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Smoky Mountain Speedway

Ogle ready to face WoO foes on his home dirt

May 15, 2014, 9:21 am
By Chris Tilley
World of Outlaws Late Model Series
Billy Ogle Jr. (left) talks with Hall of Famer John Gill (right). (rickschwalliephotos.com)
Billy Ogle Jr. (left) talks with Hall of Famer John Gill (right). (rickschwalliephotos.com)

Billy Ogle Jr. of Knoxville, Tenn., has the benefit of two victories under his belt at Smoky Mountain Speedway with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series makes its annual visit to Smoky Mountain Speedway on Saturday.

The historic Maryville, Tenn., track near the race shop of Ogle’s Blount Motorsports team will host WoO travelers for the second straight season. Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., won last year’s visit to Smoky Mountain.

Ogle’s victories at the 4/10-mile oval came in Old Man’s Garage Spring Nationals and Southern All Star Series competition, but he’s looking to add his first career World of Outlaws victory to his impressive racing resume.

“It would be awesome to win at home,” Ogle said. “We’ve been running really well at Smoky Mountain so hopefully we can keep up that pace when they come into town.”

Ogle’s only victory on a current national tour came at Volunteer Speedway during a Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event; he won a Hav-A-Tampa Dirt Racing Series race at Tazewell (Tenn.) Speedway in 1998. The 49-year-old veteran ran well in the WoO’s inaugural visit to the speedplant located in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.

“We ran fifth last year, you got to have a lot of luck with the Outlaws the way their format is,” Ogle said. “They have the redraw draw and stuff but you got to be good enough to get in that draw so hopefully we can get in the redraw and maybe have a close starting position up front. But it would be one of the biggest wins of my career, for sure, if I could get an Outlaw win.”

Ogle, who competes at every single event at Smoky Mountain, has confidence in his abilities at the track.

“I run there a lot and you would have to think you have an edge there,” Ogle said. “I know that’s a little disadvantage to them because I run the track so much, but you know I would think that we do have an edge overall. You never know what the track’s going to be like on some of those nights when they come in, sometimes it’s different, but hopefully it’ll be about how it’s been and we’ll be ready for them.”

Ogle feels his Larry Garner-owned Rocket Chassis race car has been strong of out the gate so far this season. “It’s been really good,” he said. “Normally we don’t get to winning until about July it seems like, so having the wins early in the year I think have been a big plus for us and would like to continue our pace and maybe be able to do what we normally do in the summer months and keep winning.

“We had a lot of second-place finishes last year and some of those have transferred into wins this year. We’ve had a little bit of bad luck but I believe we’re on pace to maybe have one of our best years.”

Red-hot Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., leads WoO points by 82 markers heading into the tour’s tripleheader weekend, which includes a Friday race at 201 Speedway in Sitka, Ky., and a Sunday affair at Duck River Raceway Park, in Wheel, Tenn.

Besides Lanigan and an array of WoO regulars, others expected to compete include Ogle’s teammate Tommy Kerr of Maryville, Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., Skip Arp of Georgetown, Tenn., Stacy Boles of Clinton, Tenn., Mark Vineyard of Powell, Tenn., Ray Cook of Brasstown, N.C., and Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C.

Correction: Fixes Ogle's national touring series record.

Mountain Outlaw 50

Track: Smoky Mountain Speedway, Maryville, Tenn. (4/10-mile oval).
Date: Saturday, May 17.
Times: Pit gates open at noon with spectator gates at 3 p.m. drivers’ meeting at 7:30 p.m. with hot laps to follow.
Sanction: World of Outlaws Late Model Series.
Late Models: Practice, time trials, heats, consolations and 50-lap main event.
Other divisions: Crate Late Models and street stocks.
Tickets: Adult general admission $25 (tier parking $30); pit passes $40.
More info: smokymountainspeedway.com.
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