SWAINSBORO, GA – May 7, 2011 – Rick Eckert was unable to attend his daughter’s college graduation ceremony on Saturday, but he gave her a very memorable present.
With a dominating performance behind the wheel of his Team Zero by Bloomquist car, Eckert rolled to a wire-to-wire victory in Saturday evening’s World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘Pine Tree 50’ at Swainsboro Raceway.
Eckert, 45, of York, Pa., earned $10,775 for his first triumph of 2011 on the national tour. He also grabbed the WoO LMS points lead for the first time since June 2006, vaulting past two-time defending champion Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., who finished 19th after losing eight laps while his crew attempted to repair his car’s folded front bumper.
“Coming down the road (en route to the three-eighths-mile Georgia track), I was thinking, Boy, it would be neat if I could win tonight and dedicate it to her,” Eckert said when asked about his 22-year-old daughter Courtney, who celebrated the completion of her education at Millersville (Pa.) University on Saturday afternoon. “Fortunately it worked out that way. This one’s definitely for my daughter.
“She was mad that I couldn’t be there, but I said I really needed to stay out here and try to keep up in the (WoO LMS) points. Now I’ve got some good news to tell her.”
Six caution flags slowed the rough-and-tumble event, but Eckert faced little resistance on the restarts. He took advantage of his pole starting spot – a position drawn for him by a young fan who ironically wore a t-shirt emblazoned with the memorial race of Eckert’s longtime car owner Raye Vest – to lead the entire distance without a serious challenge.
“I was out there running around the middle to the top early,” said Eckert, whose 22nd career WoO LMS victory snapped his 20-race winless streak dating back to his last success on July 30, 2010, at Attica (Ohio) Raceway Park. “Then my crew guys Bob (Miller) and Dan (White) told me that I needed to move down, so I started running the inside and the car worked great there. We really hit on something tonight.”
Eckert easily outdistanced runner-up Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., who crossed the finish line 2.728 seconds behind the winner. Frank, 49, advanced from the 12th starting spot to register a season-best finish in his Rocket car.
“I got pushed up high early in race and I found that my car was free enough to drive up there,” said Frank, who wrestled second place away from Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., following the race’s final restart, on lap 31. “The track kept getting rougher and rougher on the top, though, so you really had to be up on the wheel to hold it there. If they could’ve run it in a little better and smoothed it out, maybe I would’ve had something for (Eckert). It just got so rough up there, I just couldn’t stay up there.”
Lanigan, 40, settled for a third-place finish after needing just seven laps to hustle his Rocket machine from the ninth starting to second behind Eckert. The 2008 WoO LMS champion saw his two-race win streak on the tour come to an end, but he did record his sixth consecutive top-three finish and pulled into a tie for second place in the points standings with Richards, 22 points behind Eckert.
Sweeteners Plus Racing teammates Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y., and Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Coffey moved forward from the 11th starting spot to score his second top-five finish in the last three WoO LMS events, while McCreadie, who started third, slipped backward in a car that sported damage to the left-front corner of its nosepiece.
With his triumph before a standing-room-only crowd that Swainsboro owner Paul Purvis called the biggest in his decade at the track, Eckert received a unique ‘trophy’ that was carved out of wood by an expert chainsaw sculptor during the town of Swainsboro’s annual Pine Tree Festival. He lifted the heavy piece while posing for photographers in Victory Lane.
“That’s a cool trophy,” said Eckert, who is in his second season fielding his own team. “That’s different that most trophies you see. I’m excited about winning it.”
Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga., finished sixth after battling for a top-five spot with McCreadie for much of the distance and Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., placed seventh after failing to tighten up his car following a heat-race victory. Dennis ‘Rambo’ Franklin of Gaffney, S.C., outdueled Greg Johnson of Bedford, Ind., for eighth place – and the $500 WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ cash for being the highest-finishing driver who hasn’t won a tour event and isn’t ranked among the top 12 in the points standings – and 2010 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., rounded out the top 10 after he was forced to restart at the rear of the field because he slid to a stop in turn two while battling for fifth on lap seven.
With 33 cars on hand, Lanigan was quickest in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials, turning a lap of 14.699 seconds to earn his first fast-time honor of 2011. It was the second straight year that he topped qualifying in WoO LMS action at Swainsboro.
