Server, PA - Rick Eckert of York, Pa., made some very satisfying and profitable history Saturday night, becoming the first home-state driver to capture the Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com at Lernerville Speedway.
Earning every cent of his $30,150 pay in a race postponed by rain on June 27, the 49-year-old star outdueled fellow Pennsylvanian Jared Miley of South Park to grab the lead on lap 64 and fought off a late-race challenge from Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., to register his second World of Outlaws Late Model Series triumph since debuting a new Longhorn Race Car three weeks earlier.
Eckert steered his Paul Crowl-owned mount under the checkered 1.158 seconds ahead of Clanton, the WoO LMS points leader who was shooting for a sweep of the 4/10-mile ovals weekend after winning the national tours Working Man 50 on Friday night. Clanton, 39, marched forward from the seventh starting spot in his Capital Race Car but was unable to overtake Eckert to duplicate his 2010 Firecracker 100 by GottaRace.com victory.
Miley, 29, settled for a career-best Firecracker 100 finish of third after leading laps 1-63 in his Rocket Chassis machine. Fourth place was claimed by Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan., who recorded his third consecutive top-five finish in a 100-lap WoO LMS event, and fifth place went to 2013 Firecracker winner Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., who started 17th.
The triumphant run secured Eckert a place in Firecracker 100 history that he admitted thinking about prior to the races green flag.
Me and Jared, when we were walking up there to get in our cars (after driver introductions), I said, OK man, lets try to keep this money in Pennsylvania, said the polesitting Eckert, who shared the front row for the start of the feature with Miley. He said, OK, lets do this.
We didnt have any kind of a plan, but we were hoping one of us could win it and keep it in Pennsylvania and we did. Its an honor.
Eckert found a formidable foe in Miley, a former Lernerville track champion who vaulted into the lead from the outside pole at the races initial green flag. Miley kept Eckert at bay through six caution flags in the first 31 laps and was still in command as the A-Main passed its midway point.
While Eckert eventually managed to sneak by Miley on the inside to assume command on lap 64, it took all of his talent and savvy to pull it off.
Jared Miley did a heck of a job ... that kid did a heck of a job, said Eckert, who recorded his third overall WoO LMS win of 2015 and the 33rd of his career. I was putting all the pressure I could on him and I couldnt get by him. At one point I thought, Im gonna drive by him here, and he picked the tempo up and drove off again Im like, he shifted (gears). I dont know what happened.
I saw him start getting loose, though, and we were able to get by him.
But then Eckert had to deal with Clanton, who could sniff a signature victory for a spectacular season that saw him hit the 10-win mark on the WoO LMS the previous night. Clanton grabbed second from Miley on lap 74 and five circuits later began bidding for the lead underneath Eckert.
I knew I was in trouble there when he showed himself and I looked at the scoreboard and it was still (20)-some laps to gom" Eckert said. "Im like, Dammit, Ive got to pick this pace up.
Eckert figured out how to stay ahead of Clanton, bearing down in lapped traffic and pulling out to a consistent 1-second lead over the final 10 circuits.
I was just so snug that I had to just keep maneuvering around, Eckert said. Id go three-wheel brake for a couple laps, and then Id go back to four-wheel brake. I kept changing everything I could change in the car, but I was having a hard time at the end there getting exited (off the corners) and I knew Shane mustve been getting a big run on me somewhere because he drove beside me down the frontstraightaway that one time.
Man, I was just trying to fend him off, and it all worked out. Hes won enough races this year so he didnt need to win another one.
Clanton briefly thought he had Eckerts number, but the ever-changing Lernerville track surface shifted at the wrong time for the driver whos searching for his first-ever WoO LMS championship.
The line changed three or four times, said Clanton, who earned $15,050. I found that bottom and passed Jared and caught up to Eckert, but somebody else behind me just got to running the bottom and just threw me crumbs up so I couldnt get the traction down the straightaway that I needed.
