latemodelamerica.com - July 9 - River Cities Speedway
LateModelAmerica.com by Sam Holbrooks

 
 
After the rain fell on River Cities Speedway, Austin Hubbard accepted the spoils of victory in the pits. (Kevin Kovac)
World of Outlaws: Hubbard Holds Out `til Rain Comes to River Cities

Kevin Kovac

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - July 9. Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., was declared the winner of Friday's World of Outlaws Late Model Series A-Main at River Cities Speedway after rain forced officials to call the event complete short of its scheduled 50-lap distance.

The 18-year-old rookie sensation didn't perform his trademark post-race Ricky Bobby celebratory run in front of the crowd, however, because the race was checkered with the field of cars sitting in the pit area and a Victory Lane ceremony was not conducted due to the wet conditions. He had to be content receiving a trophy for the second WoO LMS win of his young career while dressed in street clothes near his Beitler Motorsports team's hauler.

"I like to celebrate (after a win) with all the fans out on the homestretch, but I couldn't do that tonight,"”said Hubbard, who stripped down to his fireproof long underwear after capturing his first WoO LMS A-Main on March 20 at Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, Ga. "Maybe we can come back and show `em some skin next year".”

Hubbard, who started from the pole position in Dale Beitler's Reliable Painting Rocket car, had led from the initial green flag when intensifying rain slickened the quarter-mile oval's surface enough to prevent the race from restarting on lap 21. The field was sent to the pit area to wait out the weather, but nearly an hour of steady rain left the track too soaked for officials to dry it in time to beat the impending curfew.

While WoO LMS rules stipulate that an A-Main must reach the halfway point to be considered an official race, tour director Tim Christman made the decision to declare the event complete at 21 laps because the series can't return to the North Dakota facility this season due to travel logistics. He also announced that the race would offer only 60 show-up points to all drivers regardless of their finish.

In a related agreement reached between WoO LMS and River Cities officials, all drivers who competed in the shortened A-Main were paid 75 percent of the regular posted purse for each finishing position.

"It's unfortunate that we weren't able to run the A-Main to its scheduled conclusion because of the weather,"”said Christman. "The feature was definitely building toward another great finish, but all we can do now is look forward to returning next year.”

Hubbard was chased throughout the race's 21 laps by 2008 WoO LMS champion Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., who started from the outside pole. Lanigan, 40, had yet to offer Hubbard a serious challenge when the event reached its early end, leaving him with a runner-up finish for the third time in as many "Wild West Tour" starts.

Defending Josh Richards was the biggest mover in the event, advancing from the 10th starting spot to finish third. He passed Tim McCreadie for third on a lap-14 restart and was threatening Lanigan when the race was slowed for the final time on lap 21 for the spinning car driven by Jill George.

"It's  always nice to get the whole 50 in, but I'll take it either way," Hubbard said. "There's nothing like winning, and winning two races in our rookie season - being the first rookie to win two races - is more than I could ask for".”

The A-Main was marred by a wild crash on lap 12 involving Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, whose car slipped over the turn-two berm and rolled once as he battle for fifth place. His machine landed on its wheels and he quickly climbed out uninjured.

WoO - River Cities Speedway - July 9
1) Austin Hubbard; 2) Darrell Lanigan, 3) Josh Richards, 4) Tim McCreadie, 5) Jimmy Mars, 6) Rick Eckert, 7) Clint Smith, 8) Shane Clanton, 9) Steve Francis, 10) Pat Doar, 11) Chub Frank, 12) Brent Robinson, 13) Brady Smith, 14) Brad Seng, 15) Zach Johnson, 16) Tim Fuller, 17) Russell King, 18) Eric Mass, 19) Jill George (prov.), 20) Jason Hughes, 21) Brian Birkhofer, 22) Larry Wight (prov.), 23) Keith Foss, 24) Mike Balcaen (prov.), 25) Joey Pederson

Fast Time (37 entries): Lanigan (11.842); Heat winners: Lanigan, McCreadie, Francis, Hubbard. B-Main winners: Robinson, King

Craige Whyte photo

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