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Bloomquist Cruises To Convincing Victory In Smoky Mountain Speedway’s Mountain Outlaw 50 Presented by NAPA

Former World of Outlaws Late Model Series Champion Leads All 50 Laps to Claim Second Series Victory of 2015

MARYVILLE, Tenn. - May 9, 2015 - Scott Bloomquist made winning Saturday night's Mountain Outlaw 50 Presented by NAPA look easy, but there was so much more that went into his dominating performance than the 50 flawless laps he ran around Smoky Mountain Speedway.

After struggling to get his self-designed Sweet-Bloomquist car to perform to his liking for most of the season, Bloomquist, 51, of Mooresburg, Tenn., and his team undertook a complete rebuild on the car in preparation for Saturday's World of Outlaws Late Model Series event. The hard work paid off with Bloomquist cruising to a $10,125 victory in front of a near-capacity crowd at the East Tennessee oval.

"We worked all week on this car," said Bloomquist, the 2004 WoO LMS champion who recorded his second series victory of the season and 28th of his Hall-of-Fame career. "We'd been having trouble with it, so this week we stripped it down completely to the frame, cut it in three pieces and put it back together. I was pretty confident it was gonna run good tonight."

Bloomquist was dominant all night in his Reece Monuments-sponsored ride. He posted the fastest time in his qualifying group, led every lap of his heat race and controlled the entire distance of the 50-lap A-Main after drawing the pole position in the night's top-eight redraw. He built a lead of more than seven seconds during a 30-lap green-flag run and pulled away from Ray Cook of Brasstown, N.C., and Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., after the race's final restart on lap 32.

"It's nice when they run a big race here and we can win," said Bloomquist whose shop is roughly an hour and a half drive from Smoky Mountain Speedway. "We go home feeling good and got our confidence high knowing we got two really good race cars."

The second-starting Cook settled for the runner-up finish after holding off a fierce challenge from Lanigan, who advanced from his fifth starting spot to finish third. Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., rallied from the 17th starting position to finish fourth with 10th-starting Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., rounding out the race's top five finishers.

Making his first WoO LMS appearance of the season, Cook was solid in his Jay Dickens-powered Capital Race Car, matching his career-best WoO LMS finish. But the 43-year-old veteran racer couldn't keep pace with Bloomquist.

"He shows up every now and then and spoils the show," Cook said of Bloomquist's impressive performance. "He's had a good year, but not to his standards. He's back rolling now it looks like."

After moving into third on lap 21, Lanigan pressured Cook for most of the second half of the race. The three-time and defending WoO LMS champion felt his Cornett-powered Club 29 house car was capable of running with Bloomquist, but he never got the chance to show it as he failed to find a way around Cook.

"I would've liked to have got up there and raced with (Bloomquist) at the front," said Lanigan, who is still looking for his first WoO LMS victory of the season after last year winning a single-season record 17 series races. "It was a little hard to pass, but we had a pretty good hot rod."

Lanigan's third-place effort moved him back ahead of fellow three-time WoO LMS champion Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., for second in the series standings. Richards, who finished sixth in Saturday's race trails Lanigan by two points. The two past champions are chasing Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., who now leads the chase by 90 points after a seventh-place finish on Saturday.

Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., was eighth at the finish of Saturday's A-Main with 18th-starting Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., and Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., rounding out the top 10 in a race slowed by two cautions.

Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill., saw a potential top-five finish go awry when his right-rear tire blew out and caused the lap-32 caution. The 2014 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year ended up 15th at the finish. Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., was also denied a top five when he slowed from fourth with two laps remaining.

The World of Outlaws Late Model Series returns to action May 23-24 with the Jackpot 100 weekend at Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, W.Va. The two-race event features an $8,000-to-win WoO LMS program on Sat., May 23 and a $10,000-to-win race on Sun., May 24.

Results of World of Outlaws Late Model Series Mountain Outlaw 50 at Smoky Mountain Speedway
1. (1) Scott Bloomquist/50 $10,125
2. (2) Ray Cook/50 $5,500
3. (5) Darrell Lanigan/50 $3,600
4. (17) Tim McCreadie/50 $3,150
5. (10) Chub Frank/50 $2,550
6. (8) Josh Richards/50 $2,350
7. (7) Shane Clanton/50 $1,950
8. (12) Jimmy Owens/50 $1,300
9. (18) Mike Marlar/50 $1,250
10. (11) Steve Francis/50 $1,200
11. (21) Randy Weaver/50 $1,050
12. (3) Derek Ellis/50 $1,050
13. (9) Donald McIntosh/50 $1,000
14. (15) Eric Wells/50 $1,500
15. (4) Frank Heckenast Jr./49 $1,400
16. (23) Morgan Bagley/49 $1,350
17. (24) Chase Junghans/49 $1,320
18. (13) Rick Eckert/48 $1,400
19. (14) Dale McDowell/47 $730
20. (19) Brandon Overton/41 $1,500
21. (20) Kent Robinson/34 $700
22. (6) Vic Hill/28 $750
23. (16) Austin Smith/22 $700
24. (22) Don O'Neal/16 $700

Time of Race: 20 Mins., 35 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 1.123 Secs.

2015 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of May 9
1. Shane Clanton 1972
2. Darrell Lanigan 1882
3. Josh Richards 1878
4. Chub Frank 1846
5. Tim McCreadie 1786
6. Morgan Bagley 1762
7. Rick Eckert 1760
8. Eric Wells 1732
9. F. Heckenast Jr. 1728
10. B. Overton 1668

-end-

Eckert Ends World of Outlaws Late Model Series Winless Streak With Victory In Ponderosa Speedway’s First-Ever Series Event

Former Series Champion Tops Clanton & Frank in Friday's A-Main to Earn First WoO LMS Victory in Nearly Two Years

JUNCTION CITY, Ky. - May 8, 2015 - It took a visit to a track he had never even seen before for Rick Eckert to finally return to World of Outlaws Late Model Series victory lane.

Racing in front of a record crowd at Ponderosa Speedway in the track's first-ever WoO LMS event, Eckert of York, Pa., overtook race-long leader Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., amid heavy traffic on lap 30 of Friday's main event and later survived heavy pressure from Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., and Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., in the closing laps of the 50-lap race.

After a lap-45 caution gave him clear track ahead, Eckert pulled away from Clanton and Frank and cruised through the final five laps on his way to earning $10,775 for his first WoO LMS victory since July 9, 2013.

"I was getting tired of hearing about that (winless streak)," said Eckert, the 2011 WoO LMS champion whose most recent series victory came at Gillette (Wyo.) Thunder Speedway. "I snuck by Darrell there in traffic. When you're the leader, traffic's bad. I knew when I got to traffic there I seen Shane's nose, but thankfully that caution came out."

Clanton settled for the runner-up spot, 0.707 seconds behind Eckert at the finish. He survived lap-32 contact with Lanigan, who nearly spun while looking low in an attempt to retake the lead from Eckert. The damage to Lanigan's car forced him out of the race and dropped him to a 21st-place finish.

