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Poll Position: SoNat'ls champ climbs to 10th

July 31, 2012, 11:59 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: Heads to Cedar Lake Speedway looking for his first victory in the $50,000-to-win USA Nationals. Series points: First (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 1st (nc)

2. Billy Moyer, Batesville, Ark.

Comment: Five-time USA Nationals winner enters the event's 25th running hoping to win the race for the first time since 1993. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 2nd (nc)

3. Don O’Neal, Martinsville, Ind.

Comment: Tops Steve Francis in a back-and-forth battle at Hagerstown to claim 10th Lucas Oil victory of 2012. Series points: Second (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 4th (+1)

4. Scott Bloomquist, Mooresburg, Tenn.

Comment: Should be due his sixth USA Nationals victory this weekend going by his pattern of winning the race every other year since ‘06. Series points: Third (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 3rd (-1)

5. Jimmy Owens, Newport, Tenn.

Comment: Plans to take the upcoming weekend off before heading to Florence in search of his third straight North-South 100 victory. Series points: First (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 5th (nc)

6. Tim McCreadie, Watertown, N.Y.

Comment: Once again defends his home turf by winning Utica-Rome Speedway’s Lucas Oil event for the second straight year. Series points: Third (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 6th (nc)

7. Brian Shirley, Chatham, Ill.

Comment: Will look to turn his Hell Tour success into even bigger things, beginning with this weekend’s trip to Cedar Lake. Series points: First (Summernationals). Last week's ranking: 7th (nc)

8. Steve Francis, Ashland, Ky.

Comment: Comes up short at Hagerstown after letting O’Neal slip away in the closing laps of Saturday’s Lucas Oil feature. Series points: Fourth (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 8th (nc)

9. Brian Birkhofer, Muscatine, Iowa

Comment: Last year’s USA Nationals runner-up heads back to Cedar Lake looking to continue his recent hot streak. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 10th (+1)

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

Comment: Dominates second week of Southern Nationals, winning three of four en route to his fourth title on the eight-year-old series. Series points: First (Southern Nationals). Last week's ranking: 16th (+6)

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

Comment: Picks up a $2,000 victory at Portsmouth, his ninth overall win of the season. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 9th (-2)

12. Dale McDowell, Chickamauga, Ga.

Comment: Looking for his first victory in nearly a month after going winless in four Southern Nationals starts. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 11th (-1)

13. Shannon Babb, Moweaqua, Ill.

Comment: Two-time USA Nationals runner-up heads to Cedar Lake after a two-week break. Series points: Second (Summernationals). Last week's ranking: 12th (-1)

14. Shane Clanton, Fayetteville, Ga.

Comment: Ready to get back to WoO action after three straight finishes outside the top five in regional events. Series points: Fourth (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 13th (-1)

15. John Blankenship, Williamson, W.Va.

Comment: Reaches victory lane for second straight year during Lucas Oil’s Northeast swing, this time at Stateline Speedway instead of Hagerstown. Series points: Fifth (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 17th (+2)

16. Rick Eckert, York, Pa.

Comment: Finishes 11th in Hagerstown’s Lucas Oil Series event. Series points: Second (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 14th (-2)

17. Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.

Comment: Taking a couple weeks off from Late Model racing to compete in USMTS modified events. Series points: Second (MLRA). Last week’s ranking: 15th (-2)

18. Jimmy Mars, Menomonie, Wis.

Comment: Two-time USA Nationals winner aims to defend his home turf with another $50,000 victory. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 19th (+1)

19. Ray Cook, Brasstown, N.C.

Comment: Southern Nationals promoter to get back behind the wheel in SRRS doubleheader at Boyd’s and Volunteer. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 18th (-1)

20. Vic Hill, Moshiem, Tenn.

Comment: Fails to make another trip to victory lane after winning Southern Nationals opener at Wythe. Series points: Fourth (Southern Nationals). Last week's ranking: 20th (nc)

21. Gregg Satterlee, Rochester Mills, Pa.

Comment: Impresses with an 18th-to-third run in Utica-Rome’s Lucas Oil feature. Series points: Third (Appalachian Mountain Speedweek). Last week's ranking: 21st (nc)

22. Jason Feger, Bloomington, Ill.

Comment: Remains perfect in post-Summernationals action with a $2,000 victory in Jacksonville Speedway’s Mary Lee Standridge Memorial. Series points: Fourth (Summernationals). Last week’s ranking: 23rd (+1)

23. Jesse Stovall, Galena, Mo.

Comment: Continues his impressive season by earning his ninth and 10th overall victories in a sweep of weekend events at Humboldt Speedway and Springfield Raceway. Series points: First (MARS). Last week’s ranking: Not ranked

24. Bub McCool, Vicksburg, Miss.

Comment: Returns to WoO action at Cedar Lake after a runner-up effort in Jackson Motor Speedway’s MSCCS event. Series points: Sixth (World of Outlaws). Last week’s ranking: 22nd (-2)

25. Josh McGuire, Grayson, Ky.

Comment: Finishes second to Eddie Carrier Jr. at Portsmouth in lone weekend start. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 25th (nc)

Dropped out: Jonathan Davenport
Outside looking in:
Randy Weaver, Mike Marlar, Tyler Reddick, Steve Shaver, Jonathan Davenport

Michael Rigsby's comments: I bumped O’Neal up to second based on his strong performance at Hagerstown, but believe me, it’s an easy argument that Moyer belongs ahead of him. … Chris Madden’s amazing week on the Southern Nationals vaults him up to No. 10 for me. He’s poised to keep climbing if he can get a hot August going. … Pretty much status quo after that. I gave Mike Marlar (my No. 23) a bump, as well as Tyler Reddick (25) after he drove to the front at Hagerstown. … Last week a BUNCH of people emailed me their Top 25 after I asked, so let’s do it again! Send them over. We’ll have more in the coming weeks on the “fan poll.” Thanks again!

Todd Turner's comments: Pretty slow week around the poll. ... Big Five still entrenched and barely any change in my top 10. ... Chris Madden (my No. 12) moves up based on Schaeffer Oil Southern Nationals success. ... John Blankenship (15) isn’t always consistent, but he’s running up front enough to climb. ... Jason Feger (24) and Josh McGuire (25) enter my rankings.

Joshua Joiner's comments: Chris Madden (my No. 9) makes another big jump after dominating the second half of Ray Cook’s Southern Nationals tour. … Gregg Sattlerlee (19) moves up a couple spots in my poll after a pair of solid runs in Lucas Oil action. … Jesse Stovall (20) and Randy Weaver (25) reenter my poll after continuing to dominate their respective regional tours.

DirtonDirt Top 25

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