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A Final Look Back: Facts, Figures & Statistical Notes


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A Final Look Back: Facts, Figures & Statistical Notes From The 2009 World of Outlaws Late Model Series


CONCORD, NC - Dec. 31, 2009 - As a new year arrives, here's a final look back at facts, figures and statistical notes from the 2009 World of Outlaws Late Model Series...


SELECT GROUP: With his 2009 championship, Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., entered an exclusive club of superstar drivers with WoO LMS points titles to their credit. He joined Billy Moyer (1988, 1989, 2005), Scott Bloomquist (2004), Tim McCreadie (2006), Steve Francis (2007) and Darrell Lanigan (2008) – and what's more, became the sixth different driver in as many years to win the crown since the national tour was reincarnated in 2004 under the World Racing Group banner.


HE'S ARRIVED: At 21, Richards is by far the youngest driver to ever win the WoO LMS championship – Moyer was 30, 31 and 48 years old when he clinched his titles, while Bloomquist and Francis were 40, Lanigan was 38 and McCreadie was 32.


In addition, Richards is the youngest chauffeur in dirt Late Model history to capture a national touring series championship.


But the cool, calm standout didn't perform in 2009 like a driver who just reached the legal drinking age. His championship was the product of an incredibly steady campaign that belied his years.


Richards was spectacularly consistent, most evidenced by the fact that he used just one provisional starting spot while qualifying through a heat race for 39 of the '09 season's 40 A-Mains. (Only points runner-up Francis could make the same claim.) He also completed a series-leading 99.7% of the A-Main laps run in 2009 (2,154 of a possible 2,160 circuits); he wasn't running at the checkered flag in just a single race, on April 17 at Fayetteville (N.C.) Motor Speedway when he tangled with the slowing car driven by Vic Coffey on the final lap.


Proving he could win races as well as he could finish them, Richards's career-high eight victories made him the tour's winningest driver in ‘09, leaving him as the first driver since Bloomquist in 2004 to top the points battle and the victory chart. The racer formerly known as ‘Kid Rocket' also led the series with six fast-time awards (Francis and Lanigan tied for second with five); 34 top-10 finishes (Francis was second with 33); an average A-Main finish of 5.65 (Francis was next at 5.88); and the most consecutive top-10 finishes (16 in a row to end the season, nearly doubling Lanigan's second-best total of nine straight). He was second to Francis, meanwhile, in several other categories, including average time-trial placing (7.4, behind Francis's 5.93), average A-Main starting position (6.8 to Francis's 5.65), consecutive lead-lap finishes (25-22 in favor of Francis), heat wins (25-17 Francis) and A-Main laps led (272, tied with Tim Fuller behind Francis's 306).


CHECKERED FLAGS: Richards claimed top-winner status for the second consecutive season, albeit this time without having to share the honor. He finished the 2008 campaign tied with Francis with six triumphs.


A total of 18 drivers reached Victory Lane on the WoO LMS in 2009 – three short of the single-season record of 21 winners set in '08.


Six drivers recorded two or more wins, and there were five first-time WoO LMS winners in 2009: Jeff Smith, Jason Feger, Jamie Lathroum, Jimmy Mars and Steve Shaver.


WHAT A BATTLE: Following two seasons in which the WoO LMS points race turned into a runaway (both Lanigan and Francis clinched their crowns in the next-to-last events of the '07 and '08 campaigns), the 2009 battle was tight from start-to-finish.


Of course, Richards's 14-point championship margin over Francis was the third-closest in WoO LMS history, but that only tells part of the story. There was an epic, season-long struggle at the top of the points standings; the points lead changed hands or ended up tied after 20 events, with Richards seizing control for the final time following Race No. 39 (of 40) on Nov. 6 at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.


Richards was one of four drivers who held at least a share of the top spot in the points standings during the campaign. He was atop the standings after the most events (25), followed by Francis (12), Lanigan (five) and Shane Clanton (one).


There were three ties for the points lead over a five-race span early in the summer – after Race 18 on June 23 at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Speedway (Francis/Lanigan), Race 19 on June 24 at Pennsylvania's Big Diamond Raceway (Richards/Lanigan) and Race 22 on July 8 at Minnesota's Big Diamond Raceway (Richards/Francis). The largest points lead a driver was able to muster was Francis's 34-point edge after the 14th A-Main of the season, on May 31 at Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, W.Va.


PROVING THEM RIGHT: Richards certainly lived up to the lofty expectations placed on him by dirt Late Model press members, who voted him the overwhelming favorite to win the 2009 title in the second annual WoO LMS Pre-Season Media Poll.


Richards received 17 of the 24 first-place votes in the poll, which included writers, photographers and broadcasters who cover the WoO LMS. The participants were asked to predict the top-five finishers in the tour's 2009 points standings.


