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Dream car could be worth $100,000 for Georgia driver

For some it’s an Aston Martin or a Ferrari. For others a Lamborghini, Porsche or even Ford Mustang will do.

Shane Clanton’s dream car? It’s his No. 25 Core Construction dirt late model.

The Zebulon, Ga., driver attempts to defend his Dirt Late Model Dream title tonight — and pocket another $100,000-to-win check — with the same ride that won him the crown jewel event at Eldora Speedway in 2012. With no driver repeating as Dream champ in the event’s 18-year history, Clanton figured bringing back the same No. 25 couldn’t hurt.

“We brought back the same piece. Same motor, same everything,” said Clanton, 37. “It worked last year so hopefully it’ll work this year.”

Clanton topped 83 other cars in qualifying Thursday, the first of three days of racing in the new Dream format. The Georgia Bulldog turned the fastest lap around the half-mile dirt oval in 15.387 seconds (about 117 mph). He slid back a little Friday night with a qualifying effort of 16.465 for 60th out of 74 cars.

North Carolina’s Jonathan Davenport topped Friday qualifying with his 15.386. Among area drivers, Bradford’s Wayne Chinn was 25th (15.931), Miamisburg’s Chad Smith 33rd (16.030), Coldwater’s Ryan Sutter 63rd (16.483) and Versailles’ Shane Unger 76th (18.537).

North Carolina’s Jared Landers owns the track record of 14.922 seconds set at the Dream in 2011.

Action continued Friday night with qualifying, heat races and twin 25-lap features. The 100-lap Dream feature is today.

With the three days of racing, Clanton elected to sit out Thursday’s heats and features to protect his equipment. Winning the $100,000 Dream helped pay the bills, but Clanton knows he still has to race in reality.

“I got two motors and two cars and I’ve got two months of racing after this,” said Clanton, who drives for Kennedy Motorsports. “We’re trying to get some stuff built up to get more equipment but right now we’re struggling to get what we got. No sense in taking a chance in hurting stuff. It’s grueling on motors right now. We’ll take it as we can.”

Though no driver has repeated as Dream winner, Clanton is part of an exclusive group. He’s one of five drivers to win both the Dream and World 100 joining Scott Bloomquist, Donnie Moran, Billy Moyer and Jimmy Owens.

“We come here every time to win,” Clanton said. “We done it in 2008 and it took us until 2012 to do it again. Hopefully we can keep it going.”

In late Thursday night action, West Virginia’s Josh Richards and Whitehouse’s Matt Miller won the 25-lap features. Chinn finished 18th in his feature.

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