By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
PORT ROYAL, PA – June 17, 2008 – Clint Smith brought his recent World of Outlaws Late Model Series struggles to a resounding end as the ‘Great Northern Tour’ opened on Tuesday night.
With one of the most dominant performances on the tour this season, Smith cruised out front from flag-to-flag to record his first victory of 2008 in the 40-lap A-Main at Port Royal Speedway.
“The car was back good again,” a relieved Smith said after steering his J.P. Drilling/Cliburn Tank Lines GRT mount to a slump-busting triumph worth $7,150. “It was just idling around great. Tonight it wouldn’t do anything wrong.”
Smith, 43, of Senoia, Ga., started from the pole position and led the entire distance, but seizing that top spot on the first lap was anything but easy. He was actually outgunned for the lead twice by fellow front-row starter Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., but a caution and a red flag on the opening circuit negated Frank’s passes and allowed Smith to assume command for good when the third attempt to start the race was successful.
No one was able to seriously challenge Smith, who built a full-straightaway victory margin over the Reliable Painting/Valvoline Rocket driven by defending WoO LMS champion Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky.
Frank settled for a distant third-place finish in his Lester Buildings Rocket. Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., improved two positions to finish fourth in the Gypsum Express Rocket – just his second top-five finish of the season – and Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., started and finished fifth in the GottaRace.com Rocket to run his WoO LMS consecutive top-five streak to five races.
Smith credited his Hoosier tire selection with propelling him to his 11th career WoO LMS triumph.
“I was on the right rubber,” said Smith, whose last WoO LMS win was on Sept. 15, 2007, at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo. “Chub beat me the first couple (attempted) starts because he was softer on rubber, so I wasn’t panicking. I figured my car was plenty good and we were gonna pass him back if the race stayed green.
“On that third start, I finally got some heat in the tires. I didn’t spin the tires when I got to the flagman, so I stayed alongside Chub into the corner and I pulled him off (turn) two.”
Smith simply perched his car on the strip of rubber that formed along the inside of the half-mile oval and pulled away from the field.
“We’re usually good in this type of (surface) condition,” said Smith, who finished fifth in last year’s WoO LMS inaugural at Port Royal Speedway. “I could run as fast as I wanted to ride. I just ran three-quarter throttle most of the time. I wasn’t hardly using the brakes in the corner, I was just rolling right through there.
“I just had to watch that lapped traffic, which was treacherous.”
Indeed, Smith’s scariest moment came on lap 35 as he was lapping WoO LMS Rookie of the Year contender Danny Johnson of Phelps, N.Y. Contact between the two cars on the backstretch peeled up the left-front corner of Smith’s hood.
“The ‘Doctor’ (Johnson) was just hugging the bottom so I went to the outside, and then he went straight to the wall,” recalled Smith. “I slammed the brakes on and he hit me. It almost got ugly for both of us, but I know he didn’t hit me intentionally. The World of Outlaws don’t use the move-the flag, so he didn’t know I was there.”
The victory moved Smith to seventh in the WoO LMS points standings. He overtook Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., who salvaged a 10th-place finish despite using a provisional to start the A-Main (he was knocked from the lead in his heat by a broken stud-bolt on his car’s water pump) and pitting on the opening lap of the feature to change a right-front tie-rod that was bent in a scrape with Jere Wierman of Stewartstown, Pa.
“We needed to get a win,” said Smith, whose only previous victory this season came in a UMP DIRTcar-sanctioned event on Feb. 15 at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla. “We’ve been struggling a little bit, so I know I need a good road trip if I have any hope of getting back in the points race. This is a good start I guess.”
Francis, 40, grabbed sole possession of the WoO LMS points lead with his runner-up finish. He entered the night tied for the top spot with Lanigan.
“We had a good car, but it wasn’t as good as Cat’s car (Smith),” said Francis, who surged forward from the fourth starting spot to take second from Frank on lap two. “We were just a little bit off and finished second.”
Frank, 46, wondered what might have been if his intial-start passes of Smith hadn’t been erased, but he still wasn’t satisfied with his car’s performance.
“Maybe if I got ahead of him I could’ve gotten into a rhythm and held him off,” said Frank. “But for some reason I couldn’t steer my car for like eight or 10 laps, so it probably would’ve been tough to stay up there.”
A total of three caution flags and one red flag slowed the A-Main.
Clanton brought out the first caution when he stopped on the opening lap. Subsequent cautions flew on lap four for Rick Eckert of York, Pa., who slowed and then pitted for quick service, and on lap 25 for Kirk Ryan of Lewisberry, Pa., whose strong run ended with mechanical trouble as he ran in sixth.