The 12th-starting Frank finished third, matching his best WoO LMS finish of the season. Three-time WoO LMS champion Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., finished fourth, moving him ahead of Lanigan for second in the series standings, 96 points behind Clanton. Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., rounded out the race's top five finishers.

Eckert's long-awaited victory marks his first triumph since joining forces with Paul Crowl and Shawn and Lisa Martin of Viper Motorsports to field a Cornett-powered MasterSbilt by Huey machine on the WoO LMS tour this season. The new team struggled out of the gates this season, logging just four top 10s and no top fives in the year's first 10 WoO LMS races. But the team has hit their stride of late with Friday's victory giving Eckert back-to-back top-five WoO LMS finishes for the first time since August.

"We really struggled at the beginning of the year," said Eckert, who last season finished second in the final WoO LMS standings while filling in for Richards in the Rocket Chassis house car. "I just couldn't fit in these cars. We kept working on them, working on them, and the last couple weeks we made some big strides."

Clanton did all he could to keep pace with Eckert during the race's final laps, but his Weldbank Energy Capital Race Car was hampered by front-end damage from the contact with Clanton earlier in the race. The second-place result gives Clanton 11 tops fives and 12 top 10s in 13 WoO LMS races this season.

"Overall it was a good night to finish second with a torn-up race car," said Clanton, who hasn't won since winning four of seven races to start the WoO LMS season. "Hats off to Eckert. He needed that one as much as we did. We drove our heart out, just come up a little short."

Looking to end a lengthy winless streak of his own, Frank charged forward during the second half of the race and appeared ready to challenge both Clanton and Eckert before the lap-45 caution gave the front-runners clear track. He was unable to mount a serious challenge on Clanton in the run to the finish, but the third-place result was a major improvement over his finishes of 12th and 17th during last weekend's WoO LMS doubleheader in North Carolina.

"We had a good pretty good car tonight," said Frank, who hasn't won on the WoO LMS since Aug. 22, 2009. "The track actually was pretty racy. It got racy even though it had a little rubber on it and you could race on it pretty good. Restarts were key for us. The car's back, so we're looking forward to doing some more racing."

James Rice of Verona, Ky., advanced from his 14th starting spot to finish in the sixth position, while Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., rallied from 24th to seventh after having to use a provision to start the race. Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind., was eighth at the finish with 19th-starting Brandon Kinzer of Allen, Ky., and 16th-starting Michael Chilton of Salvisa, Ky., rounding out the top 10 finishers.

The race was slowed by five cautions with a spin by Kinzer bringing out the first yellow flag with two laps completed. A lap-11 yellow waved for the slowing machine of Dustin Linville of Bryantsville, Ky., who won a heat race and was running sixth before a broken driveshaft ended his run.

A scramble following Lanigan's lap-31 troubles led to the race's third caution and a four-car pileup back in the pack brought out another caution one lap later. The final caution on lap 45 occurred when Mason Zeigler of Chalk Hill, Pa., slowed with a flat right-rear tire.

The World of Outlaws Late Model Series concludes its weekend doubleheader on Saturday with a visit to Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville, Tenn. The third annual Mountain Outlaw 50 Presented by NAPA features a complete WoO LMS program with a 50-lap, $10,000-to-win A-Main. Visit www.smokymountainspeedway.com for more information.

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.

Results of World of Outlaws Late Model Series at Ponderosa Speedway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):

1. (3) Rick Eckert/50 $10,775
2. (4) Shane Clanton/50 $5,550
3. (12) Chub Frank/50 $3,550
4. (6) Josh Richards/50 $3,150
5. (5) Dale McDowell/50 $2,050
6. (14) James Rice/50 $2,200
7. (24) Eric Wells/50 $1,950
8. (10) Kent Robinson/50 $1,300
9. (19) Brandon Kinzer/50 $1,350
10. (16) Michael Chilton/50 $1,150
11. (9) Gregg Satterlee/50 $1,050
12. (15) Tim McCreadie/50 $1,650
13. (20) Frank Heckenast Jr./50 $1,500
14. (22) Josh Rice/50 $900
15. (23) Morgan Bagley/49 $1,400
16. (1) Mason Zeigler/45 $850
17. (7) Mike Marlar/42 $770
18. (11) Brad Neat/32 $750
19. (18) Chase Junghans/32 $1,280
20. (21) Brandon Overton/32 $1,450
21. (2) Darrell Lanigan/30 $1,350
22. (13) Justin Rattliff/30 $700
23. (8) Dustin Linville/11 $700
24. (18) Steve Francis/10 $800

Time of Race: 29 Mins., 46 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.707 Secs.

2015 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of May 8
1. Shane Clanton 1836
2. Josh Richards 1740 (-96)
3. Darrell Lanigan 1738 (-98)
4. Chub Frank 1706 (-130)
5. Rick Eckert 1646 (-190)
6. Tim McCreadie 1644 (-192)
(tie) Morgan Bagley 1644 (-192)
8. Eric Wells 1610 (-226)
9. Frank Heckenast Jr. 1608 (-228)
10. Brandon Overton 1558 (-278)*
11. Chase Junghans 1538 (-298)
12. Boom Briggs 1462 (-374)
13. Jordan Yaggy 1358 (-478)*
*Rookie of the Year contender

-end-

Weaver Carries Perfect 2015 Record Into Smoky Mountain Speedway’s Mountain Outlaw 50 Presented By NAPA On Saturday

Veteran Tennessee Racer Hopes to Add Breakthrough World of Outlaws Late Model Series Victory to Incredible Early-Season Win Streak

MARYVILLE, Tenn. - May 7, 2015 - Perfection will be on the line Saturday night at Smoky Mountain Speedway.

After starting the season with eight victories in eight races, veteran regional racer Randy Weaver, 45, of Crossville, Tenn., will attempt to add a national touring victory to his remarkable early-season win streak when the World of Outlaws Late Model Series visits Smoky Mountain for the third annual Mountain Outlaw 50 Presented by NAPA.

"With the way we're running I really can't wait for the Outlaws race this weekend," said Weaver, who has scored two of his eight wins in regional series action at Smoky Mountain's 4/10-mile oval. "We've got a really good car with a good package for Smoky Mountain. I know the streak's gonna end sometime, but I'm gonna do everything I can to keep it going."

Weaver's start to the season has been nothing short of amazing. With victories at seven different tracks and spread between four different regional tours, Weaver has proven not only his strength but also his versatility on his way to racking up a whopping $58,000 in race winnings.

His biggest score during the streak earned Weaver a career-high $20,000 with the Georgia-based Ultimate Super Late Model Series in his first visit to Virginia Motor Speedway.

"The biggest thing to me is that it's been at so many different venues," said Weaver, whose Outlaw Racing Southeast team fields a Cornett-powered Longhorn Chassis. "Some of the tracks we've been to quite a bit and some we've never even been to. Tracks in several different states and with several different series with all different kinds of competitors. That's the coolest thing about it to me is just how consistent we've been no matter where we've raced at or who we've raced against.