Miley, meanwhile, didnt sulk after his bid for an upset victory fell short.
We were really good there early on the cushion and it kind of died a little bit, Miley said. Then I had to get down in the middle of the track where Rick and Shane are really good. Theyre used to this kind of racing more than us, but to run third to them guys means a lot. I learned a lot during the race.
We cant hang our head or anything racing against these guys. We just try to do the best we can against these guys theyre the toughest guys in the country.
Finishing in positions 6-10 was Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who ran as high as fourth; Gregg Satterlee of Indiana, Pa., who rallied after his involvement in a lap-30 tangle forced him to make a pit stop; Morgan Bagley of Tyler, Texas; Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky.; and Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill.
Defending Firecracker 100 champion Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., passed Eckert for second place early in the distance and stalked Miley for the first third of the race, but his night ended when a broken transmission forced him to slow on a lap-30 restart. His disabled car caused a chain-reaction pileup in turn two that included Satterlee, Heckenast and Jordan Yaggy of Rochester, Minn.
The lap-31 was one of seven caution flags that slowed the event. Others were for Pancho Lawler of Glenville, Pa. (spin lap 16); Ken Schaltenbrand of Sarver, Pa. (spin lap 18); Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa. (slowed lap 22); Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark. (slowed lap 30); Yaggy (spin lap 31); and Dan Angelicchio of Mount Pleasant, Pa. (stopped lap 61).
No time trials were run because the heat lineups were determined using drivers best finishes from the preliminary programs run on June 25-26.
Heat winners were Clanton, Junghans, Eckert and Miley. Richards and Mike Norris of Sarver, Pa., topped the B-Mains and Kenny Pettyjohn of Millsboro, Del., earned $3,000 for capturing the Uncle Sam 30 Non-Qualifiers' Race.
The WoO LMS concludes its three-race holiday weekend in Pennsylvania on Sunday night (Sept. 6) with a 50-lap event paying $10,000 to win at Selinsgrove Speedway.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
Results of World of Outlaws Late Model Series Firecracker 100 at Lernerville Speedway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (1) Rick Eckert/100 $30,150
2. (7) Shane Clanton/100 $15,050
3. (2) Jared Miley/100 $7,500
4. (3) Chase Junghans/100 $6,050
5. (17) Josh Richards/100 $5,150
6. (9) Tim McCreadie/100 $4,200
7. (11) Gregg Satterlee/100 $3,000
8. (8) Morgan Bagley/100 $2,550
9. (5) Eric Wells/100 $2,300
10. (14) Frank Heckenast Jr./100 $2,100
11. (16) Mason Zeigler/100 $1,900
12. (25) Alex Ferree/99 $1,800
13. (19) Chub Frank/98 $1,800
14. (22) Boom Briggs/98 $1,650
15. (24) Pancho Lawler/97 $1,500
16. (15) Brandon Overton/76 $1,700
17. (6) Davey Johnson/67 $1,300
18. (13) Paul Wilmoth Jr./63 $1,200
19. (10) Austin Hubbard/61 $1,100
20. (12) Dan Angelicchio/60 $1,000
21. (23) Jordan Yaggy/46 $1,000
22. (26) Ken Schaltenbrand Jr./44 $1,000
23. (20) Billy Moyer/31 $1,100
24. (21) Michael Lake/31 $1,025
25. (4) Darrell Lanigan/31 $1,100
26. (18) Mike Norris/20 $1,000
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 55 Mins., 55.756 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 1.158 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 7 (laps 16, 18, 22, 30, 30, 31, 61)
Lap Leaders: Miley (1-63); Eckert (64-100)
Provisional Starters: Yaggy, Lawler (WoO); Ferree, Schaltenbrand (track)
WoO LMS Rookie of the Race: Overton ($250)
WoO LMS Bonus Bucks Winner: Miley ($500)
Heat No. 1 (10 laps Top 4 Transfer): Shane Clanton, Morgan Bagley, Tim McCreadie, Paul Wilmoth Jr., Josh Richards, Chub Frank, Dan Swartzlander, Pancho Lawler, Herman Bertolini (DNS) Ken Schaltenbrand Jr.
