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World of Outlaws Late Model Preview Fayetteville Motor Speedway


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World of Outlaws Late Model Series News & Notes: Previewing Friday Night's Visit To Fayetteville Motor Speedway


FAYETTEVILLE, NC - April 15, 2009 -


MEMORABLE RUN: Josh Richards dreaded returning to Fayetteville Motor Speedway last October for the completion of a postponed World of Outlaws Late Model Series program.


But after the young sensation from Shinnston, W.Va., won that evening's A-Main with one of the top performances of the 2008 season, his feelings for the four-tenths-mile oval took a 180-degree turn for the better.


Now Richards can't wait to visit Fayetteville Motor Speedway, which hosts the first of its two scheduled WoO LMS events in 2009 this Friday night (April 17). A 50-lap feature paying $10,000 to win headlines Friday's card.


“I'm excited to go back to Fayetteville,” said the 21-year-old Richards, who enters the weekend leading the WoO LMS points standings on the strength of one win and five top-five finishes in six events this season. “I didn't want to go back (for last year's postponed event) after the way we ran before it rained the first time we were there (heats were completed in August and Richards failed to qualify), but we ended up with an awesome car and had an unreal night.”


Starting 18th in the 50-lap A-Main (which was run on Tues., Oct. 7) after winning a B-Main, Richards put on an electric show. Weaving smoothly through traffic “almost like a video game” as he said later, “Kid Rocket” grabbed the lead from Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., on lap 31 and never looked back.


No driver came from further back in a starting field to win a WoO LMS event in 2008 than Richards did at FMS. In fact, he was the only driver all season to capture a tour event after qualifying through a B-Main.


Richards returns to Fayetteville six days after making an impressive debut in NASCAR Camping World East Series competition at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C. He drove a Ken Schrader Racing Chevy to a fourth-place finish in last Saturday night's 150-lap event at the historic paved track.


HOT AGAIN: Shane Clanton will arrive at Fayetteville this Friday night much like he did for last October's WoO LMS show – on a roll.


Last year the 33-year-old Clanton took the green flag at FMS riding a two-race WoO LMS win streak and coming off his first career victory in the UMP DIRTcar-sanctioned World 100 at Ohio's Eldora Speedway. This time he's two weeks removed from his initial WoO LMS triumph of 2009, a $20,600 score in the Illini 100 at Farmer City (Ill.) Raceway.


Clanton finished second in last October's WoO LMS A-Main at FMS after leading laps 5-30.


HOME TURF: WoO LMS Rookie of the Year contender Brent Robinson is hoping that a visit to FMS will provide him a much-needed boost in the tight points battle among the tour's upstart travelers.


Ranked fourth in the current RoY standings, the 21-year-old from Smithfield, Va., will go to the post at the track he's most familiar with. He tuned up for Friday's program by running FMS's ‘Prelude to the Outlaws' event last Saturday night and flashed some definite speed before dropping out with front-end damage from a slap of the inside guardrail; he was second when he pitted for what he thought was a flat tire after contact with another car, then rallied to fifth place before retiring.


The tour's other Rookie of the Year contenders – Jordan Bland of Campbellsville, Ky., Russell King of Bristolville, Ohio, Dustin Hapka of Grand Forks, N.D., 14-year-old Tyler Reddick of Corning, Calif., and Chas Shellenberger of Winfield, Pa. – have never competed at Fayetteville.


PAST SUCCESS: WoO LMS regulars Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., and Rick Eckert of York, Pa., know what it feels like to stand in Victory Lane at FMS after a touring series event.


Frank, who finished third in last year's WoO LMS 50 at FMS, won the track's Hav-A-Tampa/Xtreme DirtCar Series event on April 21, 2001. Eckert, who finished 12th (11 laps down) last October, was triumphant in a HAT/Xtreme show on April 20, 2000.


TOUGH LUCK: Last year's WoO LMS event at Fayetteville featured one of the most unusual occurrences of the 2008 season – a bad night for Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., who experienced few hiccups en route to winning the tour points title.


Lanigan started from the pole position and led laps 1-4 of FMS's A-Main, but he slipped back slightly and finished 11th after losing three laps late in the distance while repairing a broken right-rear shock mount on his car. He enters this weekend's action second in the points standings, still looking for his first win of the season after three runner-up finishes in six starts.


Despite his '08 misfortune at FMS, Lanigan did effectively clinch the championship that night because his closest pursuer in the points at the time, 2007 champ Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., retired with distributor trouble on lap 12 and finished 23rd. Francis is currently fourth in the WoO LMS points standings but is the tour's only repeat winner so far this season.


