Eckert Cruises to Rolling Wheels Win for Second Straight Year
Keystone State Star Sweeps World of Outlaws Late Model Series Program In Convincing Fashion
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
ELBRIDGE, NY – Oct. 4, 2012 – Rick Eckert has figured out Rolling Wheels Raceway Park.
The 46-year-old star from York, Pa., was untouchable in Thursday night’s 50-lap World of Outlaws Late Model Series A-Main, cruising to victory at the five-eighths-mile oval during NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week for the second straight year.
Eckert steered his Team Zero by Bloomquist car past Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., for the lead on lap 11 and never looked back. He had a straightaway-plus advantage wiped out by a lap-35 caution flag but still triumphed by a commanding margin, pulling away over the final circuits to defeat a late-charging Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga., by 5.529 seconds.
“I just love this place,” said Eckert, whose four career WoO LMS starts at Rolling Wheels include two wins (2011 and ’12) and two runner-up finishes (’05 and ’10). “It’s turned into my favorite racetrack in the country.”
Runaway WoO LMS points leader Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., had an relative off night, finishing third despite starting from the pole position. He was outgunned for the lead at the initial green flag by McCool and fell back as far as fourth before passing McCool for third on lap 40.
Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y., who has frequented Rolling Wheels throughout his career to compete in DIRTcar Northeast Modified events, battled forward from the sixth starting spot to place fourth. McCool, who led laps 1-10 and ran second until lap 39, settled for a fifth-place finish in a car that sported a fresh Halloween-themed wrap.
Eckert earned $11,150 for his sweep of the night’s program. He set fast time – his fifth of 2012 to tie Lanigan for the top spot in that category – won a heat race and dominated the feature.
The triumph was Eckert’s fourth of 2012 and the 28th of his career on the WoO LMS, pulling him into a tie with Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., for third on the national tour’s win list since 2004.
Eckert, who started third, was in a league of his own once he overtook McCool for the lead. He passed Lanigan for second on a lap-four restart and spent six circuits measuring McCool before surging by the 2012 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year.
“Me and Bub talked about tires before the race and I told him what I was putting on,” said Eckert. “He went softer – and this place likes one tire, and one tire only, and if you don’t have it on you’re in trouble, so I wasn’t panicking when he was leading (early).
“I finally moved up in (turns) three and four and about run over (McCool) off of four. I was like, ‘The next lap when we get here, it’ll be good.’ Then (the ensuing circuit) I drove around him down there.”
Eckert praised the performance of his Jay Dickens-powered machine.
“My car was maneuverable,” said Eckert. “I could go anywhere I wanted to go. We caught on to something when we got to Berlin, Michigan (on Sept. 21-22), and since then (the setup) lets me drive (the car) just as hard as I can drive it. I had to drive the wheels off it tonight because when you ease up on it, it ain’t very good.
“My guy (crewman Bob Miller) was telling me I had a big lead, but I couldn’t slow up. If I slowed up I got worse, so I just ran as hard as I could.”
That was actually quite simple for Eckert, who feels utterly comfortable circling Rolling Wheels.
“Our car and my driving style sort of fit this place,” said Eckert. “It’s big – and I grew up on big racetracks – and you gotta drive straight. I drive straighter than the average guy – too straight for most places, and it gets me in trouble – but here it makes up for it for sure.”
Clanton, 37, advanced from the seventh starting spot to finish second in the Kennedy Motorsports Capital Race Car, but he never drew close to Eckert. The Peach State racer vaulted from fourth to second shortly after a lap-35 restart – passing both Lanigan and McCool – but couldn’t challenge the eventual winner.
“I don’t think there was any catching him,” Clanton said of Eckert. “His car was a little more balanced than what ours was. We got to second and just maintained, and then we got to lapped traffic and he was just more maneuverable. He could pass cars faster than I could.”
Lanigan, 42, was surprisingly never a threat to push his single-season record win total to 16, but he left Rolling Wheels with a 204-point lead in the WoO LMS standings that puts him on the verge of clinching his second career championship. Eckert still is mathematically alive, but Lanigan can claim the title by merely earning a minimum of 82 points – the amount given to the fifth B-Main non-transfer – in each of the season’s three remaining events.
Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., finished a quiet-but-steady sixth after starting fourth. Pat Doar of New Richmond, Wis., briefly reached fifth place but settled for seventh. Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., finished eighth, Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., slipped from the fifth starting slot to a ninth-place finish and Coleby Frye of Dover, Pa., earned recognition as the highest-finishing non-Outlaw by rounding out the top 10.
Three caution flags slowed the event. Alan Fink of Brewerton, N.Y., and Sean Beardsley of Central Square, N.Y., spun between turns one and two on the second lap; Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs of Bear Lake, Pa., was sent twirling between turns three and four on lap four; and Bryan Driver of Pennington, N.J., spun on the homestretch on lap 35.
Twenty-five cars were signed in for the program. The only driver unable to start the A-Main was Ricky Elliott of Seaford, Del., whose machine was sidelined for the night by an apparent burnt piston during hot laps.
Eckert earned fast-time recognition with a lap of 18.632 seconds.
Heat winners were Eckert, Fuller and Lanigan. No B-Main was run.
The WoO LMS will be back in action on Wed., Oct. 10, in the Circle K World of Outlaws Late Model Showdown at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in Concord, N.C.
