World of Outlaws Late Model Series News & Notes: Tour Returns To Canada For Doubleheader At Autodrome Granby & Cornwall
DIRTcar Modified Stars-Turned-WoO LMS Regulars T-Mac, Coffey & Fuller Lead National Tour Across Border
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
CONCORD, NC – June 20, 2012 –
FAMILIAR FACES: When the World of Outlaws Late Model Series invades Canada this weekend for races on Friday night (June 22) at Quebec’s Autodrome Granby and Sunday evening (June 24) at Cornwall (Ont.) Motor Speedway, the local fans will focus on three tour regulars whom they already know quite well.
New Yorkers Tim McCreadie, Tim Fuller and Vic Coffey have some history at the tracks from their days as DIRTcar Big-Block Modified stars, so they’ll be the first Outlaws to draw attention from the Canadian spectators.
The trio also hopes their experience and past success at the tracks will pay off with strong performances, especially at Granby, a half-mile oval 45 minutes east of Montreal that will host the WoO LMS for the first time. The national tour previously competed annually at Cornwall from 2008-2010.
“I know myself, McCreadie and Fuller, all three of us have been (to Granby) a bunch (for DIRTcar Big-Block and 358-Modified events) so we probably have a little bit of an upper hand,” said Coffey, who sits sixth in the current WoO LMS points standings. “I’m sure everybody will catch on quick, but hopefully we can use (prior Granby knowledge) to our advantage.”
Coffey, 40, of Caledonia, N.Y., is also hoping that his past open-wheel success in Canada – most notably, he won the first DIRTcar 358-Modified Series feature of his career in the country, at Brockville Ontario Speedway – is a good omen for his first-ever WoO LMS trip across the border. He is winless in 127 career WoO LMS A-Main starts, though he’s been close to reaching Victory Lane several times.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Coffey said of the swing. “I’ve had some success at both places. It’s been a while (since his last appearances), but I’m hoping to go up there and have a little familiarity.”
No one should feel more comfortable at Granby than Fuller, a 44-year-old from Watertown, N.Y. He not only owns a late ’90s DIRTcar 358-Modified Series victory at the track, but also a triumph in Granby’s only previous full-blown dirt Late Model event, an All-Star Late Model Series show on Aug. 11, 2010. His full-fender visit almost two years ago makes him quite certain that Friday’s 50-lap, $10,000-to-win A-Main will be extremely competitive.
“It raced good, just like it did with a Mod,” Fuller said of Granby in ’10. “There was a good top and a good bottom. It’s flat as it gets and a decent-sized track, so I think it’ll race fairly well. I think it’ll be a pretty good show.”
McCreadie, 38, of Watertown, N.Y., enters the weekend carrying plenty of momentum (two wins, six top-fives and no finish worse than seventh in his last eight WoO LMS starts), but that’s not the only reason he’s anxious to unload his Sweeteners Plus equipment in the pit areas of the Granby and Cornwall facilities. He also likes racing at both speedways.
“It’s been a little under 10 years since I’ve been (to Granby),” said McCreadie, “but it’s always been a good track. We’ve been up there for years and the racing is usually good. You race top and bottom.”
And on Cornwall, a quarter-mile oval that returns to the WoO LMS schedule after a one-year absence, McCreadie said, “Cornwall is just one of the raciest tracks we go to. Small track, action-packed, great fans, packed house – I don’t think anybody’s been unhappy with that place when we’ve gone there with the Late Models. It’s such a great racetrack, and if you’re the fastest car you’re gonna drive right to the front.”
Cornwall holds a special place in McCreadie’s heart since it’s where he won the first major 100-lap race of his career, a DIRTcar 358-Modified Series show during his rookie year as a driver in 1996. He’s fallen short of WoO LMS glory there, however, finishing second in ’08 and ’09 and seventh in ’10 (after rallying from the rear of the field because he slid off the track).
