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Fuller Flies High in DIRTcar Nationals Opener for Big-Block Modifieds February 17, 2016

Fuller Flies High in DIRTcar Nationals Opener for Big-Block Modifieds

By Mike Mallett

BARBERVILLE, Fla. - Feb. 17, 2016 - For the first time since 2007, Tim Fuller parked his Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified on the front stretch at the Volusia Speedway Park as a feature winner. The Edwards, N.Y., driver drove his familiar No. 19 to the win in the opening 30-lap feature for the Modifieds as part of the 45th Annual DIRTcar Nationals.

Fuller started on the inside of the second row and wasted little time in moving to the front. Fuller grabbed second early before using a restart in the first third of the race to drive around opening lap leader Tyler Dippel. From there, Fuller survived numerous restarts and challenges from long-time friend Billy Dunn to earn his sixth career win at the speedway.

"It's been a lot of years since I've been here," Fuller said in victory lane. "First and foremost I have to thank my car owners (Rauschers). To be able to come down here and to be able to do this for four days in the dead of winter is unbelievable. I dragged a crew man down from Scranton, Pa., Brett Tonkin, because I had no one coming down with me and this is all for them."

Tyler Siri and Dippel shared the front row of the start of the 2016 Big-Block Modified season with Dippel charging by Siri for the lead at the exit of turn two on the bottom of the opening circuit. Siri looked for a way back by the Wallkill, N.Y., teenager but as he looked for an advantage Fuller found the fast line and drove into the runner-up spot.

Once he got to second, Fuller moved up to the top groove with his Enders powered Bicknell while Dippel continued to try and make laps on the bottom. This allowed Fuller to work his way by Dippel for the lead on lap six. Before another lap could be completed, Siri brought out the first caution of the night as he slowed with a flat tire.

"I went to the top and started winging it," Fuller said about his move for the lead. "If you can get to that top and your car is good enough that you don't push it is the predominant groove here."

Fuller elected to use the outside of the front row for the restart and he blasted into the cushion to hold off Dippel. Dippel meanwhile had his hands full with Dunn. Dunn drove by Dippel on the top, securing the second spot as they came off of turn four.

As Fuller paced the field, the action behind him and Dunn picked up with Dippel, Billy Pauch and Larry Wight all battling for the third position. Pauch was able to fend them off each time to hold onto third.

By the time the race reached the midway point, Fuller had extended his lead over Dunn and began to work slower traffic. He stayed on the upper portion of the speedway with Dunn in tow. Pauch remained third with Dippel and Wight getting together. This caused Dippel to catch the wall off of turn two. Dippel stopped with a damaged race car necessitating a second caution.

Dunn gave Fuller all he could handle on the restart as he looked down low and slid up the speedway to pull alongside of Fuller as they exited the second turn. They remained that way all the way down the backstretch before Fuller barley cleared him on the top of turn three with Dunn trying to keep pace off of four.

"Billy Dunn got up inside me and it really scared me," Fuller said. "I started to turn it up a little bit. If you watched Race-Monitor I probably picked it up two or three tenths because I started trying a little bit harder. I was just out there in cruise mode and when he blasted up there inside of me on that restart I picked it up and was determined not to lose it."

Fuller pulled away from that point. He blasted the cushion harder and harder each lap increasing his lead over the Dunn. That lead was negated one final time on lap 23 as Eldon Payne's car blew a right rear tire which caused him to slow in turn three.

Dunn and everyone else had one more shot at Fuller on the restart. Fuller made sure that he wasn't going to be denied as he drove into one and caught the cushion perfectly running away from the rest of the competition. Dunn remained in second by himself while Pauch and Wight renewed their battle for the final spot on the podium.

Fuller took the checkered flag nearly three seconds in front of Dunn. For Dunn, of Watertown, N.Y., it was a good night considering he had never turned a lap at the track prior to Tuesday night's practice session.

"This is a new track and a new car," Dunn said about his Bicknell. "Bob Slack and I tried some strange stuff on the car and it's got a lot of promise but it needs a lot of work. It just got too tight there the last 10 laps. The harder I drove it the worse I was."

Dunn had one chance where he could have thrown the slide job on Fuller and it may have been possible for him to take the lead and keep it. He did not pull it off forcing him to settle in for second.

"I got a good run on the bottom on the one restart and if I could have slid up in front him I probably could have held him off, but the best car won tonight," he said. "We are close we just need to do a little bit of work."