The red flag was needed for a multi-car tangle between turns one and two on the race’s second attempted start. Lanigan and Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., got together near the front of the field, setting off a scramble that involved Eckert, among others, and left the car of Selinsgrove, Pa.’s Jim Yoder balanced on the side of the Sweeteners Plus machine driven by WoO LMS Rookie of the Year contender Vic Coffey of Leicester, N.Y.
Both Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., and Jeremy Miller of Gettysburg, Pa., lost potential top-10 finishes to flat tires. Richards was running sixth when his car’s deflated right-rear tire forced him to pit during the lap-25 caution period (he rallied to finish 13th), while Miller tumbled from seventh to 15th in the finish because his car’s bald right-rear tire went flat on the final circuit.
Finishing in positions 6-10 were Babb; John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va.; Matt Parks of Three Springs, Pa., who 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 current points standings; Donnie Moran of Dresden, Ohio; and Clanton.
A field of 55 dirt Late Models was signed in for the event.
Richards recorded his third fast-time of the season, lapping the track in 20.052 seconds. He received a $100 bonus from B&B Mulch.
Heat winners were Richards, Clint Smith, Fuller and Lanigan. The B-Mains were captured by Jeff Smith of Blain, Pa., and Jason Covert of York Haven, Pa., who was towed off the track with a broken spindle during a caution period on the opening lap of the A-Main.
The WoO LMS ‘Great Northern Tour’ heads for the border on Thursday (June 19) to begin a three-race Canadian swing at Ohsweken (Ont.) Speedway. Additional international events are scheduled for Sat., June 21, at Quebec’s Autodrome Drummond and Sun., June 22, at Cornwall (Ont.) Motor Speedway.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
Results of WoO Late Model Series at Port Royal Speedway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (1) Clint Smith/40 $7,150
2. (4) Steve Francis/40 $3,600
3. (2) Chub Frank/40 $2,000
4. (6) Tim Fuller/40 $1,700
5. (5) Darrell Lanigan/40 $1,500
6. (7) Shannon Babb/40 $1,300
7. (12) John Blankenship/40 $1,200
8. (15) Matt Parks/40 $1,600
9. (9) Donnie Moran/40 $1,000
10. (23) Shane Clanton/40 $900
11. (11) Rick Eckert/40 $850
12. (17) Jeff Smith/40 $800
13. (8) Josh Richards/40 $750
14. (13) Scott Haus/40 $740
15. (10) Jeremy Miller/39 $710
16. (19) Tim Fedder/39 $680
17. (25) Eric Zembower/38 $650
18. (24) Danny Johnson/35 $630
19. (3) Kirk Ryan/25 $620
20. (22) Alan Sagi/25 $610
21. (21) Jere Wierman/6 $600
22. (14) Vic Coffey/1 $600
23. (16) Jim Yoder/0 $600
24. (20) Waylon Wagner/0 $600
25. (18) Jason Covert/0 $600
Yellow Flags: 3 (Laps 0, 4, 25); 1 Red Flag (Lap 0)
Lap Leaders: C. Smith (1-40)
Provisional Starters: Clanton, D. Johnson (WoO); Zembower (track)
Rookie of the Race: Danny Johnson ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Matt Parks ($500)
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race ($50): Darrell Cooper (Clint Smith)
Chick Hawk Racing Hot Lap Award (half-off tire warmers): C. Smith
Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 20.052
2. 24M-Jeremy Miller/Gettysburg, PA 20.142
3. 19T-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 20.202
4. 18-Shannon Babb/Moweaqua, IL 20.208
5. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA 20.389
6. 5K-Kirk Ryan/Lewisberry, PA 20.419
7. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 20.423
8. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 20.448
9. 99M-Donnie Moran/Dresden, OH 20.581
10. 90-Gary Stuhler/Greencastle, PA 20.588
11. 19-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 20.590
12. 77-Nate Kerstetter/Liverpool, PA 20.609
13. 1W-Billy Wampler/York Haven, PA 20.662
14. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 20.727
