Clanton rises to No. 2 spot in power rankings
Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., moved to a season's-best No. 2 in DirtonDirt.com’s Top 25 power rankings this week after clicking off his fourth World of Outlaws Late Model Series victory of the season. Clanton is 46 points behind WoO points leader Josh Richards in the poll presented by JRi Shocks.
Clanton (pictured), who has six top-five finishes in his last seven starts, earned $10,000 for June 1’s WoO victory at Stateline Speedway in Busti, N.Y., as he trimmed his deficit to Richards in series points.
Richards, who has been atop the Top 25 rankings all but one week of the regular season, led the way with 11 first-place votes. No. 3 Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., received a single first-place vote while No. 4 Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., who dropped two spots, had nine first-place votes. Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., who has been ranked among the top three most of the season, fell to No. 5 in the rankings.
The driver on the rise in the poll continues to be John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va., who rose four positions to No. 7 after his second Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory in his last three starts. He’s one spot behind Tim McCreadie in the rankings. The Watertown, N.Y., driver edged up to No. 6 with two weekend victories.
An idle Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., slid three spots to No. 9, but there was little movement in the rankings outside the top 10, and no newcomers to the poll
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: Coming off pair of sixth-place WoO finishes, including at Stateline when engine woes forced switch to backup. Series points: 1st (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 1st (nc)
2. Shane Clanton, Zebulon, Ga.
Comment: Treats wife to special birthday gift with WoO victory at Stateline, gains on Richards in series points chase. Series points: 2nd (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 4th (+2)
3. Darrell Lanigan, Union, Ky.
Comment: Kentuckian records a pair of top-three finishes in World of Outlaws action at Delaware and Stateline. Series points: 3rd (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 3rd (nc)
4. Jimmy Owens, Newport, Tenn.
Comment: Hounds John Blankenship at Tazewell before settling for second place at high-banked speedplant. Series points: 1st (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 2nd (-2)
5. Don O’Neal, Martinsville, Ind.
Comment: His 17th-place finish at Tazewell drops him to fourth from second in Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series points. Series points: 4th (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 4th (-1)
6. Tim McCreadie, Watertown, N.Y.
Comment: Not a factor at Stateline, but grabs WoO victory at Delaware and ULMS victory at McKean County for big weekend. Series points: 6th (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 6th (+1)
7. John Blankenship, Williamson, W.Va.
Comment: Muscles to victory at Tazewell (Tenn.) Speedway for his second Lucas Oil Series victory in three starts. Series points: 2nd (Lucas Oil). Last week’s ranking: 11th (+4)
8. Dennis Erb Jr., Carpentersville, Ill.
Comment: Makes a 17th-to-fourth run at Tazewell to salvage night during wild action at Tazewell Speedway. Series points: Tie-5th (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 7th (-1)
9. Billy Moyer, Batesville, Ark.
Comment: Takes weekend off before heading to Eldora Speedway, where he’ll gun for his third career Dream victory. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 6th (-3)
10. Steve Francis, Ashland, Ky.
Comment: Battles up front throughout Tazewell event, settles for fifth-place finish in avoiding trouble on high banks. Series points: 3rd (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 10th (nc)
11. Jonathan Davenport, Blairsville, Ga.
Comment: After tuning up at Eldora on Memorial Day weekend, he’ll return to chase the $100,000 Dream XIX prize. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: 9th (-2)
12. Scott Bloomquist, Mooresburg, Tenn.
Comment: Runs into trouble while leading at Tazewell, forcing him to give up the lead and retire from Lucas Oil event. Series points: 7th (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 12th (nc)
13. Brian Birkhofer, Muscatine, Iowa
Comment: Comes out in second after tight battle with Mark Burgtorf in regular-season event at 34 Raceway. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 13th (nc)
14. Rick Eckert, York, Pa.
Comment: Clicks off two more top-five finishes in World of Outlaws Late Model Series action at Delaware, Stateline. Series points: 4th (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 15th (+1)
15. Steve Casebolt, Richmond, Ind.
Comment: Rain halts Southern All Star race at Volunteer; D&R Motorsports will head north to Eldora’s Dream XIX. Series points: 1st (Spring Nationals). Last week’s ranking: 14th (-1)
16. Brady Smith, Solon Springs, Wis.
Comment: He’ll bypass Dream with upcoming plans for run a handful of Summernationals event, then Firecracker 100. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: 16th (nc)
17. Dale McDowell, Chickamauga, Ga.
Comment: Running second when rain halts Scott Sexton Memorial at Volunteer Speedway; he’ll head to Dream XIX. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 17th (nc)
18. Eddie Carrier Jr., Salt Rock, W.Va.
Comment: Survives wild Tazewell to finish sixth, then falls shy of overtaking Casey Roberts in Ultimate event at I-77. Series points: 9th (Lucas Oil). Last week’s ranking: 18th (nc)
19. Jimmy Mars, Menomonie, Wis.
Comment: Skips Appalachian Mountain Speedweek this season in preparation for Eldora Speedway’s Dream XIX. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: 19th (nc)
20. Chris Simpson, Oxford, Iowa
Comment: With Dream XIX on horizon, he was leading at 34 Raceway when radiator hose issues forced him out. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: 20th (nc)
21. Mike Marlar, Winfield, Tenn.
Comment: With rain washing out his plans at Florence, Georgia-based Bryson Motorsports heading for Dream XIX. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 21st (nc)
22. Earl Pearson Jr., Jacksonville, Fla.
Comment: Stays out of trouble in scoring third-place finish at Tazewell; he’ll try to recapture 2006 magic at Eldora. Series points: Tie-5th (Lucas Oil) Last week's ranking: 22nd (nc)
23. Doug Drown, Wooster, Ohio
Comment: With weather scrapping weekend plans, team gets ready to tackle Dream XIX at home-state Eldora Speedway. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: 23rd (nc)
24. Chad Simpson, Mount Vernon, Iowa
Comment: Flat tire knocks him out of lead early in regular-season feature at Iowa’s 34 Raceway; Dream XIX up next. Series points: 2nd (Corn Belt Clash). Last week’s ranking: 24th (nc)
25. Bobby Pierce, Oakwood, Ill.
Comment: Escapes injury in rollover turn-one accident at Lucas Oil’s Tazewell event, but car suffers serious damage. Series points: 10th (Lucas Oil). Last week’s ranking: 25th (nc)
Dropped out: None.
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.