Shane Clanton’s hot streak rolled on Thursday night at Hibbing Raceway, where the World of Outlaws Late Model Series points leader scored his eighth series victory of the season with a dominating performance in the opening round of the five-race Wild West Tour.
Clanton, 39, of Zebulon, Ga., led every lap of Thursday’s 50-lap event, which was sponsored by Beltline Body Shop and Northern Belt and Conveyer, to earn a $10,575 payday. The WoO LMS veteran overcame a poor qualifying effort to win the night’s fourth heat race from the fifth starting spot before drawing the pole in the redraw among heat race winners and runners-up.
Mastering a dominant low line around the 3/8-mile oval, Clanton pulled away before heavy traffic allowed Morgan Bagley of Longview, Texas, to close the gap as the race neared its halfway point. But a lap-26 caution gave Clanton clear track ahead, and he cruised to his fourth victory in the past six WoO LMS events.
“This car is phenomenal,” Clanton said of his Weldbank Energy-sponsored Capital Race Cars house car. “I screwed up qualifying and dug myself a hole. But we dug back out of it and got a little lucky to (draw the pole). That was crucial tonight.
“Running down around them (infield) tires, you slow it down so much, but if you slide just a little bit you get into them guys. I just bided my time making sure I hit my marks and left the corner in the bottom.”
Clanton crossed the finish line 3.864 seconds ahead of fifth-starting Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., who battled his way by Bagley late in the race to score the runner-up finish. Bagley settled for third with Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., and Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill., rounding out the race’s top five finishers.
Clanton’s victory marked his eighth consecutive WoO LMS finish of third or better and continued his career-best season on the national tour. With his points lead stretched to 190 points over Richards, Clanton is in prime position to score his first ever WoO LMS championship as the series heads into the second half of the season.
“We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing and hopefully things keep rolling in this same direction,” said Clanton, who with his 28th-career WoO LMS victory moved into a three-way tie with Steve Francis and Tim McCreadie for fourth on the tour’s modern-era wins list. “Our car’s real good right now and it just shows how hard we worked over the winter to get what we got. It’s just been phenomenal all year long. I really can’t believe it.”
Although he lost ground to Clanton in the points chase, Richards’ runner-up finish moved him back ahead of 14th-finishing Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., for second in the current WoO LMS standings. After a string of poor luck, Richards was pleased to finally have a result reflecting the strong performance of his Valvoline-sponsored Rocket Chassis house car.
“We had a good car, but we just had to be patient and creep around that bottom,” said Richards, who made his first-ever appearance at Hibbing. “I’m glad we ended up second. Shane’s been on a roll this year. He’s had a lot of luck go his way and he’s been really good.
“We’ve been really good lately too, just had some bad luck roll our way. But it feels good to come home second.”
Looking for his first-career WoO LMS victory, Bagley closed in on Clanton in traffic, only to fade as his car suffered fuel pickup problems in the race’s closing laps. In holding on to finish third, Bagley notched his fourth top-five finish of the season.
“I knew I had to be killing them behind me, but you can’t just move out of the way for them,” Bagley said. “I appreciate Josh racing me clean. I know I was holding him up.”
Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., finished sixth in Thursday’s feature, while A.J. Diemel of Elk Mound, Wis., was the highest finishing non-WoO LMS regular in the seventh spot. Rick Eckert of York, Pa., finished eighth with Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., who won last year’s WoO LMS visit to Hibbing, taking ninth. Hometown driver Jeff Provenzino rounded out the top 10.
The race was slowed by two cautions. The first appeared on the opening lap when Boom Briggs of Bear Lake, Pa., tangled with Dave Fieber of Chippewa Falls, Wis. The second caution on lap 26 was caused by a tangle between Harry Hanson of Eveleth, Minn., and Zach Wohlers of Kelly Lake, Minn., back in the pack.
Donny Schatz of Fargo, N.D., a six-time champion on the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series who fields a Late Model in select events, was slated to start Thursday’s race from the 19th position before dropping a driveshaft during the pace laps. He plans to compete in the Wild West Tour’s second round event Friday night at River Cities Speedway in Grand Rapids, S.D.
Friday’s WoO LMS Wild West Tour program at River Cities gets under way with hot laps at 6:30 p.m. and racing at 7. The tour moves to Gillette (Wyo.) Thunder Speedway on Tues., July 14 and Black Hills Speedway in Rapid City, S.D., on Wed., July 15 before wrapping up at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn., on Sat., July 18.
Results of World of Outlaws Late Model Series Wild West Tour at Hibbing Raceway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (1) Shane Clanton/50 $10,575
2. (5) Josh Richards/50 $5,650
3. (3) Morgan Bagley/50 $3,550
4. (4) Chub Frank/50 $3,050
5. (7) Frank Heckenast Jr./50 $2,550
6. (2) Eric Wells/50 $2,250
7. (8) A.J. Diemel/50 $1,900
8. (6) Rick Eckert/50 $1,950
9. (11) Jimmy Mars/50 $1,200
10. (9) Jeff Provenzino/50 $1,200
11. (15) Boom Briggs/50 $1,600
12. (10) Chase Junghans/50 $1,550
13. (12) Jay Kintner/50 $950
14. (18) Darrell Lanigan/50 $1,550
15. (24) Chad Hollenbeck/50 $950
16. (14) Harry Hanson/50 $800
17. (21) Zach Wohleris/50 $770
18. (23) Jordan Yaggy/49 $1,000
19. (16) Greg Ferris/48 $730
20. (22) Brandon Overton/48 $1,250
21. (17) Tim McCreadie/27 $1,350
22. (20) Lance Matthees/12 $700
23. (13) Dave Fieber/0 $700
24. (19) Donny Schatz/0 $700
Time of Race: 18 Mins., 32 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 3.864 Secs.
