Clanton captures Tucson finale, collects $10,000
By Todd TurnerDirtonDirt.com managing editor
TUCSON, Ariz. (Jan. 20) — Shane Clanton was mired deep in the starting field most of the week at Tucson International Raceway’s Winter Extreme. He made the most of his chance to start up front in Sunday’s finale.
The 36-year-old Fayetteville, Ga., driver overtook Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., on the 34th lap and led the rest of the 50-lapper to collect a $10,000 payday at the 3/8-mile oval. Clanton’s victory from the third starting spot made him the week’s sixth winner as he posted his miniseries-leading fourth top-five finish of the week. | Complete Arizona coverage
“We definitely had a good car. ... we’ve been fast all week long,” said Clanton, the best finishing of three Capital Race Cars in the top five. “We just needed to start up front so we could race these guys.”
Moyer did his best to regain the lead from Clanton, trying to slide under him on two occasions in turns three and four, but Clanton held on to gain some redemption from a mechanical failure and bitter loss in Casa Grande, Ariz., two weeks earlier.
“Jonathan (Owenby), my crew guy there, he told me he closed in pretty fast. It’s treacherous running that top. I caught him and slid him over here (in turn four), and I guess (he) was trying to slide me that last couple of laps there. Billy Moyer, he’s pretty tough to pass.
“The cushion is actually right up on the wall over here in (turn) three, so you actually run up on the wall a little bit to come off the corner. I come off the cushion a little bit because it was just so treacherous up there.
“Lady Luck done got us at Casa Grande. We should’ve had (our first victory) before. But we broke a rear end there. I don’t know, we worked awful hard at getting our cars good, and I know somebody called me today and said if I won today, he’d buy a race car — so I think we got one more sold today.”
Moyer’s No. 21 shut down on the final lap when a five-cent ignition wire failed, allowing Morgan Bagley of Longview, Texas — who led laps 11-19 — to slip past for the second spot.
Pat Doar of New Richmond, Wis., who rallied from his 13th starting spot, nipped Moyer at the line for third while Clanton’s Kennedy Motorsports teammate Tim Fuller rounded out the top five in the Sunday afternoon affair. The front-row starting Moyer led the first 10 laps, regained the lead from Bagley on a lap-20 restart, then chased Clanton over the final 15 laps, making two serious bids between turns three and four that fell short.
Bagley, last year’s race winner, looked strong while leading the race, but when Moyer went past him on a lap-20 restart — followed by Clanton three laps later — he struggled to pick the right groove and took several laps to gather himself.
“I knew Billy took the top and I figured he was going to try and roll around the outside there, and he did,” Bagley said. “I think I moved up and probably should’ve just kind of held my ground there (in the low groove) ... I got a little too tight there, but we’ll take it and congratulations to Shane on a good run, and thanks to all the fans for coming out.”
Doar wasn’t a factor most of the race, but he made a late charge to nip Moyer at the checkers for the third spot. He and Fuller were in Capital cars, just like Clanton.
“I went better tonight. We finally drew not dead last, and the car was better. Capital Race Cars, I really like ‘em. I’ve gotta learn what to do to ‘em. (Gary) Winger did my shocks. I just didn’t wreck it, that’s all,” Doar said. “Who knows what’s going to happen the next time, but tonight it was fun, and that’s all you can ask for.”
Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa, ran in the top five much of the way and was solidly in third spot when he slowed with a right-rear flat tire on the frontstretch with six laps remaining. Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., also lingered near the top five most of the race, but his car’s nosepiece was damaged in the closing laps and he pulled to the infield. Polesitter John Anderson of Omaha, Neb., ran in the top five most of the way before settling for sixth.
Besides Simpson’s lap-44 flat tire, two other cautions slowed the action. Jason Papich ended up against the top of the frontstretch wall with heavy right-front damage on lap 19, but wasn’t injured. Clay Daly climbed the turn-four wall on lap 36, but his car returned to the track on all four wheels and the fence was repaired in just a few minutes.
Notes: Clanton’s Capital Race Car is sponsored by Core Construction, Kennedy Racing, Keyser Mfg., and Ironco. ... Clanton notched his first victory of the year, although he was robbed of a likely victory at Central Arizona Raceway when his car broke while leading. ... “John Kennedy, my car owner, he’s doing a phenomenal job here giving us everything we need to win,” said Clanton, who carries sponsorship from Kennedy's Arizona-based companies. ... The race was sanctioned by Championship Dirt Motorsports. ... Eleven drivers made all six feature events: Clanton, Will Vaught, John Anderson, John Lowrey, Justin Kay, Tim Fuller, Billy Moyer, R.C. Whitwell, Nick Bartels, Jimmy Mars and Terry Phillips. ... After a lengthy program Saturday, and to help reduce daytime laps on the surface, the track shelved hot laps for Late Models and modifieds Sunday afternoon. ... Mike Striegel, a crew member for Phillips, piloted an X-Mod for the El Paso, Texas-based Barnett Harley-Davidson team. He finished second in the feature. ... Jason Krohn of Slayton, Minn., won his second straight modified feature.
Winter Extreme (Jan. 20): (1) Shane Clanton, (2) Morgan Bagley, (3) Pat Doar, (4) Billy Moyer, (5) Tim Fuller, (6) John Anderson, (7) R.C. Whitwell, (8) Terry Phillips, (9) Rob Sanders, (10) Lance Matthees, (11) Chase Junghans, (12) Billy Moyer Jr., (13) Kyle Beard, (14) Don Shaw, (15) Nick Bartels, (16) Justin Kay, (17) Jordan Yaggy, (18) John Lowrey, (19) Jimmy Mars, (20) Chris Simpson, (21) Clay Daly, (22) Jason Papich, (23) Will Vaught, (24) Brad Williams, (25) Mike Balcaen. Heat race winners (among 39 cars): Clanton, Bagley, Anderson, Moyer Sr. Consolation winner: Whitwell. Provisional starter: Williams.
First heat: Shane Clanton, Chase Junghans, Lance Matthees, Don Shaw, R.C. Whitwell, Ron Davies, Steve Drake, Trevor Glaser, Tony Toste, Randy Shafer.
Second heat: Morgan Bagley, Jimmy Mars, Chris Simpson, Pat Doar, Nick Bartels, Will Vaught, David Breazeale, James Chavez Jr., Paul Guglielmoni.
Third heat: John Anderson, Jason Papich, Jordan Yaffy, Clay Daly, Justin Kay, Mike Balcaen, Tim Isenberg, Brad Williams, Rob Mayea, John Kuchar.
Fourth heat: Billy Moyer, John Lowrey, Tim Fuller, Billy Moyer Jr., Rob Sanders, Kyle Beard, Terry Phillips, Dave Deetz, Jimmy Whisler.
Consolation (top eight transfer): R.C. Whitwell, Clay Daly, Terry Phillips, Will Vaught, Nick Bartels, Kyle Beard, Rob Sanders, Mike Balcaen, Brad Williams, David Breazeale, Rob Mayea, Garrett Alberson, Steve Drake, Tony Toste, Tim Isenberg, John Kuchar, Dave Deetz, Randy Shafer, James Chavez Jr., Paul Guglielimoni, Trevor Glaser, Ron Davies.