Sarver, PA – Michael Norris defeated the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series regulars while defending his home turf at Lernerville Speedway during the second night of the 12th Annual Firecracker 100.
Norris had a perfect Friday night. He set the fastest qualifying time in Group B, collected his heat win by fending off a hard-charging Chris Madden, drew the pole position and led flag-to-flag in the 30-lap Sears Craftsman Feature event.
After climbing up on the rooftop of his No.72 Rocket Chassis powered by Gary Henry Racing Engines, Series Announcer Rick Eshelman approached Norris in Victory Lane to see what he had to say about his biggest career victory.
Norris then sighed in relief and said, “I need a second” as he tried to take in the moment of his first career World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series triumph.
“This pretty much makes my year,” said Norris. “I got to thank my crew guy Dakota. I’ve never had a signal guy here and we have talked about doing it forever and he was standing on the front stretch and man, that was nice. I knew when there was one-to-go and I knew when I could ride.”
The Crusher Kid is no stranger to the Sarver, PA dirt track. The reigning track champion now has five wins and two second-place finishes of seven total Super Late Model events at Lernerville Speedway in 2018.
“This one is for my dad and my grandparents,” continued Norris as his victory began to sink in and he became overwhelmed with emotion. “I grew up coming here and used to sit right there (grandstands outside of turn four) with my grandma… I can’t say no more. Thanks to all of the fans, sponsors, family, and Dan Bauman (Lernerville track operations) for giving me that cushion down there. We’re alright.”
Norris held off multiple charges from 2017 rookie of the year Devin Moran throughout the 30-lap shootout.
“First of all, congrats to them guys,” said Moran. “That is a freaking awesome win. Home track in front of a home crowd for a race like this. That’s awesome.”
A humble Moran congratulated Norris on his victory despite the fact that he and his Tye Twarog/ Donnie Moran Racing team are still in search of their first win of the 2018 season.
“I actually felt like we had the car to beat we just got stuck behind them two lap cars and [Norris] gained a straight-away on me,” explained Moran. “We ran him back down and I knew we had something. Wylie [Moran] showed me with the sticks I was pulling away from Madden a little bit. It’s just one of those deals where this is [Norris’s] night and we just have to take notes and hopefully in the race tomorrow we get to put our notes toward that.”
Moran’s runner-up finish on Friday evening at Lernerville is now his best finish of the 2018 World of Outlaws season thus far.
“We’ve been scratching our heads, we just haven’t had any luck,” continued Moran. “Tye Twarog has been doing everything he can for our team. We have a new car out here. We’ve been changing motors and everything else. The Tye Twarog / Donnie Moran Racing team is finally starting to make some strides. We’ve had four top-five finishes in the last five Outlaws races so it’s been a good stride we just have to keep doing what we’re doing and eventually we’ll get some wins.”
Madden, the current Series point leader and winner of Thursday night’s feature at Lernerville Speedway, rounded out the podium.
“Track condition and track position is everything,” said Madden. “If we could go back and get the heat race win and not have had that caution in the heat we would of started in the first two rows and maybe would have won the feature again tonight but congratulations to Norris and his team, and Devin and his guys work hard so congratulations to them on the runner-up spot. Overall, we’ve done a little trial-and-error tonight and our car wasn’t as good tonight as it was last night. So, we definitely have something to build off of.”
One win and a third-place finish for Madden places him at the top of the Firecracker 100 rankings. Madden will start on the pole for the first heat race in Saturday’s Firecracker 100 finale event. Although it may take some pressure off, Madden knows his competition will be on top of their game all in search of that coveted Firecracker 100 win and a $30,000 payday.
Abbreviated Results from Lernerville Speedway on Friday, June 22:
Sears Craftsman Feature (30 Laps): 1. 72n-Mike Norris [$6,000]; 2. 9-Devin Moran [$3,000]; 3. 44-Chris Madden [$2,000]; 4. 1-Brandon Sheppard [$1,750]; 5. 157-Mike Marlar [$1,500]; 6. 91-Tyler Erb [$1,400]; 7. 54-David Breazeale [$1,300]; 8. 25-Shane Clanton [$1,200]; 9. 7-Rick Eckert [$1,100]; 10. 18c-Chase Junghans [$1,000]; 11. 22-Chris Ferguson [$900]; 12. 17M-Dale McDowell [$850]; 13. 22s-Gregg Satterlee [$800]; 14. 14-Darrell Lanigan [$775]; 15. 4-Alex Ferree [$750]; 16. B1-Brent Larson [$700]; 17. 72-Jason Covert [$660]; 18. 89-Justin Williams [$640]; 19. 14a-Dan Angellicchio [$620]; 20. 14m-Morgan Bagley [$600]; 21. 6-Blake Spencer [$600]; 22. 1x-Chub Frank [$600]; 23. 10-Jared Miley [$600]; 24. 7mm-Michael Maresca [$600]
-World of Outlaws Late Model Series (WoOLMS.com) Press Release
-Photo credit: Paul Arch