Union, Kentucky's Darrell Lanigan finds a low route around
the Volusia Speedway Park oval to hold off a high flying Brian Birkhofer for a big win at the Daytona area
track. (Mike Ruefer
Lanigan Off To Strong Start With Opening Night WoO
Victory at Volusia
BARBERVILLE, FL - Feb. 8, 2010 - Darrell Lanigan won't be a bridesmaid during the 39th annual DIRTcar
Nationals by University of Northwestern Ohio.
The standout racer from Union, Ky., made sure of that on Monday night, scoring a hard-fought victory in the 30-lap
UMP Late Model A-Main that opened the meet's full-fender action at Volusia Speedway Park.
Lanigan, 39, outdueled Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., and Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Ia., to pocket a $7,000 top
prize -- almost exactly one year after finishing second in the first event of the DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH. He
went on to record two more runner-up finishes in the remaining five nights of the 2009 series.
Darrell Lanigan takes his place in the winner's circle on
the first night of "DIRTCar Nationals" racing at Volusia Speedway Park. (Dan Fennell
"It feels good to get a win right out of the box this year," said Lanigan, the 2008 World of Outlaws Late
Model Series champion. "But we didn't do anything real different from last year. We just made some little tweaks
and got some breaks."
Driving a car he debuted late in the 2009 season, Lanigan used the inside lane to move forward from the fifth
starting spot and grab the lead from Birkhofer on lap 14. Birkhofer regained command on lap 16, but Lanigan surged
ahead on lap 19 and repelled late-race challenges in lapped traffic from Owens and Birkhofer to emerge
Owens settled for second place, 0.582 of a second behind Lanigan after his high-side bid rounding turns
three and four on the final lap fell short. He started seventh in his Team Zero by Bloomquist machine.
Birkhofer finished third in his MB Customs car after leading laps 1, 3-13 and 16-18 in the wildly competitive
affair, which included five lead changes among three drivers.
Completing the top five was 17th-starter Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., and eighth-starter Dan Schlieper of
"The car was awesome and the track was perfect tonight," said Lanigan, who made his first start of 2010 in
preparation for his seventh consecutive season as a WoO LMS regular. "You could race all over it -- so hat's off to
the Volusia Speedway track crew, and hat's off to my crew too."
Owens, a four-time DIRTcar UMP Modified national champion, wasn't disappointed with his second-place finish.
"To race like that with Lanigan and Birkhofer -- man, that was fun," said Owens. "It was a great race."
Birkhofer, meanwhile, came through his first appearance of the season with a good idea of what he should have done
to his machine.
"We thought one thing and should've done the other," said Birkhofer, who didn't plan to enter the DIRTcar Nationals
by UNOH until less than two weeks