By Dave Sully
LITTLE VALLEY - Super Late Model star Shane Clanton from Zebulon, Ga., winner of the 2012 $100,000 "Dream" at Eldora and author of 20 World of Outlaws victories among 100 plus SLM wins over his 20-year career, took no prisoners at Little Valley Speedway on Sunday.
Clanton thoroughly dominated a stout field to win the 30-lap feature in front of a large crowd on a perfect night for racing.The soon-to-be 39 year old Clanton, whose father-in-law is Little Valley legend, Ron Davies, grabbed the lead on a an early restart, diving under Dick Barton and Dan Stone in turn two.
From there he showed why he is a world-class competitor, as he immediately drew away from the field, opening a half-lap margin by the end of the event, which went caution-free after the initial bobble.
The race became a battle for second, which was a dandy, featuring former champion Barton, "Hollywood" Mike Knight, and Bump Hedman, with Barton finally prevailing in a great effort. At the line, it was Clanton in another time zone, followed by Barton, Knight, Hedman, and Greg Oakes to complete the top five from the starting field of 17.
In Victory Lane, Clanton, who was coming off of a banner season in 2013, where he carded four wins, 23 top fives and 40 top 10s, banking $191, 000 in the process.
Clanton noted, "Barton slipped getting in on that restart there, left the bottom open, and I just took advantage of it. This car is phenomenal. I'm just lucky to be driving it. We've struggled a lot this year and we're turning our program around. Ron Davies, my car owner and father-in-law, gives us everything we need to win races. We've just had the set-up off a little bit all year. This is a new car. We changed a lot of stuff and it's working."
The 20-lap Crate Late Model event, the Bill Law Memorial, featured a spirited duel between former 360 Late Model standout Bryce Davis, from Hornell, and current 360 and Crate LM pilot John Waters, with Davis ultimately coming out on top.
Waters took the early lead from his third place starting spot, with Davis, who started eighth grabbing second on lap 4.
A caution on lap 5 set the stage for a prolonged battle where the two swapped the lead several times and raced side-by-side for prolonged periods before Davis finally took the lead for good on lap 12.
From there, he opened up a substantial lead and then withstood a lap 15 caution to claim the victory. Jeremy Wonderling made a fine run from 12th to finish third.
The 20 lap 360 Late Model Feature went to Mike Wonderling, from Wellsville. The veteran former SLM driver, who has three sons who also race, started on the outside pole and took the lead at the drop of the green from Scooter Pangrazio.
He was never headed, holding off John Waters on two restarts during the event. Waters went for broke on the final restart on lap 19, getting outside of Wonderling, but got too high and slapped the wall in turn two, ending his bid and allowing Bruce Miller to finish in the runner-up spot.
Kyle Bedell, from Randolph, made what was arguably the pass of the night to win the 20 lap E-Mod feature. After moving from sixth to third on a lap four restart, Bedell found the outside to his liking and began pressuring SLM veteran Dutch Davies, driving his nephew Dan's car. After a trip or two to the outside, Bedell found grip going into turn two on lap 10 and made a dazzling pass of Davies and leader Vic Vena to take the lead. From there he had to contend with a late race challenge from Brent Rhebergen, who got a great run off the final turn, with Bedell winning by less a than a car length.
Finally, veteran Andy Michael, a multi-time Little Valley champ from Allegany prevailed over Don Wolfer to win the 12 lap Street Stock Feature, but not before a little bumper tag. Michael took the lead on the eighth lap when Wolfer pushed in turn four and then Michael drove away over the final laps.
NOTES: SLM favorite Ron Davies made his first appearance behind the wheel, driving his son-in-law's back-up car, since his ill-fated trip to Lernerville last year, which resulted in the worst crash of his career. He certainly didn't look out of place. It's unknown when, or if he'll race again..............Ron's brother, Dutch did double duty. Beside driving his nephew Dan's E-Mod, he piloted David Scott's No. 3 Super Late Model, because Scott was committed to run at Eriez...........The final event of Little Valley's rain-shortened season is the Super Late Model/358 Modified Doubleheader, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 13, with a rain date of Sept. 14.
Super Late Models: (30 laps) - 1. Shane Clanton, 2. Dick Barton, 3. Mike Knight, 4. Bump Hedman, 5. Greg Oakes, 6. John Lacki, 7. Dutch Davies, 8. Brent Rhebergen, 9. Brian Fardink, 10. Terry Porter, 11. Boom Briggs, 12. Jason Dupont, 13. Ron Davies, 14. Kirk Bradley, 15. Michael Oakes, 16. Chad Ruhlman, and 17. Dan Stone. Heat winners were Stone, Briggs, and Clanton.
Crate Late Models: (20 laps) - 1. Bryce Davis, 2. John Waters, 3. Jeremy Wonderling, 4. Adam Sixt, 5. Zack Carley, 6. Brad Mesler, 7. Brian Knowles, 8. Chad Silleman, 9. Bruno Mowery, 10. Dustin Smith, 11. John Haggerty, 12. Garrett Mott, 13. Kevin Hill, 14. Jason Knowles, 15. Ward Schell, 16. Andy Michael, 17. Ike Fenton, 18. Brady Wonderling, and 19. Doug Ricotta. DNS: Damien Bidwell. Heat winners were Michael, Davis, and Waters.
360 Late Models: (20 laps) - 1. Mike Wonderling, 2. Bruce Miller, 3. Steve LaBarron, 4. Jon Rivers, 5. Scooter Pangrazio, 6. John Zimmerman, 7. Buck Payne, 8. Jay McConnell, 9. Steve Dixon, 10. John Waters, 11. Mikey Wonderling, 12. Butch Talbot, 13. DJ Krug, and 14. Greg Hallett. Heat winners were Waters and Miller.
E-Mods: (20 laps) - 1. Kyle Bedell, 2. Brent Rhebergen, 3. Rich Michael Jr., 4. Vic Vena, 5. John Woodward, 6. Jeff Johnson, 7. Joshua John, 8. Nathan Hill, 9. Tim Peterson, 10. Justin Craddock, 11. Carl Bollinger, 12. Steve Samuelson, 13. Dutch Davies, 14. Mike Samuelson, 15. Steve Dixon, and 16. Randy Hall. Heat winners were Bedell and Davies.
Street Stocks: (12 laps) - 1. Andy Michael, 2. Don Wolfer, 3. Levi Watson, 4. Ted Moroeman, 4. (tie) Brett Marlatt, 6. Ted Mascho, 7. Rob Stromecki, 8. Joe Chamberlain, 9. Jason Schoonmaker, and 10. Matt Smith. DNS: Brad Ullman. Heat winners were Ullman and Michael.