Lanigan Pushes Win Total To Six With Late-Race Pass Of McCreadie Sunday Night At Eriez Speedway
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Points Leader Victorious For Fourth Time In Last Six Events
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
HAMMETT, PA – June 17, 2012 – Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., maintained his status as top dog on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series, cooling off the resurgent Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., with a late-race pass for the lead to win Sunday night’s 50-lap A-Main at Eriez Speedway.
Adding to his already commanding WoO LMS points lead, Lanigan, 42, turned up the wick on his Rocket car following a lap-41 restart and sailed by McCreadie on lap 44 to assume command for good. The circuit’s 2008 champion beat McCreadie, the 2006 World of Outlaws titlist, to the finish line by 0.867 of a second for his series-leading sixth victory of the 2012 season.
Defending WoO LMS champ Rick Eckert of York, Pa., placed third, Rookie of the Year leader Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., was fourth in his first-ever start at Eriez and polesitter Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., went too soft with his tire choice and slipped to fifth at the checkered flag to run his WoO LMS winless streak to 99 races.
Lanigan’s $10,650 triumph was his fourth in the last six WoO LMS A-Mains and marked the second straight year that he emerged victorious in the national tour’s annual visit to the one-third-mile Eriez oval. His 32nd career World of Outlaws A-Main win also pushed his ’12 earnings to $128,700 through 17 events – more than double McCreadie’s second-highest total of $63,410.
What’s more, Lanigan grabbed a checkered flag by passing McCreadie late in the distance for the second time in a month, duplicating his winning effort of May 25 at Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio, and allowing him to remain the hottest driver on the WoO LMS. McCreadie, 38, is vying with Lanigan for that lofty status with six top-five finishes in his last eight starts, including wins on May 4 at 311 Motor Speedway in Pine Hall, N.C., and June 16 at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway and Sunday evening’s runner-up finish.
“Timmy, he’s running good right now,” said Lanigan, whose perfect Eriez night included setting fast time in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials and winning a heat race. “They got their program working good. He raced me clean tonight and I’d say he’ll be tough all year.”
McCreadie, who started from the outside pole in the Sweeteners Plus Warrior car, led the race’s first lap before being overtaken by Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, N.C. The winner of the DIRTcar UMP-sanctioned $100,000 Dream one week earlier at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway, Clanton built a solid lead until his bid for his first WoO LMS win of ’12 ended abruptly on lap 14 due to terminal engine problems.
Clanton’s departure put McCreadie back in the lead and he seized the opportunity. Lanigan, who started sixth, moved by Frank for second on lap 23 but couldn’t challenge McCreadie, falling over one second in arrears of the leader.
The race’s fourth and final caution flag, on lap 41 for a turn-four spin executed by John Lobb of Frewsburg, N.Y., gave Lanigan new life. He tossed his machine around the outside lane to take the lead from McCreadie on lap 44 and held on for the remaining circuits.
“This was probably a ‘9’ on the difficulty (scale),” said Lanigan, who is within sight of the WoO LMS’s modern-era (2004-present) single-season victory record of nine held by Scott Bloomquist and Josh Richards. “I had to get up on the wheel hard this year. Last year (his first Eriez win) was a little easier.
“T-Mac was running good there on the bottom. I just had to find another groove there on the outside. I finally got enough momentum to get by him.”
McCreadie could taste a second consecutive win, but he settled for a strong bridesmaid finish.
“That darn Darrell – he’s tough,” said McCreadie. I knew the outside might be good, but I was married to the bottom (lane). Once he showed me (the top) it was better, I moved up and he still kind of got away, so he had the best car.
“Tonight we had a car that I thought was capable of winning, but it’s just that Darrell was a little quicker. But we’re with him. We were off just a little – just a little. We’re getting closer to running with him.”
Eckert, 46, started fourth and never slipped out of the top five in his Team Zero by Bloomquist mount. The ’09 WoO LMS winner at Eriez scored his eighth top-five finish of the ’12 tour, second only to Lanigan’s 13.
“We haven’t been very competitive here lately,” said Eckert, “so for us to be able to drive back up to them guys and race with them makes me feel better for sure.”
