Sylvania, Ga. — The World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series season opener at Screven Motorsports Complex was stacked with 44 Late Model drivers from around the country, but that didn’t pose a threat to Rick Eckert as he was able to lead all 40-laps of the Feature.


All eyes might have been set on Eckert leading the pack during the Feature but there was a lot happening throughout the field. Before the race began, Eckert pulled a number two at the redraw which means he would start on the outside of the front row for the Feature next to Eric Wells, who was to start on the pole. After the field set up for the signature four-wide salute, Wells experienced some difficulty and headed off the track. The pole position was replaced by Chris Madden who was to originally start behind Wells.


Eckert charged forward at the start and continued to do so throughout the race widening the gap between him and Madden. Madden held on tight to the second place position although Brandon Overton and Tyler Erb continually challenged him for the spot. By the checkered flag, Overton finished third and Erb finished fourth with Brandon Sheppard close behind in fifth. 


Also happening during this time, Chub Frank made his way to the front half of the field. He began the Feature in the last row in position 24 due to taking a provisional after he experienced battery trouble during the heat race earlier in the day. Frank was able to make a few hard charges down low and found his way to the sixth position; ultimately finishing eighth.


Frank and Eckert have been full-time Series regulars since 2004 and are both aware of the importance of starting the season off ahead. Additionally, coincidentally, Eckert claimed night one of Winter Freeze last year.


“It is important to start out early but we have to get through this whole Florida swing,” said Eckert. “It’s just the next night, and the next night, and the next night, and it’s a grind. We won here last year but I think we ended up coming out fifth or sixth in the points. I’d like to come out of Florida leading points and then see if we can fend them off the rest of the year but it is a long year after that.” 


The World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series will return to Screven Motor Speedway tomorrow for night two of Winter Freeze VII.


-World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series Press Release

-Photo credit: Paul Arch


Craftsman Club Feature – (40 Laps) – 1. 7- Rick Eckert[2][$8,850]; 2. 44- Chris Madden [3][$4,200]; 3.116- Brandon Overton[6][$3,400]; 4.91-Tyler Erb [5][$3,000]; 5.1-Brandon Sheppard [8][$2,750]; 6. 101-Casey Roberts[11][$1,700]; 7. 2F-Dennis Franklin [9][$1,900]; 8. 1*-Chub Frank [24][$1,850]; 9. 3s-Brian Shirley[4][$1,700]; 10. 99jr- Frank Heckenast Jr[15][$1,650]; 11. 11B-Ray Cook[20][$1,050]; 12. 9-Devin Moran[7] [$1,650]; 13. 21JR-Billy Moyer Jr[23][$1,400]; 14. 0-Dale Hollidge[14][$800]; 15. 2c-Joey Coulter[21][$800]; 16. 18c-Chase Junghans[18][$700]; 17. 14M-Morgan Bagley[25][$610]; 18. B1-Brent Larson[16][$640]; 19. 7L-Josh Langley[22][$620]; 20. 25-Shane Clanton[19][$1,250]; 21. 1D-Brent Dixon[10][$600]; 22. 21-Ivedent Lloyd Jr[13] [$600]; 23. 24-D-Michael Brown[12][$600]; 24. 18-Eric Wells[1][$1,150]; 25. C9-Steve Casebolt[17][$1,150]

Eckert Opens Curtain on 2017 World of Outlaws LM Season