Heat winners were Smith, McCreadie, Richards and Tony Knowles of Tyrone, Ga., who recorded his first-ever WoO LMS heat-race victory. The B-Mains were captured by Johnson and Johnny Pursley Jr. of Clover, S.C.
The WoO LMS heads to southern Georgia on Sunday for a Mother’s Day evening show at Needmore Speedway in Norman Park. It will mark the tour’s first-ever appearance at Chris Hunnicutt’s three-eighths-mile oval, which will present a 40-lap A-Main paying $8,000 to win.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
Results of WoO Late Model Series ‘Pine Tree 50’ at Swainsboro Raceway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (1) Rick Eckert/50 $10,775
2. (12) Chub Frank/50 $5,550
3. (9) Darrell Lanigan/50 $3,650
4. (11) Vic Coffey/50 $3,050
5. (3) Tim McCreadie/50 $2,650
6. (4) Shane Clanton/50 $2,250
7. (6) Clint Smith/50 $1,950
8. (13) Dennis Franklin/50 $1,800
9. (17) Greg Johnson/50 $1,200
10. (8) Austin Hubbard/50 $1,650
11. (18) Johnny Pursley Jr./50 $1,050
12. (14) Tim Fuller/50 $1,550
13. (19) Jordy Nipper/50 $1,000
14. (20) Jill George/50 $900
15. (23) John Lobb/50 $1,100
16. (7) Phil Pittman/49 $800
17. (21) Pat Doar/49 $770
18. (16) Ron Davies/45 $750
19. (5) Josh Richards/42 $1,380
20. (2) Tony Knowles/37 $750
21. (15) John Henderson/26 $700
22. (22) Mike Nasworthy/21 $700
23. (24) Brian Nuttall Jr./13 $700
24. (10) Chesley Dixon/6 $725
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 37 Mins., 34.667 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 2.728 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 6 (Laps 3, 7, 14, 22, 26, 31)
Lap Leaders: Eckert (1-50)
Provisional Starters: Lobb, Nuttall Jr.
Rookie of the Race: Lobb ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Franklin ($500)
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 14.699
2. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 14.761
3. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 14.771
4. 26-Tony Knowles/Tyrone, GA 14.825
5. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 14.842
6. 3p-Phil Pittman/Vidalia, GA 14.849
7. 2x-John Henderson/Aiken, SC 14.864
8. 71d-Ron Davies/Warren, PA 14.918
9. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 14.920
10. 101-Casey Roberts/Toccoa, GA 14.922
11. 16-Brian Nuttall Jr./Claxton, GA 14.937
12. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 14.974
13. 22T-William Thomas/Phenix City, AL 15.036
14. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 15.064
15. 19H-Austin Hubbard/Seaford, DE 15.089
16. 0-Mike Nasworthy/Gray, GA 15.103
17. 49-Greg Johnson/Bedford, IN 15.132
18. 3-Chesley Dixon/Swainsboro, GA 15.134
19. 09-Johnny Pursley Jr./Clover, SC 15.142
20. 25-Shane Clanton/Fayetteville, GA 15.188
21. 2-Dennis Franklin/Gaffney, SC 15.222
22. 1N-Jordy Nipper/Macon, GA 15.248
23. 32c-Vic Coffey/Caledonia, NY 15.266
24. 21L-Ivedent Lloyd Jr./Ocala, FL 15.350
25. 11d-Pat Doar/New Richmond, WI 15.389
26. 104-Monk Gulledge/Batesburg, SC 15.759
27. 22-Jill George/Cedar Falls, IA 15.792
28. 17-Lamar Haygood/Douglasville, GA 16.161
29. s55-Duane Treadwell/LaGrange, GA 16.409
30. 20-Henry Carter/Waycross, GA 16.416
31. 16N-Brian Nuttall Sr./Claxton, GA 16.793
32. 1d-Brent Dixon/Elberton, GA 16.833
33. 1L-John Lobb/Frewsburg, NY N/T
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Smith, Eckert, Lanigan, Franklin, Doar, Thomas, Lobb, Treadwell, Johnson
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): McCreadie, Pittman, C. Dixon, Fuller, Gulledge, Nipper, Carter, Roberts
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Richards, Hubbard, Coffey, Henderson, Nuttall Jr., Pursley, George, Nuttall Sr.
Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Knowles, Clanton, Frank, Davies, Lloyd, Nasworthy, B. Dixon, Haygood
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Johnson, Nipper, Doar, Lobb, Gulledge, Carter, Treadwell, Thomas (DNS) Roberts
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Pursley, George, Nasworthy, B. Dixon, Lloyd, Nuttall Jr., Haygood (DNS) Nuttall Sr.
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:
Arizona Sports Shirts ($100 apparel certificate to 22nd fastest qualifier): Jordy Nipper
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main w/decal): Greg Johnson
Comp Cams ($50 cash to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Rick Eckert
Comp Cams (certificate to 11th place in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Austin Hubbard
Eibach Springs (one free spring to each B-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Greg Johnson/Jill George
JE Pistons ($50 cash to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Rick Eckert
JE Pistons (one set of Pro Seal rings to 11th-place or next highest w/decal, redeemable w/next purchase of one complete set of rings): Tim Fuller
JE Pistons (one set of Pro Seal rings to 21st-place or next highest w/decal, redeemable w/next purchase of one complete set of rings): Mike Nasworthy
MSD Ignition ($75 cash to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Rick Eckert
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to last-place in A-Main or next lowest w/decal): Chesley Dixon
Ohlins Pole Award ($50 cash to fast qualifier or next highest w/decal): Tony Knowles
Quartermaster ($100 product certificate to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Rick Eckert
Quartermaster ($50 product certificate to 5th-place or next highest w/decal): Tim McCreadie
Quartermaster ($25 product certificate to 15th-place or next highest w/decal): John Lobb
R2C Performance ($100 certificate to highest-finishing driver w/decal or $100 cash if race winner is using R2C filter and decal is displayed): Rick Eckert (cash)
STP ($50 cash to 2nd-place in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Chub Frank
Superflow Dynos ($50 cash to 7th-place in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Clint Smith
VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to winner of Heat 1 or next highest w/decal): Darrell Lanigan
VP Racing Fuels ‘Nice Jugs Award’ (one five-gallon plastic fuel jugs to fastest qualifier who does not make the A-Main or next highest w/decal): Ivedent Lloyd Jr.
WIX Filters ($50 cash to 13th-place in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Jordy Nipper
Wrisco Aluminum (Three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner w/decal): Chub Frank
2011 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of May 7 – 8 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Rick Eckert 1210
2. (tie) Josh Richards 1188 (-22)
2. (tie) Darrell Lanigan 1188 (-22)
4. Austin Hubbard 1176 (-34)
5. (tie) Tim McCreadie 1122 (-88)
5. (tie) Chub Frank 1122 (-88)
7. Shane Clanton 1120 (-90)
8. Clint Smith 1104 (-106)
9. Tim Fuller 1024 (-186)
10. Vic Coffey 1014 (-196)
11. Jason Feger 1010 (-200)
12. Pat Doar 984 (-226)
13. Ron Davies 912 (-298)
14. Brent Robinson 882 (-328)
15. Jill George 848 (-362)
16. John Lobb 846 (-364)
17. Steve Francis 752 (-458)
18. Jonathan Davenport 744 (-466)
19. Billy Moyer 596 (-614)
20. Scott Bloomquist 570 (-640)
FOLLOW THE ACTION ON TWITTER: Fans can keep up-to-date with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series online and through text messages on cell phones via 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.
Over 3,700 fans are now WoO LMS ‘followers’ on Twitter. To sign-up and 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 http://www.dirtvision.com/welcome.php and click on the DIRT Radio Network logo.
BLOGGING: WoO LMS fans can now read interesting stories from the road by checking out two blogs –‘Life As An Outlaw’ by series announcer Rick Eshelman and ‘The Scoop With Scoop’ by tour P.R. director Kevin Kovac. Both blogs can be accessed by clicking on the preceding links or the specific ‘Blog’ buttons on the right-hand side of http://www.woolms.com/.
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), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award), McCarthy’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award), Chizmark Larson Insurance, Factory Value Parts and RacingJunk.com; in addition to contingency sponsors Comp Cams, Eibach Springs, JE Pistons, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, Pro Power Engines, Quartermaster, Rocket Chassis, R2C Performance, Superflow Dynos, Wix Filters and Wrisco Aluminum.