Lanigan Finds Winning Touch With Club 29 Car In Sunday Night’s Bubba Army Dirt Late Model Winter Nationals Finale
Kentucky Star Holds Off O’Neal For $12,650 Top Prize At Bubba Raceway Park
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
OCALA, FL – Feb. 16, 2014 – Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., ended the Bubba Army Dirt Late Model Winter Nationals on a high note, breaking through to capture Sunday night’s 60-lap World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘Super Sunday Showdown’ at Bubba Raceway Park.
Finding the winning touch with his self-designed Club 29 car after top-five finishes in each of the first two events of the weekend, Lanigan passed Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., for the lead on lap seven and controlled the remainder of the distance. The two-time WoO LMS champion turned back a late challenge from O’Neal while racing through lapped traffic to pocket the race’s $12,650 top prize.
O’Neal settled for second place, about one second behind Lanigan at the checkered flag. The driver of NASCAR star Clint Bowyer’s Barry Wright car once again fell short of his elusive first-ever WoO LMS triumph.
Friday-night winner Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., finished close behind O’Neal in third place in his Rocket machine, sending him out the gates of the three-eighths-mile oval with the WoO LMS points lead. He scored a podium finish in all three events.
O’Neal’s Bowyer Racing teammate, Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., placed fourth in his Barry Wright car after getting shuffled back to eighth on a lap-22 restart. Morgan Bagley of Tyler, Texas, finished fifth in Wayman McMillan’s Rocket machine – just his second career top-five finish on the WoO LMS – after battling past Saturday-night winner Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., for the position on lap 48.
The 21-year-old Sheppard was in position to sweep a WoO LMS program for the second consecutive night after setting fast time and winning a heat, but he settled for a sixth-place finish after starting eighth. He steered the Rocket Chassis house car as high as fourth midway through the A-Main but slipped backward in the closing circuits while unsuccessfully searching for traction on the outside of the track.
Lanigan, 43, also found the top side of the egg-shaped speedway difficult to grip late in the race. He tried using the outside line to overtake a pack of lapped cars with less than 10 laps remaining and it nearly cost him the race.
After racing virtually unchallenged for most of the distance, Lanigan suddenly found O’Neal on his back bumper on lap 53. With Lanigan’s pace hampered by two slower cars ahead of him, the door was open for O’Neal to duck to the inside and come within inches of grabbing the lead on lap 54.
But then Lanigan summarily dived to the inside in turn one, breaking O’Neal’s momentum and building just enough of an edge to carry him to his first WoO LMS win of 2014 and his fifth victory in 11 starts at BRP over the past five years.
“The lapped cars were tough,” said Lanigan, who sits atop the alltime WoO LMS win list. “We were definitely a lot faster than they was (lapped cars), but there just wasn’t no (outside) groove. I just lost too much ground up there so I had to get back to the bottom.”
O’Neal saw the golden opportunity to steal the race from Lanigan’s grasp, but his hopes were effectively snuffed out by Lanigan’s move to the inside. He had to be satisfied with matching his career-best WoO LMS finish.
“He got on the outside of that (lapped) traffic and the outside wasn’t the place to be,” O’Neal said of Lanigan. “Now, if he would’ve stayed out there just a little bit longer, we may have gotten him, but that’s part of racing.
“He just cut down real hard in front of me, but that’s part of it. I would’ve done the same thing if I was him. We made it exciting there at the end but just didn’t get the job done.”
One of the most accomplished veterans in dirt Late Model racing, O’Neal remained winless in 31 career WoO LMS A-Main starts over the past decade. He has 17 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes in his limited appearances on the tour.
Lanigan’s series record 54th career win was his first in World of Outlaws action since debuting the Club 29 chassis he partnered with noted crew chief Ronnie Stuckey to build and market. He needed a couple nights to get the machine tuned just right.
“It’s a little bit different from what we’ve been used to,” said Lanigan, who scored finishes of third and fifth in the first two legs of the Winter Nationals. “We’ve been close (in the previous events), but it needed a little bit more. We found some stuff tonight and it seemed to like it.”
Putting a WoO LMS victory on his ledger so early in the season certainly gave Lanigan a boost.
“It relieves a lot of pressure,” said Lanigan. “I had a lot of pressure on myself to do good with this piece. We put a lot into it to do well.”
