Eckert Finally Breaks Into Victory Lane At The Dirt Track At Charlotte In Circle K World of Outlaws Late Model Showdown
CONCORD, NC – Rick Eckert of York, Pa., finally conquered The Dirt Track at Charlotte, breaking into Victory Lane at the four-tenths-mile oval with a powerful performance in Wednesday night’s 50-lap Circle K World of Outlaws Late Model Showdown.
The defending World of Outlaws Late Model Series champion streaked into the lead on lap 31 when Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., slowed with a blown right-rear tire and never looked back. He kept Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., at arm’s length over the remaining distance to register his second consecutive and fifth overall triumph of 2012 on the national tour.
“We won Charlotte!” exclaimed the 46-year-old Eckert after emerging from his victorious Team Zero by Bloomquist car. “It’s a great feeling because this is an awesome place. We’ve been here a bunch (over the past decade) and we’ve run second, we’ve run third, we’ve run fourth – and we’ve run terrible here too. I’ve always wanted to win here, so now I can take this place off my bucket list.”
Smith, 47, finished 0.725 of a second behind Eckert in second place – after starting 24th because he used a provisional spot to gain entry to the A-Main. It was the third runner-up placing of 2012 for Smith, whose last WoO LMS victory came 61 races ago on May 8, 2011, at Needmore Speedway in Norman Park, Ga.
Chub Frank, 50, of Bear Lake, Pa., quietly moved forward from the 11th starting spot to finish third, his 10th top-five outing of 2012. He moved to fourth in the WoO LMS points standings, overtaking Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who started sixth but retired after just nine laps.
Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., advanced from the 21st starting spot to add a fourth-place finish to his 2012 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year campaign, and points leader Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., salvaged a rare off night (he used a provisional to start 23rd in the A-Main) with a fifth-place run that marked his 31st top-five finish in 38 starts this season.
Lanigan, 42, left Charlotte leading the WoO LMS points standings by 194 points over Eckert. He will officially clinch his second career championship when he enters the qualifying program of the Peak Motor Oil World of Outlaws World Finals presented by NAPA Auto Parts on Nov. 1 at The Dirt Track, assuring himself 60 show-up points for each of the event’s two shows.
Eckert will lock up second place in the ’12 points standings on qualifying night of the Peak World Finals as well, allowing him to focus on extending his season-ending win streak. With a sweep of the two-feature extravaganza, he would match his personal-best standard of four consecutive WoO LMS victories in 2006.
Eckert’s first-ever checkered flag at The Dirt Track came after he vaulted from the ninth starting spot to third in just two laps. He took second on lap 13 when Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., who led the race’s first 12 laps from the outside pole, lost momentum as Richards sailed into the top spot.
For the next 18 circuits Eckert chased Richards, who had run the rough-and-tumble track’s ragged edge to advance from the eighth starting spot and continued to charge hard once in command. Richards’s bid for a fourth consecutive victory in the Circle K WoO LM Showdown effectively ended, however, when he slowed with a flat right-rear tire on lap 31, leaving Eckert in front for good.
Richards returned to the track after getting a new tire, but he retired two circuits later after tangling with Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky. McDowell, who drove NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Ty Dillon’s No. 41 after parking his own Team Dillon No. 17M following time trials, also did not finish the race, retiring on lap 16 after bringing out a caution flag.
“I got up through there fairly well without hurting my tires, but when I got (to third) Josh was rolling and Dale was rolling,” said Eckert, whose 29 th career WoO LMS win moved him into sole possession of third place on the tour’s victory list since 2004. “Then those two touched each other (in turn one on lap 13) and I snuck by Dale, and then I just got to where I started creeping back in on Josh when we ran a long enough green. On those short greens he was like a rabbit – he’d get out there – but once we got going I finally could change my line into three and I started moving in on him.
“If he didn’t break I think we would’ve had a helluva race at the end because I started getting better and he started getting worse.”
Eckert, whose night began in difficult fashion when his car’s lift bar dug into the track during hot laps and caused its driveshaft to break, survived a final caution flag on lap 48 (for a blown right-rear tire on the third-place car of Richards’s Rocket Chassis teammate Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill.) to pocket a $10,650 paycheck.
Smith, who steered his Rocket car into second place on a lap-33 restart, wasn’t able to offer Eckert a serious challenge. But the veteran driver was pleased with his unexpectedly strong performance.
“We broke a shock in hot laps and a shock in qualifying and then folded the nose in the heat,” said Smith, who dropped out of his heat race when the nosepiece damage caused its mount to break off the car’s frame. “I guess I got all three of my breakages out of the way before the feature.
