Eckert Enjoys Unique ‘Lone Star 50’ Victory Lane Celebration At Battleground Speedway
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
HIGHLANDS, TX – March 26, 2010 – Rick Eckert found the smoothest path to Victory Lane on Friday night at Battleground Speedway.
And with that came a coveted post-race visit with Hondo.
Eckert, 44, of York, Pa., turned back all challengers to score a flag-to-flag triumph in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘Lone Star 50,’ earning himself a photo opportunity atop a 1,300-pound Texas Longhorn.
“I’ve never even rode a horse, so that thing’s big for me,” Eckert said after climbing on Hondo’s ample back to celebrate his first WoO LMS victory of 2010. “I’m not really the farmer type, and that thing was huge. Those horns are probably four-foot apiece so it was a little scary, but I’m happy to get up on him after a win.”
Eckert was virtually flawless in the second annual WoO LMS event at the four-tenths-mile oval outside Houston, leading the 50-lap A-Main from start-to-finish after taking the green flag from the outside pole. But he was threatened several times by Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., and had to survive seven caution flags in the hardscrabble race, adding a hefty degree of difficulty to his performance in the York Excavating/J&K Salvage Team Zero by Bloomquist car.
“It wasn’t easy at all,” said Eckert, who earned $10,575 for his 20th career win on the WoO LMS. “We were fighting the whole way.”
Eckert finally gained some breathing room following the race’s final restart on lap 37, pulling away to cross the finish line 3.540 seconds ahead of Union, Ky.’s Darrell Lanigan. Lanigan, who started fourth, never got a sniff of Eckert’s exhaust, reaching second place only on lap 48 when he steered his Rocket car by Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del.
The 18-year-old Hubbard settled for third place, giving the 2010 Rookie of the Year contender three consecutive top-three finishes in Dale Beitler’s Rocket No. 19. Fuller, who started from the pole position, slipped to fourth in the finishing order after his Gypsum Express Rocket was slowed late in the distance by a deflating right-front tire, and three-time WoO LMS champion Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., advanced from the 19th starting spot to complete the top five in his Victory Circle machine.
Racing out front was key for Eckert, who used much of the wide racing surface to find the best route around the choppy clay.
“Getting the lead was beneficial to the line I ran through (turns) one and two,” said Eckert, whose car was powered by a Jay Dickens engine. “I ran an unorthodox line, but it worked for me. I turned early on the straightaway and went straight across the apex through the holes, and then turned after the holes so I could exit. I made a lot of time through one and two staying off that bottom.”
Lanigan, 39, didn’t feel like he had anything for Eckert, who became the fifth different winner in as many WoO LMS A-Mains this season.
“We had a good car,” said Lanigan, who registered his third straight top-five finish. “But (Eckert’s) car was a lot more stable. We were just way too tight.”
Hubbard also bowed to Eckert’s superiority.
“I think Eckert definitely had it going on – nobody had much for him,” said Hubbard, who reached second place following the lap-37 restart. “I made a couple mistakes at the end, and a couple at the beginning, and a couple in the middle, but I think we had a good run and I’m happy with it.”
Despite the rash of seven caution flags between laps 15 and 37, only one was triggered by a multi-car incident. That came on lap 21 when Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., Keith Foss of Winona, Minn., and April Farmer of Livingston, Tenn., tangled in turn four.
The other caution flags were caused by slowing machines – Kenny Merchant of Ruston, La. (lap 15), Foss (lap 18), Wendell Wallace of Batesville, Ark. (lap 26), Tony Knowles of Tyrone, Ga. (lap 36) and Russell King of Bristolville, Ohio (lap 37) – and a single-car spin by Rob Litton of Alexandria, La., on lap 30.
Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., finished sixth after Moyer, who failed to qualify through a heat after losing four spots when he half-spun through the infield while leading, knocked him from the top five on lap 40, and Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, was seventh after starting 17th.
