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Daily Dirt 04/24/2024 08:19:05

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February 19
Volusia Speedway Park,
Barberville, FL
Sanction: World of Outlaws Case Late Model Series (DIRTcar Nationals) - $10,000
Information provided by: Kevin Kovac (last updated February 20, 4:06 am)
In a zone of his own, Clanton rules at Volusia
DIRTcar Nationals
  1. Shane Clanton
  2. Don O'Neal
  3. Jonathan Davenport
  4. Kent Robinson
  5. Earl Pearson Jr.
  6. Dale McDowell
  7. Brandon Sheppard
  8. Darrell Lanigan
  9. Jimmy Owens
  10. Steve Francis
  11. Ivedent Lloyd Jr.
  12. Morgan Bagley
  13. Chase Junghans
  14. Dennis Erb Jr.
  15. Tim McCreadie
  16. Frank Heckenast Jr.
  17. Scott Bloomquist
  18. Stormy Scott
  19. Josh Richards
  20. Gregg Satterlee
  21. Kyle Bronson
  22. Chub Frank
  23. Boom Briggs
  24. Rick Eckert
  25. Billy Moyer
  26. Justin Rattliff
  27. Casey Roberts
  28. Eric Wells
  29. Mason Zeigler
presented by
Troy Bregy
Shane Clanton takes the checkers Thursday at Volusia.
What won the race: Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., completely dominated the 50-lap World of Outlaws Late Model Series, leading every circuit from the pole position. He brushed off a handful of restart challenges to capture the $10,000 top prize — and his second 2015 DIRTcar Nationals win in three starts — by a commanding margin of 5.461 seconds over Don O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind.
Key notes: The 44th DIRTcar Nationals continue Friday and Saturday with World of Outlaws Late Model Series programs.
On the move: Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind., charged forward from the 20th starting spot to finish fourth.
Winner's sponsors: Clanton's Ron Davies-owned Capital Race Car is powered by a Clements engine and carries sponsorship from Weldbank Energy, Penn Gold, Hornburg Oil, Advocare, Hoosier, G.W. Performance and Keyser Manufacturing.
Points chase: Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., padded his WoO points lead, pushing his edge to an already-healthy 64 points (732-668) over Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va.
Car count: 49
Fast qualifier: Jonathan Davenport
Time: 16.065 seconds
Polesitter: Shane Clanton
Heat race winners: Justin Rattliff, Jimmy Owens, Shane Clanton, Jonathan Davenport, Billy Moyer, Don O'Neal
Consolation race winners: Kent Robinson, Tim McCreadie, Gregg Satterlee
Provisional starters: Rick Eckert, Chub Frank, Eric Wells, Chase Junghans, Boom Briggs
Next series race: February 20, Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL) $10,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
From staff and series reports

BARBERVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 19) — Shane Clanton was in a zone of his own on Thursday night at Volusia Speedway Park.

Continuing his spectacular start to the 2015 season, Clanton authored an utterly dominating flag-to-flag victory in the first 50-lap World of Outlaws Late Model Series A-Main of the 44th annual DIRTcar Nationals.

Clanton, 39, of Zebulon, Ga., powered his Capital Race Car into the lead from the pole position at the initial green flag and never looked back. The WoO points leader brushed off a handful of brief restarts challenges from runner-up Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., and third-place finisher Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., to capture the $10,000 top prize going away.

The triumph was the second in three DIRTcar Nationals starts and third overall of Georgia-Florida Speedweeks for Clanton, who has looked like a reinvigorated driver this season after going winless on the WoO tour in 2014 for the first time in its modern era. He snapped a 66-race WoO winless streak on Feb. 7 at Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, Ga., scored back-to-back runner-up WoO finishes at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla., on Feb. 14-15 and won the UMP DIRTcar-sanctioned opener of the DIRTcar Nationals on Monday before blowing out the field on Thursday.

"This shows how hard we worked over the winter to get where we're at," said Clanton, who registered his 22nd career victory on the WoO circuit. "This sport is grueling at times and great at others. Right now it's just great to me."

The 50-year-old O’Neal blasted around the outside groove in an attempt to keep up with Clanton following caution flags on laps 29 and 33 but was no match for the flying Georgian. O’Neal, who started second, crossed the finish line 5.461 seconds — a full straightaway — behind Clanton, keeping him winless in WoO competition for his career.

Davenport, 31, swapped the second spot with O’Neal several times before settling for a third-place finish. Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind., made an impressive charge from the 19th starting spot to place fourth and 12th-starter Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., completed the top five.

