SYLVANIA, Ga. (Feb. 18) — Overtaking polesitter Tyler Erb of New Waverly, Texas, with only five laps remaining in Saturday’s 50-lap Winter Freeze VII finale, eighth-starting Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., led the remaining distance to pick up a $10,000 World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series victory at Screven Motor Speedway.
Winning the night’s fourth heat race and redrawing to start outside the fourth row, Madden worked his way through the front of the field, using momentum from mid-race restarts to gain position. Running second when the race’s final yellow flag waved on lap 36, Madden set his sights on Erb, reeling in the race-long leader to score his 10th career World of Outlaws victory.
“I rode for a long time there just trying to save my tires,” Madden said after the race. “My car was extremely good and we were able to run the top and get some positions right there off of the restarts. I made a couple of passes there during the race on the top there in one and two. The car was just very maneuverable tonight. We were able to save our tires and be there at the end.”
Slipping ahead of fellow front-row starter Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark., in the first corner, Erb charged out to an early lead. Approaching the rear of the field by the 10th lap, the Texas driver successfully navigated lapped traffic, never opening the door for a serious challenge up front.
As Madden worked his way past Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., and in to the third-place spot on a lap 24 restart, the race was slowed by a series of cautions. Erb was able to maintain his position through the yellows, but was unable to hold off Madden in the final laps.
“It’s extremely good to get a win right here,” Madden said. “This place has not been very good to us at all. So to come down here and get a second and a win is huge for us.”
Erb settled for a runner-up finish, with Moyer Jr. running third. Sheppard finished fourth, with Brandon Overton of Appling, Ga., advancing from the 12th starting spot to round out the top five.
“I just killed my tire,” Erb said. “I ran way too hard. I was trying to slow down. My crew guy was telling me I had a good lead. I was just a little anxious, wanted to get the first win. But it was another good night. Our tire made it. So we’ll just move on and go to Ocala tomorrow."
Moyer Jr. gave credit to Madden for a mid-race pass that put him in position to get the win.
“We had a good car,” Moyer Jr. said. “(Madden) runs on this dirt a lot and just knows how to drive. Our cars were probably about equal, he just outdrove me. On that restart I kind of protected the bottom too much and he just rolled me around the outside. He did what he had to do. He done a hell of a job."
Notes: Madden's last World of Outlaws victory came in the Oct. 29 World Finals finale at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. ... The race was slowed by five cautions. ... The first yellow flag waved on lap 19 when Dale Hollidge slowed with a flat tire. … Shane Clanton spun in turn four to draw a caution on lap 22. … A yellow flag flew on lap 24 when Dale McDowell slowed on the frontstretch. … Jason Covert slowed on the backstretch to draw a caution on lap 27, just as Brian Connor got in to the turn-one wall. … Connor and Chris Ferguson spun in turn four to draw the final caution on lap 36.
Preliminary notes and results:
Charging around the outside, Ray Cook grabbed an early lead, with Michael Brown in tow. Cook began stretching his as the race neared the halfway mark, with Shane Tankersley slowing in turn one to draw a caution on lap four. Another yellow flag flew on the ensuing restart when Ross Bailes spun in turns one and two. Cook pulled away to win the second consolation, with Brown and Brian Connor transferring to the main event.
Finish (top three transfer): Ray Cook, Michael Brown, Brian Connor, Austin Horton, Clint Smith, Matt Sponaugle, Dennis Franklin, Brian Ligon, Kyle Pierce, Jim Manka, Ross Bailes, Shane Tankersley, Josh Langley. Scratched: Brent Dixon, Craig Wolford
Polesitter Rick Eckert jumped to the lead at the drop of the green flag, as third-starting Jason Covert shot ahead of outside polesitter Joey Coulter in turn two. Covert challenged Eckert as the race reached the halfway point, with Austin Theiss spinning in turn four to draw a caution on lap seven. Another yellow flag waved on the ensuing restart when Coleby Frye spun in turn two. Battling for the final transfer spot, Joey Coulter and Chub Frank collided on the next restart, with Coulter spinning on the frontstretch to draw a caution. Holding his lead through the restarts, Eckert picked up the win, with Covert running second. Frank finished third to transfer to the feature.
