Winchester, VA – Rick Eckert’s first weekend driving a Longhorn Chassis ended in triumphant fashion Saturday night at Winchester Speedway.
In his third night out in his new Longhorn mount, Eckert, 49, of York, Pa., led every lap of Saturday’s Gunter’s Honey 50 to earn $10,650 for his second World of Outlaws Late Model Series victory of the season.
The 2011 WoO LMS champion grabbed the lead from the outside pole on the start of the 50-lap race and never looked back. His Paul Crowl-owned No. 7E machine crossed the finish line 2.246 seconds ahead of WoO LMS points leader Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., in a race that was slowed by just one caution.
“This feels really good,” said Eckert, who counts Winchester as one of his home tracks after frequenting the 3/8-mile oval throughout the early years of his career. “Usually when you come home you run worse. It’s great to win in front of fans we don’t get to race in front of much anymore. That’s really cool.”
Clanton challenged Eckert a few times in lapped traffic but settled for second after fading in the closing laps. Polesitter Kenny Moreland of Waldorf, Md., was just behind Clanton in the third spot, while Morgan Bagley of Longview, Texas, finished fourth. Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., finished fifth in substitute duty for absent WoO LMS regular Frank Heckenast Jr.
After starting the weekend with finishes of eighth at Delaware International Speedway on Thursday and second at Potomac Speedway on Friday, Eckert wrapped up the WoO LMS three-race Mid-Atlantic trip with a dominating performance on Saturday.
He drove around Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., to win the first heat race and later drew the outside pole in the redraw among heat winners and runners-up. Aside for two instances in traffic, the feature was hardly ever in doubt as Eckert raced to the 32nd WoO LMS victory of his career and his first at Winchester.
“We’ve struggled some and we’ve run good some, but we felt we needed to make a change,” Eckert said of his decision to switch to the Longhorn machine. “I hope it’s the right direction. We’ve been comfortable the last two nights in it.
“Hopefully we’ve learned enough about it that it’ll make us better going on from here. But that’s next week and this is now. This is cool.”
Clanton, who saw Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., cut 20 points out of his WoO LMS points lead with back-to-back victories at Delaware and Potomac, stymied the tide with his runner-up effort in his Weldbank Energy Capital Race Cars house car. While he fell short of the victory, Clanton notched his 26th top-five finish in 32 WoO LMS A-Mains this season.
“Hats off to Eckert,” said Clanton, who stretched his points lead to 168 points over ninth-finishing Richards. “His car was just a little bit better leaving the corner than mine was. We’ve got a little bit more homework to do, but overall we’re happy.
In scoring the best WoO LMS finish of his career, Moreland rebounded from his disappointing outing Friday night at Potomac. The standout regional racer more than made up for failing to make Friday’s A-Main beginning with his heat race victory over Richards.
Moreland drew the pole for the main event, but he couldn’t capitalize as a mistake in the first corner allowed both Eckert and Clanton to pull ahead of him. He settled in from there and pressured Clanton for second through much of race before taking third at the checkereds.
“Going from zero last night to running top five tonight, what else can you ask for,” said Moreland, who piloted a Denison Landscaping-sponsored Rocket Chassis in the event. “This is the best Outlaw finish we’ve ever had. It feels pretty good.
“We knew we had a good car for tonight. All we had to do was do one thing at a time. Time trial good then stay in the front in the heat and get a good pill draw. It was up to me from there to make the right moves on the start on the race, which I didn’t do. I feel like I might’ve gave that away there, but the car was good.”
Kenny Pettyjohn of Millsboro, Del., was sixth at the finish with Gregg Satterlee of Indiana, Pa., seventh. Jason Covert of York Haven, Pa., was eighth with Richards and Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan., rounding out the top 10. The race’s only caution waved when Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., spun on the third lap.
Heckenast, the 2014 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year who entered Saturday seventh in WoO LMS standings, was absent from the event due to family obligations. He received 60 hardship points toward his driver points total, while Lanigan’s fifth-place finish earned Heckenast Racing full points toward the team’s ownership points tally.
The WoO LMS has another three-race weekend on tap next week with two races at Atomic Speedway in Chillicothe, Ohio, Friday and Saturday and a visit to Eriez Speedway in Erie, Pa., on Sunday.
Results of World of Outlaws Late Model Series Gunter’s Honey 50 at Winchester Speedway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (2) Rick Eckert/50 $10,650
2. (3) Shane Clanton/50 $5,550
3. (1) Kenny Moreland/50 $3,500
4. (4) Morgan Bagley/50 $3,150
5. (6) Darrell Lanigan/50 $2,150
6. (7) Kenny Pettyjohn/50 $1,750
7. (10) Gregg Satterlee/50 $1,400
8. (12) Jason Covert/50 $1,350
9. (5) Josh Richards/50 $1,850
10. (11) Chase Junghans/50 $1,700
11. (16) Jason Miller/50 $1,050
12. (9) J.T. Spence/50 $1,000
13. (21) Kyle Hardy/50 $950
14. (15) Tom Decker Jr./50 $900
15. (8) Eric Wells/50 $1,500
16. (13) Dan Stone/50 $800
17. (17) Chris Fletcher/50 $770
18. (22) Chub Frank/50 $1,300
19. (23) Brandon Overton/50 $1,530
20. (19) Boom Briggs/49 $1,250
21. (20) Travis Stickley/49 $700
22. (18) Tyler Horst/49 $700
23. (24) Jordan Yaggy/49 $700
24. (14) Tim McCreadie/15 $1,350
Time of Race: 16 Mins., 57 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 2.246 Secs.