The fifth-, sixth- and seventh-place finishers – Frank, Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs of Bear Lake, Pa., and John Volpe of Lakewood, N.Y. – had close ties because all three cars are housed at Frank’s race car shop. Briggs picked up 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, while the 21-year-old Volpe, who began working fulltime on Frank’s crew last month, advanced from the 13th starting spot to register a career-best WoO LMS finish.
Ron Davies of Warren, Pa., finished a quiet eighth; WoO LMS rookie Jack Sullivan of Greenbrier, Ark., recovered from a turn-four spin that brought out the caution flag on lap nine to finish ninth for his first top-10 run of ’12; and Pat Doar of New Richmond, Wis., completed the top 10.
Mike Knight of Ripley, N.Y., joined Clanton as a high-profile early retiree, pulling up lame with mechanical trouble on lap 38 while running fifth. He briefly climbed as high as third place after starting fifth.
Thirty-six cars were signed in for the event, which was run under a constant threat of rain. As the night’s scheduled race time neared, in fact, it appeared that showers were so close at hand that officials decided to run the three support-division features first in an effort to avoid having rain fall midway through WoO LMS time trials or heat races – a situation that would require the tour’s program to restart from scratch.
The expected heavy rain never struck Eriez, however. A very brief shower forced officials to red flag the second B-Main at lap three, but the weather cleared and racing resumed just under an hour later.
Lanigan’s lap of 15.968 seconds in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials gave him his series-leading fourth fast-time honor of 2012.
Heat winners were Lanigan, Briggs, Russell King of Bristolville, Ohio, and Frank. The B-Mains were captured by Doar and Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y.
Qualifying action was marred by a wild accident during the first heat involving WoO LMS Rookie of the Year contender Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind., who was swept up in a multi-car lap-three restart tangle that sent him barrel-rolling onto his roof off turn two.
One night after losing an engine as he took the checkered flag to win a heat race at Hagerstown Speedway (he started the A-Main last in a backup car), Robinson ended up a victim of circumstance at Eriez. Davey Johnson of Latrobe, Pa., was the leader on the restart but got out of shape rounding turns one and two due, he said, to a broken rearend, and the ensuing scramble behind Johnson turned Robinson sideways and then a hit from another car flipped him one-and-a-half times.
Robinson, 25, climbed out of his car after it was righted by track safety crews, dejected but otherwise uninjured after getting upside down for the first time since moving to the dirt Late Model division in 2010. His car was taken back to the pit area on a rollback truck.
Robinson earned a points provisional to start the A-Main, but with his backup car not equipped with an engine he jumped in the crate Late Model of Rob Bates to take the green flag.
The WoO LMS will remain in the Northeast for the next two weeks, competing on June 22 at Autodrome Granby in Granby, Que.; June 24 at Cornwall (Ont.) Motor Speedway; June 26 at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Speedway; and June 28-30 at Lernerville Speedway (the sixth annual Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com).