Heat No. 2 (10 laps Top 4 Transfer): Chase Junghans, Darrell Lanigan, Austin Hubbard, Frank Heckenast Jr., Michael Lake, John Mollick, Kenny Pettyjohn, Alex Ferree, Chuck Sarver, Colton Flinner.
Heat No. 3 (10 laps Top 4 Transfer): Rick Eckert, Davey Johnson, Gregg Satterlee, Brandon Overton, Ross Robinson, Billy Moyer, Todd Bachman, Derek Stefanick, Jordan Yaggy, Trevor Herr.
Heat No. 4 (10 laps Top 4 Transfer): Jared Miley, Eric Wells, Dan Angelicchio, Mason Zeigler, Mike Norris, Boom Briggs, Bump Hedman, Devin Lewis, Gary Lyle, Tony Burke.
B-Main No. 1 (10 laps Top 3 Transfer): Josh Richards, Chub Frank, Michael Lake, John Mollick, Dan Swartzlander, Kenny Pettyjohn, Pancho Lawler, Chuck Sarver, Herman Bertolini, Colton Flinner (DNS) Alex Ferree, Ken Schaltenbrand Jr.
B-Main No. 2 (10 laps Top 3 Transfer): Mike Norris, Billy Moyer, Boom Briggs, Bump Hedman, Devin Lewis, Derek Stefanick, Todd Bachman, Gary Lyle, Jordan Yaggy, Ross Robinson (DNS) Trevor Herr, Tony Burke.
Uncle Sam 30 Finish (30 laps): 1. Kenny Pettyjohn ($3,000); 2. John Mollick ($1,500); 3. Bump Hedman ($800); 4. Dan Swartzlander ($700); 5. Colton Flinner ($600); 6. Todd Bachman ($500); 7. Devin Lewis ($400); 8. Herman Bertolini ($375); 9. Ross Robinson ($350); 10. Chuck Sarver ($325); 11. Derek Stefanick ($300).
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): None
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): McCreadie
JE Pistons ($50 cash to 5th-place finisher in A-Main): Richards
Lincoln Welders ($50 cash to 6th-place finisher in A-Main): McCreadie
VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to 8th-place finisher in A-Main): Heckenast
Edelbrock ($50 cash to 9th-place finisher in A-Main): Wells
Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th-place finisher in A-Main): Heckenast
Cometic ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main): Frank
JRI Shocks ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main): Frank
Superflow Dynos ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main): Briggs
Quartermaster ($25 certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main): Lawler
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 16th-place finisher in A-Main): Overton
Quartermaster ($50 certificate to 19th-place finisher in A-Main): Yaggy
Mobil 1 (20 percent certificate to 20th-place finisher in A-Main): Moyer
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 21st-place finisher in A-Main): Yaggy
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main): Lake
QA1 ($50 to driver with fastest lap of the night): Clanton
Arizona Sports Shirts ($100 certificate to highest-finishing non-WoO driver): Miley
2015 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of Sept. 5 - 37 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Shane Clanton 5242
2. Josh Richards 5078 (-164)
3. Chub Frank 4896 (-346)
4. Rick Eckert 4806 (-436)
5. Morgan Bagley 4728 (-514)
5. Tim McCreadie 4728 (-514)
7. Chase Junghans 4668 (-574)
8. Frank Heckenast Jr. 4642 (-600)
9. Eric Wells 4620 (-622)
10. Brandon Overton 4340 (-902)
11. Boom Briggs 4274 (-968)
12. Darrell Lanigan 4078 (-1164)
13. Jordan Yaggy 3810 (-1432)
14. Mason Zeigler 2288 (-2954)
15. Gregg Satterlee 2252 (-2990)
Story By: DIRTcar PR
Photo Credit: Paul Arch