Canandaigua Motorsports Park
Key restart lifts McCool to Canandaigua victory
By Kevin KovacWorld of Outlaws Late Model Series
CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (June 25) — Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., charged from third to first on a lap-29 restart and held off Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., down the stretch to capture Tuesday’s Sweeteners Plus 40 on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. | Video | Slideshow
Racing just five days after celebrating his 36th birthday, the 2012 WoO Rookie of the Year broke through for his first victory of the season and the second of his career on the national tour. The $8,550 triumph culminated a successful swing through New York and Canada for McCool, who finished no worse than eighth in four starts behind the wheel of his family-owned car.
“We’ve been working hard at it,” said McCool, whose victory came two nights after he matched his season-best finish with a third-place run at Cornwall (Ontario) Motor Speedway. “I think we found a little something on the car that’s working good and the last couple nights we’ve done a little more to it. I felt like we may have figured something out.”
Fuller, 45, equaled his top series finish of ’13 after starting 11th in his Kennedy Motorsports Capital Race Car. The former big-block modified regular at Canandaigua vaulted from fourth to second on the eventful lap-29 restart and raced within striking distance of McCool for the remainder of the distance but fell short at the checkered flag by 0.588 of a second.
WoO rookie Morgan Bagley of Longview, Texas, placed third, registering a career-best tour finish and first-ever top-five outing on the circuit in his Rocket car. Polesitter Rick Eckert of York, Pa., finished fourth in his Team Zero by Bloomquist machine after leading laps 1-7 and Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who owns 14 career big-block modified feature wins at Canandaigua, completed the top five in the Sweeteners Plus Warrior.
Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., who sailed around the outside of Eckert to take the lead on lap eight and held the top spot until McCool gained control on lap 30, faded to an eighth-place finish after his soft tires gave out during the race’s second half.
The pivotal moment came after the caution flag waved for the first time on lap 29 for Boom Briggs of Bear Lake, Pa., who slowed between turns one and two. As Smith, whose commanding early lead had shrunk to almost nothing over Eckert just before the caution, struggled to fire off on the restart, McCool turned up the wick and surged past both Eckert and Smith to assume command as lap 30 was scored.
“When (Smith) and Eckert both took off (at the start) they probably got half a track or better on us,” said McCool, who started third. “I couldn’t even see ‘em up there no more, so I was just gonna try to drive my line and hold on to third there.
“We started running ‘em down, and then we had the caution (on lap 29). I tried to have my right-rear in the wet up there on the top (of turn four) when (Smith) fired (on the restart) and cut down and have a little more run than he did. I did on Eckert, and then we got by (Smith) when he slowed down getting into one.”
McCool’s strategy of cooling his jets until later in the race on the sprawling half-mile oval proved prescient.
“I knew they was a little softer than I was on tires,” McCool said of Smith and Eckert, “and if I could just keep it straight and keep it under me we’d be OK because I had a good car. It all ended up working out good.”
Fuller attempted to challenge McCool during the final circuits but couldn’t summon enough speed.
“I could run with him, but I didn’t know how I was gonna pass him unless he screwed up in lapped traffic,” said Fuller, whose winless streak reached 119 races since his last WoO score June 17, 2010, at Merrittville Speedway in Thorold, Ontario. “When it’s that black and this shape of track you just gotta keep turning left and not scrub any speed, and he was doing that real well. I could run with him but then I’d lose the nose, and then I’d try to get down lower and I couldn’t make no ground up that way.
“He was good,” he added. “Maybe more laps would’ve helped, but he ran a good race.”
Fuller credited his strong run from mid-pack to his pre-race selection of Hoosier rubber.
“We had the right tires,” said Fuller. “In the beginning of the race those 1325s (compound) took off really well, but in the end when it got black and shiny and slippery the 1425s were the tire to have — and the top three had ‘em.”
Bagley, who celebrated his 27th birthday on June 10, moved forward from the seventh starting spot to nail down his career WoO performance. He sat sixth when the caution flag flew on lap 29, then picked up two spots on the restart and overtook Smith to reach third on a lap-31 restart following a caution flag for debris.
“That last restart (Smith) couldn’t get going,” said Bagley, who made his Canandaigua debut. “We got by him, but that just put a distance between us and Fuller and Bub. We started to get back to them at the end with some help from lapped traffic, so I would’ve loved 50 laps. I was real comfortable riding out there.”
Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., finished a steady sixth after starting ninth; WoO LMS rookie Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., moved up from the 14th starting spot to place seventh; Smith settled for eighth two nights after finishing a season-best second at Cornwall; former Canandaigua DIRTcar big-block Modified regular Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y., placed ninth; and Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., rounded out the top 10.
WoO points leader Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., and Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., who entered the evening riding a two-race win streak after sweeping the tour’s Canadian swing, experienced rare subpar nights. Richards started 12th and was never a factor while struggling to a 13th-place finish — a run that cut his lead to eight points over Clanton — and Lanigan backed up from the sixth starting spot to 14th.
Notes: McCool’s Victory Circle Chassis is powered by a Jay Dickens Racing Engine and sponsored by McCool Logging, Henderson Motorsports, Good Hope and Southern Belle. ... Sixteen of 23 starters completed 40 laps. ... Twenty were running at the finish. ... Clint Smith clicked off his seventh career WoO fast-time honor but first since May 7, 2010, at Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway. ... Darrell Lanigan won the third heat despite officials penalizing him from the pole starting spot to third place for firing early at the initial green flag. ... Tim Fuller earned $740 for winning a four-lap dash among drivers with big-block modified roots over McCreadie, Billy Decker and Vic Coffey. ... Next up for the World of Outlaws is the June 27-29 Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa. Full programs topped by 30-lap, $6,000-to-win features are scheduled for Thursday and Friday with additional prelims and the 100-lap finale Saturday.
Sweeteners Plus 40: (1) Bub McCool, (2) Tim Fuller, (3) Morgan Bagley, (4) Rick Eckert, (5) Tim McCreadie, (6) Shane Clanton, (7) Eric Wells, (8) Clint Smith, (9) Vic Coffey, (10) Chub Frank, (11) Dan Stone, (12) Billy Decker, (13) Josh Richards, (14) Darrell Lanigan, (15) Larry Wight, (16) John Volpe, (17) Boom Briggs, (18) Dave Zona, (19) John Mason, (20) Alan Fink, (21) Gil Tegg Jr., (22) Greg Oakes, (23) Jon Rohacevich. Fast qualifier (among 23 cars): Smith, 18.262 seconds. Heat race winners: Smith, Eckert, Lanigan.