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DirtonDirt.com Dispatches

Dispatches: Hometown hero status for Moran

July 6, 2024, 2:29 pm
From staff, series, track and special reports
Devin Moran takes the hometown checkers. (heathlawsonphotos.com)
Devin Moran takes the hometown checkers. (heathlawsonphotos.com)

Among latest notes and quotes from around Dirt Late Model racing through a busy Fourth of July week including Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, XR Super Series and DIRTcar Summer Nationals action (look for Deer Creek’s Gopher 50 coverage on the World of Outlaws Case Late Model Series in separate stories). Also find a listing of live-streaming video from specials around the country:

Hometown hero

Nearly 11 years to the day after his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series triumph, Devin Moran grabbed another national touring victory Saturday at his hometown Muskingum County Speedway.

The 29-year-old Dresden, Ohio, driver celebrated with thousands of his closest friends or, as he called them, “bad-ass race fans” who got to play a loud, raucous role in Moran’s flag-to-flag Freedom 60 victory worth $20,000.

Moran wound them up in victory lane, first yelling: “Hell yeah, let’s go!” and then pausing during his interview for another bellow: “One more time: Let’s go!”

Moran, who pulled away amid traffic to win by more than three seconds after series points leader Ricky Thornton Jr. moved up to challenge with a dozen laps remaining, reeled off a long list of sponsors and hometown supporters in victory lane.

"I love coming here. We don't get to come here but once or twice a year and (the fans) show up and show out,” Moran said. “It was an awesome night and glad to be back in victory lane here with the Lucas guys.”

Moran had some extra duty at the 4/10-mile oval of piloting the track’s two-seater car in the event promoted by the Moran family.

“It’s cool to see so many hometown people. I just want to thank all of them,” Moran said. “A huge shout out to my dad and my mom and my whole family. They put on a hell of an event.”

The partisan crowd had a few boos for runner-up and series points leader Ricky Thornton Jr., but third-finishing Max Blair of Centerville, Pa., won them over with a few compliments.

“Look at the crowd. That’s awesome,” Blair said. “Especially, the July Fourth weekend deal, it’s tough because there’s so much racing going on everywhere. For the crowd to be good, that’s a really cool deal.” — From series reports

Another first-timer

David Breazeale of Four Corners, Miss., on Saturday became the third first-time winner on the DIRTcar Summer Nationals this season with a flag-to-flag, $10,000 victory at Clarksville (Tenn.) Speedway.

The 48-year-old Breazeale joined Max McLaughlin of Mooresville, N.C., a June 19 winner at Adams County Speedway in Quincy, Ill., and Garrett Alberson of Las Cruces, N.M., a June 28 winner at Farmer City (Ill.) Speedway, as a first-timer on the Midwest circuit.

“It means the world,” Breazeale said of his victory, especially “to come out here on the DIRTcar Summer Nationals who I don’t run with a bunch and a place I’ve never been.  

Breazeale also became the tour’s first Magnolia State winner in taking the checkers in his debut at the tight Clarksville quarter-mile oval.

Clarksville has been the site of four other first-time series winners: Tanner English of Benton, Ky. (2018); Levi Kissinger of Mount Vernon, Ind. (2015); Jack Sullivan of Greenbrier, Ark. (2010); and NASCAR champ Tony Stewart of Columbus, Ind. (1998).

Breazeale, a three-time Mississippi State Championship Challenge Series champion and former World of Outlaws Case Late Model Series regular, ended a four-year dry spell. He’s made limited starts in recent seasons, but the Clarksville victory was his first since June 12, 2020, in Southern All Star action at Deep South Speedway in Loxley, Ala.

Racing part time while running logging company can be a struggle, Breazeale said.

“It’s mentally tough because it requires my presence there at the logging to make it profitable enough that we can afford to do this,” Breazeale said. “When I’m not there it’s costing me money. It’s a mental challenge to keep my head in the game and do this because a lot of times we just need to stay home and work.”

In the main event, he made sure to avoid mistakes in the dicey lapped traffic.

"I was just watching my spotter up here, Cody Mallory, and he was telling me what I need to do and I was just telling myself not to screw up,” Breazeale said in victory lane. "I've never been here, so I knew lapped traffic would be tough. Once we started getting (into) lapped traffic, I had to keep backing my pace down and I just figured somebody might roll me (on the outside), but I never heard anybody. Then we got by a few and had that late caution. I knew if I hit my marks, we'd be OK.” — Colby Trotter and series reports

Editor's note: Updates with more quotes and details.

