Eckert Caps Bubba Army Winter Nationals At Bubba Raceway Park With Stirring $12,250 Triumph
Marlar’s Last-Lap Bid For Victory Ends Against Turn-Three Wall
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
OCALA, FL – Feb. 18, 2012 – Rick Eckert figured out Bubba Raceway Park just in time to score a stirring victory in Saturday night’s 60-lap Bubba Army Late Model Winter Nationals A-Main.
The defending World of Outlaws Late Model Series champion from York, Pa., found his rhythm in the finale of the national tour’s inaugural three-race meet at the central Florida oval. He surged into the lead on lap 44 and held on for the remainder of the distance, reaching the checkered flag first after Mike Marlar’s last-lap bid ended with the Winfield, Tenn., driver smacking the turn-three wall.
Eckert, 46, earned $12,250 for his first WoO LMS win of 2012 and the 25th of his career. It also marked his first top-five finish in five career A-Main starts at BRP, including two (10th and 11th-place runs) in the preceding days.
“I was saying it would take a month of me racing here before I’d win a race,” said Eckert, who ranks fourth on the WoO LMS career win list since 2004. “We struggled here for the last couple days, but we kept working and making changes and we did finally get it done.”
Eckert brought an end to the first-place stranglehold on the Winter Nationals held by Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., and Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., who settled for finishes of second and third, respectively. Lanigan won Thursday night’s 40-lap opener over Richards and Richards beat Lanigan to the checkered flag in Friday evening’s 50-lap headliner.
Eighth-starter Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga., finished fourth in Saturday night’s A-Main – his second top-five finish of the tripleheader – and 2011 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year Pat Doar of New Richmond, Wis., registered a career-best tour finish of fifth after starting from the pole position.
Eckert started sixth in the 25-car event, but he slipped to eighth almost immediately and was still running in that position when the race’s second caution flag flew on lap 20 for the slowing Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark. His Team Zero by Bloomquist machine came alive soon after, reaching fourth place when the next caution was needed, on lap 42 for a turn-one spin by WoO LMS rookie Greg Johnson of Bedford, Ind.
Then the race heated up. Lanigan grabbed second from Richards on the restart and nosed ahead of Marlar, who started second and had led from the initial green flag, to assume command on lap 43. Moments later, however, Lanigan’s car slid sideways in turn two and lost significant momentum, dropping him to fifth and allowing Eckert to vault into the lead at lap 44.
“They were wrestling pretty hard for the lead there, Darrell and the five car (Marlar),” said Eckert. “I think they might’ve touched (on lap 43) and they slid up the racetrack. I just stuck that bottom and got by ’em.”
After rookie Jared Hawkins of Fairmont, W.Va., spun in turn four to bring out the race’s fourth and final caution flag on lap 47, Eckert built an edge of over one second on second-place Marlar. But over the final five circuits Eckert noticeably slowed his pace and Marlar drew his Bryson Motorsports Rocket car to Eckert’s rear bumper.
On the final lap, Marlar attempted to squeeze between Eckert and the outside wall entering turn three. The space closed up, however, and contact with Eckert sent Marlar into the guardrail.
As Marlar sat against the wall, Eckert went on to win the A-Main under a yellow-checkered condition by 2.044 seconds over Richards. Marlar was able to drive his damaged car across the finish line in 18th place.
“I was like everybody – I was running out of tires,” said Eckert. “I was getting loose off (turn) two, so I’d just let my car drift out there. I drifted out there the last lap like I did every lap, and apparently Mike had a run and I got him in the wall.
“I know they’re all mad – and I’d be mad too,” he continued, speaking of Marlar and his crew. “But I surely didn’t try that. I didn’t try to crash the guy.”
Marlar, 33, was disappointed to come so close to his first-ever WoO LMS victory but gracefully accepted his fate.
