latemodelamerica.com - July 19 - Gillette Thunder Speedway
LateModelAmerica.com by Sam Holbrooks

 
 

Shane Clanton VL at Gillette Thunder Speedway

It took a trip a way out west and an improved race car to pull it off, but with 32 teams signed in for Tuesday's "Cowboy 50" at Gillett Thunder Speedway, Shane Clanton finally rolled to his first World of Outlaws win of the season. The Georgia veteran was tracked at the finish by Darrell Lanigan, who led part of the main event. (Kevin Kovac)

World of Outlaws: "Shoulda' Been a Cowboy"; Clanton Ends Drought in Wyoming

Kevin Kovac

GILLETTE, WY – July 19, 2011 – Shane Clanton wasn't going to be denied a slump-busting victory in Tuesday's 'Cowboy 50' at Gillette Thunder Speedway.

Refusing to concede defeat after being overtaken for the lead midway through the World of Outlaws Late Model Series 'Wild West Tour' finale, Clanton mounted a stirring rally to outduel Darrell Lanigan and snap a 37-race winless streak on the tour.

The $10,775 triumph was a season-turner for Clanton, a 35-year-old standout from Fayetteville, Ga., who has struggled to get his new Capital Race Cars machine running up to his exacting standards. He had not registered a single top-five finish in a WoO LMS A-Main until breaking through on Tuesday at the one-third-mile oval in eastern Wyoming.

"I feel ecstatic," said Clanton, whose last WoO LMS win came on July 3, 2010, at Tazewell (Tenn.) Speedway. "Me and (former racer) Marshall Green have worked our butts off to try to develop a race car and it's took this long to get where we can race with these guys on a week-in, week-out basis. It feels good to win a World of Outlaws race with it."

Clanton, who started from the pole position, found an extra gear in his Ronnie Dobbins-owned car after his race-long stint at the head of the pack ended when Union, Ky.'s Lanigan passed him on lap 27. Clanton went to the outside line, pinned Lanigan behind the lapped car driven by John Lobb of Frewsburg, N.Y., and surged into the lead for good on lap 35.

Lanigan, 41, could only watch from afar as Clanton sailed to the checkered flag. The 2009 WoO LMS victor at Gillette settled for runner-up money in his Rocket mount, crossing the finish line 1.121 seconds behind Clanton.

Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., finished a distant third, roughly a half-lap behind Clanton. He spent most of the distance running just in front of defending WoO champion Josh Richards, who settled into fourth on a lap 12 restart and stayed there to the finish.

Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., completed the top five. He overtook 2011 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year points leader Pat Doar of New Richmond, Wis., for fifth on lap 37 and ran alone in the position for the remainder of the race.

Clanton became the 10th different winner in 18 WoO LMS A-Mains this season. He let loose in Victory Lane with one of his customary loud screams of joy and, of course, donned a cowboy hat for Gillette's traditional post-race photos.

"I was about content just riding second and having a good race (after losing the lead to Lanigan)," said Clanton, who recorded his 15th career win on the WoO LMS. "But then I seen where (Lanigan) just started twitching a little bit just off the corner. He was trying to get lower and lower, and I said, 'Heck, he's leaving me the whole outside,' so I just went out there and it stuck.

"I just made the move, stuck with it and John (Lobb) luckily just turned a little sideways and held Darrell up for a minute so I could drive by him on the outside."

Lanigan, whose four WoO LMS wins this season leads all drivers, had no answer for Clanton's late-race speed.

"We got tight as soon as it started to rubber, but Shane had a good car," said Lanigan, who started fifth. "He could run anywhere on the racetrack. I couldn't run up there on the top because I just got way too tight, and then those lapped cars held me up on the bottom and he just drove around me."

McCreadie, 37, completed a solid three-race 'Wild West Tour' swing. He finished third twice and captured his first win of 2011 on July 15 at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D.

"It's been a real good trip for us," said McCreadie, who ran his streak of consecutive top-10 finishes to 11. "I wish the first restart (on the opening lap) could've went because I don't think anybody knew there was traction up on the outside there so I might have been able to snooker them, but we'll take third. Shane – man, he was just good when (the track) really started to latch up."

Two caution flags slowed the A-Main, including one that aborted the original start and sent 2008 Gillette WoO LMS winner Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., to the rear of the field. Fuller, who started third, appeared primed for his best run of 2011 but had his hopes dashed when a tap to his car's right-rear corner sent him spinning in turn four.

Fuller initially thought contact from Lanigan had turned him around – he pulled in front of Lanigan's car during the caution period to express displeasure – but he learned later that Lanigan was not responsible for his misfortune. WoO LMS points leader Rick Eckert of York, Pa., who started second, visited Fuller following the race and apologized for getting into him.

The event's second caution flag flew on lap six for Eddie Kirchoff of Gillette, Wyo., who spun to a stop high in turn four. A winner of three of this season's four DIRTcar Late Model features at Gillette, Kirchoff timed second-fastest in qualifying but was running outside the top 10 at the time of his problem.

Finishing in positions 6-10 was Doar, who scored a career-best finish on the WoO LMS; Eckert, who slipped backward but nevertheless ended the 'Wild West Tour' leading the tour's standings by 52 points over Richards; Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga.; 17th-starter Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis.; and Tony Leiker of Gillette, Wyo., who advanced from the 18th starting spot to earn the $500 'Bonus Bucks' cash for being the highest-finishing driver who has never won a WoO LMS A-Main and isn't ranked among the top 12 in the points standings.

NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader entered the event in a Clint Smith's second car and finished 11th in the A-Main.

July 19 - WoO at Gillette Thunder Speedway
1) Shane Clanton, 2) Darrell Lanigan, 3) Tim McCreadie, 4) Josh Richards, 5) Chub Frank, 6) Pat Doar, 7) Rick Eckert, 8) Clint Smith, 9) Jimmy Mars, 10) Tony Leiker, 11) Ken Schrader, 12) Austin Hubbard, 13) Tim Fuller, 14) Eric Mass, 15) Ron Davies, 16) Eddie Kirchoff, 17) John Lobb, 18) John Bey, 19) Scott Lewis, 20) Will Brack, 21) Chris Johnson, 22) Rich Herman II, 23) Jason Schierkolk, 24) Vic Coffey
Fast Time (32 entries): Eckert (14.682); Heat winners: Eckert, Richards, Fuller, Lanigan; B-Main winners: Mars, Leiker.

Ron Skinner photo

 

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