Defending WoO LMS champion and current points leader Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., finished eighth after running as high as fourth. He was blessed with good luck on lap 36 when the caution flag for Knowles’s woes flew seconds before Richards spun off turn two, allowing Richards to remain in his running position.
Rounding out the top 10 was Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., and Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., who briefly topped out at second place on lap 18 before falling from contention.
Thirty-three cars were signed in for the evening’s action.
Brady Smith registered the fastest lap in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials, blistering the black-clay track in 15.549 seconds. He became the first driver this season with two quickest-qualifier nods.
Heat winners were Brady Smith, Lanigan, Fuller and Eckert. The B-Mains were captured by Birkhofer and Wallace.
Time trials were marred by a wild accident involving WoO LMS Rookie of the Year candidate Jill George of Cedar Falls, Iowa, whose car slammed the outside wall in turn three on her second lap due to an apparent loss of brakes and then flipped into the catch fence. Her machine came to rest tangled in the fencing, hanging precariously on its side above the guardrail.
George was able to climb out of the car and walk to the ambulance, but she was transported to a local hospital for treatment of a deep cut on her left elbow.
The WoO LMS moves just over 200 miles to the north on Saturday night (March 27) to completes its Texas doubleheader at Lone Star Speedway in Kilgore. A 50-lap A-Main paying $10,000 to win will top the tour’s first visit since 2004 to the half-mile oval.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
Results of WoO Late Model Series ‘Lone Star 50’ (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (2) Rick Eckert/50 $10,575
2. (4) Darrell Lanigan/50 $5,600
3. (6) Austin Hubbard/50 $3,750
4. (1) Tim Fuller/50 $3,000
5. (19) Billy Moyer/50 $2,150
6. (11) Tim McCreadie/50 $1,800
7. (17) Brian Birkhofer/50 $1,400
8. (8) Josh Richards/50 $1,900
9. (10) Clint Smith/50 $1,700
10. (3) Steve Francis/50 $1,700
11. (7) Brady Smith/50 $1,600
12. (5) Shane Clanton/50 $1,500
13. (13) Kyle Cummings/50 $1,450
14. (16) Russell King/50 $1,400
15. (20) Rob Litton/48 $850
16. (9) Chub Frank/43 $1,300
17. (15) Tony Knowles/35 $770
18. (12) Jack Sullivan/32 $750
19. (18) Wendell Wallace/29 $730
20. (24) April Farmer/24 $700
21. (14) Keith Foss/20 $700
22. (21) Kenny Merchant/13 $700
23. (23) Brent Robinson/2 $1,225
24. (22) Kevin Sitton/1 $700
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 33 Mins., 53.124 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 3.540 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 7 (Laps 15, 18, 21, 26, 30, 36, 37)
Lap Leaders: Eckert (1-50)
Provisional Starters: Robinson, Farmer
Rookie of the Race: Hubbard ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Cummings ($500)
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 2-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, WI 15.549
2. 21-Billy Moyer/Batesville, AR 15.585
3. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 15.602
4. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 15.660
5. R5-Kyle Cummings/Sibley, LA 15.693
6. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 15.700
7. 19H-Austin Hubbard/Seaford, DE 15.713
8. 1-Jack Sullivan/Greenbrier, AR 15.748
9. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 15.760
10. 15b-Brian Birkhofer/Muscatine, IA 15.873
11. 26-Tony Knowles/Tyrone, GA 15.893
12. 56-Russell King/Bristolville, OH 15.909
13. 21b-Chris Brown/Cleveland, TX 15.930
14. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 15.936
15. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 15.946
16. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA 15.975
17. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 15.997
18. 15-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 16.027
