Rapid City proudly hosted the World of Outlaws Late Models July 9, 2012. A collaberation between Gillette Speedway operator and Black Hills Speedway owner Ed Kirchoff and World of Outlaws Late Model Series director Tim Christman resulted in “Black Hills 50” being added to the 2012 Outlaw schedule. The LMS tour normally races every other year at Gillette Thunder Speedway as part of the annual “Wild West Tour,” so adding one more stop helped draw the drivers in.
“They were trying to fill another slot if they could, to make the trip (west) that much more worthwhile,” said Kirchoff, “The sprint cars showed up here last year and they got good returns from that, so he (Christman) said they’d sure like to try it here.”
After nearly a decade away, Rick Eckert earned a second lap around Victory Lane after sweeping the night and capturing the “Black Hills 50.” In 2003, Eckert won a UDTRA series event on the old four-tenths of a mile layout before the track was overhauled to the current half-mile oval.
“Both times I’ve been here I’ve won, so I love this place,” said Eckert, “I’ll tell you what, it’s so far from home, but I have to come back. It sure was worth the trip.”
Just getting to the track was a victory of 46 year-old Eckert after a run of bad luck as the WoO LMS went through Canada, New York and Pennsylvania late June. First his hauler developed major transmission issues and then three engines broke over a two race span. Thankfully, the hauler was repaired and California dirt Late Model racer, Eric Jacobsen, was able to provide two replacement engines.
“If it wasn’t for Eric Jacobsen, I wouldn’t have come out here,” said Eckert, “This is a sport that knocks you down, and fortunately he’s a guy who will help me get back up.” Eckert was able to race and win with his own Jay Dickens-built powerplant while at Black Hills but was thankful to have Jacobsen’s pieces in the trailer, just in case.
“I was in a lane that I’m not normally in,” said Eckert, whose 26th career WoO LMS victory was his first since Feb. 18 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla. “I was on the top most of the race. That’s where I could just bounce off the traction and keep my speed up.
“Then we got in traffic and I got held up pretty bad for quite a few laps. I knew I was a sitting duck, but they were side-by-side and then they caught four more cars, and I was like, ‘S—.’ I finally slid in there and got into the 7 (Robinson) – we’re traveling buddies, but I had to get him up out of the way so I could get through. Then I got to Jimmy (Mars) and I floated real bad into (turn) three and Vic drove right by.
“But Victor got bit by the same lapped car and we got back by, so I guess it worked out in the end.”
Coffey, 40, settled for a runner-up finish in the Sweeteners Plus Rocket, 0.714 of a second behind Eckert. He matched his personal-best WoO LMS performance as he remained winless in 133 career A-Main starts on the tour.
WoO LMS Rookie of the Year leader Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., finished third in his Victory Circle chassis after charging forward from the 10 th starting spot. He reached the show position on lap 40 but never got close to the leaders, ending the race over seven seconds behind Eckert.
Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., advanced from the 16th starting position to place fourth – his 13th top-five finish in his last 15 starts – after deciding to switch to his backup Sweeteners Plus Warrior car following time trials, and fourth-starter Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., finished fifth in his Rocket mount.
Results of WoO Late Model Series ‘Black Hills 50’ at Black Hills Speedway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (1) Rick Eckert/50 $10,700
2. (7) Vic Coffey/50 $5,550
3. (10) Bub McCool/50 $3,800
4. (16) Tim McCreadie/50 $3,150
5. (4) Chub Frank/50 $2,550
6. (6) Pat Doar/50 $2,250
7. (3) Shane Clanton/50 $1,950
8. (12) Brady Smith/50 $1,300
9. (8) Jimmy Mars/50 $1,250
10. (2) Kent Robinson/49 $1,700
11. (13) Jack Sullivan/49 $1,600
12. (11) Clint Smith/49 $1,550
13. (18) Mike Stadel/48 $1,550
14. (15) Eric Mass/48 $950
15. (19) Chris Dunn/46 $850
16. (21) Chris Johnson/46 $800
17. (23) Jason Snyder/44 $770
18. (5) Darrell Lanigan/22 $1,400
19. (20) Dan Henrickson/20 $730
20. (9) Tim Fuller/14 $1,250
21. (17) John Bey/14 $700
22. (22) Brent Nielson/14 $700
23. (14) Don Shaw/4 $700
24. (24) Marty Erivez Jr./2 $700
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 22 Mins., 15.150 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.714 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 1 (Lap 23)
Lap Leaders: Robinson (1-8); Eckert (9-46); Coffey (47); Eckert (48-50)
Provisional Starters: Snyder, Erivez
Rookie of the Race: McCool ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Stadel ($500)
Results courtesy WOO