Long time coming

Rodney Melvin’s first DIRTcar Summer Nationals victory in 12 seasons marks the third longest stretch between victories for drivers on the long-running tour. Melvin's Fourth of July victory at Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis, Ark., came 12 years and 15 days after his previous triumph at Highland (Ill.) Speedway on June 20, 2012.

Of course the 50-year-old Melvin — like most drivers who had long stretches between Summer Nationals victories — didn’t compete on the tour regularly for many seasons.

The longest stretch between tour victories (14 years, 9 months and 17 days) is held by Billy Drake of Bloomington, Ill., who won Aug. 28, 2003, in a rain makeup at Spoon River Speedway in Banner, Ill., then not again until June 13, 2018, at Peoria (Ill.) Speedway.

The next longest is Ray Cook of Brasstown, N.C., whose lone two tour victories — and only two career tour starts — were separated by 14 years and 6 days. His first came June 26, 1997, at Tennessee Motor Speedway in Baxter, Tenn., and his second on July 2, 2011, at Paducah (Ky.) International Raceway.

Unofficially there are 12 stretches of eight seasons or more, two of them held by Kevin Claycomb of Vincennes, Ind. The retired Claycomb’s last three victories on the circuit came over a 17-season stretch, the most recent in 2008, one in 2000 and another in 1991.

Unofficial list of droughts of a least eight seasons with driver, hometown, stretch between victories and dates of victories with tracks (listed from longest to shortest):

Billy Drake, Bloomington, Ill. (14 years, 9 months, 17 days): Aug. 28, 2003 at Spoon River Speedway in Banner, Ill — June 13, 2018 at Peoria (lll.) Speedway.

Ray Cook, Brasstown, N.C. (14 years, 6 days): June 26, 1997 at Tennessee Motor Speedway in Baxter, Tenn. — July 1, 2011 at Paducah (Ky.) International Raceway.

Rodney Melvin, Benton, Ill. (12 years, 15 days): June 20, 2012 at Highland (Ill.) Speedway — July 4, 2024 at Riverside International Speedway West Memphis, Ark.

Joe Ross Jr., Springfield, Ill. (10 years, 9 days): July 14, 2005 at Macon (Ill.) Speedway — July 6, 1995 at Macon (Ill.) Speedway.

Dan Schlieper, Pewaukee, Wis. (10 years, 7 days): June 18, 2001 at Hales Corners Speedway in Sullivan, Wis. — June 24, 2011 at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Ill.

Mike Marlar, Winfield, Tenn. (10 years, 1 day): July 7, 2007 at Fairbury (Ill.) Speedway — July 7, 2017 at Farmer City (Ill.) Raceway.

Scott Bloomquist, Mooresburg, Tenn. (9 years, 11 months, 24 days): July 16, 2003 at Steele County Fairgrounds in Owatonna, Minn. — July 9, 2013 at Florence Speedway in Union, Ky.

Will Vaught, Crane, Mo. (8 years, 3 months, 22 days): June 18, 2008 at Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville, Ill. — Oct. 9, 2016 at Springfield (Mo.) Raceway.

Kevin Claycomb, Vincennes, Ind. (8 years, 11 months, 9 days): July 22, 1991 at Highland (Ill.) Speedway — June 30, 2000 at Paducah (Ky.) International Raceway

Roger Long, Fithian, Ill. (7 years, 11 months, 20 days): July 23, 1989 at Vermilion County Speedway in Danville, Ill. — July 12, 1997 at Fairbury (Ill.) Speedway.

Jim Curry, Norman, Ind. (7 years, 11 months): Aug. 7, 1990 at Hawkeye Speedway in Blue Grass, Iowa — July 6, 1998 at Highland (Ill.) Speedway

Kevin Claycomb, Vincennes, Ind. (7 years, 11 months, 28 days): June 30, 2000 at Paducah (Ky.) International Raceway — June 26, 2008 at Paducah (Ky.) International Raceway.

Arkansas duel

In the first-ever DIRTcar Summer Nationals event in Arkansas, Tanner English of Benton, Ky., officially led every lap in collecting $10,000 at Harrisburg’s Old No. 1 Speedway. But unofficially, reigning series champ Ashton Winger of Hampton, Ga., put his No. 12 out front multiple times in trying to steal the lead, only to have English always out front at the start-finish line of Tuesday’s 40-lapper.