Two writers – D.J. Johnson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Don Davies of Area Auto Racing News – were spot-on with four of their top-five selections. Both missed on their fourth-place picks – Johnson incorrectly listed Clanton and Davies voted for Frank.


Joining Johnson and Davies in correctly predicting the top-three finishers in the '09 WoO LMS points standings were DirtonDirt.com cohorts Michael Rigsby and Todd Turner. The other media members who nailed at least three of the top-five finishers in the correct order were Jerry Reigle of Area Auto Racing News (Richards, Francis and fifth-place Eckert) and Lou Long of Area Auto Racing News (Richards, Lanigan and Eckert).


The poll also asked the media to predict the season's winningest driver, including their number of victories. Fifteen entrants selected Richards in that category, but only Long, Walt Wimer of RPM Racing News, Thomas Pope of the Fayetteville Observer and Scott Jackson of LateModelRacer.com correctly hit on his eight-win total.


NOW IT'S FOUR: With Billy Moyer failing to win an A-Main in five tour starts during the 2009 season, Francis, Lanigan, Clanton and Chub Frank are now the only drivers who have won at least one A-Main in each WoO LMS campaign since 2004.


EXTENDING HIS EDGE: Six victories in '09 left Francis with 26 career WoO LMS triumphs since 2004, lengthening his lead on the tour's World Racing Group-era win chart. He now leads Richards, who moved into second on the win list with 20 victories, Rick Eckert (19), Bloomquist (18) and Chub Frank (16).


Moyer is the alltime winningest driver on the WoO LMS. He owns 35 career triumphs, including 22 during the tour's original incarnation (1988-89) under late WoO Sprint Car Series founder Ted Johnson.


BUSY SEASON: The 2009 WoO LMS was comprised of 40 A-Mains at 33 tracks in 19 states and one Canadian province.


Pennsylvania was the site of the most tour events, hosting eight races. There were five events held in North Carolina; four in Ohio; three in New York; two in Florida, Illinois, Missouri and Ontario; and one each in Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.


Eight scheduled events were canceled and not rescheduled. Rain washed out shows at Deep South Speedway in Loxley, Ala. (March 14), Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway (May 16), 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa (May 23), Quebec's Autodrome Drummond (June 20), Fayetteville Motor Speedway (Aug. 28), I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo. (Sept. 19) and La Salle (Ill.) Speedway (Sept. 20), while the July 9 event at North Central Speedway in Brainerd, Minn., was canceled by track management.


Six events were postponed by rain and rescheduled at a later date during the rainy 2009 season – the Colossal 100 and Hungry Man Showdown at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway, plus races at K-C Raceway in Alma, Ohio (Buckeye 100), Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa. (Showdown in Sarvertown), Muskingum County Speedway in Zanesville, Ohio, and Eriez Speedway in Hammett, Pa. The Eriez program was finally completed on the tour's third trip to the track.


FULL PITS: The average field for a WoO LMS event in 2009 was 43.6 cars.


The season-high turnout of 82 cars was for the Hungry Man Showdown on Nov. 4 at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway. In all, 11 events drew 50 or more cars.


A total of 524 drivers representing 35 states, three Canadian provinces and Australia entered at least one WoO LMS event in 2009, and 216 drivers started an A-Main.


CASH: Over $2.6 million was paid out to drivers during the 2009 WoO LMS schedule, including nearly $400,000 in points-fund cash.


Eight drivers topped the six-figure mark in race and points-fund earnings on the '09 tour, led by Richards ($286,170), Francis ($227,885), Lanigan ($211,326), Fuller ($172,150), Eckert ($133,325), Chub Frank ($120,800), Clanton ($120,420) and Brady Smith ($107,915).


HARD CHARGER: The deepest in the starting field that a driver came from to win a WoO LMS A-Main in 2009 was 18th – Jimmy Mars in the Firecracker 100 on June 27 at Lernerville Speedway. Making that run even more impressive is the fact that he pitted to change a flat tire early in the distance and restarted at the rear of the pack.


Nine A-Mains were won by drivers starting from the pole position, but only one of those victors led the event from flag-to-flag. There were a total of seven flag-to-flag race winners, with six of those races were captured by drivers starting from the outside pole.


The average starting spot for a WoO LMS A-Main winner in 2009 was 3.55.


ROOKS: Russell King, 20, of Bristolville, Ohio, topped the biggest rookie crop in WoO LMS history, earning the $10,000 Rookie of the Year award by defeating Jordan Bland of Campbellsville, Ky., Brent Robinson of Smithfield, Va., Dustin Hapka of Grand Forks, N.D., and Tyler Reddick of Corning, Calif.


King, who became the fourth driver with DIRTcar big-block Modified roots in the last six years to win the WoO LMS Rookie of the Year Award, registered eight top-10 finishes en route to the title. Bland (three) and Robinson (one) were the only other rookies to crack the top 10 in an A-Main.


