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Clanton Clinches First WoO Late Model Series Championship November 8, 2015

Clanton Clinches First WoO Late Model Series Championship

CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 8, 2015) —Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., was never a factor despite starting third, fading backward when the green flag flew and finishing a quiet ninth. But he still showed plenty of enthusiasm after the race when he celebrated his first-ever WoO LMS championship, which he clinched by starting Friday night’s World Finals A-Main.

“It’s a dream come true,” the 40-year-old Clanton said after being presented his WoO championship trophy during the post-race ceremonies. “We’ve won a lot of big races but we’ve never put a whole season together. To put one together like we have this year, it’s pretty special.”

Clanton won a career-best 10 WoO LMS features and registered 34 top-five and 37 top-10 finishes in 41 features this season driving his father-in-law Ron Davies’s Capital Race Cars. He led the standings from start-to-finish, ending the schedule with a commanding 174-point advantage over Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va.

“It’s just a testament to what we’ve done all year,” said Clanton, who will receive his $100,000 WoO LMS title check during the tour’s awards banquet that was rescheduled for Monday at 1 p.m. at the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, N.C. “Consistency pays off —you look at the record, and we almost tied Darrell (Lanigan) for top-fives in a season and we had like three less races than he had.

For more news visit www.woolms.com

Photo courtesy of www.woolms.com

Matt Sheppard Captures 4th SDS Title, Tim Kerr Gets First Series Win November 8, 2015

Matt Sheppard Captures 4th SDS Title, Tim Kerr Gets First Series Win

By Jo Ann Davies

CONCORD, N.C. - Nov. 8, 2015 - For the first time in his young career Canadian Big-Block Modified driver Tim Kerr of Picton, Ontario, scored a Super DIRTcar Series win, and did so on Sunday night at the premier Bad Boy Buggies World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.

A strong second-place finish earned Waterloo, N.Y.'s Matt Sheppard his fourth Super DIRTcar Series championship title and the first for team owners, Al and Judy Heinke, of Heinke Baldwin Racing. After his Friday night, fourth place feature finish Sheppard held an 81-point lead over only other title contender, Gypsum Express driver Billy Decker of Unadilla, N.Y.

Kerr, who managed a 19th-place finish in the Friday night Bad Boy Buggies World Finals, utilized the Saturday rain date to work on his car and their efforts paid off with an $8,000 payday on Sunday.

"This is just awesome," Kerr said in victory lane. "We are not going home for a day at least."

Peter Britten of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, jumped out to the early lead and held the point for the first 30 laps of the 40-lap feature. A slight shift up the track on lap 30 off turn two by Britten gave Kerr the opportunity for an inside power move that took him into the lead on the backstretch. Once in the lead, he was never seriously challenged on his way to the checkered flag. A jubilant crew, led by crew chief Zach Aubertine, greeted their driver in victory lane where Kerr jumped into their arms in celebration.

Britten settled for fifth after leading the most laps. Second-place finisher Sheppard worked his way forward, picking off cars one by one, from his ninth-place starting position. Finishing in positions three and four were Larry Wight in the Gypsum Express #99L and Danny Johnson in the Fingerlakes Livestock Exchange #27j.

Since 2010 when the Big-Block Modifieds joined the World Finals and its unique format of two feature events in the three-day program, seven different drivers have now won the 12 events held to date.

With only one caution on lap 18 for a SDS driver Keith Flach crash in the Gould Erectors # 43, all drivers had to be on top of the wheel to earn their finishing spots.

Last year's SDS Champion Billy Decker finished second in the point battle with Jimmy Phelps finishing third, each maintaining the position they entered in at the beginning of the night.

For "Super" Matt Sheppard the road to his fourth Super DIRT Series championship has been a successful one with 27 feature wins and track championship titles earned in 2015 at Canandaigua Motorsports Park and Brewerton Speedway.

The champions' victory lane ceremony was a real celebration for the HBR team.

"This feels good," Sheppard said. "Al (Heinke) provides us with such great equipment and it is well prepared. Our crew is a great blend - some have been with me since the beginning.

Perhaps even more excited than Sheppard is team owner Heinke who has been involved in racing for many years. After many years of supporting talented drivers, the HBR teams of Sheppard and Phelps brought home two of the most coveted DIRTcar wins possible - the World Finals and a Super DIRT Week win by Phelps in the 358-Modified event.

Heinke was obviously humbled by the championship win.

"It is awesome," he said. "Matt has a great team around him and we are really, really happy to have this championship. It's just been a great year."

Equally humbled and at the same time elated with his fourth championship, Sheppard noted the championship was Heinke's first.

"I am so happy for him, no one is more deserving and I am more happy for Al and Judy than myself," Sheppard said. "So many great people have been involved including Troyer (Race Cars) ... I believe this is their first championship in 15 years and they are just as deserving."

