Ferguson Claims First Career World of Outlaws Late Model Series Victory With Dominating Performance At Friendship Motor Speedway
North Carolina Standout Leads Every Lap of Friday’s Inaugural Blue Ridge Bash to Earn Career-High $10,550 Payday
By Joshua Joiner, WoO LMS PR
ELKIN, N.C. – May 1, 2015 – Chris Ferguson finally has a World of Outlaws Late Model Series victory on his resume.
Avoiding the bad luck that has plagued him in a number of past events, Ferguson, 25, of Mount Holly, N.C., led every lap of Friday night’s Blue Ridge Bash to earn a career-high $10,550 for his first career WoO LMS victory in the national tour’s first ever visit to Friendship Motor Speedway.
“It’s awesome to finally cross a World of Outlaws win off my list and to do it in my home state,” said Ferguson, whose breakthrough victory came on the opening night of North Carolina doubleheader weekend for the WoO LMS. “I’ve been close a few times and just never had things go our way. But it finally did tonight and we took advantage of it.”
Ferguson was strong all night in his Clements-powered Longhorn Chassis, setting fast time during qualifying, winning his heat race and leading every lap of 50-lap A-Main. He cruised out front through most of the feature and pulled away from 10th-starting Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., on a pair of late restarts on his way to becoming the fourth first-time WoO LMS winner this season.
Richards, the three-time WoO LMS champion, settled for the runner-up spot, 1.525 seconds behind Ferguson at the finish. Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill., finished third while Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., scored his best WoO LMS finish of the season in fourth.
WoO LMS points leader Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., muscled his way by Steve Casebolt of Richmond, Ind., for fifth on the final lap, stretching his lead in the championship chase to 72 points over Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., who finished behind Casebolt in the seventh. Rick Eckert of York, Pa., and Morgan Bagley of Longview, Texas rounded out the top 10.
Ferguson, a standout regional racer who typically enters a handful of WoO LMS events each season, has had his share of near misses in major events. He’s been successful in WoO LMS preliminary action in the past with three career fast time awards and five heat race wins. But each time his chances of victory all fell short in the main event.
As he closed in on his first WoO LMS victory Friday night, Ferguson feared another bad luck circumstance might cost him yet again.
“There at the end everything starts going through your mind,” Ferguson said. “You start thinking something’s happening when it’s really not. Those last few laps I thought I was spinning a wheel a little bit and thought a tire might be going down, but my crew kept me calm (using signals) down the backstretch and everything went our way.
“To come out here and outrun not only the national guys but all these good regional guys too, it’s awesome. These guys that raced out here tonight, they’re the best in the country. We’ve been close to winning one of these a few times and to be able to finally do it, it’s great.”
In his first visit to Friendship, Richards was among the few drivers able to make use of the 4/10-mile oval’s high groove. Recovering from a poor qualifying effort, Richards hustled his Valvoline-sponsored Rocket Chassis house car forward from his 14th starting spot and took second from Heckenast just after the race’s halfway point.
After falling nearly a straightaway behind during the race’s longest green-flag run, Richards began closing the gap as Ferguson was slowed by traffic just before the 40-lap mark. Two late restarts gave Richards chances to pressure Ferguson, but he couldn’t mount a serious challenge.
“We came here never seeing this place before and I put us behind qualifying driving the wrong line,” said Richards, who with the second-place finish moved into third in the series standings. “We had to dig ourselves out of a hole after that.
“Chris and his guys did a great job. They had the car to beat all night long. We’ll just have to try harder next time.”
Among the race’s nine yellow flags was a caution for a lap-24 tangle between Richards and Casey Roberts of Toccoa, Ga., in which contact between the two drivers turned Roberts’ car sideways in front of the field on the back straightaway. Roberts’ car was hit by Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., leaving both machines heavily damaged.
Due to his actions following the incident, Roberts has been fined and suspended from the WoO LMS effective immediately. The amount of the fine and the length of the suspension have yet to be determined by WoO LMS officials.
