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Sunday May 29th, 2016 7:40PM

McCreadie charges to WoO LMS Prairie Dirt Classic win

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FAIRBURY, IL - Tim McCreadie had high praise for Fairbury American Legion Speedway in Fairbury, IL after emerging victorious in Saturday night's epic 25th annual Prairie Dirt Classic.<br /> <br /> "They said they do it right here and they're right - they did it right tonight," raved McCreadie, who earned $25,650 for capturing a thrilling 100-lap World of Outlaws Late Model Series event that featured eight lead changes among four drivers and countless twists and turns. "This is an awesome racetrack, and that race was a lot of fun."<br /> <br /> Charging forward from the 17th starting spot, McCreadie, 40, of Watertown, NY, overtook defending PDC champion Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, IL, for the lead on lap 76 but was far from home free. He swapped the top spot four times with the 40-year-old Babb before gaining command for good on lap 95.<br /> <br /> Of course, on an unforgettable night at a quarter-mile oval dubbed 'America's Dirt Track,' the final lead change didn't mean the race was over. McCreadie gave himself an undeniably anxious moment on lap 98 when brushed the outside wall in turn two, allowing Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN, who had just passed Babb for second on a lap-96 restart, to mount a last-ditch bid for victory.<br /> <br /> Owens, 42, surged to the outside of McCreadie entering turn three, nearly nosed ahead to lead lap 99 with a crossover move off turn four and appeared primed to slide by McCreadie through turns one and two, but the former WoO LMS champion wasn't going to be denied. McCreadie absolutely rocketed off the outside off turn two - squeezing the scant space between Owens and the wall - vaulted ahead down the backstretch and beat Owens back to the finish line by 0.691 of a second.<br /> <br /> Mason Zeigler of Chalk Hill, PA, finished third after overtaking both WoO LMS points leader Darrell Lanigan of Union, KY, and Babb following the lap 96 caution flag. The 21-year-old driver started from the pole position and led laps 1-29 but had to rally after losing his rhythm and falling as far back as eighth place midway through the 100-lapper.<br /> <br /> Babb, who started second and led four times for a race-high 44 laps, slipped to fourth at the finish. Lanigan, who started third and led lap laps 41-54, completed the top five.<br /> <br /> McCreadie's second WoO LMS triumph of 2014 and the 27th of his career gave his up-and-down season a major boost.<br /> <br /> "We had to go to work because we haven't been where we wanted to be," said McCreadie, who passed ninth-place finisher Rick Eckert of York, PA, for second in the WoO LMS points standings. "We're starting to hit on all cylinders now, so I'm excited for this Sweeteners Plus team."<br /> <br /> "It's a team effort, man," he continued, noting that he started his current swing of WoO LMS action two weeks ago with only his truck driver, Dave 'Frog' Griepsma, as a crewman. "I'm out here with just me and Frog, so I've had guys from Brady Smith's come and help, Mark Richards's (Rocket Chassis) crew - everybody's been banding together to help us. It's a beautiful sight."<br /> <br /> Everything fell in place Saturday night for McCreadie, who made a steady march to the front of the talent-laden pack from his starting spot deep in the field.<br /> <br /> "I couldn't get where I wanted to be on the (early) restarts," McCreadie said. "(Billy) Moyer (who started 22nd) was getting all the good spots. He'd split guys early, and I was like, 'This Moyer is gonna go right up through here.' Then I got three or four (restarts) in a row where I wanted to be.
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