Change Of Fortune: Suddenly-Streaking Chub Frank Makes ‘Buckeye 100’ At K-C Raceway His Second Straight Victory
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
ALMA, OH – Aug. 22, 2009 – How quickly fortunes can change on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series.
With a lucrative victory in Saturday night’s ‘Buckeye 100’ at K-C Raceway, Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., continued his sudden transformation from struggling traveler to red-hot racer.
Frank, 47, captured his second consecutive WoO LMS A-Main – just two days after snapping a frustrating 15-month-long, 62-race winless streak on the national tour with a triumph at Muskingum County Speedway in Zanesville, Ohio. His $20,600 payoff also marked the first time he earned a five-figure race check since October 2007 when he pocketed $50,000 for winning the Dirt Track World Championship at the three-eighths-mile K-C oval.
“It’s funny how fast things can turn around,” said Frank, who registered his 16th career WoO LMS victory. “But I’m glad they did. We needed this bad. Now I’ll be able to pay some bills and make some people happy.”
A 2005-vintage Rocket car borrowed from western Pennsylvania driver Chad Valone has vaulted Frank back into the limelight, dramatically turning around his moribund campaign.
“Last week (a dismal three-race Mid-Atlantic swing) wasn’t good and that’s why we had to do something different,” Frank said of his decision to put together an older-style chassis that had been sitting in Valone’s shop. “It’s great that we’ve made it work. I just feel so comfortable in this car.”
Yes, Frank is fast again and getting some critical breaks, which was clear in Saturday night’s 100-lapper.
Frank drew the outside-pole starting spot and led the race’s first 41 laps before being overtaken by Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa. But on lap 55 Birkhofer slowed in turn one with a flat right-rear tire and was clipped slightly by Doug Drown of Wooster, Ohio, ending his bid and putting Frank back in front for good.
Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., chased Frank for the remainder of the distance, but the 21-year-old never mounted a serious challenge and settled for second place in his Seubert Calf Ranches Rocket. The runner-up finish moved Richards back into the WoO LMS points lead by 14 points over Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., who finished 12th after using a provisional spot to start 23rd in the A-Main.
Bart Hartman of Zanesville, Ohio, marched forward from the 16th starting spot to finish third in his Rocket car. Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., advanced from the ninth starting spot to place fourth in the Sweeteners Plus Rocket and polesitter Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., hung on to complete the top five in the RSD Enterprises Rocket.
“I think Birkhofer probably had the best car,” admitted Frank. “He found the bottom (groove) a little quicker than I did and he was driving off a little bit until he got that flat.
“I don’t think I could’ve got back by him, but I was happy that we could run with him. Last year he lapped us here (in the DTWC) and just drove off big-time, so I would’ve felt good about finishing second to him.”
Frank ended up holding the trophy in Victory Lane, however, after surviving at least one tense moment while trying to negotiate lapped traffic late in the race.
“The track took a little bit of rubber,” said Frank. “I got out of that rubber and tried to go on the outside of Francis (to lap the 2007 WoO LMS champion on lap 83) and about spun out (in turn four). That scared me until I looked (to the left) and nobody was there, so I was able to get back down in the rubber.”
Richards, who started eighth, saw Frank’s bobble but couldn’t take advantage of it.
“He slipped up out of the rubber in (turns) three and four when he was behind Francis,” said Richards, whose march to the front reached third on lap 37 and second when Birkhofer dropped out. “That was the chance I was hoping for, but I just wasn’t close enough to get under him.
“I felt like we had a great car, but once Darrell (Lanigan) leaked oil on the track (from a hole in his car’s oil line) it was just instant rubber (condition) out there. I could tell there was rubber down when I was warming up my tires under caution (on lap 55), and the rest of the race you just had to stay in that line.”
Richards once again fell short of his coveted first big-money, 100-lap victory. It was the second time he finished second to Frank in a major event at K-C Raceway.
