Coffey’s Flat Tire On Final Lap Propels Jeff Smith To First Career World of Outlaws Late Model Series Win At Fayetteville Motor Speedway
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
FAYETTEVILLE, NC – April 17, 2009 – As Jeff Smith celebrated, Vic Coffey sulked.
That was the story of Friday night’s 50-lap World of Outlaws Late Model Series A-Main at Fayetteville Motor Speedway, where Smith captured a dramatic victory at his longtime hometrack thanks to Coffey’s heartbreak.
Smith, 43, of Dallas, N.C., grabbed the lead with the white flag waving when Coffey slowed with a flat right-rear tire, ending the Caledonia, N.Y., driver’s race-long run in the top spot. Moments later Smith crossed the finish line with the checkered and caution flags waving simultaneously to register his first career WoO LMS triumph.
Coffey, who started from the pole position, didn’t make it back around the four-tenths-mile oval to finish the race because he tangled in turn two with third-place-runner Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., while fighting to maintain control of his car. The 2008 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year was scored 22nd in the final rundown after losing his bid for a career-first win on the national tour, while Richards tumbled to a 23rd-place finish and lost the WoO LMS points lead in the process.
“My heart goes out to (Coffey) because I’ve led to the last lap here before and popped a tire myself,” said Smith, whose $10,650 in earnings included 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 standings. “Unless he really messed up bad – and he wasn’t going to, because he’s good enough – there was no way I was going to pass him the way the track was tonight.”
But Smith happily accepted the gift-wrapped triumph, which he secured behind the wheel of Mike Menscer’s Star Leasing Rocket a comfortable distance ahead of the wild, down-to-the-wire battle for the runner-up position.
Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., finished second in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Clint Bowyer’s machine, nipping Chris Madden of Gaffney, S.C., and Dennis ‘Rambo’ Franklin of Cowpens, S.C., in a three-wide race across the finish line. McDowell slipped by both drivers going down the backstretch on the final lap in the scramble that followed the Coffey/Richards incident.
Madden took third in his Bloomquist Chassis and Franklin was fourth in the Barry Wright house car, while Rick Eckert of York, Pa., took advantage of the eventful final circuit to sneak his Raye Vest Racing Bloomquist car into fifth.
Smith, who started second, spent the race’s late stages patiently waiting for something to happen to Coffey’s well-worn right-rear tire.
“During that last caution (on lap 39) I looked at (Coffey’s) right-rear when the lights hit it right and I could see it didn’t have any tread,” said Smith, who ran American Racer tires that were a slightly harder compound than the Hoosiers on Coffey’s Sweeteners Plus Rocket. “I thought he was having trouble after the restart, but I also had a little concern with my tire so I was in conserve mode. I tried to keep a little pressure on him but also take of my tires, and it worked out for us.”
Smith, who won Fayetteville’s track championship in 2007 and ‘Crazy Eights’ Series title in 2008, immediately put Friday’s victory high on his career list of accomplishments.
“This is right there at the top,” said Smith. “Anytime we can make a good showing with the guys who are traveling for a living, it makes us feel real good.”
Coffey, meanwhile, could only mourn his missed opportunity following the race.
“With about four (laps) to go I slipped pretty good in (turns) one and two, but I thought I might’ve just missed the line,” said Coffey, whose fourth-place finish in last year’s WoO LMS A-Main at FMS remains tied for the best outing of his career on the tour. “When I did the same thing again the next lap I knew it was my tire.
“I had seen a few guys bring out cautions with flats, so I figured mine were pretty worn out too. I thought I’d be O.K. because I was keeping the car as straight as I could, but it was bald and couldn’t make it to the end.”
Coffey, 38, felt bad that his misfortune also collected the 21-year-old Richards, whose Rocket car hooked together with Coffey’s as he tried to overtake the slowing machine. Both Coffey and Richards, who started third and ran quietly in the position throughout the event, were left sitting in turn two as the remainder of the field raced to the checkered flag.
Richards fell to third in the WoO LMS points standings, behind new leader Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., who salvaged a ninth-place finish after transferring through a B-Main, and Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., who used a provisional to start the A-Main but managed to climb forward from the 23rd starting spot to finish 13th.
Four caution flags slowed the race, including three for cars slowing with flat tires. The victims were Travis Hair of Fayetteville, N.C., and Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., on lap 34; Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., on lap 37 (as he ran 12th); and Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., on lap 39 (as he held fifth).