Finishing in positions 7-10 was 17th-starter Mark Whitener of Middleburg, Fla., who enjoyed a career-best WoO LMS outing; Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who quietly moved forward from the 13th starting spot; Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., who used a provisional to start 23rd after breaking a driveshaft in his car during heat action; and Jack Sullivan of Greenbrier, Ark., who rose as high as sixth before a worn right-front tire slowed his pace.
Four caution flags slowed the race, all for slowed or stopped cars: Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn. (lap 17), Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan. (lap 22), Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa. (lap 28) and Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs of Bear Lake, Pa. (lap 39).
Thirty-two cars were entered in the event.
Sheppard was quickest in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials, which were split into two groups. His lap of 14.626 seconds in Group ‘A’ was the overall fastest, giving him his third fast-time honor in as many nights.
Heat winners were Sheppard, Brady Smith, Francis and O’Neal. The B-Mains were captured by Whitener and Raymond Merrill of Sallisaw, Okla.
The WoO LMS will return to action with three consecutive nights of action (Feb. 20-22) during the 43rd DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla. The traditional race meet at the Volusia half-mile also includes three evenings of DIRTcar-sanctioned Late Model competition from Feb. 17-19 that will see many WoO LMS regulars in action.
Results of World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘Bubba Army Dirt Late Model Winter Nationals’ Night 3 at Bubba Raceway Park (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (3) Darrell Lanigan/60 $12,650
2. (2) Don O’Neal/60 $6,550
3. (1) Brady Smith/60 $4,625
4. (5) Steve Francis/60 $3,600
5. (4) Morgan Bagley/60 $3,550
6. (8) Brandon Sheppard/60 $3,050
7. (17) Mark Whitener/60 $2,150
8. (13) Tim McCreadie/60 $2,350
9. (23) Shane Clanton/60 $2,050
10. (14) Jack Sullivan/60 $1,400
11. (19) Rick Eckert/60 $1,900
12. (11) Frankie Heckenast Jr./60 $1,250
13. (24) Chub Frank/60 $1,700
14. (9) Brandon Overton/60 $1,100
15. (12) Tim Fuller/60 $1,600
16. (7) Ivedent Lloyd Jr./60 $1,050
17. (20) Eric Wells/60 $1,500
18. (10) Chase Junghans/60 $900
19. (18) Raymond Merrill/59 $850
20. (21) Clint Smith/59 $1,350
21. (16) Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs/59 $800
22. (15) Scott Bloomquist/50 $900
23. (6) Dan Stone/28 $800
24. (22) Gregg Satterlee/1 $800
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 26 Mins., 29.203 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 4 (laps 17, 22, 28, 39)
Lap Leaders: O’Neal (1-6); Lanigan (7-60)
Provisional Starters: Clanton, Frank
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: O’Neal ($500)
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 1-Brandon Sheppard/New Berlin, IL 14.626
2. 2-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, WI 14.785
3. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 14.846
4. 25-Shane Clanton/Zebulon, GA 14.879
5. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 15.051
6. 18c-Chase Junghans/Manhattan, KS 15.091
7. 76-Brandon Overton/Appleton, GA 15.114
8. 18x-Jack Sullivan/Greenbrier, AR 15.153
9. 101-Casey Roberts/Toccoa, GA 15.173
10. 21L-Ivedent Lloyd Jr./Ocala, FL 15.189
11. 58-Mark Whitener/Middleburg, FL 15.190
12. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 15.220
13. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 15.242
14. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 15.640
15. 157-Mike Marlar/Winfield, TN 16.482
16. 11-Austin Kirkpatrick
1. 21d-Dan Stone/Thompson, PA 14.937
2. 5-Don O’Neal/Martinsville, IN 14.941
3. 99Jr-Frankie Heckenast Jr./Orland Park, IL 14.996
4. 14M-Morgan Bagley/Tyler, TX 15.123
5. 15-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 15.135
6. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 15.318
7. 12M-Raymond Merrill/Sallisaw, OK 15.359
8. 22-Gregg Satterlee/Indiana, PA 15.385
9. 0-Scott Bloomquist/Mooresburg, TN 15.424
10. 99B-Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs/Bear Lake, PA 15.476
11. 33-Brian Reese/Sharpsburg, GA 15.521
12. 1G-Michael Lake/Uniontown, PA 15.912
13. 18-Eric Wells/Hazard, KY 16.010
14. 32-David Gibson Jr./Charleston, WV 16.177
15. 17J-John Winge/Sioux Falls, SD 16.717
