Maybe it was the four leaf clover, maybe it was the trick setup from Crew Chief Austin Hargrove, or maybe it was just the relentless wheel of the veteran. No matter the exact reason, Davey Johnson overcame a furious late-race challenge from Chub Frank and Darrell Lanigan to claim the $20,000 payday in the third annual Jackpot 100 on Sunday night at Tyler County Speedway.
"This hot rod has just been great this whole year, and I always love this place . . . tonight we got 'em," said the Greensburg, Pa., veteran in victory lane.
While Johnson was all smiles in victory lane, the 75-lap affair didn't necessarily start with him being very happy. As the field came to green, the pole sitter, Johnson, fired early and was moved back a row with Morgan Bagley joining Jacob Hawkins on the front row.
As the race went green again at the quarter-mile oval known as The Bullring, Hawkins jumped to the lead and held the top spot until lap three, when Rick Eckert bolted to the lead as Hawkins dropped to the clutches of Johnson, Shane Clanton, and Tim McCreadie, who was already on the move from the eighth starting spot.
Eckert quickly stretched his advantage over Johnson, who moved to the second spot on lap six. While the York, Pa., driver motored away from the pack, Davey Johnson wasn't too concerned in the early laps.
"I knew that he (Eckert) went softer than me on tires, so I didn't worry too much when he drove away from me early," said the pilot of the #1J Rocket Imperial Towing Super Late Model.
By lap nine, Eckert was in lapped traffic before the race was slowed for the first time on lap 11 for Zack Dohm. At the time of the caution, Eckert was the leader with Johnson, Hawkins, Clanton, and McCreadie making up the top five.
As the race went back green, the top five running order stayed the same, and by lap 23 traffic was an issue for leader Eckert. By lap 26, traffic became an even bigger issue, when a tangle with the lapped car of Tim Dohm sent Eckert spinning to a stop in turn one.
A dejected Eckert joined the tail of the field with Johnson assuming the lead. Despite several serious challenges over the remainder of the event, it would prove to be a lead he would never relinquish.
While Johnson paced the field, a great battle raged behind him for the second spot with Clanton and McCreadie going wheel-to-wheel for the second spot with the Hawkins' brothers in tow. Meanwhile, as the race approached the midway point, two drivers on the move were Chub Frank, who was up to fifth from the 11th starting spot by lap 42, while a motivated Eckert rocketed into the fifth spot on lap 48.
Unfortunately for Eckert his bad luck was far from over as the 2011 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Champion slowed with a flat tire on lap 54 before calling it a night seven laps later as a broken drive train.
With Johnson out front, Frank continued his march forward with Hawkins in tow, and lap 61 found the duo catapulting into the second and third positions, respectively, with Lanigan lurking in the fourth spot.
With just 10 laps to go Frank turned up the wick and pulled alongside leader Johnson on multiple occasions, but just couldn't make the pass stick, while Lanigan maneuvered past Hawkins into the third spot. The final 10 laps brought the crowd to its feet as Johnson, Frank, and Lanigan battled in close confines.
With just a lap to go Johnson stretched his advantage to claim the victory, while Frank edged Lanigan by a nose for the second position at the line. Hawkins and McCreadie rounded out the top five.
A popular victory lane celebration in front of the West Virginia fans found Johnson thanking not only his crew, but also a special lady from the stands after claiming the third WoO LMS triumph of his career.
"Before the races today this sweet lady gave me a four leaf clover," Johnson said. "I'm not saying that's what did it tonight, but I'm not dismissing it either. This little flower is riding with me the rest of the year."
Frank was more than pleased with his second place run.
"We seem to be getting better and better every time out this season, and it was a lot of fun running side-by-side with Davey (Johnson)," commented Frank. "Tonight definitely felt like the old days of me and him battling for the win."
Heat race winners on Saturday evening included Davey Johnson, Rick Eckert, and Darrell Lanigan, while Sunday's evening's last chance showdown was topped by Tim Dohm.
The stars and cars of the WoO LMS will enjoy a four-day break before invading the confines of Delaware International Speedway (Delmar, Del.) on May 29 for the Fulton Bank 50. A $10,000 winner's check will be on the line for the tour's only appearance in the state of Delaware in 2014.
