Pearson Celebrates $50,100 Circle K Colossal 100 Victory As Lanigan’s Charge From Rear Falls Short
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
CONCORD, NC – March 29, 2009 – Earl Pearson Jr. couldn’t have picked a better place to score the richest victory of his career.
Surviving a leaking right-front tire and Darrell Lanigan’s relentless charge from the rear of the field, the 37-year-old from Jacksonville, Fla., held on to capture Sunday’s postponed Circle K Colossal 100 at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
“This is a dream come true,” said Pearson, who pocketed $50,100 for becoming the third driver to win the four-year-old World of Outlaws Late Model Series event. “Lowe’s Motor Speedway is a special track for me because I’ve spent a long time running for teams from North Carolina, so it feels good to finally win one here.”
Now driving NASCAR Sprint Cup star Bobby Labonte’s locally-based Lucas Slick Mist Rocket No. 44, Pearson grabbed the lead from Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., on lap nine and was never headed. He turned back a challenge from Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., after the halfway mark and stayed ahead of Union, Ky.’s Darrell Lanigan down the stretch to ring up his fifth career WoO LMS triumph.
Lanigan, who pitted to change a flat left-front tire on lap 12, settled for a fast-closing second place finish in his Fusion Energy Rocket after his memorable rally fell short. The defending WoO LMS champion finished 0.670 of a second behind Pearson in the incident-free race, which was condensed to a one-day show because rain enveloped the Charlotte area on Friday and Saturday.
Richards, 21, placed third in his Seubert Calf Ranches Rocket after starting eighth. Defending Colossal 100 winner Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., finished fourth after taking the green flag from the third slot in Dale Beitler’s Reliable Painting/Valvoline Rocket, and fifth went to the 25-year-old Davenport, who outgunned the polesitting Pearson at the initial green flag and paced laps 1-8 in Kevin and Leroy Rumley’s Rocket.
In a race slowed just three times by caution flags – the last coming on lap 53 – Pearson knew the checkered flag flew just in time.
“We had a great race car, but at the end of the race my car got loose and I was like, ‘What in the world is going on?'” related Pearson, whose machine carried an engine built by Larry Wallace and ran on Hoosier tires. “We came to find out the right-front tire had a great big hole in it. When we got back to the pits (after the Victory Lane ceremonies), it was flat.”
Pearson was able to repel a threat from Richards, who slid by Davenport for second and momentarily pulled underneath Pearson on the lap-53 restart. He gradually opened some breathing room when Richards slowed while attempting to lap John Anderson of Omaha, Neb., with less than 20 circuits remaining, but he realized he was far from home free.
“I saw on the scoreboard that Lanigan was coming in a hurry, and boy, I was getting worried about that,” said Pearson. “At the beginning of the race I saw (Lanigan’s No. 29) up there (in third place by lap 11) and I was thinking, He’s been running pretty good, so he’s gonna be tough to deal with. Then I seen him go in the pit area (one circuit later) and come out last, so I had my doubts that he could come from the back on an afternoon track (surface).
“But with about 20 laps to go I seen him back up on the board (Lanigan reached fifth place on lap 71), and he kept climbing higher. I was just praying for no caution at the end because I know he probably would’ve just drove right by me.
“To come from the back like that, he had to have the best car here,” added Pearson. “If a caution came out, he would’ve definitely had the upper hand on me. He was coming, and we had a harder right-front tire so it would take me about three laps to get some heat in it and get going after a restart.”
Lanigan, 38, slid by Richards for second on lap 90 with a door-rubbing inside pass in turn two and needed just three circuits to slice Pearson’s full straightway advantage in half. But just when it appeared that Lanigan was ready to make a dramatic bid for the win in the race’s final moments, he lost about 10 car lengths to Pearson on lap 96 by sliding slightly sideways in turn four while trying to lap Michael England of Glasgow, Ky. He didn’t have enough time to recover.
“We just fell short again,” mourned Lanigan, who quietly accepted his third runner-up finish in five WoO LMS A-Mains this season. “That was the best car I’ve ever had here. We just cut across the center of the corner and pulled guys, but there were a couple of them lapped cars that hurt me and cost me too much ground.
“A couple more laps would’ve been nice.”
Lanigan could only laugh when asked if the outcome would have been different had he not been forced pitside to change a cut tire while running third on lap 12.
