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Richards solidly in No. 1 spot in power rankings

May 7, 2013, 7:48 am
From staff reports

Another rainy weekend meant little movement in DirtonDirt.com’s Top 25 power rankings this week as Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., remained in the top spot of the poll presented by JRi Shocks.

Richards, the World of Outlaws Late Model Series points leader, kept a secure hold on the top spot with 14 of the 21 first-place votes cast in the weekly poll. He’ll lead his WoO foes to weekend races at I-30 Speedway near Little Rock, Ark., and Whynot Motorsports Park near Meridian, Miss.

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series co-leader Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., was the only other driver to earn first-place votes with seven, breaking his points tie with No. 3 Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., his fellow co-leader on the national tour.

The top 12 spots in the poll remained unchanged from the previous week with Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., fourth followed by Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., the only driver in the top five to compete the first weekend in May. Sixth through 12th are Shane Clanton, Dennis Erb Jr., Jonathan Davenport, Brian Birkhofer, Tim McCreadie, Scott Bloomquist and Steve Francis.

Randy Weaver of Crossville, Tenn., returned to the poll in the 25th spot while Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., whose appeal of a tire-cheating penalty with the World of Outlaws was denied, dropped out.

The top 10 drivers are made up of four World of Outlaws drivers, three Lucas Oil Series drivers and three independents.

After restricting poll voting to staffers the previous two seasons, DirtonDirt.com invited more than 30 media members and drivers along with track, series and manufacturer representatives to vote in 2013’s rankings. Twenty-one submitted ballots this week. Weekly polls continue through mid-November.

1. Josh Richards, Shinnston, W.Va.

Comment: Five victories in 19 starts overall for the Rocket Chassis house car driver heading to two new tracks this weekend. Series points: 1st (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 1st (nc)

2. Jimmy Owens, Newport, Tenn.

Comment: After another weekend rainout, Owens heads to La Salle (Ill.) Speedway on the Lucas Oil Series. Series points: 1st-tie (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 2nd (nc)

3. Don O’Neal, Martinsville, Ind.

Comment: He’ll head to La Salle, Ill., where he took a $10,000 victory last season on the Lucas Oil tour. Series points: 1st-tie (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 3rd (nc)

4. Darrell Lanigan, Union, Ky.

Comment: Kentuckian heads south with WoO tour for his first starts at I-30 Speedway and Whynot Motorsports Park. Series points: 3rd (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 4th (nc)

5. Billy Moyer, Batesville, Ark.

Comment: After missing feature lineup at Timberline, makes 13th-to-sixth run on CCSDS at ArkLaTex Speedway. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 5th (nc)

6. Shane Clanton, Zebulon, Ga.

Comment: He’ll continue his pursuit of WoO-leading Josh Richards with World of Outlaws events at I-30 and Whynot. Series points: 2nd (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 6th (nc)

7. Dennis Erb Jr., Carpentersville, Ill.

Comment: Rare home-state doubleheader on Lucas Oil tour for former champion at La Salle Speedway. Series points: 5th (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 7th (nc)

8. Jonathan Davenport, Blairsville, Ga.

Comment: AES Racing driver plans to step away from Super Late Models for Fastrak Crate starts in West Virginia. Series points: 4th (Southern All Stars). Last week’s ranking: 8th (nc)

9. Brian Birkhofer, Muscatine, Iowa

Comment: Iowan heads for Lucas Oil doubleheader at La Salle, Ill., where he grabbed a $10,000 victory March 30. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 9th (nc)

10. Tim McCreadie, Watertown, N.Y.

Comment: Flat tire with nine laps remaining knocks him out of the lead at Southern Ohio’s Southern 100. Series points: 5th (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 10th (nc)

11. Scott Bloomquist, Mooresburg, Tenn.

Comment: Will battle Lucas Oil Series foes at La Salle, Ill., where he’s a 2006 and ’10 winner on the national tour. Series points: 7th (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 11th (nc)

12. Steve Francis, Ashland, Ky.

Comment: Grabs $4,000 preliminary victory at Southern Ohio, his first of 2013, but retires after leading 60-lap finale. Series points: 6th (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 12th (nc)

13. Rick Eckert, York, Pa.

Comment: Still looking for first victory of 2013 as he follows WoO tour to events in Arkansas and Mississippi. Series points: 3rd (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 14th (+1)

