Concord, NC – Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., topped off his dream 2015 season with a final flourish, rolling to a convincing victory in Sunday’s 50-lap Bad Boy Buggies World of Outlaws World Finals finale at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
The 32-year-old superstar passed Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., for the lead on lap 31 and never looked back in the season-ending World of Outlaws Late Model Series event, which was postponed one day by wet weather.
The $12,000 triumph was the 22nd overall of a historic 2015 campaign for Davenport, whose five crown-jewel wins helped push his earnings for the year over the $600,000 mark.
“Just to cap off this season we’ve had with this makes it extra special,” said Davenport, who previously won World Finals features in 2010 and ’11. “We can go into the winter with a big smile.”
Starting sixth in the 31-car field, Davenport steered his K&L Rumley Longhorn Race Car to third on the race’s opening circuit and reached second place by lap five. He briefly fell to third place when Lanigan passed him and early pacesetter Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., for the lead on lap 11, but the indomitable Davenport regained second from Madden on a lap-18 restart and snuck underneath Lanigan for the top spot in turn two on the 31st lap.
Davenport dominated the remainder of the distance, crossing the finish line 1.557 seconds in front of the polesitting Lanigan for his fourth World of Outlaws Late Model Series victory of the season and the sixth of his career.
Madden settled for third place after starting from the outside pole. Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., who won the World Finals finale in five of the past six years, finished fourth and Lanigan’s Clint Bowyer Racing teammate, Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., climbed forward from the 12th starting spot to place fifth.
Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., was never a factor despite starting third, fading backward when the green flag flew and finishing a quiet ninth. But he still showed plenty of enthusiasm after the race when he celebrated his first-ever WoO LMS championship, which he clinched by starting Friday night’s World Finals A-Main.
“It’s a dream come true,” the 40-year-old Clanton said after being presented his WoO championship trophy during the post-race ceremonies. “We’ve won a lot of big races but we’ve never put a whole season together. To put one together like we have this year, it’s pretty special.”
Clanton won a career-best 10 WoO LMS features and registered 34 top-five and 37 top-10 finishes in 41 features this season driving his father-in-law Ron Davies’s Capital Race Cars. He led the standings from start-to-finish, ending the schedule with a commanding 174-point advantage over Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va.
“It’s just a testament to what we’ve done all year,” said Clanton, who will receive his $100,000 WoO LMS title check during the tour’s awards banquet that was rescheduled for Monday at 1 p.m. at the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, N.C. “Consistency pays off -you look at the record, and we almost tied Darrell (Lanigan) for top-fives in a season and we had like three less races than he had.
“We made a wrong tire choice tonight and didn’t groove them just right, but we’ll come back next year and defend our title and maybe we’ll be standing up here again.”
Davenport preceded Clanton on the post-race winner’s stage. He enjoyed ending a World Finals that began with subpar time-trial results on a high note.
“We didn’t start off too well this weekend,” Davenport said. “We had ignition problems Thursday night (during qualifying), but Friday night we finally got them worked out and I knew we had a good piece here.”
Lanigan, 45, led laps 11-30 after blasting around the outside of both Davenport and Madden to assume command following a restart, but he couldn’t recover after allowing Davenport to slip past him for the lead on lap 31 when he slid high in turn two while working lapped traffic.
“We had a really good piece,” Lanigan said of the Club 29 car he debuted for Clint Bowyer Racing – his recently-acquired ride for 2016 – at the World Finals. “We just got on the outside of a lapped car and he kind of run me up the racetrack and that left the bottom open for Davenport.”
The 40-year-old Madden, meanwhile, wasn’t able to match the speed of Davenport nor Lanigan once the 4/10-mile oval’s surface locked down.
“We had a real good car all weekend,” said Madden, who also finished third in Friday’s A-Main. “We just tightened up too much for the feature. When they dropped the green we were running extremely well, but then the racetrack got a little more grip to it and we just couldn’t steer across the center and these guys were a little bit better.”