“I think we could’ve half-tracked the field,” he said, describing the victory margin he felt was within his reach. “The car was just excellent.”
The race’s three caution flags were caused by stopped cars – WoO LMS Rookie of the Year contender Russell King of Bristolville, Ohio, on lap 12; Davey Johnson of Latrobe, Pa., on lap 33; and Tommy Kerr of Maryville, Tenn., on lap 53.
Finishing in positions 6-10 were Chris Madden of Gaffney, S.C., who lost fifth to Lanigan on lap 71; two-time Colossal 100 winner Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., who started 22nd; Steve Shaver of Vienna, W.Va.; Kelly Boen of Henderson, Colo.; and Jeep VanWormer of Pinconning, Mich., who slipped out of the top five following the lap-53 restart.
The field of 63 cars that assembled for the event featured drivers hailing from 21 different states.
Bloomquist was fastest in the multi-car Ohlins Shocks Time Trials, earning a $50 bonus for his lap of 16.962 seconds.
Heat winners were Pearson, Davenport, Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., Lanigan, Francis and Ray Cook of Brasstown, N.C. The twin 20-lap B-Mains were captured by Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., and Dan Schlieper of Sullivan, Wis.
Will Vaught of Crane, Mo., rolled to victory in the ‘Charlotte 30,’ an inaugural event for non-qualifiers that ended the day’s activities. He pocketed $2,000 as a consolation prize for falling short of the Colossal 100 starting field in his first career start at the four-tenths-mile oval.
The WoO LMS is scheduled to close out its ‘Month of Money’ on April 3-4 with the second annual $20,000-to-win ‘Illini 100’ at Farmer City (Ill.) Raceway.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
Results of WoO Late Model Series ‘Circle K Colossal 100’ (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (1) Earl Pearson Jr./100 $50,100
2. (6) Darrell Lanigan/100 $20,000
3. (8) Josh Richards/100 $10,000
4. (3) Steve Francis/100 $7,000
5. (2) Jonathan Davenport/100 $6,050
6. (11) Chris Madden/100 $5,000
7. (22) Scott Bloomquist/100 $4,050
8. (10) Steve Shaver/100 $3,800
9. (9) Kelly Boen/100 $3,600
10. (7) Jeep VanWormer/100 $3,500
11. (15) Eddie Carrier Jr./100 $3,200
12. (24) Billy Moyer/100 $3,000
13. (19) Dale McDowell/100 $2,800
14. (29) Jimmy Owens/100 $2,600
15. (13) Jared Landers/100 $2,400
16. (4) Ray Cook/99 $2,375
17. (14) Rambo Franklin/99 $2,350
18. (23) Michael England/99 $2,300
19. (21) Austin Hubbard/97 $2,275
20. (34) Ken Schrader/96 $2,250
21. (30) Donnie Moran/95 $2,225
22. (12) John Anderson/85 $2,200
23. (35) Brady Smith/59 $2,175
24. (25) Chub Frank/56 $2,150
25. (18) Rick Eckert/53 $2,125
26. (27) Tim Fuller/53 $2,100
27. (16) Tommy Kerr/53 $2,090
28. (28) Matt Lux/51 $2,080
29. (26) Dan Schlieper/48 $2,070
30. (5) Shane Clanton/39 $2,060
31. (32) Davey Johnson/38 $2,050
32. (20) Casey Roberts/35 $2,040
33. (17) Shannon Babb/23 $2,030
34. (33) Clint Smith/11 $2,020
35. (31) Russell King/11 $2,010
* Earnings include cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 49 Mins., 56 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.670 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 3 (Laps 12, 33, 53)
Lap Leaders: Davenport (1-8); Pearson (9-100)
Provisional Starters: Brady Smith (WoO); Clint Smith, Ken Schrader (track)
Ohlins Shock Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 0-Scott Bloomquist/Mooresburg, TN 16.962
2. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 17.003
3. 20-Jimmy Owens/Newport, TN 17.084
4. b1-Michael England/Glasgow, KY 17.113
5. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 17.129
6. 44M-Chris Madden/Gaffney, SC 17.140
