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DirtonDirt.com exclusive

Poll Position: McDowell moves up the rankings

March 20, 2012, 3:43 pm

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. Darrell Lanigan, Union, Ky.

Comment: Leads first 14 laps of Florence’s Spring 50 only to fall out with steering problems. Series points: First (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 1st (nc)

2. Steve Francis, Ashland, Ky.

Comment: Barry Wright house car driver looks to keep early-season success rolling as the Lucas Oil tour returns to action at Brownstown. Series points: Third (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 2nd (nc)

3. Don O’Neal, Martinsville, Ind.

Comment: O’Neal’s all-or-nothing style works to perfection on a rough-and-tumble service during Florence’s Spring 50. Series points: 10th (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 5th (+2)

4. Dennis Erb Jr., Carpentersville, Ill.

Comment: Finishes 10th in Volunteer’s Spring Thaw in first post-Speedweeks start. Series points: First (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 3rd (-1)

5. Billy Moyer, Batesville, Ark.

Comment: Still hasn’t raced since Speedweeks after passing on ArkLaTex’s reschedule Pelican 100. Series points: 13th (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 4th (-1)

6. Scott Bloomquist, Mooresburg, Tenn.

Comment: Finishes third behind Warrior Race Cars’ one-two sweep at Volunteer. Series points: 12th (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 6th (nc)

7. Ray Cook, Brasstown, N.C.

Comment: Heads to Brownstown after posting another top-five finish at Volunteer. Series points: 14th (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 7th (nc)

8. Jonathan Davenport, Blairsville, Ga.

Comment: Refocuses on his Lucas Oil rookie campaign after Lancaster’s rainout. Series points: Fifth (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 8th (nc)

9. Josh Richards, Shinnston, W.Va.

Comment: Scheduled to make first post-Speedweeks appearance this weekend at Brownstown. Series points: Second (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 9th (nc)

10. Jimmy Owens, Newport, Tenn.

Comment: The last time he went to Brownstown’s Indiana Icebreaker winless on the season he won it in 2010. Series points: Second (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 10th (nc)

11. Rick Eckert, York, Pa.

Comment: Will continue WoO title defense at Farmer City’s Illini 100 March 30-31. Series points: Fourth (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 11th (nc)

12. Dale McDowell, Chickamauga, Ga.

Comment: Dominates Volunteer’s Spring Thaw for his first victory of $10,000 or more since September 2010. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 21st (+9)

13. Tim McCreadie, Watertown, N.Y.

Comment: First-ever trip to Lancaster produces a third-place heat race finish before rains washed out the remainder of the weekend. Series points: Ninth (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 13th (nc)

14. Shane Clanton, Fayetteville, Ga.

Comment: Hungry Clanton pulls off a daring three-wide move to grab first 2012 victory in East Alabama’s SRRS season opener. Series points: Third (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 15th (+1)

15. John Blankenship, Williamson, W.Va.

Comment: Advances from 15th to eighth at Volunteer after a disappointing qualifying effort. Series points: 10th (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 12th (nc)

16. Mike Marlar, Winfield, Tenn.

Comment: Bryson Motorsports driver was headed to Lancaster before a broke-down hauler derailed the trip. Series points: 11th (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 14th (-2)

17. Chub Frank, Bear Lake, Pa.

Comment: Waiting for Farmer City before returning to action. Series points: Fifth (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 16th (-1)

18. Jared Landers, Batesville, Ark.

Comment: Lancaster’s fast qualifier lowers the half-mile oval’s track record even after going to a backup car following hot laps. Series points: 19th (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 20th (+2)

19. Austin Hubbard, Seaford, Del.

Comment: Plans to field his family owned car at Brownstown for the first time this season. Series points: Seventh (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 17th (-2)

20. Shannon Babb, Moweaqua, Ill.

Comment: Looking forward to Brownstown, where he earned one of his 10 Summernationals victories last year. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 18th (-2)

21. Jimmy Mars, Menomonie, Wis.

Comment: After a quiet Speedweeks, Mars plans to take off until Farmer City. Series points: none. Last week's ranking: 19th (-2)

22. Jesse Stovall, Galena, Mo.

Comment: Rules ArkLaTex's Pelican 100 for biggest career victory. Series points: First (MARS). Last week's ranking: Not ranked

23. Casey Roberts, Toccoa, Ga.

Comment: Carolina Crown polesitter has to wait until April 7 to try and capture a $20,000 payday. Series points: none. Last week’s ranking: Not ranked

24. Jason Feger, Bloomington, Ill.

Comment: Ready to get the Midwest season rolling. Series points: none. Last week's ranking: 23rd (-1)

25. Dennis Franklin, Gaffney, S.C.

Comment: Veteran driver continues to make noise in his new AES Racing ride. Series points: none. Last week's ranking: Not ranked

DROPPED OUT: Donnie Moran, Chris Madden, John Anderson.

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: Donnie Moran, Chris Madden, Bub McCool, John Anderson, Tyler Reddick.

DirtonDirt Top 25

1. Darrell Lanigan (nc)
2. Steve Francis (nc)
3. Don O’Neal (+2)
4. Dennis Erb Jr. (-1)
5. Billy Moyer (-1)
6. Scott Bloomquist (nc)
7. Ray Cook (nc)
8. Jonathan Davenport (nc)
9. Josh Richards (nc)
10. Jimmy Owens (nc)
11. Rick Eckert (nc)
12. Dale McDowell (+9)
13. Tim McCreadie (nc)
14. Shane Clanton (+1)
15. John Blankenship (-3)
16. Mike Marlar (-2)
17. Chub Frank (-1)
18. Jared Landers (+2)
19. Austin Hubbard (-2)
20. Shannon Babb (-2)
21. Jimmy Mars (-2)
22. Jesse Stovall (new)
23. Casey Roberts (new)
24. Jason Feger (-1)
25. Dennis Franklin (new)

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