“We spent the whole time (between the heats and the A-Main) getting the nosepiece back welded on the car, and we just set it up baja-style just to try to keep (the car) on the ground with the rough track. I told (his crew) I was just gonna try to ride around (starting deep in the field), but I moved up top to try it and about four boulders (of clay) about knocked my head off so I said, ‘The heck with this. I’m gonna move to the bottom.’
“I married myself to the bottom after that,” he continued, “and fortunately, every restart they lined up me up on the bottom and I’d get me about one or two cars on the straightaway. Next thing you know, I’m up there in second.
“As the end the bottom got good and I thought I had something for Eckert. I drove up there too him, but then (Pa) Doar was running around there slow and I had to jump up there to get around him and I lost about a half-straightaway in one lap. We didn’t really have anything left after that last restart either.”
Ten cars were running at the finish of the race, which was slowed by seven caution flags.
Forty-five cars were signed in for the event, which was run on a gorgeous autumn day.
Richards was quickest in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials with a lap of 14.997 seconds. It was his third WoO LMS fast-time honor of 2012 and the 30th of his career.
Heat winners were Richards, Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., McCreadie and Eric Jacobsen of Sea Cliff Beach, Calif. The B-Mains were captured by Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind., and Jared Landers of Batesville, Ark.
The WoO LMS will return to The Dirt Track at Charlotte to end the 2012 season on Nov. 1-3 with the Peak Motor Oil World of Outlaws World Finals presented by NAPA Auto Parts.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
Fans can also follow the WoO LMS on Twitter at Twitter.com/WoOLateModels and Facebook at Facebook.com/WorldofOutlaws .
Results of WoO Late Model Series Circle K World of Outlaws Late Model Showdown at The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (9) Rick Eckert/50 $10,650
2. (24) Clint Smith/50 $5,550
3. (11) Chub Frank/50 $3,600
4. (21) Bub McCool/50 $3,300
5. (23) Darrell Lanigan/50 $2,650
6. (12) Shane Clanton/50 $2,250
7. (4) Eric Jacobsen/50 $1,900
8. (25) Steve Shaver/50 $1,300
9. (15) Donnie Moran/50 $1,250
10. (26) Pat Doar/49 $1,100
11. (7) Brandon Sheppard/47 $1,050
12. (14) Austin Dillon/41 $1,000
13. (18) Jared Landers/33 $1,000
14. (16) Tyler Reddick/33 $900
15. (13) Steve Francis/33 $950
16. (8) Josh Richards/33 $1,050
17. (10) Jeff Rine/30 $770
18. (20) Eddie Carrier Jr./26 $750
19. (19) Kenny Pettyjohn/26 $780
20. (2) Dale McDowell/15 $700
21. (5) Tim Fuller/9 $1,250
22. (1) Eric Wells/9 $700
23. (6) Tim McCreadie/9 $1,350
24. (17) Kent Robinson/9 $1,200
25. (3) Jimmy Owens/2 $750
26. (22) Vic Coffey/1 $1,250
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 49 Mins., 32.417 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.725 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 7 (laps 2, 7, 9, 16, 31, 33, 48)
Lap Leaders: McDowell (1-12); Richards (13-30); Eckert (31-50)
Provisional Starters: Lanigan, C. Smith (WoO); Shaver (track); Doar (WoO emergency)
Rookie of the Race: McCool ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Jacobsen ($500)
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 14.997
2. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 15.130
3. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 15.154
4. 1b-Brandon Sheppard/New Berlin, IL 15.171
5. 20-Jimmy Owens/Newport, TN 15.259
6. 44M-Chris Madden/Gray Court, SC 15.291
7. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 15.296
8. 6-Steve Shaver/Vienna, WV 15.310
9. 15-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 15.344
10. 18-Eric Wells/Hazard, KY 15.355
11. 32c-Vic Coffey/Caledonia, NY 15.366
12. 5J-Eric Jacobsen/Sea Cliff Beach, CA 15.388
13. 87-Walker Arthur/Forest, VA 15.399
14. 24M-Kenny Moreland/Waldorf, MD 15.406
15. 17M-Dale McDowell/Chickamauga, GA 15.410
16. 25-Shane Clanton/Fayetteville, GA 15.449
17. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 15.453
18. 2J-Jeff Rine/Danville, PA 15.473
19. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 15.519
20. 11R-Tyler Reddick/DuQuoin, IL 15.522
21. 38-Kenny Pettyjohn/Millsboro, DE 15.534
22. 7R-Kent Robinson/Bloomington, IN 15.578
23. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 15.595
24. 11-Pat Doar/New Richmond, WI 15.623
25. 57J-Bub McCool/Vicksburg, MS 15.659
26. 3-Austin Dillon/Welcome, NC 15.662