7. 18-Shannon Babb/Moweaqua, IL 17.150
8. 21-Billy Moyer/Batesville, AR 17.172
9. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 17.204
10. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 17.223
11. 17M-Dale McDowell/Chickamauga, GA 17.224
12. 23-John Blankenship/Williamson, WV 17.285
13. 44P-Earl Pearson Jr./Jacksonville, FL 17.285
14. 6-Jonathan Davenport/Blairsville, GA 17.365
15. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA 17.394
16. 22-Randle Chupp/Troutman, NC 17.404
17. 19-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 17.432
18. 2R-Rambo Franklin/Cowpens, SC 17.466
19. 2J-John Anderson/Omaha, NE 17.470
20. 55-Jeep VanWormer/Pinconning, MI 17.477
21. 30-Steve Shaver/Vienna, WV 17.482
22. 07x-Kelly Boen/Henderson, CO 17.505
23. 28-Eddie Carrier Jr./Salt Rock, WV 17.522
24. 53-Ray Cook/Brasstown, NC 17.553
25. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 17.569
26. s9-Dan Schlieper/Sullivan, WI 17.571
27. 101-Casey Roberts/Toccoa, GA 17.572
28. 17x-Jared Landers/Batesville, AR 17.599
29. 3d-Austin Dillon/Welcome, NC 17.601
30. 11-Austin Hubbard/Seaford, DE 17.619
31. 56-Russell King/Bristolville, OH 17.645
32. 2-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, WI 17.17.673
33. 4T-Tommy Kerr/Maryville, TN 17.691
34. 21L-Matt Lux/Franklin, PA 17.707
35. 19T-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 17.710
36. 12-Jordan Bland/Campbellsville, KY 17.732
37. 9-Ken Schrader/Fenton, MO 17.732
38. 18e-Eric Wells/Hazard, KY 17.754
39. 32-Larry Blankenship/Mooresville, NC 17.846
40. 17-Davey Johnson/Latrobe, PA 17.856
41. 45-Ricky Elliott/Seaford, DE 17.924
42. 41-Josh McGuire/Grayson, KY 17.978
43. 16r-Justin Rattliff/Campbellsville, KY 18.017
44. 1v-Will Vaught/Crane, MO 18.037
45. 11T-Tyler Reddick/Corning, CA 18.064
46. 00H-Chuck Harper/Beverly, WV 18.127
47. 50-Larry McDaniels/Mooresville, NC 18.132
48. 99-Donnie Moran/Dresden, OH 18.162
49. 21R-Luke Roffers/Concord, NC 18.221
50. 10-Scott Shirey/Swansea, SC 18.247
51. 18H-Dustin Hapka/Grand Forks, ND 18.355
52. 3-Brent Robinson/Smithfield, WV 18.465
53. 9z-Jayme Zidar/Greenfield, WI 18.502
54. 02-Tommy Weder Jr./Woodward, OK 18.714
55. 07-Brian Ledbetter/Dallas, NC 18.810
56. 16-Daniel Baggerly/Rural Retreat, VA 18.820
57. 75-Petey Ivey/Shelby, NC 18.834
58. 14-April Farmer/Livingston, TN 19.008
59. 6P-Raymond Pennington/Creston, NC 19.158
60. 56s-Chas Shellenberger/Winfield, PA 19.353
61. D8-Dustin Mitchell/Pine Level, NC 19.392
62. 04-Carl Powell/Emporia, VA 19.965
63. 1H-Vic Hill/Morristown, TN N/T (DQ – light)
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Pearson, Anderson, Babb, Bloomquist, Frank, King, Schrader, Rattliff, Mitchell, Roffers, Ledbetter
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Davenport, VanWormer, Eckert, Moyer, Schlieper, B. Smith, Vaught, Wells, Shirey, Baggerly, Powell
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top Transfer): Clanton, Shaver, Kerr, Roberts, L. Blankenship, Owens, Hill, Hapka, Reddick, C. Smith, Ivey
Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Lanigan, Boen, Landers, England, Lux, Chupp, Davey Johnson, Robinson, Harper, Farmer
Heat No. 5 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Francis, Richards, Carrier, McDowell, Fuller, Elliott, Zidar, McDaniels, Dillon, Pennington
Heat No. 6 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Cook, Madden, Franklin, Hubbard, Moran, Weder, Bland, McGuire, J. Blankenship, Shellenberger
B-Main No. 1 (20 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Frank, Fuller, Owens, King, Dillon, C. Smith, Elliott, Hill, Reddick, Hapka, Mitchell, McDaniels, Ledbetter, L. Blankenship, Roffers, Schrader, Rattliff, Zidar