MANUFACTURER BATTLE: Five dirt Late Model chassis companies claimed victories in WoO LMS A-Mains during the 2009 season.


Rocket Chassis led the way with 31 wins, divided among Richards, Fuller, Francis, Lanigan, Frank, Clanton, Shannon Babb, Earl Pearson Jr., Jeff Smith and Steve Shaver. The domination of Victory Lane brought Rocket its sixth straight victory in the WoO LMS Chassis Builders' Challenge.


Team Zero by Bloomquist Chassis finished second on the win list with six victories (Eckert, Bloomquist, Chris Madden and Jimmy Owens), followed by single triumphs for Bob Pierce Chassis (Jason Feger), MasterSbilt (Jamie Lathroum) and MB Customs (Mars).


A total of 11 engine builders, meanwhile, laid claim to a WoO LMS A-Main triumphs in 2009. Cornett Racing Engines – the winner of the tour's Engine Builders' Challenge for the second consecutive year – led the way with 17 victories, split among Richards, Francis, Lanigan and Owens.


Other motor builders with multiple victories were Custom Race Engines (10), Dickens (three), Pro Power (three) and Vic Hill (two). Single race victors included Dargie, Larry Wallace, Gaerte, Clements, Eatmon Ford and Malcuit.




* Thirteen drivers had perfect attendance on the 40-race '08 tour: Richards, Francis, Lanigan, Fuller, Eckert, Clanton, Brady Smith, Clint Smith and rookies King, Bland, Robinson, Hapka and Reddick. Frank didn't enter every show because he was sidelined for the two season-ending World Finals events due to a facial injury he suffered during qualifying for the Hungry Man Showdown, but as a contracted driver he received ‘hardship' show-up points for both races.


* Seven drivers started all 40 A-Mains: Richards, Francis, Lanigan, Fuller, Eckert, Clanton and Clint Smith.


* How rock-solid steady were Richards and Francis in '09? Consider this: while both drivers failed to qualify through a heat just once in 40 events, next-best on the list was Lanigan, who missed the cut in heat action six times.


* Twenty-two different drivers earned a WoO LMS fast-time honor in 2009.


* Fifty-two different drivers won at least one heat race on the tour in '09, led by Francis's amazing 25 victories. He surpassed the 100 heat-race win mark for his WoO LMS career.


* There were 47 different B-Main winners, with Brady Smith and Bland tying for the lead with five last-chance victories apiece.


* Thirty different drivers led at least one A-Main lap in '09. Francis led the most (306 laps) for the second consecutive year, followed by Fuller and Richards (272 apiece), Lanigan (172) and Frank (132)


* Fuller enjoyed the longest winning streak in '08, capturing four straight events to tie Eckert's modern-era record for consecutive wins set in 2006. Three other drivers scored back-to-back wins during the campaign: Francis (twice), Richards (twice) and Frank.


* Richards won the season-opener at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla., for the third consecutive year.


* Richards is actually just two freak last-lap incidents away from being able to claim that he's been running at the checkered flag of every WoO LMS A-Main for the past two years. His lone official DNF in 2008 came when he was swept up in a final-lap tangle in turn two at Ohio's Sharon Speedway – virtually an identical situation to his single '09 DNF at Fayetteville.


* Francis led the tour in top-five finishes (25) and most consecutive top-five finishes (six).


* There was one caution-free A-Main in '09 – Aug 20 at Muskingum County Speedway in Zanesville, Ohio. Eight A-Mains were slowed by just a single caution flag, however.


An average of 3.55 caution flags flew in WoO LMS features during the '09 campaign. The most caution-plagued event was the 50-lap ‘Showdown in Sarvertown' on June 25 at Lernerville (11 caution flags) – one of just two races that saw a double-figure yellow-flag total (the other was Lernerville's Firecracker 100, with 10), and one of eight A-Mains slowed by five or more caution periods.


* Three red flags were needed for significant wrecks during A-Mains in 2009 – on May 28 at Delaware International Speedway, June 18 at Ohsweken (Ont.) Speedway and Sept. 1 at Eriez Speedway.


* Slump-busters: drivers who snapped long, frustrating winless streaks on the WoO LMS in '09 included Eckert (36 races), Lanigan (46), Fuller (46) and Frank (62).


* The WoO LMS career win lists now show 39 drivers have won an A-Main since 2004 and 49 drivers own tour victories when the 1988-89 seasons are included.


* Francis and Eckert remain the only drivers who have started all 237 WoO LMS A-Mains contested since 2004.


COMING SOON: The 2010 WoO LMS season kicks off on Feb. 11 and 13 with a pair of 50-lap, $10,000-to-win events during the 39th annual DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla.


For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.

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