matt Lux/39 $710
16. (15) Chub Frank/39 $1,180
17. (20) Larry Wight/39 $650
18. (18) Mike Knight/39 $630
19. (23) Jordan Bland/39 $1,370
20. (16) Russell King/38 $1,110
21. (24) Brent Robinson/38 $1,100
22. (22) Dustin Hapka/38 $600
23. (21) Tyler Reddick/38 $600
24. (12) Tony Knowles/0 $600

* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses

Time of Race: 16 Mins., 03.842 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 1.439 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 2 (Laps 0, 5)
Lap Leaders: Francis (1-27); Eckert (28-40)
Provisional Starters: Bland, Robinson
Rookie of the Race: Bland ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Coffey ($500)
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race: Al Stevens (McCreadie)

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

1. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 18.939
2. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 19.281
3. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 19.344
4. 19T-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 19.373
5. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 19.384
6. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 19.394
7. 21d-Dan Stone/Thompson, PA 19.409
8. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 19.422
9. 32c-Vic Coffey/Caledonia, NY 19.493
10. 11H-Austin Hubbard/Seaford, DE 19.643
11. 19-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 19.847
12. 99L-Larry Wight/Baldwinsville, NY 19.849
13. 56-Russell King/Bristolville, OH 19.850
14. 1M-Peter Mantha Jr./Gatineau, QUE 19.900
15. 91-Billy Decker/Unadilla, NY 19.903
16. 21-Matt Lux/Franklin, PA 19.907
17. 22s-Gregg Satterlee/Rochester Mills, PA 19.959
18. 26-Tony Knowles/Tyrone, GA 19.982
19. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA 19.983
20. 2-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, WI 20.076
21. 12-Jordan Bland/Campbellsville, KY 20.248
22. 14-April Farmer/Livingston, TN 20.358
23. 16-Aaron Jacobs/Frankfort, NY 20.500
24. 9K-Mike Knight/Ripley, NY 20.529
25. R19-Dale Caswell/Central Square, NY 20.807
26. 18-Dustin Hapka/Grand Forks, ND 20.914
27. 22G-Greg Oakes/Franklinville, NY 20.921
28. 3-Brent Robinson/Smithfield, VA 20.973
29. 28-Mike Burdick/Mannsville, NY 21.154
30. 18J-Mack Webb/Brownville, NY 21.259
31. 11-Tyler Reddick/Corning, CA N/T

Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Eckert, Fuller, Clanton, Hubbard, Stone, King, Lux, Caswell, Farmer, Reddick, Robinson

Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Lanigan, Francis, Richards, C. Smith, Satterlee, B. Smith, Mantha, Hapka, Jacobs, Burdick

Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): McCreadie, Coffey, Decker, Knowles, Frank, Knight, Wight, Oakes, Bland, Webb

B-Main (12 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Lux, Wight, Reddick, Hapka, Oakes, Farmer, Jacobs, Robinson, Bland, Burdick, Caswell, Webb, Mantha

World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:

* Arizona Sport Shirts ($50 product certificate to fifth-place finisher in B-Mains): Greg Oakes
* Armor All (case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main w/decal): Tim McCreadie
* Champ Pans ($50 product certificate to ‘Bonus Bucks’ winner w/decal): Vic Coffey
* Crane Cams ($100 cash award to A-Main winner w/decal): Rick Eckert
* Crane Cams ($100 cash award to 10th-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Gregg Satterlee
* Crane Cams ($100 product certificate to Heat 3 winner w/decal): Tim McCreadie
* Eibach Springs (one free spring to each B-Main winner w/decal): Matt Lux
* Fusion Energy ($50 cash award to Heat 2 winner w/decal): Darrell Lanigan
* Ohlins Shocks ($50 cash award to fast qualifier w/decal): Rick Eckert
* Quarter-Master ($100 product certificate to A-Main winner w/decal): Rick Eckert
* Quarter-Master ($50 product certificate to fifth-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Clint Smith
* Quarter-Master ($25 product certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Matt Lux
* Super Clean ‘Start of the Race’ (one case of product):
* VP Racing Fuels ‘Nice Jugs Award’ (two free VP five-gallon containers to fastest qualifier who does not make the A-Main if decal is displayed): Peter Mantha Jr.
* Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner w/decal): Rick Eckert

2009 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of June 22 – 17 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):

1. Josh Richards 2257 (-0)
2. Darrell Lanigan 2253 (-4)
3. Steve Francis 2245 (-12)
4. Rick Eckert 2239 (-18)
5. Shane Clanton 2187 (-70)
6. Tim Fuller 2177 (-80)
7. Brady Smith 2144 (-113)
8. Chub Frank 2131 (-126)
9. Clint Smith 2053 (-204)
10. Jordan Bland 1759 (-498)
11. Russell King 1732 (-525)
12. Brent Robinson 1664 (-593)
13. Vic Coffey 1662 (-595)
14. Dustin Hapka 1581 (-676)
15. Tyler Reddick 1415 (-842)
16. Shannon Babb 1395 (-862)
17. Austin Hubbard 1113 (-1144)
18. Dale McDowell 717 (-1540)
19. Matt Lux 668 (-1589)
20. Dennis Erb Jr. 657 (-1600)

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 the 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), Crane Cams (Official Valvetrain), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), Fusion Energy Boost (Official Energy Boost), SuperClean (Official Cleaner-Degreaser) and VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel); in addition to contingency sponsors Champ Pans, Eibach Springs, Hoosier Tires, Integra Shocks, Jake’s Custom Golf Carts, Ohlins Shocks, Racing Electronics, Quarter Master and Wrisco Aluminum; Crane Cams Engine Builder’s Challenge participants Cornett Racing Engines, Custom Race Engines and Pro Power Racing Engines; and Chassis Builder Challenge participants Rocket Chassis and Team Zero by Bloomquist.