Flat Tire For Francis Sends Jamie Lathroum To First-Ever World of Outlaws Late Model Series Win At Delaware International

By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director

DELMAR, DE – May 28, 2009 – Jamie Lathroum’s eyes got real wide when Steve Francis pulled up lame with a flat tire on lap 44 of Thursday night’s ‘First State 50’ at Delaware International Speedway. 

Six circuits later, the red-hot driver from Mechanicsville, Md., wore a wide smile in Victory Lane after capturing his first career World of Outlaws Late Model Series A-Main.

Lathroum, 30, assumed command when Ashland, Ky.’s Francis stopped in turn two with a cut right-rear tire to bring out the ninth and final caution flag of the marathon, rough-and-tumble event. He pulled away from WoO LMS regular Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., on the ensuing restart to become the second consecutive first-time winner on the national tour, following Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., who won on May 24 at Charter Raceway Park in Beaver Dam, Wis.

“It feels great to beat the professionals at something that’s your hobby,” said Lathroum, a third-year dirt Late Model racer who makes his living as a plumber for a contractor in the Washington, D.C. area. “When I’m thinking about doing my job at work they’re thinking about making their race cars go faster, so it’s real satisfying to win against them.”

Lathroum’s triumph – worth a career-high $10,650, including the $500 WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ cash for being the highest-finishing driver who hadn’t previously won a tour event and isn’t ranked among the top-12 in the points – was his fourth special-show victory this season in the Mid-Atlantic region. He also won last November’s Delaware State Dirt Track Championship event at Delaware International.

The breakthrough checkered flag came in the ninth career WoO LMS A-Main start for Lathroum, who fields his own MasterSbilt car with a Harold Eatmon-built engine supplied by sponsor Three Mules Welding Supplies.

Smith, who turns 32 on May 31, settled for a second-place finish in his first-ever appearance at DIS. It was the third top-five run in a row for Smith, who started from the outside pole and led laps 1-6 in his Team Zero by Bloomquist car.

Francis made a frantic rally after pitting for a new tire to finish third in Dale Beitler’s Rocket. He led laps 7-44 in his bid for a series-best fourth win of 2009.

Completing the top five was Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., who pitted on lap six to change a broken left-rear shock, and Lathroum’s brother-in-law, Darryl Hills of Great Mills, Md., who recorded a career-best WoO LMS finish.

Hills actually helped pave the way for Lathroum’s march to the promised land. After Lathroum’s car was struck by a broken driveshaft during hot laps, it was Hills who loaned him a replacement to get through the night.

Without any practice laps, Lathroum went on to time second-fastest behind Francis in Ohlins Shock Time Trials and win the second heat. He then drew the pole position for the A-Main, but he fell to fourth after being passed by Smith and Francis at the initial green flag and Hills on a lap-six restart.

With the race’s first 12 laps slowed by seven caution flags and one red flag, Lathroum found little rhythm. But when the event finally settled down his machine picked up speed, helping him overtake Hills for third on lap 21 and Smith for second on lap 28.

“It was pretty tight to start with,” Lathroum said of his car. “It just wouldn’t steer, but then we found something that started working and it came back to us.”

Lathroum was just over one second behind Francis on lap 44 when the race fell into his lap.

“I was just trying to concentrate on making my car as fast as it could be and hit my marks,” recalled Lathroum. “Next thing I know, I seen (Francis) go up the track. I said, ‘I don’t think he’d do that,’ so I knew something must have broke or he got a flat.”

Indeed, it was a punctured right-rear tire that did in Francis, who started fourth and appeared to have the race well in hand.

“I guess I ran over something during that caution (on lap 42) and put a hole in the tire,” said Francis. “When the car rolled over on the right-rear on the front straightaway on the restart, I knew there was a problem.

“I guess I won one last week (at Missouri’s U.S. 36 Raceway) because of a tire (Brady Smith’s last-lap flat), and now I lost one because of a tire.”

Francis, 41, did make a big gain in the WoO LMS points standings, moving to second place, just two points behind Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va. Richards was involved in a first-lap accident that damaged his car’s nose, but a multi-car pileup on a lap-two restart that caused a lengthy red flag allowed his crew to get him back on the track just one lap down and he salvaged an 11th-place finish with a damaged machine.

Smith, meanwhile, had nothing for Lathroum following the race’s final restart.

“I was tight (handling), so I wasn’t in position to even think about making any moves,” said Smith. “I left the car a little freer than I should have. If I would’ve done a few things different, I think we could’ve won the race.”