“(Eckert) didn’t give me room, but it is hard to see out of these cars,” said Marlar, who hopes to follow the WoO LMS for the first time in 2012. “I’m not gonna say he wrecked me or, ‘He did this,’ or, ‘He did that.’ I definitely knew the chances (of trying an outside pass), and I took them. Our team’s strong and we got good equipment, so I just went for it – and unfortunately, I got bit.
“But we come to win. We have that win hunger, and when it comes to situations like that I guess we’re just gonna tear up some stuff because we’re not backing off.”
Marlar looked wistfully at the lap-42 restart when he lost the lead.
“It’s my fault I got passed,” said Marlar. “I kept pulling the front wheels of the ground scooting through the corner on those restarts. I had done it two or three times, and I was trying my best for that not to happen (on lap 42) so I went in and stood on it with all I could so it wouldn’t. But that made it even worse, and when I pushed it cost us the lead.”
Richards, 23, was in the middle of all the late-race action.
“It got crazy fast with everybody running so close together,” said Richards, who started third. “Everybody was going for the win.
“We had a great all night, but we weren’t quite set up for that (track) condition when it slowed down. I was pretty much holding on at the end.”
Lanigan, 41, saw an opportunity for his third win in four WoO LMS events this season slip through his fingers.
“We got the lead there for a second, but I don’t know if we got loosened up or just got too loose getting in there and somebody got in the back of me,” said Lanigan. “We got it corrected and come back out in fifth, so to get third – I guess that’s not too bad.”
Finishing in positions 6-10 was DIRTcar UMP Late Model star Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., who started fourth and ran as high as second early in the event; Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa.; Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y.; top WoO LMS rookie Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss.; and Gregg Satterlee of Rochester Mills, Pa.
Lanigan was quickest in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials, topping the 49-car field with a lap of 13.998 seconds. It was his third fast-time honor of the young season.
Heat winners were Lanigan, McCool, Eckert and Richards. Dillon Wood of Daytona Beach, Fla., and Jason McBride of Carbondale, Ill., captured the B-Mains.
All of the A-Main starters posed for a photo during the pre-race introductions with professional wrestling legend Hulk Hogan, who served as the Grand Marshall of the event. He is a close friend of BRP owner Bubba ‘The Love Sponge’ Clem, a nationally-syndicated radio show host.
The WoO LMS will conclude its season-opening southern swing during the 41st UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla., contesting 50-lap, $10,000-to-win events on Thurs., Feb. 23, and Sat., Feb. 25.
Results of WoO Late Model Series ‘Bubba Army Late Model Winter Nationals’ Night 3 at Bubba Raceway Park (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (6) Rick Eckert/60 $12,250
2. (3) Josh Richards/60 $6,150
3. (7) Darrell Lanigan/60 $4,650
4. (8) Shane Clanton/60 $3,550
5. (1) Pat Doar/60 $3,050
6. (4) Jason Feger/60 $2,600
7. (9) Chub Frank/60 $2,050
8. (10) Vic Coffey/60 $1,750
9. (5) Bub McCool/60 $2,100
10. (12) Gregg Satterlee/60 $1,350
11. (19) Dan Stone/60 $1,300
12. (14) Tim Fuller/60 $1,250
13. (16) Brandon Sheppard/60 $1,150
14. (18) Jason McBride/60 $1,100
15. (21) Billy Moyer Jr./60 $1,100
16. (24) Kent Robinson/60 $1,100
17. (25) John Lobb/60 $150
18. (2) Mike Marlar/60 $900
19. (17) Dillon Wood/59 $850
20. (15) Clint Smith/59 $850
21. (22) Jared Hawkins/49 $800
22. (20) Greg Johnson/40 $800
23. (23) Ron Davies/24 $850
24. (13) Billy Moyer/19 $925
25. (11) Tim McCreadie/15 $950
