MARYVILLE, Tenn. - Everything fell Shane Clanton’s way on Friday night at Smoky Mountain Speedway.
Taking advantage of an outside pole starting spot and some well-placed caution flags, Clanton had just enough speed to hold off a late challenge from Steve Casebolt Jr. and capture the World of Outlaws Late Model Series Mountain Outlaw 50.
Clanton, 37, registered his second victory of the season on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series tour, which made its first visit to Smoky Mountain since 2004. He steered his Kennedy Motorsports Capital Race Car under the checkered flag a scant .164 of a second ahead of Casebolt, who overtook Jimmy Owens, for second on a lap-38 restart and kept his Dishman Motorsports MasterSbilt car there to earn a career-best WoO LMS finish.
Owens settled for third in a Team Zero by Bloomquist mount after running in the second spot for laps 10-38. Josh Richards, maintained the WoO LMS points lead with a solid fourth-place finish and Billy Ogle Jr. made a late charge to complete the top five in a Blount Motorsports Rocket fielded by Smoky Mountain co-owner Larry Garner.
Clanton was succinct after the race when asked for the key to his $10,550 triumph.
“The laps run out,” he said with a smile.
The WoO LMS veteran’s assessment was actually somewhat serious. Before a caution flag on lap 38 ended a 20-lap stretch of green-flag action, Clanton appeared to be in trouble with Owens, Casebolt and Richards all bearing down on him. He put some space on Casebolt following the restart but saw that gap shrink to virtually nothing a few laps later because his cars right-rear tire simply wasn’t able to handle an extended run of uninterrupted racing.
“They said he was coming there at the end,” Clanton said of the signals his crew provided him concerning Casebolt’s last-ditch bid. “Luckily we had a caution there at the end (on lap 38) to cool the tires off. We went a little softer on right-rear tire, just trying to get the lead (at the start) and hopefully dictate the pace. I liked every caution, especially since they seemed to fall right my way. I didn’t even have to lap a car. We got in lapped traffic twice and luckily a caution came out.”
Casebolt stuck the nose of his machine inside Clanton’s off turn two on lap 44 and stayed close the remainder of the distance, but Clanton held strong to score his 18th career win with the WoO LMS and close to within four points of Richards in the tour standings.