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Little Valley Speedway

Lanigan gets 14th WoO victory at Little Valley

August 30, 2012, 5:49 am
By Kevin Kovac
World of Outlaws Late Model Series
Darrell Lanigan celebrates after his victory at Little Valley Speedway. (Todd Battin)
Darrell Lanigan celebrates after his victory at Little Valley Speedway. (Todd Battin)

LITTLE VALLEY, N.Y. (Aug. 29) — Well, that "slump" didn’t last long. Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., snapped a modest two-race winless streak on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series Wednesday night, rolling to a runaway victory before a standing-room-only crowd in the national tour’s inaugural 50-lap main event at Little Valley Speedway. | Video | Slideshow

The 42-year-old star raced off the outside pole starting spot to lead the entire distance. He turned back a brief mid-race threat from Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., and then pulled away following a lap-32 restart to defeat the returning two-time WoO champion by a commanding 2.231 seconds.

Lanigan’s triumph was his record 14th of the 2012 season and the 40th of his career in World of Outlaws competition, moving him out of a tie with Richards for the top spot on the circuit’s alltime win list.

“I think we’re bouncing that most wins (record) back and forth,” said Lanigan, who watched Richards tie him for career top-winner status with a victory on Aug. 18 at Merritt Raceway in Lake City, Mich. “We’ll see who comes up with it.”

Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., finished a distant third, nearly a half-lap behind Lanigan on the sprawling half-mile fairgrounds oval. Smith started from the pole position but was outgunned by Lanigan at the initial green flag and lost second to Richards on lap nine.

Ron Davies of Warren, Pa., a 54-year-old veteran who won the most recent dirt Late Model feature run at Little Valley, settled for a fourth-place finish after starting third. Sixth-starter Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y., who won the only dirt Late Model feature of his career in 2007 at Little Valley, briefly grabbed fourth from Davies on a lap-16 restart but ceded the spot back two circuits later and went on to place fifth.

Of the top five finishers, only Davies did not drive a Rocket Chassis machine. He was behind the wheel of an MB Customs mount.

Lanigan, of course, raved about the performance of his Cornett-powered Rocket car after scoring a $10,650 checkered flag that pushed his 2012 WoO earnings to an astounding $284,650.

“The car was just awesome,” said Lanigan, who extended his points lead to 172 over ninth-place finisher Rick Eckert of York, Pa., with just eight events remaining on the 2012 schedule. “The carburetor stumbled a little bit in the corners and kind of screwed me up, but man, that thing would run down the straightaways. It’s just an unbelievable motor.”

Lanigan, whose record streak of six consecutive wins ended with quiet finishes of fifth and eight during the tour’s Michigan doubleheader on Aug. 17-18, kept Richards from scoring a second straight victory. Richards, 24, took advantage of an open spot on his NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule to enter his third WoO event in a row.

“We were softer (compound) with the left-rear and right-front tire than Darrell and I thought we had something on him,” said Richards, who started fourth. “They said we were a half-second faster (than Lanigan) when I got to second and he got hung up in some traffic during the first green flag run. We caught him and I felt like if we could’ve got by him we could’ve held him off even though he was better at the end, but we couldn’t get by him and then our tires started giving out.

“We were trying hard. It definitely wasn’t from lack of effort. But Darrell and his guys were really good tonight and we just gambled on tires and it didn’t work out. It was still good enough to run second, so we’re happy.”

Smith, 47, registered his third-place finish with a Rocket car making its debut run.

“We just had some brand-new car blues,” said Smith. “We built this car after Michigan, and if we would’ve got a shakedown night at Winchester or Selinsgrove (the Virginia and Pennsylvania tracks that had WoO events rained out last weekend) we would’ve been more prepared here.

“We had some header problems that weren’t sealed for hot laps and qualifying, so we had to get all that fixed. We had a fifth-coil come loose in qualifying. Everything was good in the heat race, but we had an oil line come loose about lap 30 in the feature so I was dropping oil pressure and I had to just hold my spot and settle for third.

“But I feel good to be traveling with these three (Lanigan and Richards) right now,” he added. “It’s good to be in company with them and get on the podium with ‘em. Hopefully we’ll get our night. Josh ain’t here to stay, so maybe it can be between me and Darrell at a race coming up.”

Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga., made a late-race charge to finish sixth, advancing five positions in nine laps after the race’s third and final caution flag flew on lap 32 for a turn-one tangle involving Dan Stone of Thompson, Pa., and Bump Hedman of Sugar Grove, Pa. Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., was the last driver to fall to Clanton and finished seventh. Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., finished eighth after taking the final restart in sixth place; Rick Eckert of York, Pa., cracked the top 10 late to finish ninth; and Mike Knight of Ripley, N.Y., was 10th.

Twenty-nine cars entered the event, which was run on a cool summer evening.

Richards was fastest in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials with a lap of 21.726 seconds. It was his second fast-time honor of 2012.

Heat winners were Richards, Coffey and Davies, and John Lobb of Frewsburg, N.Y., won the B-Main.

The next action for the WoO comes on Saturday night (Sept. 1) with the running of the Black Diamond 125 at Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, W.Va., The unique $150,000-plus event includes a pair of 40-lap preliminary features paying $10,000 to win each and the 45-lap Sweet Sixteen finale – for the top eight finishers in each prelim – that offers a $20,000 top prize.

WoO @ Little Valley: (1) Darrell Lanigan, (2) Josh Richards, (3) Clint Smith, (4) Ron Davies, (5) Vic Coffey, (6) Shane Clanton, (7) Bub McCool, (8) Jimmy Mars, (9) Rick Eckert, (10) Mike Knight, (11) Tim Fuller, (12) Kent Robinson, (13) Bob Close, (14) John Lobb, (15) Jason Dupont, (16) Dick Barton, (17) Bump Hedman, (18) Dan Stone, (19) Boom Briggs, (20) Brian Reese, (21) Gregg Satterlee, (22) Tim McCreadie, (23) Chub Frank, (24) Pat Doar. Fast qualifier (among 29 cars): Richards, 21.726 seconds. Heat race winners: Richards, Coffey, Davies. Consolation race winner: Lobb.

WoO points

(Through Aug. 29)
1. Darrell Lanigan - 4,622
2. Rick Eckert - 4,450 (-172)
3. Shane Clanton - 4,252 (-370)
4. Tim McCreadie - 4,248 (-374)
5. Chub Frank - 4,194 (-428)
6. Bub McCool - 4,110 (-512)
7. Clint Smith - 4,092 (-530)
8. Vic Coffey - 3,998 (-624)
9. Tim Fuller - 3,872 (-750)
10. Pat Doar - 3,832 (-790)

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