19. 88-Wendell Wallace/Batesville, AR 16.055
20. 16-Brian Nuttal Jr./Claxton, GA 16.061
21. C28-Kenny Merchant/Ruston, LA 16.061
22. 95-Keith Foss/Winona, MN 16.071
23. 6x-Rob Litton/Alexandria, LA 16.200
24. 20-Kevin Sitton/Baytown, TX 16.219
25. 1b-Douglas Begnaud/Cyprus, TX 16.372
26. 14-April Farmer/Livingston, TN 16.383
27. 22-Jill George/Cedar Falls, IA 16.583
28. 21d-Lee Davis/Greenwood, LA 16.619
29. 6R-Robbie Stuart/DeRidder, LA 16.627
30. 21x-Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs/Bear Lake, PA 16.797
31. 92-DeVane Hillman/Simpson, LA 17.023
32. 28-Chris Holley/Dayton, TX 17.444
33. 3R-Brent Robinson/Smithfield, VA 19.919
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): B. Smith, Richards, Frank, Cummings, Brown, Merchant, Begnaud, Stuart, Robinson
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Lanigan, Francis, C. Smith, Foss, Birkhofer, Moyer, Briggs, Farmer
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Fuller, Hubbard, McCreadie, Knowles, Wallace, Litton, Hillman (DNS) George
Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Eckert, Clanton, Sullivan, King, Sitton, Holley, Davis, Nuttal
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Birkhofer, Moyer, Merchant, Brown, Briggs, Farmer, Begnaud, Stuart, Robinson
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Wallace, Litton, Sitton, Holley, Hillman, Davis (DNS) George, Nuttal
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:
Arizona Sports Shirts ($50 product certificate): Jill George/April Farmer
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main w/decal): Billy Moyer
Eibach Springs (one free spring): Billy Moyer/Rob Litton
MSD Ignition ($75 cash award): Rick Eckert
MSD Ignition ($25 cash award): Brent Robinson
Ohlins Pole Award ($50 cash award to fast qualifier w/decal): Brady Smith
Pink Carburetors ($100 product certificate): Rick Eckert
Pink Carburetors ($50 product certificate): Austin Hubbard
Quartermaster ($100 product certificate): Rick Eckert
Quartermaster ($50 product certificate): Billy Moyer
Quartermaster ($25 product certificate): Rob Litton
STP ($50 cash award): Billy Moyer
VP Racing Fuels ‘Nice Jugs Award’ (two free VP five-gallon containers to fastest qualifier who does not make the A-Main if decal is displayed): Brian Nuttal Jr.
Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner w/decal): Rick Eckert
2010 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of March 26 – 5 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Josh Richards 714 (-0)
2. Tim McCreadie 712 (-2)
3. Darrell Lanigan 694 (-20)
4. Brady Smith 684 (-30)
5. Austin Hubbard 674 (-40)
6. Rick Eckert 670 (-44)
7. Tim Fuller 650 (-64)
8. Steve Francis 628 (-86)
9. Chub Frank 620 (-94)
10. Clint Smith 600 (-114)
11. Shane Clanton 562 (-152)
12. Russell King 560 (-154)
13. (tie) Brent Robinson 512 (-202)
13. (tie) Tony Knowles 512 (-202)
15. Tyler Ivey 438 (-276)
16. Billy Moyer 414 (-300)
17. Jill George 412 (-302)
18. Jordan Bland 352 (-362)
19. Brian Birkhofer 334 (-380)
20. April Farmer 312 (-402)
FOLLOW THE ACTION ON TWITTER: Fans can now keep up-to-date with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series online and through text messages on cell phones via Twitter, the internet’s fast-growing social-networking and micro-blogging website. Updates are provided to Twitter ‘followers’ of the WoO LMS throughout each race night, and fans also receive breaking news and interesting notes from the tour.
To sign-up as a WoO LMS ‘follower’ on Twitter to receive updates anywhere at anytime, visit http://twitter.com/WoOLateModels.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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), SuperClean (Official Cleaner-Degreaser), VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel) and DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award); in addition to contingency sponsors Eibach Springs, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, Pink Carburetors, Pro Power Engines, Quartermaster, Rocket Chassis and Wrisco Aluminum.