Results of WoO Late Model Series at Eriez Speedway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (6) Darrell Lanigan/50 $10,650
2. (2) Tim McCreadie/50 $5,700
3. (4) Rick Eckert/50 $3,650
4. (11) Bub McCool/50 $3,100
5. (1) Chub Frank/50 $2,550
6. (7) Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs/50 $2,200
7. (13) John Volpe/50 $1,450
8. (12) Ron Davies/50 $1,300
9. (10) Jack Sullivan/50 $1,750
10. (17) Pat Doar/50 $1,750
11. (9) Dave Hess Jr./50 $1,050
12. (16) Scott Johnson/50 $1,000
13. (15) Jason Dupont/50 $1,100
14. (24) John Lobb/50 $950
15. (22) David Lyon/50 $850
16. (14) Vic Coffey/49 $1,350
17. (5) Mike Knight/37 $770
18. (25) Rich Gardner/30 $800
19. (19) Scott Gurdak/25 $730
20. (21) Andy Boozel/23 $700
21. (8) Russell King/15 $700
22. (3) Shane Clanton/14 $1,250
23. (20) Clint Smith/8 $1,250
24. (18) Tim Fuller/2 $1,250
25. (23) Kent Robinson/1 $1,250
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 25 Mins., 54.796 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 1.059 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 4 (Laps 3, 9, 38, 41)
Lap Leaders: McCreadie (1); Clanton (2-14); McCreadie (15-43); Lanigan (44-50)
Provisional Starters: Robinson, Lobb (WoO); Gardner (track)
Rookie of the Race: McCool ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Briggs ($500)
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 15.968
2. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 16.079
3. 57J-Bub McCool/Vicksburg, MS 16.133
4. 9K-Mike Knight/Ripley, NY 16.169
5. 1J-Davey Johnson/Latrobe, PA 16.272
6. 99B-Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs/Bear Lake, PA 16.280
7. 56-Russell King/Bristolville, OH 16.309
8. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 16.343
9. 25-Shane Clanton/Fayetteville, GA 16.347
10. 1s-Jack Sullivan/Greenbrier, AR 16.363
11. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 16.431
12. 71d-Ron Davies/Warren, PA 16.464
13. 44H-Dave Hess Jr./Waterford, PA 16.480
14. 11-Pat Doar/New Richmond, WI 16.560
15. 8-Jason Morell/Northeast, PA 16.603
16. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 16.609
17. 28-John Lobb/Frewsburg, NY 16.609
18. 32c-Vic Coffey/Caledonia, NY 16.675
19. N07-Jason Dupont/Cyclone, PA 16.727
20. B22-Bump Hedman/Sugar Grove, PA 16.738
21. 9-Scott Gurdak/Bear Lake, PA 16.746
22. 12B-Andy Boozel/Clymer, NY 16.752
23. 22x-Greg Oakes/Franklinville, NY 16.754
24. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 16.775
25. 7R-Kent Robinson/Bloomington, IN 16.788
26. 1G-Rich Gardner/Waterford, PA 16.800
27. 07R-Brent Rhebergen/Clymer, NY 16.905
28. 2J-Scott Johnson/Wattsburg, PA 16.915
29. 53-John Volpe/Lakewood, NY 17.046
30. 33-Chris Hackett/Corry, PA 17.089
31. 26G-Greg Johnson/Lakewood, NY 17.094
32. 28L-Randy Lobb/Jamestown, NY 17.202
33. 03-Doug Eck/Corry, PA 17.272
34. 76-Andy Kania/Waterford, PA 17.354
35. 55H-David Lyon/Corry, PA 17.604
36. 22-Jill George/Cedar Falls, IA 18.072
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Lanigan, Clanton, Hess, Volpe, Gurdak, Eck, Davey Johnson, Robinson, Lobb
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Briggs, McCreadie, Sullivan, Coffey, Doar, Boozel, Hackett, Gardner, Kania
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): King, Eckert, McCool, Dupont, Morell, G. Johnson, Rhebergen, Lyon, Oakes
Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Frank, Knight, Davies, S. Johnson, C. Smith, Fuller, R. Lobb, George, Hedman
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Doar, Gurdak, Boozel, Gardner, Kania, Hackett, Eck (DNS) D. Johnson, Robinson, J. Lobb
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Fuller, C. Smith, Lyon, Oakes, Morell, R. Lobb, G. Johnson, Rhebergen, George, Hedman
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): Jill George
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Ron Davies
Cometic Gasket ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Jason Dupont
Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Pat Doar
Comp Cams ($50 product certificate to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Tim McCreadie
Dominator ($50 cash to 6th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Pat Doar
Eibach Springs (one free spring to each B-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Pat Doar/David Lyon
Gravely ($50 cash to 7th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): John Volpe
JE Pistons ($50 cash to 16th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Vic Coffey
JE Pistons (one compete set of JE Pro Seal rings to 11th-place finisher or next highest w/decal – $285 value): Jason Dupont
