Lanigan Wins In Convincing Fashion
MARNE, Mich. — This time Darrell Lanigan didn’t need to pull off any late-race dramatics to win the Keyser Manufacturing ‘Down & Dirty 75’ Presented by NAPA Auto Parts at Berlin Raceway.
Lanigan, 43, emerged victorious in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series special for the second consecutive year in convincing fashion, grabbing the lead from Shane Clanton on lap 33 and dominating the remainder of the distance behind the wheel of his self-owned Rocket car.
Continuing his mastery of a seven-sixteenths-mile asphalt oval that for the second straight year was covered with clay for a late-season return to its dirt-track roots, Lanigan turned back brief threats from Clanton on restarts and while negotiating lapped traffic to cross the finish line 4.629 seconds — over a full straightaway — ahead of his fellow WoO LMS regular. The two-time tour champion earned $15,650 for his series-leading 11th triumph of 2013.
“We all put our heads together on this setup and it was unbelievable,” said Lanigan, who recorded his 52nd career win on the WoO LMS. “It’s a completely different setup from what we had last year (at Berlin), but it was definitely good.”
Rick Eckert, who started from the pole position and led laps 1-25, finished third at Berlin for the second consecutive year. WoO LMS point leader Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., continued his march to a third career championship with a steady fourth-place finish from the seventh starting spot and 16th-starter Tim Fuller primarily used the outside groove to charge forward and place fifth.
Lanigan actually got off to a slow start in the A-Main, slipping from his fourth starting spot to sixth place on the opening lap. Richards was among the drivers who surged ahead of Lanigan at the initial green flag.
But Lanigan quickly regained his footing, driving by Jeep VanWormer for fifth on lap seven, Richards for fourth on lap nine and Bub McCool for third on lap 11. He needed just eight more circuits to erase his straightaway deficit to second-place Clanton and grabbed the runner-up position on lap 21.
A restart on lap 22 saw Clanton run the outside past Lanigan to regain second place and on the 26th lap the Georgian steered his Kennedy Motorsports Capital Race Car around Eckert to assume command. But Lanigan soon flexed his muscle, passing Eckert for second on lap 29 and overtaking Clanton with an inside move on lap 33 to take the lead for good.
“I got stuck on the outside there at the beginning and just had to bide my time to get back down there to the bottom,” said Lanigan. “Once I got to the bottom my car was on a rail down there.”