Yellow Flags: Two (laps 1, 26)
Lap Leaders: Clanton (1-50)
Provisional Starters: Yaggy, Hollenbeck
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: A.J. Diemel
WoO LMS ‘Rookie of the Race’ Winner: Jordan Yaggy
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 11-Pat Doar, New Richmond, Wis., 14.324
2. 58-A.J. Diemel, Elk Mound, Wis., 14.358
3. 1*-Chub Frank, Bear Lake, Pa., 14.550
4. 39-Tim McCreadie, Watertown, N.Y., 14.563
5. 18-Eric Wells, Hazard, Ky., 14.583
6. 14m-Morgan Bagley, Longview, Texas, 14.591
7. 28-Jeff Provinzino, Hibbing, Minn., 14.722
8. 18c-Chase Junghans, Manhattan, Kan., 14.731
9. 1F-Dave Fieber, Chippewa Falls, Wis., 14.775
10. 8-Greg Hill, Eveleth, Minn., 14.781
11. 15s-Donny Schatz, Fargo, N.D., 14.845
12. 71-Zach Wohlers, Kelly Lake, Minn., 14.892
13. 6M-Jeff Massingill, Keewatin, Minn., 15.033
14. 7-Harry Hanson, Eveleth, Minn., 15.198
15. 32-Donald Frider, Hibbing, Minn., 15.292
16. 4DS-Chad Hollenbeck, Montrose, Pa., 15.322
17. UPI-Terry Lillo, Duluth, Minn., 15.416
1. 7v-Rick Eckert, York, Pa., 14.535
2. 1-Josh Richards, Shinnston, W.Va., 14.602
3. 28m-Jimmy Mars, Menomonie, Wis., 14.660
4. 77-Jordan Yaggy, Rochester, Minn., 14.683
5. 99jr-Frank Heckenast Jr., Frankfort, Ill., 14.746
6. 24J-Jay Kintner, Hibbing, Minn., 14.806
7. 76-Brandon Overton, Evans, Ga., 14.857
8. 31-Travis Budisalovich, Minneapolis, Minn., 14.885
9. 99B-Boom Briggs, Bear Lake, Pa., 14.915
10. 25-Shane Clanton, Zebulon, Ga., 15.037
11. 90-Lance Matthees, Winona, Minn., 15.095
12. 29-Darrell Lanigan, Union, Ky., 15.218
13. 15E-Caley Emerson, Grand Rapids, Minn., 15.514
14. 18J-Chris Olson, Hibbing, Minn., 15.527
15. UPI2-Aaron Lillo, Proctor, Minn., 15.598
16. F14-Greg Ferris, Emo, Ont., 15.633
17. 01-Jim Morris, Hibbing, Minn., 16.216
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Frank, Wells, Provenzino, Fieber, T.Lillo, Schatz, Frider, Doar, Massingill.
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Diemel, Bagley, Junghans, Hanson, McCreadie, Wohleris, Hollenbeck, Hill.
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Eckert, Heckenast, Mars, Briggs, Overton, Matthees, Emerson, A.Lillo, Morris.
Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Clanton, Richards, Kintner, Ferris, Lanigan, Yaggy, Olson, Budisalovich.
Last-Chance Showdown No. 1 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): McCreadie, Schatz, Wohleris, Doar, T.Lillo, Massingill, Hollenbeck, Frider, Hill.
Last-Chance Showdown No. 2 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Lanigan, Matthees, Overton, Emerson, A.Lillo, Budisalovich, Morris, Yaggy, Olson.
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): Doar
Comp Cams ($50 certificate to A-Main winner): Clanton
MSD Ignition ($50 cash to A-Main winner): Clanton
Quartermaster ($100 certificate to A-Main winner): Clanton
Wrisco (three sheets of aluminum/certificate to A-Main winner): Clanton
Mobil 1 ($50 cash to 4th-place finisher in A-Main): Frank
JE Pistons ($50 cash to 5th-place finisher in A-Main): Heckenast
Lincoln Welders ($50 cash to 6th-place finisher in A-Main): Wells
VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to 8th-place finisher in A-Main): Eckert
Edelbrock ($50 cash to 9th-place finisher in A-Main): Provenzino
Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th-place finisher in A-Main): Provenzino
Cometic ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main): Junghans
JRI Shocks ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main): Hollenbeck
Superflow Dynos ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main): Hollenbeck
Quartermaster ($25 certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main): Hollenbeck
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 16th-place finisher in A-Main): Hanson
Quartermaster ($50 certificate to 19th-place finisher in A-Main): Overton
Mobil 1 (20 percent certificate to 20th-place finisher in A-Main): Overton
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 21st-place finisher in A-Main): McCreadie
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main): Clanton
QA1 ($50 to driver with fastest lap of the night): Doar
Arizona Sports Shirts ($100 certificate to highest-finishing non-WoO driver): Diemel
2015 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of July 9 – 22 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Shane Clanton 3152
2. Josh Richards 2962 (-190)
3. Darrell Lanigan 2940 (-212)
4. Chub Frank 2920 (-232)
5. Morgan Bagley 2838 (-314)
6. Tim McCreadie 2824 (-328)
7. Rick Eckert 2798 (-354)
8. Eric Wells 2794 (-358)
9. Frank Heckenast Jr. 2754 (-398)
10. Chase Junghans 2744 (-408)
11. Brandon Overton 2596 (-556)
12. Boom Briggs 2490 (-662)
13. Jordan Yaggy 2330 (-822)
– WoO press release
– Photo credit: Troy Powers from Speed51.com partner site DirtOnDirt.com