• Richards Pockets Over $20,000 For Winning Winter Nationals Finale At Bubba Raceway Park
021713 Bubba3VL

Richards Blasts To $20,000-Plus Victory In Inaugural ‘Super Sunday Showdown’ At Bubba Raceway Park

Two-Time World of Outlaws Late Model Series Champ Dominates Bubba Army Late Model Winter Nationals Finale

By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director

OCALA, FL – Feb. 17, 2013 – Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., closed the second annual Bubba Army Late Model Winter Nationals with a flourish, blasting to a convincing victory in the inaugural 75-lap ‘Super Sunday Showdown’ at Bubba Raceway Park.

The two-time World of Outlaws Late Model Series champion seized command of the event for good on lap 18, steering his Valvoline-sponsored Rocket Chassis house car by Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., in a powerful sweep through turns three and four. He turned back a late threat from Scott James of Bright, Ind., en route to his second win of 2013 on the national tour and a lucrative payday of $20,650.

James battled brake problems in his Warrior Chassis house car over the final laps but held on to finish a WoO LMS career-best second, 3.311 seconds behind Richards. He marched forward from the 11th starting spot to race in the runner-up spot from lap 34 to the checkered flag.

Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., who started fourth and ran in the top five throughout the event, went a bit too hard with his tire-compound selection but still placed third in Larry Moring’s MasterSbilt machine. Rick Eckert of York, Pa., who won the finale of last year’s Winter Nationals, finished a season-high fourth in his Team Zero by Bloomquist car and 16th-starter Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., scored a season-best finish of fifth in his Rocket.

Richards, who started third, ran second behind polesitter Owens until slipping briefly into the lead on lap nine. Owens regained command the following circuit but couldn’t repel the hard-charging Richards, who made his deciding move for the top spot on lap 18.

For the remainder of the distance Richards combined a conservative inside line with some well-placed aggressiveness to spin up his 41st career WoO LMS victory.

“Owens had a little bit softer left-rear tire than we did and we fired off with him, so I felt really, really good about our chances,” said Richards, who one week earlier captured the finale of the WoO LMS ‘Winter Freeze’ at Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, Ga. “Once I got the lead I was just trying to stay on the bottom, rotate and be easy on (the car), but there at the end it just felt like the right-rear got hot. I’d get in there and I’d feel like my right-rear would just slide up the racetrack and I couldn’t hold my left-rear down in the brown like I could (earlier).”

After Richards made contact with Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., entering turn one while lapping the WoO LMS rookie on lap 59, James almost immediately drew close to the leader. But that development prompted Richards to toss his No. 1 to the outside of the three-eighths-mile, D-shaped track’s first and second corners for several laps – a move that allowed him to quickly put several lapped cars between himself and James.

“I was kind of watching their signals a little so I just felt like I had to get back up top to get the speed built back up,” said Richards, who realized that his edge over James had shrunk thanks to help from his crewmen stationed in the infield work area. “I felt comfortable running up there. I didn’t feel comfortable letting off at the bottom and feeling like you’re losing all that time.”

Richards made the right move to maintain control of the race, which ran caution-free from lap 48 to the finish. The circuit’s current points leader wore a big smile when he reached Victory Lane to celebrate his third career WoO LMS triumph worth $20,000 or more.

“I just gotta thank (BRP co-owner) Bubba (the Love Sponge Clem) for putting on this kind of race for us,” said Richards, who dropped off the WoO LMS last spring to compete on the NASCAR Nationwide Series but is returning to the dirt tour fulltime this season while continuing to pursue opportunities in NASCAR. “It’s cool to win the big one of the week.”

{vimeo}59881867{/vimeo}

James thought he might have a shot at overtaking Richards for his first-ever WoO LMS victory when he pulled almost to Richards’s rear bumper with 15 laps remaining, but mechanical trouble hampered his bid.

“With 20 to go the brake pedal started going down to the floor,” said James, who registered his second top-five finish of the Winter Nationals, following up his fifth-place run in Friday night’s 35-lapper. “I lost my brakes – I think something came up and punctured a brake line – and then when (Richards) went around (the slower) Brandon (Sheppard) late in the race I couldn’t get in there hard. I had to turn the car on the gas, and that’s not what you want to do. I had to slow down a lot getting in at that point because I didn’t want to miss my marks and I lost ground to Josh.