"It's pretty amazing really. Sometimes, I just sit and shake my head at it. You don't really even dream about having a streak like this because it's something that just never happens."

While his winning streak may already have reached unbelievable status, it could become even more incredible if Weaver is able to add a World of Outlaws victory to his ledger on Saturday night.

For all that the veteran racer has accomplished in his more than two decades of racing - he has more than 350 career victories and is a three-time Southern All Star Series champion - Weaver has never won a national touring event. Checking that achievement off his list with his first WoO LMS victory would make his current win streak all the more satisfying.

"It'd be great to win this weekend not just to add to the streak but to add to my resume," said Weaver, whose previous best WoO LMS performance was a third-place finish at Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, Tenn., in 2007. "We've won some big races, but winning on a national tour like the World of Outlaws is something I've always wanted to do

"We've led a few of those races, but it always seems like something crazy happens. If I race my whole life and never win one, I'll still be happy with what I've accomplished, but yeah, it would be nice to win one before I'm done.

"I don't know if it puts you in a different league than what you were before winning one, but it definitely would be satisfying for me personally to finally win one. I think it would show just how hard our team has worked and how far we've come after all the time we've put in over the years."

A streak as phenomenal as Weaver's would be special for just about any driver at any point in a career. But for Weaver, the current run of success comes at a particularly meaningful time following the death of his father Glen, who passed away from pancreatic cancer in November.

"This year's in memory of my dad," Weaver said. "I wish he could've been a part of this, but I've got a pretty good reason to drive me harder this year more than ever. We've been really blessed to make it a real good year for him so far, but getting that first Outlaws win would make it even more special."

With his team operating in top form and the Outlaws headed to one of his best tracks in Smoky Mountain, Weaver knows Saturday's race could be the best chance he's ever had at finally breaking through for his first WoO LMS victory. But even a driver who has a run of perfection as long as Weaver's knows nothing in racing is a sure thing.

"This is probably the best I've been running going into one of these races, but that really doesn't mean anything," Weaver said. "We're gonna give it our best shot and see how everything shakes out, but you never know when you're racing against this good of competition. But we'll do our best and maybe by the end of it we'll still be perfect."

About the Track

Smoky Mountain Speedway - 809 Brick Mill Rd Maryville, TN 37801

Located roughly 30 miles south of Knoxville on the western edge of the Great Smoky Mountains, Smoky Mountain Speedway has a long history of short track racing. Built originally as a half-mile dirt oval more than 50 years ago, the track spent time as an asphalt oval before being converted back to dirt in the 4/10-mile configuration it has now.

Smoky Mountain has hosted two WoO LMS events with one more scheduled event being rained out. The track's first WoO LMS race came in the national tour's first season under the World Racing Group banner in 2004, with Rick Eckert of York, Pa., claiming the victory.

When the WoO LMS made its return to Smoky Mountain in 2013, current series points leader Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., was the winner after holding off a late challenge from Steve Casebolt of Richmond, Ind. Last year's WoO LMS date at Smoky Mountain was rained out.

Event Information

Saturday's Mountain Outlaw 50 Presented by NAPA features a complete WoO LMS program of time trials, heat races, Last-Chance Showdowns and a 50-lap A-Main paying $10,000 to the winner. Pit passes are $40 for adults and $15 for children; tier parking prices are $30 for adults and $10 for children; and grandstand seating is $25 for adults and $5 for children.

Pit gates open at noon with grandstands and tier parking gates opening at 3 p.m. The drivers meeting is scheduled for 7 with on-track action to follow. Support division racing features a $1,500-to-win event for Crate Late Models and a $750-to-win sportsman division program.

More information on Smoky Mountain Speedway and the Mountain Outlaw 50 Presented by NAPA is available on the track's website at www.smokymountainspeedway.com.

Follow the Action

Listen to live audio from Ponderosa's WoO LMS event for free on www.DIRTVision.com. Results throughout the evening will be posted to the Official World of Outlaws Late Model Series website at www.WoOLMS.com.

Further updates and photos from WoO LMS events are posted on the Official WoO LMS social media pages on Twitter atwww.Twitter.com/WoOLateModels and Facebook at www.Facebook.com/WorldofOutlawsLateModelSeries. Check out the latest videos on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/WorldofOutlaws.

Previous WoO LMS A-Main Winners at Fayetteville Motor Speedway
2014 - Rainout on May 17
2013 - Shane Clanton on April 26
2004 - Rick Eckert on April 30

Current WoO LMS Points Standings (as of May 2 - 12 A-Mains completed)
1. Shane Clanton 1690
2. Darrell Lanigan 1630 (-60)
3. Josh Richards 1598 (-92)
4. Chub Frank 1562 (-128)
5. Morgan Bagley 1524 (-166)
6. Tim McCreadie 1518 (-172)
7. Rick Eckert 1496 (-194)
8. Frank Heckenast Jr. 1484 (-206)
9. Eric Wells 1474 (-216)
10. Brandon Overton 1448 (-242)*
11. Chase Junghans 1426 (-264)
12. Boom Briggs 1374 (-316)
13. Jordan Yaggy 1274 (-416)*
*Rookie of the Year contender

Upcoming WoO LMS Events
May 7 Ponderosa Speedway - Junction City, KY
May 8 Smoky Mountain Speedway - Maryville, TN
May 23 Tyler County Speedway - Middlebourne, WV
May 24 Tyler County Speedway - Middlebourne, WV
June 18 Fonda Speedway - Fonda, NY
June 20 Brighton Speedway - Brighton, ON
June 21 Cornwall Motor Speedway - Cornwall, ON
June 23 Weedsport Speedway - Weedsport, NY

2015 WoO LMS Event Winners
Feb. 6 Screven Motor Speedway - Sylvania, GA - Steve Casebolt
Feb. 7 Screven Motor Speedway - Sylvania, GA - Shane Clanton
Feb. 14 Bubba Raceway Park - Ocala, FL - Frank Heckenast Jr.
Feb. 15 Bubba Raceway Park - Ocala, FL - Josh Richards
Feb. 19 Volusia Speedway Park - Barberville, FL - Shane Clanton
Feb. 20 Volusia Speedway Park - Barberville, FL - Shane Clanton
Feb. 21 Volusia Speedway Park - Barberville, FL - Shane Clanton
April 11 Tazewell Speedway - Tazewell, TN - Billy Ogle Jr.
April 17 Farmer City Raceway - Farmer City, IL - Scott Bloomquist
April 18 Farmer City Raceway - Farmer City, IL - Brandon Sheppard
May 1 Friendship Motor Speedway - Elkin, NC - Chris Ferguson
May 2 Fayetteville Motor Speedway - Fayetteville, NC - Chris Ferguson

-end-

Ferguson Claims First Career World of Outlaws Late Model Series Victory With Dominating Performance At Friendship Motor Speedway

North Carolina Standout Leads Every Lap of Friday's Inaugural Blue Ridge Bash to Earn Career-High $10,550 Payday

ELKIN, N.C. - May 1, 2015 - Chris Ferguson finally has a World of Outlaws Late Model Series victory on his resume.