JE Pistons (one complete set of JE Pro Seal rings to 21st-place finisher or next highest w/decal – $285 value): Tim Fuller
Klotz Synthetic Lubricants ($50 cash to 17th-place finisher or next highest finisher): Rich Gardner
MSD Ignition ($50 cash to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Tim McCreadie
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Tim Fuller
Ohlins Pole Award ($50 cash to fast qualifier or next highest w/decal): Bub McCool
Quartermaster ($100 product certificate to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Tim McCreadie
Quartermaster ($50 product certificate to 5th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): David Lyon
Quartermaster ($25 product certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Vic Coffey
Roush-Yates Performance Products ($50 cash to 4th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Jason Dupont
Roush-Yates Performance Products (carburetor repair kit to 18th-place finish in A-Main or next highest w/decal – $100 value): Rich Gardner
Roush-Yates Lap Leader Award (one pair of Wiley X Sunglasses to driver who leads most laps in A-Main): Tim McCreadie
STP ($50 cash to 2nd-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Tim McCreadie
SuperFlow ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): John Lobb
VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to 9th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Pat Doar
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): Davey Johnson
WIX Filters ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Jason Dupont
Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner if decal displayed – $200 value): Darrell Lanigan
XS Power ($50 cash to 3rd-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Bub McCool
XS Power ($60 product certificate to 8th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Pat Doar
XS ‘Power Move of the Race’ ($60 product certificate): Darrell Lanigan
2012 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of June 17 – 17 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Darrell Lanigan 2440
2. Rick Eckert 2324 (-116)
3. Chub Frank 2248 (-192)
4. Tim McCreadie 2222 (-218)
5. Shane Clanton 2164 (-276)
6. Vic Coffey 2138 (-302)
7. Bub McCool 2082 (-358)
8. Clint Smith 2080 (-360)
9. Pat Doar 1986 (-454)
10. Kent Robinson 1904 (-536)
11. Tim Fuller 1890 (-550)
12. Jack Sullivan 1832 (-608)
13. John Lobb 1806 (-634)
14. Mike Marlar 1498 (-942)
15. Greg Johnson 1390 (-1050)
16. Jill George 1228 (-1212)
17. Steve Shaver 1066 (-1374)
18. Brandon Sheppard 1046 (-1394)
19. Gregg Satterlee 1004 (-1436)
20. Josh Richards 974 (-1466)
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), Gravely Tractors (Official Lawn Equipment), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing Fuel (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award) and McCarthy’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award); in addition to contingency sponsors Butlerbuilt, Cometic Gaskets, Comp Cams, Dominator Race Products, Eibach Springs, JE Pistons, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, QuarterMaster, Roush Yates Performance Parts, Superflow Dynos, Wix Filter, Wrisco Aluminum and XS Power Racing Batteries; along with manufacturer sponsors Integra Shocks, GRT Chassis, Jake’s Carts, Longacre, Racing Electronics, Rocket Chassis, TNT Rescue, and Warrior Chassis.
LIVE UPDATES 6/17: World of Outlaws Late Model Series At Eriez Speedway
HAMMETT, PA – June 17, 2012 – The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is visiting Eriez Speedway for the sixth consecutive year tonight to contest a 50-lap, $10,000-to-win A-Main.
For live updates of all the news, pit notes and results from tonight’s action, click the ‘Full Story’ link below. Be sure to refresh your browser throughout the night to see the latest information.
Half-dozen for Lanigan
12 midnight – It’s lightly raining again at Eriez Speedway…but that’s inconsequential, because the 50-lap A-Main is over and payoff is underway at the WoO LMS trailer following a night that saw Mother Nature defeated.
The big $10,000 first-place check was claimed by Darrell Lanigan, who rang up his circuit-leading sixth victory of 2012. The race’s sixth starter appeared resigned to finishing second behind Tim McCreadie midway through the race, but he came alive following a lap-38 caution flag and sailed around the outside of T-Mac to assume command for good on lap 44.
It marked the second straight year that Lanigan has emerged victorious in Eriez’s WoO LMS event.
McCreadie led the race’s first lap, lost the top spot to Shane Clanton on lap two, and then regained on the 15th circuit when Clanton dropped out with an expired engine.
