By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
BELLEVILLE, KS – July 20, 2008 – After Kelly Boen drove to his first career World of Outlaws Late Model Series victory on Sunday night at the Belleville High Banks, there was no doubt that he’s the favorite adopted son of the tiny Kansas town.
Boen, 44, of Henderson, Colo., simply lit up the famed half-mile oval’s fans with a performance for the ages.
“These race fans here have always been so good to me over the years,” said Boen, who has been the most prolific dirt Late Model winner at Belleville for the past decade despite living nearly 450 miles from the historic track. “A lot of these people have been waiting a long time for a night like this from me. I’ve under-produced here the last couple years when the big races come, so I finally got to pay back all these people who have been watching me for so long.
“This was just a fabulous night, one I’m sure we’ll remember forever.”
An excited crowd of Belleville faithful swallowed up Boen following the 35-lap A-Main, which Boen captured by 0.538 of a second over WoO LMS star Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa. He inherited the lead on lap 13 when Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., slowed with mechanical trouble and controlled the remainder of the distance on the blazing-fast speedway.
WoO LMS points leader Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., finished third, followed by Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., and Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill.
“This has been a long time coming,” said an emotional Boen while receiving congratulatory handshakes and hugs as he stood on the homestretch of the High Banks following the Victory Lane ceremonies. “It’s kind of like a lifelong dream fulfilled to win a World of Outlaws race.
“This is the biggest race I’ve ever won, and it means a lot more to me to win it at Belleville. I just love this place.”
There’s no racetrack that gets Boen’s juices flowing more than the historic High Banks.
“This is my favorite racetrack,” said Boen, who received the loudest cheers of the night whenever he was introduced. “You can’t really race here every weekend because the car takes so much abuse and you’d wear out too much stuff, but when you get a lot of people together on a special night like this, then this is the only place to be.”
Boen, who finished seventh in last year’s inaugural WoO LMS event at Belleville, started fourth in his Jay Dickens-powered Rocket car. He reached second behind Richards on lap five when he slid ahead of Frank in turn two and then cooled his jets to save his equipment for a later assault.
“I might’ve been just a little quicker than Josh,” analyzed Boen. “But we were really about the same speed, so I figured I’d settle in for about 15 or 20 laps and let it shake out because there’s no sense in trying to go crazy and run the right-rear (tire) off early.”
Boen never had to test himself against Richards, who slowed on lap 13 when his Rocket car’s rearend broke to bring out the race’s second and final caution flag. He was never seriously challenged during the 22-lap green-flag run that closed the race, although Frank did draw within several car lengths on the last lap thanks to some lapped traffic that slowed Boen’s pace.
“After Josh broke, I was really focused on trying not to make any mistakes the rest of the race,” said Boen, whose head mechanic, Doug Hoffman, received the $50 Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race Award. “The car got tight and that kinda made it interesting a few times – sometimes the right-front would stay under me, and sometimes it would drift up and I’d have to brake to get it back.
“But my crew gave me a good car and I just had to hang on to it.”
Boen’s triumph – worth $10,650, including the $500 ‘Bonus Bucks’ cash for being the highest-finishing driver who had never previously won a WoO LMS A-Main and wasn’t ranked among the top 12 in the points standings – came after he spent much of the past week racing with the Outlaws on the ‘Wild West Tour.’ He asserted that his stint on the WoO LMS road, which included a then career-best finish of fourth on July 11 at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D., played a big role in his breakthrough at Belleville.
“These Outlaw guys raced me hard all week and taught me a lot,” said Boen. “I couldn’t have won this race without the help that so many of these guys gave me.
“The guys from Rocket are so good to me. Brian (Daugherty) from Integra Shocks has helped me so much. (Tim) Fuller helped me. Clint Smith is such a good guy and helps me all the time. Rick Eckert even helped me out right before the feature tonight – I don’t think I would’ve won this race if Rick didn’t get me to change my right-front tire and go with a hard one at the last minute.
“I can’t thank everybody enough,” concluded Boen, who arrived at Belleville hot off a Friday-Saturday sweep of an NCRA program at Mid-Nebraska Speedway in Doniphan, Neb.