15. 15P-Matt Parks/Three Springs, PA 20.770
16. 23-John Blankenship/Williamson, WV 20.783
17. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 20.845
18. 88-Tony Adams/Sunbury, PA 20.907
19. 5W-Waylon Wagner/Lewistown, PA 20.948
20. 91-Tim Gray/Mifflintown, PA 20.981
21. 65-Jere Wierman/Stewartstown, PA 20.989
22. 99-Jeff Smith/Blain, PA 21.015
23. 2J-Jeff Rine/Danville, PA 21.042
24. 43A-Jason Covert/York Haven, PA 21.082
25. 33-Scott Haus/Hamburg, PA 21.100
26. 32c-Vic Coffey/Leicester, NY 21.131
27. 8A-Alan Sagi/Hagerstown, MD 21.165
28. 27-Jim Yoder/Selinsgrove, PA 21.166
29. 32-Colby Frye/Dover, PA 21.190
30. 21d-Dan Stone/Thompson, PA 21.261
31. 70J-D.J. Myers/Greencastle, PA 21.332
32. 12-Devin Friese/St. Thomas, PA 21.335
33. 27J-Danny Johnson/Phelps, NY 21.344
34. 15-Scott Flickinger/Elliottsburg, PA 21.365
35. 8L-Scott LeBarron/Dover, PA 21.367
36. 11-Mike Atherton/Four Loudon, PA 21.417
37. 7-Mitch Hack/Mifflintown, PA 21.456
38. 17-Nick Dickson/Lewistown, PA 221.460
39. 3-Tim Wilson/McClure, PA 21.490
40. 06-Mike Lupfer/Shermansdale, PA 21.498
41. 99x-Steve Stitt/Liverpool, PA 21.510
42. 0-Brett Schadel/Herndon, PA 21.522
43. 32H-Todd Snook/Mifflin, PA 21.628
44. 74-Tyler Hershey/Mercersburg, PA 21.635
45. 44M-Jason Miller/Germansville, PA 21.665
46. 34D-Bob Dunn/Eastwaterford, PA 21.772
47. 49-Eric Zembower/Bedford, PA 21.796
48. 26-Tony Knowles/Tyrone, GA 21.902
49. 8-Tim Fedder/Millerstown, PA 22.075
50. 6J-Joe Isabell/Pennellville, NY 22.085
51. 27s-Bobby Stokes/Milton, PA 22.212
52. 18s-Sean Beardsley/Central Square, NY 22.701
53. C33-Chris Casner/Mifflintown, PA 23.103
54. 27JT-Jack Thornton/Lewistown, PA 23.621
55. 8H-Sheetz McGarvey/Colport, PA N/T
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Richards, Frank, Moran, Haus, Fedder, Wierman, Wampler, D. Johnson, Stitt, Clanton, Frye, Casner, Hack, Jason Miller
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): C. Smith, Ryan, Jeremy Miller, Coffey, J. Smith, Adams, Stone, Schadel, Dickson, Flickinger, Dunn, Thornton, Isabell, Stuhler
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Fuller, Francis, Eckert, Parks, Wagner, Sagi, Myers, Rine, LeBarron, Snook, Zembower, Wilson, Stokes (DNS) McGarvey
Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Lanigan, Babb, Blankenship, Yoder, Covert, Knowles, Hershey, Atherton, Gray, Beardsley, Kerstetter, Lupfer, Friese
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): J. Smith, Fedder, Wierman, Adams, D. Johnson, Clanton, Wampler, Stuhler, Stone, Stitt, Schadel, Flickinger, Hack, Dunn, Thornton, Isabell, Frye (DNS) Dickson, Casner, Jason Miller
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Covert, Wagner, Sagi, Knowles, Rine, Hershey, Myers, LeBarron, Gray, Zembower, Snook, Wilson, Lupfer, Atherton, Stokes, Beardsley (DNS) Friese
2008 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of June 17 – 13 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/wins/top-5s/top-10s/earnings/points/deficit to leader):
1. Steve Francis 1-8-11-$81,450-1739 (-0)
2. Darrell Lanigan 1-5-11-$33,300-1733 (-6)
3. Chub Frank 1-6-9-$34,530-1717 (-22)
4. Josh Richards 2-6-9-$49,660-1699 (-40)
5. Shannon Babb 1-6-9-$46,750-1697 (-42)
6. Rick Eckert 0-4-9-$28,800-1681 (-58)
7. Clint Smith 1-4-5-$24,410-1637 (-102)
8. Shane Clanton 0-4-7-$21,930-1625 (-114)
9. Tim Fuller 0-2-3-$14,620-1565 (-174)
10. John Blankenship 0-0-3-$15,810-1517 (-222)
11. Vic Coffey 0-0-2-$12,510-1303 (-436)
12. Billy Moyer 4-6-6-$70,420-1181 (-558)
13. Brian Shirley 0-0-2-$9,680-1127 (-612)
14. Danny Johnson 0-0-0-$4,820-998 (-741)
15. Joe Isabell 0-0-0-$3,880-953 (-786)
16. Tim McCreadie 0-2-5-$15,850-877 (-862)
17. Jeep VanWormer 0-0-2-$8,070-729 (-1010)
18. Eddie Carrier Jr. 0-0-3-$9,450-595 (-1144)
19. Brian Birkhofer 1-1-2-$12,610-585 (-1154)
20. Jeremy Miller 1-1-1-$14,460-542 (-1197)
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.