He’s On Fire: Fuller Shines Again In Thursday’s ‘Oh Canada Eh 50’ At Merrittville Speedway

By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director

THOROLD, ONT – June 17, 2010 – When Tim Fuller gets hot, he gets red hot. 

Forty-eight hours after breaking down the door to Victory Lane in 2010 Fuller was at it again on Thursday night, rolling to his second straight World of Outlaws Late Model Series triumph in the ‘Oh Canada Eh 50’ at Merrittville Speedway.

Fuller, 42, of Watertown, N.Y., passed Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., for the lead on lap 29 and never looked back in the national tour’s first-ever visit to the Niagara Frontier track. He pocketed $10,500 for his 12th career win on the WoO LMS – eight of which have come as part of win streaks, including two sets of back-to-back victories and his record-tying four consecutive wins last year.

“It’s weird how things work out sometimes,” said Fuller, who recorded his first win of the season in the ‘Great Northern Tour’ opener on Tuesday night at his hometrack, Can-Am Motorsports Park in Lafargeville, N.Y. “We’re definitely going good right now, but it was such a struggle to get here. Maybe now we’re on to something and can keep it up.”

Rick Eckert of York, Pa., slid by Francis for second on lap 32 but never got close enough to threaten Fuller. The 44-year-old steered his Team Zero by Bloomquist car across the finish line 2.368 seconds behind Fuller’s Gypsum Racing Rocket.

Rookie Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., who started sixth, finished one second behind Eckert in third place driving Dale Beitler’s Rocket after slipping by polesitter Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., for the position on a lap-40 restart. Lanigan, who led laps 1-6 before being overtaken by Francis, settled for fourth in his Rocket mount and Francis faded to fifth at the checkered flag in his Valvoline Rocket.

Fuller, who previously competed at Merrittville in DIRTcar big-block and 358-Modified events but never won a feature there, didn’t reach the promised land on Thursday night before experiencing a scare. The powerplant in his car – a Kevlar piece from the Gypsum Express team’s in-house engine program – sucked an intake gasket during hot laps, sending him into full scramble mode to make repairs in time for qualifying.

“I didn’t know if we were gonna get it together,” said Fuller. “We had Francis, Clint (Smith) and my guys all digging in to get it fixed while I was trying to tighten the car up for time trials. We dropped a bunch of silicone on (the intake) so I could qualify, and then when I came back in we cut up a couple of gaskets and kind of cobbed it up.

“It worked – it’s not sucking air. But for peace of mind I want to get it fixed right when we get back to the states. We’re not motor builders.”

Fuller did credit his team’s resident engine constructor, Kevlar’s Kevin Lamphere, with making changes to squeeze more much-needed power from the motor he used at Can-Am and Merrittville. He said his biggest struggle this season has been getting his new engine deal on the right track.

“We got a good motor now,” said Fuller. “We sent this one back after Virginia (Motor Speedway’s Commonwealth 100 in mid-April) and he put a new cam in it. It really livened it up. I don’t know how much yet, but we’re gonna find out at (Autodrome) Drummond (on Sat., June 19) because that place usually is heavy.

“I know it really drives real good on these black-slick tracks,” he added. “This is the kind of track I was brought up on so I know what you have to do on these types of places.”

Fuller, who started fourth, mastered the D-shaped, one-third-mile oval to overcome Francis for the lead. After having two potential passes wiped out by successive caution flags on lap 22, Fuller finally surged underneath Francis rounding turns one and two to assume command for good on lap 29.

“He was just hanging on the top because he had the wrong tire on,” Fuller said of Francis, who chose a compound that was too soft to last. “I could just dive down right through the black in the middle and drive by him.”

While Fuller wasn’t quite as dominant as he was in winning at Can-Am, he wasn’t challenged once he gained control of the race. Eckert couldn’t even stay with Fuller after the A-Main’s sixth and final caution flag, on lap 40 for Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., who slowed with right-front suspension damage while battling for a top-10 position.

