Young Sunshine State Racer Tames Star-Studded Field At Volusia Speedway Park For First-Ever Super Late Model Victory
BARBERVILLE, FL – Feb. 22, 2014 – Kyle Bronson of Tampa, Fla., became the latest upset winner of a World of Outlaws Late Model Series event, capturing Saturday night’s 50-lap A-Main at Volusia Speedway Park for his first-ever victory behind the wheel of a Super Late Model.
A 23-year-old open-wheel Modified standout in the Sunshine State, Bronson joined Thursday-night victor Casey Roberts of Toccoa, Ga., as unexpected first-time WoO LMS winners during the 43rd DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment. His $10,500 triumph in the finale of the mid-winter motorsports meet also was the second of the week for a home state driver following the win by Ivedent Lloyd Jr. of Ocala, Fla., in the DIRTcar Racing-sanctioned event on Feb. 17.
“This is unbelievable,” said Bronson, whose win came in the just the eighth Super Late Model start of his fledgling racing career. “I’ve never doubted myself, but I dang sure didn’t think I was gonna come here and win the race. If you would’ve asked me (about winning a WoO LMS event) a couple days ago, I would’ve told you that you were crazy. We had our goals set (for the DIRTcar Nationals) to try and make all of (the features).
“I don’t know what to say. I’m so excited I don’t even know how to show it right now.”
Bronson started from the pole position but was outgunned for the lead at the initial green flag by John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va. Bronson held strong in second, however, and rallied to grab the top spot from Blankenship on lap 17.
Bronson then survived two caution flags, strong challenges from Blankenship and Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., and a final-corner stumble to secure the milestone score. He crossed the finish line 0.706 of a second in front of two-time WoO LMS champion and current points leader Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., who inherited second when McDowell retired on lap 41 due to a broken right-rear caliper but wasn’t able to seriously threaten Bronson.
Blankenship settled for a third-place finish after leading laps 1-16. Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., slipped out of the top five midway through the race but came back to finish fourth and clinch the overall DIRTcar Nationals by Summit Late Model points title for the first time in his career. Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., completed the top five after starting 10th, earning his best finish of the week in his Clint Bowyer Racing mount.
Bloomquist, 50, emerged as the DIRTcar Nationals by Summit champion after never finishing worse than sixth in the week’s five A-Mains. He received a coveted gator-shaped trophy for his accomplishment.
“We’re proud to get it,” Bloomquist of the unique hardware that has become a trademark of the DIRTcar Nationals by Summit. “We’ve never run every race here during the week, but we decided to do it this year and I felt like we ran really good. We had a little problem with the car tonight that I don’t really want to mention, but we still had a decent run and were good all week.”
Bloomquist – nor anyone else in the talent-laden field – was able to handle Bronson. Running a Rocket car/ProPower engine combination owned by his uncle and aunt, Wayne and Shirlene Hammond of Tampa, Fla., Bronson demonstrated ability that belied his limited experience in open-competition Late Model racing.
When Blankenship jumped out to the early lead, Bronson didn’t lose his composure. He simply took the advice of Rocket Chassis co-owner Mark Richards, who provided valuable setup assistance throughout the week, and remained patient.
“Mark Richards told me at the beginning of the race that Blankenship was gonna drive real hard and he told me not to race him,” said Bronson. “He told me to ride as long as I could until an opportunity showed up. I tried to ride as long as I could, but when I had my opportunity (to make an outside pass for the lead on lap 17) I didn’t want to follow him no more. I kind of wanted to get myself in clean air.”
Moments after assuming command, Bronson was taken out of lapped traffic by a lap-20 caution flag for Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., who slowed in turn three. The race’s only other caution flag, on lap 35 when Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., slowed with a crushed nosepiece sustained when he ran into the back of York, Pa. driver Rick Eckert’s car, also kept Bronson free of slower traffic.
“I usually hate seeing cautions, but I was actually happy to see every caution I seen because it got me back into clean air,” said Bronson, who was under heavy pressure from Blankenship and McDowell when the yellow flag flew on lap 35.
Once McDowell, who passed Blankenship for second place on the lap-35 restart, pulled off on lap 41 – just a few laps before he said he planned to step up his bid for victory – Bronson was effectively home free. His only scare was a slip rounding turn four with the checkered flag waving in front of him.
“I started getting tighter and tighter and kind of jumped the cushion down there, misjudged it,” Bronson said of the final lap. “I was kind of getting ready for a slide job (from a challenger) and actually just missed my corner. Fortunately I was able to gather it back up and hold on.”
Bronson got back in the groove in time to register by far the biggest win of his career, which he launched a mere three years ago. He’s already piled up more than 60 open-wheel Modified victories – including a DIRTcar Nationals by Summit UMP Modified triumph on Feb. 12 – and a handful of wins in spec- and crate-engine Late Model events in Florida, but none compare to this success.
