ROSSBURG, Ohio – Jeep VanWormer and Shane Clanton opened the newly expanded World 100 weekend with victories in Thursday night’s Twin 25-lap features at Eldora Speedway.
With the DIRTcar UMP-sanctioned event’s 112-car field split in half by time-trial results, VanWormer captured the caution-free first A-Main for odd-numbered qualifiers and Clanton added another flourish to his sparkling record at the Big E in the nightcap reserved for even-numbered qualifiers. Both drivers cashed $5,000 paychecks for their triumphs.
A fan favorite well known for his hard-charging style on the high-banked, half-mile Eldora oval, VanWormer vaulted from the third starting spot to the lead at the initial start of the first feature and never looked back. He led every lap of a race that was completed in just under seven-and-a-half minutes.
Bub McCool was able to draw within a few car lengths of VanWormer as the leader worked lapped traffic in the final circuits but didn’t make a serious bid for the top spot. The World of Outlaws Late Model Series regular settled for a career-best Eldora finish of second driving a Stapleton Motorsports car.
WoO LMS travelers Tim McCreadie and Darrell Lanigan finished close together in third and fourth, respectively, and Matt Miller who won two preliminary A-Features during June’s Dirt Late Model Dream weekend at Eldora, completed the top five.
VanWormer, who has cut back on his normally busy racing schedule this season to focus on work commitments (Thursday night’s feature marked just his 16th start of the season), said he hopes that his checkered flag kicks off a memorable weekend at Eldora. He has started the World 100 A-Main seven times since 2004 with a top finish of third on two occasions, in 2006 and ’08.
“I would hope so,” VanWormer said when asked if he feels his Rocket machine is capable of winning the World 100. “At least I know kind of where to go with my car a little bit. It definitely felt good tonight.”
Clanton, 36, demonstrated his Eldora acumen in the nightcap. He started seventh but was up to second behind Dustin Neat when a caution flag flew on lap two. He followed Neat until another caution period, on lap seven, provided the restart opportunity that put the WoO LMS follower in front for good.
“I knew I was a little better than (Neat),” said Clanton, who assumed command as lap eight was scored. “I was just biding my time there because we went on a little softer tire than I think they did. The main thing is just getting the lead and getting clean air on the nose where it’ll stick and you don’t slide.”