Column By: MIKE WARREN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – MARYVILLE, TN – A regional shift is coming for the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models as the Series travels to the Southeast for the first time since April.
A showdown in the Smoky Mountains kicks off the Labor Day weekend at Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville, TN, on Friday, Sept. 2. Then, The Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet head south to Georgia, returning to Lavonia Speedway in Lavonia, GA, on Saturday, Sept. 3.
Drivers will wage war in the Smoky Mountain Showdown (Friday) and Charlie Mize Memorial (Saturday) for a $10,000 top prize in the two 40-lap Features.
Here are the storylines to keep an eye on this weekend:
The Ballad of Erb and English: As the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models enter their final 12 races of 2022, Tanner English has put himself within striking distance of points leader Dennis Erb Jr.
Erb leads the Benton, KY driver by 98 points entering Friday’s Smoky Mountain Showdown after English scored two victories and a third-place finish last weekend at Davenport Speedway.
However, Erb’s experience may come into play this weekend as English has never run a Series event at either Smoky Mountain or Lavonia.
Erb, of Carpentersville, IL, has recently succeeded at Lavonia, scoring three top-10s, including a runner-up finish in 2020.
Don’t Count Out Blair: While Tanner English gained points on Max Blair in the race for Rookie of the Year, the Pennsylvania competitor may have the formula to chase him down.
Blair already has success on red clay surfaces this season—a $20,000 victory and third-place finish at Cherokee in March.
There are only a handful of races left for Blair to catch English for Rookie of the Year honors, though, as he trails by 84 points.
Georgia Home Cookin’: One driver excited to head to the Southeast region is Shane Clanton, from Zebulon, GA.
The 2015 Series champion gets the first chance to race with the World of Outlaws in his home state this season when the Series returns to Lavonia on Saturday.
However, it’s one place “The Georgia Bulldog” has yet to find Victory Lane.
That’s not the case at Smoky Mountain, as Clanton scored his only Series win at the track in 2013.
A victory would be his third World of Outlaws win of 2022 and 49th of his career.
Return of the Mac: A trip to Central Tennessee means the projected return of the “Mac Daddy” Dale McDowell.
The Chickamauga, GA driver already has two Series victories this season—both coming at Volusia Speedway Park.
He’s also found success at Smoky Mountain, winning in 2018.
A victory for McDowell on Friday night would be his 15th World of Outlaws triumph—breaking a tie with Tim Fuller for 14th in all-time wins.