Dustin Linville: Never Giving Up to Win a Championship

Dustin Linville: Never Giving Up to Win a Championship

Dirt late model driver Dustin Linville had to overcome the loss of an engine and an ill-performing chassis to win a championship. He made it to the season finale just one point away from the Heart of America Ultimate Super Late Model Series title. At the end of the doubleheader weekend, he emerged the series champion.

This seemed far from possible more than five years ago. In 2019, he closed his racing operation to concentrate on raising a family that he and his wife, Shae, had started. But when his daughters Riley and Haisley started to show interest in the sport, Linville returned to the driver’s seat. In 2023, he bought a new chassis from Swartz Race Cars.

Halfway through the season, however, Linville’s engine went down.

“Dalton Whitt stepped up and offered to take the motor out of his super late model and let me use it,” Linville, of Bryantsville, Kentucky, said. “He said he would be content just crate racing the rest of the season.”

Later on in the year, Linville started to struggle.

“[During] the Butterball Wooldridge Memorial weekend [at Kentucky’s Richmond Raceway] in August, we just weren’t competitive,” said Linville. “We considered quitting the championship chase. The Swartz chassis was not performing like we needed it to.”

Enter dirt late model racer Brent Cornette, of Greeneville, Tennessee.

“We had three more point races on the schedule,” Linville said. “We borrowed an engine from Brent Cornette — we felt we could be faster yet. Dalton Whitt offered his older Swartz chassis, which we were used to. We put Cornette’s super engine into his chassis.”

The combination clicked. He entered the season finale, a doubleheader at Richmond Raceway, three points behind then-leader Tristan Chamberlain.

“We went into the weekend three points down. After the first feature, we were one point down,” said Linville. “In the final race we finished third but ended up with a nine-point lead in the final standings and made $10,000.”

For this season, Dustin Linville will campaign a new chassis. The Stealth LC Outlaw, which incorporates input from Linville, Cornette, Whitt, and Linville’s father, Terry. The LC stands for Linville and Cornette.

The late model takes a Stealth Race Cars modified chassis, from the center section back, and adds a dirt late model front clip fabricated by Cornette. Linville intends to compete with it first in crate late model racing.

“It is a concept based upon our experience, notes, specs, and the influence of Jackie Boggs — that’s why it is named an Outlaw,” Linville said. “Because of Jackie, we know what a great late model steers like. He had a lot of input on the design and front-end geometry of the Swartz chassis cars we used to have. He had his own twist on Swartz cars. Our new Outlaw chassis is Jackie Boggs’ legacy. It’s a tribute to him.”