Poll Position: Sweeping Feger inches up to 11th
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: Third place at Rolling Wheels all but clinches his second World of Outlaws Late Model Series championship. Series points: First (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 1st (nc)
2. Billy Moyer, Batesville, Ark.
Comment: Wasn’t a factor at Greenville Speedway’s Gumbo Nationals while his son posts a top-five finish. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 2nd (nc)
3. Jimmy Owens, Newport, Tenn.
Comment: Dixie victory wraps up second straight Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series title, but flat ends chances at Rome. Series points: First (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 3rd (nc)
4. Don O’Neal, Martinsville, Ind.
Comment: Part of lap-six pileup at Dixie, bounces back with a fifth-place finish at Rome. Heading for Whynot this weekend. Series points: Second (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 4th (nc)
5. Steve Francis, Ashland, Ky.
Comment: Part of big wreck at Dixie, he posts a fourth-place finish at Rome. He’ll try to give BWRC house car another Whynot victory. Series points: Fourth (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 8th (+3)
6. Brian Birkhofer, Muscatine, Iowa
Comment: After weekend off, his final races of the season come at tracks where he’s had success, Whynot and Portsmouth. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 6th (nc)
7. Scott Bloomquist, Mooresburg, Tenn.
Comment: Shrugs off Dixie wreck with a runner-up finish at Rome as he faces longest winless stretch since ‘09. Series points: Third (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 5th (-2)
8. Dale McDowell, Chickamauga, Ga.
Comment: Puts heat on first-time $10,000 winner Walker Arthur at Natural Bridge (Va.) Speedway, but settles for second. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 7th (-1)
9. Brian Shirley, Chatham, Ill.
Comment: Crowned UMP DIRTcar’s weekly champion at Eldora, where he rallies for third-place at UMP Nationals. Series points: First (Summernationals). Last week's ranking: 9th (nc)
10. Rick Eckert, York, Pa.
Comment: He started October 2011 with victories at Rolling Wheels and Selinsgrove, and duplicated the feat this season. Series points: Second (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 10th (nc)
11. Jason Feger, Bloomington, Ill.
Comment: Handles rugged cushion at Eldora for perfect night at UMP Nationals, winning everything he gets his hands on. Series points: Fourth (Summernationals). Last week’s ranking: 13th (+2)
12. Shane Clanton, Fayetteville, Ga.
Comment: After finishing distant second at Rolling Wheels, can’t find home-state success at Dixie or Rome. Series points: Third (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 11th (-1)
13. Chris Madden, Gray Court, S.C.
Comment: Broken wheel at Dixie knocks him out of lead in waning laps; rebounds with third place at Rome. Series points: First (Southern Nationals). Last week's ranking: 12th (-1)
14. Brady Smith, Solon Springs, Wis.
Comment: With upper Midwest season over, he plans one more event at Portsmouth’s Dirt Track World Championship. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: 14th (nc)
15. Eddie Carrier Jr., Salt Rock, W.Va.
Comment: With WVMS rained out, heads for Natural Bridge (Va.) Speedway to score a fourth-place finish. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 16th (+1)
16. John Blankenship, Williamson, W.Va.
Comment: Ends a month stretch of a single top-five finish with third at Dixie, then a dominating victory at Rome. Series points: Fifth (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 16th (+4)
17. Gregg Satterlee, Rochester Mills, Pa.
Comment: After seventh-place finish at Natural Bridge, he’s got a double-dip at Hesston coming up this weekend. Series points: First (Three State Flyers). Last week's ranking: 15th (-2)
18. Mike Marlar, Winfield, Tenn.
Comment: After running into problems at Dixie, he bounces back with sixth-place finish at Rome. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 17th (-1)
19. Shannon Babb, Moweaqua, Ill.
Comment: After mixed results at Knoxville, Babb takes the weekend off and ponders his schedule for rest of season. Series points: Second (Summernationals). Last week's ranking: 18th (-1)
20. Billy Ogle Jr., Knoxville, Tenn.
Comment: Ends Southern All Star win streak by tackling Lucas Oil Series, and just misses top-five at Rome and Dixie. Series points: Fourth (Southern All Stars). Last week's ranking: 19th (-1)
21. Jamie Lathroum, Mechanicsville, Md.
Comment: After three big victories in September, his October starts off quieter as he’s caught up in scramble at Natural Bridge. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 21st (nc)
22. Ray Cook, Brasstown, N.C.
Comment: Leads first five laps at Dixie before mechanical woes sends him to pits; finishes eighth at Rome. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 23rd (+1)
23. Jesse Stovall, Galena, Mo.
Comment: Wraps up MARS DIRTcar Series title with a victory and runner-up finish during a long Muskogee weekend. Series points: First (MARS). Last week’s ranking: 22nd (-1)
24. Jimmy Mars, Menomonie, Wis.
Comment: Taking a few weekends off, he’ll gun for his second Dirt Track World Championship at Portsmouth. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 24th (-1)
25. Jackie Boggs, Grayson, Ky.
Comment: With Lucas Oil victory at Portsmouth in back pocket, he’s eager for track's next race, the $50,000-to-win DTWC. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: None.
Dropped out: Chad Simpson
Outside Looking In: Bub McCool, Dennis Franklin, Chad Simpson, Terry Phillips.
Michael Rigsby’s comments: Very quiet at the top of my poll, with only Rick Eckert (my No. 12) moving up a bit after a good weekend. ... John Blankenship (14) gets a big win and upward movement, and if he closes 2012 strong, could do even better. ... Uneventful otherwise with Stovall (20), McCool (24) and Phillips (25) all get a little love as well after weekend victories. ... I’d love to see a race towards the end of the year where we can get about 20 of the top 25 in the country together to really sort some of this out. DTWC? World Finals?
Todd Turner’s comments: Quiet at the top of my poll with Rick Eckert (my No. 9) inching up after a pair of victories. ... It would be nice to have a showdown among all the drivers in top 10 before the season wraps up, preferably the DTWC, or perhaps at Charlotte? Could be an unsatisfying conclusion to the season otherwise. ... Jason Feger (12) gets a boost after his impressive domination at Eldora (looked like it was a handful to get around the track without spinning), but his non-tire rule performances are still suspect. ... Billy Ogle Jr. (18) didn’t contend at Rome-Dixie, but decent enough to hold his spot. ... A little shuffling moves Jackie Boggs (25) up in preparation for the DTWC at a Portsmouth (Ohio) Raceway Park where he’s capable of beating anyone. ... Among drivers making late-season bids to crack my Top 25: Bub McCool, Brad Neat and Randy Weaver.
Joshua Joiner’s comments: Not a whole lot of movement in my poll this week other than Rick Eckert (my No. 9) and Jason Feger (12) each edging up a spot after their impressive weekend performances. ... John Blankenship also moved up a couple spots after getting back in victory lane with a dominant performance at Rome. ... After so much movement in the back half of the poll earlier this year, it's become much more stagnant late in the year. Hoping to see someone unexpected go on a late-season hot streak to make things interesting.