16. 60-Jim Manka/Rincon, GA 17.321
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Sheppard, Lanigan, Overton, McCreadie, Roberts, Whitener, C. Smith, Marlar
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): B. Smith, Lloyd, Junghans, Sullivan, Eckert, Frank, Clanton (DNS) Kirkpatrick
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Francis, Stone, Heckenast, Bloomquist, Merrill, Wells, Winge (DNS) Reese
Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): O’Neal, Bagley, Fuller, Briggs, Satterlee, Gibson, Manka, Lake
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Whitener, Eckert, C. Smith, Roberts, Frank, Marlar, Clanton (DNS) Kirkpatrick
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Merrill, Wells, Satterlee, Gibson, Winge, Lake, Manka (DNS) Reese
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners (awards presented to noted finisher/qualifier or next highest displaying decal):
Ohlins Shocks ($50 cash to fast qualifier): Don O’Neal
Comp Cams ($50 certificate to A-Main winner): Don O’Neal
MSD Ignition ($50 cash to A-Main winner): Brady Smith
Quartermaster ($100 certificate to A-Main winner): Mark Whitener
Wrisco (three sheets of aluminum/certificate to A-Main winner): Darrell Lanigan
STP ($50 cash to 2nd-place finisher in A-Main): Brady Smith
Penske Racing Shocks ($50 to 3rd-place finisher in A-Main): Mark Whitener
Roush-Yates ($50 cash to 4th-place finisher in A-Main): Brandon Sheppard
JE Pistons ($50 cash to 5th-place finisher in A-Main): Morgan Bagley
Lincoln Welders ($50 cash to 6th-place finisher in A-Main): Mark Whitener
American Racing Wheels ($50 cash to 7th-place finisher in A-Main): Mark Whitener
VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to 8th-place finisher in A-Main): Tim McCreadie
Edelbrock ($50 cash to 9th-place finisher in A-Main): Shane Clanton
Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th-place finisher in A-Main): Jack Sullivan
Cometic ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main): Frankie Heckenast Jr.
JRI Shocks ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main): Chub Frank
Superflow Dynos ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main): Ivedent Lloyd Jr.
Quartermaster ($25 certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main): Tim Fuller
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 16th-place finisher in A-Main): Ivedent Lloyd Jr.
Roush-Yates ($50 certificate to 18th-place finisher in A-Main): Raymond Merrill
Quartermaster ($50 certificate to 19th-place finisher in A-Main): Raymond Merrill
Arizona Sports Shirts ($100 certificate to 20th-place finisher in A-Main): Clint Smith
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 21st-place finisher in A-Main): Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs
Roush-Yates ($50 certificate to 22nd-place finisher in A-Main): Gregg Satterlee
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main): Brady Smith
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO driver): Don O’Neal
2014 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of Feb. 16 – 3 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Brady Smith 440
2. (tie) Brandon Sheppard 434 (-6)
2. (tie) Darrell Lanigan 434 (-6)
4. (tie) Rick Eckert 404 (-36)
4. (tie) Tim McCreadie 404 (-36)
6. Tim Fuller 402 (-38)
7. Ivedent Lloyd Jr. 396 (-44)
8. Shane Clanton 392 (-48)
9. (tie) Frankie Heckenast Jr. 388 (-52)
9. (tie) Morgan Bagley 388 (-52)
11. Brandon Overton 376 (-64)
12. Chub Frank 372 (-68)
13. Eric Wells 362 (-78)
14. Mike Marlar 358 (-82)
15. Jack Sullivan 356 (-84)
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including: American Racing Custom Wheels (Official Custom Wheel), Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), KMC (Official Custom Truck Wheel), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing Fuel (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award) and McCarthy’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award); in addition to contingency sponsors: Butlerbuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Dominator Race Products, Edelbrock, Eibach Springs, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, QuarterMaster, Roush Yates Performance Parts, Superflow Dynos, Wrisco Aluminum and XS Power Racing Batteries; along with manufacturer sponsors Capital Race Cars, Integra Shocks, GRT Chassis, Jake’s Carts, Racing Electronics, Rocket Chassis, TNT Rescue, and Warrior Chassis.