A-Main Finish: 1. Darrell Lanigan, 2. Tim McCreadie, 3. Rick Eckert, 4. Bub McCool, 5. Chub Frank, 6. Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs, 7. John Volpe, 8. Ron Davies, 9. Jack Sullivan, 10. Pat Doar, 11. Dave Hess Jr., 12. Scott Johnson, 13. Jason Dupont, 14. John Lobb, 15. David Lyon, 16. Vic Coffey, 17. Mike Knight, 18. Rich Gardner, 19. Scott Gurdak, 20. Andy Boozel, 21. Russell King, 22. Shane Clanton, 23. Clint Smith, 24. Tim Fuller, 25. Kent Robinson.
Here we go again
10:25 p.m. – With the rain stopped, the first B-Main resumed at 10:15 p.m. and was completed moments ago with Tim Fuller winning over Clint Smith.
The eight-minute horn has been blown and teams are preparing for the A-Main. On a night that began with a dismal weather outlook, we’re now just 25 laps from an official A-Main. The radar is looking good, so the hope is for the race to go the full distance.
Chubzilla on the pole
9:45 p.m. – Chub Frank drew the pole position for the 50-lap A-Main, giving him a prime opportunity to snap a 98-race WoO LMS winless streak dating back to his last victory, on Aug. 22, 2009, at Ohio’s Atomic Speedway (then K-C Raceway).
The red-hot Tim McCreadie will start alongside Frank, who has a chance to break back into Victory Lane at one of his former home tracks with a legion of family members and friends looking on.
Shane Clanton will start third, followed by Rick Eckert, Mike Knight, Darrell Lanigan, Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs and Russell King.
There’s still some drops of spitting rain, so the program remains in a holding pattern.
Some wet stuff
9:35 p.m. – After Pat Doar won the first 12-lap B-Main, a brief shower struck on lap three of the second last-chance event, forcing the race to be red-flagged at around 9:25 p.m. Significant rain only lasted for a few minutes, tapering off to just periodic sprinkles before picking up slightly at the moment of this update.
Radar appears to show that the rain is clearing up to the track’s west — and with the racetrack not extremely wet, it’s hopeful that the program will resume shortly. Only the remainder of the B-Main and the 50-lap A-Main are left on the schedule.
9:20 p.m. – An already bad weekend turned completely miserable for WoO LMS Rookie of the Year contender Kent Robinson during the first heat when he was involved in a lap-three restart tangle that sent him barrel-rolling onto his roof off turn two.
One night after losing an engine as he took the checkered flag to win a heat race at Hagerstown Speedway (he started the A-Main last in a backup car), Robinson ended up a victim of circumstance at Eriez. Davey Johnson was the leader on the restart but got out of shape rounding turns one and two due, he said, to a broken rearend, and the ensuing scramble behind Johnson turned Robinson sideways and then a hit from another car flipped him one-and-a-half times.
Robinson climbed out of his car after it was righted by track safety crews, dejected but otherwise uninjured after getting upside down for the first time since moving to the dirt Late Model division in 2010. His car was taken back to the pit area on a rollback truck.
Darrell Lanigan escaped the Heat 1 melee to win the preliminary. Other heat victors were Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs, Russell King and Chub Frank.
Heat race finishes can be found here.
Darrell’s darn good
8:20 p.m. – Darrell Lanigan was fastest in time trials with a lap of 15.968 seconds. It was his series-leading fourth fast-time honor of 2012.
Qualifying ended at 8:05 and the first of four 10-lap heat races (top four transfer in each/top two redraw for A-Main) is already on the track.
For full time trials results, click here.
7:45 p.m. – WoO LMS rookie Jack Sullivan was fastest in hot laps, turning a circuit of 16.039 seconds. Still searching for his first top-10 finish of the season, the Arkansas driver is hoping to translate his quick practice run into success in his first-ever visit to Eriez.
Tim McCreadie was second-fastest, followed by Ron Davies, Chub Frank and Shane Clanton.
The first cars went out for time trials just moments ago…
Here we go
7:30 p.m. – After the completion of the third Eriez support-class feature and some quick track-prep work, the first set of WoO LMS hot laps is now on the track — and the race to beat Mother Nature is on.