* Earnings include cash contingency award bonuses
Margin of Victory: 2.044 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 4 (Laps 11, 20, 42, 47)
Lap Leaders: Marlar (1-42); Lanigan (43); Eckert (44-60)
Provisional Starters: Davies, Robinson (WoO); Lobb (WoO emergency)
Rookie of the Race: Bub McCool
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Bub McCool ($500)
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 13.998
2. 5b-Mike Marlar/Winfield, TN 14.089
3. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 14.116
4. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 14.130
5. 25-Shane Clanton/Fayetteville, GA 14.162
6. 57J-Bub McCool/Vicksburg, MS 14.232
7. 11-Pat Doar/New Richmond, WI 14.241
8. 22s-Gregg Satterlee/Rochester Mills, PA 14.267
9. 21-Billy Moyer/Batesville, AR 14.278
10. 32c-Vic Coffey/Caledonia, NY 14.288
11. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 14.300
12. b5-Brandon Sheppard/New Berlin, IL 14.302
13. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 14.331
14. 21Jr.-Billy Moyer Jr./Batesville, AR 14.371
15. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 14.380
16. 25F-Jason Feger/Bloomington, IL 14.419
17. 8-John Lowery/Bakersfield, CA 14.466
18. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 14.468
19. 13-J.R. Hotovy/Covert, MI 14.470
20. 71d-Ron Davies/Warren, PA 14.472
21. 1W-Dillon Wood/Daytona Beach, FL 14.480
22. 28-John Lobb/Frewsburg, NY 14.498
23. 25z-Mason Zeigler/Chalk Hill, PA 14.501
24. 77-Jason McBride/Carbondale, IL 14.508
25. 101-Casey Roberts/Toccoa, GA 14.510
26. 7R-Kent Robinson/Bloomington, IN 14.519
27. 37-Jared Hawkins/Fairmont, WV 14.564
28. 99Jr.-Frankie Heckenast Jr./Orland Park, IL 14.565
29. 21d-Dan Stone/Thompson, PA 14.582
30. 1s-Jack Sullivan/Greenbrier, AR 14.613
31. 91-Billy Decker/Unadilla, NY 14.673
32. 49-Greg Johnson/Bedford, IN 14.685
33. B12-Kevin Weaver/Gibson City, IL 14.691
34. 47-Tyler Ivey/Tallahassee, FL 14.691
35. 80-Nick Lyons/Centralia, IL 14.736
36. 35-Christian Augsperger/Palm Beach Gardens, FL 14.750
37. 57-Charlie Sanderock/Belleville, ONT 14.782
38. 11K-Austin Kirkpatrick/Ocala, FL 14.790
39. 77M-Jay Morris/Watseka, IL 14.795
40. J4-John Garvin Jr./Sarver, PA 14.859
41. 22G-Jill George/Cedar Falls, IA 14.942
42. 4G-Bob Gardner/Matamoras, IL 14.950
43. 48-Tim Lance/Brimfield, IL 14.998
44. 38G-John Gardner Jr./Germantown Hills, IL 15.031
45. 15-Alan Fink/Brewerton, NY 15.341
46. 16H-Mike Hammerle/St. Charles, MO 15.624
47. 33-Don Gordon/Chatham, IL 16.581
48. 33F-Jim Fletcher/Chatham, IL 16.967
49. 22x-Jay Sessoms/Stanley, NC N/T
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Lanigan, Clanton, Frank, Moyer, Wood, Stone, Roberts, Fink, Sandercock, Lowrey, George, Weaver (DNS) Sessoms
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): McCool, Marlar, Coffey, Fuller, Moyer Jr., Lobb, Kirkpatrick, Ivey, Sullivan, Robinson, B. Gardner, Hammerle
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Eckert, Doar, McCreadie, C. Smith, Decker, Hawkins, Lyons, Hotovy, Lance, Morris, Gordon, Zeigler
Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Richards, Feger, Satterlee, Sheppard, McBride, Johnson, Davies, Heckenast, Augsperger, Garvin, J. Gardner, Fletcher
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Wood, Stone, Moyer Jr., Lobb, Sullivan, Kirkpatrick, Ivey, Robinson, Fink, Sandercock, B. Gardner, Hammerle (DNS) Roberts, Lowrey, Weaver, Sessoms, George
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): McBride, Johnson, Hawkins, Decker, Davies, Heckenast, Augsperger, Lyons, Hotovy, Garvin, Lance, Morris, J. Gardner, Gordon, Fletcher (DNS) Zeigler
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:
Arizona Sport Shirts ($100 product certificate to 23rd-place finisher I n A-Main or next highest w/decal): Mason Zeigler
