VanWormer started third in the 50-lapper, but he immediately moved to second when the race began. He chased Eckert until making his winning pass by ducking to the inside exiting turn four and surging ahead as lap 14 was scored.
“We got into lapped traffic and there and (Eckert) kind of was running that middle and I just stayed down on the bottom,” said VanWormer, the fourth non-Outlaw regular to win on the tour in the last six events. “It just worked out that I had a good run coming off of four and got next to (the lapped) Rich Neiser there. I might have roughed him up a little bit, but it was for ten-grand.”
The A-Main’s two caution flags, on lap 16 (for a turn-one tangle involving Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., and John McDonald of Muskegon, Mich.) and lap 33 (for a turn-two spin by Tom Sprague Jr. of Muskegon, Mich.), kept the pressure on VanWormer. But he handled both restarts with little problem.
Richards came closest to threatening VanWormer, pulling up to the leader’s rear bumper shortly after the lap-16 restart. But VanWormer gradually inched away over the ensuing circuits and again after the lap-33 caution period.
“I was keeping my tires warm — and the car was just so good honestly,” said VanWormer, whose only previous feature win this season also came at Winston in an American Late Model Series event on April 27. “We were just making smooth laps and not spinning our tires.”
Richards conceded that VanWormer was the class of Friday night’s field. The young superstar had to satisfy himself with a runner-up finish that pushed his lead in the WoO LMS standings to 58 points over Shane Clanton, who finished seventh, and 72 points over defending champion Darrell Lanigan, who placed sixth.
“He was good,” Richards said of VanWormer. “On that (lap-16) restart we fired off that middle (groove) real well and stayed with him for a few laps. I couldn’t keep running there, though. Me and Eckert were talking after the race about how you could run four or five laps good there, and then the tires would get greasy and you couldn’t move around as much.
“Jeep was really good on the long greens. His car was just rolling through the corners so well.”
Spatola was quickest in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials, turning a lap of 14.182 seconds to earn his first WoO LMS fast-time honor.
Jeep VanWormer, Josh Richards, Rick Eckert, Mike Spatola, Tim McCreadie, Darrell Lanigan, Shane Clanton, Bub McCool, Brady Smith, Chub Frank, Tim Fuller, Eric Wells, Jason Feger, Clint Smith, Brandon Thirlby, Andrew Reaume, Rich Neiser, Morgan Bagley, Sammy Epling, John McDonald, Tom Sprague Jr., Andy Galguci, Dona Marcoullier, Ryan VanderVeen.