By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
LINCOLN, IL – May 18, 2008 – Turnabout is fair play.
Chub Frank got the better of Josh Richards on Sunday night, holding off the 20-year-old sensation to capture the ‘Land of Lincoln 40’ before a standing-room-only crowd at Lincoln Speedway.
It was the first World of Outlaws Late Model Series victory of 2008 for Bear Lake, Pa.’s Frank, who two nights earlier watched Richards pass him late in the distance to win the tour’s 50-lap A-Main at Attica (Ohio) Raceway Park.
“I wasn’t giving up the top this time,” said a smiling Frank, recalling Richards’s high-side pass at Attica. “Losing two nights in a row would’ve been real tough to take.”
Frank, 46, led the race from flag-to-flag after starting from the outside pole in the Lester Buildings Rocket car he calls ‘Old Faithful’ – the same 2006-vintage machine that he flipped last month at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., and has since repaired. He survived an early-race scrape with Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., and heavy pressure from Richards to pocket the top prize of $7,150.
“I’m happy to have it back,” Frank said of his favorite car. “It’s still gonna need a little work – it’s not quite the same as it was before – but it got the job done.”
Richards settled for second place in his Seubert Calf Ranches Rocket, crossing the finish line a couple car lengths behind Frank.
Defending WoO LMS champion Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., finished third in Dale Beitler’s Rocket after starting sixth, driving what he called “probably the third-best car on the track.” He maintained his tour points lead with the run.
Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., finished fourth in the gottarace.com Rocket, salvaging what started off as a miserable night. He was involved in a heat-race accident that forced him to the pit area with a bent spindle, but he returned and rallied from the rear of the field to qualify through the prelim and then charged forward from the 14th starting spot to claim his third consecutive top-five finish.
Rick Eckert of York, Pa., completed the top five in Raye Vest’s GRT mount.
The battle for the win boiled down to a virtual replay of the event at Attica, with Frank setting the pace from the initial green flag and Richards stalking him as the race wound down. Richards reached second when he passed polesitter Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., on a lap-14 restart.
“It was almost like déjà vu again from Friday night,” said Richards, who started fourth. “Chub was up top, and I was underneath him, underneath him, trying to pass him.”
Frank actually didn’t feel very confident about his chances of repelling Richards.
“He was faster than I was,” Frank said of Richards. “I figured I had a bad car even before they dropped the green. When I was trying to warm the tires up, it didn’t feel good.
“I thought (Richards) was just gonna drive around me on the outside of (turns) one and two because I was so slow down there. But everybody was slow down there because it was so slick, so I was better off than I had expected to be.”
Richards made several strong bids for the lead, including one run off turn four on lap 30 that saw him fall inches short of nipping Frank at the start/finish line. But Frank had too much momentum off the outside and maintained command.
“The top had a rough spot (in turn four) where you could just gas it up hard and come off the corner hard, but it was a handful to drive,” said Frank. “It would shoot the thing up in the air, but it was fast. I just kept it up there and kept my speed up.”
“I felt like my car was real maneuverable, but I couldn’t quite clear him,” said Richards. “One time I thought I had him. I was clear up beside him, and I think if I was just another six inches farther ahead, I could’ve beat him down into one. But there was just enough room where he could still come down and keep me behind him.”
The outcome might have been decided in Frank’s favor when the race’s second and final caution flag flew on lap 36, for last year’s Lincoln WoO LMS winner Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., who was running fourth when he terminally damaged his car’s nosepiece by clipping an inside marker tire in turns one and two. The slowdown kept Frank out of heavy lapped traffic – and left Richards with a restart he didn’t want
“I knew he was a little bit softer tire on the left-rear (tire) and he fired a little bit better on the restart,” said Richards. “I probably would’ve been better off without it.”
Nevertheless, a runner-up finish at the tight, quarter-mile oval put a smile on Richards’s face.
“I feel like I won it,” said Richards. “A track like this normally isn’t my kind of deal. I was just hoping for at least a top 10 tonight.”
Frank’s first-ever triumph in the state of Illinois didn’t come without a dose of controversy. He was involved in an incident on lap 14 that sent Erb spinning into the infield entering turn one.
