BARBERVILLE, FL - Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., continued his tremendous start to the 2015 season with a dominating display in Thursday's DIRTcar Nationals A-Main at Volusia Speedway Park.
Clanton, the 39-year-old World of Outlaws Late Model Series veteran, led every lap of Thursday's 50-lap race to earn his second WoO LMS victory of the season and his second victory during the 2015 version of Volusia's six-day stretch of Super Late Model racing.
"This shows how hard we worked over the winter to get where we're at," said Clanton, whose only opposition came in the form of brief challenges from runner-up Don O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., and third-place finisher Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., following restarts. "This sport is grueling at times and great at others. Right now it's just great to me."
Indeed, 2015 has been more than kind to Clanton thus far. Following a disappointing 2014 campaign, Clanton has been fantastic in his Weldbank Energy-sponsored Capital Race Car this season with top-five finishes in all five WoO LMS events and a DIRTcar-sanctioned victory during Monday's DIRTcar Nationals opener to go along with his two WoO LMS triumphs. The early-season hot streak has landed Clanton firmly atop the WoO LMS standings by 64 points as he chases his first series title.
"It feels great to know what it feels like to win a lot again," said Clanton, who ended a 66-race WoO LMS winless streak with his first victory of the year at Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, Ga., on Feb. 7. "It's been a long struggle to get where we're at, but we work hard and never give up."
O'Neal crossed the finish line well behind Clanton in the second spot, with Davenport farther back in third. Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind., advanced from his 19th starting spot to finish fourth with 12th-starting Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., rounding out the top five in a race slowed by five cautions, all for either slowing cars or single-car spins.
O'Neal gave Clanton his biggest challenge following a lap-29 restart, using the high side to nearly pull even with the leader exiting turn two. But O'Neal's bid came up empty and after a similar challenge following the race's final restart on lap 33, Clanton pulled to more than a five-second advantage in the closing laps.
O'Neal fell short of claiming his first DIRTcar Nationals victory since 2011, but the 50-year-old racer was boosted by the strong performance.
"I couldn't run it any harder than I ran it up there them couple of laps," said O'Neal, who pilots a Peak Antifreeze and Motor Oil-sponsored Barry Wright Race Car for Clint Bowyer Racing. I realized when I couldn't get buy him I was just getting the tires hot, so I had to move back down.
"This is a lot better than we've been doing. We just lacked a little bit there when (the track surface) slicked off. But we've got something to work with now so maybe we can have another good couple of nights."
Davenport ran second for much of the race's first half, but he wasn't able to keep pace with Clanton and eventually allowed O'Neal to slip passed him following a lap-16 restart. With his third-place result, the 31-year-old Davenport recorded the best DIRTcar Nationals finish of his career in his Lee Roy and Kevin Rumley-owned Longhorn Chassis.
"We're finally getting a little better here," said Davenport, whose previous best DIRTcar Nationals finish was a fifth-place result in 2011. "I ain't ever been any good at this place when it comes feature time. I've won a bunch of heat races, but as soon as it gets slick I struggle.
"Kevin's been working on the car and getting it really good and maybe my driving's getting a little better. Maybe tomorrow we'll move up and try to get a win."
Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., was sixth in Thursday's final rundown after climbing as high as third midway through the race. Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., advanced from his 15th starting spot to finish seventh, while three-time and defending WoO LMS champion Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., charged from 24th to eighth.
Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., recovered to finish ninth after having to start from the tail of the field because he switched to a backup car when his primary machine suffered mechanical woes during his heat race victory. He was followed at the finish by 18th-starting Steve Francis of Union, Ky.
A number of drivers charged into contention only to fade late in the race. Three-time WoO LMS champion Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., quickly advanced from his 10th starting spot into the top five, but faded during the race's middle portions. A pit stop under a lap-26 caution dropped him to a 19th-place finish. Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., advanced into the top five from his 20th starting spot, but a lap-33 spin relegated the former series champion to a 15th at the checkereds.
The DIRTcar Nationals continue on Friday with another $10,000-to-win World of Outlaws Late Model Series event. Friday's slate features a complete program of time trials, heat races, B-Mains and a 50-lap A-Main. The Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds will also contest a complete program. More information is available at www.DIRTcarNationals.com.
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/WorldofOutlawsLateModelSeries.
