Shane Clanton and his Greg Bruening-owned Skyline Motorsports team have experienced quite an upswing over the past few months. Out of their total of seven feature victories achieved in 2022, six of them have come since June 14th. And of those, there have been some very nice paychecks included. This wave of success comes on the heels of a 2021 campaign in which the veteran driver only one win was scored.
Clanton initially began the season on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series tour but switched to the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Late Model later. Even having ten fewer starts than the other regulars on that series, the 47-year-old driver still ranks 9th in the overall standings.
But it is in the area of feature wins that the No. 25 Capital Race Car has been most impressive over the summer months. Clanton earned one of the biggest paydays of his Dirt Late Model career in June when he took the checkered flag ahead of the pack in Belleville, Kansas to pocket $40,000 from that XR Super Series event. He has since gone on to pick up a pair of $20,000 wins on that same series at Gondik Law Speedway in Superior, Wisconsin(Aug. 8) and Pennsylvania’s Williams Grove Speedway(Aug. 19).
The 2008 winner of the World 100 can pinpoint the time, place, and much of the reason for his summer of good fortune.
“Ever since the (Eldora)Million we’ve been running pretty good,” he told InsideDirtRacing.com. “We’ve got a new style motor and we’re liking it pretty good. Clements refreshed it for us so we could get it back in. Overall, our car has been way better. We did change some stuff on the car when we tested right before the Million and we thought we had a shot there but I got hit with a rock and didn’t show much. But we’ve been real good for the past three months.”
Not only has the Zebulon, Georgia driver won the previously mentioned XR Super Series events but he emerged victorious from a pair of World of Outlaws features(River Cities & Williams Grove).
Not only has the ‘Georgia Bulldog’ been running well but so has his Skyline Motorsports teammate Tyler Bruening. The No. 16 Capital Race Car recently drove to a second-place finish in the Lucas Oil Knoxville Nationals as well scoring another top-5 in one of the preliminary races for that crown jewel event. His latest effort resulted in a fourth-place finish in a Malvern Bank Series feature in Davenport, Iowa.
Is this a sign that Skyline Motorsports and Capital Race Cars are on the rise?
“Well it is,” Clanton declared. “Tyler should have won earlier in the year. We did some stuff to his car at Mississippi Thunder when he ran up there. Really ever since mid-March or April, we’ve been real good. We’re fine tuning now and that’s what me and Tyler have been doing, working together. All the cars have shown improvement.”
While the winner of the Dirt Late Model Dream back in 2012 has enjoyed a very successful career in Dirt Late Model racing, the wins being achieved now are coming at a time when the competition is at its highest level in the history of the sport.
“That’s what I told my guys the other evening,” Clanton stated. “This is almost a World 100 field here at Boyd’s this weekend. You can’t be missing anything or you’ll be running 12th or 15th. The caliber of competition these days is tougher than it’s ever been.”
At the same time, there are more races on the schedule than ever before that pay significant amounts of money. Many teams have raced multiple times per week for months now. At what point does exhaustion take over?
“We’re to that point now,” the veteran driver insisted. “We’re glad to be close to the house the next two weeks so we can be home in three hours, that’s like a vacation to us. We’re going to take some time off in the next week or so to regroup and finish out the year at Charlotte(WoO) and we’re going to go to Vegas(XR). The problem is, we take a couple of weeks off and we’re ready to go back racing. We’re racers and we love it, two weeks off is too long.”
But when a team is running as well as Clanton’s is right now it is difficult to come off the road, no matter how exhausted they might be.
“Anytime you’re running good you want to go to the next race. When you’re struggling, those weekends off don’t come fast enough. When you’re running good, you want to keep the momentum going and go on to the next race.”
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