Avoiding the bad luck that has plagued him in a number of past events, Ferguson, 25, of Mount Holly, N.C., led every lap of Friday night's Blue Ridge Bash to earn a career-high $10,550 for his first career WoO LMS victory in the national tour's first ever visit to Friendship Motor Speedway.

"It's awesome to finally cross a World of Outlaws win off my list and to do it in my home state," said Ferguson, whose breakthrough victory came on the opening night of North Carolina doubleheader weekend for the WoO LMS. "I've been close a few times and just never had things go our way. But it finally did tonight and we took advantage of it."

Ferguson was strong all night in his Clements-powered Longhorn Chassis, setting fast time during qualifying, winning his heat race and leading every lap of 50-lap A-Main. He cruised out front through most of the feature and pulled away from 10th-starting Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., on a pair of late restarts on his way to becoming the fourth first-time WoO LMS winner this season.

Richards, the three-time WoO LMS champion, settled for the runner-up spot, 1.525 seconds behind Ferguson at the finish. Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill., finished third while Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., scored his best WoO LMS finish of the season in fourth.

WoO LMS points leader Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., muscled his way by Steve Casebolt of Richmond, Ind., for fifth on the final lap, stretching his lead in the championship chase to 72 points over Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., who finished behind Casebolt in the seventh. Rick Eckert of York, Pa., and Morgan Bagley of Longview, Texas rounded out the top 10.

Ferguson, a standout regional racer who typically enters a handful of WoO LMS events each season, has had his share of near misses in major events. He's been successful in WoO LMS preliminary action in the past with three career fast time awards and five heat race wins. But each time his chances of victory all fell short in the main event.

As he closed in on his first WoO LMS victory Friday night, Ferguson feared another bad luck circumstance might cost him yet again.

"There at the end everything starts going through your mind," Ferguson said. "You start thinking something's happening when it's really not. Those last few laps I thought I was spinning a wheel a little bit and thought a tire might be going down, but my crew kept me calm (using signals) down the backstretch and everything went our way.

"To come out here and outrun not only the national guys but all these good regional guys too, it's awesome. These guys that raced out here tonight, they're the best in the country. We've been close to winning one of these a few times and to be able to finally do it, it's great."

In his first visit to Friendship, Richards was among the few drivers able to make use of the 4/10-mile oval's high groove. Recovering from a poor qualifying effort, Richards hustled his Valvoline-sponsored Rocket Chassis house car forward from his 14th starting spot and took second from Heckenast just after the race's halfway point.

After falling nearly a straightaway behind during the race's longest green-flag run, Richards began closing the gap as Ferguson was slowed by traffic just before the 40-lap mark. Two late restarts gave Richards chances to pressure Ferguson, but he couldn't mount a serious challenge.

"We came here never seeing this place before and I put us behind qualifying driving the wrong line," said Richards, who with the second-place finish moved into third in the series standings. "We had to dig ourselves out of a hole after that.

"Chris and his guys did a great job. They had the car to beat all night long. We'll just have to try harder next time."

Among the race's nine yellow flags was a caution for a lap-24 tangle between Richards and Casey Roberts of Toccoa, Ga., in which contact between the two drivers turned Roberts' car sideways in front of the field on the back straightaway. Roberts' car was hit by Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., leaving both machines heavily damaged.

Due to his actions following the incident, Roberts has been fined and suspended from the WoO LMS effective immediately. The amount of the fine and the length of the suspension have yet to be determined by WoO LMS officials.

Other cautions included an opening lap pileup involving Jordan Yaggy of Rochester, Minn., Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan., and Brian Ligon of Augusta, Ga. After running as high as high as seventh early in the race, Ross Bailes of Clover, S.C., slowed to cause a lap-21 yellow.

Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., briefly held second before his car suffered front-end damage from a tangle on a mid-race restart that eventually forced him to slow for a lap-24 caution. The 2006 WoO LMS champion pitted for repairs and finished 11th in the final rundown.

Leading WoO LMS rookie Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., started third and ran second in the first half of the race, but ended up 12th after pitting during the lap-24 caution with a flat right-rear tire.

After finishing second in his heat race and redrawing the pole for the feature, Kyle Pierce of Statesville, N.C., ran among the top 10 the entire distance until a scrape with the turn-one wall ended his run on lap 45. He finished 16th.

The World of Outlaws Late Model Series completes its two-race North Carolina weekend on Saturday with a $10,000-to-win program as part of Fayetteville (N.C.) Motor Speedway's Tar Heel 100. Pit gates open at 2 p.m. with general admission gates opening at 3. Visit www.fayettevillemotorspeedway.com for more information.

Results of World of Outlaws Late Model Series Blue Ridge Bash at Friendship Motor Speedway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):

1. (1) Chris Ferguson /50 $10,550
2. (10) Josh Richards /50 $5,650
3. (3) Frank Heckenast Jr. /50 $3,500
4. (11) Eric Wells /50 $3,050
5. (14) Shane Clanton /50 $2,550
6. (6) Steve Casebolt /50 $1,750
7. (8) Darrell Lanigan /50 $2,050
8. (22) Rick Eckert /50 $2,000
9. (12) Morgan Bagley /50 $1,750
10. (15) Dennis Franklin /50 $1,100
11. (4) Tim McCreadie /50 $1,700
12. (5) Brandon Overton /50 $1,600
13. (21) Boom Briggs /50 $1,750
14. (18) Donald Bradsher /50 $950
15. (16) Jordan Yaggy /49 $850
16. (1) Kyle Pierce /44 $800
17. (13) Chub Frank /25 $1,320
18. (19) Chase Junghans /25 $1,300
19. (9) Casey Roberts /24 $730
20. (7) Ross Bailes /21 $700
21. (20) Luke Roffers /21 $700
22. (24) Jay Sessoms /14 $700
23. (23) Brian Ligon /10 $700
24. (17) Tim Allen /10 $725

Time of Race: 41 Mins., 43 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 1.525 Secs.
Yellow Flags: Nine
Lap Leaders: Ferguson (1-50)

2015 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of May 1
1. Shane Clanton 1558
2. Darrell Lanigan 1486 (-72)
3. Josh Richards 1462 (-96)
4. Chub Frank 1436 (-122)
5. Morgan Bagley 1406 (-152)
6. Tim McCreadie 1404 (-154)
7. Frank Heckenast Jr. 1362 (-196)
8. Rick Eckert 1356 (-202)
9. Eric Wells 1340 (-218)
10. Brandon Overton 1302 (-256)*
(tie) Chase Junghans 1302 (-256)
12. Boom Briggs 1246 (-312)
13. Jordan Yaggy 1154 (-404)*
*Rookie of the Year contender

-end-

G.R. Smith Takes Another Shot At World of Outlaws Late Model Series Breakthrough During Upcoming North Carolina Doubleheader

After Falling Just Short of Career-Best Victory in 2014, New Jersey Transplant Rides Confidence into Weekend Events at Friendship & Fayetteville

CONCORD, N.C. - April 28, 2015 - G.R. Smith has waited a year for the upcoming World of Outlaws Late Model Series doubleheader weekend in North Carolina.

