SARVER, Pa. — As much as Tim McCreadie likes Lernerville Speedway, he had come up empty in the track’s premier World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series Firecracker 100.
Finally, a four-lap charge to the checkered flag in front of packed grandstands on Saturday night changed all that.
McCreadie, the 2006 series champion, started 11th and methodically worked his way forward, pacing himself perfectly over 100 laps to steal the lead in the high groove with four laps remaining to pick up the $30,000 victory over Darrell Lanigan and Brandon Sheppard.
“I had been making moves up top the whole night, so I thought, ‘What have I got to lose?’” an elated McCreadie exclaimed. “There’s no reason to do all this work and then just settle for second.”
There certainly weren’t any signs of settling aboard the K&L Rumley-owned Bilstein No. 6m on Saturday night, as “T-Mac” displayed his signature determination in the closing circuits, picking up four spots in the final 13 laps. But for the first 87 laps of the race, there was a different story unfolding with the leaders.
Sheppard grabbed the lead from the pole on the first lap and was in command through the first 61 laps. But a slip-up getting around a thick patch of lapped traffic made room for Ricky Weiss to sneak past on the inside.
Weiss, in hot pursuit of his first career World of Outlaws win, opened up a sizable advantage over Sheppard and Lanigan over the next 20 laps as the race continued caution-free. Lanigan got by Sheppard with 17 circuits remaining and began his chase on Weiss, closing the gap rapidly and nearly reaching the Sweet-Bloomquist No. 7 by lap 94.
As the leaders crossed the stripe to complete lap 95, Weiss got a bit too high and kissed the wall at the flag stand. As the sparks flew, Lanigan shot to the bottom of the track and dove underneath Weiss to take the lead away in turn one.
Weiss limped his car around the track for another lap-and-a-half, but his cut-down right-rear tire hindered his ability to drive too much to continue under green.
He took his car into the work area under the ensuing yellow flag for a tire change, but the damage to his track position had already been done.
“Our car was really good. [The top groove] wasn’t really where we wanted to run on the track at the end, but it was the fastest way around,” said a disappointed Weiss. “We were just kind of maintaining and, with five laps to go, we just ran something over.”
After 95 straight laps without a caution, Lanigan assumed the lead under the yellow and found McCreadie right on his bumper. The “Bluegrass Bandit” was only able to hold off McCreadie for two corners before McCreadie found grip on the cushion and beat Lanigan into turn three for the lead.
And that was all it took for McCreadie to score his second win for K&L Rumley Racing in another 100-lap showdown, to match their Atomic 100 victory at Atomic Speedway in April.
Lanigan came home second to score the fifth Firecracker 100 runner-up of his career.
“I really didn’t want to see that caution there at the end, but that’s part of racing I guess,” he said.
Feature (100 Laps) – 1. 6m-Tim McCreadie [$30,000]; 2. 29-Darrell Lanigan [$15,000]; 3. 1-Brandon Sheppard [$7,000]; 4. 49-Jonathan Davenport [$6,000]; 5. 14-Josh Richards [$5,000]; 6. 25-Shane Clanton [$4,000]; 7. O2-Mike Norris [$3,000]; 8. 22-Chris Ferguson [$2,500]; 9. 2-Brandon Overton [$2,250]; 10. 22s-Gregg Satterlee [$2,000]; 11. 17M-Dale McDowell [$1,900]; 12. 18-Chase Junghans [$1,800]; 13. 8-Jacob Hawkins [$1,700]; 14. 9-Devin Moran [$1,600]; 15. 25z-Mason Zeigler [$1,500]; 16. 7-Ricky Weiss [$1,400]; 17. 28-Dennis Erb [$1,300]; 18. 10-Jared Miley [$1,200]; 19. 1x-Chub Frank [$1,100]; 20. 2s-Dan Stone [$1,000]; 21. B1-Brent Larson [$1,000]; 22. 97-Cade Dillard [$110]; 23. 99B-Boom Briggs [$1,000]; 24. 157-Mike Marlar [$1,000]; 25. 1C-Mike Pegher [$1,000]; 26. 6-Blake Spencer [$110]; 27. 29s-Ken Schaltenbrand [$1,000]; 28. 4s-David Scott [$1,000]; Hard Charger: 18-Chase Junghans[+11]