14. Dale McDowell, Chickamauga, Ga.

Comment: Plans to run final three races of buddy Ray Cook’s Spring Nationals at Duck River, Boyd’s and Dixie. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 13th (-1)

15. Mike Marlar, Winfield, Tenn.

Comment: Rallies after early pit stop to finish third at Southern 100; finds a scary surprise in his car’s spoiler. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 17th (+2)

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

Comment: After a forgettable weekend at Southern Ohio, he’ll gun for his second straight Lucas Oil victory. Series points: 10th (Lucas Oil). Last week’s ranking: 16th (-1)

17. Steve Casebolt, Richmond, Ind.

Comment: Hoosier driver will try to wrap up Spring Nationals title for his Tennessee-based D&R Motorsports team. Series points: 1st (Spring Nationals). Last week’s ranking: 16th (-1)

18. John Blankenship, Williamson, W.Va.

Comment: Heads to La Salle (Ill.) Speedway doubleheader looking for his first victory in the Land of Lincoln. Series points: 4th (Lucas Oil). Last week’s ranking: 18th (nc)

19. Jimmy Mars, Menomonie, Wis.

Comment: With three third-place finishes in his last five starts, he’ll challenge Lucas Oil regulars in La Salle, Ill. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: 21st (+2)

20. Scott James, Lawrenceburg, Ind.

Comment: Goes back to work in the Warrior Race Cars house car with WoO action at I-30 and Whynot. Series points: 7th (World of Outlaws). Last week’s ranking: 19th (-1)

21. Chad Simpson, Mount Vernon, Iowa

Comment: He’ll take his personal three-race win streak into the Lucas Oil Series buzzsaw at La Salle Speedway. Series points: 1st (Corn Belt Clash). Last week’s ranking: 22nd (+1)

22. Eric Wells, Hazard, Ky.

Comment: He’ll face a couple of more first-time tracks with the World of Outlaws heading to Arkansas and Mississippi. Series points: 6th (World of Outlaws). Last week’s ranking: 23rd (+1)

23. Earl Pearson Jr., Jacksonville, Fla.

Comment: Heads to La Salle (Ill.) Speedway, a track where he grabbed $10,000 victories in 2002 and ‘04. Series points: 3rd (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 22nd (+1)

24. Bobby Pierce, Oakwood, Ill.

Comment: After third and 11th-place finishes at Southern Ohio, he welcomes Lucas Oil foes to his home state. Series points: 8th-tie (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 24th (nc)

25. Randy Weaver, Crossville, Tenn.

Comment: He’ll join the race to become the first two-time Spring Nationals winner in races at Boyd’s, Dixie. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: Unranked.

Dropped out: Jason Feger.

Editor’s note: The top 25 drivers are determined by a points system with 25 points for a first-place vote, 24 points for a second-place vote and so on through a single point for a 25th-place vote. The voting panel is made up of media members, drivers, and track, series and manufacturer representatives.

DirtonDirt Top 25

Driver (pts.) (1st place)
1. Josh Richards (518) (14)
2. Jimmy Owens (470) (7)
3. Don O'Neal (470)
4. Darrell Lanigan (449)
5. Billy Moyer (409)
6. Shane Clanton (401)
7. Dennis Erb Jr. (380)
8. Jonathan Davenport (350)
9. Brian Birkhofer (343)
10. Tim McCreadie (338)
11. Scott Bloomquist (332)
12. Steve Francis (307)
13. Rick Eckert (227)
14. Dale McDowell (217)
15. Mike Marlar (186)
16. Eddie Carrier Jr. (184)
17. Steve Casebolt (179)
18. John Blankenship (123)
19. Jimmy Mars (111)
20. Scott James (107)
21. Chad Simpson (97)
22. Eric Wells (87)
23. Earl Pearson Jr. (85)
24. Bobby Pierce (76)
25. Randy Weaver (63)
Others receiving votes: Jason Feger (62), Doug Drown (36), Brian Shirley (33), Bub McCool (25), Billy Ogle Jr. (19), Shannon Babb (18), Tim Fuller (17), Chris Simpson (16), Terry Phillips (15), Donnie Moran (10), Brandon Sheppard (9), Jared Landers (9), Gregg Satterlee (9), Greg Johnson (8), Vic Coffey (6), Chris Madden (6), Jamie Lathroum (5), Will Vaught (3), Steve Shaver (3), Dillon Wood (2), Chad Stapleton (1).
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