Clint Smith Snaps Long Victory Drought On World of Outlaws Late Model Series In Front Of Roaring Home State Fans At Needmore
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
NORMAN PARK, GA – May 8, 2011 – Clint Smith couldn’t have picked a better place to make his long-awaited return to Victory Lane on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series.
With a packed house of his home state fans roaring their approval, the veteran driver from Senoia, Ga., snapped a frustrating 122-race winless streak on the national tour in Sunday evening’s 40-lap A-Main at Needmore Speedway.
Smith, 46, assumed command after race-long pacesetter Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y., spun on lap 23 while attempting to negotiate lapped traffic. The remainder of the distance belonged to the Peach State stalwart, who earned $8,725 for his first WoO LMS triumph since June 17, 2008, at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway.
Sunday’s Mother’s Day special marked the WoO LMS’s first-ever visit to Needmore, a three-eighths-mile oval that Chris Hunnicutt built on a portion of the 700 acres he uses to farm cotton and peanuts. The facility opened for business in August 2010.
“It was a super day,” said Smith, who added Needmore to the long list of Georgia tracks that he has conquered. “It feels great to win again, especially because it was right here close to the house. I was like the hometown favorite for these fans, so it was pretty cool to win for ’em. The crowd was just great.”
Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., who was bidding to end his own extended losing streak on the WoO LMS, ran second behind Smith for the final 17 laps but was unable to mount a serious challenge. The 49-year-old standout settled for his second consecutive runner-up finish, duplicating his effort the previous evening at Swainsboro (Ga.) Raceway.
Two-time defending WoO LMS champion Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., finished third, rebounding strong from a 19th-place performance at Swainsboro. Rick Eckert of York, Pa., who scored his first win of the season at Swainsboro, remained on top of the tour points standings with a steady fourth-place finish and Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., finished fifth for his third top-five in the last four A-Mains.
The race’s key moment came on the 23rd circuit when Coffey, who started from the pole position, made contact with the slower car driven by Jill George of Cedar Falls, Iowa, exiting turn four and spun out of the lead. A caution flag was thrown and Coffey immediately steered his Sweeteners Plus machine into the pit area, dejected after missing out on a golden opportunity to record his coveted first-ever WoO LMS victory in what was his 89th career A-Main start.
Smith, who started third but snuck by outside front-row starter Frank at the initial green flag to control second place, was biding his time several car lengths behind Coffey when the incident occurred.
“I hate that Vic got into that lapped car, but you gotta be patient,” said Smith, who registered his 12th career win on the WoO LMS, tying him with Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., for 10th on the tour’s win list since 2004. “These cars ain’t got any bumpers on the left-rear, and when (Coffey) kind of got up under (George) his (fender) flare caught over her left-rear tire. It wasn’t really a big deal – if we had bumpers, they just would’ve bumped and went on. But he got hooked up with her, and that was just a bad deal for him.
“I didn’t want to get tangled up in a crash if something happened there, so I was kind of laying back and letting him race that lapped traffic and I’m glad I did. After that I just stayed patient. I knew if I didn’t get off the bottom, I didn’t think they could pass me.”
With Needmore’s red clay baked hard by a sunny, warm afternoon, drivers had to deal with a line of rubber that formed around the circular track. Smith is known as a master of such conditions and proved his skills again behind the wheel of his J.P. Drilling Rocket car.
“I like this kind of racetrack,” said Smith. “A lot of people don’t, but I do.”
Frank acknowledged Smith’s acumen on Sunday’s racing surface.
“The track was a little challenging,” said Frank, who gained sole possession of fifth place in the WoO LMS points standings with his back-to-back runner-up finishes. “Clint likes this stuff, but it’s not really my style. It’s not me, but we got a good finish out of it.
“I just want to congratulate Clint – he’s a buddy of mine, and I’m glad he got his win. It’s been a long time for him.”
Frank paused. Noting that he’s now riding a 59-race winless streak, he added with a smile, “It’s our turn next, though.”
Ron Davies of Warren, Pa., finished sixth – the highest finish by a 2011 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year contender this season. He earned the $250 Rookie of the Race award as well as the $500 ‘Bonus Bucks’ cash for being the top-placing driver who hasn’t won a WoO LMS A-Main and isn’t ranked among the top 12 in the points standings. The 53-year-old racer moved to 12th in the standings with his run, however, setting him up to receive travel benefits at the next series event.
Finishing in positions 7-10 was Greg Johnson of Bedford, Ind.; Tyler Ivey of Tallahassee, Fla.; WoO LMS rookie John Lobb of Frewsburg, N.Y., who scored a season-best finish after slapping the wall during hot laps; and Fuller, who recorded his first top-10 finish of the season.
Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., saw his streak of six consecutive top-three finishes come to an abrupt end when he retired on lap nine with a rare engine failure. He started fourth and was running solidly in the top five at the time.
Lanigan topped the speed charts in Ohlins Shock Time Trials for the second consecutive night, establishing a new track record with a lap of 15.730 seconds during the 24-car qualifying session.
Heat winners were Lanigan, Richards and Eckert. No B-Main was run.
