DELMAR, DE – May 29, 2008 – Darrell Lanigan has taken a liking to Delaware International Speedway.
The Union, Ky., standout scored his second win in four career World of Outlaws Late Model Series starts at the half-mile oval on Thursday night, rolling to a flag-to-flag victory in the caution-free ‘First State 50’ that moved him into a tie for the tour’s points lead.
“I’d say this is a place I like,” Lanigan quipped after holding off Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., to record his first WoO LMS triumph of the season. “We like big tracks like this – and we do run good here.”
Lanigan, who turns 38 on June 3, surged forward from his starting spot on the outside of the front row when the race began to immediately grab the lead from polesitter Ricky Elliott of Seaford, Del. He proceeded to steer his gottarace.com Rocket car flawlessly around promoter Charlie Cathell’s well-manicured track, capturing the tour’s first non-stop A-Main of 2008 in a blistering time of 17 minutes, 39.962 seconds.
Babb, 34, made several runs at Lanigan during the final circuits, but he settled for a second-place finish in his Traeger Grills Rocket car. He raced with his car owner, NASCAR Sprint Cup star Clint Bowyer, looking on from the pit area after riding down from nearby Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
Defending WoO LMS champion Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., who started sixth, finished third in Dale Beitler’s Reliable Painting Rocket. Elliott’s bid to give his legion of local fans a Victory Lane celebration fell short with a fourth-place finish in the Seaside Builders Rocket, and 2006 WoO LMS champ Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., was fifth after starting third in the Sweeteners Plus Rocket.
Lanigan’s triumph, worth $10,150, continued his recent hot streak on the WoO LMS. He’s registered four consecutive top-five finishes and now is atop the points standings for the first time in his five years as a tour regular, albeit tied with Francis.
“We changed cars about four, five weeks ago – we brought out a new car – and it really picked up our program,” said Lanigan, who failed to crack the top-five in the season’s first eight events but did score six top-10 finishes during the stretch. “This car has just turned everything around for us.”
Lanigan certainly had his Cornett-powered No. 29 humming from start-to-finish at DIS. He built an edge of as much as a half-straightaway midway through the A-Main before Babb closed in late to finish just 0.377 of a second behind.
Babb, who started fifth and finally reached second place with a lap-33 pass of Elliott, nosed underneath Lanigan through turns one and two on lap 46, but he couldn’t complete the pass.
“I got right up beside him one time, but he had the momentum off the top,” said Babb, who recorded his second runner-up finish of the WoO LMS campaign. “It was a good, fun race, especially in that lapped traffic.
“There were a couple times that I thought the door was open to make a move under a lapped car, and then it closed and I was like, ‘Crap!’”
Lanigan was hampered by the slower traffic, but didn’t experience any close calls.
“That lapped traffic got a little hairy at the end, but we got through it so it worked out,” said Lanigan. “I seen a black car (Babb) there inside me at the end, but I wasn’t sure who was there. I knew I had just passed (John) Blankenship (to put him a lap down), so I thought it might have been him coming back under me.”
Lanigan earned his ninth career win on the WoO LMS. It was his first victory since June 20, 2007, at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway – and his third in a race that ran caution-free.
“I just get into a rhythm out there,” Lanigan said when asked about his knack for winning non-stop events. “As a driver you don’t like to break your rhythm, and you don’t have to when the race goes non-stop.
“If you’re out front leading, I prefer it to go non-stop.”
Francis, 40, drew close to Lanigan and Babb after grabbing third from Elliott on lap 35 but lost ground to them over the final 10 laps. He had Elliott on his rear bumper at the checkered flag.
“I got up close to them but then just got to over-driving a little bit,” said Francis. “We were pretty good, but just not as good as those two guys ahead of us. We were just too free the whole race.”
Elliott, 42, missed slightly on his tire combination and it cost him a shot at a coveted WoO LMS win.
“I’m not sure we were too hard on tires as much as we should’ve worked them over a little bit more,” said Elliott, who joined Francis in running American Racer tires. “I think we should’ve siped and grooved them more so they would’ve fired better.
“I came back on them guys at the end, but it was too late.”
Finishing in positions 6-10 were Rick Eckert of York, Pa., who picked up three spots over the final 20 laps in his Rayburn car; Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., who went too soft with his tire choice; Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga.; Vic Coffey of Leicester, N.Y., who was the race’s top rookie contender; and last year’s DIS winner Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa.
Thirty-nine cars were entered in the event, including NASCAR Sprint Cup standout Dave Blaney. The former Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion, who drove WoO LMS regular Tim Fuller’s second car, timed 10th-fastest in qualifying and finished 25th after dropping out of the A-Main.
Watertown, N.Y.’s Fuller set fast time for the second time this season in qualifying, lapping the half-mile oval in 18.888 seconds.
Heat winners were Babb, Richards, Lanigan and Francis. John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va., and Donald Lingo Jr. of Millsboro, Del., captured the B-Mains.
The WoO LMS continues its East Coast doubleheader on Saturday night (May 31) with the ‘Conococheague 50’ at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway.