The fourth-starting Winger, beginning on lap 11, challenged English repeatedly, either diving under him to force a crossover move from English or nearly squeezing English against the outside fence exiting turn two over the next 23 laps. Winger’s pressure induced English to get into the slower car on Mark Voigt in turn two with contact that sent Voigt spinning — and gave English clear track the final six laps as a broken rear spoiler ended Winger’s hopes.

“I kind of predicted what (Winger) was going to do,” English said. “I knew he was going to slide me, so I cut underneath him. The first one I got to the outside of him and squeezed him to the wall. (Winger) is going to race you hard but it’s usually clean. You just got to predict what he’s going to do basically.”

Recording his eighth consecutive top-five finish on the tour, English grabbed his fifth career Summer Nationals victory and first since 2022.

“At first it was rewarding because we were struggling pretty bad so about after the first three top-fives I was like ‘All right, I’m ready to win one,’ ” English said. “We were trying to find the balance with our car and finally found it and I just felt like every night leading up to now we made the wrong decision. Finally, it all came together.”

The victory was also his first with Georgia-based Coltman Farms Racing, the team he joined earlier this year.

“Definitely relief mainly just to get my first win with Coltman Farms,” English said. “I want to make them proud. They give me everything I need to make this deal happen and it’s kind of been on me to make it happen.” — Colby Trotter

Streaming schedule

Among upcoming Dirt Late Model special and sanctioned events available via live streaming:

Wednesday, July 3

• XR Super Series at Ogilvie (Minn.) Raceway (XR+)

• Mid-East Super Late Models at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, S.C. (Hunt the Front TV)

• DIRTcar Summer Nationals at Benton (Mo.) Speedway (DIRTVision)

Thursday, July 4

• World of Outlaws Case Late Model Series at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn. (DIRTVision)

• DIRTcar Summer Nationals at Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis, Ark. (DIRTVision)

Friday, July 5

• Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series at Portsmouth (Ohio) Raceway Park (FloRacing)

• DIRTcar Summer Nationals at Paducah (Ky.) International Raceway (DIRTVision)

• World of Outlaws Case Late Model Series at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn. (DIRTVision)

• Ultimate Heart of America Super Late Model Series at Thunder Mountain Speedway in Corbin, Ky. (Pit Row TV)

• American All-Star Series at Mountain Motor Speedway in Isom, Ky. (Dirt Rich TV)

• Revival Dirt Late Model Series at Electric City Speedway in Butler, Mo. (Start2Finish TV)

Saturday, July 6

• World of Outlaws Case Late Model Series at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn. (DIRTVision)

• Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series at Muskingum County Speedway in Zanesville, Ohio (FloRacing)

• Hunt the Front Super Dirt Series at Senoia (Ga.) Raceway (Hunt the Front TV)

• DIRTcar Summer Nationals at Clarksville (Tenn.) Speedway (DIRTVision)

• Ultimate Heart of America Super Late Model Series at Rockcastle Speedway in Mount Vernon, Ky. (Pit Row TV)

• Revival Dirt Late Model Series at Nevada (Mo.) Speedway (Start2Finish TV)

• Valvoline American Late Model Iron Man Series at Brownstown (Ind.) Speedway (Dirt2Media TV)

• American All-Star Series at Lake Cumberland Speedway in Burnside, Ky. (Dirt Rich TV)

Sunday, July 7

• XR Super Series at Fairmont (Minn.) Raceway (XR+)

• 4B4Ever 40 at Brushcreek Motorsports Complex in Peebles, Ohio (FloRacing)

• DIRTcar Summer Nationals at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind. (DIRTVision)

Monday, July 8

• Castrol FloRacing Night in America at Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway (FloRacing)

Tuesday, July 9

• DIRTcar Summer Nationals at Shadyhill Speedway in Medaryville, Ind. (DIRTVision)

DirtonDirt.com Dispatches

In continuing to streamline our race coverage, we’ve added DirtonDirt.com Dispatches to our list of regular features on the site. The idea of the new feature is to spotlight key storylines of the weekend (and sometimes during the week), putting notes, quotes and accomplishments in context to provide subscribers a quick-hitting read on all the latest from tracks around the country. Our intention is to have a single file that’s regularly topped by the latest news, so check back throughout the weekend.

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