SYLVANIA, Ga. (Feb. 7) — Ending a 66-race World of Outlaws winless streak in dramatic fashion, Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., made a stirring late-race charge to overtake Steve Casebolt of Richmond, Ind., on the final circuit and capture the $10,000 top prize in Saturday night’s 50-lap Winter Freeze V at Screven Motor Speedway.
Casebolt had appeared headed to his second consecutive World of Outlaws Late Model Series victory after wrestling the lead from Brandon Overton of Appling, Ga., on lap 11, but the race’s lone caution flag, on lap 41, restacked the field and allowed Clanton to mount one last charge. The 39-year-old Clanton slipped by Overton for second place on lap 48, snuck underneath Casebolt down the backstretch on the final circuit and slid into the lead entering turn three after trading some paint.
Casebolt, 36, settled for second place one night after earning his first-ever WoO triumph, 0.639 of a second behind Clanton. Overton was third for his second straight podium finish after leading laps 5-10, Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., placed fourth and Casey Roberts of Toccoa, Ga., finished fifth after overtaking polesitter Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., on the lap-41 restart.
Clanton’s checkered flag behind the wheel of his father-in-law Ron Davies’s Clements-powered Capital Race Car was the 21st of his career on the WoO but first since June 1, 2013, at Stateline Speedway in Busti, N.Y. He failed to win at least one A-Main on the tour last year for the first time since the series was restarted in 2004 under the World Racing Group banner.
“We worked awful hard here (to get back in victory lane),” said Clanton, who started fourth and ran behind Casebolt and Overton for much of the distance. “Marshall Green, Capital Race Cars … (crew chief) Brock Wise come back with me this week. Billy Ward … and I’m gonna thank my brothers. If it wasn’t for (all of) them, I probably wouldn’t be here today.
“It’s very emotional. My wife and little baby (Gunner) are back in the pit area, and my son Ryan and my father-in-law. It’s been a long time. I’m wore out now.”
Clanton ended his WoO slump with a flourish, outdueling both the 23-year-old Overton and Casebolt in the closing laps.
“We went a little harder on tires,” Clanton said. “I know they started sliding there (in the late stages), and when we got to lapped traffic I was just biding my time waiting for the signal for five to go. Then we had that restart (on lap 41) and we were single-file so I knew it was under 10 to go, so I knew it was time to go.
“I had to use (Casebolt) up a little bit there,” he added, “but it was for the win.”
Casebolt had no problem with Clanton’s aggressive bid for the victory. The Hoosier State driver actually felt fortunate to still be in contention for the win on the final lap with his fading Club 29 machine.
“It’s just a shame to lead that much and get passed on the last lap,” said Casebolt, who led laps 1-4 from his outside-pole starting spot before briefly ceding the top spot to Overton. “Shane drove ‘er down in there and just beat me.
“I wasn’t very good entering turn one and I actually thought somebody would pass me way before they did, so I was happy to have held on like I did. The tires were blistered, and I think Shane maybe had a little bit harder tire on the right-rear. That’s probably what won it for him.”
Casebolt deemed his trip to Screven with his new partner Tye Twarog a resounding success.
“Well, I wish the second place would’ve came first,” Casebolt said with a smile. “Now I’m disappointed. I’m spoiled now.
“But yeah, it was a good weekend. I think we got sixth the first night (Thursday’s unsanctioned event), then we won and got second. We’re thrilled with that and just happy to be here. It’s been a good week.”
The race’s lone caution flag flew on lap 41 when Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., spun around in turn four while battling for sixth-place with Roberts, who two nights earlier was angered after his feature pass of Richards for the lead on the backstretch was followed moments later by contact with Richards. Roberts ended up sliding out of the groove and finished third in Thursday night’s headliner while Richards went on to victory.
First B-Main (top three transfer): Darrell Lanigan, Dale McDowell, Pancho Lawler, Kyle Beard, Dustin Mitchell, Chad Hollenbeck, Dan Stone, Jim Manka (DNS) Josh Knoll.
Second B-Main (top three transfer): Eric Wells, Chase Junghans, Rodney Sanders, Jordan Yaggy, Brian Ligon, Casey Barrow (DNS) Doug Blashe, Eddie Blackmon III.