27. 99-Donnie Moran/Dresden, OH 15.669
28. 5-Jared Landers/Batesville, AR 15.739
29. 55-Duane Treadwell/LaGrange, GA 15.750
30. 201-Billy Ogle Jr./Knoxville, TN 15.768
31. 15d-Jonathan Davenport/Blairsville, GA 15.825
32. 28-Eddie Carrier Jr./Salt Rock, WV 15.920
33. 2-Joey Coulter/Miami Springs, FL 15.930
34. 21-Trevor Bayne/Knoxville, TN 16.109
35. 22-Chris Ferguson/Mt. Holly, NC 16.442
36. 31-Brian Force/Indiana, PA 16.488
37. 41-Ty Dillon/Welcome, NC 16.670
38. 50-Larry McDaniels/Mooresville, NC 17.104
39. 1T-Tre Martin/Charleston, WV 17.703
40. 07-Brian Ledbetter/Dallas, NC N/T
41. 01-Robbie Bailey/Portsmouth, OH N/T
42. 64-Billy Workman/Portland, OR N/T
43. 25b-Mike Benedum/Salem, WV N/T
44. 16-Justin Rattliff/Campbellsville, KY N/T
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Richards, Owens, Eckert, Francis, Arthur, McCool, Pettyjohn, Treadwell, Coulter, Bailey, Ty Dillon
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Wells, Fuller, Rine, A. Dillon, Ogle, Robinson, Moreland, Madden, Bayne, McDaniels, Workman
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): McCreadie, McDowell, Frank, Moran, Davenport, Lanigan, Coffey, Benedum, C. Smith, Martin (DNS) Ferguson
Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Jacobsen, Sheppard, Clanton, Reddick, Landers, Carrier, Force, Doar, Shaver (DNS) Ledbetter, Rattliff
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Robinson, Pettyjohn, McCool, Madden, Ogle, Treadwell, Bayne, Workman, Bailey, Coulter, Arthur, Moreland, McDaniels (DNS) Ty Dillon
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Landers, Carrier, Coffey, Davenport, Doar, Benedum, Force, Shaver (DNS) Lanigan, C. Smith, Martin, Ledbetter, Ferguson, Rattliff
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:
Arizona Sport Shirts ($100 product certificate to 23rd-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Pat Doar
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Steve Shaver
Cometic Gasket ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Jared Landers
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): Rick Eckert
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): Bub McCool/Pat Doar
Gravely ($50 cash to 7th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Pat Doar
JE Pistons ($50 cash to 16th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Josh Richards
JE Pistons (one compete set of JE Pro Seal rings to 11th-place finisher or next highest w/decal - $285 value): Brandon Sheppard
JE Pistons (one complete set of JE Pro Seal rings to 21st-place finisher or next highest w/decal - $285 value): Vic Coffey
Klotz Synthetic Lubricants ($50 cash to 17th-place finisher or next highest finisher): Kenny Pettyjohn
MSD Ignition ($50 cash to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Bub McCool
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Vic Coffey
Ohlins Pole Award ($50 cash to fast qualifier or next highest w/decal): Jimmy Owens
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): Shane Clanton
Quartermaster ($25 product certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Kenny Pettyjohn
Roush-Yates Performance Products ($50 cash to 4th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Pat Doar
Roush-Yates Performance Products (carburetor repair kit to 18th-place finish in A-Main or next highest w/decal - $100 value): Eric Wells
Roush-Yates Lap Leader Award (one pair of Wiley X Sunglasses to driver who leads most laps in A-Main): Rick Eckert
STP ($50 cash to 2nd-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Chub Frank
SuperFlow ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Josh Richards
VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to 9th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Donnie Moran
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): Chris Madden
WIX Filters ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Josh Richards
Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner if decal displayed - $200 value):
XS Power ($50 cash to 3rd-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Chub Frank
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): Clint Smith
2012 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of Oct. 10 – 38 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Darrell Lanigan 5340
2. Rick Eckert 5146 (-194)
3. Shane Clanton 4948 (-392)
4. Chub Frank 4864 (-476)
5. Tim McCreadie 4826 (-514)
6. Clint Smith 4780 (-560)
7. Bub McCool 4740 (-600)
8. Vic Coffey 4622 (-718)
9. Tim Fuller 4516 (-824)
10. Pat Doar 4402 (-938)
11. Kent Robinson 4266 (-1074)
12. Jack Sullivan 3474 (-1866)