By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
MAGNOLIA, MS – March 29, 2008 – Billy Moyer added a stop in Mississippi to his spectacular 2008 victory tour, hitting paydirt in Saturday night’s inaugural World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘March Through Dixie 100’ at Pike County Speedway.
The sizzling dirt Late Model legend from Batesville, Ark., pocketed $20,150 for his convincing triumph in the first-ever WoO LMS event at promoter J.F. Gasquet’s high-banked, three-eighths-mile oval.
It was Moyer’s eighth overall win of the young 2008 campaign – all behind the wheel of the same Banner Valley Hauling-sponsored Victory Circle M1 Chassis he helped develop – and his second straight in WoO LMS competition. He won the last tour event run six weeks ago, on Feb. 16 at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla.
Moyer, 50, is simply on an incredible roll.
“I’m just enjoying this as long as it lasts,” said Moyer, who leads the WoO LMS points standings on the strength of two wins and a third-place finish in three events. “You just never know what tomorrow is gonna bring in this sport. The competition level is second to none, with so many great cars out here.
“Believe me, I’ve been on both ends of the wave. I’ve been on the top, like we are right now, and I’ve been on the bottom, kicking and trying to figure out how I got to the bottom as hard as I was working.”
The driver known as ‘Mr. Smooth’ led all but one lap of the extra-distance affair. He surged forward from the fourth starting spot to grab the lead from polesitter James Ward of Lettsworth, La., on lap two and never looked back, racing virtually unchallenged for the remainder of a race slowed by only three caution flags.
A three-time WoO LMS champion (1988, 1989, 2005), Moyer crossed the finish line with a 1.045-second edge on 2004 tour titlist Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn. Bloomquist, who started sixth, slipped by Ward for second place on a lap-42 restart but couldn’t summon enough speed in his homebuilt ‘Team Zero’ mount to seriously threaten Moyer.
Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., finished third in NASCAR Sprint Cup star Clint Bowyer’s Rayburn car, just over two seconds behind Bloomquist at the checkered flag.
Ward, a 37-year-old Gulf Coast standout in his second year of open-motor dirt Late Model action, held on to place fourth in Dick Allen’s MasterSbilt machine. He earned the $500 WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ cash 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.
Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., hustled his RSD Enterprises Rocket around the outside of the track to finish fifth after starting 13th, righting a season that he started with DNFs in each of the first two events.
Competing at a track where he was last victorious in the mid-‘90s, Moyer survived an opening-lap scrape with Ward to continue his early-season hot streak.
“The 3 (Ward) got into my left front and I almost thought I was gonna sell the farm and wreck it,” Moyer said of his closest call. “Luckily Scott (Bloomquist) was behind me as well as some other guys who’ve been around the block a time or two, so they didn’t get in the back of me and cause a big melee.”
Moyer escaped the contact and grabbed the lead from Ward. He proceeded to build more than a straightaway advantage by the time the race’s first caution flag flew, on lap 42 for Ruston, La., driver Kenny Merchant’s stopped car, and didn’t have much trouble maintaining command once Bloomquist took up the chase following the restart.
Even while keeping a relatively conservative pace, Moyer kept Bloomquist at arm’s length.
“The track was pretty racy, but the last half (of the race) I was pretty much on the bottom,” said Moyer, whose car was powered by a Clements engine. “I figured (Bloomquist) was pretty darn close to me so I wanted to stay where I thought the traction was on the racetrack. I searched around a little, but I kinda played some defense because I knew the tires we had on weren’t gonna have much left at the end of the race.”
Bloomquist, 44, pegged Moyer’s Hoosier tire choice as the likely deciding factor in the 100.
“We saw what tire he ran and knew he was the only one out there with that tire, (which had) a different type of rubber,” said Bloomquist. “When he fired as good as he did (at the initial start) with that tire, I knew he’d be tough.
“I thought we might have a shot when we started gaining on him in three and four (at mid-race), but we weren’t quite good enough. We gave it a good shot – and I think for the tires we ran and the combination we had, it was a good night for us.”
Moyer registered his record 33rd career WoO LMS victory. Eleven of his wins have come since 2004 when the World Racing Group rekindled the tour – a period during which Bloomquist’s 16 wins leads all drivers.
The one driver who appeared to have an opportunity to battle Moyer and Bloomquist for supremacy was Babb, who recovered from a difficult opening circuit to record a season-best finish.
“I don’t know what happened on the start,” said Babb, who started third. “I got bunched up behind (Ward). Maybe he had hard tires on and didn’t fire, because I kinda wanted to push him down the straightaway. That cost me some spots and I thought, We are definitely in trouble.
“But we come back there with an alright run. It’s been awhile since the last time we raced, so it’s great to get a third, especially behind Billy, who’s been phenomenal this year, and Scott, who’s no slouch either.”
Babb pulled off one of the most memorable moves of the race to seize third place, going to the outside of turns three and four on lap 44 to pass Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., and Ward in one deft sweep. He couldn’t run down the leaders, but his rally spiced up the event.
“The track was actually really racy,” said Babb. “They had a helluva good racetrack, but it was one of those deals where you had to hit it just right to slingshot by a guy.”