“I just can’t thank all my guys enough, especially (team owners) Wayne and Shirlene (Hammond),” said Bronson, whose two previous WoO LMS A-Main starts resulted in finishes of 24th on Aug. 5, 2013, at Independence (Iowa) Motor Speedway and 25th on Thursday night at Volusia (he failed to qualify for the 2013 USA Nationals at Wisconsin’s Cedar Lake Speedway in his WoO LMS debut). “If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be driving this race car. I’d be back at East Bay (Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla.) racing Street Stocks.”
With his victory, Bronson became the fourth first-time DIRTcar Nationals by Summit winner during this year’s five nights of Late Model competition. He also joined Roberts to become the first back-to-back first-time winners on the WoO LMS since 2012 when Brad Neat (April 27 at North Alabama Speedway) and Bub McCool (April 28 at Tennessee’s Tazewell Speedway) logged career-first victories.
Frankie Heckenast Jr. of Orland Park, Ill., finished sixth after running as high as fourth midway through the race. Eckert, meanwhile, quietly worked his way forward from the 16thstarting spot to place seventh; Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., finished eighth; Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., guided the Rocket Chassis house car to a ninth-place finish after using a provisional to start 23rd; and Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., capped his strong Florida Speedweeks with a 10th-place outing.
With 35 cars entered in the evening’s action, Ohlins Shocks Time Trials were split into ‘A’ and ‘B’ groups. The first half competed for starting positions in heats one and two and the second half racied against the clock to align heats three and four.
Bloomquist turned a lap of 16.726 seconds in Group ‘A’ that was the quickest overall of the night. It was his first WoO LMS fast-time honor of 2014 and the 11th of his career.
Heat winners were Bloomquist, Lanigan, McDowell and Heckenast. Lloyd and Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs of Bear Lake, Pa., captured the B-Mains.
The WoO LMS will sit idle for one month before returning to action with a doubleheader onFri., March 28, at Lonestar Speedway in Kilgore, Texas, and Sat., March 29, at I-30 Speedway in Little Rock, Ark.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
Results of World of Outlaws Late Model Series DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment Night 2 at Volusia Speedway Park (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (1) Kyle Bronson/50 $10,550
2. (8) Darrell Lanigan/50 $5,150
3. (2) John Blankenship/50 $3,000
4. (5) Scott Bloomquist/50 $2,700
5. (10) Don O’Neal/50 $2,000
6. (6) Frankie Heckenast Jr./50 $1,800
7. (16) Rick Eckert/50 $1,550
8. (14) Steve Francis/50 $1,400
9. (23) Brandon Sheppard/50 $1,250
10. (13) Brady Smith/50 $1,200
11. (15) Clint Smith/50 $1,100
12. (24) Morgan Bagley/50 $1,050
13. (25) Eric Wells/50 $1,000
14. (19) Tim Fuller/50 $950
15. (17) Ivedent Lloyd Jr./50 $900
16. (12) Gregg Satterlee/50 $800
17. (18) Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs/50 $770
18. (9) Shane Clanton/50 $800
19. (7) Tim McCreadie/50 $880
20. (21) Casey Roberts/50 $700
21. (27) Chub Frank/49 $160
22. (4) Dennis Erb Jr./49 $750
23. (11) Billy Moyer/43 $800
24. (3) Dale McDowell/41 $700
25. (26) Brian Shirley/20 $700
26. (22) Kenny Pettyjohn/11 $725
27. (20) Jimmy Owens/1 $700
* Earnings include cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 21 Mins., 45.781 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.706 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 2 (laps 20, 35)
Lap Leaders: Blankenship (1-16); Bronson (17-50)
Provisional Starters: Sheppard, Bagley (WoO points); Wells, Shirley (DIRTcar Nationals); Frank (WoO emergency)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Bronson ($500)
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/
1. 0-Scott Bloomquist/Mooresburg, TN 16.726
2. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 17.079
3. 28-Dennis Erb Jr./Carpentersville, IL 17.098
4. 21-Ivedent Lloyd Jr./Ocala, FL 17.141
5. 24-Kenny Moreland/Waldorf, MD 17.248
6. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 17.254
7. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 17.304
8. 18-Eric Wells/Hazard, KY 17.305
9. 25-Shane Clanton/Zebulon, GA 17.315
10. 5-Don O’Neal/Martinsville, IN 17.342
11. 2-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, WI 17.365
12. 18-Chase Junghans/Manhattan, KS 17.439
13. 101-Casey Roberts/Toccoa, GA 17.503
14. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 17.564
15. 15-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 17.584
16. 14M-Morgan Bagley/Tyler, TX 17.680
17. 57-Chuck Julien/Apopka, FL 18.552
18. 32-Bobby Pierce/Oakwood, IL N/T
1. 17M-Dale McDowell/Chickamauga, GA 17.238
2. 40B-Kyle Bronson/Brandon, FL 17.405
3. 23-John Blankenship/Williamson, WV 17.421
4. 99Jr-Frankie Heckenast Jr./Orland Park, IL 17.427
5. 20-Jimmy Owens/Newport, TN 17.478
6. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 17.514
7. 21-Billy Moyer/Batesville, AR 17.526
8. 1-Brandon Sheppard/New Berlin, IL 17.527
9. 99B-Boom Briggs/Bear Lake, PA 17.533
10. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 17.563
11. 38-Kenny Pettyjohn/Millsboro, DE 17.607
12. 22-Gregg Satterlee/Indiana, PA 17.608
13. 777-Jared Landers/Batesville, AR 17.624
14. 21d-Dan Stone/Thompson, PA 17.628
15. 12M-Jack Sullivan/Greenbrier, AR 17.828
16. 81-Brian Shirley/Chatham, IL 18.023
17. 17J-John Winge/Sioux Falls SD 18.969
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Bloomquist, Erb, Clanton, B. Smith, Moreland, Fuller, Roberts, Frank, Julien
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Lanigan, McCreadie, O’Neal, Francis, Lloyd, Wells, Bagley, Junghans
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): McDowell, Blankenship, Moyer, C. Smith, Briggs, Pettyjohn, Sullivan, Landers, Winge
Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Heckenast, Bronson, Satterlee, Eckert, Owens, Shirley, Sheppard, Stone
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Lloyd, Fuller, Roberts, Bagley, Wells, Moreland, Junghans, Frank, Julien
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Briggs, Owens, Pettyjohn, Sheppard, Shirley, Landers, Sullivan, Winge, Stone
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners (awards presented to noted finisher/qualifier or next highest displaying decal):
Ohlins Shocks ($50 cash to fast qualifier): Dennis Erb Jr.
Comp Cams ($50 certificate to A-Main winner): Don O’Neal
MSD Ignition ($50 cash to A-Main winner): Kyle Bronson
Quartermaster ($100 certificate to A-Main winner): Kyle Bronson
Wrisco (three sheets of aluminum/certificate to A-Main winner): Darrell Lanigan
STP ($50 cash to 2nd-place finisher in A-Main): Darrell Lanigan
Penske Racing Shocks ($50 to 3rd-place finisher in A-Main): Scott Bloomquist
Roush-Yates ($50 cash to 4th-place finisher in A-Main): Scott Bloomquist
JE Pistons ($50 cash to 5th-place finisher in A-Main): Frankie Heckenast Jr.
Lincoln Welders ($50 cash to 6th-place finisher in A-Main): Frankie Heckenast Jr.
American Racing Wheels ($50 cash to 7th-place finisher in A-Main): Clint Smith
VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to 8th-place finisher in A-Main): Brady Smith
Edelbrock ($50 cash to 9th-place finisher in A-Main): Brandon Sheppard
Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th-place finisher in A-Main): Brady Smith
Cometic ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main): Morgan Bagley
JRI Shocks ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main): Ivedent Lloyd Jr.
Superflow Dynos ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main): Tim Fuller
Quartermaster ($25 certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main): Ivedent Lloyd Jr.
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 16th-place finisher in A-Main): Gregg Satterlee
Roush-Yates ($50 certificate to 18th-place finisher in A-Main): Casey Roberts
Quartermaster ($50 certificate to 19th-place finisher in A-Main): Tim McCreadie
Arizona Sports Shirts ($100 certificate to 20th-place finisher in A-Main): Casey Roberts
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 21st-place finisher in A-Main): Chub Frank
Roush-Yates ($50 certificate to 22nd-place finisher in A-Main): Dennis Erb Jr.
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main): Kenny Pettyjohn
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO driver): Kyle Bronson
Summit Racing Equipment ($50 gift card to B-Main winners): Ivedent Lloyd Jr./Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs
2014 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of Feb. 22 – 5 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Darrell Lanigan 714
2. Brandon Sheppard 704 (-10)
3. Brady Smith 692 (-22)
4. Rick Eckert 672 (-42)
5. Tim Fuller 650 (-64)
6. Shane Clanton 636 (-78)
7. Ivedent Lloyd Jr. 628 (-86)
8. Tim McCreadie 624 (-90)
9. Morgan Bagley 620 (-94)
10. Frankie Heckenast Jr. 610 (-104)
11. Eric Wells 604 (-110)
12. Chub Frank 590 (-124)
13. Casey Roberts 588 (-126)
14. Clint Smith 574 (-140)
15. Jack Sullivan 520 (-194)
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including: American Racing Custom Wheels (Official Custom Wheel), Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), KMC (Official Custom Truck Wheel), Lincoln Welder (Official Welder), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), VP Racing Fuel (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award) and McCarthy’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award); in addition to contingency sponsors: Butlerbuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Edelbrock, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, MSD, Ohlins Shocks, QuarterMaster, Roush Yates Performance Parts, Superflow Dynos and Wrisco Aluminum; along with manufacturer sponsors Capital Race Cars, Integra Shocks, GRT Chassis, Jake’s Carts, Racing Electronics, Rocket Chassis and TNT Rescue.