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 at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (3) Rick Eckert/50 $11,150
2. (7) Shane Clanton/50 $6,050
3. (1) Darrell Lanigan/50 $4,150
4. (6) Vic Coffey/50 $3,550
5. (2) Bub McCool/50 $3,300
6. (4) Clint Smith/50 $2,750
7. (8) Pat Doar/50 $2,550
8. (12) Chub Frank/50 $2,350
9. (5) Tim Fuller/50 $2,250
10. (19) Coleby Frye/49 $1,600
11. (14) Ron Davies/49 $1,050
12. (9) Tim McCreadie/48 $2,200
13. (13) Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs/48 $950
14. (11) Andy Haus/48 $950
15. (17) Dave Zona/48 $850
16. (24) Greg Belyea/47 $800
17. (16) Jim Yoder/47 $770
18. (21) Alan Fink/47 $750
19. (15) Chad Hollenbeck/35 $730
20. (20) Sean Beardsley/32 $800
21. (18) Bryan Driver/18 $700
22. (22) Doug Eck/9 $725
23. (10) Kent Robinson/5 $1,750
24. (23) Dan Stone/3 $700
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 33 Mins., 6.186 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 5.529 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 3 (Laps 2, 4, 35)
Lap Leaders: McCool (1-10); Eckert (11-50)
Provisional Starters: None
Rookie of the Race: McCool ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Frye ($500)
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 18.632
2. 32c-Vic Coffey/Caledonia, NY 18.818
3. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 18.848
4. 25-Shane Clanton/Fayetteville, GA 18.895
5. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 18.966
6. 57J-Bub McCool/Vicksburg, MS 18.971
7. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 19.269
8. 11-Pat Doar/New Richmond, WI 19.300
9. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 19.344
10. 32-Coleby Frye/Dover, PA 19.382
11. 76-Andy Haus/Hamburg, PA 19.511
12. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 19.522
13. 99b-Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs/Bear Lake, PA 19.588
14. 71d-Ron Davies/Warren, PA 19.615
15. 4ds-Chad Hollenbeck/Kingsley, PA 19.628
16. 7R-Kent Robinson/Bloomington, IN 19.678
17. 2-Dan Stone/Thompson, PA 19.720
18. 1d-Bryan Driver/Pennington, PA 19.798
19. 27-Jim Yoder/Selinsgrove, PA 19.905
20. 99z-Dave Zona/Montrose, PA 19.997
21. 15-Alan Fink/Brewerton, NY 20.351
22. 03-Doug Eck/Corry, PA 20.366
23. 18-Sean Beardsley/Central Square, NY 20.439
24. 99-Greg Belyea/Frankford, ONT 21.957
25. 88-Ricky Elliott/Seaford, DE N/T
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Eckert, C. Smith, Clanton, Robinson, Briggs, Yoder, Frye, Eck
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Fuller, Coffey, Doar, Haus, Davies, Zona, Beardsley, Stone
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Lanigan, McCool, McCreadie, Frank, Hollenbeck, Driver, Fink, Belyea
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): Sean Beardsley
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Andy Haus
Cometic Gasket ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Tim McCreadie
Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Tim McCreadie
Comp Cams ($50 product certificate to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Shane Clanton
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): None
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): Sean Beardsley
JE Pistons (one compete set of JE Pro Seal rings to 11th-place finisher or next highest w/decal – $285 value): Tim McCreadie
JE Pistons (one complete set of JE Pro Seal rings to 21st-place finisher or next highest w/decal – $285 value): Doug Eck
Klotz Synthetic Lubricants ($50 cash to 17th-place finisher or next highest finisher): Sean Beardsley
MSD Ignition ($50 cash to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Shane Clanton
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Doug Eck
Ohlins Pole Award ($50 cash to fast qualifier or next highest w/decal): Rick Eckert
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): Bub McCool
Quartermaster ($25 product certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Jim Yoder
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): Sean Beardsley
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): Darrell Lanigan
SuperFlow ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Andy Haus
VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to 9th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Tim Fuller
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): None
WIX Filters ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Andy Haus
Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner if decal displayed – $200 value): Shane Clanton
XS Power ($50 cash to 3rd-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Vic Coffey
XS Power ($60 product certificate to 8th-place finisher in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Chub Frank
XS ‘Power Move of the Race’ ($60 product certificate): Rick Eckert
2012 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of Oct. 4 – 37 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Darrell Lanigan 5200
2. Rick Eckert 4996 (-204)
3. Shane Clanton 4810 (-390)
4. Tim McCreadie 4722 (-478)
5. Chub Frank 4720 (-480)
6. Clint Smith 4634 (-566)
7. Bub McCool 4598 (-602)
8. Vic Coffey 4524 (-676)
9. Tim Fuller 4408 (-792)
10. Pat Doar 4272 (-928)
11. Kent Robinson 4164 (-1036)
12. Jack Sullivan 3474 (-1726)
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), Gravely Tractors (Official Lawn Equipment), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing Fuel (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award) and McCarthy’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award); in addition to contingency sponsors Butlerbuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Dominator Race Products, Eibach Springs, JE Pistons, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, QuarterMaster, Roush Yates Performance Parts, Superflow Dynos, Wix Filter, Wrisco Aluminum and XS Power Racing Batteries; along with manufacturer sponsors Integra Shocks, GRT Chassis, Jake’s Carts, Longacre, Racing Electronics, Rocket Chassis, TNT Rescue, and Warrior Chassis.