Tim McCreadie picked the pole position for the 50-lap feature in the redraw for the top-two finishers from the heat races. Friday-night winner Steve Casebolt will share the front row for the start of the A-Main.
(12 laps; top three transfer)
Row 1: Dale McDowell, Darrell Lanigan
Row 2: Dustin Mitchell, Pancho Lawler
Row 3: Chad Hollenbeck, Kyle Beard
Row 4: Dan Stone, Jim Manka
Row 5: Josh Knoll
Row 1: Rodney Sanders, Eric Wells
Row 2: Chase Junghans, Brian Ligon
Row 3: Doug Blashe, Jordan Yaggy
Row 4: Eddie Blackmon III, Casey Barrow
Taking advantage of an original-start penalty on polesitter Casey Barrow that moved him to the catbird’s seat, Tim McCreadie led from flag-to-flag for a 10-lap victory. McCreadie crossed the finish line 0.526 of a second ahead of Morgan Bagley, who grabbed the second redraw spot. Frank Heckenast Jr. rallied from an early restart penalty for firing too early and a trip over the cushion later to finish third while Jordy Nipper placed fourth. Barrow’s original-start jumping penalty was the start of a rough prelim run for the Georgia driver; one circuit later he spun and collected Jordan Yaggy, bringing out a caution flag and forcing Barrow pitside for damage repair that ultimately ended his heat-race outing.
Finish (top four transfer): Tim McCreadie, Morgan Bagley, Frank Heckenast Jr., Jordy Nipper, Eric Wells, Brian Ligon, Jordan Yaggy, Casey Barrow.
Shane Clanton dominated the action, winning by 2.308 seconds over Mason Zeigler. A WoO rookie aspirant, Zeigler rallied from an early restart jumping penalty that put him back to fifth place to overtake Chub Frank for second on lap eight. Frank finished third, holding off his teammate Boom Briggs for the spot. Chase Junghans brought out the race’s first caution on the first lap with a spin. A second caution flag flew on lap four when new entries Doug Blashe and Eddie Blackmon III tangled in turn four.
Finish (top four transfer): Shane Clanton, Mason Zeigler, Chub Frank, Boom Briggs, Rodney Sanders, Chase Junghans, Doug Blashe, Eddie Blackmon III.
Friday-night feature winner Steve Casebolt proved he’s primed to go for two in a row with a spectacular victory, passing Billy Moyer off the final corner to emerge triumphant by a mere 0.035 of a second. Josh Richards settled for third after sliding over the cushion early and Tony Knowles placed fourth after turning back a challenge from Darrell Lanigan, who ran most of the distance with his car’s right-rear spoiler damaged from an early bout with the homestretch wall.
Finish (top four transfer): Steve Casebolt, Billy Moyer, Josh Richards, Tony Knowles, Darrell Lanigan, Pancho Lawler, Kyle Beard, Jim Manka.
Brandon Overton continued his perfect night, turning back several challenges from Casey Roberts to take the victory. Roberts finished 0.294 of a second behind Overton to finish second and grab the other redraw spot for the feature. Rick Eckert slipped by Austin Smith late in the distance to place third.
Finish (top four transfer): Brandon Overton, Casey Roberts, Rick Eckert, Austin Smith, Dale McDowell, Dustin Mitchell, Chad Hollenbeck, Dan Stone (DNS) Josh Knoll.
Brandon Overton of Appling, Ga., was the overall fastest qualifier in Saturday night’s split time-trials session, turning a lap of 14.421 seconds in Group 1 to establish a new track record. He broke the 14.486-second mark set on Thursday night by Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va.
Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., was fastest in Group 2 with a lap of 14.776 second. He will join Overton as a heat-race polesitter; Friday-night winner Steve Casebolt of Richmond, Ind., and Casey Barrow of Savannah, Ga., will also start from the pole in their respective 10-lap heat races, each of which will send four drivers to the 50-lap A-Main.
Two drivers did not record a qualifying lap: Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., whose car was struck by an electrical fire after hot laps, and Josh Knoll of Lake, Mich., whose car dumped fluid on the track during practice.