“But I’m still excited about getting second. Other than my mistake putting the wrong tires on last night (he pulled off and finished 20th), we had a great weekend.”

Four caution flags slowed the event, all for slowed or stopped cars. Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., brought out the first caution, on lap 26, when he relinquished second place to a blown right-rear tire that would ultimately result in his early retirement shortly thereafter. Later, Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., gave up seventh place on lap 28 due to a flat left-rear tire; Casey Roberts of Toccoa, Ga., slowed on the backstretch on lap 35; and WoO LMS rookie Dillon Wood of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., stopped in turn one on lap 48.

Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., finished sixth, advancing from the 13th starting to earn his best placing of the young season. Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga., maintained the second spot in the WoO LMS points standings with a quiet seventh-place finish; Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., salvaged an eighth-place finish after nearly going a lap down before the race’s first caution flag; Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., was ninth; and Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., rounded out the top after using a provisional to start 24th.

Owens, meanwhile, tumbled to 11th in the finishing order after running third as late as lap 49, and defending WoO LMS champion Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., was never a factor in struggling to a 13th-place finish one lap down.

Thirty-nine cars entered the richest dirt Late Model event of 2013 Florida Speedweeks.

Mason Zeigler, 20, of Chalk Hill, Pa., was the surprise top qualifier in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials. His lap of 13.948 seconds earned him a career-first WoO LMS fast-time honor.

Zeigler also won his first-ever heat race, propelling him to his second career start in a WoO LMS A-Main. His first came just two nights earlier.

Other heat winners were Lanigan, Richards and Owens. Brady Smith and Pat Doar of New Richmond, Wis., captured the B-Mains, and Roberts topped the 10-lap Keyser Manufacturing Last Chance Showdown to earn the final transfer spot to the ‘Super Sunday Showdown’ headliner.

The WoO LMS will return to action with three consecutive nights of action (Feb. 21-23) during the 42nd UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla. The traditional race meet at the Volusia half-mile also includes three evenings of DIRTcar UMP-sanctioned Late Model competition from Feb. 18-20.

Results of Bubba Army Late Model Winter Nationals ‘Super Sunday Showdown’ at Bubba Raceway Park (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):

1. (3) Josh Richards/75 $20,650
2. (11) Scott James/75 $8,550
3. (4) Don O’Neal/75 $5,000
4. (2) Rick Eckert/75 $4,150
5. (16) Chub Frank/75 $3,400
6. (13) Bub McCool/75 $3,050
7. (8) Shane Clanton/75 $2,550
8. (14) Tim McCreadie/75 $2,450
9. (17) Brady Smith/75 $1,650
10. (24) Tim Fuller/75 $2,100
11. (1) Jimmy Owens/75 $1,350
12. (19) Morgan Bagley/75 $1,250
13. (6) Darrell Lanigan/74 $1,800
14. (10) Eric Wells/74 $1,225
15. (7) Mason Zeigler/74 $1,100
16. (20) Brandon Sheppard/73 $1,075
17. (26) Kent Robinson/50 $600
18. (12) Steve Francis/46 $1,025
19. (5) Mike Marlar/45 $1,000
20. (25) Dillon Wood/45 $1,000
21. (18) Pat Doar/40 $1,550
22. (23) Casey Roberts/37 $1,000
23. (15) Billy Moyer/34 $1,000
24. (9) Clint Smith/28 $1,550
25. (22) Ron Davies/8 $1,000
26. (21) Ivedent Lloyd Jr./1 $1,000

* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses

Time of Race: 30 Mins., 39.437 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 3.311 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 4 (laps 26, 28, 35, 48)
Lap Leaders: Owens (1-8); Richards (9); Owens (10-17); Richards (18-75)
Provisional Starters: Fuller, Wood
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: James ($500)

Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):