For more news visit www.superdirtcarseries.com

Photo courtesy of www.superdirtcarseries.com

Terrance Rules Brockville Fall Nationals October 17, 2015

Terrance Rules Brockville Fall Nationals

BROCKVILLE, ON – October 17, 2015 – Carey Terrance celebrated his 35th birthday by wheeling the St. Lawrence Radiology/ Traditional Lacrosse No. 66x to victory in the Super DIRTcar Series Fall Nationals at Brockville Ontario Speedway Saturday.

Terrance started third on the grid and was running fourth behind Danny Johnson, Gary Tomkins and Jordan McCreadie at the halfway mark after many laps of close-quarter racing.

Johnson snatched the lead from Jordan McCreadie on a lap-37 restart and brought Gary Tomkins along with him while Terrance diced with Billy Decker for the fourth spot.

By lap 37, Matt Sheppard, who was forced to jump into his back-up car after a nasty four-time flip off the top of turn three in his heat race and start 29th, had raced his way into ninth.

Terrance passed Tomkins for the lead while running on the high side on lap 72. The pair raced a few feet apart for several laps with Johnson, fast-rising Matt Sheppard and Chris Raabe in close pursuit.

“I was trying to get around some holes out there and I went all the way up to the top and found a line that worked great,” Terrance said. “The car was tight early, but it got rolling later.”

“The track was very racy,” Tomkins said. “You could pass in different places. I ran the softest tire and the thing took right off. It was a rocket ship.”

On the seventh and final restart with eight laps to go, Terrance drew away from his pursuers and won handily while Raabe mounted a late charge to finish third behind Tomkins after jousting with Johnson (4th). Sheppard rose to fifth while his closest rivals for the point lead – Brett Hearn and Billy Decker – finished 16th and eighth respectively.

The red flag was thrown twice in feature for rollovers by Ryan Arbuthnot and Billy Dunn.

Positions six and seven went to Jimmy Phelps and Mario Clair.

For more news visit www.superdirtcarseries.com

Photo courtesy of www.rickattheraces.net

Logan Martin Races To Victory at 2nd Annual USRA National Championships October 17, 2015

Logan Martin Races To Victory at 2nd Annual USRA National Championships

In the 25-lap USRA B-Mod finale, Logan Martin of West Plains, Mo., padded his bank account to the tune of $4,000 with an impressive rim-riding effort to the checkered flag.

Martin was able to take his machine into the corners deeper than anybody else, and hence was able to navigate the treacherous high side to overtake early leader Andy Bryant of Fort Scott, Kan., after the ninth lap and then hold off Brad Smith of Belton, Mo., to the finish.

Last year’s USRA B-Mod national champion, Chad Clancy of Liberty, Mo., finished third while Bryant added a fourth-place finish to go along with his win on Friday night and virtually seal the deal on his quest for the 2015 USRA B-Mod national title.

Doug Keller of Easton, Mo., came from the 12th starting spot to finish fifth. Jacob Ebert, Dakota Foster, Mike Higley, Kris Jackson and Shadren Turner rounded out the top ten.

Foster earned the Allstar Performance Hard Charger Award after starting 21st on the 31-car grid, and also laid claim to the 2015 Holley Iron Man Series championship.

For more news visit www.usraracing.com

Photo courtesy of www.usraracing.com

Integra Takes 1-2-3 in Salute the Troops 150 at Super DIRT Week October 10, 2015

Integra Takes 1-2-3 in Salute the Troops 150 at Super DIRT Week

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Oct. 10, 2015 - In his next-to-last opportunity to reach victory lane in a feature event at the Syracuse Mile, Jimmy Phelps of Baldwinsville, N.Y., finally struck paydirt in Saturday's Salute to the Troops 358-Modified Championship 150.

With his Heinke Motorsports team's pit strategy working to perfection, Phelps assumed command on lap 79 when Matt Janiak of Warwich, N.Y., headed to the pits and never relinquished the top spot over the remaining distance. He survived multiple restarts and a charging Billy Dunn of Watertown, N.Y., on a green-white-checkered finish to secure his coveted Moody Mile triumph and a $20,000 first-place prize.

"We squeezed it in," a beaming Phelps said of emerging triumphant during the last NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week contested at the historic track that will soon be razed. "I'm just ecstatic for a lot of reasons. It was really neat to get a big win and get a big win here for (car owner) Al (Heinke). It was great to do it with (Troyer Inc.'s) Billy Colton, who was calling the shots on the radio with me. And to do it in the 'Mud Buss' (his Troyer car sported a throwback graphics scheme mirroring the Troyer Experimental No. 6 cars that were raced three decades ago) was pretty neat.

"It was just a great night. I couldn't be happier right now."

