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Daily Dirt 06/22/2024 08:21:35

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August 4
Cedar Lake Speedway,
New Richmond, WI
Sanction: World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series (USA Nationals) - $50,000
Information provided by: Kevin Kovac (last updated August 7, 10:41 am)
Clanton, Owens among USA Nat'ls heat winners
Todd Boyd
Eric Wells won the fourth USA Nationals heat race.
Key notes: The regularly-scheduled Friday-night portion of the USA Nationals — time trials and heat races to set a portion of the starting field for Saturday's 100-lap headliner — followed the completion of Thursday night's postponed 30-lap, $6,000-to-win WoO-sanctioned program won by Chris Madden. ... DirtonDirt.com is providing live pay-per-view video coverage of the entire weekend.
Points chase: Entering Cedar Lake: 1. Brandon Sheppard (4,026 points), 2. Chris Madden (3,768), 3. Shane Clanton (3,736), 4. Tyler Erb (3,718), 5. Devin Moran (3,676), 6. Rick Eckert (3,668), 7. Eric Wells (3,590), 8. Chub Frank (3,548), 9. Frank Heckenast Jr. (3,498), 10. Morgan Bagley (3,476).
Car count: 41
Fast qualifier: Brian Shirley
Time: 13.470 seconds
Dash winner: Brian Shirley
Heat race winners: Shane Clanton, Jimmy Owens, Eric Wells, Kent Robinson
Next series race: August 17, Georgetown Speedway (Georgetown, DE) $10,000
Editor's note: Removes incorrect age information.
By Kevin Kovac
DirtonDirt.com senior writer

NEW RICHMOND, Wis. (Aug. 4) — A pair of established veterans and two rising drivers split Friday night’s four 15-lap USA Nationals heat races at Cedar Lake Speedway.

Decorated standouts Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., and Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., captured the first two prelims while Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., and Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind., topped Heats 3 and 4, giving them all a shot at starting from the pole position in Saturday night’s 100-lap World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series-sanctioned finale that boasts a $50,000 first-place prize.

The four heat winners as well as the runners-up — Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill., Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., and Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind. — will face off in a dash during Saturday evening’s program in which the finishing order will determine the top eight starting spots in the 30th annual USA Nationals headliner. The dash was originally scheduled for Friday night but officials pushed it to Saturday because of the length of the doubleheader program.

Preliminary results and notes:

FANS Fund Dash

Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., dominated the 12-lap dash for the drivers who received the most votes in the FANS Fund that offers show-up money to selected USA Nationals entrants.

Shirley raced off the pole position to lead the entire distance. He beat Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., to the finish line by a commanding margin of 3.215 seconds for a $3,000 payday.

A total of $28,150 in cash collected by the FANS Fund was divided between the drivers in the dash, which offered $2,700 to the last-place finish.

The Dash was checkered just before 1:10 a.m., ending the long Friday doubleheader.

FANS Fund Dash finish: Brian Shirley, Jason Feger, Dale McDowell, Bobby Pierce, Kyle Bronson, Ricky Weiss, Michael Lake, Justin Duty, Tyler Bruening, Kent Robinson.

FANS Fund Dash lineup

Row 1: Brian Shirley, Michael Lake
Row 2: Jason Feger, Justin Duty
Row 3: Tyler Bruening, Kyle Bronson
Row 4: Bobby Pierce, Ricky Weiss
Row 5: Kent Robinson, Dale McDowell

NASCAR Late Model feature

James Giossi of New Richmond, Wis., emerged victorious in the 30-lap NASCAR Late Model feature after inheriting the lead on lap 13 when Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., headed to the pits during a caution period with a flat left-rear tire.

Nick Anvelink of Bonduel, Wis., advance from the ninth starting spot to finish second, 1.962 seconds behind the winner.

Darrell Nelson of Germantown, Minn., finished third, followed by A.J. Diemel of Elk Mound, Wis., and Jake Redetzke of Eau Claire, Wis.

Fourth heat

Rebounding from a near-flip in a preliminary program heat earlier in the evening, Kent Robinson scored a wire-to-wire triumph by 1.488 seconds over Don O’Neal. Brandon Sheppard challenged O’Neal several times but settled for third place while polesitter Bobby Pierce, who was outgunned for the lead at the start by Robinson and slipped to fifth on lap two, overtook Chris Simpson for fourth on lap 11 and finished in the final transfer spot.

Finish: Kent Robinson, Don O’Neal, Brandon Sheppard, Bobby Pierce, Chris Simpson, Jason Feger, Lance Matthees, Austin Theiss, Justin Duty, Nick Anvelink.

Third heat

Eric Wells turned back a late challenge from Mike Marlar to capture the 15-lapper by 0.531 of a second. Behind the leaders, three cars came across the finish line under a blanket with Chris Madden going between Dennis Erb Jr. and Scott Bloomquist off turn four to nip Bloomquist for fourth and finish just behind third-place Erb. A.J. Diemel triggered a caution flag on lap three when he slid over the inside berm in turn four.

Finish: Eric Wells, Mike Marlar, Dennis Erb Jr., Chris Madden, Scott Bloomquist, Ricky Weiss, Rick Eckert, Chase Junghans, Michael Lake, A.J. Diemel.

Second heat

Former USA Nationals winner Jimmy Owens cruised to a flag-to-flag triumph, beating Brian Shirley by 1.244 seconds. Shirley reached second with a lap-seven restart pass of Earl Pearson Jr., who settled for a third-place finish, one spot ahead of fellow Lucas Oil Series regular Darrell Lanigan. Five-time USA Nationals champion brought out a caution flag on lap seven when he slowed on backstretch, ending a tough race that saw him fall from the third starting spot to seventh when he got out of shape off turn four on the initial start.

