By Ben Shelton
MIDDLEBOURNE, W.Va. – Maybe it was the four leaf clover, maybe it was the trick setup from crew chief, Austin Hargrove, or maybe it was just the relentless wheel of the veteran. No matter the exact reason, Davey Johnson overcame a furious late-race challenge from Chub Frank and Darrell Lanigan to claim the $20,000 payday in the 3rd Annual Jackpot 100 on Sunday night at Tyler County Speedway.
“This hot rod has just been great this whole year, and I always love this place…tonight we got ’em,” said the Greensburg, Pa., veteran in victory lane.
While Johnson was all smiles in victory lane, the 75 lap affair didn’t necessarily start with him being very happy. As the field came to green the pole sitter, Johnson, fired early, and was moved back a row with Morgan Bagley joining Jacob Hawkins on the front row.
As the race went green at the quarter-mile oval known as The Bullring, Hawkins jumped to the lead and held the top spot until lap 3, when Rick Eckert bolted to the lead as Hawkins dropped to the clutches of Johnson, Shane Clanton and Tim McCreadie, who was already on the move from the eighth starting spot.
Eckert quickly stretched his advantage over Johnson, who moved to the second spot on lap 6. While the York, Pa., driver motored away from the pack, Davey Johnson wasn’t too concerned in the early laps.
“I knew that he (Eckert) went softer than me on tires so I didn’t worry too much when he drove away from me early,” said the pilot of the #1J Rocket Imperial Towing Super Late Model.
By lap 9, Eckert was in lapped traffic before the race was slowed for the first time on lap 11 for Zack Dohm. At the time of the caution Eckert was the leader with Johnson, Hawkins, Clanton and McCreadie making up the top five.
As the race went back green the top five running order stayed the same, and by lap 23 traffic was an issue for leader Eckert. By lap 26, traffic became an even bigger issue, when a tangle with the lapped car of Tim Dohm sent Eckert spinning to a stop in turn one.
A dejected Eckert joined the tail of the field with Johnson assuming the lead. Despite several serious challenges over the remainder of the event it would prove to be a lead he would never relinquish.
While Johnson paced the field, a great battle raged behind him for the second spot with Clanton and McCreadie going wheel-to-wheel for the second spot with the Hawkins’ brothers in tow. Meanwhile as the race approached the midway point two drivers on the move were Chub Frank, who was up to fifth from the 11th starting spot by lap 42, while a motivated Eckert rocketed into the fifth spot on lap 48.
Unfortunately for Eckert his bad luck was far from over as the 2011 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Champion slowed with a flat tire on lap 54 before calling it a night seven laps later as a broken drive train.
With Johnson out front Frank continued his march forward with Hawkins in tow, and lap 61 found the duo catapulting into the second and third positions respectively with Lanigan lurking in the fourth spot.
With just 10 laps to go Frank turned up the wick and pulled alongside leader Johnson on multiple occasions, but just couldn’t make the pass stick, while Lanigan maneuvered past Hawkins into the third spot. The final 10 laps brought the crowd to its feet as Johnson, Frank and Lanigan battled in close confines.
With just a lap to go Johnson stretched his advantage to claim the victory, while Frank edged Lanigan by a nose for the second position at the line. Hawkins and McCreadie rounded out the top five.
A popular victory lane celebration in front of the West Virginia fans found Johnson thanking not only his crew, but also a special lady from the stands after claiming the third WoO LMS triumph of his career.
“Before the races today this sweet lady gave me a four leaf clover,” Johnson said. “I’m not saying that’s what did it tonight, but I’m not dismissing it either. This little flower is riding with me the rest of the year.”
Frank was more than pleased with his second place run.
“We seem to be getting better and better every time out this season, and it was a lot of fun running side-by-side with Davey (Johnson),” commented Frank. “Tonight definitely felt like the old days of me and him battling for the win.”
Heat race winners on Saturday evening included Davey Johnson, Rick Eckert, and Darrell Lanigan, while Sunday’s evening’s last chance showdown was topped by Tim Dohm.
