Column By: MIKE WARREN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – GAFFNEY, SC – The road to Charlotte continues this weekend for the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models as the Series prepares for battle in the Southeast.
A pair of 40-lap, $10,000-to-win, events await The Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet, kicking off with a return to Cherokee Speedway on Friday, Sept. 30, for the Mike Duvall Memorial.
Then, the Series heads back to Georgia for the final time in 2022 for a stop at Senoia Raceway in Senoia, GA, for the Billy Clanton Classic on Saturday, Oct. 1.
Here are some of the storylines to keep an eye on this weekend:
Breaking Down the Battles: Only eight races remain on the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models schedule in 2022, as Dennis Erb Jr. moves closer to clinching his first Series championship.
The Carpentersville, IL driver leads Tanner English by 98 points entering Friday’s Mike Duvall Memorial.
Erb scored a fourth and sixth-place finish when the Series visited Cherokee in March and finished seventh at Senoia last season.
English, meanwhile, kept his World of Outlaws top-10 streak alive at Boyd’s, making it 15 straight top-10s in points-paying events.
However, while he’s still in striking distance of Erb, another driver lurks behind him in the Rookie of the Year race.
Blair for the Dramatic: After a strong weekend at Boyd’s, Max Blair has sliced English’s Rookie of the Year advantage to 68 points.
His momentum comes as he returns to Cherokee, a track he’s found success at in 2022.
The Centerville, PA driver has yet to finish off the podium at the South Carolina venue with a $20,000 win and a third-place finish at March’s Rock Gault Memorial.
If he can find Victory Lane again this weekend, it’ll be his sixth Series victory.
The Reaper Heats Up: While Blair has momentum entering this weekend’s Southeast doubleheader, Ryan Gustin is another driver to keep an eye on.
“The Reaper” is riding high after his second $20,000 triumph last weekend at Boyd’s and had success at Cherokee earlier this season—including two top-10s and a podium finish.
However, he hopes to better his finish from Senoia last season as an incident knocked him out of contention while running in the top-10.
Both of Gustin’s Series wins in 2022 have come on 3/8-mile tracks like Cherokee and Senoia.
Home Game for the Bulldog: Saturday at Senoia will be a home game for 2015 World of Outlaws CASE Late Models champion Shane Clanton.
He is aiming to win the Billy Clanton Classic, a race in honor of his dad, for a third time—less than 30 minutes from his Zebulon, GA home.
The “Georgia Bulldog” has already found Victory Lane at the Peach State venue in 2022, winning in his only appearance back in March.
Clanton is aiming for his 49th World of Outlaws win.
Local Flare: Whether it’s Cherokee or Senoia, the World of Outlaws competitors will face stout regional competition.
Several drivers from the Carolinas will battle for the $10,000 prize on Friday at Cherokee, with World of Outlaws winners Chris Madden, Chris Ferguson, Ross Bailes, and Michael Brown projected to be in the field.
That’s also the case on Saturday, as Ashton Winger leads the charge of Georgia drivers hoping for home state glory.
Winger is the most recent winner in World of Outlaws competition at Senoia—holding off Chris Madden for the victory in his family-owned car last season.