Independence Motor Speedway
Lanigan fights to front, scores repeat at Indee
By Kevin KovacWorld of Outlaws Late Model Series
INDEPENDENCE, Iowa (Aug. 5) — Wins don't come easy for Darrell Lanigan at Independence Motor Speedway.
But they definitely come — as evidenced by his hard-fought march to victory in Monday's 50-lap World of Outlaws Late Model Series event that put him in the spotlight at the Hawkeye State track for the second consecutive year. | Video | Slideshow
Lanigan, 43, of Union, Ky., battled forward from the seventh starting spot to take the lead from Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., on lap 37 and turned back a furious late challenge from local hero Chad Simpson of Mount Vernon, Iowa, to secure his series-leading eighth triumph of the 2013 season.
Closely following his path he took to a narrow victory over Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., in last year's WoO LMS feature at Independence, Lanigan couldn't take a breath until the checkered flag finally flew over his Rocket Chassis machine.
"It was pretty tough out there," said Lanigan, who earned $10,600 for his series-best 49th career win. "The track was just super-racy — and just to get the lead starting where we did, that was pretty good. Then we just had to hold on.”
Clanton, who led laps 14-36, overtook Simpson for the runner-up spot on a lap-44 restart and finished there, 0.860 of a second behind Lanigan. Simpson, who started from the pole position, settled for a career-best WoO finish of third after leading laps 1-13 and having his late-race bid for victory stymied by the lap-44 caution flag that ultimately cost him second place.
Gregg Satterlee of Rochester Mills, Pa., who scored his first-ever WoO triumph on July 30 at Shawano (Wis.) Speedway, was steady from start-to-finish to place fourth in his first start at Independence. Outside-polesitter Don O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., completed the top five after rallying from the rear of the field because he pitted Larry Moring's No. 1 on lap seven to check a vibration that he incorrectly thought was caused by a flat tire.
Lanigan mastered the inside groove of the 3/8-mile oval, using the lane to steady advance to the front. He swapped second place with Simpson twice before gaining control of the position on a lap-22 restart and rocketed by Clanton for the lead off the inside of turn four on lap 37 moments before a caution flag flew.
"We were really good in the bottom," said Lanigan, who won for the first time since July 6 at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn. (a span of six races). "We set the car up to traction up in the bottom and it definitely worked. We were really strong off of (turn) four on the bottom and got most of those guys coming off the corner."
Clanton, 37, couldn't stem Lanigan's low-side charge.
"Darrell was just a little bit better on the bottom and snuck by me," said Clanton, who hustled his Kennedy Motorsports Capital Race Car forward from the fourth starting spot. "I didn't know I had to slow down that much in three and four (to run the inside). Maybe it would've been a different race if I did."
Simpson, 34, emerged as Lanigan's prime late-race threat. He sat third at the lap-37 caution flag, but he summoned some extra speed in his MasterSbilt car on the restart to pass Clanton and within two circuits was challenging Lanigan with high-side thrusts.
But just as Simpson appeared primed to make a final push for his first career WoO victory, the race's seventh and final caution flag, on lap 44, effectively snuffed out his hopes. He lost second to Clanton on the restart and never recovered.
"I didn't need that last caution,” Simpson said. "I thought I had something for Darrell there at the end. He seemed to be slipping a little bit. He was riding the bottom down (in turns three and four) and I would get a heck of a run in one and two on him, but it is what it is. It's our best Outlaw finish, so we'll take it."
Simpson did learn a valuable lesson from running with Lanigan and Clanton.
"I kind of screwed up the early part of the race and let these guys get by me,” the home-state driver said. "I didn't drive hard enough. Once I followed them guys for a few laps I realized how hard they were driving and realized I had to push my stuff harder.”
Lanigan knew Simpson was chasing him late in the race, but he was confident enough to know that the Iowa driver would need to pull off a spectacular move to gain command.
"That top (lane) was way out there so really wasn't worried too much about him,” Lanigan said. "I never did see him. I just ran my line and tried to be consistent.”
Both Lanigan and Clanton were able to find new life in the WoO championship with their finishes thanks to the problems suffered by points leader Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., who followed a subpar qualifying effort (fourth place in a heat) with a rare DNF. Richards climbed to sixth place from the 13th starting spot in just 18 laps, but he spun in turn two on lap 22 while battling with Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., and stopped to bring out another caution on lap 37 due to a broken oil pump that left him with a 17th-place finish.
Richards's woes shrunk his points lead to 48 over Clanton and 64 over Lanigan with 13 events remaining.
Seven caution flags slowed the race. Aside from Richards and O'Neal (slowed on lap seven), other drivers who brought out cautions were Curt Martin of Independence, Iowa (spun between turns one and two on lap one); Clay Fisher of De Witt, Ark. (stopped on lap four); Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa (slid over the turn-one bank on lap 20); and Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa. (stopped on lap 44).
Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., registered an eventful sixth-place finish driving the Team Dillon car normally steered by NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Ty Dillon. After time-trialing on seven cylinders with to a broken rocker arm, McDowell struggled until a mid-race pit stop for a setup change propelled him from the rear of the field to the verge of a top-five finish.
Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., finished seventh after running fifth for much of the distance. Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., placed eighth, Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., finished ninth and McCool rounded out the top 10.
Notes: Lanigan’s Cornett-powered Rocket is sponsored by GottaRace.com, Keyser Mfg., PRC and Xtreme Graphics. ... All 16 cars running at the finish completed 50 laps. ... The event was on schedule despite heavy storms that deluged Independence early Monday. ... Fast qualifier Chad Simpson had his fourth career WoO fast-time honor ... Three of four heat race winners — Shane Clanton, Jason Feger and Simpson — were all driver cars numbered 25. ... Dillon Wood had a heat race tangle with Dan Stone that sent both drivers to the pit area with damage, including a shredded right-rear tire on Stone's car. When Wood rolled past Stone's trailer in the pit area after the incident, he revved his motor and flipped the bird. ... Leading WoO rookie Eric Wells had rear-end problems that forced him to a backup car after his heat race. ... Among drivers failing to make the feature lineup: Iowans Joel Callahan, Matt Furman, Rick Wendling, Charlie McKenna and Jay Johnson; also Dan Stone and Mike Fryer, the champion at Lafayette County Speedway in Darlington, Wis. ... The World of Outlaws tour is idle until heading to Michigan for a doubleheader weekend on Aug. 16-17. Winston Speedway in Rothbury, Mich., will host the NAPA Auto Parts 50 presented by Keyser Manufacturing on Aug. 16 and Merritt Raceway will run the NAPA Auto Parts 50 presented by Allstar Performance on Aug. 17.
WoO @ Independence: (1) Darrell Lanigan, (2) Shane Clanton, (3) Chad Simpson, (4) Gregg Satterlee, (5) Don O'Neal, (6) Dale McDowell, (7) Jason Feger, (8) Tim Fuller, (9) Brandon Sheppard, (10) Bub McCool, (11) Rick Eckert, (12) Chub Frank, (13) Eric Wells, (14) Curt Martin, (15) Clint Smith, (16) Tyler Bruening, (17) Josh Richards, (18) Bobby Pierce, (19) Tim McCreadie, (20) Chris Simpson, (21) Jason Rauen, (22) Clay Fisher, (23) Dillon Wood, (24) Kyle Bronson, (25) Morgan Bagley. Fast qualifer (among 32 cars): Chad Simpson, 13.865 seconds. Heat race winners: Clanton, Feger, Chad Simpson, Satterlee. Consolation winners: McDowell, Fisher. Provisional starters: McCreadie, Wells, Rauen.