Pauch, of Frenchtown, N.J., finished in the third positon after starting the main from the outside of the second row. Pauch tried to get in the mix early for the lead but settled in to the third position as the race became a battle for the preferred line on the cushion. It was his ninth career third place finish at Volusia.

"It's nice to make the podium and come up here," Pauch said. "I have to congratulate Tim Fuller. He deserves a win down here. He runs hard. I was trying to beat him to the front there and I thought I had him before he got me back. It was wild there when we were running three-wide."

Wight, the 2015 DIRTcar Nationals Big-Block Modified champion, finished in the fourth position while defending Super DIRTcar Series champion Matt Sheppard completed the top five.

For more news visit www.dirtcarnationals.com

Photo courtesy of www.dirttrackdigest.com 

Richards Rockets to Victory at DIRTcar Nationals February 16, 2016

Richards Rockets to Victory at DIRTcar Nationals

BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 16, 2016 – Three-time World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series champion Josh Richards continued his hot streak Tuesday night, starting from the front row en route to scoring the checkered flag on night two of DIRTcar Late Models week at the 45th Annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.

Driving the Valvoline, Rocket Chassis house car, Richards showed his speed early in the night, winning his heat race then drawing the pole position in the re-draw. Gregg Satterlee, piloting the Satterlee Petroleum No. 22, started on the outside of row one.

A native of Indiana, Penn., Satterlee challenged Richards on the initial start but fell back as Richards muscled his way to an early lead. With Richards out front, the action took place behind the leader. Drivers from third to 24th battled side-by-side, and even three-wide for much of the race.

Drivers such as World of Outlaws regular Rick Eckert and Billy Moyer Jr. charged their way to the front utilizing a track that allowed for multiple lanes of racing. Eckert navigated his No. 7 Monumental Paving and Excavating, Longhorn Chassis from the tail-end of the field to a fifth placed finish.

At the front of the field, Richards set a blistering pace, but a red-hot Jonathan Davenport and 2006 World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series champion Tim McCreadie lurked behind the leader after they both maneuvered around a fading Satterlee to crack the top three. Davenport, running the top line had chances on multiple restarts to slingshot around Richards for the lead, but could never complete the pass.

Richards eventually pulled away from Davenport on a restart with three laps to go, leaving Davenport to battle with McCreadie for the runner-up position. McCreadie eventually overtook Davenport for second, but never had a shot at the leader who dominated his way to another victory in the young 2016 season, his first DIRTcar Nationals win of the week.

“It sure wasn’t pretty but we will take it,” Richards said. “I saw [Davenport] in second and knew I had to give it all I had.

“It was touchy out there. There was a lot of traction in spots. If you could get through it smoothly, which was hard to do, then you could gain some speed. You don’t really know when you’re leading who’s behind you and how fast they’re going. It was a handful but we will take it, we have a long week to go.”

McCreadie started at the front of the field and maintained a top-five run the entire race, finishing only behind Richards.

“We’re digging all the time, I just don’t know where I need to be most nights,” the Watertown, N.Y.-native said. “It was fun. The track was rough – it had some character, but you could at least pass when guys made mistakes.

“We’re just working every day to get this Longhorn [Chassis] better. It’s not easy but we are working our tails off. For the time we have in the car it’s amazing the strides we have made to be able to run with Richards and Davenport and be competitive.”

Even though Davenport faded in the final laps, he still ran top three much of the night, showing how strong he has been so far in 2016.

“We didn’t have anything for Josh [Richards],” Davenport, who started in the 12th position, said. “I gave it all I had that last restart, but we did good getting to where we finished. That’s the best I have ever finished – I had a third here one time.

“This place is just a little different. I need to watch the videos and see what I’m doing right and wrong and get it tuned in here for tomorrow.”

For more news visit www.dirtcarnationals.com 

Clanton Claims Thriller on Opening Night of Winter Freeze VI February 12, 2016

Clanton Claims Thriller on Opening Night of Winter Freeze VI

SYLVANIA, G.A. – Feb. 12, 2016 – Defending World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series champion Shane Clanton rocketed around both Josh Richards and Jason Covert in one pass as he claimed the season opener at Screven Motor Speedway’s Winter Freeze VI on Friday.

Clanton started from the sixth position but made quick work powering his way into the top three. Richards, who is in the midst of a hot streak, drew the pole-positon after winning his heat race earlier in the night.

Richards led just two laps before second place starter Covert battled past. Covert controlled the field for the first half of the race but could never pull away from Richards and eventually a hard-charging Clanton.