Finish: Jimmy Owens, Brian Shirley, Earl Pearson Jr., Darrell Lanigan, Kyle Bronson, Devin Moran, Brent Larson, Chub Frank, Jeff Massingill, Billy Moyer.

First heat

Shane Clanton led all the way, maintaining a short lead on Frank Heckenast Jr. to win the 15-lapper by 0.788 of a second. Shannon Babb placed third and Matt Furman claimed the final transfer spot. A caution flag flew on lap three after fifth-place Scott Ward hit the backstretch wall and was rearended hard by Tyler Erb, who had nowhere to go as Ward slowed abruptly in front of him. Adding insult to injury, Erb was also hit by Morgan Bagley as he slid across the track, but he was able to continue racing and missed transferring by a single spot. Also bringing out a caution flag was Jordan Yaggy, who stopped with a flat right-rear tire on lap four.

Finish: Shane Clanton, Frank Heckenast Jr., Shannon Babb, Matt Furman, Tyler Erb, Jimmy Mars, Jordan Yaggy, Dale McDowell, Tyler Bruening, Morgan Bagley, Scott Ward.


Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., was the overall fast-timer in the 41-car USA Nationals qualifying session with a lap of 13.470 seconds. He will start fourth in the second heat, however, because the top eight qualifiers from each time-trial group were inverted.

Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., was quickest in Group 2 with a lap of 13.522 seconds. He will start fourth in the fourth 15-lap heat race.

Heat polesitters are Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., and Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill.

The top four finishers in each of the heats will transfer to Saturday night’s 100-lap feature; the winners will compete in a dash following the heats to set the lineup for the first two rows of the USA Nationals.

Time trials ended at 11:07 p.m. The track crew then took to the speedway to do more reconditioning work before the start of the heats.

Pre-race setup

The second half of the weather-induced doubleheader to kick off the 30th annual USA Nationals weekend features time trials and 15-lap heat races that will be contested to set a portion of the field for Saturday night’s $50,000-to-win 100-lapper.

Two Late Model dashes will also be part of Friday’s card. One will pit the heat winners in a battle for the up-front starting spots in Saturday night’s 100-lapper, and the other will feature the drivers who came to Cedar Lake as part of the traditional FANSFund program.

The qualifying program, which also includes a full show for Cedar Lake’s NASCAR Late Model division, is tentatively scheduled to begin around 8 p.m. CT after track crews recondition the racing surface following the day’s 30-lap, $6,000-to-win WoO-sanctioned program.

Heat race lineups

(15 laps; top 4 transfer)
First heat
Row 1: Dale McDowell, Shane Clanton
Row 2: Shannon Babb, Jordan Yaggy
Row 3: Scott Ward, Frank Heckenast Jr.
Row 4: Tyler Erb, Matt Furman
Row 5: Morgan Bagley, Jimmy Mars
Row 6: Tyler Bruening
Second heat
Row 1: Earl Pearson Jr., Jimmy Owens
Row 2: Billy Moyer, Brian Shirley
Row 3: Darrell Lanigan, Brent Larson
Row 4: Kyle Bronson, Chub Frank
Row 5: Jeff Massingill, Devin Moran
Third heat
Row 1: Eric Wells, Mike Marlar
Row 2: Rick Eckert, Scott Bloomquist
Row 3: Chris Madden, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 4: Ricky Weiss, A.J. Diemel
Row 5: Michael Lake, Chase Junghans
Fourth heat
Row 1: Bobby Pierce, Kent Robinson
Row 2: Don O’Neal, Brandon Sheppard
Row 3: Chris Simpson, Jason Feger
Row 4: Lance Matthees, Nick Anvelink
Row 5: Austin Theiss, Justin Duty

Qualifying results

First group   
Brian Shirley (3s), Chatham, Ill., 13.470
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 13.596
Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 13.666
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 13.763
Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 13.774
Earl Pearson Jr. (1P), Jacksonville, Fla., 13.791
Dale McDowell (17M), Chickamauga, Ga., 13.805
Scott Ward (37), Watertown, S.D., 13.812
Darrell Lanigan (14), Union, Ky., 13.845
Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 13.857
Brent Larson (B1), Lake Elmo, Minn., 13.861
Tyler Erb (91), New Waverly, Texas, 13.905
Kyle Bronson (40b), Brandon, Fla., 13.955
Jordan Yaggy (77), Rochester, Minn., 13.955
Matt Furman (51), Portland, Ore., 13.966
Chub Frank (1*), Bear Lake, Pa., 14.007
Morgan Bagley (14M), Tyler, Texas, 14.029
Jeff Massingill (6M), Keewatin, Minn., 14.050
Jimmy Mars (28M), Menomonie, Wis., 14.055
Devin Moran (9), Dresden, Ohio, 14.160
Tyler Bruening (16), Decorah, Iowa, no time
Second group   
Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., 13.522
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 13.590
Don O'Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., 13.675
Rick Eckert (7), York, Pa., 13.719
Kent Robinson (7R), Bloomington, Ind., 13.745
Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 13.769
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 13.819
Eric Wells (18), Hazard, Ky., 13.825
Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., 13.851
Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 13.865
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 13.867
Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 13.922
Ricky Weiss (7W), Headingly, Manitoba, 13.936
Lance Matthees (90), Winona, Minn., 14.052
A.J. Diemel (58), Elk Mound, Wis., 14.066
Nick Anvelink (15), Bonduel, Wis., 14.129
Michael Lake (27), Uniontown, Pa., 14.181
Austin Theiss (7D), Hockley, Texas, 14.373
Chase Junghans (18c), Manhattan, Kan., 14.457
Justin Duty (15), Portland, Ore., 14.736

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