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 World of Outlaws Late Model Series at Tyler County Speedway (Finishing Position, Driver, Laps Completed, Money Won): 1, Davey Johnson, 75, $20,550; 2, Chub Frank, 75, $10,750; 3, Darrell Lanigan, 75, $7,000; 4, Jared Hawkins, 75, $5,200; 5, Tim McCreadie, 75, $4,850; 6, Mike Benedum, 75, $3,800; 7, Morgan Bagley, 75, $3,600; 8, Corey Conley, 75, $2,550; 9, Doug Drown, 75, $2,350; 10, Boom Briggs, 75, $2,4000; 11, Jacob Hawkins, 75, $2,200; 12, Shane Clanton, 75, $2,650; 13, Eric Wells, 75, $2,250; 14, Clint Smith, 75, $2,200; 15, Chase Junghans, 75, $2,150; 16, Matthew Cochran, 75, $1,630; 17, Frank Heckenast Jr., 75, $2,210; 18, Rick Eckert, 61, $2,590; 19, Butch McGill, 58, $1,520; 20, Chris Garnes, 34, $1,550; 21, Tim Dohm, 33, $1,500; 22, Derek Doll, 20, $1,500; 23, Paul Wilmoth, 17, $1,500; 24, Zack Dohm, 11, $1,575; 25, Tim Senic, 6, $1,500.
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race, 30:54.044; Margin of Victory, 1.358 seconds; yellow flags, six, (Lap 11 Zack Dohm, Lap 26 Rick Eckert, Lap 35 Chris Gaines, Lap 42 Jacob Hawkins, Lap 54 Rick Eckert, Lap 61 Rick Eckert); red flags, none.
Lap leaders: Jacob Hawkins (1-2); Rick Eckert (3-26); Davey Johnson (27-75)
Provisional Starters: Eric Wells (WoO), Chase Junghans (WoO), Paul Wilmoth Jr. (Track)
WoO LMS 'Bonus Bucks' Winner: ($500): Mike Benedum
WoO LMS 'Rookie of the Race' ($250): Boom Briggs
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position, No., Driver, Hometown, Best Lap): 1, 17z, Zack Dohm, Cross Lanes, W.Va., 12.835; 2, 6t, Tim Dohm, Cross Lanes, W.Va., 12.852; 3, 29, Darrel Lanigan, Union, Ky., 12.873; 4, 1J, Davey Johnson, Greensburg, Pa., 12.913; 5, 20H, Jacob Hawkins, Fairmont, W.Va., 12.916; 6, 14, Corey Conley, Wellsburg, W.Va., 13.001; 7, 25, Shane Clanton, Zebulon, Ga., 13.009; 8, 1, Rick Eckert, York, Pa., 13.010; 9, 14M, Morgan Bagley, Longview, Texas, 13.016; 10, 25B, Mike Benedum, Salem, W.Va., 13.018; 11, 39, Tim McCreadie, Watertown, N.Y, 13.021; 12, 44, Clint Smith, Senoia, Ga, 13.033; 13, 1MC, Butch McGill, West Union, Pa, 13.060; 14, 1*, Chub Frank, Bear Lake, Pa, 13.138; 15, 37, Jared Hawkins, Fairmont, W.Va., 13.139; 16, 40B, Kyle Bronson, Brandon, Fla, 13.149; 17, 99JR, Frank Heckenast Jr., Orland Park, Ill., 13.151; 18, B1, Paul Wilmoth Jr., Clarksburg, W.Va., 13.156; 19, 20, Doug Drown, Wooster, Ohio 13.184; 20, 18, Eric Wells, Hazard, Ky, 13.189; 21, 87, Derek Doll, Greenwood, W.Va., 13.205; 22, 1x1, Sonny Conley, New Martinsville, 13.213; 23, 18c, Chase Junghans, Manhattan, Kan., 13.228; 24, 16, Mathew Cochran, Williamsport, Pa., 13.250; 25, S2, Tim Senic, Elkins, W.Va., 13.314; 26, 75, Steve Weigle, Middlebourne, 13.415; 27, X, Dusty Hamrick, Clarksburg, W.Va., 13.516; 28, J1M, Donnie Dotson, West Union, W.Va., 13.588; 29, 99B, Boom Briggs, Bear Lake, Pa, 13.620; 30, 17L, Jeff Lilly, Beckley, W.Va., 13.633; 31, 3, Scott Irvin, Reeder, W.Va., NT
Heat No. 1 (17 Laps - Top 6 Transfer): Davey Johnson, Shane Clanton, Mike Benedum, Zack Dohm, Butch McGill, Tim Senic, Doug Drown, Kyle Bronson, Sonny Conley, Donnie Dotson
Heat No. 2 (17 Laps - Top 6 Transfer): Rick Eckert, Jacob Hawkins, Tim McCreadie, Chub Frank, Boom Briggs, Frank Heckenast Jr., Eric Wells, Tim Dohm, Steve Weigle, Chase Junghans
Heat No. 3 (17 Laps - Top 6 Transfer): Darrell Lanigan, Morgan Bagley, Jared Hawkins, Clint Smith, Derek Doll, Mathew Cochran, Paul Wilmoth Jr., Dusty Hamrick, Corey Conley, Jeff Lilly
Last Chance Showdown (15 laps - Top 4 Transfer): Tim Dohm, Doug Drown, Corey Conley, Chris Garnes, Kyle Bronson, Chase Junghans, Paul Wilmoth Jr., Sonny Conley, Jeff Lilly, Donnie Dotson, Steve Weigle, Eric Wells, Eddie Carpenter
For additional information about the Tyler County Speedway follow them online at www.tylercountyspeedwayonline.com or phone the track office at 304-771-6874 or 304-771-5661 or on raceday at 304-758-2660.