The three Big-Block transplants also have an appreciation of the uniquely boisterous Canadian fans. Fuller affectionately calls them “insane” for their deep devotion, while Coffey noted that they “always come out strong up there.”
And McCreadie singles out Quebec’s spectators as some of the most excitable he comes across in his travels.
“The French-speaking Canandian fans are very passionate and love their sport,” said McCreadie, who enters the weekend ranked fourth in the WoO LMS points standings. “They’re gonna have a blast and hopefully we’ll put on a good show for them.”
MOVING ON: Kent Robinson knew that his rookie season on the WoO LMS wouldn’t go by without some bumps in the road. He just wishes he didn’t have to experience the rough patch that struck him last weekend.
In the span of 24 hours, Robinson exploded an engine on Saturday night at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway and rolled his car on Sunday evening at Eriez Speedway. The Hagerstown blow-up came just as he had crossed the finish line to win a heat race, while the accident at Eriez – no fault of his own – occurred as he was battling for a transfer spot and forced him to start the A-Main (thanks to a provisional) in a local crate Late Model.
“This is definitely the hardest time I’ve ever been through in racing – blowing a motor one night, and then flipping over the next night,” said Robinson, who escaped the Eriez crash without injury. “It’s hard times, but that’s part of it. You have the ups and the downs, and you just gotta work through it and hope it all pays off in the end.”
Robinson, 25, of Bloomington, Ind., was concerned that he might have to drop off the tour due to the “catastrophic” damage his car sustained at Eriez, but he was able to regroup this week while working out of fellow WoO LMS regular Chub Frank’s shop in Bear Lake, Pa.
“It was a situation where all of a sudden I have to make a decision – if I couldn’t find another car (his wrecked machine could not be immediately repaired), I might have had to just go home because I didn’t want to go into Canada and do the rest of this swing with just one car,” said Robinson, who recently matched his career-best WoO LMS finish with a sixth-place run on May 26 at Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, W.Va. “But everything worked out. When we got up to Chub Frank’s shop we started putting feelers out there trying to find another MasterSbilt car, and we came across the Loco-Motives team that (Winchester, Va.’s) Ronnie DeHaven drives for and they had a car with just a few races on it. We worked it out and ended up buying in, and they brought it up (to Frank’s shop on Tuesday night).
“It’s just a rolling chassis, but it’s a pretty new car. We worked until 4 a.m. (Tuesday) night and been all day (Wednesday) getting it together for a backup, so I’m gonna have two cars and two motors for the rest of the trip.
“Hopefully we won’t have to run the (newly-purchased) car in any of these upcoming races, and then we can get home and regroup for a few days before going out west (for the six-race ‘Wild West Tour’ July 6-14).”
FUN TRIP: Rick Eckert is a veteran dirt Late Model racer from York, Pa., and has only been traveling to Canada for races since ’07, but he’s quickly developed some connections to the area’s fans that make him look forward to the WoO LMS excursion.
“The fans up there are incredible,” said the defending WoO LMS champion, who won the tour’s A-Main at Autodrome Drummond in 2008. “They’re neat people. I have Canadian fans who call me every week.
“They’re really into racing up there. It’s a little different because they only get to see Late Models but once a year.”
Eckert has even been getting some Canadian crew help during his recent trips north. He’s friendly with Luc Lalancette, who operates Total Race Supply in St-Andrews, Ont., and both Lalancette and his son have lent Eckert a mechanical hand.
LOOKING FOR MORE: Darrell Lanigan isn’t just the hottest driver on the WoO LMS, with four wins in his last six starts and a commanding lead in the points race. He’s also the last driver to win a World of Outlaws A-Main in Canada.
Lanigan, 42, of Union, Ky., was victorious the last time the tour crossed the border, on Aug. 23, 2010, at Drummond. It’s his only career win in Canada, but that statistic could very well change this weekend considering his acumen on big tracks like Granby and his past performance at Cornwall, where he’s improved his finishing position in each of his previous three starts (fourth in ’08, third in ’09 and second in ’10).
