Oh Canada! McCreadie back in WoO victory lane
By Kevin KovacWorld of Outlaws Late Model Series
OHSWEKEN, Ontario (June 20) — Welcome back, T-Mac. Tim McCreadie reached Victory Lane in World of Outlaws Late Model Series competition for the first time in nearly two years, powering to a convincing victory in the Arrow Express Six Nations 50 at Ohsweken Speedway. The 34-year-old from Watertown, N.Y., slid underneath Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., for the lead on lap 20 and never looked back. He sailed away from the pack to defeat Clanton by 4.901 seconds – a full straightaway margin – in the WoO Great Northern Tour event postponed one day by rain.
How much did the $10,150 triumph mean to McCreadie? The 2006 tour champion showed his joy to the big crowd that gathered for the first-ever WoO show in Ontario, performing a couple celebratory 360s in turn four with his Sweeteners Plus Rocket No. 39 and pounding his fists on the roof of his car as he exited it in Victory Lane.
“I was fortunate enough to win a Lucas (Series) race earlier this year, but to beat these boys, man, they’re the best on the planet,” McCreadie said after his first WoO win since Aug. 4, 2006, at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa. “It’s so satisfying to come back in here and win an Outlaw race.”
McCreadie, who parlayed his ’06 WoO title into a Richard Childress Racing Driver Development deal that included several NASCAR Nationwide Series and ARCA RE/MAX Series starts last season, has returned to the Dirt Late Model wars in 2008 with his pavement aspirations in limbo. He feels he’s picking up some steam as he puts his focus back on dirt-track action.
“We did some testing a week ago in Michigan,” said McCreadie, who won an unsanctioned special on June 12 at Merritt (Mich.) Speedway. “I had to put the pavement stuff in the past. If I never get back there again, that’s OK. It’s damn nice to race in front of these people like this.”
McCreadie had nothing but praise for Ohsweken Speedway, a 3/8-mile oval owned by 360 Sprint Car racer Glenn Styres. “What an phenomenal facility,” raved McCreadie, who registered his 11th career WoO win. “You can’t hold anybody back here. If you’re a little bit better, you just gotta work at it. These are the types of tracks we live for, and we appreciate him having us up here.”
McCreadie gave plenty of credit to his chief mechanic Al Stevens, who received the Integra Shocks Wrench of the Race Award. He also cited help he received on Friday night from his former crew chief Tommy Grecco, who earlier in the week left his position as the chief mechanic of Shannon Babb’s Bowyer Dirt Motorsports car and has reunited with McCreadie for the Great Northern Tour.
Clanton, 32, started second and led laps 1-19 but was no match for McCreadie. He spent the race’s second half nearly a straightaway behind McCreadie, fighting hard to keep his RSD Enterprises Rocket car ahead of York, Pa.’s Rick Eckert and Watertown, N.Y.’s Tim Fuller to land a runner-up finish worth $5,100.
Bidding to end a WoO winless streak that has reached nearly two years and 71 races, Eckert made a strong surge forward from the 11th starting spot to sit third by lap 15. But while he got his Raye Vest-owned GRT car inside Clanton several times, he couldn’t complete the pass and settled for a third-place finish. Fuller, who started eighth, raced with Clanton and Eckert late in the distance but crossed the finish line fourth in his Gypsum Express Rocket. It was the second consecutive top-five run for the 2007 WoO Rookie of the Year. Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., moved forward from the 13th starting spot to place fifth in his GottaRace.com Rocket. He ran his streak of consecutive top-five finishes to six races.
Lanigan also grabbed sole possession of the WoO points lead for the first time this season. He overtook defending champion Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., who made several pit stops during the A-Main and finished one lap down in 14th place.
World of Outlaws @ Ohsweken: (1) Tim McCreadie, (2) Shane Clanton, (3) Rick Eckert, (4) Tim Fuller, (5) Darrell Lanigan, (6) Clint Smith, (7) Ricky Elliott, (8) Shannon Babb, (9) Josh Richards, (10) Danny Johnson, (11) John Blankenship, (12) Chris Ross, (13) Dan Stone, (14) Steve Francis, (15) Chub Frank, (16) Adam Ferri, (17) Tony Knowles, (18) Ed Carley, (19) Jeff Isabell Jr., (20) Jeremy Miller, (21) Neil Baggett, (22) Sean Beardsley, (23) Andrew Reaume, (24) Chad Valone. Fast qualifier (among 40 cars): C. Smith, 16.094 seconds. Heat race winners: C. Smith, Elliott, Francis, Clanton. Consolation winners: Frank, Stone. Provisional starters: Beardsley, Reaume.