May 29th, 2018 by Randolph Chenowth
For the second round of the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Championship Series the greatest late model drivers had to deal with the tricky Limaland circuit. The 1/4 mile track sees a lot of racing up high, but interesting opportunities to make moves in lower lanes when track conditions get right.
Initially the #35 of Nick Cooper looked like the car to beat after putting in fast time in qualifying and dominating his heat race, but the rest of the quartet of heat race winners of Bergeron, Fidler, and McKinney showed they were a force to be reckoned with before the features ever started.
Starting positions were valuable in the heat races, which each of the top 4 transferees in each heat starting in those same top 4 positions. The driver who looked like they may have had the pace to drive thru and snag a transfer spot was Austen Semmelmann but he unfortunately ran out of time and had to run through in the B.
Once the B main started the high lined was easily the place to be, but an interesting middle groove began forming near the end. Starting positions were key here once again, with the top 4 managing to hold on to the coveted 4 transfer spots to carry to the feature though that doesn’t tell the entire story. Hard racing in the mid pack caused a handful of drivers to really have to checkup which took away many drivers ability to work their way forward after losing too much time. In the end it was Herchko, Dedmon, Diaz and Semmelmann transferring their way to the feature.
The middle lane became more relevant in the feature though up top seemed quickest over all, but some drivers found the middle more consistent throughout the field. For the first 25 laps Nick Cooper seemed to be unbeatable, stretching a lead and riding the rim more or less to perfection. Alex Bergeron however, using a couple years of experience from the NASCAR Peak Antifreeze Series, was very good on the restarts and smelt blood in the water after the first one. Second time through Alex took his chances and timed the restart to perfection, maintaining just enough overlap into 1 to set it on the cushion and get clear of Cooper after a couple laps. Howard Weaver also looked to be having another amazing run while in 2nd with a lap to go, but a slight mistake dropped him a couple spots. In the end, Bergeron went unchallenged after getting the top spot and led the final 22 laps to the checkered.
Howard Weaver has also kept up an amazingly impressive run across both of the World Of Outlaws Championship Series. In 4 races, 2 sprint car, 2 Late Model, he has 1 win, 3 top 5s, and a wort finish of 7th. If he is able to maintain this consistency he has a really good chance at both championships, compared to most likely having a real shot at one or another.
The World Of Outlaws Craftsman Championship Series will return on June 12th as the Sprint Cars will have their shot at the 1/4 bullring with the Late Models heading out to Eldora for their third race on June the 19th.