“I’m just happy to finish second,” said the fifth-starting Eckert, who recorded just his fourth top-five finish of 2010. “We didn’t have anything for Fuller. He was just too good tonight.”

Fuller’s performance made him the center of a unique post-race scene featuring actors from the Oh Canada Eh! Dinner Theatre show in nearby Niagara Falls, Ont. The performers posed for photos with Fuller dressed in a variety of Canada-themed costumes, including a Royal Mountie who presented Fuller with an eye-catching, custom CNC-machined trophy.

“Anytime a track does something special like that, it’s neat,” Fuller said of the Victory Lane ceremony that capped an event that drew a nearly standing-room-only crowd to the track. “That trophy alone was amazing. That’s not just some plastic trophy; that’s something you want to display.

“But Pete (Bicknell, the DIRTcar 358-Modified superstar, chassis builder and co-owner of Merrittville Speedway) does it right. He’s got a good facility, and when you come here you know the whole deal is gonna be done right. It makes you want to come back again.”

Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., moved forward from the 10th starting spot to finish sixth, falling just short of beating Francis to the checkered flag. Dan Stone of Thompson, Pa., placed seventh after running as high as fifth, while Brent Robinson of Smithfield, Va., who returned to the WoO LMS after missing the Can-Am event, was eighth and earned the $500 ‘Bonus Bucks’ for being the highest-finishing driver who hasn’t won a tour A-Main and isn’t ranked among the top 12 in the points standings.

Points leader Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., meanwhile, experienced a quiet night, salvaging a ninth-place finish after pitting on lap 16 in hopes of correcting his underperforming machine. Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., completed the top 10.

The WoO LMS points battle tightened after the event, with Richards’s lead shrinking to 36 points over McCreadie and 40 over Lanigan. Fuller moved past Francis for fourth but is 108 points behind Richards.

John Lobb of Frewsburg, N.Y., pulled off the upset of the night, topping the 27-car in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials with a lap of 15.408 seconds. But after registering his first career WoO LMS fast-time honor Lobb’s night took a disastrous turn during the first heat; he relinquished the lead on lap eight when his car’s engine belched smoke and flames heading down the backstretch, forcing him to scratch from the remainder of the program.

Heat winners were Clint Smith (by inches over Francis), Hubbard and Lanigan, and Jeff Dayman of Welland, Ont., captured the B-Main.

The WoO LMS ‘Great Northern Tour’ heads north for the weekend, competing on Sat., June 19, at Autodrome Drummond in Drummondville, Que., and Sun., June 20, at Cornwall (Ont.) Motor Speedway. The swing continues on Tues., June 22, at Brewerton (N.Y.) Speedway before concluding on June 24-26 with the Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa.

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

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

1. (4) Tim Fuller/50 $10,500
2. (5) Rick Eckert/50 $5,575
3. (6) Austin Hubbard/50 $3,850
4. (1) Darrell Lanigan/50 $3,100
5. (2) Steve Francis/50 $2,600
6. (10) Tim McCreadie/50 $2,300
7. (11) Dan Stone/50 $1,400
8. (14) Brent Robinson/50 $1,800
9. (7) Josh Richards/50 $1,800
10. (9) Shane Clanton/50 $1,600
11. (3) Clint Smith/50 $1,550
12. (13) Russell King/50 $1,500
13. (15) Greg Oakes/50 $950
14. (16) Peter Mantha Jr./50 $900
15. (8) Ed Carley/50 $850
16. (23) April Farmer/49 $800
17. (18) Darren Peters/48 $770
18. (17) Jill George/48 $750
19. (20) Andrew Reaume/48 $780
20. (21) Mike Lewis/48 $700
21. (19) Jeff Dayman/45 $700
22. (12) Chub Frank/39 $1,200
23. (22) Gregg Haskell/25 $700
24. (24) Greg Belyea/3 $725

* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses

Time of Race: 35 Mins., 06.285Secs.
Margin of Victory: 2.368 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 6 (Laps 10, 16, 22, 22, 26, 40)
Lap Leaders: Lanigan (1-6); Francis (7-28); Fuller (29-50)
Provisional Starters: Farmer, Belyea
Rookie of the Race: Hubbard ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Robinson ($500)

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

1. 1L-John Lobb/Frewsburg, NY 15.408
2. 19H-Austin Hubbard/Seaford, DE 15.510
3. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 15.576
4. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 15.604
5. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 15.862
6. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 15.954
7. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 15.987
8. 3-Brent Robinson/Smithfield, VA 16.056
9. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA 16.112
10. 15-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 16.112
11. 28-Ed Carley/Freedom, NY 16.156
12. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 16.165
13. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 16.224
14. 21d-Dan Stone/Thompson, PA 16.242
15. 14-April Farmer/Livingston, TN 16.308
16. 1cfr-Peter Mantha Jr./Gatineau, QUE 16.331
17. 7d-Jeff Dayman/Welland, ONT 16.450
18. 22x-Greg Oakes/Franklinville, NY 16.456
19. 56-Russell King/Bristolville, OH 16.521
20. 25B-Greg Belyea/Frankford, ONT 16.572
21. RH21-Gregg Haskell/Chatham, ONT 16.648
22. 78-Rick Baker/Ridgeway, ONT 16.695
23. 88-Andrew Reaume/Chatham, ONT 16.776
24. 1P-Darren Peters/Fort Erie, ONT 16.780
25. 05-Mike Lewis/Wallaceburg, ONT 16.839
26. 22-Jill George/Cedar Falls, IA 16.997
27. RH94-Jason Haskell/Ridgeway, ONT 17.005

Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): C. Smith, Francis, Richards, McCreadie, King, Mantha, Lewis, Baker, Lobb

Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Hubbard, Eckert, Carley, Stone, Robinson, George, Reaume, Belyea, Dayman

Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Lanigan, Fuller, Clanton, Frank, Oakes, Peters, G. Haskell, J. Haskell (DNS) Farmer

B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Dayman, Reaume, Lewis, G. Haskell, J. Haskell, Baker, Belyea, Farmer (DNS) Lobb

World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:

Arizona Sports Shirts ($50 product certificate): Greg Belyea
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main w/decal): Dan Stone
Eibach Springs (one free spring): Jeff Dayman
MSD Ignition ($75 cash award): Rick Eckert
MSD Ignition ($25 cash award): Greg Belyea
Ohlins Pole Award ($50 cash award to fastest qualifier w/decal): John Lobb
Pink Carburetors ($100 product certificate): Rick Eckert
Pink Carburetors ($50 product certificate): Greg Belyea
Quartermaster ($100 product certificate): Tim Fuller
Quartermaster ($50 product certificate): Tim McCreadie
Quartermaster ($25 product certificate): April Farmer
RTC Performance ($100 cash): Austin Hubbard
STP ($50 cash award): Andrew Reaume
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): John Lobb
Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner w/decal): Tim Fuller

2010 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of June 17 – 18 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):

1. Josh Richards 2508 (-0)
2. Tim McCreadie 2472 (-36)
3. Darrell Lanigan 2468 (-40)
4. Tim Fuller 2400 (-108)
5. Steve Francis 2396 (-112)
6. Austin Hubbard 2356 (-152)
7. Rick Eckert 2310 (-198)
8. Shane Clanton 2288 (-220)
9. Chub Frank 2254 (-254)
10. Clint Smith 2192 (-316)
11. Russell King 2068 (-440)
12. Brady Smith 2020 (-488)
13. Brent Robinson 1850 (-658)
14. Jill George 1432 (-1076)
15. Vic Coffey 924 (-1584)

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.