300th WoO LM Feature To Lanigan
STRONGSTOWN, Pa. — Darrell Lanigan rediscovered his winning form on a milestone night for the World of Outlaws Late Model Series, capturing Tuesday’s Laurel Highlands 40 at Dog Hollow Speedway.
The 41-year-old star ended a nearly three-month checkered-flag drought in a memorable way, inking his name in the record book as the winner of the 300 th A-Main contested by the national tour since it was reincarnated in 2004 under the World Racing Group banner.
“It’s pretty cool to win the 300th World of Outlaws feature,” said Lanigan, who has entered all but two WoO LMS events since ’04. “We’ve been running this deal for a long time so it feels good to win a race like this.”
Racing before a big crowd that turned out to witness the biggest dirt-late-model race in Dog Hollow’s history, Lanigan surged forward from the fourth-starting spot to grab the lead from Ron Davies on lap 15 and never looked back. He beat WoO LMS point-leader Rick Eckert to the finish line by 1.693 seconds in a caution-free 40-lapper that took just under 12 minutes to complete.
Two-time defending WoO LMS champion Josh Richards finished third after starting eighth. Tim McCreadie made a spectacular charge from the 18th starting spot to place fourth, and Davies slipped back to fifth at the finish after leading racing off the outside pole to lead laps 1-14.
Lanigan earned $8,775 for his series-leading fifth win of 2011, but first since April 30 at Bluegrass Speedway in Bardstown, Ky. He was the tour’s hottest driver early in the season with four victories in a five-race span before falling into a slight slump.
“We struggled there a little bit for a couple months and got our program off a little bit,” said Lanigan, who pushed his career win total on the WoO LMS to 24. “We put our program back together pretty much similar to where we had it the beginning of the year and the car’s pretty good right now.
“You get caught up in what everybody else is doing and then you get off of your own stuff. You need to just stick with what you’re doing. We kind of parked by ourselves tonight, did our own thing and kind of gambled on tires, and I think it paid off.”
Driving his GottaRace.com Rocket in Dog Hollow’s first WoO LMS event, Lanigan wasn’t challenged after slipping underneath Davies for the top spot. For most of the race’s second half he maintained an edge of about two seconds over Eckert, who overtook Davies for second on lap 18.
“The car was awesome tonight,” said Lanigan. “I could put it anywhere I wanted to. We had to get around the lapped traffic, but once I got around it I knew they’d (his pursuers) would have to get around it too.”
Eckert, 45, started from the pole position but couldn’t convert the prime spot into his third win of the season. He concluded that his tire-compound choice on his Team Zero by Bloomquist car contributed to his loss.
“I’ve never been here before, so I went with tires that the Hoosier guys were saying (to run),” said Eckert, who is the only driver in WoO LMS history to start all 300 A-Mains contested since 2004. “(Lanigan) snuck by us at the beginning with a little softer left-rear tire, and then when I got mine going I came back towards him at the end but I couldn’t get close enough to challenge him.
“Track position was everything. I probably should’ve gambled on tires.”
Darrell Lanigan, Rick Eckert, Josh Richards, Tim McCreadie, Ron Davies, Jason Covert, Tim Fuller, Vic Coffey, Jared Miley, Clint Smith, Rick Briggs, Pat Doar, Chub Frank, Corey Conley, Gregg Satterlee, Shane Clanton, Ron Delano, Jr., Austin Hubbard, Devin Friese, Mike Johnson, Robbie Blair, John Lobb, Ken Schaltenbrand, Davey Johnson.