From Mike Warren / worldofoutlaws.com
Devin Moran delivered history Friday night at Volusia Speedway Park.
The Dresden, OH native became the first driver to win two Sunshine Nationals Features with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series, sweeping the first two nights of the season-opening event.
Moran said he could only describe his perfect start with one word: Awesome.
“I said we could only go downhill from here last night, but the ship ain’t sinking yet,” Moran said. “My guys have been working their butts off, working really hard, and doing everything they can to provide me with a good race car.”
“The Mailman” started third in the 25-lap Feature as Ricky Thornton Jr. and Rookie of the Year contender Nick Hoffman traded the lead in front of him.
However, a caution on Lap 8 for Mark Whitener gave Moran a chance to battle for the lead.
Restarting on the outside lane, Moran nosed ahead of Ricky Thornton Jr. down the front stretch and then closed in on Hoffman.
Using a similar move that got him the win over Tim McCreadie Thursday night, Moran thundered underneath Hoffman in Turn 4, sliding his spoiler across the Mooresville, NC driver’s nose and using that momentum to lead Lap 8 by inches.
Those inches were all he needed, as a caution for Jimmy Owens slowed the field for the second time on Lap 9, giving Moran a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.
Moran said that caution was crucial in scoring his 11th career Series win—one worth $8,000.
“I really didn’t know if we completed a lap or not,” Moran said. “I was praying that we did. I saw the [scoreboard] say 99, then 9, so I kind of assumed we did. I knew [Hoffman] wouldn’t make a mistake twice on that restart, so I’m glad we took advantage of it when we did.”
Tim McCreadie crossed the line behind Moran, charging to second from his seventh starting position. The Watertown, NY driver said he thought his chances for victory dwindled after he lost a few spots on a restart.
“I thought being on the outside on the restart was the way to be,” McCreadie said. “Off of [Turn 4] (Kyle) Strickler pushed and shut down, it got me shut down and got (Chris) Madden back beside me. We all went into Turn 1, and all three of us kind of made mistakes, and (Max Blair) got by all of us, and I kind of got hung out to dry.
“Then, the yellow came out, and it’s just kind of a racing deal. But that one full row back for the next start one lap later, it just took me a little while to get by the guys. I thought maybe I could scoop on the restart.”
Thornton grabbed the podium’s final spot and his second top five of the weekend.
After leading the race’s first lap, the Adel, IA driver said his car was too tight on the outside.
“You never want to start on the pole and run third,” Thornton said. “Overall, we had a really good night, won our [Heat Race], and qualified well. I was pretty good in the [Feature]. I was just a little too tight to run the outside like I needed to.”
Hoffman, the rookie of the race, finished fourth—his best-career World of Outlaws finish.
Despite falling back a few spots, he said he feels closer to scoring his first career Series win.
“I’m one or two adjustments away from now a fourth-place car to a winning car,” Hoffman said. “I’m just building a notebook, and I feel like we’re really close. I was able to kind of momentum around while I was in the lead. Then, that cushion got so far around where I was getting too tight to get to it, and I was really scared I was going to end up blowing through it.
“I was a little conservative, but I probably should’ve started doing that slider line in Turns 1 and 2 a little earlier, and maybe that would’ve helped me.”
Chris Madden rounded out the top five—his third straight top-five finish at Volusia Speedway Park.
After two races, the Gray Court, SC driver has an eight point lead in the Series standings over Hoffman and Brian Shirley.
The World of Outlaws CASE Late Models return to Volusia Speedway Park on Saturday, Jan. 21 for the 50-lap, $20,000-to-win Sunshine Nationals finale.
CASE Construction Equipment Feature (25 Laps):
1. 99-Devin Moran; 2. 39-Tim McCreadie; 3. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr; 4. 9-Nick Hoffman; 5. 44-Chris Madden; 6. 8-Brian Shirley; 7. B5-Brandon Sheppard; 8. 40B-Kyle Bronson; 9. 19R-Ryan Gustin; 10. 8S-Kyle Strickler; 11. 28-Dennis Erb Jr; 12. 16-Tyler Bruening; 13. 111-Max Blair; 14. 11-Gordy Gundaker; 15. 1ST-Johnny Scott; 16. 96V-Tanner English; 17. 32-Bobby Pierce; 18. 18-Chase Junghans; 19. 25-Shane Clanton; 20. 22*-Payton Freeman; 21. 97-Cade Dillard; 22. 99B-Boom Briggs; 23. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr; 24. B1-Brent Larson; 25. 18D-Daulton Wilson; 26. 20-Jimmy Owens; 27. 5-Mark Whitener; 28. 10-Garrett Smith Fox Factory Hard Charger: Ryan Gustin [+11]
See the full story and results:
Photo: Jacy Norgaard / worldofoutlaws.com / World Of Outlaws social