Finishing in positions 6-10 was Ricky Weeks of Rutherfordton, N.C.; Randle Chupp of Troutman, N.C., who drove Fayetteville regular Scott Autry’s car; young Chris Ferguson of Mount Holly, N.C.; Clanton; and 22nd-starter Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., who slipped into the top 10 on the final lap.
The only WoO LMS Rookie of the Year contender to make the A-Main was Brent Robinson of Smithfield, Va., whose 11th-place finish was his career-best on the tour and earned him his first $250 Rookie of the Race bonus.
Thirty-nine cars were signed in for the action, which was run before a large crowd on a comfortable, crystal-clear spring evening.
McDowell turned the fastest lap in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials. His circuit of 17.777 seconds earned him $50 from Ohlins plus a $100 bonus from Woodberry Homes in Green Sea, S.C.
Heat winners were Franklin, Jeff Smith, Ferguson and Francis. The B-Mains were captured by Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., and Hubbard.
The WoO LMS moves four to the north on Saturday night (April 18) to contest the ‘Rumble on the River V’ at Virginia Motor Speedway in Jamaica, Va. SPEED’s television cameras will record the event for later broadcast on the cable network.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
Results of WoO Late Model Series at Fayetteville Motor Speedway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (2) Jeff Smith/50 $10,650
2. (7) Dale McDowell/50 $5,150
3. (6) Chris Madden/50 $3,000
4. (4) Dennis Franklin/50 $2,500
5. (9) Rick Eckert/50 $2,500
6. (11) Ricky Weeks/50 $1,700
7. (12) Randle Chupp/50 $1,400
8. (8) Chris Ferguson/50 $1,300
9. (20) Shane Clanton/50 $1,700
10. (22) Chub Frank/50 $1,700
11. (10) Brent Robinson/50 $1,300
12. (15) Brady Smith/50 $1,500
13. (23) Darrell Lanigan/50 $1,550
14. (17) Shannon Babb/50 $1,400
15. (25) Chris Blackwell/50 $850
16. (19) Ray Tucker/50 $800
17. (24) Tim Fuller/50 $1,270
18. (18) Austin Hubbard/50 $750
19. (5) Steve Francis/50 $1,330
20. (13) Clint Smith/50 $1,200
21. (14) Scott Neighbors/50 $700
22. (1) Vic Coffey/49 $1,200
23. (3) Josh Richards/49 $1,200
24. (16) Travis Hair/34 $700
25. (21) Benji Cole/30 $700
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Yellow Flags: 4 (Laps 0, 34, 37, 39)
Lap Leaders: Coffey (1-48); J. Smith (49-50)
Provisional Starters: Lanigan, Fuller (WoO); Blackwell (track)
Rookie of the Race: Brent Robinson ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Jeff Smith ($500)
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race: Team 18 (Jeff Smith)
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 17M-Dale McDowell/Chickamauga, GA 17.777
2. 18M-Jeff Smith/Dallas, NC 17.795
3. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 17.800
4. 19-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 17.825
5. 2F-Dennis Franklin/Cowpens, SC 17.859
6. 44M-Chris Madden/Gaffney, SC 17.932
7. 22F-Chris Ferguson/Mount Holly, NC 18.046
8. 32c-Vic Coffey/Caledonia, NY 18.100
9. 18b-Shannon Babb/Moweaqua, IL 18.130
10. 3-Brent Robinson/Smithfield, VA 18.230
11. 25b-Shawn Beasley/Lumber Bridge, NC 18.238
12. A1-Randle Chupp/Troutman, NC 18.247
13. 22c-Benji Cole/Canon, GA 18.262
14. 9-Ken Schrader/Concord, NC 18.270
15. 1W-Ricky Weeks/Rutherfordton, NC 18.325
16. 27-Travis Hair/Fayetteville, NC 18.335
17. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 18.351
18. 91-D.J. Tyndall/Dunn, NC 18.359
19. 2-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, WI 18.370
20. 11H-Austin Hubbard/Seaford, DE 18.375
21. 12-Jordan Bland/Campbellsville, KY 18.395
22. 0-Ray Tucker/Greensboro, NC 18.422
23. 6b-Chris Blackwell/Grays Creek, NC 18.453
24. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 18.520
25. 19T-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 18.565
26. 11R-Tyler Reddick/Corning, CA 18.571
27. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 18.636
28. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA 18.644
29. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 18.827
30. 5-Scott Neighbors/Spring Lake, NC 18.830
31. 11M-Michael Ray Mason/Spring Lake, NC 18.850
32. 44L-Justin Labonte/Trinity, NC 18.852
33. 360-Craig Shuffield/Fayetteville, NC 18.891
34. d8-Dustin Mitchell/Princeton, NC 19.073
35. 56K-Russell King/Bristolville, OH 19.188
36. 18H-Dustin Hapka/Grand Forks, ND 19.287
37. 4-Lance West/Fayetteville, NC 19.327
38. 56s-Chas Shellenberger/Winfield, PA 19.403
39. 6d-Jonathan Davenport/Blairsville, GA N/T
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Franklin, McDowell, Eckert, C. Smith, Babb, Cole, Fuller, Bland, Shuffield, West
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): J. Smith, Madden, Robinson, Neighbors, Tucker, Schrader, Mitchell, Reddick, Tyndall, Shellenberger
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Ferguson, Richards, Weeks, B. Smith, Blackwell, Frank, King, Mason, Beasley (DNS) Davenport
Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Francis, Coffey, Chupp, Hair, Hubbard, Clanton, Lanigan, Labonte, Hapka
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Babb, Tucker, Cole, Schrader, Fuller, Bland, Reddick, Shuffield, Shellenberger, Tyndall (DNS) Mitchell, West
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Hubbard, Clanton, Frank, Lanigan, Blackwell, King, Mason, Labonte, Hapka (DNS) Beasley, Davenport
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:
* Arizona Sport Shirts ($50 product certificate to fifth-place finisher in B-Mains): Tim Fuller, Chris Blackwell
* Armor All (case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main w/decal): Jeff Smith
* Champ Pans ($50 product certificate to ‘Bonus Bucks’ winner w/decal): Jeff Smith
* Crane Cams ($100 cash award to A-Main winner w/decal): Jeff Smith
* 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): Chris Ferguson
* Eibach Springs (one free spring to each B-Main winner w/decal): Shannon Babb, Austin Hubbard
* Fusion Energy ($50 cash award to Heat 2 winner w/decal): Jeff Smith
* Ohlins Shocks ($50 cash award to fast qualifier w/decal): Dale McDowell
* Quarter-Master ($100 product certificate to A-Main winner w/decal): Jeff Smith
* Quarter-Master ($50 product certificate to fifth-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Rick Eckert
* Quarter-Master ($25 product certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Chris Blackwell
* Super Clean ‘Start of the Race’ (one case of product): Vic Coffey
* 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): Jordan Bland
* Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner w/decal): Jeff Smith
2009 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of April 17 – 7 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/wins/top-5s/top-10s/earnings/points/deficit to leader):
1. Shane Clanton 1-1-6-$32,710-901 (-0)
2. Darrell Lanigan 0-3-6-$44,250-895 (-6)
3. Josh Richards 1-5-6 -$37,250-891 (-10)
4. (tie) Shannon Babb 1-3-4-$33,780-857 (-44)
4. (tie) Rick Eckert 0-2-4-$15,395-857 (-44)
6. Steve Francis 2-4-4-$33,630-853 (-48)
7. Chub Frank 0-1-5-$15,350-849 (-52)
8. Tim Fuller 0-0-2-$12,510-835 (-66)
9. Brady Smith 0-2-3-$14,725-816 (-85)
10. Clint Smith 0-0-2-$11,470-795 (-106)
11. Vic Coffey 0-0-0-$6,530-684 (-217)
12. Jordan Bland 0-0-0-$6,470-683 (-218)
13. Russell King 0-0-0-$6,680-650 (-251)
14. Dustin Hapka 0-0-0-$3,870-615 (-286)
15. Brent Robinson 0-0-0-$2,630-609 (-292)
16. Tyler Reddick 0-0-0-$2,115-552 (-349)
17. Chas Shellenberger 0-0-0-$1,035-525 (-376)
18. Dale McDowell 0-1-2-$10,000-471 (-430)
19. Chris Madden 0-2-2-$9,900-465 (-436)
20. (tie) Dan Schlieper 0-1-1-$5,670-445 (-456)
20. (tie) Scott Bloomquist 0-0-2-$7,130-445 (-456)
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.
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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), 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.