McCreadie's hot streak rolls on at Hagerstown
By Kevin KovacWorld of Outlaws Late Model Series
HAGERSTOWN, Md. (June 16) — Tim McCreadie is back in a winning frame of mind.
The Watertown, N.Y., star ratified his month-long resurgence on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series on Saturday night, rolling to his second victory of the season in the national tour’s 50-lap feature event at Hagerstown Speedway. | Slideshow
McCreadie, 38, marched forward from the fifth starting spot to grab the lead from veteran Gary Stuhler of Greencastle, Pa., on lap 21 with a restart power move around the outside of the track. He pulled away from the pack following a final restart on lap 43 to defeat Jamie Lathroum of Mechanicsville, Md., by 0.983 of a second.
Stuhler, 57, settled for a third-place finish after starting second and leading laps 1-20 in the Up Front Racing MasterSbilt car. Gregg Satterlee of Rochester Mills, Pa., made a late charge to place fourth after starting 15th in his Rocket car and 2010 WoO Rookie of the Year Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., completed the top five in his family-owned Rocket.
McCreadie’s $10,650 triumph was his fifth top-five finish in seven starts since he broke into the WoO win column on May 4 at 311 Motor Speedway in Pine Hall, N.C. He hasn’t finished worse than seventh during the stretch and has improved from eighth to fourth in the points standings.
“It’s been a lot of hard by everyone in the shop,” McCreadie said of his new-found strength in the Sweeteners Plus Warrior Chassis machine. “We’ve worked with this car and got a little bit better, a little bit better, and we did just a couple things at the end of Appalachian (Mountain) Speedweek (June 2-6) and then all of a sudden it was like, ‘Man, this is what I’ve been looking for.’”
McCreadie, who finished second behind Lathroum in the Appalachian Mountain Speedweek opener on June 2 at Hagerstown, turned the tables on the 33-year-old Maryland driver in their return to the half-mile oval. Lathroum, who started 13th, steered his MasterSbilt mount past Stuhler for second on lap 34 and was deposited on McCreadie’s rear bumper by the race’s third and final caution flag, on lap 43, but he was unable to make a serious bid for the lead.
“Last time we were harder than (Lathroum) was on tires,” said McCreadie, who became just the second driver with more than one win on this year’s WoO tour, joining five-time victor Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky. “Actually, (Lathroum) and his crew guy Huey basically said (prior to Saturday night’s feature), ‘This is what we’re gonna put on (for tires),’ and I’m like, ‘I’m doing the same thing, because I’m not getting beat because of tires.’
“I don’t think that’s why we got beat last time anyways. He was just way better and made us go to work.”
A lap-33 caution period, which was needed to remove debris left from the broken driveshaft Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., suffered while running fifth, allowed Lathroum to overtake Stuhler for second but might have cost him any shot he had at unseating McCreadie.
“When I was in third when the caution come out, I thought I was pretty good,” said Lathroum, who won a WoO A-Main in 2009 at Delaware International Speedway. “But when the caution come out the car never came back like it was. It just got too tight.”
Stuhler’s hopes, meanwhile, were dashed by his car’s handling gradually going away. He still recorded his best WoO finish since placing second on July 24, 2004, also at Hagerstown.
“I just kept getting looser and looser as the race went on,” said Stuhler, who won a WoO event at Hagerstown on May 7, 1989, during the tour’s initial two-year run (1988-89) under late WoO Sprint Car Series founder Ted Johnson. “I started having to search for traction on the bottom. I just didn’t feel like I could run the top that good. Timmy and (Lathroum) were a lot better up there.”
McCreadie’s victory was the 19th of his career on the WoO tour. Three have come at Hagerstown, including his sweep of a two-day show in July 2005.
The race’s first caution flag came on lap 20 for Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., who slowed in turn four and pitted. He returned but pitted twice, during each of the ensuing caution periods, on lap 33 for the cleanup following Smith’s mechanical malfunction and on lap 43 for Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga., who slowed with a flat left-rear tire after advancing from the 23rd starting spot to 12th.
Lanigan, the WoO points leader, finished sixth, falling out of the top five late in the race after sitting fourth when the caution flag flew on lap 43. Rick Eckert of York, Pa., slipped from the third starting spot to seventh at the finish; Jason Covert of York Haven, Pa., quietly advanced from the 17 th starting position to finish eighth; 16th-starter Steve Shaver of Vienna, Va., was ninth; and Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., rounded out the top 10 after taking the final restart in seventh place.
Thirty-six cars were signed in for the event, which brought the tour back to Hagerstown for the first time since May 2010.
Eckert was the quickest qualifier, turning a lap of 18.600 seconds in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials. It was his first WoO fast time of 2012 and the 29th of his career, moving him out of a tie with Josh Richards for the top spot on the tour’s list of fast-timers since 2004.
Heat winners were Clint Smith, Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind., Hubbard and McCreadie. The B-Mains were captured by Covert and Frank.
Robinson’s night took a turn for the worse as soon as he crossed the finish line to win the second heat. His car’s engine was struck by terminal engine trouble, forcing him to pull out his backup car and start the A-Main at the rear of the field.
The WoO series will complete a weekend doubleheader on Sunday night (June 17) at Eriez Speedway in Hammett, Pa.
WoO @ Hagerstown: (1) Tim McCreadie, (2) Jamie Lathroum, (3) Gary Stuhler, (4) Gregg Satterlee, (5) Austin Hubbard, (6) Darrell Lanigan, (7) Rick Eckert, (8) Jason Covert, (9) Steve Shaver, (10) Tim Fuller, (11) Vic Coffey, (12) Chub Frank, (13) Pat Doar, (14) Shane Clanton, (15) Bub McCool, (16) Kent Robinson, (17) John Lobb, (18) Jack Sullivan, (19) Clint Smith, (20) Nick Dickson, (21) Jeremy Miller, (22) Roy Deese Jr., (23) Duane Harbaugh, (24) Marvin Winters, (25) Dan Stone. Fast qualifier (among 36 cars): Eckert, 18.600 seconds. Heat race winners: Smith, Robinson, Hubbard, McCreadie. Consolation race winners: Covert, Frank. Provisional starters: Clanton, Coffey, Sullivan.