After falling just short of what would have been the biggest victory of his career in last year's WoO LMS event at Fayetteville (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Smith, a New Jersey native who now calls Cornelius, N.C., home, has been counting down the days until the national tour returns to one of his home tracks.

Smith, 33, will have two opportunities to improve on last year's near-miss when the WoO LMS makes its first ever visit to Friendship Motor Speedway in Elkin, N.C., on Friday and returns to Fayetteville on Saturday.

"After being so close at Fayetteville, I've been waiting all year for another shot at the Outlaws," said Smith, who will be among a strong contingent of Carolina-based drivers looking to defend their home turf against the WoO LMS regulars in Friendship's inaugural Blue Ridge Bash and Fayetteville's Tar Heel 100. "We've basically spent the past year trying to improve that little bit that we were missing. Hopefully it pays off and we can get the job done."

Smith's strong performance at Fayetteville last season was a welcomed surprise for the former big-block modified racer. After relocating to North Carolina in 2006 following graduation from West Virginia University, Smith emerged as a regional standout in three years of Super Late Model racing from '06-'09. But he shut down his own program in 2010 to concentrate on building his Victory Circle Auto Sales business.

Smith drove a Crate Late Model for Larry Cassella and Bobby Hart beginning in 2011 and totaled nearly 50 wins. But he was absent from Super Late Model action until returning to the division in 2014.

Easing his way back into the Super Late Model ranks, Smith entered last year's WoO LMS event at Fayetteville with low expectations. But he came out strong, setting fast time in qualifying and winning his heat race. Starting from the front row, he outdueled 2011 WoO LMS champion Rick Eckert of York, Pa., early in the 50-lap race and led the first 41 laps before fading to third behind three-time WoO LMS champion Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., and Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga.

"Last year at this point, I was really just doing it for fun," said Smith, whose career highlights include victories with the Southern All Stars and Ultimate Series. "I showed up for the race in an opener trailer with just one guy that came and helped me after hot laps. Other than that, my mom and my sister were my crew.

"If someone had told me I was gonna go to a World of Outlaws race like that and set fast time and win my heat race and lead most of the feature, I would've told them they were crazy.

"I didn't have anyone spotting for me or giving me signals. I just ran the car way too hard for most of the race and used my stuff up. If I had known how much of a lead I had, I could've saved some and been a lot better at the end instead of fading like we did."

Smith was more than pleased with his third-place finish, but he couldn't help but wonder what could've been.

"When you're a regional racer like me and you get beat by someone as good as Darrell Lanigan, it's hard to say that you let it slip away," Smith said. "But I really think if there had been just a couple different circumstances we would've won that race.

"Knowing that, it's been eating at me ever since. It definitely fueled my fire to get out and race more over the past year and try to improve that little bit we need."

Indeed, Smith has increased his racing efforts since last year's WoO LMS event at Fayetteville. He reestablished himself as one of the Carolinas' top regional drivers with a solid season that include a victory on the Ultimate Super Late Model Series among other highlights.

Smith has upped his game even more for 2015, with new equipment - a new Rocket Chassis with a Randy Clary Race Engine - and additional sponsorship from Jones Tire & Auto in Statesville, N.C. Rainouts have limited Smith's opportunities to race so far this season, but he's been solid in the few events he has entered with a pair of top-five finishes in four races, including a run from 19th to fourth in a Carolina Clash race at Fayetteville in March.

With confidence in his new Rocket machine, Smith feels good about his chances at Friendship and Fayetteville this weekend.

"We're definitely excited about both races," Smith said. "With the new car and our team, I think we're close to where we need to be. Coming into two big races at tracks close to home, I feel pretty good about where we're at right now.

"I've ran Friendship throughout the years and we've always ran strong there," Smith said. "At Fayetteville, we've had a lot of success there with a bunch of wins in the past. So yeah, we're real excited. We've had this weekend circled on the calendar ever since the schedule came out. Hopefully now we can make it worth the wait."

Weekend Information

Friendship Motor Speedway - 11420 NC-268, Elkin, NC 28621

The WoO LMS makes its debut at Friendship Motor Speedway's semi-banked 4/10-mile oval on Friday with a 50-lap, $10,000-to-win A-Main during the inaugural Blue Ridge Bash. Friday's program also includes a full slate of WoO LMS preliminary action along with support division racing for Crate Late Models, limited sportsman and U-cars.

Gates open at 3:30 p.m. on Friday with on-track action scheduled to get under way at 7:30. General admission prices for Friday's race are $30 for adults and $10 for children ages 5-12; children under 5 are admitted free. Pit passes are $40 for adults and $15 for children ages 5-12.

Fayetteville Motor Speedway - 3704 Doc Bennett Rd, Fayetteville, NC 28306

Fayetteville Motor Speedway's 4/10-mile oval welcomes the WoO LMS on Saturday for a $10,000-to-win program as part of the Tar Heel 100. Saturday's slate features WoO LMS time trials, heat races, Last-Chance Showdowns and a 50-lap A-Main. Support division action features modifieds, super streets, pure stocks and U-cars.

Pit gates open at 2 p.m. on Saturday with general admission gates opening at 3. General admission prices are $30 for adults and $15 for ages 11-15; children 10 and under are admitted free. Pit passes are $40 for adults, $10 for ages 11-15 and free for children 10 and under.

Follow the Action

Listen to live audio from both of the weekend's WoO LMS events for free on www.DIRTVision.com. Results throughout both events will be posted to the Official World of Outlaws Late Model Series website at www.WoOLMS.com.

Further updates from WoO LMS events are posted on the Official WoO LMS social media pages on Twitter atwww.Twitter.com/WoOLateModels and Facebook at www.Facebook.com/WorldofOutlawsLateModelSeries. Check out the latest videos on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/WorldofOutlaws.

History Lesson

Friendship Motor Speedway will host the WoO LMS for the first time on Friday, but the track has been the site of a national touring event once before. In 1996, the track welcomed the now-defunct Hav-A-Tampa Dirt Racing Series for a two-day event Aug. 2-3. Legendary racer Freddy Smith won the event.

In the years since, Friendship has hosted numerous regional events with the Southern All Stars and the Carolina Clash tours both making multiple visits.

Fayetteville Motor Speedway has hosted four WoO LMS events. The national tour made its first stop at the track in 2008 and returned in both 2009 and 2010. Fayetteville was set to end a two-year hiatus from the WoO LMS schedule in 2013, but a rainout forced fans to wait until 2014 for the tour to make its return.

Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., made Fayetteville's first WoO LMS event a dramatic one in 2008 with a stirring rally from the 18th starting spot. The three-time series champion outdueled fellow series regular Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., late in the race to claim the first of his two career WoO LMS victories at Fayetteville.

Fayetteville's 2009 WoO LMS event was another dramatic race with home-state veteran Jeff Smith of Dallas, N.C., claiming his lone WoO LMS victory after Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y., suffered a flat right-rear tire just before taking the white flag. Coffey led 48 of the race's 50 laps after starting from the pole, but the 2008 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year was denied his first series victory and remains winless on the tour.

Richards scored another dramatic victory at Fayetteville in 2010. The eventual WoO LMS champion that season, Richards advanced from his 10th starting spot to overtake Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., for the lead on lap 16, then held off a furious late charge from 2006 WoO LMS champion Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y. Richards edged McCreadie by 0.131 seconds in a side-by-side finish.

The WoO LMS tour's return to Fayetteville in 2014 produced more late drama with three-time series champion Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., overtaking G.R. Smith of Cornelius, N.C., on lap 42 of the 50-lapper. Lanigan pulled away to claim the second of his WoO LMS single-season record 17 victories in 2014, while Smith was denied what would've been the biggest victory of his career.

Previous WoO LMS A-Main Winners at Fayetteville Motor Speedway
2014 - Darrell Lanigan on May 2
2013 - Rainout on April 19
2010 - Josh Richards on April 30
2009 - Jeff Smith on April 17
2008 - Josh Richards on Oct. 7

Current WoO LMS Points Standings (as of April 18 - 10 A-Mains completed)
1. Shane Clanton 1418
2. Darrell Lanigan 1350 (-68)
3. Chub Frank 1320 (-98)
4. Josh Richards 1316 (-102)
5. Tim McCreadie 1276 (-142)
6. Morgan Bagley 1274 (-144)
7. Rick Eckert 1222 (-196)
8. Frank Heckenast Jr. 1218 (-200)
9. Eric Wells 1198 (-220)
10. Chase Junghans 1188 (-230)
11. Brandon Overton 1176 (-242)*
12. Boom Briggs 1126 (-292)
13. Jordan Yaggy 1032 (-386)*
*Rookie of the Year contender

2015 WoO LMS Event Winners
Feb. 6 Screven Motor Speedway - Sylvania, GA - Steve Casebolt
Feb. 7 Screven Motor Speedway - Sylvania, GA - Shane Clanton
Feb. 14 Bubba Raceway Park - Ocala, FL - Frank Heckenast Jr.
Feb. 15 Bubba Raceway Park - Ocala, FL - Josh Richards
Feb. 19 Volusia Speedway Park - Barberville, FL - Shane Clanton
Feb. 20 Volusia Speedway Park - Barberville, FL - Shane Clanton
Feb. 21 Volusia Speedway Park - Barberville, FL - Shane Clanton
April 11 Tazewell Speedway - Tazewell, TN - Billy Ogle Jr.
April 17 Farmer City Raceway - Farmer City, IL - Scott Bloomquist
April 18 Farmer City Raceway - Farmer City, IL - Brandon Sheppard

Upcoming WoO LMS Events
May 8 Ponderosa Speedway - Junction City, KY
May 9 Smoky Mountain Speedway - Maryville, TN
May 23 Tyler County Speedway - Middlebourne, WV
May 24 Tyler County Speedway - Middlebourne, WV

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World of Outlaws Late Model Series News & Notes: Reviewing Farmer City's Douglas Ram Trucks Illini 100

Clanton's First 2015 Setback, Heartbreak For Junghans, Chub's Quick Recovery & More

CONCORD, N.C. - April 22, 2015 - Shane Clanton isn't invincible on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series this season after all.

After starting his WoO LMS campaign with eight consecutive top-five finishes and four victories, Clanton, 39, of Zebulon, Ga., experienced the first setback in the chase for his first series championship with a 23rd-place finish in Friday's opening round of Farmer City Raceway's Douglas Ram Trucks Illini 100 weekend.

Clanton rebounded with a fifth-place finish in Saturday's 75-lap Illini 100 finale - a $15,000-to-win event won by Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill. - but he left Farmer City with his points lead over defending series champion Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., cut from 92 to 68 points.

"I said at the beginning of the year, if we keep winning races and run top fives we're gonna be hard to beat," Clanton said after Friday night's 25-lap Illini 100 A-Main. "But if we're running 23rd, we're kind of beating ourselves."

Indeed, Clanton's disappointing Friday night finish could best be described as a self-inflicted wound. Instead of going on the defensive to protect his points lead, Clanton has kept the same aggressive approach that helped him build the massive early-season advantage.

That cost Clanton during time trials for Friday night's time trials when he jumped the turn-four cushion on his first lap and ended up recording the slowest lap in his qualifying group. He never recovered and had to take his first provisional of the season to start Friday's 25-lap A-Main.

"It's too early to points race," Clanton said after Friday night's race. "We're going out each night with the attitude that we're here to win. That's what got us ahead in the points to begin with and that's what we're sticking to."

Clanton did indeed stick with his in-it-to-win-it approach, and it nearly cost him again on Saturday. During time trials for Farmer City's $15,000-to-win Illini 100 finale, Clanton spun out in turn four on his warmup lap. Luckily, Clanton was able to continue without major harm to his No. 25 Capital Race Car and went on to record the fastest time in his qualifying group.

He later won his heat race and ran as high as third in the A-Main before dropping to fifth at the finish.

"I was going for the gusto - wreckers or checkers," Clanton said when asked about Saturday's qualifying mishap. "I was trying hard because that's what it takes to qualify up front at this place. If I had left anything out there, I'd probably been starting second or third row in my heat and I would've been mad at myself."

Clanton realizes that he'll likely have to reign in his aggressive driving style and conserve his points lead at some point when the tour gets closer to its November finale at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. But he doesn't see that happening any time soon.

"I think you get to the last five or six races and you've got to start points racing then," Clanton said. "But with my luck at Charlotte, I'll need about a 300-point lead going into the World Finals if I want to win it."

Run of Bad Luck

Chase Junghans is beginning to wonder if his luck will ever change. The 22-year-old Manhattan, Kan., driver has ran well for most of his sophomore WoO LMS season but has seen multiple strong runs wiped out by bad luck.

He had perhaps one of the best performances of his WoO LMS career going in Saturday night's 75-lap feature but ultimately left Farmer City with nothing to show for it.

After winning his heat race, Junghans pulled ahead of a back-and-forth battle with 2014 Illini 100 winner Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., to lead 19 laps of the prestigious event.

With his Shop Quik-sponsored Capital machine hampered by front-end damage from hitting a chunk of mud, Junghans lost the lead and began to fade but was still in line to score a strong finish until contact from third-running Kevin Weaver of Gibson, City, Ill., sent both cars spinning.

