Moyer cruises 30 laps, captures Tucson opener
By Todd TurnerDirtonDirt.com managing editor
TUCSON, Ariz. (Jan. 14) — In each of the past two seasons, Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., has won half of the six races at USA Raceway's Wild West Shootout. He's positioned himself nicely to potentially accomplish the feat for the third straight year after dominating the first round of the unsanctioned miniseries Saturday at the 3/8-mile oval.
The polesitting Moyer jumped to the lead at the outset and was never challenged in cruising to the 30-lap victory, his eighth checkered flag on the Arizona miniseries and seventh in Tucson. Only a few mid-race cautions kept him within shouting distance of 23 pursuers. | Complete WWS coverage
"The car drove real good. You know, we made some changes over the winter a little bit on the stuff, and it seemed to work pretty good here tonight," Moyer said. "It wasn't perfect, but it never is I don't guess. It's not doing everything perfect, but it beat 'em tonight and we'll just have to keep tweaking on it and getting ready for the rest of the year."
Although he finished far behind the winner, fifth-starting Will Vaught of Crane, Mo., won a tight duel over the last 10 laps with Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., to grab the second spot. The runner-up Vaught, who regained the spot from Babb on the final lap, also survived wheel-hopping contact with a pressuring Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., midway through the race.
Mars and 13th-starting Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., debuting a new Warrior Race Car, rounded out the top five. Don O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., who had to fight back from a hot-laps accident that damaged the MasterSbilt house car, was sixth. Outside front-row starter Ronny Lee Hollingsworth of Northport, Ala., was never a factor in finishing 10th.
Moyer was a few lengths ahead of Hollingsworth in taking the green flag and was never threatened, but he knew Babb, Vaught and Mars were among cars capable of catching him on a night when 69 Super Late Model teams made the pits overflow.
"The caliber of cars that are here this year for sure, you can't let your guard down," Moyer said. "So I was just trying to keep my momentum up and keep the wheels under me, keep everything going."
Vaught could only wish that his battles with Mars and Babb were for the lead instead of for the runner-up spot behind Moyer's No. 21.
"If the 21 wasn't here, it'd be a good day. Me and Shannon, he's a helluva driver. To be able to race with him and Billy and Jimmy and be up front with them guys, that's a big accomplishment."
Babb, making his USA Raceway debut, made a rare early-season appearance in combining a racing trip to pick up a car from his manufacturer.
"We came out here, really to pick up another chassis from Victory Circle, and also to race," Babb said. "It's fun when you get your whole program together where you can go do different things. Hell, it's January, and I know it's cold in Illinois, so it's fun to be racing here."
Two cautions slowed the 30-lapper. Ricky Weiss slowed in turn one on the 13th lap, retiring to the infield after the yellow flag flew. On the restart, Frank Heckenast Jr. had just taken the fifth spot from Ronny Lee Hollingsworth when he slammed an infield tire barrier in turn three. Terry Phillips, Billy Moyer Jr. and Duke Whiseant got banged up in the resulting scramble as the field tried to avoid Heckenast.
The Arizona miniseries continues Sunday with a $5,000-to-win event, the second of six unsanctioned races. Hot laps are scheduled for 12:30 p.m. with racing at 1 p.m.
Race notes: Moyer's Victory Circle Chassis is sponsored by L&D Trucking and Henderson Motorsports. ... Moyer is just one victory shy of all-time WWS leader Terry Phillips, who has nine victories. ... Mike Balcaen slowed dropped out after completing a single lap. ... Randy Korte retired to the infield on the sixth lap. ... Jason Hughes turned back a challenge from Stormy Scott to win the modified feature. Scott was second with Rodney Sanders third.
Wild West Shootout (first round): (1) Billy Moyer, (2) Will Vaught, (3) Shannon Babb, (4) Jimmy Mars, (5) Tim McCreadie, (6) Don O'Neal, (7) Brad Looney, (8) Morgan Bagley, (9) John Anderson, (10) Ronny Lee Hollingsworth, (11) Justin Kay, (12) Bub McCool, (13) Nick Bartels, (14) Jesse Stovall, (15) Jon Kirby, (16) Chris Shannon, (17) Terry Phillips, (18) Ricky Thornton Jr., (19) Duke Whiseant, (20) Billy Moyer Jr., (21) Frank Heckenast Jr., (22) Ricky Weiss, (23) Randy Korte, (24) Mike Balcaen. Heat race winners (among 69 cars): Korte, Stovall, Mars, Anderson, McCool, Moyer. Consolation winners: McCreadie, O'Neal, Kirby.