Phelps, 40, steered his machine across the finish line 0.465 of a second in front of Dunn, who charged around the outside of Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., in turn one on the restart with two laps to go and made a bid for a dramatic victory. Dunn pulled up to Phelps's rear bumper entering one on the last circuit, but Phelps pulled away by several car lengths off turn two and carried the momentum to the checkered flag.

McCreadie, who pitted for fuel with Phelps on lap 41 and was the second car out of the pit area behind Phelps when the two drivers came in again to make their mandatory post-lap-50 pit stop on the 69th circuit, settled for a third-place finish. Brett Hearn of Sussex, N.J., finished fourth — falling short in his attempt to win the event for the third consecutive year — and Marc Johnson of Guilderland, N.Y., placed fifth after cracking the top five on a lap-139 restart.

The most critical move of Phelps's winning effort came in the pits. Opting to pit for fuel on lap 41 allowed him to simply make a lightning-fast stop-and-go pit visit on the 69th lap while virtually of his rivals had to spend more time on pit road filling their cars' tanks.

When Phelps returned to the racetrack, he sat second for the restart behind Janiak, who was the lone lead-lap car to stay on the speedway. He inherited the top spot when Janiak pitted during the next caution period and hung tough to the finish.

Phelps admitted, however, that he didn't consider his team's decision to pit before lap 50 a stroke of genius. He simply thought it was the right thing to do.

"I'll be honest with you, I didn't think there was too many that wouldn't have done that," Phelps said of his pit strategy. "We just expected that we were coming in with the leaders (on lap 41) ... and then when we were the only ones on pit road (aside from McCreadie at the other end). "I said, 'Oh, no, maybe we didn't make the right call.' I really, truly thought that everybody in the top 15 was coming down pit road — because it just made sense. It's always a track position race, so I have no idea why nobody (other than McCreadie) did it.

"At the end of the day, all we had to do was slide into our pit stall and take off (when making his mandatory stop on lap 69). We didn't have to touch the car or do any work.

"The gamble on that was, we could've very easily gotten wrecked in the back or gotten caught up on pit road to where we didn't squeeze through quite as clean," he added. "But luckily for us everything worked out perfect. I mean, when we got back out there we knew that the leader hadn't pitted so there was no reason for us to push. We just got back out on the track in second and went into fuel-conserve mode — not knowing we were gonna get all them late yellows (that saved fuel consumption). After about five or six of them yellows, we figured we had plenty of fuel and we could race when we had to and lay back when we had to — everything just worked out."

Phelps kept McCreadie at bay throughout the race's second half, maintaining an edge of five to 10 car lengths under green-flag conditions. But when the race's 11th and final caution flag flew on lap 147 to set up a green-white-checkered conclusion, Phelps began to sweat.

"Probably the only time I really got anxious was with two to go," Phelps said. "We were a little iffy on cold tires and the holes were starting to get deeper and they were kind of sending the car in different directions. We just knew we had to get through turn one without getting the car real upset, and fortunately we were able to do that."

Dunn, who led laps 1-68 from the pole position but found himself sitting in ninth place after making his pit stop on lap 69, worked his way forward to finally reach second place with his pass of McCreadie on the final restart with two laps remaining. The clear speed Dunn showed certainly made Phelps nervous.

"For the last 10 laps I was a huge Tim McCreadie fan and I didn't even watch him," said Phelps, noting that he was hoping McCreadie could hold up Dunn after the 31-year-old former Syracuse 200 champion overtook Hearn for third on a lap-139 restart. "It was a little hair-raising knowing he was back there because obviously he was pretty good to come from where he came from. He found something that we didn't because he was able to push so hard and pass guys, so naturally your guard's up because of that."

Dunn didn't have enough time to make a real serious run at Phelps, however. The track position he lost during his pit stop making sure his fuel cell was filled ended up being too much for him to overcome.

"It was an awesome run," said Dunn, who was the 358-Modified 150's runner-up for the second time in his four career starts. "It's just, we ran out of fuel two years ago here (leading in 2013) and we put in more gas than we needed to on that stop, but I was bound and determined that I was just gonna be able to run as hard as I needed to at the end of the race.

"That was about all I had," he added. "I was about wrecking every lap there the last 20 laps. I really wanted that win in this race, but we finished second twice now (his previous bridesmaid run came in 2012) and always run good. We got the pole and the twin (20 heat) win this weekend and that meant a lot. I just needed to get to the front a little sooner than I did and I think maybe I would've had something for him. I really think there at the end that my car came back to life, but it was still a great run for our team."

The 41-year-old McCreadie, who won the event in 2012 after Dunn's fuel tank ran dry, was done in by the late caution flags on laps 136 and 147.