CAROLINA CONNECTION: WoO LMS standout Clint Smith hails from Senoia, Ga., but he has ties to the Fayetteville area in former team owner Carlton Lamm of Benson, N.C.


Smith did a stint behind the wheel of Lamm's familiar Dunn-Benson Ford dirt Late Models – and at last year's WoO LMS event at Fayetteville, Smith recognized Lamm with a special graphics scheme that displayed the Dunn-Benson Ford logo on the side of his car.


The driver known as ‘Cat Daddy' finished eighth in last year's A-Main at FMS. He also fielded a car that was driven to a 20th-place finish by fellow WoO LMS regular Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., who had kept his own hauler in the Empire State in order to fill it with his DIRTcar big-block Modified equipment for the big Super DIRT Week activities in Syracuse, N.Y., that followed the mid-week date at Fayetteville. Fuller, who is tied for sixth in the WoO LMS points standings, will bring his usual Gypsum Express No. 19 to Fayetteville on Friday.


HE LIKES FAYETTEVILLE: Caledonia, N.Y.'s Vic Coffey is anxious to get back in action at FMS after scoring a fourth-place finish in last year's Outlaws feature – a run that matched the 2008 Rookie of the Year's best performance in a WoO LMS event.


ON HIS WAY: Shannon Babb has not committed to running the entire WoO LMS in 2009, but he's currently fifth in the points standings and plans to keep his perfect attendance intact by competing this weekend at Fayetteville and Virginia Motor Speedway in Jamaica, Va. (Sat., April 18).


LITTLE DIFFERENT: First-time '09 visitors to FMS will notice some slight changes that were made to the 39-year-old oval since last year's WoO LMS event, including the application of new clay and a redesign of the banking to help produce more side-by-side racing.


MISSING MAN: Fayetteville's WoO LMS field will unfortunately not include Ed Gibbons of Manning, S.C., a veteran racer who on Feb. 1 lost his life at the age of 46 in a highway accident.


It was just six months ago that Gibbons stood in Fayetteville's pit area smiling broadly among a group of well-wishers, relishing his career-best WoO LMS finish of fifth. His charge forward from the 20th starting spot – with a brand-new Clements engine under the hood of his car – earned him the $500 ‘Bonus Bucks' cash for being the highest-finishing driver who hadn't won a WoO LMS A-Main since 2004 and wasn't ranked among the top 12 in the tour points standings.


The popular driver was honored during Fayetteville's season-opening Ed Gibbons Memorial race on April 4, and he will be remembered again prior to the start of Friday night's WoO LMS action.


LONG ‘HAUL': No driver in Friday's WoO LMS field will have covered more miles to enter the event than Lance West.


While the 24-year-old driver makes his home in nearby Turnbull, N.C., he works in Iraq as a truck mechanic for a U.S. contractor. The former asphalt Limited Late Model racer took the dangerous-but-well-paying job last year to earn money to buy a Super Late Model team, which he purchased over the winter from a competitor near Richmond, Va., after finding a great deal while scouring racing classifieds on the Internet.


West arranged his two-week vacation from work so he could compete in three races at Fayetteville, topped by Friday's WoO LMS events. He failed to qualify for the April 4 feature (he was hampered by a donated racing seat more suited for asphalt superspeedway racing) and finished 17th in the April 11 event.


West's 16-hour one-way return flight to Iraq (via Atlanta and Dubai) will begin on Saturday morning. He will work in the country's boiling summer heat until his contract is completed on Aug. 3, after which he'll return home in time to finish the racing season.


West's entire story was documented in a story by motorsports writer Thomas Pope that appeared in the April 14 edition of the Fayetteville Observer.


READY FOR THE BATTLE: Several well-known dirt Late Model standouts are planning to challenge the WoO LMS stars on Friday night, including Chris Madden of Gaffney, S.C.; Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn.; Circle K Colossal 100 winner Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla.; Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga.; Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga.; and Dennis ‘Rambo' Franklin of Gaffney, S.C., who won Fayetteville's season-opening Carolina Clash event on April 4.


A healthy contingent of local talent is also expected to enter the event, including Scott Autry of Autryville, N.C., who won last Saturday night's feature at FMS; defending track champion Jeff Smith of Gastonia, N.C., who has finishes of second and third this season at Fayetteville; and David Taylor of Fayetteville, N.C.


EVENT INFO: Pit gates are scheduled to open at 2 p.m. and spectator gates at 3 p.m. on Fri., April 17, with on-track action set to get underway at 6:30 p.m.


For more information visit www.fayettevillemotorspeedway.net or call 910-223-RACE.


Additional info on the WoO LMS is available by logging on to www.worldofoutlaws.com.

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