NEW RICHMOND, Wis. – July 31, 2015 – Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., moved one step closer to finally claiming his sixth USA Nationals victory with a near perfect performance during Friday night’s preliminary action for Cedar Lake Speedway’s crown jewel event.
Moyer, who won the USA Nationals five times between 1988 and 1993 before going winless in the event for more than two decades, will chase his sixth Wooden Eagle trophy from the pole of Saturday’s 100-lap USA Nationals A-Main after dominating Friday’s prelim action.
The 57-year-old Moyer won the first of five heat races for the $50,000-to-win World of Outlaws Late Model Series event and claimed the Pole Dash to earn the inside-front-row starting spot for Saturday’s main event. For good measure, Moyer capped Friday’s action with a victory in the 12-lap FANSFund Dash for the 11 drivers participating in the USA Nationals as part of the event’s fan-voted and fan-funded travel program.
“Back in the day we really had a handle on this thing and knocked off a lot of them. Now we just gotta get our act back together one more time,” said Moyer, whose three-win night came behind the wheel of his self-designed Victory Race Car. “We’re happy with the pole and we’ll take it, but there’s a lot of cars here and a lot of things can happen in 100 laps. Hopefully luck shines on us again up here.”
Defending USA Nationals winner Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., will join Moyer on the front for the start of Saturday’s feature after finishing second to Moyer in the five-lap dash. Fellow heat winners Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan., and Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., rounded out the dash’s five-car field and will start Saturday’s feature third through fifth respectively.
Owens, who charged from fifth to win his heat race and earn a spot in the dash, feels good about his chances of becoming just the third driver to win the USA Nationals in back-to-back seasons.
“I kind of messed up qualifying and wasn’t where we wanted to be,” said Owens, who piloted his Rowland Racing Club 29 Race Car to the heat race victory. “We didn’t get too carried away and thought the track would come to us a little bit. Sure enough, it did come to us pretty good in that heat race.
“I think we’ll have a pretty good 100-lap race car tomorrow night. We’ll see how things go, but I feel pretty confident about it.”
Moyer’s heat race victory came in a race with a familiar feel to it. In a reverse of the top three finishers in Thursday’s WoO LMS tune-up feature at Cedar Lake, Moyer started on the pole of the 12-lap prelim with his son Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark., second and Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., third.
Davenport, who passed both Moyers late in Thursday’s feature to claim a $6,000 victory, took second from Moyer Jr. on the start of Friday’s first heat and pressured the elder Moyer the entire distance. But Moyer turned back each of Davenport’s challenges for the win. Davenport settled for second, while Moyer Jr. overtook Boom Briggs of Bear Lake, Pa., on the final lap to claim the third and final transfer spot.
Erb controlled the entire distance of the second heat race after pulling ahead of second-starting R.C. Whitwell of Tucson, Ariz., from his pole starting spot. Whitwell finished second after holding off A.J. Diemel of Elk Mound, Wis., and Rodney Sanders of Happy, Texas. Diemel settled for third and will join Erb and Whitwell in Saturday’s A-Main, while fourth-finishing Sanders will attempt to make the feature lineup through a consolation race.
Feger led every lap of the third heat race, but securing the win was far from an easy task. Both Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa, and Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., took shots at Feger, with Simpson looking under Feger and Wells lurking to the high side for much of the distance. Feger held on to win over Simpson, while Wells dropped the third spot to fast qualifier Mitch McGrath of Waukesha, Wis., on the white-flag lap.
Owens was the hardest charger among the heat race winners, advancing from fifth to outduel Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., and Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., in the closing laps of the fifth heat. Marlar took second, while Babb settled for third after leading the race’s early laps.
In the fifth and final heat race, Junghans led a top three of all WoO LMS young guys, He paced every lap to finish ahead of Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill., and Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga.
A star-studded field of 47 Super Late Models entered the event, which will conclude on Saturday with two Last-Chance Showdowns, a final last-chance race and the 100-lap A-Main. McGrath topped Friday’s time trials with his lap of 14.084 seconds in Group A. Chad Simpson of Mount Vernon, Iowa, was fastest in Group B at 14.248 seconds.
Saturday’s USA Nationals final-night action is scheduled to begin with hot laps at 7 p.m. The two Last-Chance Showdowns will both transfer the top three finishers to the main event. A final last-chance race will give three more competitors A-Main starting spots, while the 100-lap, $50,000-to-win USA Nationals feature will round out the weekend’s action.
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.
-World of Outlaws Late Model Series Press Release. Photo credit: