SYLVANIA, Ga. (Feb. 13) — Edging ahead of race leader Chris Ferguson of Mount Holly, N.C. on lap 38 of 50, Rick Eckert of York, Pa., led the remaining circuits to capture a $10,000 World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series victory in Screven Motor Speedway’s Winter Freeze VI finale.
Starting on the outside pole, Ferguson charged to the lead at the drop of the green flag, with Eckert reeling in the North Carolina driver by the race’s halfway point. Eckert pulled ahead with just a dozen laps remaining in the main event, as Ferguson slowed with a flat tire just one lap later. The former World of Outlaws champion notched his 35th career series victory.
“My car wasn’t really bad last night, I just qualified terrible,” Eckert said after the race. “Tonight the racetrack was a little friendlier qualifying. I qualified a lot better and started on the front. It’s a really hard place to pass. We knew it was going to be tire wear there. I was fortunate to get into second on that start.
“I ran hard on (Ferguson) there for a couple laps and I thought, ‘This ain’t very smart, I better save my tires.’ He was driving into three pretty hard, pretty crooked. I just slowed my entry down and tried to drive in straight and save my tires as long as I could. I knew he went bald because he started getting really crooked. I tried to roll around him on the top a couple times and every time I did, he’d slide up across and I couldn’t get under him. Finally I snuck by him there.”
Advancing from the 10th starting spot, Boom Briggs of Bear Lake, Pa., finished runner-up, with Jason Covert of York Haven, Pa., running third. Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill., finished fourth, with Casey Roberts of Toccoa, Ga., rounding out the top five.
Briggs dedidcated his second-place finish to his father.
“We didn’t practice the other night because I’ve been in the hospital with my dad,” Briggs said. “Really, this one’s for my dad tonight. He’s laying in the hospital, he’s getting a little better, but I was up for 43 straight hours. I’ve just been off in qualifying. For me, to start 10th and run second on a one-lane rubber track … everybody just worked hard. It just all came together.”
Backing up Friday's top-five run, Covert's third-place finish saw three Pennsylvania drivers sweeping Saturday's podium.
“At the beginning of the race, I was actually fairly decent,” Covert said. “I was just riding a little bit and then I got that same tight situation and I had to slide the car. About halfway or so, we just didn’t have no tire left. But (Eckert) did a good job and (Briggs) had a really good car. Three Pennsylvania guys, that’s pretty awesome."
Notes: The first yellow flag flew on lap five when Shane Clanton spun in turn four. … Coleby Frye drew a caution on lap 14 when he spun in turn four. … A yellow flag waved for third-running Chris Ferguson on lap 39 when he slowed in turn one with a flat tire. … Joey Coulter drew a caution on lap 47 when he slowed in turn two; Tyler Erb retired under yellow. … Donald Bradsher was slated to start from the pole, but retired to the pits before taking the green because of a broken drive shaft.
Outside polesitter Billy Ogle Jr. jumped to an early lead, with Pancho Lawler and Chesley Dixon tangling in turn four to draw a caution on lap two. Maintaining his lead after the restart, Ogle held off polesitter Kenny Pettyjohn to win the second consolation. Pettyjohn finished runner-up, with Chase Junghans improving one position to take the third and final transfer spot.
Finish (top three transfer): Billy Ogle Jr., Kenny Pettyjohn, Chase Junghans, Austin Smith, Jordy Nipper, Jordan Yaggy, Brian Ligon, Stacy Boles, Pancho Lawler, Kelly Guy, Chesley Dixon, Ivedent Lloyd Jr., Harry Wallance. Scratched: Brent Dixon
Charging around the high-side, outside polesitter Chub Frank shot to the front of the field at the drop of the green, fighting back challenges from polesitter Steve Casebolt for the lead. Making contact with Tyler Erb in a battle for the third and final transfer spot, Casey Barrow hit the turn-four wall on lap nine to draw a caution. With several drivers piling up in turn one on the final lap, Frank picked up the win, with Casebolt finishing runner-up. Erb ran third to transfer to the feature.