Clanton became the second driver to win three times during this year’s Georgia-Florida Speedweeks, joining Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark. He also added to his career-best start in WoO competition, rolling up his fifth top-five finish in as many series events and extending his lead in the standings to 64 points over Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., who finished 19th after a mid-race pit stop forced him to restart at the rear of the field.

"It feels great to know what it feels like to win a lot again," said Clanton, who is in his second season driving cars fielded by his father-in-law Ron Davies of Warren, Pa. "It's been a long struggle to get where we're at, but we work hard and never give up."

O'Neal gave Clanton his biggest challenge following a lap-29 restart, using the high side to nearly pull even with the leader exiting turn two. But O'Neal's bid came up empty and, after a similar challenge following the race's final restart on lap 33, Clanton pulled to more than a five-second advantage in the closing laps.

O'Neal fell short of claiming his first DIRTcar Nationals victory since 2011, but the 50-year-old racer was boosted by the strong performance.

"I couldn't run it any harder than I ran it up there them couple of laps," said O'Neal, who pilots a Peak Antifreeze and Motor Oil-sponsored Barry Wright Race Car for Clint Bowyer Racing. “I realized when I couldn't get buy him I was just getting the tires hot, so I had to move back down.

"This is a lot better than we've been doing. We just lacked a little bit there when (the track surface) slicked off. But we've got something to work with now so maybe we can have another good couple of nights."

Davenport ran second for much of the race's first half, but he wasn't able to keep pace with Clanton and eventually allowed O'Neal to slip past him following a lap-16 restart. With his third-place result, Davenport recorded the best DIRTcar Nationals finish of his career in his Lee Roy and Kevin Rumley-owned Longhorn Chassis.

"We're finally getting a little better here," said Davenport, whose previous best DIRTcar Nationals finish was a fifth-place result in 2011. "I ain't ever been any good at this place when it comes feature time. I've won a bunch of heat races, but as soon as it gets slick I struggle.

"Kevin's been working on the car and getting it really good and maybe my driving's getting a little better. Maybe tomorrow we'll move up and try to get a win."

Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., was sixth in Thursday's final rundown after climbing as high as third midway through the race. Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., advanced from his 15th starting spot to finish seventh, while three-time and defending WoO LMS champion Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., charged from 24th to eighth.

Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., recovered to finish ninth after having to start from the tail of the field because he switched to a backup car when his primary machine suffered mechanical woes during his heat race victory. He was followed at the finish by 18th-starting Steve Francis of Union, Ky., who righted his week after being sidelined by a crash during hot laps on Wednesday night.

A number of drivers charged into contention only to fade late in the race, including Richards, who quickly advanced from his 10th starting spot into the top five but fell backward during the race's middle portions after a spark plug came off and caused him to lose a cylinder. He pitted under a lap-26 caution period to try a new tire but it didn’t work and could only manage a 19th-place finish.

Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., meanwhile, used primarily the high side of the track to advance as high as fourth from his 20th starting spot by lap 21, but a lap-33 spin in turn four and subsequent pit stop for a new right-rear tire relegated the former series champion to a 15th-place finish.

Five caution flags slowed the event. Four were for slowing or stopped race cars — Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., on lap 14 (lost cylinder), Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., on lap 16 (loss of brakes), Kyle Bronson of Branden, Fla., on lap 26 and Rick Eckert of York, Pa., on lap 29 (spun brake caliper and knocked four-link off) — and the other was for McCreadie’s spin.

The DIRTcar Nationals continue on Friday with another $10,000-to-win WoO event.

Notes: Clanton has never before won his second WoO feature so early in the season. In his four previous multiple-victory seasons, the quickest he reached two wins was in 2013 when he hit the mark in the tour’s 11th event in late April. … Clanton’s single-season career high for WoO wins is four, in 2008 and ’13.

Preliminary results:

Pre-feature notes

WoO points leader Shane Clanton drew the pole position for the 50-lap feature. Reigning Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion Don O’Neal, who has never won a WoO A-Main, will take the green flag from the outside pole. … Billy Moyer, who starts third in the feature, turned the fastest lap of the six heat winners. He was the only heat victor to crack the 15-second bracket. … Chub Frank had to pull out his backup car after his primary machine was felled by terminal engine trouble during qualifying. He claimed the 2015 WoO points provisional to start the feature from the 26th spot. … Rick Eckert was the 2014 WoO points provisional. … Eric Wells, Chase Junghans and Boom Briggs will start the feature thanks to WoO emergency provisionals, which require them to forfeit their $700 start money. ... Jimmy Owens had to pull out his backup car due to engine problems his primary machine suffered during heat action, forcing him to relinquish the sixth starting spot and start from the rear of the field.