NO REST: Kennedy Motorsports teammates Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga., and John Lobb of Frewsburg, N.Y., have been busy preparing for this weekend’s action after both drivers ran into trouble during Sunday night’s WoO LMS event at Eriez Speedway.
Clanton broke an engine while leading early in the Eriez A-Main, giving him some unwanted work to do under the hood while stationed this week at the Warren, Pa., shop of his future father-in-law, Ron Davies, a 2011 WoO LMS regular who will rejoin the tour for this weekend’s Canadian swing.
Lobb, meanwhile, was left with a car in need of major repairs after being swept up in Kent Robinson’s accident at Eriez. That machine is already back in Georgia receiving frame repair at the Capital Race Cars shop so it will be ready for next weekend’s Firecracker 100, leaving Lobb with one car available for duty.
Lobb started Eriez’s feature (thanks to a points provisional) in the car driven earlier in the night by his brother Randy.
ANOTHER TRIP NORTH: Dan Stone of Thompson, Pa., is a stalwart of the WoO LMS’s Ontario and Quebec trips, entering all nine events the tour contested in the provinces from 2007-2010. He’ll be back this weekend, hooking up with his buddy Rick Eckert to follow the swing.
Stone, 34, scored his best Canadian WoO LMS finish in 2009, placing fifth at Ohsweken (Ont.) Speedway. His next best outing is a sixth, in 2010 at Cornwall.
The affable driver known as ‘Big Brother’ has competed at Granby, but it wasn’t a memorable visit. He entered the track’s 2010 All-Star Late Model Series event and rode out flipped wildly, though he fortunately escaped injury.
IN NEED OF A WIN: Chub Frank hasn’t enjoyed much success at Cornwall (finishes of 11th in ’08, eighth in ’09 and 13th in ’10), but he’s hopeful that he can turn that history around and challenge for a victory.
Or better yet, the 50-year-old standout would like to reach Victory Lane on Friday night at Granby. If he’s able to do that, then he’ll prevent his WoO LMS winless streak, which sits at 99 races entering the weekend, from reaching triple figures.
Frank’s last WoO LMS triumph came on Aug. 22, 2009, at Atomic Speedway (then K-C Raceway) in Alma, Ohio. He’s flirting with a checkered flag this year, however, as evidenced by his six top-five finishes to date – more than he had all of last season.
FIRST-TIMERS: WoO LMS Rookie of the Year contenders Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., and Jack Sullivan of Greenbrier, Ark., will make their first-ever dirt Late Model starts in Canada.
MAPLE LEAF WINNER: Second-year WoO LMS traveler Pat Doar of New Richmond, Wis., has never entered a race in Ontario or Quebec, but the 48-year-old driver has reached Victory Lane in Canada. He owns triumphs in spec-motor WISSOTA-sanctioned events at Red River Co-op Speedway in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Estevan (Sask.) Motor Speedway.
CAT’S HELPER: One of WoO LMS regular Clint Smith’s crewmen, Duane Treadwell of Lagrange, Ga., will enter the Canadian events as a teammate to Smith. Treadwell competes regularly in local and regional events in his home state but has curtailed his scheduled slightly this year to travel with Senoia, Ga.’s Smith.
FULL-FENDER DEBUT: Ron Davies will put a familiar face in his second car for the Canadian swing: his 27-year-old son Dan, a UMP-type open-wheel Modified standout who will take his first shot at dirt Late Model racing this weekend.
OH, CANADA: A contingent of Canadians who compete regularly in the dirt Late Model wars at Brighton (Ont.) Speedway plan to bolt open motors in their cars this weekend to test their skills against the Outlaws.
At least five Brighton racers are expected to enter both the Granby and Cornwall events, including Ontario residents Greg Belyea of Frankford, Charlie Sandercock of Belleville, Philip Potts of Frankford, Matt Vanderlinden of Trenton and Caley Weese of Belleville. Corey Earl of Picton, Ont., meanwhile, currently has only the Cornwall show on his schedule.
