The World of Outlaws World Finals presented by Can-Am held at the end of the season each year at The Dirt Track at Charlotte is always a special event as the stars from the World of Outlaws Late Model Series, the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, and the Super DIRTcar Series for Big Block Modified machines are brought together at one venue to a close out their respective campaigns.
This year there will be added drama as the WoO Late Models have much to still be determined as Mike Marlar, Chris Madden and Brandon Sheppard enter the weekend engaged in a tight battle for the series title.
With full Late Model racing programs slated for both Friday and Saturday nights, the possibility exists for significant point swings in a short period of time. And with Marlar leading Madden by just 22 points and Sheppard by 40 markers, any one of the three could emerge from the World Finals as the champion.
The World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series offers 150 points to a feature winner with second place receiving 146. After that, there is a two-point drop off for each position throughout the field. Should Madden win the main event on Friday night and Marlar place outside the top-10, the South Carolina driver could assume the points lead heading into the finale on Saturday. Should both of those drivers finish outside the top-10 and Sheppard end his night on the podium, the No. 1 team would very much be in the middle of the fray.
Marlar, who has never won a national Late Model touring series championship, has used tremendous consistency to gain the lead in the WoO Late Models standings. While the Tennessee driver’s win total of five in series action may not be as flashy as his competitors, his 28 top-5 and 34 top-10 finishes outnumber the numbers of Madden while tying Sheppard in top-5s and bettering his number of top-10s.
Madden, who like Marlar has never won a national Late Model touring series title, has collected eight feature checkered flags to go along with his 25 top-5 and 33 top-10 results. He is also coming off of a win with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series at Rome, GA just a couple of weeks ago.
Sheppard is the defending World of Outlaws Late Model Series champ and his Mark Richards-owned team has also won multiple series titles with Josh Richards behind the wheel. The Illinois native leads the series with 12 victories while also adding 28 top-5 and 31 top-10 finishes on the season.
Not only will each of these contenders have to compete against each other as they fight for series honors but they will also face some of the toughest competition seen all season as this pair of races always draws a crown jewel caliber field. Not only will there be WoO Late Models drivers on hand but numerous of the LOLMDS and top regional stars will also be among those racing on the track that lies in the shadow of NASCAR’s Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The significance of there being such stacked fields in these races is that there is the possibility of more cars finishing between each of the title contenders to create a greater opportunity for big point spreads. Further, every aspect of racing is made tougher as the importance of qualifying will be magnified with every heat race loaded with top stars.
A mediocre run that might have resulted in a 10th place finish during the grind of mid-summer against a field composed only of WoO regulars may turn into a 20th place effort this weekend. And more, with each heat race being filled with top runners the title combatants may find themselves having to run in the B-mains while those teams who earned their way into the starting lineup through the heat races will be in the pit area fine tuning their cars for the main event.
With all of these factors in play, this weekend’s World of Outlaws Late Model Series finale should be filled with late season drama as Mike Marlar, Chris Madden and Brandon Sheppard compete to win the much coveted series title.