The A-Main took over one hour to complete, largely due to a series of wild accidents in the opening laps.

Nearly half the field was involved in the biggest crash, which came on the lap-two restart. Rick Eckert of York, Pa., who started fifth, was pushed high rounding turn four and came together with Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., triggering a homestretch melee that saw Jeremy Miller of Gettysburg, Pa., Ricky Elliott of Seaford, Del., defending WoO LMS champion Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., and Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y., all make contact with Eckert’s sliding mount.

Several other cars were involved in the wreck, including Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., Brent Robinson of Smithfield, Va., and Kerry King of Delmar, Del. But there were no injuries, and Eckert, Lanigan, Clanton and Robinson all returned after pitting – albeit with battle-scarred cars.

Robinson, a 21-year-old Rookie of the Year contender, climbed highest, reaching sixth place before retiring on lap 12 when his car’s bumper bar got into its tire. Clanton ran several laps at reduced speed with a car that was missing its hood and nosepiece, while Eckert and Lanigan salvaged top-10 finishes with hastily-repaired cars.

Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., avoided all the mayhem to finish sixth. Lanigan and Eckert were seventh and eight, respectively, while DIS regular Ray Davis Jr. of Millsboro, Del., placed ninth and Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., who pitted after being involved in a turn-four tangle on a lap-six restart, was 10th.

Just 11 cars were running at the finish, with seven on the lead lap.

Thirty-two cars were signed in for the event, which was threatened by rain. A light shower hit the track around 5 p.m. and radar showed the likelihood of heavier rain coming, but the precipitation dissipated as it crossed the Chesapeake Bay and never reached DIS.

Francis was fastest in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials, rounding the track in 18.982 seconds to pick up a $50 bonus.

Heat winners were Francis, Lathroum and Brady Smith. Jordan Bland of Campbellsville, Ky., captured the B-Main.

The WoO LMS continues this weekend on Saturday night (May 30) at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway and Sunday night (May 31) at Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, W.Va.

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

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

1. (1) Jamie Lathroum/50 $10,650
2. (2) Brady Smith/50 $5,500
3. (4) Steve Francis/50 $3,650
4. (17) Tim Fuller/50 $3,000
5. (7) Darryl Hills/50 $2,000
6. (11) Clint Smith/50 $2,200
7. (23) Darrell Lanigan/50 $2,000
8. (5) Rick Eckert/49 $1,800
9. (18) Ray Davis Jr./49 $1,200
10. (15) Chub Frank/49 $1,700
11. (10) Josh Richards/48 $1,550
12. (13) Richard Jarvis Jr./41 $1,000
13. (3) Donald Lingo Jr./33 $950
14. (6) Hal Browning/17 $900
15. (12) Shane Clanton/13 $1,350
16. (20) Brent Robinson/12 $1,050
17. (9) Austin Hubbard/9 $770
18. (24) Russell King/6 $750
19. (14) Ricky Elliott/2 $730
20. (21) Jeremy Miller/2 $700
21. (22) Vic Coffey/2 $1,200
22. (16) Kerry King/2 $700
23. (8) Ross Robinson/1 $700
24. (19) Jordan Bland/1 $1,200

* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses

Time of Race: 1 Hour, 7 Mins., 46.581 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.595 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 9 (Laps 1, 1, 2, 6, 6, 11, 12, 42, 44); 1 Red Flag (Lap 2)
Lap Leaders: Brady Smith (1-6); Francis (7-44); Lathroum (45-50)
Provisional Starters: Lanigan, Russell King
Rookie of the Race: Brent Robinson ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Jamie Lathroum ($500)
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race: Huey Wilcoxon (Lathroum)

