Volusia Speedway Park
Lanigan tops Richards, captures Volusia finale
By Kevin KovacWorld of Outlaws Late Model Series
BARBERVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 23) — Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., ended the 42nd UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment on a high note, capturing Saturday night’s 50-lap World of Outlaws Late Model Series for his first-ever series victory at Volusia Speedway Park. | Complete Speedweeks coverage
The defending WoO champion outdueled Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., to assume command for good on lap 17, but he was challenged repeatedly during the race’s second half by both McCreadie and Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., before pulling away following a final caution flag on lap 41.
Richards never seriously threatened Lanigan over the last nine circuits, crossing the finish line 0.990 of a second behind the victor. The runner-up finish sent Richards home with the WoO points lead after a season-opening burst of eight events and he also was named the Late Model champion of the 2013 UNOH DIRTcar Nationals by Summit, earning himself a unique bronze gator-shaped trophy.
McCreadie, who paced laps 3-11 and nosed ahead of Lanigan to lead lap 16, settled for a third-place finish. Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga., placed fourth — his sixth top-five finish of the young WoO campaign — and Clanton’s Kennedy Motorsports teammate Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., scored a season-high and career-best Volusia finish of fifth.
Rick Eckert of York, Pa., placed sixth after starting 14th and Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., was seventh from the 16th starting spot, completing a sweep of the top seven finishing positions by WoO regulars.
Lanigan, 42, earned $10,150 for his series-leading third win of the season. It was his tour-record 44th career win but first at the Volusia half-mile, where he had previously won twice in DIRTcar UMP-sanctioned Late Model action during the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals by Summit but never in 18 previous WoO starts dating back to 2004.
“It’s awesome to finally get a World of Outlaws win here at Volusia,” said Lanigan, whose last visit to victory lane during the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals by Summit came in 2010. “We’ve been trying to win one here for a long time.”
The checkered flag certainly didn’t come easy. For starters, Lanigan and his crew had to put in overtime just to prepare the Rocket machine he drove to victory after it was damaged heavily in an accident during Tuesday night’s DIRTcar UMP-sanctioned feature.
“I gotta thank my crew, Jason (Jameson) and Adam (Logan),” said Lanigan. “They worked hard all week to put this thing back together. We put it on the jig (on Friday) to straighten it out and it was awesome tonight.”
In the 50-lapper, Lanigan had to repel McCreadie and Richards in a faceoff of three former WoO champions. After gaining control of the top spot from McCreadie on lap 17 and then turning back several challenges from T-Mac between caution flags on laps 19 (for the slow car driven by Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn.) and 25 (for Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga.), Lanigan found Richards hot on his rear bumper beginning on lap 28.
Richards, 24, drew his Valvoline-sponsored Rocket Chassis house car close to Lanigan during an extended green-flag stint following a lap-27 caution for Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill. But just as the returning WoO regular appeared primed to bid for the lead the race’s fourth and final caution flag flew on lap 41 for fifth-place Stormy Scott of Las Cruces, N.M., whose first-ever WoO start came to an end with mechanical trouble after he led laps 1-2 off the pole and ran in the top five throughout the distance.
The late caution was a godsend for Lanigan, who cooled his tires and took off on the restart.
“I knew we were softer (with tire-compound choice) than those guys,” said Lanigan, referring to Richards and McCreadie. “We were on (Hoosier LM) 20s and they were on 30s, so I knew I had to save my stuff as much as I could. When I seen that caution with nine to go I just said, ‘Oh yeah, here’s my baby here.’ That’s what I needed to help me hold on.”
“For the last five laps I found a pretty good line right through the middle there (in turns three and four) and my car just worked awesome.”
Richards, meanwhile, knew his chances were likely dive-bombed for the late caution flag.
“I knew Darrell was softer on the right-rear tire so I didn’t really want to see that caution,” said Richards, who started 12th after missing the redraw because Lanigan passed him on the final lap of the fourth heat to finish second. “I think we might have had a chance to get by him if the race went green all the way to finish, but we’ll take a second. It’s been a great week and it’s an honor to win the (DIRTcar Nationals) championship.”
Finishing in positions 8-10 were Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., who also started eighth; Scott James of Bright, Ind., who advanced from the 25 th starting spot after using a WoO points provisional to gain entry to the A-Main; and Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., who was scheduled to start 19th but was penalized to the rear of the field for the green flag because his crew changed a tire on his car after it was presented in the staging area.
Kenny Pettyjohn of Millsboro, Del., earned his first-ever WoO fast-time honor, registering the fastest overall lap of the evening at 15.790 seconds, but he failed to make the feature lineup.
UNOH DIRTcar Nationals presented by Summit (Feb. 23): (1) Darrell Lanigan, (2) Josh Richards, (3) Tim McCreadie, (4) Shane Clanton, (5) Tim Fuller, (6) Rick Eckert, (7) Bub McCool, (8) Brady Smith, (9) Scott James, (10) Dale McDowell, (11) Billy Moyer, (12) Eric Wells, (13) Steve Francis, (14) Jimmy Mars, (15) Eric Jacobsen, (16) Earl Pearson Jr., (17) Bobby Pierce, (18) Chub Frank, (19) Morgan Bagley, (20) Scott Bloomquist, (21) Dennis Erb Jr., (22) Stormy Scott, (23) Pat Doar, (24) Vic Coffey, (25) Clint Smith, (26) Shannon Babb, (27) Eddie Carrier Jr., (28) Billy Ogle Jr. Fast qualifier (among 46 cars): Kenny Pettyjohn, 15.790 seconds. Heat race winners: Fuller, Moyer, Scott, Clanton. Consolation winners: Doar, Erb. Provisional starters: James, Bagley, C. Frank, C. Smith.