NEW RICHMOND, WI – Aug. 2, 2013 – After two straight years of disappointing performances in the USA Nationals, Tim McCreadie thrust himself squarely into the mix for the crown-jewel event's $50,000 top prize with a powerful Qualifying Night performance on Friday at Cedar Lake Speedway.
McCreadie, 39, of Watertown, N.Y., won the six-lap dash for Friday night's six heat winners, earning him the pole position starting spot in Saturday night's 26th annual USA Nationals finale. It will mark the first time he has taken the green flag in the 100-lap World of Outlaws Late Model Series event with serious designs on victory since he started fifth in the 2010 edition.
"This is a lot more fun than going into the race the way we did the last two years," said McCreadie, who registered dismal finishes of 25th in 2011 and 26th in 2012 after using WoO LMS points provisionals to start both events. "I always feel like if we're close anywhere, we can make small adjustments to get the car right – but it's been a few years since we've even been close here. We've just struggled so bad at this race, so it feels good to know we've got a car that should give us a chance this year."
McCreadie won Friday's fourth 15-lap heat race by 3.882 seconds – the largest margin of any heat winner – and then roared off the outside pole to take the lead from polesitter Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., at the start of the dash. The 2006 WoO LMS champion pulled away from Richards during the short sprint, beating the national tour's points leader to the finish line by several car lengths.
Richards, who outdueled Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., to win the fifth heat, settled for a runner-up finish in the dash, giving him the second starting spot in the USA Nationals. He will bid for victory in his first USA Nationals start since winning the event in 2011.
A.J. Diemel of Elk Mound, Wis., finished third in the dash, putting the home-state favorite on the inside of the second row for the start of the USA Nationals. Rick Eckert of York, Pa., 16-year-old Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., and Chad Simpson of Mt. Vernon, Iowa, finished in positions 4-6 and will start the 100-lapper from those positions.
McCreadie has certainly enjoyed success at Cedar Lake in the past. He's started the USA Nationals A-Main seven times, with a career-best finish of third in 2009 on his resume. The former DIRTcar Big-Block Modified regular also has two fourth-place finishes ('05, '07), a 12th-place run in 2010 (after a flat tire and overheating engine knocked him from contention) and a 20th-place finish in 2008 (broke a right-rear wheel while leading).
With Friday night's racing surface – which was drier, and slower, than Thursday evening's tacky, fast track – suiting both his Sweeteners Plus Warrior and his own taste, McCreadie is hopeful that similar conditions will prevail for Saturday night's century grind.
"I feel like if it gets faster we might not be as good as Josh (Richards) and maybe Brandon Sheppard (Thursday night's WoO LMS winner)," said McCreadie, who won a DIRTcar UMP-sanctioned preliminary feature during the 2010 USA Nationals weekend. "But if it can slow down to in between the conditions on Thursday night and tonight, I think we're gonna be O.K."
A winner of four WoO LMS A-Mains this season, McCreadie is energized by his strong qualifying effort.
"Whenever you can go to an event like this and be relevant it's awesome," said McCreadie. "This race is it. We might be lacking a few guys here and there, but this field is the cream of the crop for Late Model drivers. And this is one of the biggest races we have all year long, so when you can be competitive it's great.
"I don't know if we're gonna pull it off or not (on Saturday), but I feel like we can."
Fifty-three cars were signed in for Friday night's qualifying program.
Ohlins Shocks Time Trials were split into 'A' and 'B' groups, with the first half competing for starting positions in heats 1-3 and the second half racing against the clock to align heats 4-6.
Donnie Moran of Dresden, Ohio, was the overall fastest qualifier with his lap of 14.815 seconds in Group 'A.' It was the fourth career WoO LMS fast-time honor for Moran, who will start 15th in the USA Nationals after finishing third in the third heat.
A winner of the USA Nationals in 1998 and second-place finisher on four occasions, Moran will start the event for the first time since 2006.
The USA Nationals grand finale program on Saturday (Aug. 3) will include two B-Mains, a last-chance race and the 100-lap USA Nationals plus a full show for Cedar Lake's NASCAR Late Models. The action scheduled to begin with hot laps at 6:30 p.m. CT and racing at 7 p.m. CT.
Additional details and ticket info on the USA Nationals can be obtained by logging on to www.cedarlakespeedway.com.