Six caution flags dotted the event. Friday-night winner Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., slowed to trigger yellow-flag conditions on lap 18 and 34. Other cautions flew for Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., who spun in turn four and collected Jordan Yaggy of Rochester, Minn., on the opening circuit; Morgan Bagley of Tyler, Texas, who slowed with a flat left-rear tire on lap one; James Rice of Verona, Ky. (turn-three spin on lap 10); and Casey Roberts of Toccoa, Ga., who slowed with mechanical trouble while running fourth on lap 41.
Sixty-eight of the 86 cars that were signed in for Thursday night’s time trials returned for Sunday’s postponed program.
Heat winners were Lanigan, Clanton, Davenport, Madden, Owens and Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark. The B-Mains were captured by Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan., Donny Schatz of Fargo, N.D., and Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga.
The 2016 WoO LMS season kicks off with six nights of racing during Georgia-Florida Speedway beginning Feb. 12-13 at Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, Ga., and continuing Feb. 14 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla., and Feb. 18-20 at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
Results of World of Outlaws Late Model Series Bad Boy Buggies World Finals Night No. 2 at The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (6) Jonathan Davenport/50 $12,000
2. (1) Darrell Lanigan/50 $5,200
3. (2) Chris Madden/50 $3,000
4. (5) Jimmy Owens/50 $2,500
5. (12) Don O’Neal/50 $2,000
6. (14) Gregg Satterlee/50 $1,850
7. (10) Josh Richards/50 $1,650
8. (9) Rick Eckert/50 $1,550
9. (3) Shane Clanton/50 $1,400
10. (7) Chris Brown/50 $1,350
11. (20) Donny Schatz/50 $1,250
12. (4) Billy Moyer Jr./50 $1,250
13. (13) Scott Bloomquist/50 $1,250
14. (22) Dennis Erb Jr./50 $1,150
15. (25) Chub Frank/50 $1,100
16. (11) Steve Francis/50 $1,100
17. (16) Brandon Overton/50 $1,300
18. (21) Dale McDowell/50 $1,000
19. (30) Boom Briggs/50 $50
20. (19) Chase Junghans/50 $1,050
21. (24) Nick Latham/50 $1,000
22. (26) Morgan Bagley/50 $1,050
23. (17) Eric Wells/50 $1,050
24. (18) Chris Ferguson/49 $1,000
25. (8) Casey Roberts/41 $1,025
26. (23) Brandon Sheppard/33 $1,000
27. (29) Frank Heckenast Jr./32 $50
28. (15) Will Vaught/31 $1,000
29. (31) Jordan Yaggy/30 $0
30. (28) Tim McCreadie/18 $150
31. (27) James Rice/9 $1,000
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 29 Mins., 34.650 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 1.557 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 6 (lap 0, 1, 10, 18, 34, 41)
Lap Leaders: Madden (1-10); Lanigan (11-30); Davenport (31-50)
Provisional Starters: Frank, Bagley (WoO); James Rice (track); McCreadie, Heckenast, Briggs, Yaggy (WoO emergency)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: O’Neal ($500)
WoO LMS Rookie of the Race: Overton ($250)
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): Lanigan
Comp Cams ($50 certificate to A-Main winner): Lanigan
MSD Ignition ($50 cash to A-Main winner): Lanigan
Quartermaster ($100 certificate to A-Main winner): Satterlee
Wrisco (three sheets of aluminum/certificate to A-Main winner): Davenport
Mobil 1 ($50 cash to 4th-place finisher in A-Main): Satterlee
JE Pistons ($50 cash to 5th-place finisher in A-Main): Satterlee
Lincoln Welders ($50 cash to 6th-place finisher in A-Main): Satterlee
VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to 8th-place finisher in A-Main): Eckert
Edelbrock ($50 cash to 9th-place finisher in A-Main): Clanton
Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th-place finisher in A-Main): Brown
Cometic ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main): Moyer Jr.
JRI Shocks ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main): Frank
Superflow Dynos ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main): Erb
Quartermaster ($25 certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main): Frank
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 16th-place finisher in A-Main): Francis
Quartermaster ($50 certificate to 19th-place finisher in A-Main): Briggs
Mobil 1 (20 percent certificate to 20th-place finisher in A-Main): Bagley
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 21st-place finisher in A-Main): Bagley
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main): Roberts
QA1 ($50 to driver with fastest lap of the night): Moyer Jr.