Correction: Reverses second- and third-place finishers Will Vaught and Shannon Babb in rundown.
Saturday's preliminaries (finishes unofficial):
Polesitter Jon Kirby went unchallenged to earn a starting spot in his first WWS feature. He finished a straightaway ahead of the other three transferring drivers: sixth-starting Mike Balcaen, outside front-row starter Ricky Weiss and Duke Whiseant, who mixed it up much of the race. Shane Clanton was added to the lineup after missing the first consy.
Finish: Jon Kirby, Ricky Weiss, Mike Balcaen, Duke Whiseant, Chris Simpson, Rob Mayea, Clay Daly, Robert Sanders, Jeff Provinzino, Leon Henderson, Shane Clanton, Ray Moore, Todd Frank, Shane Edginton, James Chavez Jr., Matt Micheli, Rick Butler. Scratched: Mark Herrera, Travis Gorsuch, John Lobb
Polesitter Don O'Neal jumped to the lead at the outset and fought off fellow front-row starter Billy Moyer Jr. for the victory. Moyer went ahead mid-way through the 12-lapper but O'Neal made a daring move in traffic to go back ahead. They transferred to the main event alng with third-starting Terry Phillips and Ricky Thornton Jr., who outdueled Garrett Alberson. O'Neal needed a push to the scales after the checkers. On the first attempted start, Mark Carrell and Dereck Ramirez banged together on the backstretch, collecting Rick Shafer. John Lowrey and Don Shaw barely avoided the scrape, which took about 10 minutes to clean up. Carrell's car departed between two wreckers.
Finish: Don O'Neal, Billy Moyer Jr., Terry Phillips, Ricky Thornton Jr., Garrett Alberson, Dean Moore, Tony Toste, Don Shaw, John Lowrey, Jason McBride, Ron Bartels, Brad Williams, Al Humphrey, Rick Shafer, David Vennard, Brant Kehrer, Dereck Ramirez, Mark Carrell. Scratched: Klint Byars.
Polesitter Tim McCreadie jumped into the early lead and cruised to victory in the first 12-lap consy. He transferred to the main event along with Nick Bartels, Justin Kay and seventh-starting Chris Shannon. Bartels started outside the front row and fought off race-long challenges from Kay.
Finish: Tim McCreadie, Nick Bartels, Justin Kay, Chris Shannon, Steve Isenberg, Tim Isenberg, Scott Creel, Joey Moriarty, Ross Camponovo, Lonnie Parker Jr., Paul Mueller, Justin Asplin, Trevor Glaser, Scott Ward, Jason Papich, Ed Turnbull, Paul Guglielmoni. Scratched: Dane Dacus, Shane Clanton.
Consolation race lineups
Row 1: Tim McCreadie, Nick Bartels
Row 2: Justin Kay, Scott Creel
Row 3: Steve Isenberg, Lonnie Parker Jr.