B-Main results

First B-Main finish (10 laps; top 2 transfer): Kent Robinson, Scott Bloomquist, Tyler Clem, Chad Hollenbeck, Billy Ogle Jr., Ricky Weiss, Mark Dotson, Mike Hammerle, Chub Frank, Kenny Pettyjohn, Rodney Sanders.

Second B-Main finish (10 laps; top 2 transfer): Tim McCreadie, Dennis Erb Jr., Boom Briggs, Eric Wells, Rick Eckert, Dan Stone, Mark Whitener, Tyler Bruening (DNS) Donny Schatz, Jared Landers.

Third B-Main finish (10 laps; top 2 transfer): Gregg Satterlee, Darrell Lanigan, Mike Altobelli Jr., Brandon Overton, Chase Junghans, Dennis Franklin, Jordan Yaggy, James Rice (DNS) Michael Norris, Austin Smith.

Wild ride for Sanders

Rodney Sanders of Happy, Texas, likely saw his first-ever Speedweeks assault with a Dirt Late Model come to an early end after rolling his machine during the first B-Main.

The 25-year-old Sanders was battling for position through turns one and two when he bounced off the side of Scott Bloomquist's car and slid up the track. Sanders slapped the outside guardrail and then his car dug into the track, flipping once before coming to rest.

The accident marked the second rollover of Speedweeks for Sanders, who climbed out of the car without injury. He previously flipped on Feb. 6 at Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, Ga., forcing him to park that machine and prepare a new Club 29 Race Car that he had picked up on the way to Speedweeks — the car that ended up towed off the Volusia track surface dangling between two wreckers.

B-Main lineups

(10 laps; top 2 transfer)
First B-Main
Row 1: Billy Ogle Jr., Kent Robinson
Row 2: Tyler Clem, Ricky Weiss
Row 3: Kenny Pettyjohn, Chad Hollenbeck
Row 4: Mark Dotson, Rodney Sanders
Row 5: Mike Hammerle, Scott Bloomquist
Row 6: Chub Frank
Second B-Main
Row 1: Eric Wells, Tim McCreadie
Row 2: Dennis Erb Jr., Boom Briggs
Row 3: Mark Whitener, Rick Eckert
Row 4: Donny Schatz, Dan Stone
Row 5: Jared Landers, Tyler Bruening
Third B-Main
Row 1: Gregg Satterlee, Dennis Franklin
Row 2: Darrell Lanigan, Jordan Yaggy
Row 3: James Rice, Brandon Overton
Row 4: Mike Altobelli Jr., Chase Junghans
Row 5: Mike Norris, Austin Smith

Sixth heat

Don O'Neal rolled to victory, beating Earl Pearson Jr. by 1.350 seconds. O'Neal's teammate, Steve Francis, placed third.

Finish (top 3 transfer): Don O'Neal, Earl Pearson Jr., Steve Francis, Dennis Franklin, Jordan Yaggy, Brandon Overton, Chase Junghans (DNS) Austin Smith.

Fifth heat

Billy Moyer firmly controlled the action, winning by 3.877 seconds over Morgan Bagley. Stormy Scott slipped past James Rice for third on lap two and stayed there to the finish. Darrell Lanigan managed to improve just one position from the sixth starting spot, placing fifth; he was saddled with the poor starting berth because officials penalize him for failing to turn off the track on the backstretch after finishing his qualifying laps. (His slower first lap was used for his official time.)

Finish (top 3 transfer): Billy Moyer, Morgan Bagley, Stormy Scott, Gregg Satterlee, Darrell Lanigan, James Rice, Mike Altobelli Jr., Michael Norris.

Fourth heat

Jonathan Davenport led the race from flag-to-flag. Mason Zeigler briefly drew close in the final circuits to make things interesting, but Josh Richards snuck by Zeigler off turn four on the final lap to finish second. Zeigler settled for third, with Tim McCreadie missing a transfer spot by one.

Finish (top 3 transfer): Jonathan Davenport, Josh Richards, Mason Zeigler, Tim McCreadie, Boom Briggs, Rick Eckert, Dan Stone, Tyler Bruening.

Third heat

Shane Clanton ran away with the prelim, beating Kyle Bronson by 5.484 seconds. Bronson turned back a challenge from Brandon Sheppard to secure the runner-up spot.

Finish (top 3 transfer): Shane Clanton, Kyle Bronson, Brandon Sheppard, Eric Wells, Dennis Erb Jr., Mark Whitener, Donny Schatz (DNS) Jared Landers.

