Lanigan Powers To Dirt Track Glory
CONCORD, N.C. – Darrell Lanigan drove to his 12th World of Outlaws Late Model Series triumph of the season Friday night on night two of the World of Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Lanigan started from the pole for the 50-lap feature and jumped into the lead on the opening lap before a spin by Austin Hubbard brought out the first caution flag of the event. Lanigan maintained the lead on the restart while Scott Bloomquist drove around Josh Richards to take over second.
With clean air ahead, Lanigan was quickly able to pull away from the field. It took him nine laps to catch the tail of the field, which quickly slowed him down and allowed Bloomquist and Richards to close the gap in a hurry.
Bloomquist followed in Lanigan’s tire tracks, looking for an opening under Lanigan’s No. 29. Bloomquist followed right behind Lanigan as they reached lap 20, with Richards, Don O’Neal and Rick Eckert following close behind.
The caution flag waved for the second time on lap 24 when Hubbard slowed on the front stretch. The first attempt to go back racing was thwarted when Eric Jacobsen went for a spin in the middle of the field, forcing the third caution flag of the night.
The field returned to racing again and Lanigan was able to blast back into the lead, but five laps later the fourth caution flag of the night waved when Steve Shaver slowed against the wall in turn two. Lanigan again held the lead on the restart as Richards challenged Bloomquist briefly for second.
Bloomquist was able to hang on to second and he quickly began to close on Lanigan, who caught lapped traffic on lap 37. It quickly became apparent that Lanigan was trapped behind the lapped car of Chad Hollenbeck, allowing Bloomquist to close the cap on the leader.
Lanigan stayed the course, never moving from the low line as Bloomquist tried desperately to find a way around the former series champion. Bloomquist would have to settle for second as Lanigan drove to a .596-second victory that was worth $12,000.
“The car was great. When we had clear traffic we could really pick up the pace,” said Lanigan after his first career victory at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in 21 attempts. “Just got up there and caught up with lapped traffic and just kind of followed them around. I knew it would be hard to pass anyway.”
Bloomquist said he was having issues with the carburetor in his No. 0 ride, making it hard for him to put the power down and get a run on Lanigan.
“We had quite a stumble in our carburetor there. Coming off the corners with partial throttle it just wouldn’t go very smooth. It was really messing us up through the race,” Bloomquist said. “The car was good. I’ll probably work on it just a little bit more. It could be a little bit stronger off the corner. All in all a good run tonight.”
Richards finished third and will look to clinch his third series championship Saturday night.
“We had a really good car. I don’t think those guys were a whole lot better than we were,” Richards said. “We used a little more tire than I thought we did, so we’ll work on her and try again tomorrow.”
O’Neal finished fourth, followed by Eckert, John Blankenship, Tyler Reddick, Billy Ogle Jr., Billy Decker and Jimmy Owens.
Heat race victories went to Lanigan, Tyler Reddick, O’Neal, Richards, Eckert and Bloomquist. Ryan Gustin, Austin Hubbard and Eric Wells claimed B-Main victories.
Billy Moyer set fast time for the event, but was involved in a crash during the first heat race of the night and never got back on track. He was transported to a local hospital complaining of pain in his left wrist and elbow, but was released later in the evening.
Darrell Lanigan, Scott Bloomquist, Josh Richards, Don O’Neal, Rick Eckert, John Blankenship, Tyler Reddick, Billy Ogle Jr., Billy Decker, Jimmy Owens, Earl Pearson Jr., Chris Brown, Dennis Erb Jr., Ricky Elliott, Clint Smith, Shane Clanton, Kenny Moreland, Eric Wells, Eric Jacobsen, Steve Francis, Morgan Bagley, Chad Hollenbeck, Tim Fuller, Tim McCreadie, Steve Shaver, Austin Hubbard, Ryan Gustin.