Clanton saw an opening in turn four on lap 15 when Richards pulled even with Covert for the lead. Clanton rocketed his car to the outside of the leaders, creating a three-wide drag race for the lead as they approached lapped traffic.

Clanton, a native of Zebulon, Ga., completed the pass in turn one on the following lap, with Richards settling into second. Richards stayed glued to Clanton’s back bumper, taking shots at the leader on multiple occasions but Clanton held on to the lead and dominated the remaining laps, winning the opening night of Winter Freeze VI at Screven Motor Speedway.

“It was a phenomenal race,” Clanton said. “Sometimes it sucks being the leader and catching that many lapped cars going two and three-wide. Covert didn’t know to run the top [line] because he has never been here before, but you can lean on that top.

“The experience being around this place as much as I have really helps out. It boosts our confidence to come in here and win and beat the hottest guy in the pit area. Josh [Richards] hasn’t finished outside the top three yet this year, but to be able to beat him and outrun him on the first night we have raced against him this year, that feels pretty good.”

Richards settled for second after challenging for the lead all night, which is an improvement on his results from this race last year in which he finished fourth.

“We had a great car, we definitely had a car good enough to win,” the Shinnston, W.Va. native said. “We were following Covert there and got jammed up in lapped traffic and got stuck on the bottom.

“Clanton got a good run and got around us, then after that it was going to be hard to get back in front of him. I feel like at the end of the race we were better than him, but the way the lapped traffic played out it was hard to get back up there.”

For more news visit www.woolms.com

Photo courtesy of www.woolms.com

Gustin Grabs Win at Shady Oaks February 12, 2016

Gustin Grabs Win at Shady Oaks

GOLIAD, Texas—Ryan Gustin led all 35 laps Friday night at the Shady Oaks Speedway to score his 72nd career United States Modified Touring Series victory.

The 2011-2012 USMTS national champion beat Joe Duvall to the first corner at the start of the race and never relinquished the top spot en route to collecting $3,000 for his effort. Duvall stayed close to Gustin for the first ten laps before yielding the second position to Jesse Sobbing on lap 11 following a caution flag.

Sobbing hunted Gustin the rest of the distance but was never able to mount a serious challenge to ‘The Reaper’ and had to settle for the runner-up finish ahead of Cade Dillard, Duvall and Zack VanderBeek, who came from the 14th starting spot and earned the KSE Hard Charger Award.

Jason Hughes was sixth, Casey Arneson finished seventh, Cody Leonard earned and eighth-place paycheck, Philip Houston claimed the ninth position and Scott Drake completed the top ten.

After two rounds, Dillard emerged as the points leader in the Production Jars Southern Region presented by Day Motor Sports. Hughes, Duvall, Sobbing and VanderBeek fill the next four slots.

For more news visit www.usmts.com

Photo courtesy of www.usmts.com

Sanders Wins USMTS Opener at Shady Oaks Speedway February 11, 2016

Sanders Wins USMTS Opener at Shady Oaks Speedway

GOLIAD, Texas—The United States Modified Touring Series kicked off its 18th season Thursday at the Shady Oaks Speedway in Goliad, Texas, with another fierce battle ending with a near photo-finish.

Rodney Sanders and Jason Hughes have captured the last three USMTS national championships, and the pair slugged it out in last year’s Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup with Hughes scoring his second title in dramatic fashion.

Although they haven’t slugged it out for more than three months, Thursday’s 30-lap feature race wound up looking like a replay of last year’s highlight reel between the two.

The front row of the main event saw geographical opposites Casey Arneson of Fargo, N.D., and Steve Whiteaker Jr. of Corpus Christi, Texas, lead the 25-car field to the green. Arneson slid up in front of Whiteaker as they drove into the first turn, but Whiteaker crossed underneath Arneson to gain control of the race on lap 1.

The next time around the 3/8-mile dirt oval, Austin Arneson tucked in behind his brother and followed in Whiteaker’s tire tracks for the next dozen laps while Sanders, who started eighth, Cade Dillard and 12th-starting Hughes were on the charge and chasing the lead pack.

Dillard slipped underneath Sanders on lap 15, but Sanders returned the favor one lap later and then briefly raced three-wide with the Arneson brothers for second before securing the second spot with 18 laps complete.

The yellow flag made its first appearance of the 2016 campaign on lap 19 when Casey Arneson tagged the yoke tire on the inside of turn 4 and brought his strong run to an end early.

When the green flag returned, Whiteaker, Sanders and Austin Arneson powered through turn 2 side by side, but a tangle deep in the pack negated the start.

