Column By: MIKE WARREN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – NEW RICHMOND, WI – A trip to Wisconsin is on the horizon for the final time in 2022, as the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series heads to Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, WI, for the 35th Annual USA Nationals, Aug. 4-6.
Three nights of high-octane action start with a regular World of Outlaws points-paying show on Thursday, Aug. 4 – 30-laps for $6,000-to-win.
Then, on Friday, Aug. 5, the battle for the USA Nationals title begins as the World of Outlaws will run double Heat Races and a dash. Those races will set the lineups for the 100-lap, $50,000-to-win finale on Saturday, Aug. 6.
Here are the top storylines this weekend:
ROOKIE HEAT: The battle for World of Outlaws CASE Late Models Rookie of the Year has caught fire as the calendar turns to August.
Tanner English’s third-place finish at the Prairie Dirt Classic has vaulted over Max Blair for the lead in that battle — now two points ahead of Blair.
However, Cedar Lake plays into Blair’s hands this weekend. The Centerville, PA driver finished sixth in last year’s USA Nationals finale, while English hasn’t competed in the event.
Last weekend at Fairbury, both drivers also cut into Dennis Erb Jr’s points lead. English is 168 points behind the Carpentersville, IL driver, while Blair is 170 points behind.
BACK HOME AT CEDAR LAKE: While Cedar Lake is in Wisconsin, it’s the closest track on the schedule to Brent Larson’s Lake Elmo, MN home. It’s also a track where the “B1 Bomber” has years of experience.
Larson is a five-time champion in the track’s Late Model division and sits seventh on the all-time wins list with 28 wins.
If he can capture that Cedar Lake magic again this weekend, it’ll be his first World of Outlaws CASE Late Model Series win.
TRACK OF CHAMPIONS: Some of the best drivers in dirt Late Model racing will travel to Cedar Lake this weekend—where many World of Outlaws CASE Late Model champions have succeeded.
In the 34 USA Nationals events run, former Series champions have won 16.
Josh Richards and Brandon Sheppard are both on that list. “Kid Rocket” won his two events in 2011 and 2016, while “The Rocket Shepp” scored his USA Nationals triumph in 2018.
WISCONSIN WARRIOR: The World of Outlaws CASE Late Models have raced four times in Wisconsin this season, and no driver has earned more money than 2018 Series champion Mike Marlar.
The Winfield, TN driver has two wins in the Badger State, collecting $60,000 between Mississippi Thunder Speedway and Red Cedar Speedway.
He’s also rolling into the weekend with momentum, as Marlar hasn’t finished outside the top three in his last seven Series starts.
His best finish at the USA Nationals is second in 2017.
THURSDAY NIGHT WINGER: One driver that loves traveling to Cedar Lake is Ashton Winger.
The Hampton, GA driver has won the first World of Outlaws CASE Late Models Feature of the season at the track in each of the last two seasons—including a thrilling finish with Chase Junghans to open last year’s USA Nationals.
Half of Winger’s four World of Outlaws wins are at the New Richmond, WI facility, and he’s looking to make it three consecutive years that he finds Victory Lane at the track.
MONEY ON MY MIND: USA Nationals is the second straight $50,000 payday on the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models schedule after last weekend’s Prairie Dirt Classic.
The two drivers in Late Model racing who’ve earned more money than any other drivers this season, Jonathan Davenport and Chris Madden, are both expected to race for Cedar Lake glory.
Davenport is a two-time event-winner, including last year’s triumph, where he held off Brandon Overton. If the Eldora Million winner can strike again, it’ll be his fourth World of Outlaws victory of the season.
Madden, who already has four $50,000 victories this season, won the event in 2019. If “Smokey” takes home his second USA Nationals victory, it’ll be his second Series win of 2022 and the 34th of his career.