1. 25z-Mason Zeigler/Chalk Hill, PA 13.948
2. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 13.961
3. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 13.968
4. 20-Jimmy Owens/Newport, TN 13.988
5. 38-Kenny Pettyjohn/Millsboro, DE 14.009
6. 25-Shane Clanton/Fayetteville, GA 14.074
7. 5b-Mike Marlar/Winfield, TN 14.106
8. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 14.116
9. 1d-Don O’Neal/Martinsville, IN 14.122
10. 18-Eric Wells/Hazard, KY 14.125
11. 21-Billy Moyer/Batesville, AR 14.165
12. b5-Brandon Sheppard/New Berlin, IL 14.194
13. 21L-Ivedent Lloyd Jr./Ocala, FL 14.206
14. 101-Casey Roberts/Toccoa, GA 14.235
15. 71d-Ron Davies/Warren, PA 14.242
16. 1×1-Sonny Conley/New Martinsville, WV 14.245
17. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, Ga 14.254
18. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 14.277
19. 25B-Mike Benedum/Salem, WV 14.289
20. 15-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 14.311
21. 57J-Bub McCool/Vicksburg, MS 14.325
22. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 14.334
23. 1G-Scott James/Bright, IN 14.358
24. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 14.365
25. 14M-Morgan Bagley/Longview, TX 14.371
26. 5-Chip Brindle/Chatsworth, GA 14.375
27. 58-Mark Whitener/Middlebourne, FL 14.398
28. 7R-Kent Robinson/Bloomington, IN 14.400
29. 49-Jonathan Davenport/Blairsville, GA 14.422
30. 44H-Dave Hess Jr./Waterford, PA 14.427
31. 11-Pat Doar/New Richmond, WI 14.443
32. 47-Tyler Ivey/Tallahassee, FL 14.487
33. 2-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, WI 14.491
34. 1W-Dillon Wood/New Smyrna Beach, FL 14.531
35. 5L-Jared Landers/Batesville, AR 14.535
36. 21d-Dan Stone/Thompson, PA 14.536
37. 22-Gregg Satterlee/Rochester Mills, PA 14.612
38. 2M-Allen Murray/San Antonio, TX 14.664
39. 48-Tim Lance/Brimfield, IL 14.819

Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Zeigler, O’Neal, C. Smith, McCool, B. Smith, Bagley, Davenport, Lloyd, Satterlee, Pettyjohn

Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Lanigan, Clanton, Wells, McCreadie, Fuller, Roberts, Wood, Hess, Brindle, Murray

Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Richards, Marlar, James, Moyer, Doar, Davies, Benedum, Landers, Whitener, Lance

Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Owens, Eckert, Francis, Frank, Sheppard, Ivey, Stone, Conley, Robinson

B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): B. Smith, Bagley, Lloyd, Fuller, Wood, Roberts, Satterlee, Murray, Brindle (DNS) Davenport, Hess, Pettyjohn

B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Doar, Sheppard, Davies, Benedum, Robinson, Whitener, Stone, Ivey, Lance, Conley

Keyser Manufacturing ‘Last Chance Showdown’ (10 laps – winner transfers): Roberts, Robinson, Benedum, Lance, Ivey, Whitener, Stone, Satterlee, Wood

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): Jimmy Owens
Eibach Springs (one free spring to each B-Main winner): Morgan Bagley/Pat Doar
VP Race Fuels ‘Nice Jugs’ Award: (One VP 5-gallon container to fastest qualifier who misses A-Main): Kenny Pettyjohn
Wrisco Aluminum (3 sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner only): Josh Richards
Armor All (One case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main): Don O’Neal
Comp Cams ($50 certificate to A-Main winner): Josh Richards
QuarterMaster ($100 certificate to A-Main winner, $50 certificate to 5th-place finish): Josh Richards/Mason Zeigler
MSD Ignition ($50 cash to A-Main winner): Josh Richards
STP ($50 cash to 2nd-place finisher in A-Main): Scott James
XS Power ($50 cash to 3rd-place finisher in A-Main): Chub Frank
Roush Yates ($50 cash to 4th-place finisher in A-Main): Chub Frank
JE Pistons ($50 cash to 5th-place finisher in A-Main): Chub Frank
Dominator ($50 cash to 6th-place finisher in A-Main): Bub McCool
American Race Wheels ($50 cash to 7th-place finisher in A-Main): Shane Clanton
VP Race Fuels ($50 cash to 8th-place finisher in A-Main): Tim McCreadie
Edelbrock Manifolds ($50 cash to 9th-finisher in A-Main): Tim Fuller
Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th-place finisher in A-Main): Tim Fuller
XS Power ($60 product certificate to 11th-place finisher in A-Main): Morgan Bagley
Cometic Gasket ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main): Morgan Bagley
JRI Shocks ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main): Eric Wells
Super Flow Dynos ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main): Eric Wells
JE Pistons (one complete set of JE Pro Seal rings to 16th-place finisher in A-Main, redeemable w/next purchase of set): Brandon Sheppard
Klotz Lubricants ($50 cash to 17th-place finisher in A-Main): Kent Robinson
Roush Yates ($50 gift card to 18th-place finisher in A-Main): Ivedent Lloyd Jr.
QuarterMaster ($50 certificate to 19th-place finisher in A-Main): Mike Marlar
Arizona Sport Shirts ($100 certificate to 20th-place finisher in A-Main): Dillon Wood
JE Pistons (one complete set of JE Pro Seal rings to 21st-place finisher in A-Main, redeemable w/next purchase of set): Pat Doar
Roush Yates ($50 gift card to 22nd-place finisher in A-Main): Ivedent Lloyd Jr.
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main): Clint Smith
XS Power ‘Power Move of the Race’ ($60 product certificate): Josh Richards
Roush Yates ($25 gift card to driver who leads most laps in the A-Main): Josh Richards