The stars and cars of the WoO LMS will enjoy a four day break before invading the confines of Delaware International Speedway (Delmar, Del.) on Thursday, May 29, for the Fulton Bank 50. A $10,000 winner’s check will be on the line for the tour’s only appearance in the state of Delaware in 2014.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
Fans can also follow the WoO LMS on Twitter at Twitter.com/WoOLateModels and Facebook at Facebook.com/WorldofOutlaws .
Results of World of Outlaws Late Model Series at Tyler County Speedway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. Davey Johnson/75 $20,550
2. Chub Frank/75 $10,750
3. Darrell Lanigan/75 $6,500
4. Jared Hawkins/75 $5,200
5. Tim McCreadie/75 $4,850
6. Mike Benedum/75 $3,800
7. Morgan Bagley/75 $3,600
8. Corey Conley/75 $2,550
9. Doug Drown/75 $2,350
10. Boom Briggs/75 $2,4000
11. Jacob Hawkins/75 $2,200
12. Shane Clanton/75 $2,650
13. Eric Wells/75 $2,250
14. Clint Smith/75 $2,200
15. Chase Junghans/75 $2,150
16. Matthew Cochran/75 $1,630
17. Frank Heckenast Jr./75 $2,210
18. Rick Eckert/61 $2,590
19. Butch McGill/58 $1,520
20. Chris Garnes/34 $1,550
21. Tim Dohm/33 $1,500
22. Derek Doll/20 $1,500
23. Paul Wilmoth/17 $1,500
24. Zack Dohm/11 $1,575
25. Tim Senic/6 $1,500
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 30 :54.044
Margin of Victory: 1.358 Secs.
Yellow Flags: Six; (Lap 11 Zack Dohm, Lap 26 Rick Eckert, Lap 35 Chris Gaines, Lap 42 Jacob Hawkins, Lap 54 Rick Eckert, Lap 61 Rick Eckert)
Red Flags: None
Lap Leaders: Jacob Hawkins (1-2); Rick Eckert (3-26); Davey Johnson (27-75)
Provisional Starters: Eric Wells (WoO), Chase Junghans (WoO), Paul Wilmoth Jr. (Track)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: ($500): Mike Benedum
WoO LMS ‘Rookie of the Race’ ($250): Boom Briggs
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 17z – Zack Dohm/Cross Lanes, W. Va. 12.835
2. 6t – Tim Dohm/Cross Lanes, W. Va. 12.852
3. 29 – Darrel Lanigan/Union, Ky. 12.873
4. 1J – Davey Johnson/Greensburg, Pa. 12.913
5. 20H – Jacob Hawkins/Fairmont, W. Va. 12.916
6. 14 – Corey Conley/Wellsburg, W. Va 13.001
7. 25 – Shane Clanton/Zebulon, Ga 13.009
8. 1 – Rick Eckert/York Pa. 13.010
9. 14M – Morgan Bagley/Longview, Texas 13.016
10. 25B – Mike Benedum/Salem, W. Va. 13.018
11. 39 – Tim McCreadie/Watertown, N.Y. 13.021
12. 44 – Clint Smith/Senoia, Ga. 13.033
13. 1MC – Butch McGill/West Union, Pa. 13.060
14. 1* – Chub Frank/Bear Lake, Pa. 13.138
15. 37 – Jared Hawkins/Fairmont, W. Va. 13.139
16. 40B – Kyle Bronson/Brandon, Fla. 13.149
17. 99JR – Frank Heckenast Jr., Orland Park, Ill. 13.151
18. B1 – Paul Wilmoth Jr., Clarksburg, W. Va. 13.156
19. 20 – Doug Drown, Wooster, Ohio 13.184
20. 18 – Eric Wells, Hazard, Ky. 13.189
21. 87 – Derek Doll, Greenwood, W. Va. 13.205
22. 1×1 – Sonny Conley, New Martinsville, W. Va. 13.213
23. 18c – Chase Junghans, Manhattan, Ks. 13.228
24. 16 – Mathew Cochran, Williamsport, Pa. 13.250
25. S2 – Tim Senic, Elkins, W. Va., 13.314
26. 75 – Steve Weigle, Middlebourne, W. Va. 13.415
27. X – Dusty Hamrick, Clarksburg, W. Va., 13.516
28. J1M – Donnie Dotson, West Union, W. Va., 13.588
29. 99B – Boom Briggs, Bear Lake, Pa. 13.620
30. 17L – Jeff Lilly, Beckley, W. Va., 13.633