Frank, 46, started from the pole position, but Richards was faster off the outside at the initial green flag and grabbed the lead. Boen snared second place several circuits later with a ‘slider’ that Frank said “about wrecked us both” – and then the Keystone State veteran decided to get conservative.
“I tried to take it easy when I was running second,” said Frank, who drove his Lester Buildings Rocket car. “I got off the gas a little bit to let (the engine) breathe.
“Right there at the end Kelly got hung up behind a lapped car, though, so I started pushing it pretty hard. I knew that was my only shot, but it probably would’ve been ugly if we got close and ran side-by-side so I’m happy with a second.”
Lanigan, meanwhile, was in a good mood after surviving the treacherous High Banks in his GottaRace.com Rocket. He slipped by Pearson for the position on lap 15 and ran alone for the much of the remaining distance.
“I’m real happy to get out of here with a third,” said the fifth-starting Lanigan, who rolled up his 16th top-five finish in the last 17 events. “Whenever you run wide-open for 35 laps, you just hope nothing breaks.”
Pearson tied the existing dirt Late Model track record with a lap of 16.187 seconds (111.200 mph) in time trials and won a heat race, but drawing the sixth starting spot doomed him. He climbed as high as third but struggled when running his LifeLong Locks/Bobby Labonte Racing MasterSbilt car in close quarters.
“When you get behind someone on a high-speed track like this the air gets up under your car and the front end gets real light, like a jack is underneath it,” said Pearson. “That’s not a feeling you like to have going in the corner.”
Babb made some high-side moves on the race’s two restarts to hustle forward from the eighth starting spot for a fifth-place finish in his Bowyer Dirt Motorsports Rocket. The run came after he scored his second WoO LMS win of the season on Friday night at Brown County Speedway in Aberdeen, S.D.
“We were a little off on gear early in the night so we kept putting more to it,” said Babb, who spent the closing laps in a tight battle with Pearson and sixth-place finisher Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga. “The track slicked off a little in the feature, though, and that made the motor turned a few too many RPMs and got a little too tight.
“I’m happy that we came out of here with a good finish. Last year we had to change a motor here and were way off in the feature.”
Finishing in positions 7-10 were Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., who charged from the rear after pitting on lap one to change a left-rear tire that was cut from contact with another car in turn two; Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., who wasn’t a factor after winning last year’s WoO LMS event at Belleville; Rick Eckert of York, Pa.., who faded from the third starting spot with a loose car; and top-finishing rookie Vic Coffey of Leicester, N.Y.
The 20-year-old Richards finished 15th after running around the track at reduced speed for the final 22 laps due to his mechanical woes. He was seven laps down at the checkered flag – the first time this season that he did not complete the entire distance of a WoO LMS A-Main
“We put a brand-new rear in the car just for tonight and it broke,” said Richards, who remained second in the WoO LMS points standings but fell to 86 points behind Lanigan. “I don’t know if we would have won it, but when I was out front I wasn’t even running hard. It was just so easy to drive.”
Twenty-nine cars were signed in for the event
Pearson’s blazing lap of 16.187 seconds in time trials precisely matched the one-lap standard established by Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., on June 17, 2007.
Heat winners were Pearson, Boen and Eckert, and Dean Moore of Grand Junction, Colo., captured the B-Main.
The WoO LMS ‘Wild West Tour’ concludes on Monday night (July 21) with a first-ever visit to Boone County Speedway in Albion, Neb.