The WoO LMS heads will next head north for a Mid-Atlantic doubleheader, visiting Delaware International Speedway in Delmar on Thurs., May 12, and Winchester (Va.) Speedway on Sat., May 14.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
Results of WoO Late Model Series at Needmore Speedway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (3) Clint Smith/40 $8,725
2. (2) Chub Frank/40 $4,550
3. (5) Josh Richards/40 $3,350
4. (6) Rick Eckert/40 $2,850
5. (7) Tim McCreadie/40 $2,650
6. (8) Ron Davies/40 $2,350
7. (9) Greg Johnson/40 $1,450
8. (11) Tyler Ivey/40 $1,300
9. (13) John Lobb/40 $1,200
10. (12) Tim Fuller/40 $1,650
11. (18) Austin Hubbard/40 $1,550
12. (14) Shane Clanton/40 $1,450
13. (16) Shon Smith/40 $850
14. (15) Adam Giles/40 $800
15. (17) Russell Brown Jr./40 $800
16. (21) Kelly Walker/40 $700
17. (19) Jill George/39 $660
18. (20) Austin Hunnicutt/39 $640
19. (10) Pat Doar/25 $1,170
20. (1) Vic Coffey/23 $1,160
21. (4) Darrell Lanigan/9 $1,250
22. (24) Duane Treadwell/6 $625
23. (23) Matt Dooley/2 $600
24. (22) Tony Knowles/2 $600
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 13 Mins., 14.410 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 3.734 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 1 (Lap 24)
Lap Leaders: Coffey (1-23); C. Smith (24-40)
Provisional Starters: None
Rookie of the Race: Davies ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Davies ($500)
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 15.730
2. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 15.803
3. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 15.804
4. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 15.863
5. 71d-Ron Davies/Warren, PA 15.877
6. 49-Greg Johnson/Bedford, IN 15.882
7. John Lobb/Frewsburg, NY 15.996
8. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 15.997
9. 32c-Vic Coffey/Caledonia, NY 16.017
10. 26-Tony Knowles/Tyrone, GA 16.020
11. 00-Russell Brown Jr./Valdosta, GA 16.079
12. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 16.092
13. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 16.118
14. 47-Tyler Ivey/Tallahassee, FL 16.185
15. 10-Adam Giles/Moultrie, GA 16.284
16. 11-Pat Doar/New Richmond, WI 16.292
17. 25-Shane Clanton/Fayetteville, GA 16.318
18. 19-Austin Hubbard/Seaford, DE 16.351
19. 99W-Shon Smith/Dade City, FL 16.703
20. 02-Adam Hunnicutt/Norman Park, GA 16.838
21. s55-Duane Treadwell/LaGrange, GA 16.923
22. 22-Jill George/Cedar Falls, IA 17.018
23. 18-Matt Dooley/Brooks, GA 17.301
24. 21P-Kelly Walker/Moultrie, GA N/T
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Lanigan, Frank, McCreadie, Doar, Lobb, S. Smith, George, Knowles
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Richards, C. Smith, Davies, Ivey, Clanton, Brown, Hunnicutt, Dooley
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Eckert, Coffey, Johnson, Fuller, Giles, Hubbard, Walker, Treadwell
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:
Arizona Sports Shirts ($100 apparel certificate to 22nd fastest qualifier): Jill George
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main w/decal): Greg Johnson
Comp Cams ($50 certificate to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Clint Smith
Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th place in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Tim Fuller
Eibach Springs (one free spring to each B-Main winner or next highest w/decal): None
JE Pistons ($50 cash to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Clint Smith
JE Pistons (one set of Pro Seal rings to 11th-place or next highest w/decal, redeemable w/next purchase of one complete set of rings): Austin Hubbard
JE Pistons (one set of Pro Seal rings to 21st-place or next highest w/decal, redeemable w/next purchase of one complete set of rings): None
MSD Ignition ($75 cash to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Clint Smith
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to last-place in A-Main or next lowest w/decal): Duane Treadwell
Ohlins Pole Award ($50 cash to fast qualifier or next highest w/decal): Rick Eckert
Quartermaster ($100 product certificate to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Clint Smith
Quartermaster ($50 product certificate to 5th-place or next highest w/decal): Tim McCreadie
Quartermaster ($25 product certificate to 15th-place or next highest w/decal): Russell Brown Jr.
R2C Performance ($100 certificate to highest-finishing driver w/decal or $100 cash if race winner is using R2C filter and decal is displayed): Clint Smith (check)
STP ($50 cash to 2nd-place in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Chub Frank
Superflow Dynos ($50 cash to 7th-place in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Greg Johnson
VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to winner of Heat 1 or next highest w/decal): Darrell Lanigan
VP Racing Fuels ‘Nice Jugs Award’ (one five-gallon plastic fuel jugs to fastest qualifier who does not make the A-Main or next highest w/decal): None
WIX Filters ($50 cash to 13th-place in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Russell Brown Jr.
Wrisco Aluminum (Three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner w/decal): Clint Smith
2011 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of May 8 – 9 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Rick Eckert 1352
2. Josh Richards 1332 (-20)
3. Austin Hubbard 1304 (-48)
4. Darrell Lanigan 1296 (-56)
5. Chub Frank 1268 (-84)
6. Tim McCreadie 1262 (-90)
7. Clint Smith 1254 (-98)
8. Shane Clanton 1246 (-106)
9. Tim Fuller 1154 (-198)
10. Vic Coffey 1124 (-228)
11. Pat Doar 1096 (-256)
12. Ron Davies 1050 (-302)
13. Jason Feger 1010 (-342)
14. John Lobb 978 (-374)
15. Jill George 964 (-388)
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), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award), McCarthy’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award), Chizmark Larson Insurance, Factory Value Parts and RacingJunk.com; in addition to contingency sponsors Comp Cams, Eibach Springs, JE Pistons, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, Pro Power Engines, Quartermaster, Rocket Chassis, R2C Performance, Superflow Dynos, Wix Filters and Wrisco Aluminum.