Finishing in positions 6-10 were Lanigan, who climbed as high as fourth from the 10th starting spot; Rick Eckert of York, Pa., who raced as high as third; Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa.; 2006 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year Eddie Carrier Jr. of Salt Rock, W.Va.; and Chris Wall of Holden, La., a top regional driver.
Two B-Mains kicked off the second night of the weekend program, with defending WoO LMS champion Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., and John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va., scoring victories.
The night’s wildest moment came on the opening lap of the first B-Main when WoO LMS Rookie of the Year contender Joe Isabell of Pennellville, N.Y., barrel-rolled down the backstretch after a mid-pack scramble caused his JIR Motorsports car to slide sideways and dig into the track. The 18-year-old driver’s completely-demolished car came to rest with its front end over the turn-three wall and its rearend suspended on the concrete, but he escaped the wreck uninjured.
Next up for the WoO LMS is the ‘Illini 100’ on April 4-5 at Farmer City (Ill.) Raceway. The inaugural event at the quarter-mile oval will pay $20,000 to win, making it the biggest dirt Late Model show ever run in the state of Illinois.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
Results of WoO Late Model Series ‘March Through Dixie 100’ (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (4) Billy Moyer/100 $20,150
2. (6) Scott Bloomquist/100 $10,100
3. (3) Shannon Babb/100 $6,000
4. (1) James Ward/100 $5,500
5. (13) Shane Clanton/100 $4,000
6. (10) Darrell Lanigan/100 $3,000
7. (5) Rick Eckert/100 $2,750
8. (9) Chub Frank/100 $2,500
9. (8) Eddie Carrier Jr./100 $2,300
10. (14) Chris Wall/100 $2,100
11. (7) Tim Fuller/100 $1,900
12. (2) Ray Moore/100 $1,800
13. (17) Steve Francis/100 $1,700
14. (19) Josh Richards/100 $1,650
15. (16) Jimmy Mars/100 $1,600
16. (12) Rick Briggs/99 $1,580
17. (23) Clint Smith/98 $1,560
18. (18) John Blankenship/71 $1,540
19. (15) Mike Boland/58 $1,520
20. (22) Rob Litton/57 $1,500
21. (24) Bub McCool/54 $1,500
22. (20) David Breazeale/50 $1,500
23. (11) Kenny Merchant/49 $1,500
24. (21) Brian Shirley/42 $1,500
Time of Race: 38 Mins., 22.106 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 1.045 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 3 (Laps 42, 59, 72)
Lap Leaders: Ward (1); Moyer (2-100)
Provisional Starters: C. Smith, McCool
Rookie of the Race: Danny Johnson ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: James Ward ($500)
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race ($100): Mark Lloyd (Clanton)
Chick Hawk Racing Hot Lap Award: James Ward (half-off tire warmers)
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Steve Francis, 2. Josh Richards, 3. Brian Shirley, 4. Robbie Stuart, 5. Dwight Falcon, 6. Jason Cliburn, 7. Howard Willis, 8. Joe Isabell (DNS) Kenneth Crowe
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. John Blankenship, 2. David Breazeale, 3. Rob Litton, 4. Clint Smith, 5. Justin McRee, 6. Bub McCool, 7. Danny Johnson, 8. David Ashley
2008 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of March 29 – 3 features completed (rank/driver/wins/top-5s/top-10s/earnings/points/deficit to leader):
1. Billy Moyer 2-3-3-$33,300-444 (-0)
2. Josh Richards 1-2-2-$14,800-416 (-28)
3. (tie) Rick Eckert 0-1-2-$8,800-406 (-38)
3. (tie) Darrell Lanigan 0-0-3-$5,800-406 (-38)
5. Chub Frank 0-1-2-$8,450-400 (-44)
6. Steve Francis 0-1-2-$5,400-398 (-46)
7. Eddie Carrier Jr. 0-0-2-$4,750-396 (-48)
8. Shannon Babb 0-2-2-$8,700-390 (-54)
9. Clint Smith 0-1-1-$4,460-378 (-66)
10. John Blankenship 0-0-1-$3,640-368 (-76)
11. Tim Fuller 0-0-0-$3,480-360 (-84)
12. Brian Shirley 0-0-1-$3,600-354 (-90)
13. Shane Clanton 0-1-1-$5,400-350 (-94)
14. Jimmy Owens 0-1-2-$4,300-276 (-168)
15. Darren Miller 0-0-2-$3,600-274 (-170)
16. Rick Briggs 0-0-0-$1,800-268 (-176)
17. (tie) Tim McCreadie 0-0-0-$2,050-254 (-190)
17. (tie) Dan Schlieper 0-0-1-$2,050-254 (-190)
19. Ivedent Lloyd 0-0-0-$1,550-232 (-212)
20. (tie) Joe Isabell 0-0-0-$330-225 (-219)
20. (tie) Danny Johnson 0-0-0-$470-225 (-219)
LISTEN ONLINE: If fans can’t get to a track to see the series, they can experience the excitement of the World of Outlaws Late Model Series 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@example.com.
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by several sponsors and partners, including Advance Auto Parts – the official auto parts store of the WoO LMS – and contingency sponsors Wrisco Industries, Chicken Hawk Racing, Crane Cams, Ohlins Shocks, Quarter-Master, Eibach Springs, Integra Shocks, Jake’s Custom Golf Carts and Qwikliner.