Row 4: Chris Shannon, Trevor Glaser
Row 5: Justin Asplin, Steve Isenberg
Row 6: Shane Clanton, Paul Mueller
Row 7: Jason Papich, Joey Moriarty
Row 8: Scott Ward, Dane Dacus
Row 9: Ed Turnbull, Paul Guglielmoni
Row 10: Ross Camponovo
Row 1: Don O'Neal, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 2: Terry Phillips, Tony Toste
Row 3: Ricky Thornton Jr., Jason McBride
Row 4: Garrett Alberson, John Lowrey
Row 5: Dean Moore, Don Shaw
Row 6: Dereck Ramirez, Mark Carrell
Row 7: Ron Bartels, Rick Shafer
Row 8: Brad Williams, David Vennard
Row 9: Brant Kehrer, Al Humphrey
Row 10: Klint Byars
Row 1: Jon Kirby, Ricky Weiss
Row 2: Duke Whiseant, Rob Mayea
Row 3: Clay Daly, Mike Balcaen
Row 4: Jeff Provinzino, Robert Sanders
Row 5: Ray Moore, Chad Simpson
Row 6: Shane Edginton, Leon Henderson
Row 7: Todd Frank, Travis Gorsuch
Row 8: Mark Herrera, Rick Butler
Row 9: James Chavez Jr., Matt Micheli
Row 10: John Lobb
The feature lineup hasn't been posted. ... The track took an intermission after modified consolations. ... Tim McCreadie, Don O'Neal and Jon Kirby are on the pole of consolation races. ... Crew chief Randle Edwards gave dominating heat winner Morgan Bagley a B+ in his debut in a new orange front-end Rocket Chassis. The win was good, Bagley said, "but that don't pay no money." Edwards was trying to coach Bagley to try a different groove. "He just didn't see me (on the backstretch) that he had a big lead and could try a different line." ... Klint Byars and his crew were worried he broke a motor when he fell out of the third heat while winning, but they discovered a broken rotor in the distributor. They were relieved. "That's Ol' Faithful right there," Byars said of the powerplant before discovering the problem. "I hope it's not hurt." ... Ross Camponovo fell out of his heat race after a first-lap scrape with Chris Simpson that damaged his car enough to cause a vibration. Or so Camponovo thought. "I think it was more because I was so mad," the Mississippi youngster said with a laugh. He hope the damage was just cosmetic and hoped to shake the car down in a consolation race to make sure there was no front-end damage. ... Jon Kirby's runner-up finish in his heat race didn't earn him a feature starting spot (he's on the pole of a consy), but it was better than any heat race finish he had last year at Tucson. He credits 2011 improvement in changing his driving style with coaching assistance from Arkansas veterans Bill Frye and Johnny Virden, helping him to drive more off the right-front corner of the car, keeping it straighter in the corners. Frye may come and drive one of Kirby's car next weekend at Tucson. ... The sheetmetal on the right-side and roof of Don O'Neal's car showed marks of being pounded out, along with plenty of duct tape, to make repairs after a hot-lap tangle with John Lobb. "For as bad as it was," O'Neal said, "it don't look that bad." Lobb has scratched for the night. ... Randy Korte made a nifty last-lap pass on Scott Creel to win the first heat, but Korte said Creel simply left the door open on the high side. "I gave it to him the first part of the race," Korte said, "so he figured he'd give it back at the end of the race."
Outside front-row starter Morgan Bagley, who impressed last year as a WWS rookie, jumped into the lead and cruised to victory in the final prelim. He won by more than a full straightaway. Polesitter Tony Toste, like most everyone else, stuck with the high groove in holding onto second while Jason McBride was third over a challenging Ricky Weiss. Officials will check passing points and set the feature race lineup shortly.
Finish: Morgan Bagley, Tony Toste, Jason McBride, Ricky Weiss, Justin Asplin, Ray Moore, Mark Carrell, Leon Henderson, Ed Turnbull.
Sixth-starting Billy Moyer took the lead with an inside pass over Travis Kay on the third lap, pulling away for the victory. Kay, who started outside the front row, showed some mettle in battling his fellow Iowa native and held onto second the rest of the way. Will Vaught came from eighth to third while Billy Moyer Jr. and polesitter Chris Simpson rounded out the top five.. The first start was called back when Simpson got sideways in turn two and went around completely after contact from Ross Camponovo. Simpson had to restart on the tail and Camponovo headed pitside.
Finish: Billy Moyer, Travis Kay, Will Vaught, Billy Moyer Jr., Chris Simpson, Dean Moore, Ron Bartels, Dereck Ramirez, Rick Butler, Ross Camponovo.
In a race that needed three restarts, fourth-starting Bub McCool took command on the first lap and rolled to victory. McCool was a WWS feature winner last season. Fifth-starting Jon Kirby looked strong early, too, grabbing the second sptoon the second lap and holding off Lonnie Parker Jr. to hold the position. Polesitter Trevor Glaser was fourth while Duke Whiseant rallied from the last row to finish fifth.. Al Humphrey got the worst of a first-lap scramble that caused a restart, banging into an infield tire that apparently broke his car's steering. Travis Gorsuch spun in turn two on the second attempted start.
Finish: Bub McCool, Jon Kirby, Lonnie Parker Jr., Trevor Glaser, Duke Whiseant, Mike Balcaen, Shane Edginton, Mark Herrera, Travis Gorsuch, Al Humphrey.
