- Oct. 16 - West Virginia Motor Speedway Dirt Track World Championship by Sam Holbrooks


Earl Pearson Jr - DTWC Winner 2010

Earl Pearson, Jr. poses with promoter Carl Short (right) after his DTWC win at West Virginia Motor Speedway Saturday. (Dale Hawkins)

Pearson Captures 30th Annual DTWC Classic

MINERAL WELLS, W.V. - Oct. 16. Finally taking control soon after a lap 61 restart, Earl Pearson, Jr. ended an on-again, off-again duel with Shane Clanton and drove away to a $50,000 win in Saturday's 30th annual "Dirt Track World Championship" at West Virginia Motor Speedway.

To date, all seven of the Jacksonville, Florida ace's 2010 wins had come on his chosen Lucas Oil Racing Series while the industry's premier events had evaded him. That would change Saturday as the savvy veteran pocketed $50,000 for the LaBonte Racing Team.

Jonathan Davenport - Steve Shaver - WVMS

Jonathan Davenport (#49) and #6 Steve Shaver each made his mark on WVMS, Davenport with a fourth place in the DTWC main event and a dominant victory in the Fastrak Crate Model feature, and Shaver with a new track record that knocked the one-lap time below 19 seconds.  Shaver finished 10th in the Dirt Track World Championship. (Rick Schwallie) 

Shane Clanton led much of the DTWC before giving up the lead to Earl Pearson, Jr. after a late restart and finishing second. (Todd Battin)
Once a fixture at the old Pennsboro Speedway before promoter Carl Short took it on the road to a variety of annual venues, the event returned to its West Virginia roots with a record low of 53 entries who nevertheless found a well-groomed 5/8-mile oval at the reopened facility. Speeds were high and passing was at a premium, but the restarts and the usual guesswork in slower traffic allowed for some passing and gave both Clanton and Pearson a shot at the lead.

It was polesitter Clanton out front first, while Pearson got the jump on outside polesitter Davey Johnson for second. By lap ten, Clanton had reached the tail end of the field, and a brief loss of momentum while he sized up the slower car of Tim Dohm allowed Pearson to move up to his rear deck and shoot past for the lead on lap 14. Clanton quickly recovered and roared

A victorious Earl Pearson, Jr. at West Virginia Motor Speedway. (Dale Hawkins)
around the outside to lead lap 16. By then, Jonathan Davenport had displaced Johnson for third, and a quarter of the way into the race, Steve Francis captured fourth. With the halfway signal, Josh Richards was into the top five.

On the fairly smooth surface, attrition was low and cautions were few, but a slowing Tyler Reddick on lap 61 finally brought a late caution that proved to be Clanton's undoing. His #25 had appeared to lost some of its handling, and Pearson took advantage soon after the field returned to green, making the winning pass and pulling away for the remaining laps. Francis was able to overtake Davenport for third during the last quarter of the race, but the Kentucky veteran had nothing for Clanton, who finally began to see the rear of Pearson's #44 get ever smaller.

Finally, in late-race traffic, Clanton was able to close up to within two car lengths, but Pearson had him covered before taking his biggest win of the season. Clanton finished a close second, with Francis and Davenport following. Jimmy Owens was able to shoo Richards out of the fifth spot after the late restart.

In qualifying, lap times dropped below the 19-second mark for the first time as Steve Shaver set a new track record of 18.858, just .03-seconds quicker than Francis. Heat wins went to Scott Bloomquist, Jimmy Owens,  Austin Dillon, and Don O'Neal. B-Feature winners were Ron Davies and Dale McDowell.

Davenport went on to dominate the $10,000-to-win Fastrak Crate Late Model event, lapping all but a handful of cars in side the top five.   

Earl Pearson hd - DTWC

30th Annual Dirt Track World Championship

1) Earl Pearson, Jr., 2) Shane Clanton, 3) Steve Francis, 4) Jonathan Davenport, 5) Jimmy Owens, 6) Mike Marlar, 7) Josh Richards, 8) Davey Johnson, 9) Scott Bloomquist, 10) Steve Shaver, 11) Austin Dillon, 12) Dale McDowell, 13) Eddie Carrier, Jr. (prov.), 14) Shannon Babb, 15) Clint Smith (prov.), 16) Austin Hubbard, 17) Vic Coffey, 18) Donnie Moran 19) Dennis Erb, Jr., 20) Ryan Markham, 21) Don O'Neal, 22) Jared Landers, 23) Tyler Redd1ck (prov.), 24) Ron Davies, 25) Rick Eckert, 26) Tim Dohm, 27) Matt Miller (prov.)

Fast Time (53 entries): Steve Shaver (18.858); Heat winners: Bloomquist, Owens, Dillon, O'Neal; B-Feature winners: Davies, McDowell.

Dale Hawkins photo


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Updated 11/17/10

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