Red River Co-op Speedway
Winnipeg gives Lanigan his eighth WoO victory
By Kevin KovacWorld of Outlaws Late Model Series
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (July 12) — Darrell Lanigan put himself at the doorstep of World of Outlaws Late Model Series history with a convincing victory in Thursday's 50-lapper at Red River Co-op Speedway.
Roaring back from his first DNF of 2012 two nights earlier, the 42-year-old star from Union, Ky., took advantage of an outside pole starting spot to lead the entire distance. His triumph in the tour’s first-ever visit to the Canadian province of Manitoba was his eighth of the season and moved him within one checkered flag of tying the circuit’s modern-era (2004-present) single-season win record held by Scott Bloomquist and Josh Richards. | Video
“We had a good car (Tuesday at Black Hills Speedway in Rapid City, S.D.), but we just had some problems and got a DNF,” said Lanigan, whose 18th-place run at the half-mile oval marked just his third finish outside the top 10 in 24 events. “We knocked a hole in the radiator and had to pull out, but we came back strong tonight. We had a brand-new (Cornett) motor – that thing was awesome.”
Lanigan was briefly challenged early in the distance by polesitter Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga., but the tour’s current points leader steered his Rocket machine away from the pack with ease after the race’s lone caution flag flew on lap 13 for the stopped car driven by track regular Mike Balcaen of Winnipeg. He beat Clanton’s Kennedy Motorsports Capital Race Car to the finish line by 2.479 seconds.
Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., was on the move late but settled for a third-place finish in his Bloomquist Race Car, less than a half-second behind Clanton at the checkered flag. WoO Rookie of the Year leader Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., placed fourth in his Victory Circle mount and Pat Doar of New Richmond, Wis., registered a season-best finish of fifth in his MB2 chassis.
Lanigan’s key moment at the 4/10-mile Red River oval came at the initial green flag. He outgunned Clanton, who won the Wild West Tour opener July 7 at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn., with a sweeping outside charge through turns one and two and never looked back.
“I knew that was gonna be the pass for the win there,” said Lanigan, whose $10,650 victory snapped his modest five-race winless stretch and pushed his already commanding points lead to 138 points over ninth-place finisher Rick Eckert of York, Pa. “The bottom was definitely the preferred groove, but I just got in on the top and got around him on the first lap.”
Clanton, 36, didn’t have quite enough staying power to prevent Lanigan from recording the 34th WoO triumph of his career.
“We still gotta pick it up a little bit to keep pace with Darrell,” said Clanton, who earned his first runner-up finish on the 2012 WoO. “At least we can run with him. I almost had him there for a little bit, but then we got in lapped traffic and he could (the slower cars) a little bit better than I could on the top of one and two.”
Smith, 35, might have been the only driver with a chance to threaten Lanigan had a caution flag been needed late in the distance. He overtook Doar for third on lap 36 and drew close to Clanton without losing any ground to Lanigan.
“I don’t know if we had anything for Darrell, but we did run down Clanton once we finally got to third and I could see Darrell up there ahead of me too,” said Smith. “We were good here all night. Unfortunately, we drew the eight (starting spot) in the redraw. It’s kind of tough to come from back there against these guys.”
Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., started and finished sixth, but he slipped back to seventh at the start and didn’t regain the sixth spot until passing Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., on lap 34. Frank faded to a seventh-place finish after starting third, while Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., fell from the fifth starting spot to an eighth-place finish – just his third placing outside the top five in the last 16 WoO A-Mains. Eckert was a quiet ninth and rookie contender Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind., was 10th for his second straight top-10 finish.
WoO’s Wild West Tour continues Friday at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D., and Saturday at North Central Speedway in Brainerd, Minn.
World of Outlaws @ Red River Co-op: (1) Darrell Lanigan, (2) Shane Clanton, (3) Brady Smith, (4) Bub McCool, (5) Pat Doar, (6) Clint Smith, (7) Chub Frank, (8) Tim McCreadie, (9) Rick Eckert, (10) Kent Robinson, (11) Brad Seng, (12) Tim Fuller, (13) Don Shaw, (14) Jack Sullivan, (15) Ward Imrie, (16) Scott Greer, (17) Ricky Weiss, (18) Mike Balcaen, (19) Kevin Sexton, (20) Dustin Strand, (21) Joey Pederson, (22) Terry Casey, (23) Jill George, (24) Shane Edginton. Fast qualifier (among 33 cars): Casey, 16.218 seconds. Heat race winners: Clanton, Lanigan, B. Smith, Fuller. Consolation winners: Sullivan, Greer. Provisional starters: George, Edginton.