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Daily Dirt 04/23/2021 08:48:58

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November 19
Cherokee Speedway,
Gaffney, SC
Sanction: Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series (Mike Duvall Memorial Blue-Gray 100) - $15,000
Information provided by: Track reports (last updated November 20, 3:19 pm)
After scrapes, Lanigan repeats at Blue-Gray 100
Mike Duvall Memorial Blue-Gray 100
  1. Darrell Lanigan
  2. Casey Roberts
  3. Brent Larson
  4. Chris Ferguson
  5. Jimmy Owens
  6. Chris Madden
  7. Mike Maresca
  8. Don O'Neal
  9. Ross Robinson
  10. Jonathan Davenport
  11. Benji Hicks
  12. David Yandle
  13. Johnny Pursley
  14. Dennis Franklin
  15. Ross Bailes
  16. Scott Shirey
  17. Zack Mitchell
  18. Jay Sessoms
  19. Brett Hamm
  20. Michael Brown
  21. Doug Sanders
  22. Brandon Haley
  23. Anthony Sanders
  24. Gary Stuhler
presented by
Blake Harris
Darrell Lanigan celebrates after his second straight Blue-Gray 100 victory.
What won the race: Surviving a lap-68 skirmish, seventh-row starter Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., led the final 10 laps Sunday at Cherokee Speedway for a repeat victory in the Blue-Gray 100, earning $15,000 on the Carolina Clash circuit.
Key notes: Lanigan's winning margin was seven-tenths of a second. ... Tire wear played a key role in this year's race, which was led by polesitter Chris Madden the first 71 laps before he had a flat tire ... Runner-up Casey Roberts led laps 72-90. ... Third-place finisher Brent Larson was the race's first-ever Minnesota starter. ... The 27th annual Blue-Gray 100 honored Mike Duvall, the Hall of Fame driver who died in September.
On the move: Darrell Lanigan started 14th and finished first.
Winner's sponsors: Lanigan’s Clint Bowyer Racing Club 29 Race Car is powered by a Cornett Racing Engine and sponsored by iRacing.com, Peak Antifreeze and Coolant and Cometic Gaskets.
Points chase: Zack Mitchell clinched the Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series title.
Car count: 27
Fast qualifier: Chris Madden
Time: 15.574 seconds
Polesitter: Chris Madden
Heat race winners: Chris Madden, Ross Bailes, Jonathan Davenport
Editor's note: Corrects winner's engine builder.
From staff reports

GAFFNEY, S.C. — Darrell Lanigan found himself in plenty of trouble in turns one and two Sunday at Cherokee Speedway.

First, the 47-year-old Clint Bowyer Racing driver nearly got into the outside wall at the outset of his heat race while battling Casey Roberts, leaving him with just a seventh-row starting spot in the 27th annual Blue-Gray 100.

Second, while Lanigan tried to work his way into the top five in the main event, the Union, Ky., driver was part of a multicar wreck that sent his No. 14 iRacing.com machine spinning, presumably out of contention in a race dominated by Chris Madden for the first 71 laps.

But Lanigan, last year’s Blue-Gray winner at the vaunted “Place Your Momma Warned You About,” didn’t give up.

Pitting to change tires, Lanigan made quick work of drivers struggling on original rubber, grabbed second on a lap-72 restart, then overtook Roberts exiting turn four on the 91st lap and cruised the rest of the way for a race-high $15,000 payoff in the Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series finale.

That left Lanigan smiling in victory lane after Cherokee’s long-running late-season special.

“We had a good piece all night long, just had a bad heat race there,” Lanigan said. “I just got lucky and got to coming in there changing tires (in the feature) at the right time, and it definitely paid off.

“We spun out down there, and I’d been wanting to come in anyway up to that point, so we got in that little wreck, so I thought, ‘It’s time to do it now.’ We came in and put the tires on.’ Like I said, we’ve been coming down here for a lot of years. It’s awesome to win this two years in row.”

Lanigan took the checkers seven-tenths of a second ahead of Roberts, the Toccoa, Ga., driver making his last start with Cushman Motorsports who lead laps 72-90 on the 4/10-mile oval. Brent Larson of Lake Elmo, Minn., was third while Chris Ferguson of Mount Holly, N.C., and Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., rounded out the top five.

Madden, who started on the pole and led virtually unchallenged before a flat tire on lap 71, ended up sixth in the century grind where tire wear and pit stops played a key role.

The runner-up Roberts, who will make his debut for Maryville, Tenn.-based Blount Motorsports next weekend, led 19 laps but couldn’t hold off Lanigan late in the race.

“On fresh tires, you know, we had a good car there,” Roberts said. “We just, I want to apologize to Darrell there in the heat race, I was a little loose getting in (to the corner) and got into him pretty good. I want to apologize for that.

“I sure was wanting to get the win there. We didn’t have a winning car, but we put ourselves in position with the pit stop and all.”

Larson, the first Minnesota starter of the Blue-Gray 100, also found himself in the mix up front to grab a podium finish.

“It was kind of a learning experience for us. We’d never been here before. Actually, I take that back, when I was 16 years old, 24 years ago, I watched a race here and kind of marveled at the racing down South here.

“It was my first night racing on the track here, so I was just learning about the track, learning about the surface, trying to gain some experience. We thought we would have tire troubles, so we decided to pit early and give ourselves a chance to get back up. We kind of tried to set the car up conservatively so we could be easy on tires, but maybe not as fast as we needed to be.”

Zack Mitchell of Enoree, S.C., got into a first-lap scramble, slowed to draw a lap-21 caution and then retired after 65 laps, but his 17th-place finish was good enough to clinch the Carolina Clash championship.

Notes: Lanigan’s only two Carolina Clash victories have come in the last two Blue-Gray 100s. … The feature was slowed by 11 cautions. … Lanigan’s CBR teammate Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., was running fifth when he had a lap-95 flat tire; he ended up eighth. … Roberts dedicated his second-place finish to a friend and race fan, Leon Brown, who recently died. He’s looking forward to his team change but enjoyed his final run for Jim and Ann Cushman. “Thank the good Lord there for blessing me with all these years here racing with Mr. and Mrs. Cushman,” Roberts said. “It’s been a ball. I just wish we could’ve got a one spot better finish there.” … Minnesotan Brent Larson had a laugh in victory lane when the announcer asked him about his first racing experience at Cherokee. “I don’t know if you can tell from my accent, but I’m not from around here,” Larson said with a laugh. … Jay Sessoms, Benji Hicks and Ross Robinson were among other drivers drawing cautions with flat tires. … Robinson, of Georgetown, Del., drove the John Page Racing No. 87 normally fielded by Ross Bailes; he finished ninth. … Bailes finished 15th behind the wheel of the Barry Wright Race Cars house car. ... Trent Ivey won the Crate Late Model race on the undercard; Ivey and other SECA-sanctioned drivers will chase a $10,000 payday at Cherokee on Nov. 25.

Feature lineup

Row 1: Madden, Bailes
Row 2: Davenport, Larson
Row 3: O'Neal, Ferguson
Row 4: Hamm, Roberts
Row 5: Owens, Robinson
Row 6: Pursley, Franklin
Row 7: D. Sanders, Lanigan
Row 8: Maresca, Hicks
Row 9: Sessoms, A. Sanders
Row 10: Haley, Stuhler
Row 11: Shirey, Mitchell
Row 12: Brown, Yandle

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