31. 3 – Scott Irvin, Reeder, W. Va., NT
Heat No. 1 (17 Laps – Top 6 Transfer): Davey Johnson, Shane Clanton, Mike Benedum, Zack Dohm, Butch McGill, Tim Senic, Doug Drown, Kyle Bronson, Sonny Conley, Donnie Dotson
Heat No. 2 (17 Laps – Top 6 Transfer): Rick Eckert, Jacob Hawkins, Tim McCreadie, Chub Frank, Boom Briggs, Frank Heckenast Jr., Eric Wells, Tim Dohm, Steve Weigle, Chase Junghans
Heat No. 3 (17 Laps – Top 6 Transfer): Darrell Lanigan, Morgan Bagley, Jared Hawkins, Clint Smith, Derek Doll, Mathew Cochran, Paul Wilmoth Jr., Dusty Hamrick, Corey Conley, Jeff Lilly
Last Chance Showdown (15 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Tim Dohm, Doug Drown, Corey Conley, Chris Garnes, Kyle Bronson, Chase Junghans, Paul Wilmoth Jr., Sonny Conley, Jeff Lilly, Donnie Dotson, Steve Weigle, Eric Wells, Eddie Carpenter
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners (awards presented to noted finisher/qualifier or next highest displaying decal):
Ohlins Shocks ($50 cash to fast qualifier): Zack Dohm
Comp Cams ($50 certificate to A-Main winner): Chub Frank
MSD Ignition ($50 cash to A-Main winner): Chub Frank
Quartermaster ($100 certificate to A-Main winner): Chub Frank
Wrisco (three sheets of aluminum/certificate to A-Main winner): Chub Frank
STP ($50 cash to 2nd-place finisher in A-Main): Chub Frank
Penske Racing Shocks ($50 to 3rd-place finisher in A-Main): Mike Benedum
Roush-Yates ($50 cash to 4th-place finisher in A-Main): Tim McCreadie
Mobil 1 ($50 cash to 4th-place finisher in A-Main): Tim McCreadie
JE Pistons ($50 cash to 5th-place finisher in A-Main):Tim McCreadie
Lincoln Welders ($50 cash to 6th-place finisher in A-Main): Mike Benedum
American Racing Wheels ($50 cash to 7th-place finisher in A-Main): Morgan Bagley
VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to 8th-place finisher in A-Main): Corey Conley
Edelbrock ($50 cash to 9th-place finisher in A-Main): Doug Drown
Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th-place finisher in A-Main): Boom Briggs
Cometic ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main): Shane Clanton
JRI Shocks ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main): Chris Garnes
Superflow Dynos ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main): Clint Smith
Quartermaster ($25 certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main): Chase Junghans
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 16th-place finisher in A-Main): Frank Heckenast Jr.
Roush-Yates ($50 certificate to 18th-place finisher in A-Main): Rick Eckert
Quartermaster ($50 certificate to 19th-place finisher in A-Main): Chris Garnes
Arizona Sports Shirts ($100 certificate to 20th-place finisher in A-Main): Chris Garnes
Mobil 1 (20% off gift certificate to 20th-place finisher in A-Main): Chris Garnes
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 21st-place finisher in A-Main): Tim Dohm
Roush-Yates ($50 certificate to 22nd-place finisher in A-Main): Paul Wilmoth Jr.
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main): Zack Dohm
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO driver): Davey Johnson
Reliable Painting Award (one free tire): Eric Wells