Second heat

Despite trailing smoke from his car, Jimmy Owens scored a flag-to-flag victory over Frank Heckenast Jr.; Owens shut his car down immediately after taking the checkered flag. Casey Roberts was the third and final transfer driver. Owens noted in a post-race interview that the motor was an issue: "We've got problems. We might not be able to make it out for the feature."

Finish (top 3 transfer): Jimmy Owens, Frank Heckenast Jr., Casey Roberts, Kent Robinson, Ricky Weiss, Chad Hollenbeck, Rodney Sanders, Scott Bloomquist.

First heat

Justin Rattliff picked up where he left off in qualifying, roaring to a dominating victory in the 8-lap prelim. Dale McDowell held off Ivedent Lloyd Jr. to finish second, with Lloyd settling for third. Chub Frank never made the starting grid after experiencing mechanical trouble during qualifying.

Finish (top 3 transfer): Justin Rattliff, Dale McDowell, Ivedent Lloyd Jr., Billy Ogle Jr., Tyler Clem, Kenny Pettyjohn, Mark Dotson, Mike Hammerle (DNS) Chub Frank.

Qualifying

Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., was the overall quickest in the split-group time trials session, turning a lap of 16.065 seconds in the second group. His clocking was over 1/10 of a second faster than Justin Rattliff of Campbellsville, Ky., who was the top qualifier in the first group at 16.189 seconds.

Davenport and Rattliff, who is driving his team car that was steered by Terry English of Benton, Ky., earlier this week, will start heat races from the pole. Other polesitters will be Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill., Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., and Don O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind.

Each 8-lap heat race will send the top-three finishers to the 50-lap feature. The winners will redraw for the top six starting spots in the headliner.

Pre-race setup

The DIRTcar Nationals continue Thursday with the first of three consecutive nights of racing sanctioned by the World of Outlaws Late Model Series — all shows topped by 50-lap A-Mains paying $10,000 to the victor.

Friday night’s program features the usual WoO format: split-group qualifying, heat races, B-Mains and a 50-lap headliner.

Pre-race notes

While the weather conditions are certainly better than the sub-zero deep-freeze that much of the eastern half of the country is experiencing, Thursday has dawned very un-Florida-like. Skies are sunny, but temperatures aren’t expected to climb higher than 50 will drop into the 30s tonight. DIRTcar Nationals officials plan to expedite the WoO Late Model/big-block modified doubleheader because of the chilly conditions. … The 49-car field signed in for action is not only the largest of the DIRTcar Nationals but also the biggest of the entire 2015 Georgia-Florida Speedweeks. ... Several drivers will make their first start of the 2015 DIRTcar Nationals, including Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., Ivedent Lloyd Jr. of Ocala, Fla., Mark Whitener of Middleburg, Fla., and Austin Smith of Cedartown, Ga. … Lloyd, who won a UMP DIRTcar-sanctioned feature during last year’s DIRTcar Nationals, took the early portion of the week off to regroup after a disappointing weekend at his hometown’s Bubba Raceway Park. He struggled to get his new Snow Brothers car rolling, so he “put the torch to it” in his shop. “We cut it up and put a whole new front end on it,” said Lloyd, who is hoping to get back up to speed tonight. … Steve Casebolt of Richmond, Ind., currently sits second in the WoO points standings, but he’s not on hand for this weekend’s tour action. He considered staying in Florida after the Ocala events but decided to head home. … Stacy Boles of Clinton, Tenn., has taken himself out of the seat of his car tonight in favor of his hired gun Billy Ogle Jr. of Knoxville, Tenn., who has been driving the team’s smaller-motored machine that Boles wants to save for the long season ahead. Ogle is switching cars but will still have his No. 201 on the door; Boles said he peeled his No. 11b decal off the doors to reveal Ogle’s No. 201, which was already stuck on underneath. … Rodney Sanders of Happy, Texas, was sidelined for Wednesday night’s action due to engine problems during time trials. He said he shut off the motor in time to avoid major damage, but he had to install his backup powerplant — the last motor he has left in his arsenal for Speedweeks. … Mike Altobelli Jr. of Saxon, Pa., hopes to be back in action tonight after sitting out Wednesday’s program, albeit not by choice. After breaking a motor on Monday night Altobelli’s team bought a replacement engine from back home and had it shipped to Florida; it arrived on Wednesday, but it needed a different style oil pump that wasn’t available at the track so he couldn’t race. They ordered the necessary component and had it sent next-day deliver, but as of 4 p.m. they were still awaiting its arrival at the track.

