Clanton’s Surge Continues With Weather-Beating World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘Pepsi Nationals’


Shane Clanton


Shane Clanton racing with Jason Feger and Steve Francis!

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PEVELY, MO – Sept. 13, 2008 – And the beat goes on for Shane Clanton.

With rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ike closing in, the surging Clanton outdueled Chub Frank and Josh Richards in a stirring late-race battle to capture Saturday night’s 26th annual Pepsi Nationals at I-55 Raceway.
Clanton, 33, of Locust Grove, Ga., beat the impending weather to make the 50-lap A-Main his second straight victory on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series. It was his third win in the last five tour events and came one week after he scored the biggest triumph of his career in the UMP DIRTcar Racing-sanctioned World 100 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.

“I’m pretty excited right now,” said Clanton, who earned $10,150 for his fourth WoO LMS win of 2008. “I was dreading coming out here because we all thought it was going to rain out and I’ve always called this state ‘Misery,’ not ‘Missouri,’ because I’ve just always had so much trouble when I race here.

“But when your car’s working good, your luck’s good and your team is gelling, then you tend to have things kind of work out better. We’re in that zone right now.”

Clanton steered his RSD Enterprises Rocket car forward from the seventh starting spot, grabbing the lead on lap 30 when he took advantage of a slight slip by race-long pacesetter Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa. He held off the challenges of Frank and Shinnston, W.Va.’s Richards over the remaining distance to register his 10th career WoO LMS victory.

Frank, who started from the pole position, settled for a second-place finish in his Lester Buildings Rocket, several car lengths behind Clanton after he lost ground during the final circuits while engaged in a tight tussle for position with Richards. It was the best WoO LMS run for the 46-year-old Frank since he was a runner-up on July 20 at the Belleville (Kan.) High Banks.

Richards, 20, finished third in his father Mark’s Seubert Calf Ranches Rocket. Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., advanced from the 10th starting spot to secure a career-best WoO LMS finish of fourth in his Bob Pierce-built car, and Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., quietly completed the top five in NASCAR Sprint Cup star Clint Bowyer’s Traeger Grills/Chevy Rocket.

Clanton positioned himself for his winning move when he passed defending WoO LMS champion Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., for second on a lap-16 restart. He chased Frank until exploding into the lead on lap 30.

“He was hitting his marks until he pushed off turn four and slowed just a little bit,” Clanton said of Frank. “When he pushed, I just turned left (entering turn one) and went right by him.

“That was the opening I needed. I don’t know if I could have passed him or not without it.”

Clanton tried to drive conservatively when he approached lapped traffic late in the race, which was slowed by six cautions flags but none over the final 24 circuits. He got a wakeup call, however, when Frank and Richards went three-wide with him for the lead on lap 42.

“I saw Josh underneath me and I said, ‘Holy cow! I’ve got to get going!’” described Clanton, whose previous WoO LMS finishes at the one-third-mile I-55 Raceway were eighth (2007) and 15th (2005). “I was stopping getting into the corners, trying to be careful, so after I saw (Richards) I picked up the pace a little bit.”

After putting some space on his pursuers, Clanton was met in Victory Lane by his wife Jennifer and son Ryan, 5, who shared a WoO LMS win with his father for the first time this season.

Frank, meanwhile, was in good spirits despite remaining winless on the WoO LMS since his lone victory on 2008, on May 18 at Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway.

“It feels good to be competitive again,” said Frank, who was the tour’s winningest driver in 2007 with six A-Main triumphs. “It was a lot of fun racing for the lead with Shane and Josh.

“I think Shane knows that we probably would have won if I didn’t make that one mistake. He told me, ‘If you didn’t jump that cushion and give me an opening, I wouldn’t have passed you.’

“There was just a real fine line out there,” he added, describing the top groove that ran close to the outside guardrail. “I missed it one lap and had to almost stop to stay off the wall.”

Richards also lost a struggle with the cushion. He was racing side-by-side with Frank for second on lap 46 when he slipped over the track’s outside lip rounding turn four, causing him to drop to fourth before he could get back up to speed.

“I thought we had a shot at the win,” said Richards, who started sixth. “I tried to run into (turns) three and four as hard as I could so I could carry a lot of momentum down the straightaway and then try to slide under Clanton in (turns) one and two, but I got stuck on the cushion (in turn four). I had to about stop the car so I wouldn’t hit the wall.”

Richards regained third from Feger with three laps remaining, but he didn’t have enough time to make another bid for his fifth WoO LMS win of 2008.

“I’m just glad we were able to get out of our little slump,” said Richards, who had gone without a top-five finish in the tour’s three Pennsylvania events over Labor Day weekend.

Feger, 30, was the event’s Cinderella story, racing toe-to-toe with the WoO LMS regulars from start-to-finish in his distinctive No. 25. Coming off a victory in a UMP DIRTcar Racing-sanctioned feature the previous night at Paducah (Ky.) International Raceway, he blasted from 10th to fifth on the race’s opening lap and advanced two more positions on a lap-two restart.

But Feger couldn’t find the right line to climb higher.

“I was way too tight to run the bottom and I couldn’t run the top consistently enough,” said Feger, who earned the $500 ‘Bonus Bucks’ cash for being the highest-finishing driver who hadn’t won a WoO LMS A-Main since 2004 and wasn’t ranked among the top 12 of the 2008 points standings. “But it felt awesome to be up there racing with these guys.”

Babb, 34, couldn’t duplicate his dramatic run to a second-place finish in last year’s WoO LMS event at I-55 Raceway. He started fourth and basically settled into position at the back end of the top five for the entire distance.

“Everybody was pretty much married to the top (groove), so I tried running the bottom,” said Babb. “I was hoping the top would slow down, but it really never did.”

Finishing in positions 6-10 were UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill.; Rick Eckert of York, Pa.; Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., who started from the outside pole and got shuffled back from second on an early restart; Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill.; and Francis, who ran second for laps 3-16 before fading with a car he called “miserable.”

Francis’s frustrating performance cost him a chance to make up some ground on WoOLMS points leader Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., who struggled to an 11th-place finish. Lanigan holds a commanding 126-point edge over Francis with only four tour events remaining on the 2008 schedule.

Veteran NASCAR driver Ken Schrader, who owns I-55 Raceway, drove his No. 9 dirt Late Model in the event. He finished 15th in the A-Main after rallying from a spin between turns one and two on a lap-16 restart.

Thirty-nine cars were signed in for the evening’s action, which was run under a constant threat of rain. Forecasts called for a 100-percent chance of precipitation developing on Saturday night, but the rain stayed north of the track and the remnants of Hurricane Ike did not begin reaching the area until after midnight.

Despite the dire weather forecast, a solid crowd turned out for the event.

Babb was fastest in time trials, blazing around the high-banked oval in 12.464 seconds. It was his third fast-time honor of the 2008 WoO LMS season.

Heat winners were Erb, Richards, Francis and Clanton. The B-Mains were captured by Ed Dixon of Washington, Mo., and Jeff Johns of Belleville, Ill.

For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.

Results of WoO Late Model Series ‘Pepsi Nationals’ (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):

1. (7) Shane Clanton/50 $10,150
2. (1) Chub Frank/50 $5,100
3. (6) Josh Richards/50 $3,000
4. (10) Jason Feger/50 $3,100
5. (4) Shannon Babb/50 $2,000
6. (8) Dennis Erb Jr./50 $1,700
7. (12) Rick Eckert/50 $1,400
8. (2) Tim Fuller/50 $1,300
9. (11) Brian Shirley/50 $1,200
10. (3) Steve Francis/50 $1,100
11. (5) Darrell Lanigan/50 $1,050
12. (16) Billy Faust/50 $1,000
13. (13) Vic Coffey/50 $1,200
14. (9) Clint Smith/50 $900
15. (14) Ken Schrader/50 $850
16. (18) Jeff Johns/50 $800
17. (20) Jason McBride/49 $770
18. (22) Tim Manville/49 $750
19. (17) Ed Dixon/32 $730
20. (15) Denny Woodworth/26 $700
21. (21) Joe Isabell/26 $700
22. (23) Sean Beardsley/16 $700
23. (19) Bryan Collins/6 $700
24. (24) Jeff Isabell Jr./3 $700

Yellow Flags: 6 (Laps 2, 3, 8, 16, 16, 26)
Lap Leaders: Frank (1-29); Clanton (30-50)
Provisional Starters: Beardsley, Jeff Isabell Jr.
Rookie of the Race: Coffey ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Feger ($500)
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race ($50): Mark Lloyd (Clanton)
Chick Hawk Racing Hot Lap Award: Frank (half-off tire warmers)
Super Clean ‘Start of the Race’: Feger ($100)

Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):