Other cautions included an opening lap pileup involving Jordan Yaggy of Rochester, Minn., Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan., and Brian Ligon of Augusta, Ga. After running as high as high as seventh early in the race, Ross Bailes of Clover, S.C., slowed to cause a lap-21 yellow.
Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., briefly held second before his car suffered front-end damage from a tangle on a mid-race restart that eventually forced him to slow for a lap-24 caution. The 2006 WoO LMS champion pitted for repairs and finished 11th in the final rundown.
Leading WoO LMS rookie Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., started third and ran second in the first half of the race, but ended up 12th after pitting during the lap-24 caution with a flat right-rear tire.
After finishing second in his heat race and redrawing the pole for the feature, Kyle Pierce of Statesville, N.C., ran among the top 10 the entire distance until a scrape with the turn-one wall ended his run on lap 45. He finished 16th.
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series completes its two-race North Carolina weekend on Saturday with a $10,000-to-win program as part of Fayetteville (N.C.) Motor Speedway’s Tar Heel 100. Pit gates open at 2 p.m. with general admission gates opening at 3. Visit www.fayettevillemotorspeedway.com for more information.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com. Fans can also follow the WoO LMS on Twitter at Twitter.com/WoOLateModels and Facebook at Facebook.com/WorldofOutlawsLateModelSeries.
Results of World of Outlaws Late Model Series Blue Ridge Bash at Friendship Motor Speedway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (1) Chris Ferguson /50 $10,550
2. (10) Josh Richards /50 $5,650
3. (3) Frank Heckenast Jr. /50 $3,500
4. (11) Eric Wells /50 $3,050
5. (14) Shane Clanton /50 $2,550
6. (6) Steve Casebolt /50 $1,750
7. (8) Darrell Lanigan /50 $2,050
8. (22) Rick Eckert /50 $2,000
9. (12) Morgan Bagley /50 $1,750
10. (15) Dennis Franklin /50 $1,100
11. (4) Tim McCreadie /50 $1,700
12. (5) Brandon Overton /50 $1,600
13. (21) Boom Briggs /50 $1,750
14. (18) Donald Bradsher /50 $950
15. (16) Jordan Yaggy /49 $850
16. (1) Kyle Pierce /44 $800
17. (13) Chub Frank /25 $1,320
18. (19) Chase Junghans /25 $1,300
19. (9) Casey Roberts /24 $730
20. (7) Ross Bailes /21 $700
21. (20) Luke Roffers /21 $700
22. (24) Jay Sessoms /14 $700
23. (23) Brian Ligon /10 $700
24. (17) Tim Allen /10 $725
Time of Race: 41 Mins., 43 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 1.525 Secs.
Yellow Flags: Nine
Lap Leaders: Ferguson (1-50)
Provisional Starters: Ligon, Sessoms
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Ferguson ($500)
WoO LMS ‘Rookie of the Race’ Winner: Overton ($250)
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 22-Chris Ferguson, Mount Holly, N.C., 15.382
2. 29-Darrell Lanigan, Union, Ky., 15.510
3. 99jr-Frank Heckenast Jr., Frankfort, Ill., 15.594
4. 76-Brandon Overton, Evans, Ga., 15.656
5. c9-Steve Casebolt, Richmond, Ind., 15.732
6. 39-Tim McCreadie, Watertown, N.Y., 15.749
7. 5B-Ross Bailes, Clover, S.C., 15.785
8. 281-Kyle Pierce, Statesville, N.C., 15.845
9. 14m-Morgan Bagley, Longview, Texas, 15.863
10. 18c-Chase Junghans, Manhattan, Kan., 15.898
11. 18-Eric Wells, Hazard, Ky., 15.928
12. 101-Casey Roberts, Toccoa, Ga., 15.977
13. 77-Jordan Yaggy, Rochester, Minn., 16.012
14. 25-Shane Clanton, Zebulon, Ga., 16.036
15. 93-Donald Bradsher, Burlington, N.C., 16.041
16. 1-Josh Richards, Shinnston, W.Va., 16.100
17. 17-Tim Allen, Kannapolis, N.C., 16.130
18. 21-Luke Roffers, Concord, N.C., 16.156
19. 84-Jay Sessoms, Stanley, N.C., 16.190
20. 99B-Boom Briggs, Bear Lake, Pa., 16.215
21. 2-Dennis Franklin, Gaffney, S.C., 16.237
22. 5-Ronnie Hoover, China Grove, N.C., 16.244
23. 7v-Rick Eckert,York, Pa., 16.326
24. 4-Brian Ligon, Augusta, Ga., 16.490
25. 1*-Chub Frank, Bear Lake, Pa., 16.510
26. 23-Derek Brown, Rural Hall, N.C., 16.585
27. 22*-G.R. Smith, Cornelius, N.C., no time
28. 31-Bubba McGee, Pinnacle, N.C., no time
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Ferguson, Overton, Bailes, Richards, Frank, Yaggy, Junghans, Hoover, Sessoms, McGee.