Weese, 25, finished 24th in the 2010 WoO LMS A-Main at Cornwall, making her one of four female drivers to start a WoO LMS headliner. She stands alongside Jill George of Cedar Falls, Iowa, who is following the tour in 2012 and is expected to compete in Canada, April Farmer of Livingston, Tenn., and Amanda Whaley of Millsboro, Del.
WoO IN CANADA: The WoO LMS contested 10 races in Canada from 2007-2010, visiting five tracks in three provinces. Only one host track, Estevan (Sask.) Motor Speedway in 2008, has been outside the Ontario/Quebec region.
Two-time WoO LMS champion Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., is the tour’s most prolific winner in Canada, with three victories (Cornwall in ’08 and ’09, Ohsweken in ’09). Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., owns two wins (Drummond in ’07, Cornwall in ’10), while single victors include McCreadie (Ohsweken ’08), Eckert (Drummond ’08), Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis. (Estevan ’08), Fuller (Ontario’s Merrittville Speedway in ’10) and Lanigan (Drummond ’10).
BIG SHOW: Friday night’s inaugural WoO LMS event at Autodrome Granby will have a celebratory atmosphere, said track promoter Dominic Lussier.
“It’s a long (holiday) weekend in Quebec for St-John the Baptist Day so we will have fireworks during the night and a big bonfire with music either in the pits or the parking lot after the race,” said Lussier, who oversees a superb facility that features, among other amenities, a steep grandstand, three-story VIP tower, huge turn-three scoreboard and pedestrian tunnel under the homestretch. “We will also make a nice presentation (introduction) of the drivers on the track before the race.”
THEY’RE BACK: Cornwall owner Ron Morin is such a huge fan of dirt Late Model racing, he travels every year to Florida to spend a couple February weeks getting his fill of the division.
So it’s no surprise that it’s a big deal for him to have the WoO LMS at his spic-and-span speedway for a 50-lap, $10,000-to-win event.
“I love having the World of Outlaws come to Cornwall,” said Morin, whose track presents a very successful weekly Sunday-night show headlined by the DIRTcar 358-Modifieds. “Every race we’ve had has been exciting, and since we went a year without having a Late Model show everybody is really looking forward to Sunday night. We’ve been having a good year and I think if the weather holds for Sunday it’ll be a super show.”
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Canadian Doubleheader Information:
Fri., June 22, at Autodrome Granby: The Quebec track’s gates are scheduled to open at 4 p.m. and hot laps are slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. for Friday’s program, which will also include racing for the DIRTcar 358-Modifieds, Sportsman and 4-Cylinders. Qualifying is set to get the green flag at 7 p.m.
Autodrome Granby is located at 1268 Rue Cowie in Granby, Que.
For more information visit www.autodrome-granby.com.
Sun., June 24, at Cornwall Motor Speedway: Pit gates are scheduled to open at 2:30 p.m. and the spectator gates will be unlocked at 3:30 p.m., with WoO LMS time trials set to begin at 6:30 p.m.
Sunday’s card will also include the DIRTcar 358-Modifieds, Pro Stocks, Semi-Pros and Mini-Stocks.
Cornwall Motor Speedway is located at 16981 Cornwall Center Rd. in Long Sault, Ont.
More info is available by logging on to www.cornwallspeedway.com.
UP NEXT: Following the Canadian swing, the WoO LMS will head to Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park on Tues., June 26, and then the Firecracker 100 Presented by GottaRace.com weekend June 28-30 at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa.
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 Gaskets, Comp Cams, Dominator Race Products, Eibach Springs, JE Pistons, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, QuarterMaster, Roush Yates Performance Parts, Superflow Dynos, Wix Filter, Wrisco Aluminum and XS Power Racing Batteries; along with manufacturer sponsors Integra Shocks, GRT Chassis, Jake’s Carts, Longacre, Racing Electronics, Rocket Chassis, TNT Rescue, and Warrior Chassis.