Yellow Flags: One (lap 3)
Lap Leaders: Eckert (1-50)
Provisional Starters: Overton, Yaggy
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Moreland ($500)
WoO LMS ‘Rookie of the Race’ Winner: Overton ($250)
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/
1. 14m-Morgan Bagley, Longview, Texas 14.982
2. 18-Eric Wells, Hazard, Ky. 15.060
3. 99jr-Darrell Lanigan, Union, Ky. 15.073
4. 7E-Rick Eckert, York, Pa. 15.119
5. 91-J.T. Spence, Winchester, Va. 15.126
6. 99B-Boom Briggs, Bear Lake, Pa. 15.154
7. 30-Allen Brannon, Winchester, Va. 15.221
8. 39-Tim McCreadie, Watertown, N.Y. 15.277
9. 72-Dan Stone, Thompson, Pa. 15.349
10. 99v-Kyle Hardy, Stephens City, Va. 15.420
11. 76-Brandon Overton, Evans, Ga. 15.464
12. 22-Gregg Satterlee, Rochester Mills, Pa. 15.516
13. 77-Jordan Yaggy, Rochester, Minn. 15.596
14. 8-Mark Pettyjohn, Milton, Del. 15.837
15. 95-Chris Fletcher, Bloomery, W.Va. 15.881
16. 44L-Stevie Long, Mechanicsville, Md. 16.174
1. 24-Kenny Moreland, Waldorf, Md. 15.176
2. 38-Kenny Pettyjohn, Millsboro, Del. 15.499
3. 1-Josh Richards, Shinnston, W.Va. 15.500
4. 25-Shane Clanton, Zebulon, Ga. 15.502
5. 18c-Chase Junghans, Manhattan, Kan. 15.609
6. 94-Jason Miller, Winchester, Va. 15.638
7. 100-C.S. Fitzgerald, Raphine, Va. 15.689
8. 72-Jason Covert, York Haven, Pa. 15.694
9. 43-Tom Decker Jr., Tyrone, Pa. 15.816
10. 14-Tyler Horst, Waynesboro, Pa. 16.063
11. 66-Justin Kann, Huntingdon, Pa. 16.230
12. 21*-Travis Stickley, Keyser, W.Va. 16.262
13. 1*-Chub Frank, Bear Lake, Pa. 16.264
14. 93-Pancho Lawler, Glenville, Pa. 16.278
15. 7-Ross Robinson, Georgetown, Del. 16.333
16. KB1-Kerry King Jr., Delmar, Del. 16.404
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Lanigan, Bagley, Spence, Stone, Fletcher, Yaggy, Brannon, Overton.
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Eckert, Wells, Satterlee, McCreadie, Briggs, Long, M.Pettyjohn, Hardy.
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Moreland, Richards, Junghans, Decker, Fitzgerald, Kann, Frank, Robinson.
Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Clanton, K. Pettyjohn, Covert, Miller, Horst, Stickley, King, Lawler.
Last-Chance Showdown No. 1 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Fletcher, Briggs, Hardy, Long, M. Pettyjohn, Yaggy, Overton, Brannon.
Last-Chance Showdown No. 2 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Horst, Stickley, Frank, Fitzgerald, Kann, King, Robinson, Lawler.
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): Bagley
Comp Cams ($50 certificate to A-Main winner): Eckert
MSD Ignition ($50 cash to A-Main winner): Eckert
Quartermaster ($100 certificate to A-Main winner): Eckert
Wrisco (three sheets of aluminum/certificate to A-Main winner): Eckert
Mobil 1 ($50 cash to 4th-place finisher in A-Main): Bagley
JE Pistons ($50 cash to 5th-place finisher in A-Main): Lanigan
Lincoln Welders ($50 cash to 6th-place finisher in A-Main): K. Pettyjohn
VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to 8th-place finisher in A-Main): Covert
Edelbrock ($50 cash to 9th-place finisher in A-Main): Richards
Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th-place finisher in A-Main): Junghans
Cometic ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main): Wells
JRI Shocks ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main): Frank
Superflow Dynos ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main): Wells
Quartermaster ($25 certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main): Wells
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 16th-place finisher in A-Main): Frank
Quartermaster ($50 certificate to 19th-place finisher in A-Main): Overton
Mobil 1 (20 percent certificate to 20th-place finisher in A-Main): Briggs
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 21st-place finisher in A-Main): Horst
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main): McCreadie
QA1 ($50 to driver with fastest lap of the night): Bagley
Arizona Sports Shirts ($100 certificate to highest-finishing non-WoO driver): Satterlee
2015 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of Aug. 15 – 32 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Shane Clanton 4510
2. Josh Richards 4342 (-168)
3. Chub Frank 4230 (-280)
4. Rick Eckert 4112 (-398)
5. Tim McCreadie 4104 (-406)
6. Morgan Bagley 4096 (-414)
7. Chase Junghans 3994 (-516)
8. Eric Wells 3980 (-530)
9. Frank Heckenast Jr. 3964 (-546)
10. Brandon Overton 3788 (-722)
11. Boom Briggs 3712 (-798)
12. Darrell Lanigan 3614 (-896)
13. Jordan Yaggy 3328 (-1182)
Story by: WoO LM PR
Photo Credit: WoO LM Facebook Page