It’s Clanton’s $100,000 Dream

Shane Clanton enjoys the spoils of victory at Ohio's Eldora Speedway. (Mike Campbell photo)
Shane Clanton enjoys the spoils of victory Saturday night at Ohio's Eldora Speedway. (Mike Campbell photo)

ROSSBURG, Ohio — Shane Clanton added another glowing entry to his career resume on Saturday night, rolling to a convincing victory in the DIRTcar UMP-sanctioned Dirt Late Model Dream XVIII by Ferris Commercial Mowers at Eldora Speedway.

The 36-year-old World of Outlaws Late Model Series regular dominated the 100-lap A-Main, surging off the outside pole starting spot to lead the entire distance. He pocketed a $100,000 check — the richest first-place race prize in the dirt late model division.

With Clanton having won the World 100 at Eldora in 2008, he became just the fifth driver with victories in both of the high-banked, half-mile oval’s crown-jewel events. He joins a select group that includes Scott Bloomquist, Donnie Moran, Billy Moyer and Jimmy Owens.

“To win the Dream is a dream,” said Clanton, whose best finish in five previous Dream A-Main starts was third in 2008. “It’s a hundred-thousand to win and it’s the biggest race we go to every year, so to win it is special. But to win the World also, which is the second-biggest race — prestige can’t get no bigger than these two races.”

Driving a Capital Race Car chassis that he began building last year with former Dirt Track World Championship winner Marshall Green, Clanton recorded his first national-level victory since joining the Kennedy Motorsports team for the 2012 season. He pulled away late in the race to defeat John Blankenship by a commanding margin of 3.149 seconds.

WoO LMS point leader Darrell Lanigan advanced from the 16th starting spot to finish third. Steve Francis placed fourth after starting 17th — matching his best-ever finish in 15 career Dream starts — and 10th-starter Dennis Erb Jr. was fifth to nab a career-high Dream finish.

“It’s a big confidence builder for sure,” said Clanton, who sits fourth in the WoO LMS points standings but has yet to reach Victory Lane this season. “The best in the business were here. We showed that we could do it here, (so now) we should be able to do it anywhere we go.”

Clanton certainly had good fortune on his side during the Dream weekend – most notably, the three-car heat-race invert gave him an outside-pole starting spot for Saturday’s fifth prelim and he took advantage of it, winning the event to earn the second starting slot for the 100-lapper. But he needed more than the right breaks to fulfill his ‘Dream’ scenario.

“It takes Lady Luck (to win) at a lot of places – and this is one of the biggest places (it’s needed – but I always say luck gets you to the race and you gotta have a good car to finish it,” said Clanton. “We had both tonight.”

The finish:

Shane Clanton, John Blankenship, Darrell Lanigan, Steve Francis, Dennis Erb Jr., Clint Smith, Eddie Carrier Jr., Brian Birkhofer, Billy Moyer, Chris Madden, Matt Miller, Dale McDowell, Tyler Reddick, Earl Pearson Jr., Terry Phillips, Don O’Neal, Jeep VanWormer, Klint Byars, Brandon Sheppard, Brian Shirley, Scott Bloomquist, Steve Shaver, Shannon Babb, Scott James, Chub Frank, Jason Feger.

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