Erb, who won the UMP DIRTcar Summernationals and Super Late Model national titles as well as two WoO LMS events in 2008, had caught Frank and was making a bid for the lead when the contact occurred. He nosed underneath Frank just past the starter’s stand and went sideways a split second later.
A caution flag flew and Erb restarted at the rear of the field. He pulled alongside Frank during the caution period to make known his displeasure with the turn of events.
“I never seen him,” Frank said of the tangle with Erb. “He said I should’ve seen him, but he has to understand a few things: my car was rocking up, plus I was off the edge of the banking. And I wear a head-and-neck restraint, so I’m not real mobile turning my head.”
Ironically, Frank’s 14th career WoO LMS victory came exactly one year to the day since he captured his first win of the 2007 season, at I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, Mich. He went on to win a series-best six A-Mains last season.
Frank also moved into a tie for second in the WoO LMS points standings with Lanigan, just six points behind Francis. He was the runner-up in last year’s points race.
Finishing in positions 6-10 was Clanton, who faded from serious contention after sealing up his tires; Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa; Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y.; 19th-starter Jeep VanWormer of Pinconning, Mich.; and Wes Steidinger of Fairbury, Ill., who earned the $500 WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ prize for being the highest-finishing driver who hasn’t won a tour A-Main and wasn’t ranked among the top-12 in the points standings.
Forty-three cars were entered in the event, which was run on a cool, clear spring evening.
Heat winners were Erb, Frank, Francis and Richards. The B-Mains were captured by Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., and Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y.
Daren Friedman of Forest, Ill., rode out the night’s roughest accident, rolling his car once on the homestretch after tangling with Nick Bauman of New Berlin, Ill., during the third heat. He emerged from his car uninjured.
The WoO LMS will have the Memorial Day holiday weekend off and then return to action with an East Coast doubleheader on Thurs., May 29, at Delaware International Speedway in Delmar, Del., and Sat., May 31, at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway.
Results of WoO Late Model Series ‘Land of Lincoln 40’ (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (2) Chub Frank/40 $7,150
2. (4) Josh Richards/40 $3,600
3. (6) Steve Francis/40 $2,000
4. (14) Darrell Lanigan/40 $1,700
5. (5) Rick Eckert/40 $1,500
6. (1) Shane Clanton/40 $1,300
7. (13) Brian Birkhofer/40 $1,200
8. (15) Tim McCreadie/40 $1,100
9. (19) Jeep VanWormer/40 $1,000
10. (8) Wes Steidinger/40 $1,400
11. (12) Shannon Babb/40 $850
12. (24) John Blankenship/40 $800
13. (23) Clint Smith/40 $750
14. (20) Jason Feger/40 $740
15. (21) Vic Coffey/40 $960
16. (22) Michael Kloos/40 $680
17. (7) Matt Taylor/40 $650
18. (18) Tim Fuller/40 $630
19. (3) Dennis Erb Jr./40 $620
20. (25) Donny Walden/40 $610
21. (11) Brian Shirley/36 $600
22. (10) Tim Lance/25 $600
23. (16) Terry Casey/22 $600
24. (9) Eric Smith/3 $600
25. (17) Brady Smith/0 $600
Yellow Flags: 2 (Laps 14, 36)
Lap Leaders: Frank (1-40)
Provisional Starters: C. Smith, Blankenship (WoO); Walden (track)
Rookie of the Race: Vic Coffey ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Wes Steidinger ($500)
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race ($50): Brad Baum (Frank)
Chick Hawk Racing Hot Lap Award (half-off tire warmers): Frank
Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA 13.498
2. J1-Wes Steidinger/Fairbury, IL 13.594
3. 19-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 13.707
4. 18-Shannon Babb/Moweaqua, IL 13.741
5. 28-Dennis Erb Jr./Carpentersville, IL 13.764
6. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 13.778
7. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 13.796
8. 3L-Matt Taylor/Springfield, IL 13.817
9. 9-Eric Smith/Bloomington, IL 13.890
10. 75-Tim Lance/Peoria, IL 13.918
11. 83-Scott Bull/Fairbury, IL 13.963
12. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 14.022
13. 2-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, WI 14.124
14. 9z-Jayme Zidar/Greenfield, WI 14.145
15. 3s-Brian Shirley/Chatham, IL 14.185
16. 99Jr.-Frank Heckenast Jr./Orland Park, IL 14.202
17. 15b-Brian Birkhofer/Muscatine, IA 14.209
18. 23-John Blankenship/Williamson, WV 14.223
19. 89-Daren Friedman/Forest, IL 14.244
20. 1W-Donny Walden/Towanda, IL 14.258
21. 5s-Steve Sheppard Jr./New Berlin, IL 14.371
22. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 14.394
23. 35-Derek Chandler/Pontiac, IL 14.436
24. 42-Terry Casey/New London, WI 14.539
25. 55-Jeep VanWormer/Pinconning, MI 14.591
26. 11d-Brian Diveley/Springfield, IL 14.592
27. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 14.605
28. 19T-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 14.643
29. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 14.705
30. 32c-Vic Coffey/Leicester, NY 14.716
31. 6K-Michael Kloos/Trenton, IL 14.723
32. 25F-Jason Feger/Bloomington, IL 14.824
33. 18T-Shane Tomlin/Virden, IL 14.970
34. 27J-Danny Johnson/Phelps, NY 15.062
35. 22-Chris Dick/Deland, IL 15.122
36. 99J-Jimmy Dehm/Lexington, IL 15.159
37. 6J-Joe Isabell/Pennellville, NY 15.281
38. 18s-Sean Beardsley/Central Square, NY 15.331
39. B1-Nick Bauman/New Berlin, IL 15.512
40. 17B-Matt Beadles/Clinton, IL 16.197
41. B5-Brandon Sheppard/New Berlin, IL N/T
42. 38L-Ryan Little/Springfield, IL N/T
43. 24U-Ryan Unzicker/El Paso, IL N/T
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Erb, Clanton, E. Smith, Birkhofer, VanWormer, B. Smith, B. Sheppard, C. Smith, Isabell, Tomlin, S. Sheppard
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Frank, Steidinger, Lance, Lanigan, Coffey, Blankenship, D. Johnson, Little, Beardsley, Zidar, Diveley
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Francis, Eckert, Shirley, McCreadie, Kloos, Bull, Dick, Chandler, Friedman, Bauman (DNS) Unzicker
Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Richards, Taylor, Babb, Casey, Fuller, Feger, Heckenast, Beadles, Walden, Dehm
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): B. Smith, VanWormer, Coffey, S. Sheppard, Blankenship, Diveley, C. Smith, D. Johnson, Little, Zidar, Isabell, B. Sheppard, Beardsley, Tomlin
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Fuller, Feger, Kloos, Dick, Heckenast, Bull, Chandler, Walden, Beadles, Dehm (DNS) Friedman, Bauman, Unzicker
2008 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of May 18 – 11 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/wins/top-5s/top-10s/earnings/points/deficit to leader):
1. Steve Francis 1-6-9-$74,850-1449 (-0)
2. (tie) Chub Frank 1-5-7-$31,430-1443 (-6)
2. (tie) Darrell Lanigan 0-3-9-$21,650-1443 (-6)
4. Josh Richards 2-6-8 -$47,510-1439 (-10)
5. Rick Eckert 0-4-8-$26,250-1415 (-34)
6. Shannon Babb 1-5-7-$40,350-1413 (-36)
7. (tie) Shane Clanton 0-4-5-$19,730-1361 (-88)
7. (tie) Clint Smith 0-3-4-$16,260-1361 (-88)
9. Tim Fuller 0-1-2-$11,870-1295 (-154)
10. John Blankenship 0-0-2-$13,810-1263 (-186)
11. Billy Moyer 4-6-6-$70,420-1181 (-268)
12. Brian Shirley 0-0-2-$9,680-1127 (-322)
13. Vic Coffey 0-0-1-$10,460-1065 (-384)
14. Danny Johnson 0-0-0-$3,490-776 (-673)
15. Joe Isabell 0-0-0-$3,070-772 (-677)
16. Tim McCreadie 0-1-4-$13,850-737 (-712)
17. Jeep VanWormer 0-0-2-$8,070-729 (-720)
18. Eddie Carrier Jr. 0-0-3-$9,450-595 (-854)
19. Brian Birkhofer 1-1-2-$12,610-585 (-864)
20. Darren Miller 0-0-4-$6,800-538 (-911)
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 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.