Results of World of Outlaws Late Model Series DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (1) Shane Clanton/50 $10,550
2. (2) Don O'Neal/50 $5,500
3. (4) Jonathan Davenport/50 $3,050
4. (19) Kent Robinson/50 $2,500
5. (12) Earl Pearson Jr./50 $2,000
6. (7) Dale McDowell/50 $1,800
7. (15) Brandon Sheppard/50 $1,400
8. (24) Darrell Lanigan/50 $1,950
9. (6) Jimmy Owens/50 $1,250
10. (18) Steve Francis/50 $1,200
11. (13)' Ivedent Lloyd Jr./50 $1,150
12. (11) Morgan Bagley/50 $1,550
13. (28) Chase Junghans/50 $800
14. (23) Dennis Erb Jr./50 $900
15. (20) Tim McCreadie/50 $1,500
16. (8) Frank Heckenast Jr./49 $1,350
17. (22) Scott Bloomquist/49 $870
18. (17) Stormy Scott/49 $750
19. (10) Josh Richards/49 $1,380
20. (21) Gregg Saterlee/49 $700
21. (9) Kyle Bronson/49 $700
22. (26) Chub Frank/48 $1,250
23. (29) Boom Briggs/48 $550
24. (25) Rick Eckert/29 $1,250
25. (3) Billy Moyer/19 $850
26. (5) Justin Rattliff/15 $700
27. (14) Casey Roberts/14 $700
28. (27) Eric Wells/12 $550
29 (16) Mason Zeigler/10 $950
Time of Race: 28 Mins., 42 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 5.461 Secs.
Yellow Flags: Five (laps 14, 16, 26, 29, 33)
Lap Leaders: Clanton (1-50)
Provisional Starters: Eckert, Frank, Wells, Junghans, Briggs.
WoO LMS 'Bonus Bucks' Winner: O'Neal ($500)
WoO LMS 'Rookie of the Race' Winner: Zeigler ($250)
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 96-Justin Ratliff, Campbelsville, Ky., 16.306
2. 99jr-Frank Heckenast Jr., Frankfort, Ill., 16.327
3. 25-Shane Clanton, Zebulon, Ga., 16.387
4. 21-Ivedent Lloyd Jr., Ocala, Fla., 16.420
5. 20-Jimmy Owens, Newport, Tenn., 16.481
6. 18-Eric Wells, Hazard, Ky., 16.508
7. 17m-Dale McDowell, Chickamauga, Ga., 16.588
8. 20-Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, 16.607
9. B5-Brandon Sheppard, New Berlin, Ill., 16.623
10. 201-Billy Ogle Jr., Knoxville, Tenn., 16.638
11. 101-Casey Roberts, Toccoa, Ga., 16.703
12. 40B-Kyle Bronson, Brandon, Fla., 16.723
13. 1*-Chub Frank, Bear Lake, Pa., 16.745
14. 7R-Kent Robinson, Bloomington, Ind., 16.760
15. 28-Dennis Erb Jr., Carpentersville, Ill., 16.816
16. 38-Kenny Pettyjohn, Millsboro, Del., 16.861
17. 0-Scott Bloomquist, Mooresburg, Tenn., 16.879
18. 777-Jared Landers, Batesville, Ark., 16.921
19. 14-Tyler Clem, St. Petersburg, Fla., 16.933
20. 4ds-Chad Hollenbeck, Montrose, Pa., 16.965
21. 58-Mark Whitener, Middleburg, Fla., 16.995
22. 85-Mark Dotson, Cameron, Mo., 17.309
23. 7-Ricky Weiss, Headingly, Manitoba, 17.313
24. 15-Donny Schatz, Fargo, N.D., no time
25. 16H-Mike Hammerle, St. Charles, Mo.