"It's beyond disappointing," said Junghans, who ended up 21st in Saturday's final rundown. "The whole right-front of the nose was caved in and I was just trying to hold on and at least get a good finish. But (Weaver) took me out. It was all downhill from there."

Stuck in 10th in the WoO LMS standings with just two top-10 finishes on the season, Junghans is hopeful that his luck will soon change and he'll begin converting his strong runs into solid finishes.

"If I could ever get some damn luck, we'd be a lot better," Junghans said. "Hopefully this is rock bottom and we can start building back up from here.

"I know they say it can always get worse, but you would think that at some point our luck has to get better."

Fast Recovery

Knee surgery in February hasn't slowed down Chub Frank. The 53-year-old WoO LMS veteran underwent a knee replacement operation on his left knee on Feb. 23 and has been solid in the three races since returning to the seat of his No. 1* Longhorn Chassis.

After finishes of sixth and seventh at Farmer City and a seventh-place finish at Tazewell (Tenn.) Speedway on April 11, Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., is third in WoO LMS standings with eight top 10s in 10 races on the season.

Frank's recent performance is even more remarkable considering he's not fully recovered from his surgery.

"It's actually not bending quite as far as it should even doing therapy and stuff," Frank said. "They told me to do normal stuff and it'll fix itself, so I'm racing. It's a little sore, but I just put it on ice and exercise it like they say to. I'll keep doing that till we get past it."

Luckily for Frank, the lingering soreness isn't a problem when he's in his race car.

"I don't really feel it until I get out," Frank said. "Maybe if it was a long yellow or if we had to sit under red or something I would start to feel it. But racing, no, I never notice it until after I get out of the car and it's a little sore."

Right At Home

Tim McCreadie is beginning to find himself right at home in the Land of Lincoln. McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who last season scored a $25,000 victory at nearby Fairbury (Ill.) American Legion Speedway, was perhaps the best he's been all season at Farmer City.

Scoring his first back-to-back top-10 finishes of the year, McCreadie battled among the leaders and finished third in Friday's 25-lap opener and advanced from 24th to ninth in Saturday's 75-lap finale.

"They're a little bit like New York - big cushion, slick in the middle and bite on the bottom," McCreadie said in comparing Illinois bullrings like Farmer City and Fairbury to his beloved Empire State ovals. "In my opinion, that's always the best kind of track because it enables the driver to do things.

"You don't get bottled up in one lane; you can move around and drive a little harder and make some time up. It's hard to do that nowadays with the way these cars are built and the way the tire rules are. It's hard to just physically manhandle stuff, so it's nice to come to places like this where you can put more gear in it and just push the throttle harder to go faster."

Shades of Florida

With daytime temperatures creeping well into the 70s at Farmer City, WoO LMS Rookie of the Year contender Jordan Yaggy of Rochester, Minn., couldn't help but notice how much the doubleheader weekend reminded him of the tour's trip to Florida earlier in the season.

"You really couldn't ask for better weather," the 23-year-old Yaggy remarked while going through event registration and pill draw Saturday afternoon at Farmer City. "I walked out this morning and thought I was in Florida."

As Yaggy also noticed, the Illini 100 entry list was also similar to a Florida event at Volusia Speedway Park, which like Farmer City, attracted nearly 50 entries for its weeklong DIRTcar Nationals.

"It's kind of like Florida weather and Florida competition," Yaggy said, noting that the Illini's mix of WoO LMS regulars, other national travelers and regional standouts was one of the best fields he's raced against. "We knew it was going to be tough coming to race these Illinois guys, then you throw in the extra touring guys and it's a really tough field.

"That's part of what makes it fun. We're trying not to get down. This is only our second year in Super Late Model and first year out on the road like this, so we're just having fun and learning."

Yaggy has had his trials in his first year of national traveling, and Farmer City was no different. But the former WISSOTA Late Model standout is remaining positive as he aims to continue his learning process.

"It's kind of been everything I expected," said Yaggy, who finished 25th in both of the weekend's WoO LMS A-Mains. "We had some good nights, a couple of top 10s down in Florida, then we've had some nights that have been a struggle.

"Everybody told me that being a rookie I was gonna take my lumps and bumps. We definitely have been, but we're not gonna quit."

Learning to Adjust

Like Yaggy, fellow WoO LMS rookie contender Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., has had his struggles during his first stab at full-time WoO LMS competition. But the 24-year-old racer got a chance to shine Saturday night at Farmer City.

After qualifying second fastest, Overton outdueled Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., to win his heat race and ran among the top 10 for much of the A-Main. He faded late in the race and ended up 15th at the finish, but Overton was pleased with the experience he gained in his first visit to Farmer City.

"It's a different animal than what I'm used to racing on," said Overton, who opened the WoO LMS season with back-to-back top-three finishes when the tour visited his home region for a pair of events at Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, Ga. "But I stayed out there and ran the whole race and we learned a lot. I think it'll help us down the road and it felt good to run up front for a little bit."

Like most first-time travelers, Overton has found it difficult to adjust to tracks he's unfamiliar with, especially on nights when there isn't much time for practice.

"It's tough because you unload and all you get is a green, a white and a checkered (in hot laps)," Overton said. "Then you better be good in qualifying or you're in for a long night.

"Every racetrack you go to is so different. Even if they look the same, they're still so different. That's what we've gotta get used to: how to adjust to tracks we've never been to."

The good news for Overton is he has four races in a row coming up at tracks where he has considerable experience, beginning with the May 1 WoO LMS visit to Friendship Motor Speedway in Elkin, N.C. The 4/10-mile, which welcomes the WoO LMS for the first time ever, was the site of one of Overton's biggest Super Late Model victories on the Carolina Clash tour last season.

"Now we're headed back to my house," Overton said. "I can't wait to get to some tracks I know so I can maybe build a little bit of confidence. I guess we could go to those tracks and not be any good, but I think we'll be OK. I'm much more comfortable when we're running those tracks around home."

Looking Ahead

WoO LMS competitors take the upcoming weekend off before returning to action with a May 1-2 doubleheader in North Carolina. Both the Blue Ridge Bash on Fri., May 1 at Friendship and the WoO LMS portion of Fayetteville (N.C.) Motor Speedway's Tar Heel 100 on Sat., May 2 feature 50-lap, $10,000-to-win A-Mains.

From North Carolina, the series heads to Kentucky for the tour's first visit to Ponderosa Speedway in Junction City, Ky., on Fri., May 8. On Sat., May 9, the series moves to Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville, Tenn., for the third annual Mountain Outlaw 50 Presented by NAPA. Both events pay $10,000 to the winner.

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Sheppard Outduels Lanigan & Babb At Farmer City, Scores $15,050 Victory In Douglas Ram Trucks Illini 100 Finale

Illinois Standout Becomes Second Home-State Driver To Win Farmer City's Prestigious World of Outlaws Late Model Series Event

FARMER CITY, Ill. - April 18, 2015 - Brandon Sheppard put his experience at Farmer City Raceway to good use Saturday night, mastering the quarter-mile oval to score a $15,050 victory in the Douglas Ram Trucks Illini 100 finale.

