Wild West Roll: Lanigan Captures Tuesday Night’s ‘Cowboy 50’ At Gillette Thunder Speedway

By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director

GILLETTE, WY – July 14, 2009 – The World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘Wild West Tour’ has proven to be the perfect tonic for Darrell Lanigan’s frustration. 

Winless on the 2009 WoO LMS entering the four-race western swing, Lanigan registered his second victory in his last three starts on Tuesday night, capturing the ‘Cowboy 50’ presented by Coors Light at Gillette Thunder Speedway.

The low-key defending series champion from Union, Ky., happily donned a cowboy hat for the Victory Lane ceremonies after pocketing $10,700 in prize money. He grabbed the lead from Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., on lap 34 while negotiating lapped traffic and never looked back.

Lanigan, 39, regained the WoO LMS points lead by four points over Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., who finished 11th after a flat right-rear tire on lap 34 forced him to the rear of the field. Francis, who settled for second place in the A-Main after racing off the pole position to lead laps 1-33, sits third in the standings just 10 points behind Lanigan.

“We have a real good car and now we’re getting some of the breaks we didn’t get earlier this year,” said the 39-year-old Lanigan, who had five runner-up finishes before breaking through for his first win of the season in the ‘Wild West Tour’ opener on July 8 at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn. “Everything’s come together on this trip. I think that if we didn’t have a few problems the other night (July 10 at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D.), we could’ve won all three of these races.”

Lanigan, who finished seventh at River Cities after leading early in the 50-lapper, drove his Fusion Energy Rocket car across Gillette’s finish line with a 1.319-second advantage over Francis’s Beitler Motorsports Rocket.

Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., advanced from the ninth starting spot to place third in the RSD Enterprises Rocket. He moved into the position on lap 46 after sliding underneath the Gypsum Express Rocket driven by eighth-starter Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., who finished fourth one year after winning the inaugural ‘Cowboy 50’ at the high-banked, one-third-mile oval in Northeastern Wyoming.

Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., was the evening’s hard charger, steering his GRT mount to a fifth-place finish after starting 21st. He had to qualify through a B-Main after a broken jackshaft sidelined him during heat-race action.

Lanigan, who started third, gained control of second from outside-polesitter Rick Eckert of York, Pa., early in the distance. He then chased Francis between six caution periods during the race’s first 24 laps before seizing an opportunity amidst slower traffic to assume command rounding turns three and four on the 34th tour.

“He got trapped there in lapped traffic,” said Lanigan said of Francis. “I knew we were better on the outside and he was committed to the bottom, so I just kept rolling that top and finally it paid off when a lapped car slowed (Francis) down.”

After a seventh and final caution flag, on lap 34 for Richards, Lanigan ran virtually unchallenged for the remainder of the event. He calmly handled lapped traffic on the smooth, multi-grooved surface to keep Francis at bay.

“The racetrack was excellent,” said Lanigan, who recorded his 12th career victory on the WoO LMS. “You could run all over it, and it’s a place where you don’t tear stuff up. I like tracks like this.”

Francis, 41, admitted that he was surprised by Lanigan’s winning move, but he wasn’t disappointed with the outcome.

“I didn’t even know (Lanigan) was there,” Francis said of the deciding 34th lap. “So looking back, maybe I should’ve just turned (the lapped car) and went on my way instead of trying to be careful. But with the tires we put on, I was locked down to (running) the bottom.

“I would’ve liked to win, but with the way our luck’s been out here (on the ‘Wild West Tour’) we’ll take a second and go on to the next race.”

There were no major incidents in the ‘Cowboy 50,’ which saw WoO LMS regulars sweep the top seven finishing positions.

Track regular Eddie Kirchoff of Gillette, Wyo., who entered the night with six wins in eight starts this season at his hometown speedway, started fifth in the A-Main but was never a factor. He fell back almost immediately after the green flag flew with a car he deemed “too tight” and was eliminated when a tangle on lap 22 left his machine with a bent left-front spindle.

Finishing in positions 6-10 was Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., who ran as high as fourth; Eckert; seventh-starter Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., who climbed up to third but faded during the race’s second half due to an improper tire choice; Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa.; and Al Purkey of Coffeyville, Kan., who earned the $500 WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ cash (highest-finishing driver who hasn’t won a tour A-Main and isn’t ranked among the top 12 in the points standings) for the third time in as many ‘Wild West Tour’ events.

