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Poll Position: Lucas Oil champ tops the rankings

October 18, 2011, 6:41 am

Welcome to one of the newest DirtonDirt.com features, Poll Position, as DirtonDirt.com staffers Michael Rigsby, Todd Turner and Joshua Joiner rank the nation's top 25 Dirt Late Model racers by consensus. Future rankings will appear every Tuesday at DirtonDirt.com:

1. Jimmy Owens, Newport, Tenn.

Comment: Still missing a Dirt Track World Championship victory on his resume, but perhaps more importantly, now boasts a Lucas Oil Series championship. Series points: First (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 2nd (+1)

2. Scott Bloomquist, Mooresburg, Tenn.

Comment: Failed to claim his third-consecutive Lucas Oil title, but with 15 victories his 2011 campaign is far from disappointing. Series points: Second (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 1st (-1)

3. Don O'Neal, Martinsville, Ind.

Comment: His bucket list must be getting shorter after checking off his third crown jewel victory just this year. Series points: Third (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 3rd (nc)

4. Josh Richards, Shinnston, W.Va.

Comment: The DTWC's third-place finisher was one of the few drivers to make passes on a locked-down Atomic Speedway. Series points: Second (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 4th (nc)

5. Darrell Lanigan, Union, Ky.

Comment: Will look to bounce back from DTWC disappointment at Florence’s Fall 50 this weekend. Series points: Third (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 4th (nc)

6. Steve Shaver, Vienna, W.Va.

Comment: Lost a driveshaft early in the DTWC 100-lap feature. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 6th (nc)

7. Rick Eckert, York, Pa.

Comment: Recorded finishes of the fifth and sixth in Winchester’s two-race event that honored his late, long-time car-owner Raye Vest. Series points: First (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 7th (nc)

8. Billy Moyer, Batesville, Ark.

Comment: After West Plains sweep, he’ll now attempt to complete a sweep of Mississippi’s major events during the next two weeks. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 9th (+1)

9. Eddie Carrier Jr., Salt Rock, W.Va.

Comment: Maybe it was the name change, but Carrier failed to continue his success at Atomic, the track formally known as K-C Raceway. Series points: Second (O'Reilly All Stars). Last week's ranking: 8th (-1)

10. Brian Birkhofer, Muscatine, Iowa

Comment: The most recent DTWC winner at Atomic dropped out early of the event’s return to the 3/8-mile oval. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 10th (nc)

11. Chris Madden, Gray Court, S.C.

Comment: Won’t race again until World Finals at Charlotte, according to his website. Series points: First (Southern Nationals). Last week's ranking: 11th (nc)

12. Steve Francis, Ashland, Ky.

Comment: Ended the Lucas Oil tour winless, but appears to be on the right track for next year with another strong run. Series points: Fourth (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 14th (+2)

13. Jimmy Mars, Menomonie, Wis.

Comment: Done for the season after a 23rd-place DTWC finish. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 12th (-1)

14. Scott James, Lawrenceburg, Ind.

Comment: Heading back to Florence where he’s already won three races in 2011. Series points: Second (Summernationals). Last week's ranking: 14th (+4)

15. Jonathan Davenport, Blairsville, Ga.

Comment: Grabbed his second $10,000 payday of the month in Saturday’s Raye Vest Memorial finale. Series points: none. Last week's ranking: 24th (+9)

16. Shannon Babb, Moweaqua, Ill.

Comment: Missing the DTWC feature lineup wasn’t exactly the best way to end an otherwise solid season. Series points: First (Summernationals). Last week's ranking: 13th (-3)

17. Tim McCreadie, Watertown, N.Y.

Comment: Never got things going at Winchester. Series points: Fourth (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 15th (-2)

18. Brady Smith, Solon Springs, Wis.

Comment: Getting an early start to the offseason to focus on his fledgling open-wheel modified chassis business. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 18th (-2)

19. Chub Frank, Bear Lake, Pa.

Comment: Was one of three former DTWC winners to miss this year’s main event lineup. Series points: Fifth (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 17th (-2)

20. Jared Hawkins, Fairmont, W.Va.

Comment: Finished 16th in his first DTWC start. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 19th (-1)

21. Jeep Van Wormer, Pinconning, Mich.

Comment: Called it a season after his UMP DIRTcar Nationals win at Eldora last week. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 21st (nc)

22. Dale McDowell, Chickamauga, Ga.

Comment: Wrapped up the Lucas Oil season with a 12th-place DTWC finish. Series points: 11th (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 20th (-2)

23. Jason Covert, York Haven, Pa.

Comment: Drove Ernie Davis’s Rocket to a pair of top-five finishes at Winchester. Series points: First (Three State Flyers). Last week's ranking: 22nd (-1)

24. Jared Landers, Batesville, Ark.

Comment: Would have missed the DTWC lineup if it wasn’t for this year’s Lucas Oil sanctioning. Series points: Fifth (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 18th (-1)

25. Chad Simpson, Mount Vernon, Iowa

Comment: It wasn’t pretty, but he wrapped up his second-consecutive Dart Corn Belt Clash title in tour’s season-ending doubleheader at Elko Speedway. Series points: First (Corn Belt Clash). Last week's ranking: 25th (nc)

DROPPED OUT: None

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: Klint Byars, Dan Stone, Ryan Unzicker, John Blankenship, Jason Feger.

DirtonDirt Top 25

1. Jimmy Owens (+1)
2. Scott Bloomquist (-1)
3. Don O’Neal (nc)
4. Josh Richards nc)
5. Darrell Lanigan (nc)
6. Steve Shaver (nc)
7. Rick Eckert (nc)
8. Billy Moyer (+1)
9. Eddie Carrier Jr. (-1)
10. Brian Birkhofer (nc)
11. Chris Madden (nc)
12. Steve Francis (+2)
13. Jimmy Mars (-1)
14. Scott James (+4)
15. Jonathan Davenport (+9)
16. Shannon Babb (-3)
17. Tim McCreadie (-2)
18. Brady Smith (-2)
19. Chub Frank (-2)
20. Jared Hawkins (-1)
21. Jeep Van Wormer (nc)
22. Dale McDowell (-2)
23. Jason Covert (-1)
24. Jared Landers (-1)
25. Chad Simpson (nc)

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