Solon Springs, Wisconsin's Brady
Smith returned to World of Outlaws action and captured Saturday's win at Merritt
World of Outlaws: Brady Smith
Sweeps to Merritt Checkers
LAKE CITY, Mich. – Aug. 20. Brady Smith scrawled his name all over Saturday's first-ever World of Outlaws Late
Model Series event at Merritt Raceway.
The 34-year-old driver from Solon Springs, Wis., was perfect at the quarter-mile oval, sweeping the program in
convincing fashion. He set fast time, won a heat race and dominated the Lane Automotive/All-Star Performance 50
Smith was never seriously challenged en route to his first WoO LMS triumph since Feb. 13, 2010, at Volusia Speedway
Park in Barberville, Fla. It was his fourth career triumph overall on the national tour.
Jason Feger held down third place throughout at Merritt. while #24 Rick Eckert
struggled after a B-Main entry and saw his points lead narrowed by Josh Richards. (Steve
"This was our first time here and it couldn't have gone any better," said Smith, who earned $10,050 for becoming
the 11th different winner in 26 WoO LMS A-Mains this season. "We unloaded pretty fast, set fast time, won the heat,
drew the pole and won the feature. That's a great night."
DIRTcar UMP standouts Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., and Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., chased Smith
from the second and third positions, respectively, for the entire distance and finished in those spots. Darrell
Lanigan of Union, Ky., started and finished fourth and two-time defending WoO LMS champion Josh Richards of
Shinnston, W.Va., advanced from the 12th starting spot to place fifth.
Richards, who reached fifth on a lap 39 restart when he slipped underneath Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga., fell
short of a series-record-tying fourth consecutive win but pulled within striking distance of points leader Rick
Eckert of York, Pa. Eckert's season-worst 16th-place finish allowed Richards to slice his deficit in the standings
from 50 to 28 points with nine events remaining on the '11 schedule.
Brady Smith sails out front at Merritt Speedway. (Steve
Eckert experienced a rare off night on the '11 tour, qualifying through a B-Main for the
first time since March and finding himself a lap down to Smith on lap 12. A caution flag on lap 13 put him back on
the lead lap thanks to the 'Outlaw Pardon,' but he was unable to take advantage of the break; after stopping on the
track to bring out a caution on lap 23 and then pitting, he ran quietly at the back end of the top 20 and needed
the final-lap miscue of Watertown, N.Y.'s Tim McCreadie, who slid off the track in turn four and relinquished 11th
place, to salvage 16th.
Smith, who parked alongside Eckert in the pit area, had no such problems. He built leads of as much as three
secondsover Erb during the 50-lapper before ultimately crossing the finish line with an 0.878 of a second
Shane Clanton and #32 Vic Coffey finished sixth and eighth, respectively.
"I didn't really know what anyone else had for tires, so I was trying to conserve yet still set a good pace,"
said Smith, who kicked off his 2011 season with back-to-back runner-up finishes in February's WoO LMS A-Mains at
Volusia. "When I got to (lapped) traffic I thought I was getting through it pretty good, but some yellows certainly
didn't hurt me. They got me open track again.
"Everything worked out for us," he continued. "With the way we've been running our program this year we're not
hitting the road as much as we were and the $10,000 wins are hard to come by. It's been too long since we've had
one, so we're happy to be in World of Outlaws Victory Lane. It's definitely an honor."
Erb, 38, was unable to pull close enough to threaten Smith.
"I thought I was gonna start closing on him a little bit when we got into lapped traffic, but then a caution came
out and opened it up a little bit again," said Erb, who recorded his best finish in seven WoO LMS starts this
season. "He rolled around there good when he got out in open track. I knew my tires were giving out at the end, so
I was just holding on for second."
Josh Richards (1) got by #25 Shane Clanton after a lap 39 restart to secure a fifth
place finish. (Steve Datema)
Clanton settled for a sixth-place finish after hustling from the ninth starting spot to fifth by lap 24.
Eighth-starter Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., climbed as high as fifth before slipping back to seventh at the
checkered flag, while Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y., placed eighth to move past Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., for
ninth in the WoO LMS points standings; Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., finished ninth; and Jeep VanWormer of
Pinconning, Mich., who started his career racing Street Stocks at Merritt, rounded out the top 10.
Richards kicked off the program with a victory in the 10-lap Merritt Raceway 'Race of Champions,' a special event
reserved for former WoO LMS and Michigan dirt Late Model champions. He drew the pole position and led the entire
distance, beating Lanigan to the checkered flag for a $1,000 bonus.
Aug. 20 - World of Outlaws at Merritt Speedway
1) Brady Smith, 2) Dennis Erb Jr., 3) Jason Feger,
4) Darrell Lanigan, 5) Josh Richards, 6) Shane Clanton, 7) Chub Frank, 8) Vic Coffey, 9) Austin
Hubbard, 10) Jeep VanWormer, 11) Clint Smith, 12) Tim Fuller, 13) Pat Doar, 14) Eric Spangler, 15)
David Hilliker, 16) Rick Eckert, 17) Dona Marcoullier, 18) Ron Davies, 19) Richard Neiser, 20) Tim
McCreadie, 21) John Lobb (prov.), 22) Curtis Roberts, 23) Jill George (prov.), 24) Bob Hammar
(prov.), 25) Jimmy Mars
Fast Time (46 entries): B. Smith (14.473); Heat winners: B.
Smith, Feger, Erb, Frank. B-Main winners: Spangler, Doar
Jim Denhamer photo