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners (awards presented to noted finisher/qualifier or next highest displaying decal): Ohlins Shocks ($50 cash to fast qualifier): Zack Dohm; Comp Cams ($50 certificate to A-Main winner): Chub Frank; MSD Ignition ($50 cash to A-Main winner): Chub Frank; Quartermaster ($100 certificate to A-Main winner): Chub Frank; Wrisco (three sheets of aluminum/certificate to A-Main winner): Chub Frank; STP ($50 cash to 2nd-place finisher in A-Main): Chub Frank; Penske Racing Shocks ($50 to 3rd-place finisher in A-Main): Mike Benedum; Roush-Yates ($50 cash to 4th-place finisher in A-Main): Tim McCreadie; Mobil 1 ($50 cash to 4th-place finisher in A-Main): Tim McCreadie; JE Pistons ($50 cash to 5th-place finisher in A-Main):Tim McCreadie; Lincoln Welders ($50 cash to 6th-place finisher in A-Main): Mike Benedum; American Racing Wheels ($50 cash to 7th-place finisher in A-Main): Morgan Bagley; VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to 8th-place finisher in A-Main): Corey Conley; Edelbrock ($50 cash to 9th-place finisher in A-Main): Doug Drown; Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th-place finisher in A-Main): Boom Briggs; Cometic ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main): Shane Clanton; JRI Shocks ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main): Chris Garnes; Superflow Dynos ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main): Clint Smith; Quartermaster ($25 certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main): Chase Junghans; JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 16th-place finisher in A-Main): Frank Heckenast Jr.; Roush-Yates ($50 certificate to 18th-place finisher in A-Main): Rick Eckert; Quartermaster ($50 certificate to 19th-place finisher in A-Main): Chris Garnes; Arizona Sports Shirts ($100 certificate to 20th-place finisher in A-Main): Chris Garnes; Mobil 1 (20% off gift certificate to 20th-place finisher in A-Main): Chris Garnes; JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 21st-place finisher in A-Main): Tim Dohm; Roush-Yates ($50 certificate to 22nd-place finisher in A-Main): Paul Wilmoth Jr.; MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main): Zack Dohm; Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO driver): Davey Johnson; Reliable Painting Award (one free tire): Eric Wells;
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Championship Standings (position, car, driver): 1, 29, Darrell Lanigan; 2, 1, Rick Eckert; 3, 39, Tim McCreadie; 4, 25, Shane Clanton; 5, 14M, Morgan Bagley; 6, 1*, Chub Frank; 7, 18, Eric Wells; 8, 44, Clint Smith; 9, 99Jr, Frankie Heckenast Jr.; 10, 18c, Chase Junghans; 11, 99B, Rick 'Boom' Briggs; 12, B5, Brandon Sheppard; 13, 157, Mike Marlar; 14, 2, Brady Smith; 15, 18x, Jack Sullivan; 16, 40b, Kyle Bronson; 17, 21L, Ivedent Lloyd Jr.; 18, 101, Casey Roberts; 19, 76, Brandon Overton; 20, 19, Tim Fuller.
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including: American Racing Custom Wheels (Official Custom Wheel), Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), Lincoln Welders (Official Welder), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), 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, Edelbrock, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, Mobil 1, MSD, Ohlins Shocks, QuarterMaster, Roush Yates Performance Parts, Superflow Dynos and Wrisco Aluminum; along with manufacturer sponsors Capital Race Cars, Integra Shocks, Jake's Carts, Racing Electronics, Rocket Chassis, and TNT Rescue.
Tyler County Speedway is considered by fans, drivers, and industry insiders to be one of the raciest tracks in the nation and has been dubbed the 'Bullring' with three- and four-wide racing action being the norm, not the exception.
Tyler County Speedway annually hosts some of the largest and most popular events in the Ohio Valley region. National and regional touring series such as the World of Outlaw Late Model Series, Renegades of Dirt Modified Tour, FASTRAK Racing Series, and much more appear frequently. In addition to the incredible Special Event lineup, the Tyler County Speedway Weekly Racing Series consists of the Super Late Models, FASTRAK Late Models, Open Wheel Modifieds, Hotmods, ModLites, FWD 4 Cylinders, and MWRA Mini Wedges on Saturday Nights April through September.