Earl Pearson, Jr. poses with promoter
Carl Short (right) after his DTWC win at West Virginia Motor Speedway Saturday. (Dale
Pearson Captures 30th Annual DTWC
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 (#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
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.
|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)
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
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.
|A victorious Earl Pearson, Jr. at West Virginia Motor
Speedway. (Dale Hawkins)
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.
30th Annual Dirt Track World
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