2013 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of Feb. 17 – 5 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):

1. Josh Richards 732
2. Shane Clanton 710 (-22)
3. Darrell Lanigan 696 (-36)
4. Rick Eckert 662 (-70)
5. Scott James 648 (-84)
6. Morgan Bagley 642 (-90)
7. Tim McCreadie 638 (-94)
8. Tim Fuller 636 (-96)
9. Chub Frank 632 (-100)
10. Eric Wells 616 (-116)
11. Mike Marlar 598 (-134)
12. Bub McCool 596 (-136)
13. Clint Smith 592 (-140)
14. Dillon Wood 590 (-142)
15. Pat Doar 586 (-146)
16. Brandon Sheppard 552 (-180)
17. Kent Robinson 544 (-188)
18. Gregg Satterlee 536 (-196)
19. Casey Roberts 532 (-200)
20. Ron Davies 472 (-260)

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), Gravely Tractors (Official Lawn Equipment), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), Vicci (Official Uniform), 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, Dominator Race Products, Edelbrock, Eibach Springs, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, QuarterMaster, Roush Yates Performance Parts, Superflow Dynos, Wrisco Aluminum and XS Power Racing Batteries; along with manufacturer sponsors Capital Race Cars, Integra Shocks, GRT Chassis, Jake’s Carts, Longacre, Racing Electronics, Rocket Chassis, TNT Rescue, and Warrior Chassis.

021713 BubbaLive3

LIVE UPDATES 2/17: World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘Bubba Army Late Model Winter Nationals’ Night 3 At Bubba Raceway Park

OCALA, FL – Feb. 17, 2013 – The World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘Bubba Army Late Model Winter Nationals’ at Bubba Raceway Park concludes tonight in a major way with the running of the inaugural ‘Super Sunday Showdown,’ a 75-lap event paying a whopping $20,000 to win.

The richest dirt Late Model race of 2013 Florida Speedweeks, tonight’s A-Main also represents the full-fender division’s first Speedweeks show offering $20,000 or more to win in over a decade.

For live updates of all the news, pit notes and results from tonight’s action, click the ‘Full Story’ link below. Be sure to refresh your browser throughout the night to see the latest information.

Josh gets the big bucks

8:55 p.m. – Josh Richards grabbed the lead from Jimmy Owens on lap 18 and never looked back en route to cashing a $20,000 check for winning the 75-lap ‘Super Sunday Showdown.’

Scott James briefly caught Richards in lapped traffic late in the distance, but Richards tossed his machine to the top of the track in turns one and two for several circuits and built up a cushion that carried him to the checkered flag. James settled for second place and Don O’Neal placed third.

A-Main Finish: 1. Josh Richards, 2. Scott James, 3. Don O’Neal, 4. Rick Eckert, 5. Chub Frank, 6. Bub McCool, 7. Shane Clanton, 8. Tim McCreadie, 9. Brady Smith, 10. Tim Fuller, 11. Jimmy Owens, 12. Morgan Bagley, 13. Darrell Lanigan, 14. Eric Wells, 15. Mason Zeigler, 16. Brandon Sheppard, 17. Kent Robinson, 18. Steve Francis, 19. Mike Marlar, 20. Dillon Wood, 21. Pat Doar, 22. Casey Roberts, 23. Billy Moyer, 24. Clint Smith, 25. Ron Davies, 26. Ivedent Lloyd Jr.

