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Poll Position: Streaking Lanigan remains on top

July 17, 2012, 11:42 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. Darrell Lanigan, Union, Ky.

Comment: Returns to dominance with three straight victories to end WoO’s Wild West Tour. Series points: First (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 1st (nc)

2. Billy Moyer, Batesville, Ark.

Comment: Completes the Tri-City trifecta with third $10,000 victory in two months at the St. Louis-area racetrack. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 2nd (nc)

3. Scott Bloomquist, Mooresburg, Tenn.

Comment: Heads to I-80 Speedway looking for first Lucas Oil Series victory in more than a month. Series points: Second (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 3rd (nc)

4. Don O’Neal, Martinsville, Ind.

Comment: Last year’s Silver Dollar Nationals winner will attempt to top Lucas Oil Series foes in this year’s $25,000 event at I-80. Series points: Second (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 4th (nc)

5. Jimmy Owens, Newport, Tenn.

Comment: Ends month-long slump with another victory at Lucas Oil Speedway, his fourth in three years at the Wheatland, Mo., oval. Series points: First (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 6th (+1)

6. Tim McCreadie, Watertown, N.Y.

Comment: Recent upswing takes a hit with three straight finishes outside the top five. Series points: Third (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 5th (-1)

7. Brian Shirley, Chatham, Ill.

Comment: Wraps up first Summernationals title, ending the month-long tour with five victories and 21 top fives. Series points: First (Summernationals). Last week's ranking: 8th (+1)

8. Steve Francis, Ashland, Ky.

Comment: Records two more top-five finishes in Lucas Oil’s doubleheader weekend. Series points: Fourth (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 7th (-1)

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

Comment: Backs up first Summernationals victory at Brushcreek with sixth victory of the season at Southern Ohio. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 10th (+1)

10. Dale McDowell, Chickamauga, Ga.

Comment: Taking some time off before making Southern Nationals appearances later in the 10-race tour. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 9th (-1)

11. Shannon Babb, Moweaqua, Ill.

Comment: Reigning Summernationals champ settles for second in this year’s title chase with four series wins. Series points: Second (Summernationals). Last week's ranking: 11th (nc)

12. Shane Clanton, Fayetteville, Ga.

Comment: Welcomes new teammate Tim Fuller to Kennedy Motorsports and the improving Capital Race Cars program. Series points: Fourth (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 12th (nc)

13. Rick Eckert, York, Pa.

Comment: Outduels Vic Coffey in Black Hills Speedway’s WoO feature for first victory since Speedweeks. Series points: Second (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 13th (nc)

14. Brian Birkhofer, Muscatine, Iowa

Comment: Mechanical woes spoil potential solid runs at Tri-City and Wheatland. Series points: Seventh (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 15th (+1)

15. Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.

Comment: Heads to I-80 after an 11th-place effort in Wheatland’s Diamond Nationals. Series points: Second (MLRA). Last week’s ranking: 16 (+1)

16. Ray Cook, Brasstown, N.C.

Comment: Veteran driver switches gears to promote his Southern Nationals Series. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 17th (+1)

17. John Blankenship, Williamson, W.Va.

Comment: Show-Me 100 runner-up once again comes up just short at Wheatland. Series points: Seventh (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 19th (+2)

18. Vic Hill, Moshiem, Tenn.

Comment: Red-hot Hill establishes himself as a Southern Nationals title contender with round-one victory at Wythe. Series points: First (Southern Nationals). Last week's ranking: 20th (+1)

19. Jimmy Mars, Menomonie, Wis.

Comment: Posts first top five in nearly a month with a fifth-place effort in WoO’s Wild West Tour finale. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 18th (-1)

20. Jonathan Davenport, Blairsville, Ga.

Comment: Heads to I-80 looking to break a streak of four consecutive finishes outside the top 10. Series points: Fifth (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 14th (-6)