Fifth-starting John Anderson won an entertaining battle with eighth-starting Ronny Lee Hollingsworth, making an outside pass on the backstretch on the final lap, then hanging on as they scraped in turn four before Anderson won the race to the checkers. Anderson originally took the lead with a first-lap slide job on polesitter Clay Daly, but Hollingsworth worked underneath Anderson to take the lead on the second lap. Anderson seemed to struggle for a few laps before making his final charge. Daly finished a solid third while tail-starting Tim McCreadie rallied to fourth in his new Warrior Race Car.
Finish: John Anderson, Ronny Lee Hollingsworth Clay Daly, Tim McCreadie, Don Shaw, Terry Shannon, Jason Papich Brad Wiliams. Scratched: John Lobb.
Seventh-starting Jimmy Mars went from fourth-to-first on a lap-three restart, then held off a slide-jobbing Don O'Neal for an eight-lap victory. O'Neal quickly got to second behind Mars but couldn't track him down while tail-starting Shannon Babb rallied to finish third. Joey Moriarty led after the depature of Klint Byars — Byars led the first three laps before breaking — but faded to seventh. Byars threw his arm out the window with problems to draw an early caution. He pulled to the infield and crew members checked under the hood with dismay. Shane Clanton, in his debut with Kennedy Motorsports, struggled mid-pack throughout the race.
Finish: Jimmy Mars, Don O'Neal, Shannon Babb, Nick Bartels, Tim Isenberg, Shane Clanton, Joey Moriarty, Todd Frank, Dane Dacus, Klint Byars.
Polesitter Jesse Stovall pulled away from fellow Missouri and Victory Circle Chassis driver Brad Looney, who charged from his seventh starting spot up to second after just one lap. Stovall stayed safely ahead of Looney the rest of the way while fourth-starting Rob Mayea nabbed the third spot. Tail-starting Frank Hecknast Jr., gobbled up some passing points in finishing fourth with a strong run. Polesitter Scott Ward faded badly to eighth and Robert Sanders was fourth, holding off Jeff Provinzino in his WWS debut.
Finish: Jesse Stovall, Brad Looney, Rob Mayea, Frank Heckenast Jr., Robert Sanders, Jeff Provinzino, Paul Mueller, Scott Ward, James Chavez Jr., Brant Kehrer.
Polesitter Scott Creel won a first-lap duel with fellow front-row starter Randy Korte and pulled away mid-race, but Korte rallied on the high side on the final lap to take the lead and the victory at the checkers. Home-state driver Ricky Thornton Jr. was third and Steve Isenberg further back in fourth. Deep-starting Terry Phillips couldn't get higher than fifth in his debut in a Bloomquist Race Car. David Vennard spun inside turn one on the third lap, but continued after a 360 and didn't draw a caution. He and Matt Micheli pulled off the track before the chedkers.
Finish: Randy Korte, Scott Creel, Ricky Thornton Jr., Steve Isenberg, Terry Phillips, Garrett Alberson, John Lowrey, Matt Micheli, David Vennard. Correction: Fixes Korte as winner over Creel.
The 69 Late Model entries is 20 more cars than 2011's WWS opener. ... Long-time Billy Moyer crew chief Steve Norris, 50, will be heading back home where his daughter Amanda is expected to give birth to his first grandchild on Monday morning. ... Drivers draw from pills 1-100 for heat race lineups, and Mike Balcaen drew 100. "They should give you a mulligan if you draw 100," the Canadian driver cracked. ... The overflowing pits has several cars pitting outside the main gate, including Late Model drivers Brad Looney and Brad Williams. ... Modified heat race winners: Scott Ward, Rodney Sanders, Jason Krohn, Stormy Scott, Jason Hughes and Tyson Turnbull (Chase Junghans crossed the line first but was penalized for jumping a restart).