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Casebolt, Pierce, Lanigan, Wells, Clanton, Allen, Briggs, Eckert, Brown.
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Heckenast, McCreadie, Roberts, Bagley, Franklin, Bradsher, Roffers, Ligon. DNS: Smith.
B-Main No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Junghans, Roffers, Briggs, Eckert, Sessoms, Hoover, McGee, Ligon. DNS: Brown, Smith.
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners (awards presented to noted finisher/qualifier or next highest displaying decal):
Ohlins Shocks ($50 cash to fast qualifier): Ferguson
Comp Cams ($50 certificate to A-Main winner): Richards
MSD Ignition ($50 cash to A-Main winner): Richards
Quartermaster ($100 certificate to A-Main winner): Wells
Wrisco (three sheets of aluminum/certificate to A-Main winner): Richards
Mobil 1 ($50 cash to 4th-place finisher in A-Main): Casebolt
JE Pistons ($50 cash to 5th-place finisher in A-Main): Clanton
Lincoln Welders ($50 cash to 6th-place finisher in A-Main): Eckert
VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to 8th-place finisher in A-Main): Eckert
Edelbrock ($50 cash to 9th-place finisher in A-Main): Bagley
Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th-place finisher in A-Main): McCreadie
Cometic ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main): Overton
JRI Shocks ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main): Briggs
Superflow Dynos ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main): Bradsher
Quartermaster ($25 certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main): Yaggy
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 16th-place finisher in A-Main): Pierce
Quartermaster ($50 certificate to 19th-place finisher in A-Main): Roberts
Mobil 1 (20 percent certificate to 20th-place finisher in A-Main): Bailes
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 21st-place finisher in A-Main): Roffers
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main): Allen
QA1 ($50 to driver with fastest lap of the night): Overton
Arizona Sports Shirts ($100 certificate to highest-finishing non-WoO driver): Casebolt
2015 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of May 1 – 11 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Shane Clanton 1558
2. Darrell Lanigan 1486 (-72)
3. Josh Richards 1462 (-96)
4. Chub Frank 1436 (-122)
5. Morgan Bagley 1406 (-152)
6. Tim McCreadie 1404 (-154)
7. Frank Heckenast Jr. 1362 (-196)
8. Rick Eckert 1356 (-202)
9. Eric Wells 1340 (-218)
10. Brandon Overton 1302 (-256)*
(tie) Chase Junghans 1302 (-256)
12. Boom Briggs 1246 (-312)
13. Jordan Yaggy 1154 (-404)*
*Rookie of the Year contender
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), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), Lincoln Welder (Official Welder), VP Racing Fuel (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award) and McCarthy’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award); in addition to contingency sponsors: Butlerbuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Edelbrock, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, Mobil 1, MSD, Ohlins Shocks, QA1, QuarterMaster, Superflow Dynos and Wrisco Aluminum; along with manufacturer sponsors Capital Race Cars, Club 29 Chassis, Integra Shocks, Impact Racing Products, Intercomp, Racing Electronics, Rocket Chassis, and TNT Rescue.