One thing is certain: no one spent the early-August break in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series schedule quite like Shane Clanton.
While some Outlaws raced, some regrouped in their shops and one vacationed in Miami (points leader and 2012 dominator Darrell Lanigan), Clanton used the nine-day hiatus to…get married.
Last Friday morning, on a beach in Panama City, Fla., Clanton tied the knot with the former Michelle Davies. A native of Warren, Pa., Michelle is the daughter of veteran dirt Late Model racer Ron Davies, who followed the WoO LMS fulltime in 2011.
While Shane and Michelle had their planned pre-wedding arrival in Panama City scrambled slightly by the WoO LMS event at Shawano (Wis.) Speedway that was postponed by rain to Tues., Aug. 7 – both had to change their flights back to Clanton’s home state of Georgia – they made it in time to obtain their marriage license. Their preparations for the Big Day then went smoothly…until the morning of the Big Day.
Fri., Aug. 10, dawned cloudy and rainy in Panama City, so Shane and Michelle’s wedding planners set up all the chairs and decorations for the ceremony under a pavilion. Just minutes before the nuptials were to begin, however, the sun came out, so Michelle’s hopes for the beachside wedding of her dreams were rekindled. Her wedding director said there wasn’t enough time to reposition all the chair and decorations on the beach, but the ever-persistent Shane Clanton wasn’t about to let that pronouncement deter him from making his wife-to-be happy.
“When the weather cleared just enough, I said, ‘Tell everybody I am walking down the beach, not (through) the pavilion,’” said Michelle. “I paid for a beach wedding and I was gonna have it since the sun had come out.
“Of course, I couldn’t talk to Shane (when the weather cleared), but my wedding day director told him that I said to go to the beach. Then everybody picked up their chairs and moved them, and – of course – Shane and his brothers moved all the decorations themselves in less than five minutes.”
Michelle got her wedding on the beach. The weather held out for the ceremony and pictures before a downpour struck as the new Mr. and Mrs. Clanton were headed for the reception, which was attended by a small group of the husband and wife’s family and friends, including WoO LMS regular Clint Smith and his wife Kim; Clanton’s former car owners Ronnie and Janice Dobbins; and Steve Francis’s wife Amanda (who handled the music for the ceremony).
Shane and Michelle stayed in Panama City to honeymoon, but they couldn’t stay too long. It is still racing season, after all, so they returned to the Peach State on Tuesday and headed that evening to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where they hopped on a plane with Clanton’s crewmen, Jonathan (Dumplin’) Owenby and Petey Cochran, to fly to Chicago.
Why Chicago? Just outside of the city, at Frankie Heckenast Jr.’s shop in Orland Park, Ill., is where Clanton’s hauler has been sitting since Owenby parked it there last Wednesday following the WoO LMS event at Shawano. Clanton and his mechanics will spend Wednesday and Thursday at Heckenast’s shop prepping their machines for this weekend’s WoO LMS doubleheader in Michigan – Aug. 17 at Winston Speedway in Rothbury and Aug. 18 at Merritt Raceway in Lake City.