Finish (top three transfer): Chub Frank, Steve Casebolt, Tyler Erb, Paul Wilmoth Jr., Jason Feger, Tim Lance, Brandon Overton, Dillon Wood, Rusty Griffaw, Tristan Sealy, Casey Barrow, Austin Rettig, Mike Hammerlee. Scratched: Dustin Mitchell, Ray Cook
(10 laps; top three transfer)
Row 1: Steve Casebolt, Chub Frank
Row 2: Casey Barrow, Jason Feger
Row 3: Paul Wilmoth Jr., Tyler Erb
Row 4: Tim Lance, Rusty Griffaw
Row 5: Dustin Mitchell, Brandon Overton
Row 6: Mike Hammerlee, Ray Cook
Row 7: Dillon Wood, Tristan Sealy
Row 8: Austin Rettig
Row 1: Kenny Pettyjohn, Billy Ogle Jr.
Row 2: Austin Smith, Chase Junghans
Row 3: Jordy Nipper, Jordan Yaggy
Row 4: Chesley Dixon, Kelly Guy
Row 5: Ivedent Lloyd Jr., Pancho Lawler
Row 6: Stacy Boles, Tyler Bruening
Row 7: Brian Ligon, Brent Dixon
Row 8: Harry Wallace
Polesitter Brian Shirley jumped to the lead on the opening lap, with a yellow flag waving for a tangle in turns three and four involving Kelly Guy, Pancho Lawler, Tyler Bruening and Jordan Yaggy. Shirley pulled away to win the fourth heat, with Chris Ferguson holding on to his second-place starting position. Casey Roberts ran third, with Josh Richards improving two spots to finish fourth and transfer to the feature.
Finish (top four transfer): Brian Shirley, Chris Ferguson, Casey Roberts, Josh Richards, Billy Ogle Jr., Chase Junghans, Jordan Yaggy, Kelly Guy, Pancho Lawler, Tyler Bruening. Scratched: Brent Dixon
Charging to the lead at the drop of the green flag, polesitter Billy Moyer Jr. drove away from the field to win the third heat. Jason Covert held on to his second-place starting spot, with Coleby Frye outrunning Shane Clanton to run third. Clanton grabbed the fourth and final transfer spot.
Finish (top four transfer): Billy Moyer Jr., Jason Covert, Coleby Frye, Shane Clanton, Kenny Pettyjohn, Austin Smith, Jordy Nipper, Chesley Dixon, Ivedent Lloyd Jr., Stacy Boles, Brian Ligon, Harry Wallace
Fourth-starting Chub Frank spun in turn four to draw a caution on the first lap, as front row starters Joey Coulter and Ray Cook battled for the lead. A yellow flew on the ensuing restart when Jason Feger spun in turn two. Donald Bradsher shot ahead of Coulter on the restart, pulling away from the field. Reeling in Bradsher, Coulter retook the lead on lap nine, winning the second heat race. Bradsher finished second, with Boom Briggs advancing from the eighth-starting spot to run third. As Brandon Overton hit the turns three and four wall on the final lap, Eric Wells ran fourth to transfer to the feature.
Finish (top four transfer): Joey Coulter, Donald Bradsher, Boom Briggs, Eric Wells, Chub Frank, Jason Feger, Tyler Erb, Rusty Griffaw, Brandon Overton, Ray Cook, Tristan Sealy
A yellow flag flew on the opening lap when a mid-field collision sent Dillon Wood and Casey Barrow spinning in turn two. Charging around the high-side, second-starting Frank Heckenast Jr. pulled ahead of polesitter Rick Eckert to take an early lead. Racing side-by-side, Heckenast fought back challenges from Eckert to win the first heat. Eckert ran second, with Dennis Franklin running third. Morgan Bagley grabbed the fourth and final transfer spot.
Finish (top four transfer): Frank Heckenast Jr., Rick Eckert, Dennis Franklin, Morgan Bagley, Steve Casebolt, Casey Barrow, Paul Wilmoth Jr., Tim Lance, Dustin Mitchell, Mike Hammerlee, Dillon Wood, Austin Rettig
Heat race lineups
(10 laps; top four transfer)
Row 1: Rick Eckert, Frank Heckenast Jr.
