DIRTRACKR Daily Podcast - Episode Transcript

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Marlar, Overton get big money wins, championship battles cooling | DIRTRACKR Daily 9/20/21

Today is Monday, September 20th, two thousand and twenty one. Welcome into DIRTRACKR Daily. I'm Justin Fiedler.

Coming up we dive into the dirt racing weekend, including what happened at Knoxville, in Texas, with the All Stars, Outlaws, USAC, and a bunch more.

Before we get going, if you'd like a free and easy way to support what I'm doing subscribe and follow the show and leave me a review on iTunes or wherever you watch or listen. You can also follow @dirtrackr on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. And dirtrackr.com is home to a bunch of cool dirt racing content, including analytics, updated news and a lot more. Now let's dive in.

The 2021 season at the Knoxville Raceway is officially complete with the Late Model Knoxville Nationals taking the checkered flag on Saturday night. The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series was in town for three race nights and big money on the line. Earlier in the weekend on Friday night, Tyler Erb kept his momentum from the first prelim night rolling by dominating the second prelim feature. He took the lead from Brandon Sheppard on lap three and went unchallenged the rest of the way. Sheppard finished second, Tyler Bruening third, Tim McCreadie fourth, and Mike Marlar was fifth. It was certainly one hell of a start to the weekend, and things were lining up for Erb to sweep the weekend. The first two nights of racing set lineups for Saturday night, and for the $50,000 to win feature, McCreadie and Erb led the field to green. McCreadie was able to lead early on, but then Terbo was again on the move. He took the top spot from TMac on lap 11 and started to stretch away. But this night would not end like the previous two. Erb had rear end issues on lap 40 and slowed, bringing out a caution and handing the lead to McCreadie. Erb went to the infield and somehow his team was able to make repairs and get the one car back in the race. Erb eventually drove through the field to finish sixth. On the restart following Erb's problems, two time race winner Mike Marlar was able to wrestle control of the race from McCreadie and lead most of the rest of the way. TMac kept him honest late in the going, even briefly taking the lead on lap 89, but Marlar was able to get back by and hold him off in the closing stages. It was Marlar's third Late Model Knoxville Nationals victory, making him the first driver with three wins. McCreadie ended up second, Ricky Weiss third, Earl Pearson Jr. fourth, and Brandon Sheppard was fifth. Even though he didn't get the victory, the performance for McCreadie was big for the Lucas championship chase. He leaves Knoxville with a 310 point lead after Jonathan Davenport had issues early in the race on Saturday. His engine expired pretty early and he was credited with 26th place. That actually dropped him to third in the standings, with Hudson O'Neal now second. So Davenport in 26th and O'Neal in seventh meant McCreadie continued to pull away. With only nine features left in the season, time for O'Neal and Davenport is beginning to run short. 310 points is probably about 50ish positions, so the task is going to be tall for O'Neal. And actually, Davenport is 375 points back, so that's more than 60 positions for him to overcome. Elsewhere in the field, it was a nice first weekend out for Earl Pearson Jr. in his new ride with Jason Papich. He was 7th and 12th on the prelim nights, and then a very strong fourth on Saturday night. It was definitely one of the strongest weekends of 2021 for EPJ. Looking ahead, it's a short few days off for the Lucas competitors as they will be back in action starting Thursday night at Brownstown. The Thursday race is the makeup from the Indiana Icebreaker earlier in the year, and then Friday and Saturday are the Jackson 100. We'll have more on that later in the week.

Elsewhere this weekend in super late model action, the Texas Dirt Nationals took place at the dirt track at Texas Motor Speedway. $50,000 was also on the line there, and the event drew some nice cars from across the country. Stormy Scott was on the pole for the feature, but it wasn't long before Brandon Overton was out front. He took the lead on lap three and drove away to the win, adding to his already massive cash haul from 2021. Bobby Pierce finished second, Scott was third, Devin Moran ended up fourth after running second for much of the race, and Michael Arnold completed the top five. The race was only 30 laps, but it looked like it took rubber and was locked down on the bottom in the later stages. The field also included names like Scott Bloomquist, Billy Moyer, Max Blair, Cade Dillard and Chris Madden. Dillard won the Friday night prelim show worth $10,000. With this event being unsanctioned, and the promoter not having a huge social media following, it seemed like there wasn't a ton of chatter about this event. It was the same promoter as the Bristol event earlier in the year, but without the cache of dirt being put down on Bristol, it was much quieter. I'll be curious to see how many of these events continue into the future, as the crowd at the track didn't look huge either. The promoter also has future events on the schedule for the dirt track at Las Vegas and the Dirt Track at Charlotte. You can see more details on these at racexr.com.

