NEW RICHMOND, Wis. – After two straight years of disappointing performances in the USA Nationals, Tim McCreadie thrust himself squarely into the mix for the crown-jewel event’s $50,000 top prize with a powerful Qualifying Night performance on Friday at Cedar Lake Speedway.
McCreadie, 39, of Watertown, N.Y., won the six-lap dash for Friday night’s six heat winners, earning him the pole position starting spot in Saturday night’s 26th annual USA Nationals finale. It will mark the first time he has taken the green flag in the 100-lap World of Outlaws Late Model Series event with serious designs on victory since he started fifth in the 2010 edition.
“This is a lot more fun than going into the race the way we did the last two years,” said McCreadie, who registered dismal finishes of 25th in 2011 and 26th in 2012 after using WoO LMS points provisionals to start both events. “I always feel like if we’re close anywhere, we can make small adjustments to get the car right – but it’s been a few years since we’ve even been close here. We’ve just struggled so bad at this race, so it feels good to know we’ve got a car that should give us a chance this year.”
McCreadie won Friday’s fourth 15-lap heat race by 3.882 seconds – the largest margin of any heat winner – and then roared off the outside pole to take the lead from polesitter Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., at the start of the dash. The 2006 WoO LMS champion pulled away from Richards during the short sprint, beating the national tour’s points leader to the finish line by several car lengths.
Richards, who outdueled Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., to win the fifth heat, settled for a runner-up finish in the dash, giving him the second starting spot in the USA Nationals. He will bid for victory in his first USA Nationals start since winning the event in 2011.
A.J. Diemel of Elk Mound, Wis., finished third in the dash, putting the home-state favorite on the inside of the second row for the start of the USA Nationals. Rick Eckert of York, Pa., 16-year-old Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., and Chad Simpson of Mt. Vernon, Iowa, finished in positions 4-6 and will start the 100-lapper from those positions.