Winning Moment: Devin Moran bested Nick Hoffman on a restart with 14 laps to go and drove off to his second consecutive World of Outlaws late model win at Volusia Friday night (Jan. 20).
Dramatic Moment: Tim McCreadie made it exciting, getting a ridiculous run off turn 2 on the white flag lap and getting to Moran’s bumper before falling short on the low side of turns 3 and 4.
In a Nutshell: When Volusia’s in good form, it’s as good as it gets, and Volusia was in realllyyyy good form Friday night.
What They’ll Be Group Chatting About This Morning
Watching Moran and Hoffman do battle up front during the WoO feature Friday night, all I could think was “it’s about time.” Both of these guys should have been racing at the national touring level years ago, and they’re both going to make their respective tours (Moran on the Lucas Oil roster, Hoffman with the WoO) better for being there.
In case this was ever in question, yes, being at the racetrack in person is better than streaming a race on any service. But damn if Ruben Morales and DirtVision weren’t driving that point home repeatedly with a sledgehammer during Friday night’s Volusia broadcast. You’ve got to wonder what’s going on with ticket sales at Volusia, a track owned by the World Racing Group that’s also the owner of the WoO brand, that they’ve got to be borderline belligerent about this point.
Of course, if there any issues with ticketing (and I’m not aware of any), seems to me like choosing to create the Sunshine Nationals and essentially start Speedweeks a month before the traditional DIRTcar Nationals would be a classic case of over saturation more than streaming keeping fans on their couches.
I don’t know what it is about that Gambler’s Transport ride, but it seems to get in trouble no matter who’s driving it. GR Smith had no shortage of enemies before stepping out of the cockpit, Ashton Winger had has infamous run in with Pierce McCarter at I-75 last season and now two nights running Payton Freeman has doored Cade Dillard at Volusia.
Friday night’s edition of the Sunshine Nationals at Volusia drew 48 cars, gaining two new entries while losing the No. 7 team of Ross Robinson. Robinson and his team opted to withdraw from the Sunshine Nationals after losing their heat race finish Thursday thanks to failing the droop rule check post-race.
I’m not at the track at Volusia this week, so I can’t confirm whether the team’s allegations of lack of uniformity in droop checks is true (race winner Moran got checked as seen on the DirtVision stream), but it strikes me as a little petulant to opt out of racing at Volusia over failing droop. It’s obviously not favoritism towards series regulars (Lucas Oil regulars swept the podium Friday night). Besides, the Lucas Oil tour that Robinson calls home also has the droop rule.
This is off-track, but best wishes to Kasey Kahne in 2023, who is again going to attempt running the full World of Outlaws sprint car schedule.
Being a full-time Outlaw has been a bucket list item for Kahne, but his attempt to follow the tour last season was derailed early after a vicious crash at Volusia put him on injury timeout within weeks of being on tour. Here’s hoping Kahne can stay healthy and put together a full campaign this go around.
Hero of the Day
Yes, it’s lazy to just dub the race winner the hero of the day. But Moran’s performance at Volusia has been jaw-dropping in a number of ways. He’s had to best an in-form McCreadie both nights to score his trophies. He blew past Hoffman to win Friday night, with Hoffman driving for Moran’s old race team.
Moran has absolutely upped the game of his new Double Down Motorsports team. And he’s so far avoided any semblance of growing pains that have seen powerhouse drivers Bobby Pierce, Jimmy Owens and Hudson O’Neal (the driver Moran replaced) struggle in Florida so far.
Leave it to Walkapedia to drop a stat worth noting. The “Mailman” is certainly delivering to start 2023.
Villain/Victim(s) of the Night
There’s no doubt that Pierce has had a rough go to the start of his first WoO campaign, blowing an engine on Friday and being forced to burn an emergency provisional while racing Friday’s feature in the Big Frog Motorsports No. 58 machine. But those are mechanical woes.
The victim of the night if you will would have to go to Sarasota, Fla.’s Justin Webster, who flipped while leading the Top Gun Sprint feature at East Bay Raceway Park Friday night after running over the tail tank of Scott Baldwin in turn 3. From the replay I saw, Baldwin definitely was off the pace but didn’t appear to change his lane or do anything to suddenly impede Baldwin; rather, the leader seems to have caught a lapper too fast.
Having said that, the East Bay track crew deserves a shout out for getting ahead of Webster, who very evidently was seeking to confront Baldwin on track under the red flag. East Bay officials blocked Webster’s access to Baldwin’s cockpit with an ATV while another individual literally pulled Webster away from Baldwin’s parked car. It’s a completely BS move to confront a driver strapped into a parked sprint car that literally can’t move, and East Bay’s track crew did well to remember that.
- Moran’s won two consecutive races with his old team, while O’Neal nearly had two solo spins in a less than spectacular run Friday with the Rocket house team. Not the debut that partnership was looking for, though the same can be said for pretty much any driver not racing a Longhorn chassis these days.
- Ricky Weiss extended his own winning streak, going 2 for 2 to open the Early Thaw at Central Arizona Raceway Friday night.
- NASCAR has made rides with revolving door drivers the norm, but damn if Big Frog Motorsports isn’t taking it to another level.
Dirt tracks that ran oval track racing programs in the U.S. Friday.
Nation’s largest car count Friday, the Sunshine Nationals at Volusia (based on cars that took qualifying times).
Money on the line for the WoO regular who scores the most quick qualifying times in 2023 (Chris Madden scored the first one as a WoO regular Friday at Volusia).
Up Next: Frontstretch will be back Monday morning (Jan. 23) with all the weekend action from the Early Thaw at the Central Arizona Raceway, the Sunshine Nationals at Volusia and the Winternationals at East Bay. Coverage can be found on Speed Sport TV, DirtVision and Flo Racing, respectively.
About the author
Richmond, Virginia native. Wake Forest University class of 2008. Affiliated with Frontstretch since 2008, as of today the site's first dirt racing commentator. Emphasis on commentary. Big race fan, bigger First Amendment advocate.
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