Sheppard, the 22-year-old New Berlin, Ill., driver who cut his teeth at Farmer City and other central Illinois bullrings, advanced from his 12th starting spot in the 75-lap World of Outlaws Late Model Series event and overcame both Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., and Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., to become just the second home-state driver to win at the Illini 100.

"There's a reason why it's my favorite racetrack in the country," said Sheppard, who earned the fifth WoO LMS victory of his young career. "Not only do we run good here, but it usually produces pretty good racing."

Lanigan settled for second in the Illini 100 finale for the second consecutive year, while Babb, who last year became the first Land of Lincoln driver to win the event, finished third. Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., was fourth with WoO LMS points leader Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., rounding out the top five.

Sheppard entered the lead battle just before the race's halfway point as he and Lanigan began to catch Babb and second-running Pierce. Both Sheppard and Lanigan moved around Pierce shortly after halfway, but neither could get clear of the other long enough to make a serious challenge on Babb.

A lap-47 restart gave Sheppard the opportunity he needed. With a strong run off the top of turn two, Sheppard pulled ahead of Lanigan down the back straightaway and drove hard into turn three to slide ahead of Babb exiting turn four.

"I was trying to pace myself as much as possible," Sheppard said. "But once I got to third and me and Babb and Lanigan were battling it out, I knew if Lanigan got to the lead he was going to be hard to pass. After that restart when he choose the bottom, I didn't have any choice but to go as hard as I could for them two laps and try to get the lead."

Sheppard did get to the lead, but his work wasn't finished. After building nearly a straightway advantage, his car was hampered in the closing laps by damage from contact with the lapped car of Wendell Wallace of Batesville, Ark.

A furious late charge from Lanigan made matters worse, but Sheppard was up to the task. He avoided any more run-ins with slower cars and held on to beat Lanigan by 0.888 seconds at the finish line.

"I was getting real loose after me and Wendell got together and I was a little bit nervous," Sheppard said. "The top blew off a lot in one and two as the race went on. We just kept going slower and slower and slower, but my crew guy was telling me I was alright."

Settling for the runner-up finish for the second consecutive year at the Illini 100, Lanigan, who with the result closed to 68 points behind Clanton at the top of the WoO LMS championship chase, was disappointed to again come up short but was overall pleased with his weekend at Farmer City.

"We had a good piece here tonight, just qualified kind of bad," said Lanigan, the three-time and defending WoO LMS champion. "All in all, the car was pretty awesome in the feature. I think we've ran second here two or three times. It's about like (the Firecracker 100 at) Lernerville, but I like coming here. I like the crowd and I like the racetrack."

After pulling away from an early battle with fellow front-row starter Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan., Babb appeared to be headed for his second Illini 100 victory until he began to fade around halfway. Switching his line around the track allowed him to close back in on Sheppard and Lanigan during the race's closing laps, but the move came too late.

"I really wish I would've moved up a lot sooner on both ends," said Babb, who raced for the first time in 2015 during Farmer City's doubleheader Illini 100 weekend. "I rode around the bottom too long and the car got too tight down there. Brandon did a hell of a job and Darrell. Those guys are fun to race with."

The race's early portions featured an epic battle at the front between Babb and Junghans. The two No. 18 machines raced side-by-side for much of the race's opening 20 laps until Babb used the low line to clear Junghans for the lead on lap 22.

Junghans continued to run second until lap-27 contact from third-running Kevin Weaver of Gibson City, Ill., sent both cars spinning, ending strong runs for both drivers.

The run-in between Junghans and Weaver was the first of the race's six cautions. A lap-39 tangle between Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., and Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., caused the second yellow flag, while a slowing Richards caused the third caution on lap 45.

A spin by Junghans back in the pack brought out the race's fourth caution, while the fifth yellow flag waved when contact on the front straightway sent Don O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., spinning from a top-10 position. Rick Eckert of York, Pa., slowed to bring out the final caution on lap 56.

The World of Outlaws Late Model Series returns to action May 1-2 with a North Carolina doubleheader at Friendship Motor Speedway in Elkin, N.C., on Fri., May 1 and Fayetteville (N.C.) Motor Speedway on Sat., May 2. Both events pay $10,000 to the winner.

Results of the World of Outlaws Late Model Series Douglas Ram Trucks Illini 100 at Farmer City Raceway
1. (12) Brandon Sheppard/75 $15,050
2. (13) Darrell Lanigan/75 $7,150
3. (1) Shannon Babb/75 $5,000
4. (5) Bobby Pierce/75 $3,550
5. (7) Shane Clanton/75 $2,550
6. (8) Jimmy Owens/75 $2,000
7. (16) Chub Frank/75 $1,850
8. (19) Jimmy Mars/75 $1,650
9. (24) Tim McCreadie/75 $1,650
10. (20) Steve Francis/75 $1,350
11. (23) Morgan Bagley/75 $1,250
12. (21) Frank Heckenast Jr./75 $1,200
13. (10) Dennis Erb Jr./75 $1,100
14. (18) Rick Eckert/75 $1,200
15. (6) Brandon Overton/75 $1,300
16. (22) Josh Richards/75 $1,050
17. (11) Eric Wells/75 $925
18. (15) Wendell Wallace/74 $850
19. (14) Daren Friedman/74 $825
20. (4) Don O'Neal/48 $800
21. (2) Chase Junghans/46 $850
22. (9) Mckay Wenger/40 $850
23. (17) Jason Feger/39 $800
24. (3) Kevin Weaver/27 $850
25. (25) Jordan Yaggy/26 $135

Time of Race: 38 Mins., 27 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.888 Secs.
Yellow Flags: Six (laps 27, 39, 45, 47, 48, 56)
Lap Leaders: Babb (1, 22-47), Junghans (2-21), Sheppard (48-75)

2015 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of April 18 - 10 A-Mains
1. Shane Clanton 1418
2. Darrell Lanigan 1350 (-68)
3. Chub Frank 1320 (-98)
4. Josh Richards 1316 (-102)
5. Tim McCreadie 1276 (-142)
6. Morgan Bagley 1274 (-144)
7. Rick Eckert 1222 (-196)
8. Frank Heckenast Jr. 1218 (-200)
9. Eric Wells 1198 (-220)
10. Chase Junghans 1188 (-230)
11. Brandon Overton 1176 (-242)*
12. Boom Briggs 1126 (-292)
13. Jordan Yaggy 1032 (-386)*

*WoO LMS Rookie of the Year contender

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2015 Points
May 9
1. Shane Clanton 1972
2. Darrell Lanigan 1882
3. Josh Richards 1878
4. Chub Frank 1846
5. Tim McCreadie 1786
6. Morgan Bagley 1762
7. Rick Eckert 1760
8. Eric Wells 1732
9. F. Heckenast Jr. 1728
10. B. Overton 1668
 
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