The start to the 2019 Dirt Late Model season has gone well for Shane Clanton. The Georgia driver scored an early win on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series when he took the checkered flag in the second event of the year on that series at Screven Motor Speedway. That victory along with the other solid finishes compiled at Screven and Volusia Speedway Park have placed the ‘Georgia Bulldog’ second in the series standings behind Brandon Sheppard.
So does the 43-year-old driver believe his season has gotten off to a good start?
“Yeah, I do,” Clanton told InsideDirtRacing.com in an interview done prior to an Ultimate Super Late Model Series race at North Georgia Speedway. “We’re up here testing some stuff trying to get ready for next week at Duck River. Our season is going pretty good so far and we’re just hoping we can keep it going.”
After what will amount to a three week break from racing action, the World of Outlaws Late Model Series will swing back into action on Friday, March 22nd at the Duck River Raceway Park in Wheel, Tenn. then at Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville, Tenn. on Saturday, March 23rd.
Clanton and his team were competing in the Ultimate race at North Georgia Speedway to better ready themselves for those upcoming WoO Late Models events.
“We have to,” Clanton said in regard to using races such as the one in North Georgia as a test session. “It’s hard to do any testing when you’re on the road. You do a little bit when you get behind or whatever but when you go to win a race you put what you know is best in it and that’s what you do when you go World of Outlaws racing. Tonight we’re out here to have fun and trying to get some new crew guys acquainted with what we do.”
Since last year, Smoky Mountain Speedway has come under the sole ownership of Roger Sellers. As a result, the track has seen some significant changes in terms of fan amenities, and more importantly to the racers, some layout changes as well. Clanton and his team have kept an eye on those changes.
“We’ve seen some pictures and we’ve watched some of the stuff they’ve been doing putting the gate up and stuff,” the 2015 WoO Late Models champion explained. “I think it will change the racing a little bit but in three and four you’ll still race around the top. But in one and two, if you slow down and can wrap that bottom, I think you can do a lot more passing.”
The Zebulon, Georgia resident admits that his approach to a non-series race is often times different than his mindset going into an event in which he is racing for points.
“I’m aggressive every time I go on the race track but setup wise you’re more conservative because you put what you know is going to be the best there is when you’re points racing,” Clanton explained. “Hopefully we’ll get a good base tonight and see what we’ve got going on for next week.”
Listen to the full interview with Shane Clanton here
Clanton has for several years campaigned Marshall Green’s Capital Race Cars brand of chassis. And for a number of those seasons he was the only driver on a national touring series in those particular cars. However, during the recent off-season veteran racer Chris Madden joined a team owned by Iowa’s Greg Bruening and will also pilot Capitals.
The driver of the No. 25 machine sees the potential benefit of having another experienced driver in the same chassis type.
“I think it’s going to be good,” Clanton stated of Madden’s recent move. “So far we’ve been gelling pretty good and communicating good. Me and Chris are good friends and we’ve been friends for a long time so I think being in the same car is going to help out both of us.”
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