Delaware International Speedway
Lanigan coasts to victory at Delaware, pads lead
By Kevin KovacWorld of Outlaws Late Model Series
DELMAR, Del. (May 31) — Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., continued his World of Outlaws Late Model Series onslaught on Thursday at Delaware International Speedway, dominating the Fulton Bank 50 for his third victory in the last four races.
Racing just three days before his 42nd birthday, Lanigan blasted forward from the sixth starting spot to take the lead from Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., on lap 18 and never looked back. He easily handled two restarts over the remaining distance to pad his already substantial points lead with his series-leading fifth victory of the 2012 season. | Slideshow | Video
With the $10,650 triumph, Lanigan pushed his earnings through 15 WoO events this season to a resounding $115,700. No other driver has won even half that amount — and Lanigan remains the only driver with more than one win on the circuit.
“Everything is just clicking for us right now,” said Lanigan, who won for the third time in eight WoO starts at Delaware International and the 31st time overall in his career on the series. “The car, the engine, my crew – we’re just on a roll. We’re having fun.”
The 20-year-old Hubbard settled for second place after leading the first 17 laps, crossing the finish line 1.940 seconds behind Lanigan at a half-mile oval located less than 20 minutes from his home. It was the best finish in five career WoO starts at DIS for the national tour’s 2010 Rookie of the Year.
Defending WoO champion Rick Eckert of York, Pa., started from the pole position but slipped to third at the checkered flag. Ricky Elliott of Seaford, Del., advanced from the 17th starting spot to place fourth and ninth-starter Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga., was fifth for his first top-five run on the WoO since Feb. 25 at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla.
Lanigan’s victory completed a very successful four-race stretch, which also included wins on May 25 at Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio, and May 26 at Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, W.Va.. A sixth-place finish on May 27 at I-77 Raceway Park in Ripley, W.Va., was his only slight stumble.
The 2008 WoO champion was on his game at Delaware International, a track where he's the only driver to win more than one World of Outlaws feature. He simply blasted the outside of the track to reach the front.
“It was on a rail,” said Lanigan, who outdueled Eckert for second on a lap-15 restart and sailed by Hubbard just three circuits later. “We could go right around the top there. I passed ‘em all right around the top. You usually don’t get to do that here.
“It was unbelievable out there on that outside. It was a great track — I can’t believe the track came around like that.”
Hubbard’s attempt to make the inside lane work at one of the track opened the door for Lanigan to surge into the lead.
“I moved down (in turns three and four) after that (lap-15) restart and it felt good,” said Hubbard, who started from the outside pole in his father’s Rocket car. “I said, ‘I’ll just go to the top down here (one and two) and the bottom down there (three and four),’ and then Darrell just blew by me. Then I was like, ‘I guess I’ll move up.’ ”
The race ended just in time for Hubbard, whose engine began going sour late in the distance and finally broke on the final lap.
Eckert, 46, wished he could have a mulligan on his tire selection.
“I beat myself in the pit area,” said Eckert, who won last year’s WoO at Delaware International. “We run the same tires we had last year, and they changed the racetrack up a good bit. It was a good bit faster around the top than it has been in the past, and I was a little too tight to be up there.
“That was the first time we started up front in a long time so you’re a little bitter about not winning, but we just got beat in the pits. It was a tire choice, and I made the wrong one.”
Notes: Lanigan’s Cornett-powered Rocket Chassis is sponsored by GottaRace.com, Performance Rod & Custom, Port City Racing and Xtreme Graphics. ... A dozen drivers completed 50 laps. ... Five caution flags slowed the event, including a multicar tangle in turn four on a lap-15 restart that involved Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., Gregg Satterlee of Rochester Mills, Pa., Darryl Hills of Great Mills, Md., Donnie Lingo Jr. of Millsboro, Del., and Richard Jarvis Jr. of Powellville, Md. ... Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., started fourth and briefly climbed as high as second early but fell to sixth at the finish. ... David Williams of Chaptico, Md., placed eighth to earn a $500 bonus for being the highest-finshing driver who hasn’t won a tour race and isn’t ranked among the top 12 in points. ... Thirty-four cars were signed in for the event, the tour’s eighth visit to DIS in the last nine years. ... Jamie Lathroum of Mechanicsville, Md., was quickest in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials but fell out of the feature on lap 33 running seventh with his car's broken rear end. ... Heat action was marred by a wild crash during the third preliminary involving Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., whose car hopped the berm between turns one and two and rolled several times. He said he had a slight headache but was otherwise uninjured. ... Among other drivers failing to make the feature lineup xBryan Driver, Jack Sullivan, Jeremy Miller, Ross Robinson, Coleby Frye, Mark Pettyjohn and Staci Warrington, last weekend’s feature winner at DIS. ... Engine woes kept Mike Marlar’s Bryson Motorsports team from making the trip from Winfield, Tenn., while rookie contender Greg Johnson of Bedford, Ind., missed his first event. ... The WoO will return to action in two weeks, contesting a weekend doubleheader on June 16 at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway and June 17 at Eriez Speedway in Hammett, Pa.
Fulton Bank 50: (1) Darrell Lanigan, (2) Austin Hubbard, (3) Rick Eckert, (4) Ricky Elliott, (5) Shane Clanton, (6) Tim McCreadie, (7) Chub Frank, (8) David Williams, (9) Tim Fuller, (10) Clint Smith, (11) Vic Coffey, (12) Pat Doar, (13) Rob Schirmer, (14) Bub McCool, (15) Donnie Lingo Jr., (16) Jamie Lathroum, (17) Dale Lingo IV, (18) Kent Robinson, (19) Gregg Satterlee, (20) Kenny Pettyjohn, (21) Darryl Hills, (22) Richard Jarvis Jr., (23) Mark Byram, (24) John Lobb. Fast qualifier (among 34 cars): Lathroum, 18.257 seconds. Heat race winners: Lathroum, Lanigan, McCool, Eckert. Consolation winners: Elliott, Fuller. Provisional starters: Smith, Robinson.