LIVE UPDATES 2/16: World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘Bubba Army Dirt Late Model Winter Nationals’ Night 3 At Bubba Raceway Park
OCALA, FL – Feb. 16, 2014 – The 2014 World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘Bubba Army Dirt Late Model Winter Nationals’ concludes tonight at Bubba Raceway Park with the ‘Super Sunday Showdown’ finale.
Drivers will chase the tripleheader’s biggest prize: a $12,000 first-place payoff for 60 laps of A-Main work.
For live updates of all the news, pit notes and results from tonight’s action, click the ‘Full Story’ link below. Be sure to refresh your browser throughout the night to see the latest information.
8:40 p.m. – Darrell Lanigan ended the Bubba Army Dirt Late Model Winter Nationals on a high note, breaking through to capture Sunday night’s 60-lap World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘Super Sunday Showdown’ at Bubba Raceway Park.
Finding the winning touch with his self-designed Club 29 car after top-five finishes in each of the first two events of the weekend, Lanigan passed Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., for the lead on lap seven and controlled the remainder of the distance. The two-time WoO LMS champion turned back a late challenge from O’Neal while racing through lapped traffic to pocket the race’s $12,000 top prize.
O’Neal settled for second place, about one second behind Lanigan at the checkered flag. The driver of NASCAR star Clint Bowyer’s Barry Wright car once again fell short of his elusive first-ever WoO LMS triumph.
A-Main Finish (60 laps): 1. Darrell Lanigan, 2. Don O’Neal, 3. Brady Smith, 4. Steve Francis, 5. Morgan Bagley, 6. Brandon Sheppard, 7. Mark Whitener, 8. Tim McCreadie, 9. Shane Clanton, 10. Jack Sullivan, 11. Rick Eckert, 12. Frankie Heckenast Jr., 13. Chub Frank, 14. Brandon Overton, 15. Tim Fuller, 16. Ivedent Lloyd Jr., 17. Eric Wells, 18. Chase Junghans, 19. Raymond Merrill, 20. Clint Smith, 21. Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs, 22. Scott Bloomquist, 23. Dan Stone, 24. Gregg Satterlee
7:25 p.m. – Florida’s Mark Whitener and Oklahoma’s Raymond Merrill captured the pair of 12-lap B-Mains, completing qualifying for the evening’s headliner. Rick Eckert and Clint Smith finished second and third, respectively, in the first B-Main to transfer, while Eric Wells and Gregg Satterlee grabbed the qualifying spots in the second race.
Shane Clanton and Chub Frank will use WoO LMS points provisionals and start 23rd and 24th, respectively.
A Mini-Sprint feature is now heading out on the racetrack with the 60-lap WoO LMS A-Main set to follow.
Row 1: Brady Smith/Don O’Neal
Row 2: Darrell Lanigan/Morgan Bagley
Row 3: Steve Francis/Dan Stone
Row 4: Ivedent Lloyd Jr./Brandon Sheppard
Row 5: Brandon Overton/Chase Junghans
Row 6: Frankie Heckenast Jr./Tim Fuller
Row 7: Tim McCreadie/Scott Bloomquist
Row 8: Scott Bloomquist/Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs
Row 9: Mark Whitener/Raymond Merrill
Row 10: Rick Eckert/Eric Wells
Row 11: Clint Smith/Gregg Satterlee
Row 12: Shane Clanton/Chub Frank
Brady will lead them again
7 p.m. – Brady Smith drew the pole position for the A-Main for the second time in the last three nights, putting him in a prime spot to bid for another Winter Nationals triumph. He will share the front row with Don O’Neal, a DIRTcar Late Model winner in the past at BRP.
Darrell Lanigan, the only driver with multiple WoO LMS A-Main victories at BRP in their career (he has won four times), will start third and Morgan Bagley will take the green flag from the fourth spot. Steve Francis starts fifth, followed by Dan Stone, Ivedent Lloyd Jr. and Brandon Sheppard, who will have to hustle to register his second consecutive Winter Nationals clean sweep.
The pair of 12-lap B-Mains (three qualify from each) are about to begin.
Winter Nat’ls winners, Team Bowyer own heats
6:30 p.m. – The stars of this weekend’s Winter Nationals — Brandon Sheppard and Brady Smith — continued speeding around the BRP oval with victories in heats one and two, respectively. Then Clint Bowyer Racing teammates Steve Francis and Don O’Neal took over, winning the final two preliminaries.