Anticipation building

7:40 p.m. – The stage is now set for the 75-lap ‘Super Sunday Showdown’  after the completion of qualifying. Brady Smith and Pat Doar were victorious in the twin 12-lap B-Mains, and Casey Roberts earned the final transfer position by capturing the Keyser Manufacturing Last Chance Showdown.

Earlier, Jimmy Owens drew the pole for the A-Main. Rick Eckert, who won last year’s 60-lap Winter Nationals finale that paid $12,000 to the victor, will start from the outside pole.

The eight-minute horn to line up the feature has been blown and teams are making final preparations for the ‘Showdown.’

A-Main Lineup:

Row 1: Jimmy Owens/Rick Eckert
Row 2: Josh Richards/Don O’Neal
Row 3: Mike Marlar/Darrell Lanigan
Row 4: Mason Zeigler/Shane Clanton
Row 5: Clint Smith/Eric Wells
Row 6: Scott James/Steve Francis
Row 7: Bub McCool/Tim McCreadie
Row 8: Billy Moyer/Chub Frank
Row 9: Brady Smith/Pat Doar
Row 10: Morgan Bagley/Brandon Sheppard
Row 11: Ivedent Lloyd Jr./Ron Davies
Row 12: Casey Roberts/Tim Fuller
Row 13: Dillon Wood/Mark Whitener

Mason rolls on

7:15 p.m. – Mason Zeigler continued his breakout night, winning the first of four 10-lap heat races by 0.304 of a second over Don O’Neal. It was his first-ever WoO LMS heat triumph and marks the first time that he’ll redraw for an A-Main starting spot.

Josh Richards, meanwhile, registered the most dominating preliminary victory, running away with the third heat by a margin of 5.369 seconds over Mike Marlar. Richards’s fast lap of 14.036 seconds was also the quickest turned in the four heats — by over two-tenths of a second.

Other heat winners were Darrell Lanigan, who is shooting for an unprecedented sweep of a WoO LMS tripleheader held at one track, and Jimmy Owens.

After the heats ran caution-free on Friday and Saturday, tonight’s prelim action got started on a rough note. Kenny Pettyjohn, Gregg Satterlee and Ivedent Lloyd Jr. were among those knocked out of the first heat in tangles, and Kent Robinson stopped on the track during the fourth heat to bring out a caution flag. (Robinson is switching to a backup car for the B-Main.)

Complete orders of finish for the heats can be seen here.

Big surprise

6:20 p.m. – Mason Zeigler (below) pulled off the biggest shocker of the 2013 Winter Nationals so far, posting the quickest lap in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials with a lap of 13.948 seconds.

Zeigler, 20, of Chalk Hill, Pa., has shown some decided improvement this weekend. He finished 12th on Friday night — his first WoO LMS A-Main start in seven attempts over the past three years — and qualified 14th-fastest last night, though he was plagued by battery problems the remainder of the night and didn’t qualify.

What has gotten into Zeigler this season? “Austin Hargrove is what’s gotten into me,” he said moments ago while accepting congratulations in his pit stall. “He’s really helped me get better.”

Hargrove is a noted young mechanic who has worked in the past with such drivers as Bart Hartman and Frankie Heckenast Jr.

For full results from time trials, click here.

021713 Zeigler

Looking for a rebound

5:35 p.m. – Scott James and the Warrior Chassis house car team have had been up-and-down like a yo-yo over the first four races of the WoO LMS campaign. After landing the ride in Sanford Goddard’s No. 1G just before Speedweeks, James registered successive finishes of third and 21st last weekend at Screven Motor Speedway, and fifth and 20th this weekend at BRP.

James took the blame for last night’s poor outing. He entered the race ranked fourth in the WoO LMS points (48 points out of first) and looked strong early in the program with a heat win, but he tumbled quickly from contention in the 50-lap A-Main after starting fifth. He pulled off the track and didn’t return, saying an incorrect tire choice left his car so ill-handling that he retired “because I was gonna wreck somebody if I stayed out there.”

