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June 12, 2019 - Moran Hopes to Conquer Home-Track Race for Dunn-Benson Team
Given that he’s only competed in Super Late Model competition for a little over six years, Devin Moran has assembled an eye-catching resume.

To wit, the native of Dresden, Ohio, has:

  • — finished fourth in the World of Outlaws Late Model standings the past two seasons with a pair of wins in each campaign
  • — won his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series show as an 18-year-old at the homestate track promoted by his father, Donnie Moran, a member of the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame.

He’s shown no fall-off from that kind of pace in 2019 in his first year driving the Dunn-Benson Motorsports cars. Entering Thursday night’s Lucas race — the Dunn-Benson Ford/Wayne Gray Sr. Memorial presented by GETSCO — at the team’s home track, Fayetteville Motor Speedway, Devin Moran is a solid fourth in the standings.

“To be in the top five in points, that’s not an easy task, especially in the Lucas deal,” Moran said of his first season as a full-timer on that national circuit.

“I can’t say we’ve had a bad season by any means, but it’s definitely been a little inconsistent. I’d really like to be consistently in the top five ever night. I think that’s our goal right now, and once we can run consistent top fives every night, I think that’s just going to start bringing the wins.”

For every frustrating night on a weather-plagued season, Moran has generated enough strong finishes to prove that the team is at times definitely on the right track.

In mid-March at Brownstown (Ind.) Speedway, for instance, Moran brought the No. 1 Ford home in the runner-up spot. The following month, 400 miles to the south in Chatsworth, Ga., Moran was fourth. In mid-May at 300 Raceway in Farley, Iowa, Moran was the third driver to take the checkered flag. 

Then, with a three-day Lucas show at Wheatland, Mo., canceled by tornado damage to Lucas Oil Speedway, the team headed to Legit Speedway Park in the southeast corner of the state for an unsanctioned show. Moran, who had never competed at the track, battled his way to the front to take the lead with nine laps to go and roll on to a $3,000 victory.

Moran described the team as still being in the midst of a learning curve. While the brand of racing chassis, Rocket, is the same he has raced in recent seasons, he and the team are still figuring out how to best apply the power from a Ford engine to Moran’s liking. And in tackling the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt tour, Moran’s racing on many tracks where he has little or no experience.

“There’s so much different from last year,” the 24-year-old driver said. “It’s Ford and Pro Power (engines), a new team, everyone trying to figure stuff out — and going to all these new tracks and racing people you haven’t usually raced against. Those guys are good. It’s not easy to deal with (points leader Jonathan) Davenport and those guys week after week. So we’ve just got to keep working on it and eventually we’ll get there.”

Because of rainouts and the Wheatland tornado, the Lucas Oil circuit has only be able to stage 14 races. Thursday night’s Fayetteville race — a 50-lap, $10,000-to-win dash — marks the 15th and is the first of 37 that remain.

Being from Ohio, Moran’s raced at Fayetteville less than a handful of times and with mixed success.

In 2017, the year he won the World of Outlaws Late Model’s Rookie of the Year award, Moran fought his way to a sixth-place finish in that series’ race at Fayetteville. Last year, in the inaugural First in Flight 100, Moran took seventh.

In his only race to date this year at Fayetteville’s 4/10ths-mile track, Moran ended up 12th in the Carolina Clash-sanctioned Ed Gibbons Memorial.

“We didn’t qualify that great and I had some brake issues in the race,” Moran said. “I’ve never really had a great track record in the Carolinas, but it’s one of those deals where we’ve got to keep going and racing and eventually we’ll get better. We’ll just go back to our notebook from when we were there earlier in the year and try to improve, and also take a look at what we’ve done at some other places.

“Hopefully, it turns out for the better this time. I’m telling you, we passed some cars that night, so that was a good thing.”

The Lucas Oil cars are one of five divisions in action Thursday night. The Diet Mountain Dew Modified, Sportsman, Renegade and Legends classes will round out the program.

Pit gates will open at 3 p.m. and the grandstands will open to fans at 4. Drivers’ meetings will take place at 7 o’clock, followed at 7:30 by hot laps, time trials, heat races and features.