World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series
Twentysomethings face off for WoO rookie title
By Kevin KovacWorld of Outlaws Late Model Series
Three up-and-coming young drivers have been approved as contenders for the 2013 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Rookie of the Year award, series officials announced on Friday.
Morgan Bagley of Longview, Texas, Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., and Dillon Wood of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., will carry rookie status when the national tour kicks off its 2013 schedule on Feb. 8-9 with the Winter Freeze doubleheader at Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, Ga. The trio’s season-opening burst of events with the World of Outlaws will also include the Bubba Army Late Model Winter Nationals on Feb. 15-17 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla., and the 42nd UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment on Feb. 21-23 at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla. | New sponsors for Lucas Oil rookie award
“This could shape up as one of the tightest Rookie of the Year battles the World of Outlaws Late Model Series has ever seen,” said Tim Christman, who is entering his seventh season as the director of the WoO. “With all three drivers in their 20s and considered rising talents in the sport, we’re expecting a real evenly-matched rookie points race that will add even more excitement to the 2013 World of Outlaws Late Model Series.”
A select panel comprised of veteran WoO drivers and Dirt Late Model media members unanimously approved the rookie eligibility of the drivers.
Wells, 24, owns the most WoO experience of the three rookies. He competed in his first tour event in 2006 as an upstart 17-year-old and has entered no fewer than three races each season since then, totaling 27 appearances and eight feature starts. He owns three heat wins and three top-10 finishes, including a career-best sixth on Nov. 2, 2012, at the Dirt Track at Charlotte in Concord, N.C.
A regular on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series for the past three seasons, Wells placed a career-high 10th in the tour’s points standings last season. The 2008 Battle of the Bluegrass Series Rookie of the Year and winner of four career Dirt Late Model features plans to campaign family-owned equipment on the 2013 WoO.
The 21-year-old Wood, who also made his Dirt Late Model debut as a teenager, embarks on his first attempt at the WoO having entered 13 tour events and started seven features since 2008. Five of his feature appearances came in 2012, including a career-best finish of sixth on Feb. 16 at Bubba Raceway Park.
Wood ventured out to compete in several major Dirt Late Model shows in 2008, but he focused primarily on Limited Late Model action closer to home from 2009-2011. He finished second in the 2009 United Dirt Late Model Series points standings and won four National Late Model Series events in 2009 and ’10, including a career-high $7,500 score on Oct. 29, 2010, at Golden Isles Speedway in Brunswick, Ga. He increased his open-motor Late Model competition last season, with a sixth-place finish in the Southern Nationals points standings a highlight of his campaign.
Bagley, 26, excelled behind the wheel of an open-wheel modified before debuting in the dirt Late Model division during the summer of 2010. He went on to win the SUPR Late Model Series championship and Rookie of the Year award in 2011, and last season he broadened his horizons by traveling to selected special events across the country. His ’12 campaign included a head-turning Wild West Shootout victory worth $10,000 early in the season at Arizona’s Tucson International Raceway.
While Bagley’s WoO performance record shows only 10 appearances and four feature starts (top finish: 21st on Nov. 5, 2011, at Charlotte) over the past two years, he earned $3,000 for winning the Uncle Sam 30 non-qualifiers’ race during last year’s WoO Firecracker 100 at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa.
A guaranteed $10,000 top prize awaits the winner of the 2013 WoO Rookie of the Year award, which will be determined using drivers’ best 30 finishes in World of Outlaws events. The ’13 schedule currently boasts 54 events races at 41 tracks in 21 states and two Canadian provinces, putting the circuit in line to surpass its single-season record of 44 events.
Additional drivers still have the opportunity to apply for Rookie of the Year status through the start of the 2013 season.
Previous WoO Rookie of the Year award winners are Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss. (2012), Pat Doar of New Richmond, Wis. (2011), Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del. (2010), Russ King of Bristolville, Ohio (2009), Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y. (2008), Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y. (2007), Eddie Carrier Jr. of Salt Rock, W.Va. (2006), Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va. (2005) and Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y. (2004).