“I made the (tire compound) pick,” said James. “I told Sanford, ‘Next time I do that, kick my ass and yell at me.'”

The DNF dropped James to eighth in the WoO LMS points standings, dealing a blow to their thoughts of possibly continuing on the road with the WoO LMS after Speedweeks. The team is contemplating following the tour if they come out of the season-opening swing looking good in the points standings — an occurence that would give WoO LMS regular Tim McCreadie a second Warrior driver to share information with on the World of Outlaws circuit.

Drying out

5:10 p.m. – All dirt Late Models were called onto the speedway about 20 minutes ago to assist with track-packing and the surface is steadily coming around. Hot laps just began moments ago, and officials said all cars will receive two sets of practice because the track is becoming increasingly faster.

021713 TrackPack

Slight delay

4:30 p.m. – It appears that the start of hot laps will come a bit later than the scheduled 4:30 p.m. BRP co-owner ‘Bubba the Love Sponge’ Clem has put some extra water in the surface in hopes of keeping it moist throughout the show, so some additional track-packing is required before cars head onto the speedway.

Havin some fun in the sun

3:55 p.m. – Tim Lance knows his chances of success against this weekend’s stout competition aren’t extremely good — just making an A-Main is good enough for him — but he’s not here to chase the big money on the line. He’s here to have a little winter fun, something the veteran 44-year-old racer from Brimfield, Ill., has been doing during dirt Late Model Speedweeks events in Florida for years.

Last year Lance entered the Winter Nationals at BRP while sneaking off each night from his family vacation to Orlando’s theme parks. This year he’s in Florida without his wife and kids, but the weekend is still effectively part of his winter vacation. Before flying solo from Illinois to Florida on Friday morning (his No. 48 car was hauled to BRP by his friends and fellow central Illinois racers Mike and Evan Fink), Lance spent a couple weeks vacationing with his wife in Paris, France, and the Dominican Republic. He said he plans to take another trip, to Las Vegas, after the Winter Nationals before getting back full-bore to his business pursuits, which include the Digital Copy Systems company he owns.

Lance, who failed to qualify for the first two A-Mains this weekend, doesn’t race too often anymore, but he relishes every opportunity he gets to hit the track.

“My wife said I have to cut back on how many races I do this year — and I only ran 12 times last year,” the approachable Lance said with a smile. “But I’m counting shows like these three nights here as one race, so I should still be able to race some this year.”

FYI, Lance was a star on the gridiron before getting behind the wheel of a dirt Late Model. He was a standout strong safety for Eastern Illinois University’s football team — a 1991 graduate of Eastern Illinois, he was inducted in the school’s sports Hall of Fame in 2000 along with current New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, whose final year as a quarterback there came the year before Lance’s arrival as a freshman — and in ’91 played five pre-season games for the Chicago Bears before being released.

021713 Lance

Another record?

3:35 p.m. – After winning the first two nights of the Bubba Army Late Model Winter Nationals, Darrell Lanigan is in line to add one more WoO LMS record to the long list he established during his 2012 championship season. With a victory tonight, he would become the first driver in World of Outlaws history to capture three A-Mains in as many days at a single track.

Lanigan certainly has to be the favorite tonight considering his success at Bubba Raceway Park. He’s five-for-seven in WoO LMS action for his career here, including single victories in March in 2010 and ’11; the Winter Nationals opener in ’12; and this year’s pair of triumphs.

Why has Lanigan taken so well to BRP? He said the three-eighths, D-shaped track reminds him a lot of Ponderosa Speedway, a track in his homestate of Kentucky where he won often early in his career.

New arrivals

3:15 p.m. – The Bubba Army Late Model Winter Nationals field has drawn four new entrants for tonight’s ‘Super Sunday Showdown’: Jimmy Owens, Don O’Neal and Bowyer Motorsports teammates Steve Francis and Jared Landers.

With Christian Augspurger, Stacy Boles and Mike Hammerle retiring from further weekend action following last night’s program, tonight’s car count sits at 39.

Conditions remain cool here in central Florida with temperatures in the 50s and a stiff breeze, but brilliant sunshine is prevailing. Temps are expected to drop near the freezing point later this evening, but with hot laps scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. and only one division in action the program shouldn’t be in line for an early conclusion.