Donny Schatz, Darrell Lanigan and Matt Sheppard celebrate their respective championships in front of a standing-room-only crowd.
Photo: CMS/HHP
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Donny Schatz, Darrell Lanigan and Matt Sheppard were crowned champions in front of a spectacular standing-room-only crowd Saturday night at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, concluding three beautiful days of racing at the sixth annual PEAK Motor Oil World of Outlaws World Finals presented by NAPA Auto Parts. Jimmy Owens, Dale Blaney and Brett Hearn were the evening’s A-Feature winners.

Fans from 47 states, five Canadian provinces, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom packed the grandstands for the third night of the PEAK World Finals at the lightning-fast, four-tenths-mile clay oval. The three-day event brings together dirt racing's three premier divisions, the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, the World of Outlaws Late Model Series and the Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds, to end their seasons and crown their respective champions.

In the 50-lap World of Outlaws Late Model Series A-feature, Owens, of Newport, Tenn., captured the lead on Lap 5 from Chris Madden and never looked back. He held off the field during several late race cautions and recorded his fifth win at The Dirt Track, sweeping the weekend's late model features.

Tim McCreadie took command of the second position with 11 laps to go, Darrell Lanigan finished third, Madden finished fourth and Clint Smith finished fifth.

“Words can’t describe what it means to win this thing as much as we have and be as competitive as what we were all weekend,” said Owens. “To win both of the races back-to-back, I don’t really have words, it’s just awesome. This is a dream come true to be up here and to be racing with Darrell Lanigan, and Bloomquist and all these guys and to beat them, it just doesn’t get any better in my eyes.”

Lanigan locked in his second World of Outlaws Late Model Series championship on Thursday after making his qualifying run.

“The car ran pretty good. We just needed a caution at the end to catch Jimmy, but what a car. It was unbelievable. The track was great,” said Lanigan. “You could race all over Turns 1 and 2. Three and four got a little one-laned at the bottom but for what the track was, it was great.”

Owens, Don O’Neal, Madden, Rick Eckert, Lanigan and Dale McDowell won the 8-lap heat races for the late models, while Jonathan Davenport, Eric Wells and Scott Bloomquist topped the 12-lap late model B-Features.

Hartford, Ohio native, Blaney started the 30-lap World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series A-Feature in third position, but quickly moved to the front to pass polesitter Stevie Smith for the lead on Lap 7. Craig Dollansky was soon pressuring him for the lead and took over the top spot on Lap 19. After a caution several laps later, Dollansky’s right rear tire went down and Blaney regained the lead, picking up his first win at The Dirt Track. Paul McMahan made his way through the field from the 22nd starting position to finish second, while Jason Johnson, Kraig Kinser and Greg Hodnett rounded out the top five.

Schatz finished in the 25th position after contact with the wall in turn 4, but had already clinched the 2012 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series championship.

The eight-lap sprint car heat races were won by Sammy Swindell, Blaney, Lance Dewease, Schatz and Johnson.

Jack Sodeman Jr. emerged victorious in the C-Feature. Joey Saldana led the field to the checkered flag in the B-Feature, while Smith claimed the win in the Sprint Car Dash to earn the pole position in Saturday’s A-Feature.

Hearn, of Sussex, N.J., picked up his third win at The Dirt Track at Charlotte and fourth of the season with a victory in the Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified feature, while Sheppard clinched his third consecutive series championship with a fourth place finish.

Peter Britten started the race from the pole and led the first 31 laps before Hearn was able to get around him on Lap 32. Hearn was then able to hold off Britten and the rest of the field after a caution on Lap 34. Jimmy Phelps, Sheppard and McCreadie completed the top five.

The race was slowed by three cautions and took three attempts to get underway, with a nine-car pileup occurring before a lap could be completed.

Vince Vitale and Billy Decker won the two Super DIRTcar Series B-Features.

Fans can renew their Peak World Finals tickets for only $10 down per ticket and get a three-day pit pass included. To purchase 2013 tickets, call the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or go online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com. Next year’s event will be held Nov. 7, 8 and 9.

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