Hot laps were tentatively scheduled for 12:30 p.m (MST) with racing at 1 p.m., but delays getting everyone into the pits and registered delayed action more than two hours. The Late Model format calls for drawn heat race lineups with seven heat race finishers and the top five cars by passing points transferring to the 24-car main event. Four cars apiece from each of three consolation races transfer to the 30-lap main event. Modifieds, with 57 entrants, will run a complete program as well. ... Twenty-seven states and and two Canadian provinces are represented in the Late Model field. ... Among entries are winningest miniseries drivers Terry Phillips of Springfield, Mo. (debuting a new Bloomquist Race Car), Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., and Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis. Among standout series newcomers are two-time Dirt Track World Champion Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., former World 100 winner Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga. (debuting with Kennedy Motorsports) and former World of Outlaws Late Model Series champion Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y. (debuting a Warrior Race Car). ... Jimmy Mars missed his hot-lap session with an apparent locked-up left-front brake. ... In the same hot-lap session, Don O'Neal and John Lobb got together between turns three and four. Lobb had to be towed off the track and O'Neal rolled to the pits with right-side damage on his No. 71. ... With sixty-nine cars entered, officials bumped the heat race count up to seven instead of six. ... The No. 17m of Dave Deetz might not be action after engine problems cropped up Friday night when teammate Garrett Alberson was hot-lapping the car. ... Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., will make his WWS debut as a teammate to Joey Moriarty of Phoenix. Thornton is a two-time champ on the SWDRA circuit and had a 2012 series victory at Tucson. ... Other likely entries who won last season at Tucson: Ricky Weiss of Winnipeg, Manitoba; Nick Bartels of El Segundo, Calif.; and six-time SWDRA champion Lonnie Parker Jr. ... Ken Kirby of Kalamazoo, Mich., is piloting the Mike Tahtinen-owned No. 24 usually driven by Terry Belcher Jr. ... Modified ace Dereck Ramirez of Woodward, Okla., is making his Dirt Late Model debut. ... Today's forecast calls for clear skies with highs in the upper 60s, which is basically the forecast for the entire week. .... Super stocks and Western States stock cars are also on Saturday's slate.
Heat race lineups
Row 1: Scott Creel, Randy Korte
Row 2: Ricky Thornton, Matt Micheli
Row 3: David Vennard, Tim Isenberg
Row 4: Rick Shafer, Garrett Alberson
Row 5: Terry Phillips, John Lowrey
Row 1: Jesse Stovall, Scott Ward
Row 2: James Chavez Jr., Rob Mayea
Row 3: Robert Sanders, Paul Mueller
Row 4: Brad Looney, Jeff Provinzino
Row 5: Brant Kehrer, Frank Heckenast Jr.
Row 1: Klint Byars, Joey Moriarty
Row 2: Tim Isenberg, Shane Clanton
Row 3: Don O'Neal, Dane Dacus
Row 4: Jimmy Mars, Todd Frank
Row 5: Nick Bartels, Shannon Babb
Row 1: Clay Daly, Brad Williams
Row 2: Don Shaw, Jason Papich
Row 3: John Anderson, Paul Guglielmoni
Row 4: John Lobb, Ronny Lee Hollingsworth
Row 5: Chris Shannon, Tim McCreadie
Row 1: Trevor Glaser, Mark Herrera
Row 2: Lonnie Parker Jr., Bub McCool
Row 3: Jon Kirby, Al Humphrey
Row 4: Shane Edginton, Travis Gorsuch
Row 5: Duke Whiseant, Mike Balcaen
Row 1: Chris Simpson, Justin Kay
Row 2: Ron Bartels, Ross Camponovo
Row 3: Rick Butler, Billy Moyer
Row 4: Dean Moore, Will Vaught
Row 5: Billy Moyer Jr., Dereck Ramirez
Row 1: Tony Toste, Morgan Bagley
Row 2: Jason McBride, Ed Turnbull
Row 3: Justin Asplin, Mark Carrell
Row 4: Ray Moore, Ricky Weiss
Row 5: Leon Henderson
Jan. 14 race order
Stock cars (6)
Super stocks (6)
Late Models (8)
Consolation races (laps)
Late Models (12)
Main events (laps)
Stock cars (15)
Super stocks (15)
Late Models (30)
Wild West Shootout schedule
(Final four races live on DirtonDirt.com pay-per-view)
Jan. 14, USA Raceway, Tucson, Ariz., $3,000
Jan. 15, USA Raceway, Tucson, Ariz., $5,000
Jan. 18, USA Raceway, Tucson, Ariz., $3,000
Jan. 20, USA Raceway, Tucson, Ariz., $3,000
Jan. 21, USA Raceway, Tucson, Ariz., $3,000
Jan. 22, USA Raceway, Tucson, Ariz., $3,000
Unofficial Wild West Shootout Late Model roster
9I - Steve Isenberg, Marshfield, Wis.
39 - Tim McCreadie, Watertown, N.Y.
94 - James Chavez Jr., Tucson, Ariz.
99jr - Frank Heckenast Jr., Frankfort, Ill.