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

Comment: Reigning series champ enters Southern Nationals tour looking for his first victory since mid-May. Series points: Second (Southern Nationals). Last week's ranking: 21st (nc)

22. Gregg Satterlee, Rochester Mills, Pa.

Comment: Final-lap pass of Dan Stone pays $3,000 in Winchester Speedway’s Red Ninninger Memorial. Series points: Third (Appalachian Mountain Speedweek). Last week's ranking: 23rd (+1)

23. Bub McCool, Vicksburg, Miss.

Comment: Leading WoO rookie grabs a pair of top-five finishes during the five-race Wild West Tour. Series points: Sixth (World of Outlaws). Last week’s ranking: 24th (+1)

24. Steve Shaver, Vienna, W.Va.

Comment: Remains far behind last year’s success rate with just one 2012 victory. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 22nd (-2)

25. Jesse Stovall, Galena, Mo.

Comment: Will look to bounce back from Wheatland disappointment in I-80’s first-ever Lucas Oil Series event. Series points: First (MARS), third (MLRA). Last week's ranking: Not ranked

Dropped out: Jason Feger
Outside looking in: Jason Feger, Randy Weaver, Tyler Reddick, Dennis Erb Jr., Chub Frank

Michael Rigsby's comments: It’s going to take something big at this point to get Darrell Lanigan out of the top spot. He’s set to win 16 or more races on the World of Outlaws tour. … Brian Shirley’s ultra-consistent final week, and closing out of the Hell Tour title, has him all the way up to No. 7 in my poll. With the Summernationals over, it's up to him to continue winning to stay this high. … I continue to marvel at how impossible it is to pick this poll beyond about the 13th-14th spot. What is it? Is it lack of consistency by drivers farther down? Not enough marquee victories for those guys? Whatever it is, I’m usually scratching my head when I get about half-way home every week on this. … I’m ready to start a fans poll to go along with ours by the way. Who’s with me?

Todd Turner's comments: Lanigan (my No. 1) is as solid as anyone’s been in the top spot all season after three straight (and a record 10 overall) WoO victories. ... Brian Shirley (8) is fresh off the biggest accomplishment of his career; now he must translate that success to a bigger stage to quell the Summernationals doubters. ... Vic Hill (22) has some room to grow with more Southern Nationals tracks he likes coming up. ... Gregg Satterlee is on the cusp of a return to my poll.

Joshua Joiner's comments: With his three-race win streak, Lanigan has separated himself as the definite No. 1 while Moyer jumps Bloomquist for second in my poll after another impressive performance at Tri-City. ... Tim McCreadie (my No. 6) slips a couple spots partly because of a so-so weekend, but also because of improved performance by O'Neal (4) and Owens (5). ... Eddie Carrier Jr. (9) moves up a few spots after breaking new ground (first Summernationals victory) and more of the same (sixth win of the season at Southern Ohio Speedway) in the same week. ... Luke Roffers and Kyle Berck are both lurking just outside my poll as they continue to dominate their home regions.

DirtonDirt Top 25

1. Darrell Lanigan (nc)
2. Billy Moyer (nc)
3. Scott Bloomquist (nc)
4. Don O'Neal (nc)
5. Jimmy Owens (+1)
6. Tim McCreadie (-1)
7. Brian Shirley (+1)
8. Steve Francis (-1)
9. Eddie Carrier Jr. (+1)
10. Dale McDowell (-1)
11. Shannon Babb (nc)
12. Shane Clanton (nc)
13. Rick Eckert (nc)
14. Brian Birkhofer (+1)
15. Terry Phillips (+1)
16. Ray Cook (+1)
17. John Blankenship (+2)
18. Vic Hill (+2)
19. Jimmy Mars (-1)
20. Jonathan Davenport (-6)
21. Chris Madden (nc)
22. Gregg Satterlee (+1)
23. Bub McCool (+1)
24. Steve Shaver (-2)
25. Jesse Stovall (new)
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