Vado trip could set the tone for WoO Late Models contenders

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The time has come to kick off the 2020 World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series season. Racers will be shifting into high gear this weekend with three points-paying events at the Vado Speedway Park in Vado, NM. The Friday and Saturday features will pay $5,000 to the eventual winners while the victor on Sunday will receive a hefty check valued at $15,000.

But perhaps more important than the money, these races will provide those who plan to compete for the WoO Late Model Series title with an opportunity to demonstrate to the racing world that they are in fact contenders for the season-long championship. Of course, this is not to say that drivers who have good weekends here in early January are certain to be contenders and those who suffer misfortune are out of the hunt. After all, it’s a 56-race season and this is just the first weekend.

2019 WoO Late Models Rookie of the Year Ricky Weiss plans to compete for the WoO title in 2020

However, it never hurts to perform well right out of the gate. Obviously, it will make the rest of the season just that much easier for teams that start off on top of the mountain rather than for those who find themselves digging out of a hole.

Last year, Brandon Sheppard and the Rocket Chassis house car completely dominated this series by scoring 18 wins in the 41 feature races that were contested. For those who plan to run the full WoO Late Model Series schedule in 2020, it would serve them well to show Sheppard’s team as well as themselves that they do not intend to be overwhelmed in that same way again this year.

It has been announced that Sheppard and the others who raced full-time with this national touring series in 2019 will have new competition in the upcoming campaign as Scott Bloomquist and Chris Madden will rejoin the tour. Bloomquist was the 2004 WoO champion but has spent several years on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. Madden ran the series in 2017 and 2018 scoring top-3 finishes in the final series standings during each of those years.

Click here to view the Team Chart we have compiled showing Driver, Chassis, and Engines of those who have indicated they will race full-time on the WoO Late Models Series in 2020.

And one thing points contenders always have to work against in touring series races is the influx on non-points contenders who drop in looking to score wins and earn money. While those “drop ins” may not be interested in earning points for themselves, they can distort the points chases by placing themselves between those who are racing for points thus creating bigger spreads between the contenders.

Brian Shirley plans to be a “drop in” at Vado Speedway Park

It is always important for those racing for a championship to beat as many of those drop in racers as possible.

Based on website schedules and social media posts, a number of drivers who do not have the full WoO schedule as part of their plans have indicated they will hit the track in Vado. Former WoO Late Models champions Mike Marlar and Rick Eckert, former Summer Nationals champions Bobby Pierce, Billy Moyer and Brian Shirley, former LOLMDS Rookie of the Year Billy Moyer, Jr., as well as home state stars Stormy and Johnny Scott have all stated intentions of racing this weekend at Vado.

Perhaps one of these “drop ins” might run well enough that they will decide to stay on the WoO tour a little longer and see how things play out.

Stormy Scott will race in his home state this weekend

Again, this is not a make-or-break weekend for those who do in fact plan to race with the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series throughout 2020, but it can set a good tone for the early part of the season.

After all, those who run well will have more than a month to bask in the glory of their accomplishments before the next scheduled WoO race at Florida’s Volusia Speedway Park in February while those who perform poorly will have to wait equally as long for a chance at redemption.

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