1. 6-Jonathan Davenport, Blairsville, Ga., 16.065
2. 29-Darrell Lanigan, Union, Ky., 16.235
3. 21-Billy Moyer, Batesville, Ark., 16.361
4. 5-Don O'Neal, Martinsville, Ind.,, 16.392
5. 1-Josh Richards, Shinnston, W.Va., 16.433
6. 14m-Morgan Bagley, Longview, Texas, 16.489
7. 15-Steve Francis, Ashland, Ky., 16.596
8. 99B-Boom Briggs, Bear Lake, Pa., 16.632
9. 11R-James Rice, Verona, Ky., 16.668
10. 1-Earl Pearson Jr., Jacksonville, Fla., 16.669
11. 25z-Mason Zeigler, Chalk Hill, Pa., 16.689
12. 22-Gregg Satterlee, Rochester Mills, Pa., 16.725
13. 2-Dennis Franklin, Gaffney, S.C., 16.728
14. 39-Tim McCreadie, Watertown, N.Y., 16.731
15. 2s-Stormy Scott, Las Cruces, N.M., 16.786
16. 76-Brandon Overton, Evans, Ga., 16.810
17. 16-Tyler Bruening, Decorah, Iowa, 16.823
18. 18c-Chase Junghans, Manhattan, Kan., 17.184
19. 21D-Dan Stone, Thompson, Pa., 17.187
20. 72-Michael Norris, Sarver, Pa., 17.207
21. 77-Jordan Yaggy, Rochester, Minn., 17.226
22. 7v-Rick Eckert,York, Pa., 17.230
23. 79-Mike Altobelli, Saxton, Pa., 17.426
24. 11-Austin Smith, Cedartown, Ga. 18.301
Heat No. 1 (8 laps - Top 3 Transfer): Rattliff, McDowell, Lloyd, Ogle, Clem, Pettyjohn, Dotson, Hammerle. Did not start: Frank.
Heat No. 2 (8 laps - Top 3 Transfer): Owens, Heckenast, Roberts, Robinson, Weiss, Hollenbeck, Sanders, Bloomquist.
Heat No. 3 (8 laps - Top 3 Transfer): Clanton, Bronson, Sheppard, Wells, Erb, Whitener, Schatz, Landers.
Heat No. 4 (8 laps - Top 3 Transfer): Davenport, Richards, Zeigler, McCreadie, Briggs, Eckert, Stone, Bruening.
Heat No. 5 (8 laps - Top 3 Transfer): Moyer, Bagley, Scott, Satterlee, Lanigan, Rice, Altobelli, Norris.
Heat No. 6 (8 laps - Top 3 Transfer): O'Neal, Pearson, Francis, Franklin, Yaggy, Overton, Junghans. DNS: Smith.
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps - Top 2 Transfer): Robinson, Bloomquist, Clem, Hollenbeck, Ogle, Weiss, Dotson, Hammerle, Frank, Pettyjohn, Sanders.
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps - Top 2 Transfer): McCreadie, Erb, Briggs, Wells, Eckert, Stone, Whitener, Bruening. DNS: Schatz, Landers.
B-Main No. 3 (12 laps - Top 2 Transfer): Satterlee, Lanigan, Altobelli, Overton, Junghans, Franklin, Yaggy, Rice. DNS: Norris, Smith.
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): Davenport
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): Lloyd
JE Pistons ($50 cash to 5th-place finisher in A-Main): McDowell
Lincoln Welders ($50 cash to 6th-place finisher in A-Main): McDowell
VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to 8th-place finisher in A-Main): Lanigan
Edelbrock ($50 cash to 9th-place finisher in A-Main): Owens
Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th-place finisher in A-Main): Lloyd
Cometic ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main): Bagley
JRI Shocks ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main): Frank
Superflow Dynos ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main): McCreadie
Quartermaster ($25 certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main): McCreadie
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 16th-place finisher in A-Main): Heckenast
Quartermaster ($50 certificate to 19th-place finisher in A-Main): Frank
Mobil 1 (20 percent certificate to 20th-place finisher in A-Main): Bronson
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 21st-place finisher in A-Main): Bronson
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main): Eckert
QA1 ($50 to driver with fastest lap of the night): Moyer
Arizona Sports Shirts ($100 certificate to highest-finishing non-WoO driver): McDowell
2015 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of Feb. 19 - Five A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Shane Clanton 732
2. Josh Richards 668 (-64)
3. Darrell Lanigan 662 (-70)
4. Morgan Bagley 660 (-72)
5. Frank Heckenast Jr. 652 (-80)
6. Chub Frank 642 (-90)
7. Tim McCreadie 634 (-98)
8. Brandon Overton 624 (-108)
9. Chase Junghans 608 (-124)
10. Boom Briggs 596 (-136)
11. Rick Eckert 592 (-140)
12. Eric Wells 572 (-160)
13. Steve Casebolt 566 (-166)
14. Mason Zeigler 544 (-188)
15. Jordan Yaggy 538 (-194)