Arizona Sports Shirts ($100 certificate to highest-finishing non-WoO driver): Satterlee
First heat finish (10 laps; top 3 transfer): Darrell Lanigan, Chris Brown, Scott Bloomquist, Dennis Erb Jr., Paul Wilmoth Jr., Morgan Bagley, Jordan Yaggy, Jim Rasey, Willie Milliken, Dustin Mitchell (DNS) Brian Ligon.
Second heat finish (10 laps; top 3 transfer): Shane Clanton, Casey Roberts, Gregg Satterlee, Chase Junghans, Tim Shaffer, Walker Arthur, Garrett Alberson, Allen Murray, Kelly Guy, Dale Hollidge, John Henderson.
Third heat finish (10 laps; top 3 transfer): Jonathan Davenport, Rick Eckert, Will Vaught, Matt Westfall, Brandon Sheppard, Mark Parks, Kerry King Jr., Kyle Pierce, Chub Frank (DNS) Brian Ledbetter.
Fourth heat finish (10 laps; top 3 transfer): Chris Madden, Josh Richards, Brandon Overton, Donny Schatz, Max Blair, Mason Zeigler, Frank Heckenast Jr., Andy Fries, Chad Hollenbeck, Tyler Horst, Mike Marlar, Nick Davis, Dean Bowen.
Fifth heat finish (10 laps; top 3 transfer): Jimmy Owens, Steve Francis, Eric Wells, Donald Brasher, Dale McDowell, Cody Mahoney, Dennis Franklin, Colton Flinner, Boom Briggs, Greg Clark, Joey Coulter, Pancho Lawler, Justin Labonte.
Sixth heat finish (10 laps; top 3 transfer): Billy Moyer Jr., Don O’Neal, Chris Ferguson, Chris Simpson, Nick Latham, Josh Rice, James Rice, Tim McCreadie, Dan Stone, Russell Erwin Jr., Jay Sessoms, Reid Millard.
First B-Main finish (10 laps; top 2 transfer): Chase Junghans, Dennis Erb Jr., Paul Wilmoth Jr., Morgan Bagley, Garrett Alberson, Tim Shaffer, Walker Arthur, Dale Hollidge, Dustin Mitchell, Allen Murray, Jordan Yaggy, John Henderson, Jim Rasey, Kelly Guy (DNS) Willie Milliken.
Second B-Main finish (10 laps; top 2 transfer): Donny Schatz, Brandon Sheppard, Max Blair, Mason Zeigler, Frank Heckenast Jr., Matt Westfall, Kyle Pierce, Tyler Horst, Chad Hollenbeck, Dean Bowen, Andy Fries, Kerry King Jr., Mark Parks, Nick Davis, Brian Ledbetter, Chub Frank (DNS) Mike Marlar.
Third B-Main finish (10 laps; top 2 transfer): Dale McDowell, Nick Latham, Chris Simpson, Josh Rice, Dennis Franklin, Russell Erwin Jr., Dan Stone, Donald Brasher, Cody Mahoney, Colton Flinner, Greg Clark, Jay Sessoms, Joey Coulter, Reid Millard, Pancho Lawler, Boom Briggs, James Rice (DNS) Tim McCreadie, Justin Labonte.
Final 2015 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings – 41 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Shane Clanton 5,736
2. Josh Richards 5,694 (-174)
3. Chub Frank 5,482 (-386)
4. Rick Eckert 5,396 (-472)
5. Morgan Bagley 5,296 (-572)
6. Tim McCreadie 5,256 (-612)
7. Chase Junghans 5,228 (-640)
8. Frank Heckenast Jr. 5,182 (-686)
9. Eric Wells 5,134 (-734)
10. Brandon Overton 4,854 (-1,014)
11. Boom Briggs 4,782 (-1,086)
12. Darrell Lanigan 4,722 (-1,146)
Story By: DIRTcar PR
Photo Credit: Daryl Canfield / Speed51.com