1. 18-Shannon Babb/Moweaqua, IL 12.464
2. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 12.534
3. 19-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 12.708
4. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 12.756
5. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 12.796
6. 9-Ken Schrader/Fenton, MO 12.800
7. 19T-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 12.825
8. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA 12.840
9. 50-Ed Dixon/Washington, MO 12.849
10. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 12.911
11. 00K-Randy Korte/Highland, IL 12.913
12. 92b-Billy Faust/Highland, IL 12.929
13. 32c-Vic Coffey/Leicester, NY 12.932
14. 11z-Bryan Collins/Elsbury, MO 12.955
15. 3s-Brian Shirley/Chatham, IL 12.957
16. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 12.958
17. 28-Dennis Erb Jr./Carpentersville, IL 12.985
18. 25F-Jason Feger/Bloomington, IL 13.004
19. 95-Jeff Johns/Belleville, IL 13.006
20. 28x-Jason McBride/Carbondale, IL 13.038
21. 6J-Joe Isabell/Pennellville, NY 13.100
22. 6K-Michael Kloos/Washington, MO 13.106
23. 45DW-Denny Woodworth/Mendon, IL 13.161
24. 33-Tim Manville/Highland, IL 13.188
25. 1HR-Ron McQuerry/St. Albans, MO 13.193
26. 9z-Jayme Zidar/Greenfield, WI 13.236
27. 13-Dewayne Kiefer/St. Genevieve, MO 13.336
28. 30-Mark Voigt/Marine, IL 13.339
29. 99J-Jimmy Dehm/Lexington, IL 13.365
30. 16-Rusty Griffaw/Festus, MO 13.439
31. 18J-Sean Beardsley/Central Square, NY 13.521
32. 67-Dylan Sharp/Hillsboro, MO 13.564
33. 21-Kerry Gaultney/Collinsville, IL 13.670
34. 27-Mike Schulte/Summerfield, IL 13.680
35. 7JR-Jeff Isabell Jr./Pennellville, NY 13.812
36. 31-Brent Helmkamp/Greenville, IL 13.835
37. 66H-Allen Hammond II/Bonne Terre, MO 15.757
38. 47-Danny Haynes/House Springs, MO N/T
39. 14U-Bruce Unterbrink/Greenville, IL N/T

Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Erb, Babb, C. Smith, Coffey, Dixon, Dehm, McQuerry, Gaultney, Joe Isabell, Hammond

Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Richards, Lanigan, Feger, Schrader, Collins, Kloos, Zidar, Griffaw, Schulte (DNS) Haynes

Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Francis, Fuller, Shirley, Woodworth, Johns, Kiefer, Jeff Isabell Jr., Beardsley, Korte (DNS) Unterbrink

Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Clanton, Frank, Eckert, Faust, McBride, Manville, Voigt, Sharp, Helmkamp

B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Dixon, Collins, Joe Isabell, Griffaw, Gaultney, Schulte, Zidar, Hammond, McQuerry, Dehm, Kloos

B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Johns, McBride, Manville, Voigt, Kiefer, Helmkamp, Jeff Isabell Jr. (DNS) Beardsley, Sharp, Korte

2008 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of Sept. 13 - 39 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/wins/top-5s/top-10s/earnings/points/deficit to leader):

1. Darrell Lanigan 2-25-35-$120,767-5399 (-0)
2. Steve Francis 6-20-32-$169,200-5273 (-126)
3. Shane Clanton 4-20-30-$117,040-5225 (-174)
4. Josh Richards 4-17-26-$110,310-5201 (-198)
5. Chub Frank 1-11-26-$78,280-5143 (-256)
6. Rick Eckert 1-12-24-$77,680-5079 (-320)
7. Shannon Babb 2-16-25-$100,700-5075 (-324)
8. Clint Smith 1-11-22-$66,320-5043 (-356)
9. Tim Fuller 2-7-19-$68,050-4896 (-503)
10. Vic Coffey 0-1-8-$38,570-4185 (-1214)
11. John Blankenship 0-0-6-$34,680-4013 (-1386)
12. Joe Isabell 0-0-0-$17,840-3493 (-1906)
13. Sean Beardsley 0-0-0-$12,520-2995 (-2404)
14. Tim McCreadie 1-9-16-$58,000-2643 (-2756)
15. Danny Johnson 0-0-1-$13,620-2187 (-3212)

LISTEN ONLINE: If fans can’t get to a track to see the World of Outlaws Late Model Series, they can experience the excitement of the nation’s premier tour live on DIRTvision.com through the DIRT Radio Network.

To listen to the free audio broadcasts, log on to www.dirtvision.com and click on the DIRT Radio Network logo.

Listeners will need Windows Media Player 9 or higher to listen to the DIRT Radio Network. For technical support or questions, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by several sponsors and partners, including Advance Auto Parts – the official auto parts store of the WoO LMS; Fusion Energy – the official energy boost of the WoO; and contingency sponsors Wrisco Industries, Chicken Hawk Racing, Crane Cams, Ohlins Shocks, Quarter-Master, Eibach Springs, Integra Shocks, Jake’s Custom Golf Carts, Qwikliner and Super Clean.

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