We’ll be in hurry-up mode tonight, with Ohlins Shocks Time Trials starting immediately after the practice is checkered and just a minimum of turn-around time given teams between qualifying, heats, B-Mains and the A-Main.
Watching the weather
6:50 p.m. – With rain appearing to be knocking at the doorstep of Eriez Speedway, track and series officials decided to lead off the program with Eriez’s three support-class features to provide additional time to see what the weather would do. Starting the WoO LMS action and then having precipitation strike before the completion of time trials and/or heat races would mean the entire World of Outlaws program would have to be restarted from scratch.
Two support-division features have been completed and the third is on the track. With rain continuing to stay away, WoO LMS drivers are now putting on their firesuits and warming up their cars in anticipation of starting hot laps and then diving into the show.
Team Emergency Room
Jill George Racing is becoming entirely too familiar with ambulances and emergency rooms.
Last night at Hagerstown Speedway, George returned to WoO LMS competition for the first time since she spent a night in the hospital following a vicious, car-shearing crash on May 26 at Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, W.Va. She raced without the assistance of her crewman Jeff Nielson, who had to leave the track before hot laps for emergency treatment of an injury to his left arm.
Nielson, 48, was drilling a door brace on George’s car when the drill bit slipped and plunged into his wrist. Safety crews rushed to George’s trailer to tend to Nielson, who bled heavily from his wound. He was taken to a local hospital, where doctors cleaned the gash and closed it with four stitches. George, who did not qualify after mechanical trouble prevented her from starting the B-Main, and her husband, Rick Hartzell, picked Nielson up at the hospital after the night’s racing program was completed.
“Hopefully Rick won’t be the next one who has to go to the hospital,” quipped George, who has a bandaged Nielson with her tonight.
5:40 p.m. – Thirty-six cars are signed in for tonight’s program, including 14 WoO LMS travelers and such western Pennsylvania-area standouts as Ron Davies (a WoO LMS regular last season), Davey Johnson, Mike Knight, Dave Hess Jr., Chris Hackett, Scott Gurdak and Bump Hedman.
Track and series officials as well as race teams and fans are keeping an eye on the sky, however. There’s some showers rolling across nearby Lake Erie that could be headed for the speedway, but we’re high-and-dry at the moment.
Chub’s new in-shop rival
5:30 p.m. – Chub Frank won’t just be racing tonight to snap a nearly three-year-long winless streak on the WoO LMS. He’ll also be out to make sure he maintains bragging rights in his shop.
The WoO LMS regular shares his garage with two fellow entrants in tonight’s action: his cousin Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs, and his crewman John Volpe.
Volpe, an upstart 21-year-old dirt Late Model driver on the Eriez/Stateline circuit, joined Frank’s team as a fulltime mechanic last month after his college graduation. He’ll help Frank tonight as usual, but he also will run his own Rocket No. 53.
How will Volpe act in the shop this week if he’s able to beat Frank tonight? “I guess I’ll be bust on him a little bit,” said Volpe.
Not so fast, says Frank.
“He’s not gonna beat me,” said Frank. But if he does? “I can throw his —- out of the shop,” laughed ‘Chubzilla.’
A Series stalwart
3:40 p.m. – Bobby Rohrer’s Eriez Speedway, a one-third-mile oval near Erie, Pa., has become a staple of the WoO LMS. The track is one of just seven on the 2012 WoO LMS schedule that has presented at least one tour event in each season since ’07, joining Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn.; Delaware International Speedway in Delmar; Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa.; River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D.; The Dirt Track at Charlotte in Concord, N.C.; and Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla.
Previous WoO LMS winners at Eriez include Josh Richards (’07, ’10), Steve Francis (’08), Rick Eckert (’09) and Darrell Lanigan (’11). Of course, both Lanigan and Eckert — the top two drivers in the current WoO LMS points standings — will be in competition tonight.
Temperatures are in the low 80s and partly cloudly skies are prevailing as the Eriez pit area and stands begin to fill up. WoO LMS teams are unloaded in the pits and servicing their cars following a five-and-a-half-hour overnight haul from Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway, and a tough group of drivers from the western Pennsylvania area are steadily rolling in to challenge the traveling pros.