Whiteaker, who claimed last year’s season opener here, kept his advantage on the next start but Sanders was too strong and powered past the local favorite to lead the 22nd circuit.

Three laps later, Austin Arneson made contact with Whiteaker and Ryan Gustin, who had clawed his way into the top five from the eighth row, was forced to take evasive action and steer over the embankment to avoid a collision.

Both Whiteaker and Arneson found themselves at the rear of the field for the start of the final five-lap dash to the checkered flag while Gustin suffered damage from the maneuver and retired to the pit area.

Sanders nailed the restart and got a big jump on Dillard and Hughes, who found a fast line around the top of the racing surface to facilitate his late-race charge.

Hughes blew past Dillard with two laps to go and quickly pulled up to Sanders’s rear bumper as the duo raced to the white flag.

Sanders maintained the lead through the first corner while Hughes stayed tucked in behind as they raced down the back-stretch for the final time. With Sanders rolling around the inside, Hughes took the high line through the final set of turns and closed quickly on Sanders as they raced to the flagstand.

Crossing the finish line virtually side by side, Sanders was able to nip Hughes by a nose to claim the first USMTS checkered flag of the season and the $2,000 paycheck that accompanied it.

“The track was really good tonight,” said Sanders, who got the win in his first-ever visit to the Shady Oaks Speedway. “It's a pretty tight track, but it races really well. At some tracks we go to we try to compare notes from like tracks, but we were in our own little world here.”

Hughes settled for second but he and crew chief Steve Karver appeared pleased with the result after struggling in their heat race.

Dillard held on for third while Joe Duvall made a late charge to claim the fourth spot ahead of Ben Kates. Tyler Wolff, Philip Houston, Zack VanderBeek, Brock Bauman and Jesse Sobbing rounded out the top ten in the season’s first points race in the Production Jars Southern Region presented by Day Motor Sports.

For additional news visit www.usmts.com

Photo courtesy of www.usmts.com

Richards Keeps Rolling at East Bay Winternationals February 9, 2016

Richards Keeps Rolling at East Bay Winternationals

TAMPA, FL (February 9, 2016) - Josh Richards continued to dominate the competition on Tuesday Night at East Bay Raceway Park, winning his fourth Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event of 2016. Richards took the lead from Jared Landers on lap nine after Landers jumped the turn four cushion.

Richards went on to win his sixth career East Bay Winternationals feature event. Scott Bloomquist finished second, followed by Tim McCreadie, Jonathan Davenport, and Eddie Carrier Jr.

"We changed motors today. I was a little nervous about the balance we had in the car, but it worked out well in the feature. The track started off like last night, it was nice and fast. With the weather conditions tonight, you had to get to the front quickly to have a chance to win."

"The car tightened up quite a bit. We were way too tight for the conditions out there. I don't know how many more laps I had in that right rear; probably not many; the way it looks. Jared [Landers] got off to a good start. I just tried to stay under him and then he must have jumped the berm there and we were able to get by him. This place is tricky with the way you move around so much. I want to thank the fans for coming out tonight as well!"

"I would like to thank Valvoline, Ace Metal Works, Seubert Calf Ranches, Sallack Well Services, and everybody else who makes this possible. I can't believe how the season has started! We will be back tomorrow and try to make it three in a row."

Landers led the first eight laps, then fell to second behind Richards and held that spot until contact sent him spinning on lap 23. Bloomquist then moved into second and held off McCreadie for third.

Bloomquist who did not run Monday Night at East Bay said, "We got some rest last night. I have been feeling sick, so we decided to take the night off. The car was just a little bit free in the heat race, and I tightened it up way too much. That's not how I like to drive it," said the 2-time LOLMDS Champion.

"I thought Jared was getting a flat tire or something. I thought I was outside of him enough and I guess I just barely hooked him. I hate that because we are really good friends. We have race together a lot and that's the first time something has happened between us. I apologize for that! It was absolutely my fault."

McCreadie is following the LOLMDS for the first time in his career, and had another solid finish. "It's such a relaxed atmosphere; we have had good starts to a season before, but we just need the consistency for the whole season. We feel like we have a winning combination here. I want to thank Sweeteners Plus, Longhorn Chassis, and Pro Power Engines. We will come back tomorrow night, looking to gain a few more spots."

Completing the top ten were Devin Moran, Dennis Erb Jr., Don O'Neal, Steve Francis, and Mason Zeigler.

For additional news visit www.lucasdirt.com