Out in California, the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series completed the fall west coast swing on Saturday night at Keller Auto Speedway. We've been watching to see if David Gravel can run down Brad Sweet for the championship, but unfortunately for Gravel, he again lost ground to the 49. Brad Sweet started on the pole, and led early on, but Carson Macedo ran him down in lap traffic and took the lead on lap 14. From there, Macedo was not challenged out front for the remainder of the race, and he bagged the $21,000 win in the race named for his uncle Tom Tarlton. It was Macedo's ninth win of the season, which puts him third in that category behind Sweet and Gravel. The race was marred by several cautions, and a few front runners were involved, including Logan Schuchart who lost a nose wing while running second. He did race his way back into the top five. David Gravel also tangled with DJ Netto late in the going which was a blow to his season. Gravel ended up tenth, while Netto was out of the race because of no guaranteed time in the work area. So behind Macedo, Sweet finished second, James McFadden third, Shane Golobic was fourth, and Schuchart completed the top five. McFadden's top ten streak is now at 16 straight races. Sweet hasn't finished worse than 9th over his past 18 races as well. Sweet's lead over Gravel is now 156 points with 11 race nights remaining. Gravel and Macedo are only separated by 32 points, so that position could definitely change hands if Macedo stays hot. Also, Schuchart is only 22 points out of a top five spot with Sheldon Haudenschild finishing 22nd on Saturday night. The battles for second and fifth are the two closest we have right now. The series is headed back east now with stops at Eldora and Lernerville coming up this week.

Over to the All Star Circuit of Champions. They were in Central Pennsylvania this weekend for shows at Williams Grove and Lincoln. On Friday night at the Grove, it was all Anthony Macri. He dominated the 30 lap feature, leading every lap and driving away to his third career All Star win. The victory guaranteed him a spot in Saturday's Dirt Classic at Lincoln. Behind Macri, Lance Dewease finished second and claimed the Williams Grove track championship, Brent Marks was third, Chase Dietz fourth, and Danny Dietrich finished fifth. Only two All Star regulars finished in the top ten with Zeb Wise hard charging from 16th to finish seventh, and Cory Eliason 10th. Tyler Courtney's rough string of races continued with his fourth straight finish outside the top ten, with an 18th place result. Things weren't much better on Saturday night either, as he finished 14th at Lincoln. After being so hot through the summer, Courtney has really slowed as of late, finishing 12th or worse in six of his last seven races. It won't matter though, because as long as he shows up to the final three races, he's got the championship in the bag. On Saturday night at Lincoln, most of the feature was dominated by Zeb Wise from his outside front row starting position. He took the lead at the start and was untouchable out front until late in the going. He was running the top a lot and there was a spot in turn two where he made a mistake a few times late and that allowed Justin Peck into the picture. The two traded the lead inside five to go, With Peck leading lap 36, Wise lap 37, and then Peck taking over for good on lap 38. Peck went on to the $20,000 Dirt Classic victory, which was his fourth All Star win of the season, and first since June 17th at Muskingum County. Freddie Rahmer finished second after starting 11th, Wise faded to third, Anthony Macri was fourth, and Cory Haas hard charged from 17th to finish fifth. Several contenders ended up out of the event with mechanical troubles included Lance Dewease, Brent Marks, and Spencer Bayston. Even though he didn't get the win, it was an impressive run for young Zeb Wise. Lincoln is a difficult track to master, and he looked like a veteran. Unfortunately for him this season, it's either been feast or famine it seems. He's got those two wins, plus 15 top fives, but he also has 24 finishes outside the top ten. He really needs to find some consistency in the years to come, as we know he has the raw speed and talent. Just three nights now remain for the All Stars, with Eldora coming up this weekend, and two nights at Fremont in couple of weeks.