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Jason Feger
Cometic Gasket ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Tim Fuller
Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Rick Eckert
Comp Cams ($50 product certificate to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Dan Stone
Dominator ($50 cash to 6th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Jason Feger
Eibach Springs (one free spring to each B-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Dan Stone/Jason McBride
Gravely ($50 cash to 7th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Bub McCool
JE Pistons ($50 cash to 16th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Kent Robinson
JE Pistons (one compete set of JE Pro Seal rings to 11th-place finisher or next highest w/decal – $285 value): Dan Stone
JE Pistons (one complete set of JE Pro Seal rings to 21st-place finisher or next highest w/decal – $285 value): Greg Johnson
MSD Ignition ($50 cash to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Rick Eckert
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Billy Moyer
Ohlins Pole Award ($50 cash to fast qualifier or next highest w/decal): Rick Eckert
Quartermaster ($100 product certificate to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Rick Eckert
Quartermaster ($50 product certificate to 5th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Pat Doar
Quartermaster ($25 product certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Billy Moyer Jr.
Roush-Yates Performance Products ($50 cash to 4th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Dan Stone
Roush-Yates Performance Products (carburetor repair kit to 18th-place finish in A-Main or next highest w/decal – $100 value): Greg Johnson
Roush-Yates Lap Leader Award (one pair of Wiley X Sunglasses to driver who leads most laps in A-Main): Mike Marlar
STP ($50 cash to 2nd-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Josh Richards
SuperFlow ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Kent Robinson
VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to 9th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Bub McCool
VP Racing Fuels ‘Nice Jugs Award’ (one VP 5-gallon container to fastest qualifier who misses A-Main or next highest with decal – $30 value): John Lowrey
WIX Filters ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Billy Moyer Jr.
Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner if decal displayed – $200 value): Josh Richards
XS Power ($50 cash to 3rd-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Jason Feger
XS Power ($60 product certificate to 8th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Bub McCool
XS ‘Power Move of the Race’ ($60 product certificate):
2012 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of Feb. 18 – 4 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Darrell Lanigan 590
2. Josh Richards 584 (-6)
3. Rick Eckert 552 (-38)
4. Shane Clanton 548 (-42)
5. Bub McCool 526 (-64)
6. Chub Frank 522 (-68)
7. Vic Coffey 506 (-84)
8. Mike Marlar 496 (-94)
9. (tie) Brandon Sheppard 488 (-102)
9. (tie) Pat Doar 488 (-102)
11. (tie) Tim McCreadie 484 (-106)
11. (tie) Jared Hawkins 484 (-106)
11. (tie) Clint Smith 484 (-106)
14. Ron Davies 470 (-120)
15. Kent Robinson 454 (-136)
16. (tie) John Lobb 442 (-148)
16. (tie) Gregg Satterlee 442 (-148)
18. Tim Fuller 436 (-154)
19. Billy Moyer Jr. 428 (-162)
20. Dan Stone 408 (-182)
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award), McCarthy’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award), Chizmark Larson Insurance, Factory Value Parts and RacingJunk.com; in addition to contingency sponsors Comp Cams, Eibach Springs, JE Pistons, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, Pro Power Engines, Quartermaster, Rocket Chassis, R2C Performance, Superflow Dynos, Wix Filters and Wrisco Aluminum.