Row 2: Steve Casebolt, Dillon Wood
Row 3: Paul Wilmoth Jr., Dennis Franklin
Row 4: Morgan Bagley, Dustin Mitchell
Row 5: Austin Rettig, Tim Lance
Row 6: Casey Barrow, Mike Hammerlee
Row 1: Joey Coulter, Ray Cook
Row 2: Donald Bradsher, Chub Frank
Row 3: Jason Feger, Brandon Overton
Row 4: Eric Wells, Boom Briggs
Row 5: Tristan Sealy, Tyler Erb
Row 6: Rusty Griffaw
Row 1: Billy Moyer Jr., Jason Covert
Row 2: Shane Clanton, Coleby Frye
Row 3: Austin Smith, Kenny Pettyjohn
Row 4: Stacy Boles, Jordy Nipper
Row 5: Evident Lloyd Jr., Chesley Dixon
Row 6: Brian Ligon, Harry Wallace
Row 1: Brian Shirley, Chris Ferguson
Row 2: Casey Roberts, Billy Ogle Jr.
Row 3: Chase Junghans, Josh Richards
Row 4: Jordan Yaggy, Kelly Guy
Row 5: Brent Dixon, Pancho Lawler
Row 6: Tyler Bruening
The World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series action continues Saturday with the Winter Freeze VI finale at Screven Motor Speedway. The 50-lap main event pays $10,000 to the winner.
Reigning World of Outlaws champion Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., captured an $8,000 victory in Friday’s season opener. Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., finished runner-up and Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., ran third.
Saturday’s program will include time trials, heat races, consolations and the 50-lap feature event. Pure stocks and super streets are among other divisions in action.
Time trial results
Driver (car no.), hometown, time
Rick Eckert (7), York, Pa., 14.285
Joey Coulter (2), Charlotte, N.C., 14.345
Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 14.369
Ray Cook (53), Brasstown, N.C., 14.569
Steve Casebolt (c9), Richmond, Ind., 14.591
Donald Bradsher (93), Burlington, N.C., 14.626
Dillon Wood (1W), New Symrna Beach, Fla., 14.631
Chub Frank (1*), Bear Lake, Pa., 14.670
Paul Wilmoth Jr. (B1), Clarksburg, W.Va., 14.714
Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 14.749
Dennis Franklin (2F), Gaffney, S.C., 14.755
Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., 14.771
Morgan Bagley (14m), Longview, Texas, 14.799
Eric Well (18), Hazard, Ky., 14.814
Dustin Mitchell (D8), Pine Level, N.C., 14.823
Boom Briggs (99B), Bear Lake, Pa., 14.885
Austin Rettig (94), Sikeston, Mo., 14.931
Tristan Sealy (35TC), Moultrie, Ga., 14.941
Tim Lance (48), Brimfield, Ill., 14.983
Tyler Erb (91), New Waverly, Texas, 15.025
Casey Barrow (98), Savannah, Ga., 15.054
Rusty Griffaw (16), Festus, Mo., 15.363
Mike Hammerlee (16H), St. Charles, Mo., 15.769
Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 14.151
Brian Shirley (3s), Chatham, Ill., 14.217
Jason Covert (72), York Haven, Pa., 14.265
Chris Ferguson (22), Mount Holly, N.C., 14.331
Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 14.347
Casey Roberts (101), Toccoa, Ga., 14.352
Coleby Frye (0), Dover, Pa., 14.406
Billy Ogle Jr. (201), Knoxville, Tenn., 14.532
Austin Smith (11), Cedartown, Ga., 14.613
Chase Junghans (18c), Manhattan, Kan., 14.617
Kenny Pettyjohn (38s), Millsboro, Del., 14.621
Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., 14.674
Stacy Boles (11B), Clinton, Tenn., 14.711
Jordan Yaggy (77), Rochester, Minn., 14.838
Jordy Nipper (1N), Gray, Ga., 14.878
Kelly Guy (28), Thomson, Ga., 14.887
Ivedent Lloyd Jr. (21), Ocala, Fla., 14.945
Brent Dixon (1D), Elberton, Ga., 14.958
Pancho Lawler (93L), Hanover, Pa., 14.961
Chesley Dixon (3), Swainsboro, Ga., 14.962
Brian Ligon (4), Augusta, Ga., 15.030
Tyler Bruening (16T), Decorah, Iowa, 15.072
Harry Wallace (121), Bluffton, S.C., 16.482