Finish (top three transfer): Rick Eckert, Jason Covert, Chub Frank, Steve Casebolt, Riley Hickman, Brent Larson, Donald Bradshe, Chase Junghans, Tyler Bruening, Nick Davis, Austin Theiss, Joey Coulter, Doug Sanders, Anthony Sanders, Coleby Frye
(10 laps; top three transfer)
Row 1: Rick Eckert, Joey Coulter
Row 2: Jason Covert, Chub Frank
Row 3: Riley Hickman, Coleby Frye
Row 4: Chase Junghans, Steve Casebolt
Row 5: Brent Larson, Tyler Bruening
Row 6: Anthony Sanders, Nick Davis
Row 7: Austin Theiss, Donald Bradsher
Row 8: Doug Sanders
Row 1: Michael Brown, Ray Cook
Row 2: Austin Horton, Brian Connor
Row 3: Clint Smith, Matt Sponaugle
Row 4: Brent Dixon, Ross Bailes
Row 5: Kyle Pierce, Dennis Franklin
Row 6: Josh Langley, Shane Tankersley
Row 7: Brian Ligon, Craig Wolford
Row 8: Jim Manka
Polesitter Chris Madden charged to the lead at the drop of the green flag, with Brandon Overton and Devin Moran in tow. A yellow flag waved on the fourth lap when Craig Wolford got in to the turn-one wall. Ross Bailes drew a caution on the ensuing restart when he spun in turn one. Madden held his lead on the restart, as Moran pulled ahead of Overton in turns one and two. Madden won the fourth heat, with Moran and Overton rounding out the top three. Brian Shirley grabbed the fourth and final transfer spot.
Finish (top four transfer): Chris Madden, Devin Moran, Brandon Overton, Brian Shirley, Ray Cook, Brian Connor, Matt Sponaugle, Ross Bailes, Dennis Franklin, Shane Tankersley, Craig Wolford
The race leaders going three-wide out of turn four, polesitter Casey Roberts pulled ahead to take an early lead. Second-starting Dale McDowell held his spot, as Eric Wells battled fifth-starting Dale Hollidge for third. Distancing himself from the field, Roberts won the third heat, with McDowell finishing second. Running side-by-side, Dale Hollidge edged out Wells to run third, with Wells finishing fourth to transfer to the feature.
Finish (top four transfer): Casey Roberts, Dale McDowell, Dale Hollidge, Eric Wells, Michael Brown, Austin Horton, Clint Smith, Brent Dixon, Kyle Pierce, Josh Langley, Brian Ligon, Jim Manka
A yellow flag flew on the opening lap for a multi-car tangle in turns three and four, bringing the race to a complete restart. As the race went green polesitter Billy Moyer Jr. charged to the lead, with second-starting Tyler Erb hot on his tire tracks. Stretching his lead in the final laps, Moyer Jr. picked up the heat race win, with Erb finishing runner-up. Ivedent Lloyd Jr. ran third, with Chris Ferguson grabbing the fourth and final transfer spot.
Finish (top four transfer): Billy Moyer Jr., Tyler Erb, Ivedent Lloyd Jr., Chris Ferguson, Joey Coulter, Chun Frank, Coleby Frye, Steve Casebolt, Tyler Bruening, Nick Davis, Donald Bradsher
Shooting around the top side, outside polesitter Frank Heckenast Jr. pulled ahead of fellow front-row starter Brandon Sheppard to take an early lead, as Morgan Bagley outdueled Shane Clanton for the third-place spot. As the race neared halfway, Sheppard began closing in on Heckenast, but his efforts would not be enough. Heckenast won the first heat, with Sheppard and Bagley rounding out the podium. Clanton finished fourth to transfer to the feature.
Finish (top four transfer): Frank Heckenast Jr., Brandon Sheppard, Morgan Bagley, Shane Clanton, Rick Eckert, Jason Covert, Riley Hickman, Chase Junghans, Brent Larson, Anthony Sanders, Austin Theiss, Doug Sanders
Heat race lineups
(10 laps; top four transfer)
Row 1: Brandon Sheppard, Frank Heckenast Jr.
Row 2: Shane Clanton, Morgan Bagley
Row 3: Riley Hickman, Rick Eckert
Row 4: Anthony Sanders, Chase Junghans
Row 5: Brent Larson, Jason Covert
Row 6: Doug Sanders, Austin Theiss
Row 1: Billy Moyer Jr., Tyler Erb
Row 2: Joey Coulter, Ivedent Lloyd Jr.