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

1. 19-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 18.982
2. 6-Jamie Lathroum/Mechanicsville, MD 19.015
3. 11H-Austin Hubbard/Seaford, DE 19.017
4. 11J-Richard Jarvis Jr./Ocean City, MD 19.066
5. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 19.124
6. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA 19.190
7. 7H-Darryl Hills/Great Mills, MD 19.210
8. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 19.215
9. 2-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, WI 19.218
10. 55L-Donald Lingo Jr./Millsboro, DE 19.247
11. 19T-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 19.255
12. 100-Hal Browning/Seaford, DE 19.309
13. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 19.336
14. 7R-Ross Robinson/Georgetown, DE 19.342
15. 84-Ray Davis Jr./Millsboro, DE 19.354
16. 12-Jordan Bland/Campbellsville, KY 19.426
17. 45-Ricky Elliott/Seaford, DE 19.435
18. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 19.459
19. KB-Kerry King/Delmar, DE 19.510
20. 75-David Hill/Trappe, MD 19.519
21. 32c-Vic Coffey/Caledonia, NY 19.546
22. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 19.553
23. 56-Russell King/Bristolville, OH 19.603
24. 3-Brent Robinson/Smithfield, VA 19.633
25. 24M-Jeremy Miller/Gettysburg, PA 19.693
26. 20-Staci Warrington/Milton, DE 19.729
27. 18-Dustin Hapka/Grand Forks, ND 19.886
28. 118-Rob Schirmer/Milton, DE 19.946
29. 38s-Kenny Pettyjohn/Millsboro, DE 19.978
30. 80-David Pettyjohn/Millsboro, DE 20.159
31. 11-Tyler Reddick/Corning, CA 20.291
32. 57-Derrike Hill/Trappe, MD 21.159

Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Francis, Lingo, Hills, Richards, Jarvis, K. King, J. Miller, Bland, Reddick, Schirmer, Lanigan (DQ – did not report to scales)

Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Lathroum, Eckert, R. Robinson, C. Smith, Elliott, Fuller, David Hill, R. King, Warrington, K. Pettyjohn, Derrike Hill

Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): B. Smith, Browning, Hubbard, Clanton, Frank, Davis, B. Robinson, Coffey, D. Pettyjohn, Hapka

B-Main (12 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Bland, B. Robinson, J. Miller, Coffey, R. King, K. Pettyjohn, D. Pettyjohn, Warrington, Derrike Hill, Reddick, Hapka, Schirmer (DNS) Lanigan, David Hill

World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:

* Arizona Sport Shirts ($50 product certificate to fifth-place finisher in B-Mains): Russell King
* Armor All (case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main w/decal): Jamie Lathroum
* Champ Pans ($50 product certificate to ‘Bonus Bucks’ winner w/decal): Jamie Lathroum
* Crane Cams ($100 cash award to A-Main winner w/decal): Jamie Lathroum
* Crane Cams ($100 cash award to 10th-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Chub Frank
* Crane Cams ($100 product certificate to Heat 3 winner w/decal): Brady Smith
* Eibach Springs (one free spring to each B-Main winner w/decal): Jordan Bland
* Fusion Energy ($50 cash award to Heat 2 winner w/decal): Jamie Lathroum
* Ohlins Shocks ($50 cash award to fast qualifier w/decal): Steve Francis
* Quarter-Master ($100 product certificate to A-Main winner w/decal): Jamie Lathroum
* Quarter-Master ($50 product certificate to fifth-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Darryl Hills
* Quarter-Master ($25 product certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Shane Clanton
* Super Clean ‘Start of the Race’ (one case of product): Brady Smith
* 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): Dustin Hapka
* Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner w/decal): Jamie Lathroum

2009 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of – A-Mains completed (rank/driver/wins/top-5s/top-10s/earnings/points/deficit to leader):

1. Josh Richards 1-7-9-$50,750-1567 (-0)
2. Steve Francis 3-7-9-$57,230-1565 (-2)
3. (tie) Shane Clanton 1-1-9-$40,500-1545 (-22)
3. (tie) Darrell Lanigan 0-4-9-$54,300-1545 (-22)
5. Rick Eckert 1-4-8-$30,195-1543 (-24)
6. Chub Frank 0-2-8-$24,300-1503 (-64)
7. Tim Fuller 0-2-5-$22,330-1495 (-72)
8. Brady Smith 0-5-6-$28,475-1482 (-85)
9. Clint Smith 0-0-5-$19,430-1431 (-136)
10. Shannon Babb 1-4-7-$42,330-1395 (-172)
11. Vic Coffey 0-0-1-$13,090-1278 (-289)
12. Jordan Bland 0-0-0-$11,700-1175 (-392)
13. Russell King 0-0-1-$10,220-1156 (-411)
14. Brent Robinson 0-0-0-$5,810-1115 (-452)
15. Dustin Hapka 0-0-0-$5,600-1060 (-507)
16. Tyler Reddick 0-0-0-$3,215-968 (-599)
17. Dale McDowell 0-2-3-$12,400-717 (-850)
18. Dennis Erb Jr. 0-0-1-$5,010-657 (-910)
19. Chris Madden 1-3-3-$20,000-615 (-952)
20. Chas Shellenberger 0-0-0-$1,145-600 (-967)

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.