From Mike Warren / worldofoutlaws.com
After a five-year wait for the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series to return to Kansas, Chase Junghans defended his home state’s honor.
The Manhattan, KS driver thundered away from Dennis Erb Jr. on Turn 2 of the race’s opening lap and held off an early challenge to earn his fourth career Series victory Friday night at Humboldt Speedway.
Junghans and Shane Clanton led the inaugural visit to Humboldt to the green flag, but Erb powered to second off Turn 2 on the initial start.
The Carpentersville, IL driver stayed within striking distance of Junghans for several circuits before getting his best chance on Lap 12.
That’s when the current Series points leader pulled his Rocket Chassis even with Junghans through Turns 1 and 2, but Junghans’ carried his speed on the outside to keep the veteran driver at bay.
From there, the Sunflower State Competitor cruised through traffic to take the $10,000 prize.
“It’s humbling,” Junghans said. “I thought I had (a win) there at Volusia at the beginning of the year and just ran out of laps. I haven’t gotten to race with (the Series) that much, but I definitely enjoy racing with [the World of Outlaws] and all that.
“We’ll take it; we just have to do it again the next few nights.”
Despite going unchallenged for the lead in the final 27 Laps, Junghans still had to work his way through traffic in the caution-free race.
“It got sketchy there for a while, but it seemed like we got around the bottom and followed each other,” Junghans said. “All in all, a good night. I mean, we won our Heat Race, started on the pole in the Feature, and won. We just missed it by Qualifying.”
Erb, who crossed the line second, said he needed to be better in traffic to have a chance at spoiling Junghans’ home state triumph.
“We had a good car,” Erb said. “We were able to get up under him in (Turns) 1 and 2, but he carried his speed in 3 and 4. Then, we just kind of ran like that for a little bit, and then we got into that traffic, and he got past a couple, and I sucked there behind them, and it’s just the way it was.”
The Series points leader increased his championship lead over Tanner English, of Benton, KY, who finished eighth. He’s 110 points ahead of English with five races to go.
Max Blair also gained points on English in the battle for Rookie of the Year after rounding out the podium on Friday night. He trails English driver by 58 points, leaving Humboldt.
The Centerville, PA driver, inched his way through the field from his seventh starting position on the bottom lane and cracked the top three when he passed Clanton on Lap 9.
Blair stated he was thrilled to finish third at a type of track he’s struggled at in 2022.
“I think we had a car that was really capable of racing for the win,” Blair said. “I’ll take a third all day long, though. These are the race tracks we’ve kind of struggled on the most this year, so to roll in on the first day of this trip and finish on the podium, you can’t really ask for much more.”
Mike Marlar, Friday’s Fox Factory Hard Charger, finished fourth after transferring through the Last Chance Showdown and starting 17th.
Despite not making the Feature through the Heat Race, the Winfield, TN competitor didn’t make any changes to his Longhorn Chassis.
“Anytime you can get on the track, you learn more and more, so that was helpful,” Marlar said. “We didn’t really change anything, we just had to let the track come around a little bit, and when it did, we had a good car.
“We could maneuver and race all over, and it was a lot of fun. The track was great.”
The Decorah, IA driver ran most of the race in fourth before Marlar snuck by him on the final lap.
“I heard Mikey the last lap there and charged in maybe a little strong and missed the bottom just a little bit,” Bruening said. “All in all, a really good night, a solid finish, a top five. The car was really good all night. We tried something different for a Feature adjustment tonight, and it worked really well, so I’m happy we did that.”
Chase Junghans defended his home state in his first of two chances at scoring a victory in Kansas with the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models in 2022. He’ll have another chance on Saturday as the Series returns to 81 Speedway for the first time since 2017.
“The car was good, we just have to keep it going the next two nights and keep it truckin’,” Junghans said.
The Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet head to 81 Speedway in Wichita, KS for night two of the three-race weekend. Then, the weekend finishes with a return to the “Show-Me” state for a battle at US 36 Speedway in Osborn, MO on Sunday, Oct. 23.
CASE Construction Equipment Feature (40 Laps):
1. 18-Chase Junghans; 2. 28-Dennis Erb Jr; 3. 111V-Max Blair; 4. 157-Mike Marlar; 5. 16-Tyler Bruening; 6. 11-Gordy Gundaker; 7. 25-Shane Clanton; 8. 81E-Tanner English; 9. 19R-Ryan Gustin; 10. 21JR-Billy Moyer Jr; 11. B5-Brandon Sheppard; 12. B1-Brent Larson; 13. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck; 14. 76-Blair Nothdurft; 15. 10-Jacob Magee; 16. 99-Scott Lewis; 17. 99B-Boom Briggs; 18. 60-Kip Hughes; 19. 36-Logan Martin; 20. 1-Josh Richards; 21. 36D-Mark Daye; 22. 21-Billy Moyer Sr; 23. 11T-Trevor Gundaker; 24. 77-Jordan Yaggy Fox Factory Hard Charger: Mike Marlar [+13]
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Photo: worldofoutlaws.com / Jacy Norgaard
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