Story: Phillip Prichard / Photos: MSA Staff:
Senoia Raceway hosted the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series for the first time for the third annual Billy Clanton Classic.
This race being was the first time that many of the drivers had been on the unique gray gumbo surface; everyone seemed to enjoy how fast the track was all night long. It was ultimately Brandon Sheppard who could hold off the field to land his fifth win of the season.
“We got the win and it was tough racing out there,” said Sheppard. “Lap traffic was tricky and if you hit the top just right, it was awesome and you couldn’t hardly move off it and be fast.”
Tyler Erb left everything he had on the track by the time the checkered flag dropped, he came up just a little short. The young gun was putting Sheppard to work throughout all 50 laps as he was trying find the line to his first series win. With the help of lapped traffic, Erb could cut down Sheppard’s lead to only 0.6 seconds but unfortunately a few cautions would throw away the ground he had gained on the leader and eliminated the obstacles for Sheppard.
“I hated to see all of those cautions,” said Erb. “Every time I would catch lapped cars was when Brandon would start having to move from that top. I might have had a shot but I gave it everything that I had so we will just have to try to come back next year and try again.”
Eric Wells also found his way to the podium but it wasn’t an easy task to get there. Wells, Erb, and Clanton found themselves three wide throughout the feature dueling for second and third. Chub Frank also found himself into the mix with Erb, Wells and Clanton after battling with Devin Moran and Clint Smith in similar fashion.
“This is more like the kind of tracks that we like,” said Wells. “I was telling my crew guys that it is too bad we don’t live in Atlanta because we would run every class this place has weekly. I love this place. I had a lot of fun out there. This place was fast tonight. I hope we get to come back again.”
Although Clanton finished one spot short of the podium he was still all smiles in Victory Lane as he spoke about his late father, Billy Clanton, and the race that was created in his honor three years ago.
“It’s hard to be up here and him not being with me. He has been gone for a couple of years now,” said Clanton. “As long as we can honor his life like we’re doing and just honor him as much as we can. He’s done a lot for the racing in the Southeast. It’s an honor to be here tonight.”
Brandon Sheppard, Tyler Erb, Eric Wells, Shane Clanton, Chris Madden, Chub Frank, Casey Roberts, Devin Moran, Brian Shirley, Clint Smith, Morgan Bagley, T.J. Reaid, Michael Page, Jimmy Owens, Joey Coulter, Frank Heckenast Jr., David Breazeale, Ashton Winger, Rick Eckert, Mason Massey, Zach Leonhardi, Steven Roberts, Glenn Morris, Austin Horton.
Clint ‘Cat Daddy’ Smith won the Limited Late Models Class, Billy Stevenson the Late Model Sportsman, Joe Hillman the Hobby Class & Dunie Dillard the Bombers Class. Check out senoiaraceway.com for upcoming events.