Story By: MIKE WARREN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – DAVENPORT, IA – Devin Moran’s plan Thursday night at Davenport Speedway didn’t go as expected. He planned on running the outside, allowing his momentum to carry around pole-sitter Chris Madden. But calling an audible turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
The Dresden, OH driver’s switch to the inside on Lap 1 allowed him to dive under Madden. A few laps later, he took the lead for good, holding on for the win on night one of the Quad Cities 150 presented by Hoker Trucking.
Madden grabbed the lead off Turn 2 on the first lap and immediately moved up to the outside. That’s where Moran made his move to the bottom, as the “Mailman” pulled even with “Smokey.”
“I barreled off in there on the bottom, and it stuck way harder than I expected,” Moran said. “I thought we’d eventually move back up, but we just never did. I’m kind of glad we didn’t because it helped us out to our win.”
Moran’s trip to Victory Lane is his third World of Outlaws win of the season and seventh of his career.
Before Thursday’s Feature, both of his wins were on 1/2-mile tracks. That didn’t matter to Moran, thanks to recent success with the DIRTcar Summer Nationals.
“I feel like our cars have been really good,” Moran said. “We were good on those short tracks last week up in Michigan with the [DIRTcar Summer Nationals], so I knew we had a chance; we just had to play our cards right.”
Even though Moran led most of the race, he still had a challenger trying to keep him out of Victory Lane. Bobby Pierce was also running the inside lane and pulled even with Moran with five laps to go.
But the Oakwood, IL driver couldn’t wrestle the lead away, forcing him to settle for second. The “Smooth Operator” was satisfied with his runner-up position but hoped for one shot at Moran as the laps dwindled.
“[Moran] was doing a great job staying tucked into the bottom,” Pierce said. “I tried the middle on the last corner, but I wish I would’ve tried it a couple of laps earlier. I don’t think it was there, but at least gave it a shot.
“I think in the long run, we were a little bit better, especially when we got caught in lap traffic, but he did a good job.”
Frank Heckenast Jr. crossed the line third after starting seventh. The Frankfort, IL driver stated his car was good, but he started too far back to contend for the win.
“It’s still a great run,” Heckenast said. “Anytime you’re in the top three with these guys is always a huge accomplishment. We’ll chalk it up and go on to [Friday].”
Shannon Babb finished fourth, and Nick Hoffman rounded out the top five. It’s the Mooresville, NC driver’s first top-five with the World of Outlaws, a month after teaming up with 2004 Series champion Scott Bloomquist.
“I feel like we’ve got a really good car, and a lot of it’s just me getting laps and getting comfortable,” Hoffman said. “We’re learning what we need setup-wise every night, and then with the tire rule here, it’s a little different being on all hards. You have to race a little bit different with that and prepare different.”
Reigning Series champion Brandon Sheppard finished seventh, extending his points lead on Chris Madden to 164 points.
Even though Devin Moran’s initial plan didn’t come to fruition, the change worked in his favor. The “Mailman” will likely use that knowledge to create a new plan; one that could lead him on a path worth winning $40,000 more.
Up Next: The Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet return to Davenport Speedway on Friday, Aug. 28, for night two of the Quad Cities 150 presented by Hoker Trucking.
Every Lap Matters during the Quad Cities 150. Drivers are accumulating points on Thursday and Friday to set up Saturday’s Drydene Heat Race Lineups.
Here are the Top-six in points, so far, heading into Friday’s event:
- Devin Moran
- Bobby Pierce
- Frank Heckenast Jr.
- Cade Dillard
- Shannon Babb
- Brandon Sheppard
Morton Buildings Feature (40 Laps)-1. 9-Devin Moran [$10,000]; 2. 32P-Bobby Pierce [$6,000]; 3. 99JR-Frank Heckenast [$3,500]; 4. 18-Shannon Babb [$2,800]; 5. 0-Nick Hoffman [$2,500]; 6. 97-Cade Dillard [$2,300]; 7. 1-Brandon Sheppard [$2,200]; 8. 28M-Jimmy Mars [$2,100]; 9. 99B-Boom Briggs [$2,050]; 10. 44-Chris Madden [$2,000]; 11. 28-Dennis Erb [$1,600]; 12. 41-Jeremiah Hurst [$1,400]; 13. 7-Ricky Weiss [$1,200]; 14. 16-Tyler Bruening [$1,100]; 15. 32-Chris Simpson [$1,050]; 16. 3S-Brian Shirley [$1,000]; 17. 59-Garrett Alberson [$1,000]; 18. 49-Jake Timm [$1,000]; 19. 25-Jason Feger [$1,000]; 20. B1-Brent Larson [$1,000]; 21. 21-Billy Moyer [$1,000]; 22. 29-Spencer Diercks [$1,000]; 23. 19R-Ryan Gustin [$1,000]; 24. 25S-Chad Simpson [$1,000] Hard Charger: 99B-Boom Briggs[+12]
Qualifying Flight-A-1. 1-Brandon Sheppard, 13.588; 2. 9-Devin Moran, 13.656; 3. 32P-Bobby Pierce, 13.721; 4. 0-Nick Hoffman, 13.82; 5. 25-Jason Feger, 13.835; 6. 7-Ricky Weiss, 13.854; 7. 3S-Brian Shirley, 13.898; 8. 16-Tyler Bruening, 13.939; 9. 41-Jeremiah Hurst, 14.022; 10. 28M-Jimmy Mars, 14.027; 11. 28-Dennis Erb, 14.118; 12. 25S-Chad Simpson, 14.187; 13. 99B-Boom Briggs, 14.255; 14. 15K-Justin Kay, 14.351; 15. 51-Matt Furman, 14.431; 16. 30-Todd Cooney, 14.435; 17. 17-Tim Simpson, 14.473; 18. 27-Rayce McCord, 14.852; 19. B14-Victor Benedetto, 16.042