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 99-Donnie Moran/Dresden, OH 14.815
2. 1d-Don O'Neal/Martinsville, IN 14.861
3. 25-Jason Feger/Bloomington, IL 14.903
4. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 15.042
5. 25-Chad Simpson/Mt. Vernon, IA 15.076
6. 21-Billy Moyer/Batesville, AR 15.092
7. 58-A.J. Diemel/Elk Mound, WI 15.104
8. 22-Gregg Satterlee/Rochester Mills, PA 15.128
9. 32-Bobby Pierce/Oakwood, IL 15.129
10. 32s-Chris Simpson/Oxford, IA 15.147
11. 18RH-Ronny Lee Hollingsworth/Northport, AL 15.191
12. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 15.324
13. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 15.376
14. 28P-Jeff Provinzino/Hibbing, MN 15.378
15. 27-Jake Redetzke/Eau Claire, WI 15.397
16. b12-Kevin Weaver/Gibson City, IL 15.432
17. 18W-Eric Wells/Hazard, KY 15.474
18. 99-Clay Fisher/Dewitt, AR 15.494
19. 742-Terry Casey/New London, WI 15.505
20. 22-Charlie McKenna/Clear Lake, IA 15.525
21. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 15.579
22. 37-Jared Hawkins/Fairmont, WV 15.589
23. c8-Timothy Culp/W. Monroe, LA 15.659
24. 99M-Devin Moran/Dresden, OH 15.681
25. 40B-Kyle Bronson/Tampa, FL 15.728
26. 71-Andrew McKay/Edina, MN 15.737
1. b5-Brandon Sheppard/New Berlin, IL 15.139
2. 20-Jimmy Owens/Newport, TN 15.154
3. 15b-Brian Birkhofer/Muscatine, IA 15.254
4. 2-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, WI 15.275
5. 28-Jimmy Mars /Menomonie, WI 15.277
6. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 15.288
7. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 15.351
8. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 15.357
9. 7R-Kent Robinson/Bloomington, IN 15.367
10. 1w-Dillon Wood/New Smyrna Beach, FL 15.403
11. 18-Shannon Babb/Moweaqua, IL 15.43
12. 57J-Bub McCool/Vicksburg, MS 15.431
13. 3s-Brian Shirley/Chatham, IL 15.433
14. 21d-Dan Stone/Thompson, PA 15.463
15. 25-Shane Clanton/Zebulon, GA 15.467
16. 28-Dennis Erb Jr./Carpentersville, IL 15.491
17. 14M-Morgan Bagley/Longview, TX 15.546
18. 49-Jonathan Davenport/Blairsville, GA 15.66
19. 17M-Dale McDowell/Chickamauga, GA 15.669
20. 18c-Ross Camponovo/Clarksdale, MS 15.672
21. 7-Ricky Weiss/Winnipeg, Manitoba 15.725
22. 0-Scott Bloomquist/Mooresburg, TN 15.756
23. 15-Nick Anvelink/Navarino, WI 15.828
24. 90-Lance Mathees/Winono, MN 15.92
25. 9T-Tim Isenberg/Marshfield, WI 15.966
26. 3-Bret Swedberg/Shawano, WI 16.014
27. 57-Chad Williamson/Watertown, SD 16.46
Heat No. 1 (15 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Pierce, Moyer, Feger, Chris Simpson, Frank, Weaver, Hawkins, Bronson, Casey
Heat No. 2 (15 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Chad Simpson, O'Neal, Satterlee, Wells, Provinzino, McKay, Hollingsworth, Culp, McKenna
Heat No. 3 (15 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Diemel, Lanigan, Donnie Moran, Redetzke, Fuller, C. Smith, Devin Moran, Fisher
Heat No. 4 (15 laps – Top 3 Transfer): McCreadie, Robinson, Wood, Shirley, McDowell, Isenberg, Bloomquist, Erb, Birkhofer
Heat No. 5 (15 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Richards, Owens, Babb, Bagley, Stone, Mars, Anvelink, Swedberg, Camponovo
Heat No. 6(15 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Eckert, Sheppard, Clanton, B. Smith, Davenport, McCool, Weiss, Matthees, Williamson
Dash Finish (6 laps): McCreadie, Richards, Diemel, Eckert, Pierce, Chad Simpson
USA Nationals 100 Starting Lineup:
Row 1: Tim McCreadie/Josh Richards
Row 2: A.J. Diemel/Rick Eckert
Row 3: Bobby Pierce/Chad Simpson
Row 4: Billy Moyer/Don O'Neal
Row 5: Darrell Lanigan/Kent Robinson
Row 6: Jimmy Owens/Brandon Sheppard
Row 7: Jason Feger/Gregg Satterlee
Row 8: Donnie Moran/Dillon Wood
Row 9: Shannon Babb/Shane Clanton
Row 10: B-Main 1 winner/B-Main 2 winner
Row 11: B-Main 1 2nd-place/B-Main 2 2nd-place
Row 12: Last Chance winner/Last Chance 2nd-place
Up to four provisional starting spots also available:
* Two WoO LMS (restricted to drivers with perfect attendance on 2013 tour)
* One FANSFund (highest-finishing invited driver in Last Chance Race)
* One Past USA Nationals champion (most recent event champion who fails to qualify)