FONDA, N.Y. — official series release — WoO LMS photo —
Just as the World of Outlaws Late Model Series enters a busy stretch of early-summer action, Shane Clanton is showing signs of another potential hot streak on the national tour.
Clanton, who jumped out to an early lead in this year’s WoO LMS championship chase with four victories in the tour’s first seven races, returned to victory lane for the first time since his February win streak Thursday night at Fonda Speedway with a dominating performance in the opening round of the four-race Great Northern Tour.
The $8,550 victory stretched Clanton’s lead in the WoO LMS standings to 98 points and gives the 39-year-old Zebulon, Ga., racer plenty of momentum as the tour tackles a stretch of seven races in 10 days between the four-race Great Northern Tour and Lernerville Speedway’s three-race Firecracker 100 weekend presented by GottaRace.com.
“Maybe we can get on another roll here and just win all of them,” said Clanton whose fifth WoO LMS victory of the season marked the 25th series triumph of his career. “We’re working on stuff we’ve been doing all year long and just making minor adjustments.Tonight really suited our race car. Hopefully this is a sign of more things to come.”
After taking the lead from outside polesitter Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., on lap eight, Clanton cruised through the remainder of the 40-lap race in his Weldbank Energy-sponsored Capital Race Cars house car. He pulled away on each of the race’s four restarts and built leads of more than a straightaway on the sprawling half-mile oval before ultimately crossing the finish line nearly seven seconds ahead of Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa.
Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan., scored his best career WoO LMS finish in taking third, while seventh-starting Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill., finished fourth and eighth-starting Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., finished fifth. Overton, the leading WoO LMS rookie who controlled the race’s opening seven laps, tangled with a lapped car while battle Frank for second on lap nine; he ended up 15th.
In scoring his 14th top-five finish in 17 WoO LMS A-Mains this season, Clanton took even firmer control of the points battle thanks to both his strong performance and a turn of bad luck for championship rival Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va.
Richards, a three-time WoO LMS champion, was leading his heat race during Thursday’sprelims when his Rocket Chassis house car suffered mechanical woes, forcing him into a backup car and a 24th starting spot for the A-Main. Richards was able to rally to a seventh-place finish but dropped another 14 points to Clanton, who’s continuing to inch closer to his first WoO LMS title.
“We’re the points leader and trying to pad our lead here,” Clanton said. “We’ve gotta keep winning and running top fives and the points will take care of itself. Right now we’re feeling pretty good.”
Starting from the pole, Frank was in prime position to end his nearly six-year WoO LMS winless streak, but he couldn’t keep pace with Clanton. After losing second to Junghans on a mid-race restart, Frank took the spot back on a later restart and held it until the finish.
“We had nothing for Clanton,” said Frank, who notched his sixth top-five finish of the season in his Sorbera Family Chiropractic-sponsored Longhorn Chassis. “He definitely had everybody covered. We were just trying to get to second.
“Chase took the inside for the second (restart). I don’t know what he was thinking because he beat me on the outside (on the first restart). I never gave it up like that. I was taking the outside every time.”
Junghans noted his mistake of choosing to restart on the bottom lane and was disappointed not to complete a first-and-second sweep for Capital Race Cars, but the second-year WoO LMS regular was otherwise pleased with his solid performance in his first ever visit to Fonda.
“It definitely helps coming out of the box on this big swing with a good run,” said Junghans, who notched his second consecutive top-five finish in WoO LMS action. “Hopefully we just keep on building off of it and get a W before we go back home.
“Me and Clanton were joking before we came out that we were gonna run one-two. I thought I had it, but on that restart I should’ve taken the top I guess. I tried everything to get back by him, but I couldn’t get it done.”
Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., advanced from his 10th starting spot to finish sixth, holding off a late challenge from the hard-charging Richards. Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., was eighth with Morgan Bagley of Longview, Texas, ninth and Rick Eckert of York, Pa., fifth.
Billy Decker of Unadilla, N.Y., started the evening off by lowering the Fonda Speedway Late Model track record in time trials, but his night ended early after he suffered engine problems in his heat race. Decker’s lap of 17.135 seconds topped the previous record of 18.367 seconds set by Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., in 2010.
The race was interrupted on four occasions. The first yellow flag was for Overton’s lap-nine run-in with Greg Oakes of Franklinville, N.Y., while Bryan Bernheisel of Lebanon, Pa., slammed the wall exiting turn-four on lap 18 to bring out the second caution.
Dan Stone of Thompson, Pa., got the worst of a lap-22 tangle with Jim Bernheisel of Lebanon, Pa. Contact between the two cars in turn one squeezed Stone’s machine into the wall and sent him into a slow rollover. He was OK.
The race’s final yellow flag appeared when Boom Briggs of Bear Lake, Pa., suffered a flat tire, forcing Jordan Yaggy of Rochester, Minn., to spin to avoid Briggs’ slowing machine.
The Great Northern Tour heads to Ontario, Canada, next for events at Brighton Speedwayon Saturday and Cornwall Motor Speedway on Sunday. The northern trek wraps up back in New York on Tuesday at Weedsport Speedway.
From Weedsport, WoO LMS competitors head to Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa., for the ninth annual Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com June 25-27. The crown jewel event features three nights of WoO LMS action highlighted by a $30,000-to-win finale.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
RESULTS: World of Outlaws Late Model Series Great Northern Tour at Fonda Speedway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (3) Shane Clanton/40 $8,550
2. (1) Chub Frank/40 $4,550
3. (4) Chase Junghans/40 $3,250
4. (7) Frank Heckenast Jr./40 $2,850
5. (8) Tim McCreadie/40 $2,650
6. (10) Darrell Lanigan/40 $2,250
7. (6) Josh Richards/40 $2,050
8. (11) Eric Wells/40 $1,850
9. (9) Morgan Bagley/40 $1,750
10. (18) Rick Eckert/40 $1,800
11. (5) Gregg Satterlee/39 $1,000
12. (17) Ross Robinson/39 $1,450
13. (21) Philip Potts/39 $900
14. (15) Jordan Yaggy/39 $1,100
15. (2) Brandon Overton/35 $1,300
16. (12) Boom Briggs/23 $1,250
17. (19) Jim Bernheisel/22 $660
18. (16) Dan Stone/22 $640
19. (14) Tim Fuller/18 $620
20. (23) Bryan Bernheisel/17 $600
21. (22) Aaron Jacobs/16 $600
22. (20) Michael Oakes/8 $600
23. (24) Jon Rahacevich/1 $600
24. (23) Greg Oakes/0 $625
Time of Race: 27 Mins., 23 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 6.950 Secs.
Yellow Flags: Four (laps 9, 18, 22, 23)
Lap Leaders: Overton (1-7); Clanton (8-40)