Heat race lineups

(8 laps; top 3 transfer)
First heat
Row 1: Justin Rattliff, Ivedent Lloyd Jr.
Row 2: Dale McDowell, Billy Ogle Jr.
Row 3: Chub Frank, Kenny Pettyjohn
Row 4: Tyler Clem, Mark Dotson
Row 5: Mike Hammerle
Second heat
Row 1: Frank Heckenast Jr., Jimmy Owens
Row 2: Rodney Sanders, Casey Roberts
Row 3: Kent Robinson, Scott Bloomquist
Row 4: Chad Hollenbeck, Ricky Weiss
Third heat
Row 1: Shane Clanton, Eric Wells
Row 2: Brandon Sheppard, Kyle Bronson
Row 3: Dennis Erb Jr., Jared Landers
Row 4: Mark Whitener, Donny Schatz
Fourth heat
Row 1: Jonathan Davenport, Josh Richards
Row 2: Boom Briggs, Mason Zeigler
Row 3: Tim McCreadie, Tyler Bruening
Row 4: Dan Stone, Rick Eckert
Fifth heat
Row 1: Billy Moyer, Morgan Bagley
Row 2: James Rice, Gregg Satterlee
Row 3: Stormy Scott, Chase Junghans
Row 4: Michael Norris, Mike Altobelli Jr.
Sixth heat
Row 1: Don O’Neal, Steve Francis
Row 2: Earl Pearson Jr., Dennis Franklin
Row 3: Brandon Overton, Darrell Lanigan
Row 4: Jordan Yaggy, Austin Smith

Time trials results

First group
Justin Rattliff (96), Campbellsville, Ky., 16.189
Frank Heckenast Jr. (99Jr), Orland Park, Ill., 16.306
Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 16.327
Ivedent Lloyd Jr. (21), Ocala, Fla., 16.387
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 16.42
Eric Wells (18), Hazard, Ky., 16.481
Dale McDowell (17M), Chickamauga, Ga., 16.508
Rodney Sanders (20), Happy, Texas, 16.588
Brandon Sheppard (b5), New Berlin, Ill., 16.607
Billy Ogle Jr. (201), Knoxville, Tenn., 16.623
Casey Roberts (101), Toccoa, Ga., 16.638
Kyle Bronson (40b), Brandon, Fla., 16.703
Chub Frank (1*), Bear Lake, Pa., 16.723
Kent Robinson (7R), Bloomington, Ind., 16.745
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 16.76
Kenny Pettyjohn (38), Millsboro, Del., 16.816
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 16.861
Jared Landers (777), Batesville, Ark., 16.879
Tyler Clem (14), St. Petersburg, Fla., 16.921
Chad Hollenbeck (4ds), Kingsley, Pa., 16.933
Mark Whitener (58), Middleburg, Fla., 16.965
Mark Dotson (85d), Cameron, Mo., 16.995
Ricky Weiss (7), Headingly, Manitoba, 17.309
Donny Schatz (15), Fargo, N.D., 17.313
Mike Hammerle (16), St. Charles, Mo., N/T
Second group
Jonathan Davenport (6), Blairsville, Ga., 16.065
Darrell Lanigan (29), Union, Ky., 16.235
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 16.361
Don O'Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., 16.392
Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., 16.433
Morgan Bagley (14M), Tyler, Texas, 16.489
Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky., 16.596
Boom Briggs (99b), Bear Lake, Pa., 16.632
James Rice (11), Verona, Ky., 16.668
Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., 16.669
Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., 16.689
Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa., 16.725
Dennis Franklin (2), Gaffney, S.C., 16.728
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 16.731
Stormy Scott (2s), Las Cruces, N.M., 16.786
Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., 16.81
Tyler Bruening (16), Decorah, Iowa, 16.823
Chase Junghans (18c), Manhattan, Kan., 17.184
Dan Stone (21d), Thompson, Pa., 17.187
Michael Norris (72), Sarver, Pa., 17.207
Jordan Yaggy (77), Rochester, Minn., 17.226
Rick Eckert (7V), York, Pa., 17.23
Mike Altobelli (79), Saxton, Pa., 17.426
Austin Smith (11), Cedartown, Ga., 18.301

WoO points

(Through Feb. 19)
1. Shane Clanton - 732
2. Josh Richards - 668
3. Darrell Lanigan - 662
4. Morgan Bagley - 660
5. Frank Heckenast Jr. - 652
6. Chub Frank - 642
7. Tim McCreadie - 634
8. Brandon Overton - 624
9. Chase Junghans - 608
10. Boom Briggs - 596
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