Clanton Answers The Call

0
263
Shane Clanton (Jacy Norgaard photo)
Shane Clanton (Jacy Norgaard photo)

OGILVIE, Minn. — When Skyline Motorsports was left without a driver to field its second car back in mid-June, Shane Clanton answered the call. Fast-forward to Saturday night at Ogilvie Raceway and he turned it into a winning decision.

Clanton outran Brandon Sheppard and Jimmy Mars to give Skyline Motorsports its first World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series victory, halting Sheppard’s five-race win streak.

Clanton charged up to the front from his ninth-place starting spot and broke into the top-five by the fifth circuit. Clanton chose to hug the bottom line throughout the entire race and made it stick better than any of the cars in the field, driving under Sheppard for second on lap 22 and polesitter Ricky Weiss for the lead on lap 29.

Clanton masterfully maneuvered a pack of four slower cars to keep his lead over Sheppard with under 20 circuits remaining.

“We were good in lapped traffic,” Clanton said. “They could scoot and I could feel the gap, that’s how I got by Jimmy [Mars] and [Ricky] Weiss. They slipped and our car was good enough to take advantage and fill the hole.”

But “The Georgia Bulldog” had yet to face what was potentially his biggest challenge of the night – a restart with 15 laps to go and a hungry Sheppard on his rear bumper.

Forced to try and outrun the Rocket1 Racing guru, Clanton stuck to his guns on the low side and simply drove away from Sheppard and Mars in the closing laps to earn his 44th career World of Outlaws victory and first since Screven Motor Speedway back in early February.

Earlier this year, Clanton picked up a huge win in a Dirt Late Model Dream preliminary feature at Eldora Speedway under then-car owner Ron Davies in his signature black-and-yellow No.25. Now, just eight races into driving under the new team, Clanton has picked up his first win for car owner Greg Bruening.

“We just got some better help and the crew is just gelling,” he said. “With as much help as I’ve got, I get to concentrate on making adjustments to, instead of working on, my race car, so that means a lot.”

But this triumphant effort wasn’t just any ordinary win. Sheppard and the Rocket1 Racing team have been on an incredible hot streak that still seems endless, sitting 192 points ahead of second-place and on an unheard of 21 top-fives in 22 starts.

“The 1 car had won five-in-a-row, so if all of them other guys thought they could outrun him, just come do it,” Clanton said. “It’s tough. That’s probably the best team in the sport, hands down, year after year. This roll they’ve been on this past month is tough. But we’ve been working and tweaking on our car, and it showed tonight how good we can be.”

Sheppard finished second.

“I just got us behind in qualifying, I didn’t run the right line and that put us starting fourth in the heat race,” Sheppard said. “We ran third in the heat and had to start seventh, but that’s where we messed up tonight, having to start back in the feature.”

The finish:

Feature (50 Laps) 1. 25-Shane Clanton [9][$10,000]; 2. 1-Brandon Sheppard [7][$5,000]; 3. 28m-Jimmy Mars [3][$3,000]; 4. 28-Dennis Erb [10][$2,500]; 5. 29-Darrell Lanigan [2][$2,000]; 6. 7-Ricky Weiss [1][$1,700]; 7. B1-Brent Larson [5][$1,400]; 8. 58-A.J. Diemel [14][$1,300]; 9. 97-Cade Dillard [8][$1,200]; 10. 49-Jake Timm [11][$1,100]; 11. 6m-Jeff Massingill [17][$1,050]; 12. 99B-Boom Briggs [22][$1,000]; 13. 18-Chase Junghans [6][$950]; 14. 86-Matt Smith [18][$900]; 15. 21x-Joel Collins [23][$850]; 16. 12-Mark Heinle [21][$800]; 17. 12h-Ben Heinle [19][$770]; 18. 6-Blake Spencer [13][$750]; 19. 19-Steve Laursen [12][$730]; 20. O6-Dave Smith [15][$700]; 21. 10-Paul Parker [20][$700]; 22. F19-Marshall Fegers [16][$700]; 23. 11-Pat Doar [4][$700] Hard Charger: 99B-Boom Briggs[+10]