Row 3: Coleby Frye Chris Ferguson
Row 4: Chub Frank, Steve Casebolt
Row 5: Donald Bradsher, Nick Davis
Row 6: Tyler Bruening
Row 1: Casey Roberts, Dale McDowell
Row 2: Eric Wells, Michael Brown
Row 3: Dale Hollidge, Austin Horton
Row 4: Clint Smith, Brent Dixon
Row 5: Josh Langley, Brian Ligon
Row 6: Kyle Pierce, Jim Manka
Row 1: Chris Madden, Brandon Overton
Row 2: Brian Shirley, Devin Moran
Row 3: Brian Connor, Ray Cook
Row 4: Dennis Franklin, Ross Bailes
Row 5: Shane Tankersley, Matt Sponaugle
Row 6: Craig Wolford
Showers have been in the vicinity throughout the afternoon, but are not expected to hinder Saturday’s racing program. … Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., was scheduled to start on the pole of Friday’s main event, but exited the track during parade laps with a broken right-front ball joint. He’ll be back in action on Saturday. … Brandon Overton of Appling, Ga., has finished outside of the top-three just once since climbing behind of the wheel of the Randy Weaver-owned No. 116. He finished third in Friday’s Winter Freeze opener. … While the 2017 season plans of Steve Casebolt have been speculated since his spilt with Tye Twarog, the Richmond, Ind., driver said Saturday that he was taking it day-by-day. However, entering Screven, Casebolt was among the 19 drivers listed to run the WoO tour this year. … Along with Friday’s winner Rick Eckert, 2015 World of Outlaws champion Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., is the only other driver to capture multiple Winter Freeze victories. Clanton finished a quiet 20th in Friday’s show, but is aiming to improve on Saturday. … Four drivers have joined the field for Saturday’s Screven finale, including Ross Bailes of Clover, S.C., and Nick Davis of Millsboro, Del., who made the trip from East Bay following Saturday's rainout.
Screven Motor Speedway’s Winter Freeze VII wraps up on Saturday night with the second of two World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series events at the Sylvania, Ga., oval. The 50-lap feature pays $10,000-to-win.
Former series champion Rick Eckert of York, Pa., was the winner of Friday’s $8,000 Winter Freeze opener. Eckert, who is one of just two drivers to capture multiple victories in Screven’s Speedweeks event, will be back in action on Saturday.
Saturday’s program will include time trials, heat races (10 laps; top four transfer), consolations (10 laps; top three transfer) and the main event. Series provisionals will set the final row of the feature lineup.
Time trial results
Driver (car no.), hometown, time
Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., 14.662
Billy Moyer Jr. (21), Batesville, Ark., 14.67
Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 14.681
Tyler Erb (91), New Waverly, Texas, 14.693
Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 14.715
Joey Coulter (2), Concord, N.C., 14.745
Morgan Bagley (14m), Longview, Texas, 14.816
Ivedent Lloyd Jr. (21), Ocala, Fla., 14.882
Riley Hickman (R1), Ooltewah, Tenn., 14.903
Coleby Frye (0), Dover, Pa., 14.917
Rick Eckert (7E), York, Pa., 15.054
Chris Ferguson (22), Mount Holly, N.C., 15.097
Anthony Sanders (421), Spartanburg, S.C., 15.111
Chub Frank (1*), Bear Lake, Pa., 15.126
Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., 15.169
Steve Casebolt (C9), Richmond, Ind., 15.183
Brent Larson (B1), Lake Elmo, Minn., 15.195
Donald Bradsher (93), Burlington, N.C., 15.217
Jason Covert (72), York Haven, Pa., 15.242
Nick Davis (92), Millsboro, Del., 15.265
Doug Sanders (42), McAdenville, N.C., 15.356
Tyler Bruening (16), Decorah, Iowa, 15.483
Austin Theiss (7D), Hockley, Texas, 15.694
Casey Roberts (101), Toccoa, Ga., 14.516
Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., 14.53
Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 14.563
Brandon Overton (116), Evans, Ga., 14.673
Eric Wells (18), Hazard, Ky., 14.733
Brian Shirley (3S), Chatham, Ill., 14.787
Michael Brown (24B), Pageland, S.C., 14.793
Devin Moran (9), Dresden, Ohio, 14.808
Dale Hollidge (0), Mechanicsville, Md., 14.83
Brian Connor (77), Martinez, Ga., 14.837
Austin Horton (16), Whitesburg, Ga., 14.86
Ray Cook (11B), Brasstown, N.C., 14.94
Clint Smith (44), Senoia, Ga., 14.993
Dennis Franklin (2), Gaffney, S.C., 14.994
Brent Dixon (1D), Elberton, Ga., 15.017
Ross Bailes (87), Clover, S.C.,15.079
Josh Langley (7L), Lancaster, S.C., 15.116
Shane Tankersley (21), Blue Ridge, Ga., 15.198
Brian Ligon (4), Evans, Ga., 15.212
Matt Sponaugle (8), Wiley Fork, W.Va., 15.28
Kyle Pierce (281), Statesville, N.C., 15.281
Craig Wolford (36), Saint Louisville, Ohio, 15.45
Jim Manka (60), Savannah, Ga., 15.589