Results of WoO Late Model Series at Belleville High Banks (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (4) Kelly Boen/35 $10,650
2. (1) Chub Frank/35 $5,100
3. (5) Darrell Lanigan/35 $3,000
4. (6) Earl Pearson Jr./35 $2,500
5. (8) Shannon Babb/35 $2,000
6. (7) Shane Clanton/35 $1,700
7. (12) Steve Francis/35 $1,400
8. (9) Clint Smith/35 $1,300
9. (3) Rick Eckert/35 $1,200
10. (15) Vic Coffey/35 $1,350
11. (10) John Blankenship/35 $1,050
12. (18) Joe Isabell/34 $1,000
13. (17) Danny Johnson/34 $950
14. (22) John Kuchar/32 $900
15. (2) Josh Richards/28 $950
16. (14) John Anderson/21 $800
17. (16) Dave Conkwright/16 $770
18. (11) Tim Fuller/14 $750
19. (21) Earl Kinderknecht/8 $730
20. (19) Dean Moore/8 $700
21. (20) Sean Beardsley/7 $700
22. (24) Mike Wiarda/6 $700
23. (23) Dustin Hapka/3 $700
24. (13) Al Purkey/1 $700
Time of Race: 17 Mins., 47.589 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.538 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 2 (Laps 1, 13)
Lap Leaders: Richards (1-13); Boen (14-35)
Provisional Starters: Hapka, Wiarda
Rookie of the Race: Coffey ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Boen ($500)
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race ($50): Doug Hoffman (Boen)
Chick Hawk Racing Hot Lap Award: Richards (half-off tire warmers)
Super Clean ‘Start of the Race’: Richards ($100)
Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 44-Earl Pearson Jr./Jacksonville, FL 16.187 (111.200)
2. 07-Kelly Boen/Henderson, CO 16.323
3. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 16.426
4. 41-Al Purkey/Coffeyville, KS 16.480
5. 18-Shannon Babb/Moweaqua, IL 16.502
6. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 16.505
7. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 16.510
8. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 16.535
9. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 16.551
10. 23-John Blankenship/Williamson, WV 16.567
11. 2-John Anderson/Omaha, NE 16.640
12. 32c-Vic Coffey/Leicester, NY 16.687
13. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA 16.690
14. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 16.702
15. 19-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 16.708
16. 22c-Dave Conkwright/Manhattan, KS 17.085
17. 27J-Danny Johnson/Phelps, NY 17.138
18. 31-Kelly Dunn/Salina, KS 17.145
19. 14M-Dean Moore/Grand Junction, CO 17.308
20. 18s-Sean Beardsley/Central Square, NY 17.329
21. 6J-Joe Isabell/Pennellville, NY 17.348
22. T1T-Earl Kinderknecht/Salina, KS 17.364
23. 15W-Mike Wiarda/Aurora, NE 17.372
24. 29-Bill Koons/Omaha, NE 17.736
25. 18H-Dustin Hapka/Grand Forks, ND 17.885
26. 21-Steven Foster/Abilene, KS 18.035
27. 02-John Kuchar/Brighton, CO 18.219
28. 49-Wylan Petrie/Solomon, KS 18.997
29. 13-Rick Law/Wetmore, KS 21.500
Heat No. 1 (8 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Pearson, Frank, Clanton, Blankenship, Purkey, Conkwright, Moore, Hapka, Kinderknecht, Petrie
Heat No. 2 (8 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Boen, Lanigan, Babb, Fuller, Anderson, D. Johnson, Beardsley, Wiarda, Foster (DNS) Law
Heat No. 3 (8 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Eckert, Richards, C. Smith, Fuller, Coffey, Isabell, Kuchar, Koons, Dunn
B-Main No. 1 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Moore, Beardsley, Kinderknecht, Kuchar, Koons, Wiarda, Petrie, Law, Foster (DNS) Hapka, Dunn
2008 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of July 20 – 25 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/wins/top-5s/top-10s/earnings/points/deficit to leader):
1. Darrell Lanigan 20-16-23-$71,650-3445 (-0)
2. Josh Richards 4-12-19-$86,260-3359 (-86)
3. Chub Frank 1-9-18-$55,230-3329 (-116)
4. Steve Francis 1-10-19-$98,300-3301 (-144)
5. Shannon Babb 2-11-18-$75,650-3283 (-162)
6. Rick Eckert 1-9-18-$56,980-3281 (-164)
7. Shane Clanton 0-11-18-$51,230-3275 (-170)
8. Clint Smith 1-9-15-$48,060-3273 (-172)
9. Tim Fuller 2-5-10-$46,320-3129 (-316)
10. John Blankenship 0-0-6-$27,820-3029 (-416)
11. Vic Coffey 0-0-6-$22,170-2542 (-903)
12. Joe Isabell 0-0-0-$12,790-2229 (-1216)
13. Danny Johnson 0-0-1-$12,150-1848 (-1597)
14. Sean Beardsley 0-0-0-$7,820-1752 (-1693)
15. Tim McCreadie 1-6-9-$38,200-1463 (-1982)
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 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, Qwikliner and Super Clean.