The three nights of Winter Freeze V action at Screven conclude on a clear but chilly Saturday evening. … Open-wheel modified star-turned-Dirt Late Model upstart Rodney Sanders of Happy, Texas, saw his very strong burst out of the 2015 gate in the full-fender class hit a major speedbump on Friday night when he flipped wildly early in the 50-lap feature. The 25-year-old escaped uninjured and he does not think his Club 29 car sustained significant frame damage, but nearly every bolt-on part on the machine was damaged, forcing him to pull out his backup mount for Saturday night’s finale. It’s a brand-new Club 29 car that actually wasn’t completely finished when Sanders arrived at Screven, so the youngster and his team worked late into the night and throughout Saturday morning and afternoon to get it race-ready. … Defending WoO champion Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., was quiet eighth-place finisher in Friday night’s feature. He said the broken right thumb he suffered last month while racing in Tucson, Ariz., didn’t hamper him, but he did note that the very cold evening temperatures made the injury more noticeable than it has been. … Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., has struggled the first two nights of the Winter Freeze (he was 11th in Friday night’s WoO opener), but he said that while he’s feeling down, he’s certainly not out. He said the backing he receives from Sweeteners Plus helps him through these types of slow times and he expects to improve tonight as he gets reacquainted with crew chief Tommy Grecco, who is back with McCreadie this season for the first time since the pair won the 2006 WoO championship. … Riley Hickman of Ooltewah, Tenn., scratched from his B-Main on Friday night and is not entered in tonight’s action. … Newcomers for Saturday night’s program are Doug Blashe of Marion, Wis., and Eddie Blackmon III of Kennesaw, Ga.
Heat race lineups
(10 laps; top 4 transfer)
Row 1: Brandon Overton, Casey Roberts
Row 2: Austin Smith, Rick Eckert
Row 3: Dustin Mitchell, Dale McDowell
Row 4: Dan Stone, Chad Hollenbeck
Row 5: Josh Knoll
Row 1: Steve Casebolt, Billy Moyer
Row 2: Josh Richards, Darrell Lanigan
Row 3: Tony Knowles, Pancho Lawler
Row 4: Jim Manka, Kyle Beard
Row 1: Shane Clanton, Chub Frank
Row 2: Chase Junghans, Mason Zeigler
Row 3: Rodney Sanders, Boom Briggs
Row 4: Doug Blashe, Eddie Blackmon III
Row 1: Casey Barrow, Frank Heckenast Jr.
Row 2: Tim McCreadie, Morgan Bagley
Row 3: Jordy Nipper, Brian Ligon
Row 4: Jordan Yaggy, Eric Wells
Time trials results (unofficial)
Brandon Overton (76), Appling, Ga., 14.421
Steve Casebolt (c9), Richmond, Ind., 14.469
Casey Roberts (101), Toccoa, Ga., 14.571
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 14.575
Austin Smith (11), Cedartown, Ga., 14.694
Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., 14.806
Rick Eckert (7V), York, Pa., 14.815
Darrell Lanigan (29), Union, Ky., 14.868
Dustin Mitchell (D8), Princeton, N.C., 14.898
Tony Knowles (26), Tyrone, Ga., 14.919
Dale McDowell (17M), Chickamauga, Ga., 14.942
Pancho Lawler (93), Hanover, Pa., 15.119
Dan Stone (2), Thompson, Pa., 15.172
Jim Manka (60), Rincon, Ga., 15.271
Chad Hollenbeck (4DS), Kingsley, Pa., 15.295
Kyle Beard (86), Trumann, Ark., 15.425
Josh Knoll (87), Lake, Mich., N/T
Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 14.776
Casey Barrow (98), Savannah, Ga., 14.785
Chub Frank (1*), Bear Lake, Pa.,14.798
Frank Heckenast Jr. (99Jr), Orland Park, Ill., 14.954
Chase Junghans (18c), Manhattan, Kan., 14.968
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 14.976
Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., 14.986
Morgan Bagley (14M), Tyler, Texas, 15.066
Rodney Sanders (20), Happy, Texas, 15.131
Jordy Nipper (1N), Gray, Ga., 15.137
Boom Briggs (99b), Bear Lake, Pa., 15.225
Brian Ligon (4), Augusta, Ga., 15.454
Doug Blashe (1D), Marion, Wis., 15.793
Jordan Yaggy (77), Rochester, Minn., 15.994
Eddie Blackmon III (1B), Kennesaw, Ga., 16.48
Eric Wells (18), Hazard, Ky., N/T