“It was almost like déjà vu from the Dirt Track (World Championship) here a couple years,” said Richards, recalling the 2007 crown jewel. “I was remembering following Chub around here in that race, trying to get close enough to make a move.”
The oil from the car driven by Union, Ky.’s Lanigan, who was running just outside the top 10 when the leaking oil line finally caused his engine to seize up on lap 61, also dulled Hartman’s impressive charge.
“Up until about lap 60 the track was real racy,” said Hartman, who passed McCreadie for fourth on lap 53 and moved to third two circuits later with Birkhofer’s departure. “My car was real good and I was just easing my way up through there. I thought we might have had a shot, but then I guess Lanigan dumped a bunch of oil down and that caused the track to rubber up.”
Four caution flags slowed the event, including a multi-car tangle in turn two on a lap-21 restart that knocked out several contenders. The incident began when Jeep VanWormer of Pinconning, Mich., and Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., came together, sending Davenport sideways and causing Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y., and Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., among others, to make contact. Davenport was towed off the track while Mars, Coffey and Smith retired after being unable to repair damage during pit stops.
Earlier, 17-year-old Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., brought out a caution flag on lap nine when he slapped the homestretch wall and Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., saw his WoO LMS hot streak officially end on lap 21 when a broken rod in his car’s engine sent him spinning off turn three.
Finishing in positions 6-10 was Eddie Carrier Jr. of Salt Rock, W.Va., who earned 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; R.J. Conley of Wheelersburg, Ohio; Gregg Satterlee of Rochester Mills, Pa.; Rick Eckert of York, Pa.; and 22nd-starter Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga.
Saturday’s program began with a pair of 12-lap B-Mains that were won by Eckert and Fuller.
The WoO LMS concludes a busy four-day period with a rescheduled 50-lap, $10,000-to-win event on Sunday night (Aug. 23) at Eriez Speedway in Hammett, Pa.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
Results of WoO Late Model Series ‘Buckeye 100’ (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (2) Chub Frank/100 $20,600
2. (8) Josh Richards/100 $10,500
3. (16) Bart Hartman/100 $6,000
4. (9) Tim McCreadie/100 $5,100
5. (1) Shane Clanton/100 $4,500
6. (12) Eddie Carrier Jr./100 $3,500
7. (15) R.J. Conley/100 $2,750
8. (4) Gregg Satterlee/100 $2,500
9. (17) Rick Eckert/100 $2,800
10. (22) Clint Smith/100 $2,700
11. (19) Matt Miller/100 $1,900
12. (23) Steve Francis/100 $2,400
13. (14) Brandon Kinzer/98 $1,700
14. (24) Russell King/78 $2,400
15. (21) Darrell Lanigan/61 $2,200
16. (7) Jeep VanWormer/56 $1,580
17. (3) Brian Birkhofer/55 $1,560
18. (13) Doug Drown/54 $1,540
19. (6) Jonathan Davenport/21 $1,520
20. (10) Jimmy Mars/21 $1,500
21. (5) Brady Smith/21 $2,000
22. (20) Vic Coffey/21 $1,500
23. (18) Tim Fuller/20 $2,000
24. (11) Austin Hubbard/9 $1,500
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 41 Mins., 30.042 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.756 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 4 (Laps 9, 21, 21, 55)
Lap Leaders: Frank (1-41); Birkhofer (42-55); Frank (56-100)
Provisional Starters: Francis, King
Rookie of the Race: King ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Carrier ($500)
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race: Austin Hargrove (Hartman)
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Rick Eckert, 2. Matt Miller, 3. Darrell Lanigan, 4. Steve Francis, 5. Delmas Conley, 6. Jordan Bland, 7. Rod Conley, 8. Tony Knowles, 9. Matt Pistole
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Tim Fuller, 2. Vic Coffey, 3. Clint Smith, 4. Russell King, 5. Zack Dohm, 6. Dustin Hapka, 7. Tyler Reddick, 8. Brian Whiteman
Drivers who competed on Friday but did not return to run a B-Main: Eric Wells, Steve Shaver, Keith Berner, Paul Davis, Greg Oliver, Doug Dodd, Donnie Moran, Rick Combs, Rick Aukland, Brent Robinson
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:
* Arizona Sport Shirts ($50 product certificate to fifth-place finisher in B-Mains): Delmas Conley, Zack Dohm
* Champ Pans ($50 product certificate to ‘Bonus Bucks’ winner w/decal): Eddie Carrier Jr.
