CONCORD, N.C. — For a driver who’s about to tackle the World of Outlaws Late Model Series with a new race team, Shane Clanton is remarkably cool, calm and collected.
That’s probably because Clanton’s 2014 racing effort is only ‘new’ in the strictest sense of the word.
Yes, Clanton, 38, of Zebulon, Ga., has a new car owner this season after ending his two-year run with the Kennedy Motorsports operation in December. But when he begins his pursuit of the ’14 WoO LMS title on Feb. 14-16 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla., and Feb. 20-22 at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla., he expects to seamlessly pick up where he left off last year — a campaign that was arguably his best on the WoO LMS since he became a tour regular in ’05.
“Really, our deal this year ain’t much different than it was before,” said a confident Clanton, who in 2013 won four WoO LMS A-Mains and finished third in the points standings. “We have the same (Capital) cars and basically the same (Clements) motors. We’re still at the same shop, have the same parts and the same crew chief (Brock Wise).
“Basically, I worked everything out with (John) Kennedy where I got just about everything I had last year. We just have a different truck (transporter) and somebody different paying the bills.”
That person is Ron Davies, the western Pennsylvania dirt Late Model veteran who also happens to be Clanton’s father-in-law and the soon-to-be grandfather of Clanton’s first child with wife Michelle (she’s due to give birth on May 22). When Clanton decided to leave Kennedy Motorsports about a month after the final checkered flag of 2013, Davies stepped up to make sure Clanton could continue racing as a national touring professional.
“I was going to try to do it on my own,” said Clanton, “but it costs a lot to do a full racing deal like I’ve been doing. I was gonna have to cut back on my schedule, but then Ron said, ‘There’s no sense in doing that. Just go ahead and do what you’ve been doing the last few years and make it work.’
“I’m lucky to have somebody who’s really interested in racing behind me.”
After spending the short off-season reworking one of the machines he campaigned for Kennedy in 2013 and building two new mounts with his Capital Race Cars partner Marshall Green, Clanton made his debut under the Weldbank Energy Racing banner — so named for Davies’s successful Warren, Pa.-based business — during last month’s Winter Extreme series at Tucson (Ariz.) International Raceway. He fell short of Victory Lane but capped the six-race meet with a solid runner-up finish on Jan. 19, proving he’s ready to be a contender again in ’14.
“Anytime you go to the race track you’re supposed to learn something and I feel like we did out there,” Clanton said. “We made progress all week at Tucson and hopefully we can use what we learned there to our advantage when we go racing in Florida.
“The main thing is to have at least as good of a season as we had last year, but hopefully get more wins like Josh (Richards) and (Darrell) Lanigan do. They get eight, 10, 12 wins a year, and we have to step up our program to win at that kind of rate. If you can win races like, you’ll be better in the points and make more money.”