Bristol Motor Speedway
WoO heads for Lincoln after Lawrenceburg rainout
By Kevin KovacWorld of Outlaws Late Model Series
Heavy overnight rain and more precipitation in the morning proved to be too much for Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway's grounds, forcing the cancellation of Saturday night's World of Outlaws Late Model Series Whiskey City 50. Track promoter Dave Rudisell made the decision to call off the May 16 event shortly before noon after surveying the facility's saturated pit area.
Rudisell will talk with WoO officials about the possibility of rescheduling the event later this season.
The rainout marked the second straight year that the series lost a planned event at Lawrenceburg. Last year's race was canceled because the track's off-season reconstruction project, which transformed the speedway from a circular quarter-mile to a high-banked 3/8-mile oval, was not yet completed.
The series can salvage the weekend with its event scheduled for Sunday at Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway. If history is an indicator, the third running of the Land of Lincoln 40 will be bigger and better than the previous editions at the quarter-mile oval in central Illinois.
With a field that's expected to feature the top 16 drivers in the WoO points standings and a host of talented racers from Illinois and beyond, Sunday's $7,000-to-win event has the makings of the grandest dirt Late Model show ever presented at the fairgrounds track.
“This World of Outlaws Late Model Series race at Lincoln Speedway just keeps growing every year,” said track promoter Don Hammer, a 36-year-old from Clinton, Ill., who has operated Lincoln since June 2006 and Farmer City (Ill.) Raceway since 2005. “We've had great crowds and memorable races the past two years, and we're expecting an even more exciting night with all the drivers who have indicated their intentions to run on Sunday.”
Lincoln's bleachers were packed for both of its previous WoO events, which were also run in May. The 2007 event saw Brian Shirley, of nearby Chatham, Ill., score his emotional first career WoO triumph in front of family and friends, and last year WoO star Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., survived a mid-race scrape with Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., and relentless pressure from Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., to emerge victorious.
Those four principals from Lincoln's previous WoO events hope to figure in the outcome again on Sunday. Frank and Richards return as WoO regulars — the 46-year-old Frank seeking his first tour victory since last May at Lincoln (he's riding a 40-race winless streak), and the 21-year-old Richards looking to continue his bid for a career-first series title (he's currently third in points) — while Shirley and Erb will attempt to keep the trophy from leaving the state.
Defending WoO champion Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., is the tour's points leader entering the event.