Column: World Of Outlaws Late Model Series Racers Gear Up For Southeast Tripleheader
Column By: MIKE WARREN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – MARYVILLE, TN – Three nights of high-octane action in the Southeast await the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series as they prepare for St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Tennessee and Georgia.
The epic tripleheader kicks off in the Volunteer State for the 10th annual Tennessee Tipoff at Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville, TN, on Thursday, March 16.
Drivers will battle in a 40-lap, $10,000-to-win Feature—the first on Smoky Mountain’s new 3/8-mile configuration.
Then, the Series moves south to the Tennessee-Georgia border for Shamrock 100 weekend at Boyd’s Speedway in Ringgold, GA, on March 17-18.
Another $10,000 is on the line on Friday, March 17, in a 40-lap Feature. However, the stakes are raised on Saturday, March 18, as drivers wage war for $20,000 in the 60-lap weekend finale.
Any driver who sweeps the weekend could take home a total winner’s share of $40,000.
Here are the top storylines to keep an eye on entering the weekend:
Smokey’s Consistency: Heading into this weekend’s tripleheader, Chris Madden finds himself at the top of the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models standings.
In four races, the Gray Court, SC driver has two top fives and three top 10s, giving him a 14-point cushion over second-place Brian Shirley.
“Smokey” hopes to keep that consistency going as the Series travels to two tracks where he’s found past success.
Madden hasn’t lost a national tour race at Smoky Mountain since 2020 and won the last March Series event at the Maryville, TN oval.
He also scored two top five finishes at Boyd’s when the World of Outlaws raced there last September.
A win this weekend would be his 33rd World of Outlaws win triumph.
Return to Glory: If there was ever a time for Jimmy Owens to get the monkey off his back in the 2023 season, it’s at two tracks the Series races at this weekend.
The Newport, TN driver won two of the three Features that ran in 2022 between Smoky Mountain and Boyd’s.
Owens led every lap in both the Smoky Mountain Showdown and the opening night of the Stateline Showdown last September.
He’s one of three drivers to win multiple World of Outlaws races at Smoky Mountain, joining Madden and 2004 Series champion Scott Bloomquist.
If the “O-Show” can right the ship this weekend, it’ll be his 22nd career Series win.
The Reaper Calls: The last time the Series raced at Boyd’s, Ryan Gustin scored the win with an epic last-lap pass on Dale McDowell for his second World of Outlaws victory.
Both Smoky Mountain and Boyd’s are tracks that “The Reaper” thrived at in 2022, scoring a top five finish at each of them.
Gustin’s best results were on 3/8-mile tracks all last season, scoring two wins, four podium finishes, seven top fives, and 12 top 10s.
Another win this weekend would be his third World of Outlaws victory.
Southeast Success: Owens and Gustin aren’t the only drivers who found success when the Series battled at Smoky and Boyd’s in 2022.
Max Blair and defending World of Outlaws Late Models champion Dennis Erb Jr. scored a top five on both tracks last season.
They also both found success on 3/8-mile tracks throughout the year.
Both of Blair’s victories were at tracks that size last season, and while Erb didn’t find victory lane on 3/8-mile surfaces, he did score 11 top fives on his way to the Series championship.
Playing Spoiler: While the World of Outlaws Late Models are bringing their epic roster to Smoky Mountain and Boyd’s, a few outsiders hope to play spoiler.
Mike Marlar, the 2018 Series champion, is a past Tennessee Tipoff winner—grabbing the checkered flag in 2020.
The “Winfield Warrior,” who won the Tennessee Tipoff in 2020, scored five World of Outlaws wins in 17 starts last season—four of them coming at 3/8-mile tracks.
Another name to watch is Devin Moran, who won back-to-back races at Volusia Speedway Park to kick off the 2023 World of Outlaws season.
The Dresden, OH driver will be at Smoky Mountain hoping to score a win at the track owned by his car owner Roger Sellers.
While those two are big names looking for victory, one driver who came up short last season at Boyd’s is looking for redemption.
Dale McDowell narrowly missed out on a $20,000 victory in last year’s Stateline Showdown.
He also scored a Series win at Smoky Mountain in 2018.
This weekend, a win at either track would be the “Mac Daddy’s” 15th career Series victory and a triumph within two hours of his hometown of Chickamauga, GA.