A field of 37 cars signed in for the event, which was contested on a cool, breezy evening. Steady winds of 30 mph – with gusts reaching nearly 40 mph – blew clouds of dust through the pit area throughout the afternoon, but the winds gradually diminished to more comfortable levels as the night went on.

Pat Doar of New Richmond, Wis., was quickest in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials, ripping off a lap of 13.971 seconds to register his first career fast-time honor in WoO LMS competition.

Heat winners were Lanigan, Francis, Eckert and Mars. The B-Mains were captured by WoO LMS Rookie of the Year contenders Tyler Reddick of Corning, Calif., and Russell King of Bristolville, Ohio.

The 14-year-old Reddick’s victory in the first B-Main marked his first checkered flag of any kind on the WoO LMS. He went on to finish one lap down in 15th in the A-Main.

King, 20, placed 12th in the A-Main, earning him the $250 bonus as the highest-finishing rookie.

The WoO LMS ‘Wild West Tour’ concludes on Thursday night (July 16) with the ‘Great Plains 50’ at Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron, S.D.

For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.

Results of WoO Late Model Series ‘Cowboy 50’ (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):

1. (3) Darrell Lanigan/50 $10,700
2. (1) Steve Francis/50 $5,650
3. (9) Shane Clanton/50 $3,500
4. (8) Tim Fuller/50 $3,000
5. (21) Clint Smith/50 $2,500
6. (4) Brady Smith/50 $2,200
7. (2) Rick Eckert/50 $1,900
8. (7) Jimmy Mars/50 $1,300
9. (14) Chub Frank/50 $1,700
10. (10) Al Purkey/50 $1,700
11. (11) Josh Richards/50 $1,550
12. (6) Pat Doar/50 $1,050
13. (18) Russell King/50 $1,700
14. (12) Brent Robinson/50 $1,400
15. (17) Tyler Reddick/49 $850
16. (13) Jordan Bland/49 $1,300
17. (15) Dustin Hapka/49 $770
18. (16) Eric Mass/49 $750
19. (22) Matthew Sheesley/48 $730
20. (23) April Farmer/37 $700
21. (24) Bill Koons/34 $700
22. (20) John Bey/26 $700
23. (19) Kelly Boen/22 $700
24. (5) Eddie Kirchoff/21 $700

* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses

Time of Race: 34 Mins., 33.717 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 1.319 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 7 (Laps 5, 7, 11, 20, 22, 24, 34)
Lap Leaders: Francis (1-33); Lanigan (34-50)
Provisional Starters: Farmer, Koons
Rookie of the Race: King ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Purkey ($500)
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race: Jonathan Owensby (Clanton)

Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):

1. 11d-Pat Doar/New Richmond, WI 13.971
2. 19-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 13.978
3. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 14.125
4. 28-Jimmy Mars/Menomonie, WI 14.179
5. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 14.187
6. 2-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, WI 14.203
7. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 14.207
8. 3-Brent Robinson/Smithfield, VA 14.212
9. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA 14.267
10. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 14.293
11. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 14.320
12. 00-Eddie Kirchoff/Gillette, WY 14.411
13. 07-Kelly Boen/Henderson, CO 14.562
14. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 14.621
15. 56-Russell King/Bristolville, OH 14.723
16. 14-April Farmer/Livingston, TN 14.765
17. 12-Jordan Bland/Campbellsville, KY 14.771
18. 33-Al Purkey/Coffeyville, KS 14.808
19. 18H-Dustin Hapka/Grand Forks, ND 14.875
20. 44M-Eric Mass/Rapid City, SD 14.889
21. 11-Tyler Reddick/Corning, CA 14.998
22. 29K-Bill Koons/Omaha, NE 15.027
23. 82-John Bey/Deadwood, SD 15.207
24. 1K-John Kuchar/Brighton, CO 15.232
25. 4G-David Garmann/Milliken, CO 15.317
26. 7-Mike Stadel/Rapid City, SD 15.385
27. 12s-Jason Schierkolk/Casper, WY 15.559
28. 1M-Matthew Sheesley/Rapid City, SD 15.596
29. 99-Scott Lewis/Henderson, CO 15.703
30. 4H-Rich Herman II/Billings, MT 15.863
31. 71-Morris Oberle/Lead, SD 16.136
32. 25c-Scott Cimfl/Commerce City, CO 16.158
33. 62-Kim Horn/Gillette, WY 16.246
34. 25R-Bryan Renken/Gillette, WY 16.250
35. 5E-Erik Elmer/Buffalo, WY 16.302
36. 23s-Dylan Schmer/Lingle, WY 16.443
37. 61-James Botts/Broomfield, CO 16.445

Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Lanigan, Doar, Clanton, Bland, Reddick, Boen, Lewis, Garmann, Horn, Botts

Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Francis, B. Smith, Purkey, Frank, Koons, Stadel, Renken, Herman, C. Smith

Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Eckert, Fuller, Richards, Hapka, King, Bey, Elmer, Schierkolk, Oberle

Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Mars, Kirchoff, Robinson, Mass, Sheesley, Cimfl, Kuchar, Farmer (DNS) Schmer

B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Reddick, Boen, C. Smith, Stadel, Lewis, Garmann, Koons, Renken, Horn, Botts, Herman

B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): King, Bey, Sheesley, Farmer, Schierkolk, Kuchar, Cimfl, Elmer, Oberle (DNS) Schmer

World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:

* Arizona Sport Shirts ($50 product certificate to fifth-place finisher in B-Mains): Scott Lewis, Jason Schierkolk
* Armor All (case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main w/decal): Jimmy Mars
* Champ Pans ($50 product certificate to ‘Bonus Bucks’ winner w/decal): Al Purkey
* Crane Cams ($100 cash award to A-Main winner w/decal): Darrell Lanigan
* Crane Cams ($100 cash award to 10th-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Al Purkey
* Crane Cams ($100 product certificate to Heat 3 winner w/decal): Rick Eckert
* Eibach Springs (one free spring to each B-Main winner w/decal): Tyler Reddick, Russell King
* Fusion Energy ($50 cash award to Heat 2 winner w/decal): Steve Francis
* Ohlins Shocks ($50 cash award to fast qualifier w/decal): Pat Doar
* Quarter-Master ($100 product certificate to A-Main winner w/decal): Darrell Lanigan
* Quarter-Master ($50 product certificate to fifth-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Clint Smith
* Quarter-Master ($25 product certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Tyler Reddick
* Super Clean ‘Start of the Race’ (one case of product): Steve Francis
* VP Racing Fuels ‘Nice Jugs Award’ (two free VP five-gallon containers to fastest qualifier who does not make the A-Main if decal is displayed): John Kuchar
* Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner w/decal): Darrell Lanigan

2009 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of July 14 – 24 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):

1. Darrell Lanigan 3235 (-0)
2. Josh Richards 3231 (-4)
3. Steve Francis 3225 (-10)
4. Rick Eckert 3177 (-58)
5. Shane Clanton 3129 (-106)
6. Brady Smith 3102 (-133)
7. Tim Fuller 3065 (-170)
8. Chub Frank 3051 (-184)
9. Clint Smith 2959 (-276)
10. Russell King 2578 (-657)
11. Jordan Bland 2523 (-712)
12. Brent Robinson 2441 (-794)
13. Dustin Hapka 2258 (-977)
14. Tyler Reddick 2065 (-1170)
15. Vic Coffey 2007 (-1228)
16. Austin Hubbard 1544 (-1691)
17. Shannon Babb 1470 (-1765)
18. Matt Lux 1140 (-2095)
19. Dan Stone 949 (-2286)
20. Jimmy Mars 944 (-2291)

FOLLOW THE ACTION ON TWITTER: Fans can now keep up-to-date with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series online and through text messages on cell phones via the Twitter, the internet’s fast-growing social-networking and micro-blogging website. Updates are provided to Twitter ‘followers’ of the WoO LMS throughout each race night, and fans also receive breaking news and interesting notes from the tour.

To sign-up as a WoO LMS ‘follower’ on Twitter to receive updates anywhere at anytime, visit http://twitter.com/WoOLateModels.

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.

To listen to the free audio broadcasts, log on to www.dirtvision.com and click on the DIRT Radio Network logo.

Listeners will need Windows Media Player 9 or higher to listen to the DIRT Radio Network. For technical support or questions, e-mail [email protected]

The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Crane Cams (Official Valvetrain), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), Fusion Energy Boost (Official Energy Boost), SuperClean (Official Cleaner-Degreaser) and VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel); in addition to contingency sponsors Champ Pans, Eibach Springs, Hoosier Tires, Integra Shocks, Jake’s Custom Golf Carts, Ohlins Shocks, Racing Electronics, Quarter Master and Wrisco Aluminum; Crane Cams Engine Builder’s Challenge participants Cornett Racing Engines, Custom Race Engines and Pro Power Racing Engines; and Chassis Builder Challenge participants Rocket Chassis and Team Zero by Bloomquist.