The USAC National Sprint Cars were in Indiana this weekend for two shows. Friday night at Circle City Raceway in Indianapolis all anyone saw was the tail tank of Tanner Thorson's number 19AZ. He started second, led all 30 laps, and bagged his fifth national sprint car win of 2021. It was Thorson's eighth finish of sixth or better in his last nine races, which includes two wins and two seconds. Chris Windom finished second, Jake Swanson third, Brady Bacon fourth, and CJ Leary was fifth. Kevin Thomas Jr. ran up front for most the night, but a late mistake from Emerson Axsom caught KTJ out and he ended up eighth. On Saturday night though, things went a little better for KTJ. At Haubstadt for the Hustler, we had 37 cars for $12,000, and it was Brady Short and Chase Stockon leading the field to green. Those two battled through much of the first half, with each leading laps. Coming to complete lap 18 though while working lap traffic, Short made contact with a lap car and second place Justin Grant, and that allowed Thomas to slip by on the high side for the lead. From there, it was all KTJ out front. He led the final 23 laps en route to the $12,000 score. Grant ended up second, Brady Bacon third, Thorson was fourth, and Stockon finished fifth. After not winning any national races in 2020, Thomas has seven wins this season to go along with 31 top tens in 35 starts. It's been an incredible turn around. In the standings, Bacon continues to lead the way as he looks to defend his title. He's got 68 points on KTJ, while Grant has slid to 117 back. The series continues their season on Thursday night at Gas City.

In other non-wing competition this weekend, it was a banner finish to the Hockett McMillin Memorial for Wesley Smith. He won the Friday night prelim in POWRi WAR competition, and backed it up Saturday night with the victory in the finale, topping Xavier Doney and Jack Wagner. Mario Clouser was crowned the 2021 WAR champion.

With the ASCS and the winged portion of the Hockett McMillin Memorial, Derek Hagar won both the Thursday and Friday night prelim shows, and then Saturday night it was JJ Hickle who bagged the win in the $10,000 finale. He slipped by Roger Crockett in the closing laps and drove away to his fourth ASCS win of 2021. It was his first series win since June at Grays Harbor. Crockett finished second, Scott Bogucki third, Blake Hahn fourth and Howard Moore was fifth. With two nights at I-30 and two nights at Devil's Bowl left in the season, Hahn leads Hickle now by 60 points, with Covington slipping back to third, 138 points out. Covington had a rough weekend with finishes of 9th, 24th, and 21st.

At Fonda this weekend for the Fonda 200, Stewart Friesen overcame an early flat tire and broken shock to capture the $53,000 win. His crew fixed his car and got him rolling again, and he topped Rocky Warner and Mike Mahaney. It was Friesen's 31st career Short Track Super Series victory.

With the rival Super DIRTcar Series, Matt Sheppard captured the $10,000 win at Land of Legends Raceway topping Billy Decker and Larry Wight and extending his series points lead. The Super DIRTcar Series is back this weekend for two nights at Albany Saratoga.

Other weekend open wheel winners included Tye Mihocko at Bloomington in a non wing car, Paul Nienhiser won in a 410 winged car at Jacksonville, Josh Baughman won at Lernerville, Greg Wilson picked up FAST wins at Moler and Fremont, Scotty Thiel was an IRA winner at Beaver Dam, Terry McCarl was an MSTS winner at Rapid Speedway, and Chase Johnson was a USAC west coast winner at Kern County. For more from the open wheel weekend, visit tjslideways.com.

In other weekend late model action, Dona Marcoullier was a $10k winner at Tri City, Dave Hess Jr. won at Eriez, Zack Dohm won at Hilltop, Josh Rice took the Iron Man show at Lake Cumberland, and Jared Hawkins won the super show at Atomic on Saturday. For more late model results, visit dirtondirt.com.

The only thing on the streaming schedule for today is FloRacing 24/7. To see the full daily streaming schedule with links to watch, visit dirtrackr.com/watchtonight.

That's it for the show today, hope you have a good Monday. If you have thoughts about the topics on today's show, leave them in the comments below or tweet at me.

Thanks everybody for tuning in, I'll see you tomorrow for more DIRTRACKR Daily!