"I just couldn't fire on that last restart," McCreadie said of his Vinnie Salerno-owned car's performance after the last caution period. "I couldn't fire the restart before that either. I needed laps — I needed some green-flag running, and then we would get to where we were rolling pretty good.

"I didn't want the yellows. We finally pushed Jimmy enough to get him into traffic and I thought, This is our shot, and dang it if the lapped car he was chasing down crashed the guy in front of him (to bring out a caution flag on lap 136).

"That's the way it goes," he added. "Jimmy drove a great race, and Billy, he's a heck of a driver and he did a great job too."

Phelps, meanwhile, savored his long-awaited turn in the Syracuse spotlight. He was actually a bit surprised that his breakthrough triumph came in the 358-Modified event, in which he made just his third career start and first since a ninth-place run in 2008.

"We don't a lot of background in this race, so maybe that's what's the most interesting thing to digest," said Phelps, whose best previous finish in the small-block headliner was seventh, in 2000. "We really kind of came in here with an open mind and tried to have some fun, not let it sidetrack us from our ultimate goal which is obviously the Big-Block car (and the Syracuse 200). Of course, once we got out front and had a pretty good car that could win, then obviously the focus changed and we had to get this thing done.

"Maybe that's the secret to the Big-Block race (which Phelps starts from the 10th spot on Sunday) — you don't stress over it. You just come in and try to have some fun, and maybe that's we'll have to do tomorrow."

The race was slowed by 11 caution flags for 46 laps.

The most significant accidents involved Brian Sage of Brockport, N.Y. (slid into inside wall after a mid-pack scramble on the original start) and Frankie Caprara of Watertown, N.Y., and Ryan Krachun of Neshanic, N.J. (turn four on lap 100).

Other notable cautions was triggered by Syracuse 200 polesitter Larry Wight of Baldwinsville, N.Y., who slowed with a flat tire on lap 76 after running as high as sixth; former race winner Kenny Tremont of West Sand Lake, N.Y., who spun into the wall between turns three and four on lap 84; and Janiak, who slowed with a ripped-up left-front tire on lap 147.

Among the early-race casualties was five-time event winner Billy Decker of Unadilla, N.Y., who was running fourth when he retired with transmission on lap 28.

For more news visit www.superdirtweekonline.com

Photo courtesy of www.superdirtweekonline.com

Bagley Claims Cotton Pickin' 100 October 10, 2015

Bagley Claims Cotton Pickin' 100

Columbus, Mississippi (10/10/15) – On Saturday evening the Cooper’s Country Meat Packers Magnolia State Cotton Pickin’ 100 presented by Premier Ford was the scene of the biggest win of Morgan Bagley’s career. The Longview, Texas racer overcame a late-race battle to score the $20,000 victory.

Billy Moyer Jr. and Randy Weaver brought the field to the green flag for the 100-lap affair. Moyer Jr. bolted to the lead at the drop of the green flag with Don O’Neal, Randy Weaver, Brandon Sheppard, and Morgan Bagley in pursuit.

During the opening circuits Moyer Jr. rapidly extended his advantage, and by lap 11 he found himself in lapped traffic. While the leader negotiated lapped traffic a great battle raged supreme for the runner-up position. O’Neal, Weaver, and Bagley raced three wide. O’Neal ultimately took possession of the spot with Bagley moving into the 3rd position.

The first caution of the event flew on lap 14, when Wendell Wallace slowed with nose damage. At the time of the caution Moyer Jr. held the lead over O’Neal, Bagley, Weaver, and Steve Francis.

A couple of additional caution flags plagued the ensuing laps before the race restarted for the final time following a Jason Hiett caution on lap 22.  The next several laps found Moyer Jr., O’Neal, and Bagley competing for the top spot.

On lap 43 Bagley slipped under Moyer Jr. to take the lead as the frontrunners endured lapped traffic. Erb Jr. moved into 2nd just past the halfway mark and set his sights on Bagley.

Lapped traffic again intervened on lap 62, when Dennis Erb Jr. became the third different leader of the race. While Erb and Bagley skirted away from the field, O’Neal, Moyer Jr. and McDowell raced three wide for 3rd. 

On lap 76 Bagley overtook Erb for the lead in lapped traffic. He would go on to drive away from the field to claim the biggest win of his career. Dale McDowell raced to 2nd in the closing laps but was unable to catch Bagley. Dennis Erb Jr., Don O’Neal, and Billy Moyer Jr. completed the top five finishers.

“This has been such a tough year that when he (Erb) passed us for the lead, I just started thinking that maybe I would never win one of these races,” said an emotional Bagley. “But then I got up on the wheel and kept digging and was able to get back to the lead. This is a very special win for me and my team, and I just wish our team owner, Wayman McMillan was here to enjoy it with us.”

For more news visit www.magnoliadirt.com