B-Main No. 2 (20 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Schlieper, Lux, Moran, Davey Johnson, Chupp, B. Smith, Vaught, Weder, McGuire, Wells, Bland, Farmer, Harper, Baggerly, Shirey, Shellenberger, Robinson, Powell
‘Charlotte 30’ Finish: 1. Will Vaught ($2,000); 2. Josh McGuire ($1,000); 3. Vic Hill ($750); 4. Tommy Weder Jr. ($700); 5. Eric Wells ($600); 6. Austin Dillon ($550); 7. Tyler Reddick ($500); 8. Daniel Baggerly ($475); 9. April Farmer ($450); 10. Larry Blankenship ($425); 11. Luke Roffers ($400); 12. Dustin Hapka ($350); 13. Brian Ledbetter ($340); 14. Dustin Mitchell ($330); 15. Larry McDaniels ($320); 16. Chas Shellenberger ($310); 17. Raymond Pennington ($305); 18. Carl Powell ($300); 19. Scott Shirey ($295); 20. Jayme Zidar ($290)
Did Not Start ‘Charlotte 30’: Randle Chupp ($250), Ricky Elliott ($250), Jordan Bland ($250), Chuck Harper ($250), Justin Rattliff ($250), Brent Robinson ($250), Petey Ivey ($250), John Blankenship ($250)
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:
* Arizona Sport Shirts ($50 product certificate to fifth-place finisher in B-Mains): Austin Dillon, Randle Chupp
* Armor All (case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main w/decal): Earl Pearson Jr.
* Champ Pans ($50 product certificate to ‘Bonus Bucks’ winner w/decal): Jonathan Davenport
* Crane Cams ($100 cash award to A-Main winner w/decal): Earl Pearson Jr.
* Crane Cams ($100 cash award to 10th-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Jeep VanWormer
* Crane Cams ($100 product certificate to Heat 3 winner w/decal): Shane Clanton
* Eibach Springs (one free spring to each B-Main winner w/decal): Chub Frank, Dan Schlieper
* Fusion Energy ($50 cash award to Heat 2 winner w/decal): Jonathan Davenport
* Ohlins Shocks ($50 cash award to fast qualifier w/decal): Scott Bloomquist
* Quarter-Master ($100 product certificate to A-Main winner w/decal): Earl Pearson Jr.
* Quarter-Master ($50 product certificate to fifth-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Jonathan Davenport
* Quarter-Master ($25 product certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Jared Landers
* Super Clean ‘Start of the Race’ (one case of product):
* VP Racing Fuels ‘Outside Looking In’ Award (free 54-gallon drum of VP-113 or Late Model Plus racing fuel to fastest qualifier who does not make the A-Main if decal is displayed): John Blankenship
* Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner w/decal): Earl Pearson Jr.
2009 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of March 29 – 5 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/wins/top-5s/top-10s/earnings/points/deficit to leader):
1. Josh Richards 1-4-5-$29,550-643 (-0)
2. Darrell Lanigan 0-3-5-$39,350-635 (-8)
3. Steve Francis 2-4-4-$30,100-621 (-22)
4. Shane Clanton 0-0-4-$10,410-619 (-24)
5. Shannon Babb 1-2-3-$27,830-595 (-48)
6. Tim Fuller 0-0-2-$8,840-591 (-52)
7. (tie) Rick Eckert 0-1-2-$10,195-587 (-56)
7. (tie) Chub Frank 0-1-3-$10,850-587 (-56)
9. Brady Smith 0-2-3-$11,075-568 (-75)
10. Clint Smith 0-0-2-$7,970-559 (-84)
11. Jordan Bland 0-0-0-$3,590-496 (-147)
12. (tie) Dustin Hapka 0-0-0-$3,400-465 (-178)
12. (tie) Russell King 0-0-0-$4,820-465 (-178)
14. Vic Coffey 0-0-0-$5,250-460 (-183)
15. (tie) Dan Schlieper 0-1-1-$5,670-445 (-198)
15. (tie) Scott Bloomquist 0-0-2-$7,130-445 (-198)
17. Billy Moyer 0-1-2-$8,000-434 (-209)
18. Brent Robinson 0-0-0-$1,180-406 (-237)
19. Tyler Reddick 0-0-0-$1,780-402 (-241)
20. Tommy Weder Jr. 0-0-0-$2,860-382 (-261)
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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.