Results of WoO Late Model Series ‘First State 50’ (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (2) Darrell Lanigan/50 $10,150
2. (5) Shannon Babb/50 $5,100
3. (6) Steve Francis/50 $3,000
4. (1) Ricky Elliott/50 $3,000
5. (3) Tim McCreadie/50 $2,000
6. (10) Rick Eckert/50 $1,700
7. (8) Josh Richards/50 $1,400
8. (12) Shane Clanton/50 $1,300
9. (4) Vic Coffey/50 $1,450
10. (7) Chub Frank/50 $1,100
11. (9) Tim Fuller/50 $1,050
12. (14) Clint Smith/50 $1,000
13. (16) Jason Covert/49 $950
14. (11) Jeremy Miller/49 $900
15. (13) Jamie Lathroum/49 $850
16. (18) John Blankenship/49 $800
17. (17) Donald Lingo Jr./49 $770
18. (19) Darryl Hills/49 $750
19. (20) Scott Cross/49 $730
20. (22) Mark Pettyjohn/49 $700
21. (23) Danny Johnson/49 $700
22. (24) Joe Isabell/48 $700
23. (21) David Pettyjohn/15 $700
24. (15) David Hill/11 $700
25. (25) Dave Blaney/2 $700
Time of Race: 17 Mins., 39.962 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.377 Secs.
Yellow Flags: None
Lap Leaders: Lanigan (1-50)
Provisional Starters: D. Johnson, Isabell (WoO); Blaney (track)
Rookie of the Race: Vic Coffey ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Ricky Elliott ($500)
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race ($50): Chris Burton (Lanigan)
Chick Hawk Racing Hot Lap Award: Lanigan (half-off tire warmers)
Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 18.888
2. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 18.956
3. 11J-Richard Jarvis Jr./Ocean City, MD 19.144
4. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA 19.150
5. 18-Shannon Babb/Moweaqua, IL 19.154
6. 32c-Vic Coffey/Leicester, NY 19.203
7. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 19.257
8. 19-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 19.258
9. 45-Ricky Elliott/Seaford, DE 19.365
10. 19b-Dave Blaney/Hartford, OH 19.371
11. 24M-Jeremy Miller/Gettysburg, PA 19.422
12. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 19.478
13. 55L-Donald Lingo Jr./Millsboro, DE 19.531
14. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 19.542
15. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 19.557
16. 49-Mark Pettyjohn/Milton, DE 19.601
17. 6-Jamie Lathroum/Mechanicsville, MD 19.608
18. 4-Rick Whaley/Millsboro, DE 19.629
19. 6J-Joe Isabell/Pennellville, NY 19.645
20. 43A-Jason Covert/York Haven, PA 19.708
21. 12K-Jon Callaway/Harrington, DE 19.733
22. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 19.759
23. 55-Roland Mann/Chaptico, MD 19.827
24. 23-John Blankenship/Williamson, WV 19.850
25. KB-Kerry King/Delmar, DE 19.882
26. 7H-Darryl Hills/Great Mills, MD 19.883
27. 119-Rob Ormsbee/Wall, NJ 19.899
28. 12-Kevin Scott Jr./Laurel, DE 19.967
29. 80-David Pettyjohn/Millsboro, DE 20.013
30. 46-Mike Wharton/Bridgeville, DE 20.054
31. 07-Scott Cross/Odenton, MD 20.054
32. 20-Staci Warrington/Milton, DE 20.115
33. 118-Rob Schirmer/Milton, DE 20.165
34. 84-Ray Davis Jr./Millsboro, DE 20.388
35. 8-Norman Short Jr./Georgetown, DE 20.488
36. 27J-Danny Johnson/Phelps, NY 20.489
37. 18s-Sean Beardsley/Central Square, NY 20.656
38. 38-Bob Geiger/Laurel, DE 20.960
39. 75-David Hill/Trappe, MD 22.428
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Babb, Elliott, Fuller, Lathroum, Callaway, Lingo, D. Pettyjohn, Schirmer, Beardsley, King
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Richards, Coffey, Eckert, C. Smith, Hills, Davis, Blaney, Wharton, Geiger, Whaley
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Lanigan, McCreadie, J. Miller, Hill, Cross, Mann, Isabell, Ormsbee, Short (DNS) Jarvis
Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Francis, Frank, Clanton, Covert, Blankenship, D. Johnson, M. Pettyjohn, Scott, Warrington
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Lingo, Hills, D. Pettyjohn, Davis, Schirmer, Wharton, Callaway, Beardsley, Geiger (DNS) Blaney, King, Whaley
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Blankenship, Cross, M. Pettyjohn, D. Johnson, Mann, Scott, Ormsbee, Isabell, Warrington, Short (DNS) Jarvis
LISTEN ONLINE: If fans can’t get to a track to see the World of Outlaws Late Model Series, they can experience the excitement of the nation’s premier tour live on DIRTvision.com through the DIRT Radio Network.
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The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by several sponsors and partners, including Advance Auto Parts – the official auto parts store of the WoO LMS – and contingency sponsors Wrisco Industries, Chicken Hawk Racing, Crane Cams, Ohlins Shocks, Quarter-Master, Eibach Springs, Integra Shocks, Jake’s Custom Golf Carts and Qwikliner.