* Crane Cams ($100 cash award to A-Main winner w/decal): Chub Frank
* Crane Cams ($100 cash award to 10th-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Clint Smith
* Crane Cams ($100 product certificate to Heat 3 winner w/decal): Jonathan Davenport
* Eibach Springs (one free spring to each B-Main winner w/decal): Rick Eckert, Tim Fuller
* Ohlins Shocks ($50 cash award to fast qualifier w/decal): Rick Combs
* Quarter-Master ($100 product certificate to A-Main winner w/decal): Chub Frank
* Quarter-Master ($50 product certificate to fifth-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Shane Clanton
* Quarter-Master ($25 product certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Darrell Lanigan
* Super Clean ‘Start of the Race’ (one case of product): Chub Frank
* VP Racing Fuels ‘Outside Looking In’ Award (free 54-gallon drum of VP-113 or Late Model Plus racing fuel to fastest qualifier who does not make the A-Main if decal is displayed): Tony Knowles
* Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner w/decal): Chub Frank
2009 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of – A-Mains completed (rank/driver/wins/top-5s/top-10s/earnings/points/deficit to leader):
1. Josh Richards 4369 (-0)
2. Steve Francis 4355 (-14)
3. Darrell Lanigan 4311 (-58)
4. Rick Eckert 4195 (-174)
5. Tim Fuller 4193 (-176)
6. Shane Clanton 4161 (-208)
7. Chub Frank 4113 (-256)
8. Brady Smith 4066 (-303)
9. Clint Smith 3939 (-430)
10. Russell King 3485 (-884)
11. Jordan Bland 3434 (-935)
12. Brent Robinson 3236 (-1133)
13. Dustin Hapka 3010 (-1359)
14. Tyler Reddick 2801 (-1568)
15. Vic Coffey 2607 (-1762)
16. Austin Hubbard 2306 (-2063)
17. Matt Lux 1530 (-2839)
18. Shannon Babb 1470 (-2899)
19. Gregg Satterlee 1460 (-2909)
20. Dan Stone 1213 (-3156)
FOLLOW THE ACTION ON TWITTER: Fans can now keep up-to-date with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series online and through text messages on cell phones via the Twitter, the internet’s fast-growing social-networking and micro-blogging website. Updates are provided to Twitter ‘followers’ of the WoO LMS throughout each race night, and fans also receive breaking news and interesting notes from the tour.
To sign-up as a WoO LMS ‘follower’ on Twitter to receive updates anywhere at anytime, visit http://twitter.com/WoOLateModels.
LISTEN ONLINE: If fans can’t get to a track to see the World of Outlaws Late Model Series, they can experience the excitement of the nation’s premier tour live on DIRTvision.com through the DIRT Radio Network.
To listen to the free audio broadcasts, log on to www.dirtvision.com and click on the DIRT Radio Network logo.
Listeners will need Windows Media Player 9 or higher to listen to the DIRT Radio Network. For technical support or questions, e-mail [email protected]
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), Crane Cams (Official Valvetrain), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), Fusion Energy Boost (Official Energy Boost), SuperClean (Official Cleaner-Degreaser) and VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel); in addition to contingency sponsors Champ Pans, Eibach Springs, Hoosier Tires, Integra Shocks, Jake’s Custom Golf Carts, Ohlins Shocks, Racing Electronics, Quarter Master and Wrisco Aluminum; Crane Cams Engine Builder’s Challenge participants Cornett Racing Engines, Custom Race Engines and Pro Power Racing Engines; and Chassis Builder Challenge participants Rocket Chassis and Team Zero by Bloomquist.