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Daily Dirt 02/24/2020 16:20:10

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August 23
Merritt Speedway,
Lake City, MI
Sanction: World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series (NAPA Auto Parts Merritt 50) - $10,000
Information provided by: Series reports (last updated August 25, 10:01 am)
Lanigan outduels Smith at Merritt for Lucky 13
NAPA Auto Parts Merritt 50
  1. Darrell Lanigan
  2. Brady Smith
  3. Dona Marcoullier
  4. Rick Eckert
  5. Clint Smith
  6. Tim McCreadie
  7. Shane Clanton
  8. Tim Fuller
  9. Morgan Bagley
  10. Ryan VanderVeen
  11. Kris Patterson Jr.
  12. Eric Wells
  13. Jeep Van Wormer
  14. Eric Spangler
  15. Mike Spatola
  16. Kevin Juusola
  17. Chub Frank
  18. Chase Junghans
  19. Boom Briggs
  20. Herb Reich
  21. Jordan Erickson
  22. Curtis Roberts
  23. Josh Knoll
  24. Frank Heckenast Jr.
presented by
Jim DenHamer
Adam Logan (left) and Richard Davis (right) join the winner in victory lane.
What won the race: Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., won a mid-race battle with Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., to collect $10,000 for his 13th series victory.
On the move: Brady Smith settled from runner-up honors after starting 10th.
Winner's sponsors: Lanigan's Club 29 Race Car is powered by a Cornett Racing Engine and carries sponsorship from Baird Trucking, Gotta Race, Keyser Manufacturing, Performance Rod & Custom and Xtreme Graphics.
Points chase: Lanigan once again widened his points gap and is headed for his third career series championship.
Car count: 34
Fast qualifier: Darrell Lanigan
Time: 15.510 seconds
Polesitter: Darrell Lanigan
Heat race winners: Darrell Lanigan, Rick Eckert, Dona Marcoullier, Morgan Bagley
Consolation race winners: Eric Spangler, Chub Frank
Next series race: August 29, Lernerville Speedway (Sarver, PA) $10,000
By Joshua Joiner
World of Outlaws Late Model Series

MERRITT, Mich. (Aug. 23) Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., topped a back-and-forth battle with Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., midway through Saturday's NAPA Merritt 50 at Merritt Speedway and pulled away in the closing laps to earn his series-leading 13th World of Outlaws victory of the season.

The 44-year-old Lanigan, a two-time series champion and current points leader, earned $10,650 for his series-leading 66th career WoO victory and his first at Merritt's 3/8-mile oval.

"We went a little different (on tire selection) and I knew we would be better on the long run," said Lanigan, who moved within two victories of his record 15-win mark set in 2012. "I was just biding my time and once my stuff came in it was like a rocket ship."

Smith settled for second, fading to 4.925 seconds behind Lanigan at the finish, while home-track driver Dona Marcoullier of Haughton Lake, Mich., made a late charge to finish third. Former tour champion Rick Eckert or York, Pa., was fourth with Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., who led the first four laps from the outside pole, rounding out the top five in a race slowed by four cautions.

Dropping back to second on the start, the polesitting Lanigan pressured Clint Smith through the first three laps before pulling ahead on lap four. Lanigan pulled away on three early restarts before 10th-starting Brady Smith reeled him just before lap 15.

Smith first took a look to the outside of Lanigan on the 15th lap, and was alongside the leader the following circuit. The two cars battle side by side over the next four laps before Smith pulled ahead just before the final caution waved with 19 laps complete.

Smith eased away from Lanigan after the restart, but Lanigan was soon making his bid to retake the point. Lanigan took advantage when Smith attempted to drive around a slower car on lap 30, dropping to the inside lane to make a three-wide pass for the lead on the back straightaway.

Once back in command, Lanigan's Club 29 Race Car drove away from Smith and had only to avoid trouble in traffic to secure the victory. That was no simple task, however, as slower cars ran two and three wide ahead of him. But he skillfully handled the congestion, passing cars two at time on more than one occasion.

"There was a couple times I snuck in there and was like 'Oh my God this is gonna get tight,' " Lanigan said of his run through traffic during the final 20 laps. "But we got enough room to get through and had an unbelievable car."

Recovering from mechanical issues that forced him out after just one lap of Friday's WoO LMS A-Main at I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, Mich., Brady Smith settled for the runner-up finish in his Big Red Motorsports Rocket Chassis. The solid result marked the 37-year-old standout's fifth top-five finish in 15 WoO starts this season.

"He had a little different tire selection than we did," said Smith, whose highlights in part-time WoO competition this season include a victory during Florida Speedweeks action in February. "Ours was good early, but his was good at the end.

"I was trying to pace myself. We started 10th and I knew we went soft on (right-rear tire). I was trying not to murder the thing early, but I was pretty much the only car running the top of guys in front of me. I just went for it and tried to hold on.”

World of Outlaws points

(Through Aug. 23)
1. Darrell Lanigan - 4,404
2. Rick Eckert - 4,126
3. Tim McCreadie - 4,084
4. Morgan Bagley - 3,918
5. Chub Frank - 3,880
6. Eric Wells - 3,848
7. Shane Clanton - 3,818
8. Frank Heckenast Jr. - 3,760
9. Clint Smith - 3,654
10. Chase Junghans - 3,512
11. Boom Briggs - 3,376
12. Tim Fuller - 2,664
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