MARYVILLE, TN – The fifth annual Tennessee Tipoff at Smoky Mountain Speedway concluded on Saturday evening where Dale McDowell led flag-to-flag in the 50-lap main event to claim the $10,000 check and collect his second World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series victory of the 2018 season.
Just one night prior, the driver of Chickamauga, GA was forced to retire early on lap 33 due to extensive damage on the No.17m.
“Everybody worked hard on it last night and today,” said McDowell. “Shane (McDowell) had to go back [to the shop] to get some parts and that was a big part of it. Last night we actually turned our transponder in because we didn’t think we were going to make it but we were able to fix it. We had to actually go rob some parts off of Scott’s (Bloomquist) new car at the shop so we did that and I guess he’s alright with that. Thanks to Sweet-Bloomquist Race Cars and everybody that’s involved.”
McDowell started on the outside of the pole next to defending Series Champion Brandon Sheppard. On the first lap, McDowell commandeered the lead position and never looked back. He was able to defend the top spot from hard-charging Chris Madden who claimed second on lap two.
“The track got pretty one-lane there so as soon as they started going with the single-file restarts, I really didn’t want to catch those guys [in the back],” said McDowell. “I was just trying to buy my time until I got to them just in case something happened. You just never know when you’re right on somebody. It leaves the second-place guy in control basically if something happened.”
“The funny thing is that we lost the ignition box and just thankfully I thought to reach down and switch ignition boxes,” continued McDowell. “I thought tonight was going to be over too. I think that’s about the first time in my career that I remembered I had two ignitions, as long as I’ve raced. Anyways, that worked out for us.”
The winner of Friday’s Tennessee Tipoff feature, Madden settled for second despite his relentless effort trying to chase down McDowell.
“I still am very proud of the guys on my racecar, you know, we have an extremely good racecar right now and a well-balanced car. I still think we had the better car in the race tonight but the racetrack wouldn’t allow it to shine tonight.”
Sheppard also rebounded from his Friday night performance at Smoky Mountain Speedway, where on lap three he was sidelined with mechanical issues. His Rocket1 Racing crew of Danny White, Austin Hargrove, and Joel Rogers made the appropriate changes on Friday night to get Sheppard back on the podium on Saturday.
“Considering last night, we’re really happy with tonight. Dale and Madden both have a lot of laps around this place and I’ve only been here a few times and to be able to run third to them guys feels pretty good. We were a little bit too snug there when the track rubbered-up but hats off to my guys for getting this thing turned around for us so we could make the race tonight.”
The World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series returns to action next week with stops at three tracks in three days including on Lavonia Speedway (GA) on Thursday, May 3, Cherokee Speedway (SC) on Friday, May 4 and Senoia Raceway (GA) for the Billy Clanton Classic on Saturday, May 5.
Craftsman Club Feature (50 Laps): 1. 17M-Dale McDowell [$10,000]; 2. 44-Chris Madden [$5,000]; 3. 1-Brandon Sheppard [$3,000]; 4. 97-Michael Chilton [$2,500]; 5. 50-Shanon Buckingham [$2,000]; 6. 21k-Dakotah Knuckles [$1,700]; 7. 25-Shane Clanton [$1,400]; 8. 18c-Chase Junghans [$1,300]; 9. 157-Mike Marlar [$1,200]; 10. 22-Chris Ferguson [$1,100]; 11. 101-Casey Roberts [$1,050]; 12. 7-Rick Eckert [$1,000]; 13. 4T-Tommy Kerr [$950]; 14. 1v-Vic Hill [$900]; 15. 91-Tyler Erb [$850]; 16. 1x-Chub Frank [$800]; 17. 11B-Stacy Boles [$770]; 18. 21-Robby Moses [$750]; 19. 54-David Breazeale [$730]; 20. B1-Brent Larson [$700]; 21. C8-Timothy Culp [$700]; 22. 9-Devin Moran [$700]; 23. 14m-Morgan Bagley [$700]; 24. 116-Brandon Overton [$700]
Hard Charger: 25-Shane Clanton[+7]
Qualifying: 1. 21k-Dakotah Knuckles, 16.806; 2. 44-Chris Madden, 16.822; 3. 50-Shanon Buckingham, 16.908; 4. 1-Brandon Sheppard, 16.942; 5. 97-Michael Chilton, 16.953; 6. 17M-Dale McDowell, 17.011; 7. 18c-Chase Junghans, 17.024; 8. 9-Devin Moran, 17.139; 9. C8-Timothy Culp, 17.144; 10. 22-Chris Ferguson, 17.159; 11. 7-Rick Eckert, 17.18; 12. 116-Brandon Overton, 17.182; 13. 157-Mike Marlar, 17.272; 14. 101-Casey Roberts, 17.304; 15. 1v-Vic Hill, 17.356; 16. 54-David Breazeale, 17.366; 17. 25-Shane Clanton, 17.421; 18. 4T-Tommy Kerr, 17.428; 19. 21-Robby Moses, 17.468; 20. 1x-Chub Frank, 17.508; 21. 91-Tyler Erb, 17.513; 22. 11B-Stacy Boles, 17.571; 23. 14m-Morgan Bagley, 17.829; 24. B1-Brent Larson, 17.834; 25. 6-Blake Spencer, 18.218; 26. 5-Lamar Winkle, 18.331