The most notable casualty of the heats was WoO LMS regular Shane Clanton, who retired four laps into the second heat due to a broken driveshaft. He is attempting to install a new driveshaft prior to the B-Main rather than pull out a backup car.
The top-two finishers in each heat — Darrell Lanigan, Ivedent Lloyd Jr., Dan Stone and Morgan Bagley were the runners-up — will redraw for the top eight starting spots in the 60-lap A-Main. That redraw will take place in front of the grandstand momentarily.
Complete results from the heats can be seen here.
Hat trick for B-Shepp
5:45 p.m. – Brandon Sheppard (photo below) flexed his muscle once again in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials, turning the quickest overall lap of the qualifying session (14.626 seconds) to earn his third consecutive fast-time honor.
With David Gibson Jr. entering the evening’s action at the last minute to push the field to 32 cars, WoO LMS officials split the field into two groups for time trials. Group ‘A’ will line up heats one and two, and Group ‘B’ results will be used to align heats three and four.
Brady Smith was second-fastest in Group ‘A,’ which means the weekend’s two A-Main winners will start the evening’s first two heats from the pole position.
Dan Stone was fastest in Group ‘B’ (14.937 seconds) and Don O’Neal was second-fastest, giving both drivers pole starting spots in the final two heats.
Scott Bloomquist was late to the lineup during Group ‘B,’ making him subject to a penalty: regardless of his time, he could be listed as no higher than 50 percent of the group’s field plus one spot. It was a moot point, however, because he timed ninth-fastest.
Complete results from time trials can be seen here.
5:05 p.m. – The fastest drivers in tonight’s hot laps were no surprise — Friday-night winner Brady Smith (15.050 seconds) and Saturday-night winner Brady Smith (15.084 seconds) topped the speed chart.
Ohlins Shocks Time Trials are now underway and will lead into four 10-lap heat races for the 32 cars in action. David Gibson was a late entrant in the night’s action, enlarging the field to the point that four heats will be run.
4:05 p.m. – The drivers’ meeting has been completed and teams are beginning to fire up their cars in preparation for hot laps, which will begin shortly.
Thirty-one cars are signed in for competition, including late arrival Scott Bloomquist, who pulled into the pit area a bit after 3 p.m.
2:40 p.m. – Rick Eckert slogged through a rough night here on Saturday, qualifying poorly and salvaging an eighth-place finish after starting 17th. He was far from happy after climbing out of his car.
Then, shortly after the end of last night’s feature, the 48-year-old WoO LMS star got word by cell phone that turned his frown upside down.
Eckert’s wife, Kristal, called from their hometown of York, Pa., with the news that at about 11:30 p.m. their daughter, Courtney Mobley, had given birth to a 7-pound, 7-ounce baby girl named Lona. Rick and Kristal had become grandparents for the first time.
Moments after receiving the report, Eckert Tweeted the news to his 4,100-plus Twitter followers: “”I’m a grandpa congrats Courtney and Cody on Lona I’m so happy.”
Eckert followed that up with a Tweet that summed up his Feb. 15, 2014: “Not a great night racing but it turned out to be a great night.”
With Courtney’s due date right smack dab in the middle of Florida Speedweeks, Rick’s wife stayed home to be with Courtney and Courtney’s husband, Cody. She was beaming with delight after Lona’s birth (that’s Kristal pictured at left holding the newborn at the hospital) and has no plans to leave her new granddaughter to rejoin Rick in Florida for this week’s DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.
“She’s over the racing now,” Eckert joked, suggesting that leaving little Lona for long racing road trips won’t be easy for the proud grandmother.
2:05 p.m. – With Bubba Raceway Park graced by another beautiful day — crystal-clear skies, temperatures pushing 70 — several high-profile newcomers have pulled into the pit area to challenge the WoO LMS stars and other competitors who have competed here this weekend.
So far five new faces have signed in for action: Clint Bowyer Motorsports teammates Don O’Neal (a DIRTcar Late Model winner at BRP several years ago) and Steve Francis; Pennsylvanians Gregg Satterlee and Dan Stone; annd Jim Manka of Rincon, Ga.
Meanwhile, four drivers who have raced this weekend have turned in their transponders and left the track: Dalton Myers, John Garvin Jr., Mike Hammerle and Chuck Julien.
Hot laps are scheduled to start at 4 p.m.