BARBERVILLE, FL. — The World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series took the track at Volusia Speedway Park for the first time on night 11 of DIRTcar Nationals. During the 40-lap Craftsman Club Feature fans and drivers in attendance witnessed a thick fog roll in after 10pm that was the concoction of two days of heavy rain followed by a third of sunny blue skies. For the drivers’ safety, the feature was called complete with 23 laps in the books due to poor visibility.
Despite the bad luck Mother Nature brought, Shane Clanton was the class of the field all around. He had the fastest lap time during qualifying with 15.861-second lap, won his heat race and led all 23-laps of the feature.
“I hate that Mother Nature brought this fog in, but it’s pretty bad out there,” Clanton said. “Every straightaway you had to pull a tearoff because it’s like rain. I hate it for the fans. They didn’t get to see a full feature here. I think we had the best car tonight, so hopefully we can repeat tomorrow and do it all over.”
Eric Wells also had a strong night as he claimed the second overall fastest time with a 15.862-second lap. Wells also won his heat race and found his way to second place on the podium.
“The track was really demanding tonight,” Well said. “It’s fast and it takes a lot of manpower. You hook a rut the wrong way and you don’t know which way the car’s going to go. That definitely didn’t help at all, but we’ve got a pretty good package. We’re going to work on it tomorrow and hopefully we’ll be in Shane’s spot.”
Not everybody had as successful a night as the top three. Several drivers battled both the elements and mechanical problems throughout the night and were forced to retire early.
Chris Madden was the first driver forced to retire on lap seven when the third driveshaft of the night broke on the Grey Court, SC native’s No.44.
Don O’Neal suffered a similar fate on lap 16. The Martinsville, Ind. native was running fifth after starting the feature 11th.
“I broke something in the driveline coming off of [turn] two,” O’Neal said following the race. “It’s a shame. I mean, we came up through [the field] a ways and I thought we were going to have a good decent finish.”
Union, Ky driver Darrell Lanigan finished eighth in heat two after he pulled pit side with a miss in the motor. Lanigan’s team was scratched for the remainder of the night after pulling the motor. The team described it as “precautionary” after failing to diagnose the source of the problem.
As fog rolled over Volusia midway through the 40-lap feature, several drivers struggled with vision and ran out of tearoffs before the race was called at lap 23.
“I started way too far back. I had 40 some tearoffs and I used every one of them,” said Brandon Overton. “As soon as I would pull one off, the other one would be fogged up. I just kept yanking them and finally I ran out. I figured I had better pull in before we tear anything up.”
Podium finisher Tim McCreadie of Watertown, NY also struggled with the same vision issues due to fog.
“It wasn’t the easiest to see,” McCreadie said. “I’m not going to sit here and act like we can just fly around here no problem. We were wiping the mist [off our visors] all the way around.”
The World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series will close out the last day of the 46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals on Saturday.
Craftsman Club Feature 40-lap — 1. 25- Shane Clanton; 2. 18-Eric Wells ;3.39-Tim McCreadie; 4.7-Rick Eckert; 5.3s-Brian Shirley; 6.1-Brandon Sheppard; 7.7F-Jason Fitzgerald; 8.40B-Kyle Bronson; 9.99B-Boom Briggs; 10.1P-Earl Pearson Jr; 11.1*-Chub Frank; 12.20-Rodney Sanders; 13.28-Dennis Erb Jr; 14.4-Ds-Chad Hollenbeck; 15.15s-Donny Schatz; 16.99jr-Frank Heckenast Jr; 17.14M-Morgan Bagley; 18.9-Devin Moran; 19.2c-Joey Coulter; 20.21-Billy Moyer Jr; 21.93-Donald Bradsher; 22.91-Tyler Erb; 23.116-Brandon Overton; 24.21L-Ivedent Lloyd Jr; 25.5-Don O’Neal; 26.17M-Dale McDowell; 27.44-Chris Madden; 28.15-Steve Francis
-World of Outlaws Press Release
-Photo Credit: Glen’s Photos