World of Outlaws: Lanigan Sweeps Weekend Win After "Old
Kentucky Home Shootout"
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
BARDSTOWN, Ky. – April 30. The early-season beat rolled on for Union, Ky.'s Darrell
Lanigan on Saturday night at Bluegrass Speedway.
Racing at a half-mile oval just two hours from his home, Lanigan completed a sweep of the World of Outlaws Late
Model Series's weekend doubleheader with a victory in the caution-free 50-lap 'My Old Kentucky Old Home
Darrell Lanigan completed a sweep of the weekend's racing with his second at Bluegrass Speedway on
Saturday. (Kevin Kovac)
Lanigan, 40, led the entire distance of the ninth annual event after starting from the pole position in his
GottaRace.com Rocket car. He repelled challenges from two-time defending WoO LMS champion Josh Richards of
Shinnston, W.Va., and Scott James of Greendale, Ind., to earn his tour-leading fourth win in six starts this
"It's good to come back here to Kentucky and win one," said Lanigan, who captured the inaugural 'My Old Kentucky
Home Shootout' at Bluegrass in 2003. "We didn't qualify very well (30th after timing late in the session), but we
ran a good heat race (finishing second) and then drew the number one (for the feature). That definitely helped, but
like I've said – the car's been good all year, and we're just doing everything we can to win every race and get
back in the points."
Lanigan, who missed the WoO LMS season opener on Feb. 17 at Volusia Speedway Park due to a medical issue and
finished 15th in his first tour outing of 2011 two days later, hasn't finished outside the top three since leaving
the Florida track. He has climbed all the way back to fourth in the points standings and, with Saturday's $10,775
score, has already topped $60,000 in earnings.
Coming off a spectacular charge to victory using the outside lane on Friday night at Hartford (Mich.) Motor
Speedway, Lanigan utilized a more methodical approach at Bluegrass. He had to calmly hold his line and avoid
catching lapped cars throughout a race that was completed without interruption in just over 14 minutes.
Lanigan crossed the finish line 0.479 of a second ahead of James, who slipped underneath Richards for the runner-up
spot on lap 37 and marched on to a career-best performance on the WoO LMS driving the Riggs Motorsports Rocket.
The 23-year-old Richards settled for a close third-place finish in the Rocket house car, veteran Mike Jewell of
Scottsburg, Ind., was fourth in a self-owned MasterSbilt mount and 19-year-old sensation Austin Hubbard of Seaford,
Del., placed fifth in Dale Beitler's Rocket machine.
Lanigan, who competed all weekend virtually free of the lower-back pain that has plagued him throughout the season
after receiving a cortisone shot for his fractured tailbone, recognized that the Bluegrass surface had become
locked down and played the conditions to perfection.
"I was rubber racing," said Lanigan, who sits third on the WoO LMS win list since 2004 with 23 career victories. "I
didn't really want to go up there and pressure those lapped cars because when you get on a guy's bumper it takes
the air off your nose, so I just rolled out of it in the corners and closed back up on the straightaways.
"I knew that somebody was close, but I didn't know who it was and I knew it would be hard to pass me if I didn't
make a mistake or get myself messed up with lapped cars."
James, 39, never drew close enough to offer Lanigan a serious challenge. His hard-compound tire choice helped him
come on as the race progressed but he couldn't pull off his first-ever WoO LMS triumph.
"I'm happy," said James, whose previous best finish in WoO LMS action was third, on both Feb. 17 and 19, 2005, at
Volusia Speedway Park. "It would've been nice to get it tonight, but any time you can come out of here with a top
three in this crowd your car's pretty good."
Richards, meanwhile, fell short in his bid to reach Victory Lane for the first time in WoO LMS competition this
season. He moved from the fourth starting spot to second by lap two and threatened Lanigan several times, but his
hopes disintegrated after he slid high in turn four and ceded the bridesmaid position to James.
"I felt like we were way better than Darrell," said Richards, who has a 32-point edge over Lanigan in the WoO LMS
standings. "I got up to him and I got clear up behind his quarter-panel (on lap 37), but I got a little bit of an
aero-push so I just kind of tried to carry it to the outside of (turn) four. I thought the track was rubbered wider
than it was, but it was really narrow and I was like, 'Uh oh, that was bad.' I didn't realize Scott James was that
close and he got by.
"We were going for the win," he added. "I'm really hungry for a win right now, so I tried to make something happen.
It didn't work, but we still ended up third out of it – and knowing we were that close, or even better, than a guy
who's been dominating makes me feel a lot better."
Jewell, who turns 53 in July, was the feel-good story of the night. He slipped backward one position to finish
fourth after starting on the inside of the second row but was still beaming following the checkered flag.
"I took a gamble and ran a harder tire and those guys sort of got away at the start," said Jewell, an accomplished
Midwestern racer who registered a career-best WoO LMS finish. "But then I moved up there to the top, got faster and
got some momentum, and I started running those guys (Lanigan and Richards) down. I thought, Man, I've got something
here. But Scott slid under me (for third) before I got down there in that rubber and then we were done.
"I had a good car all night, so I was real pleased. These guys are on top of their game – they're professionals,
and this is their living. We're just kind of weekend warriors, so I'm just glad to get to run with them."
Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind., finished sixth – a career-best WoO LMS run by the young graduate of the DIRTcar
UMP Modified ranks. Rick Eckert of York, Pa., remained second in the tour points standings with a seventh-place
finish after starting 12th; 14th-starter Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., survived a first-lap scrape that crunched
his car's left-rear sheet metal to place eighth; Tim Rivers of Salem, Ind., was ninth for his first-ever top-10
finish in a WoO LMS event; and Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., took 10th.
The race's only noteworthy casualty was Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., who relinquished fourth place on lap four
due to a broken rearend in his BPG Inc.-sponsored car.
'My Old Kentucky Home Shootout' at Bluegrass
1) Darrell Lanigan, 2) Scott
James, 3) Josh Richards, 4) Mike Jewell, 5) Austin Hubbard, 6) Kent Robinson, 7) Rick Eckert, 8) Chub
Frank, 9) Tim Rivers, 10) Brady Smith, 11) Clint Smith, 12) Jason Feger, 13) Victor Lee, 14) Tim
McCreadie, 15) Shane Clanton (prov.), 16) Greg Johnson, 17) Vic Coffey, 18) Pat Doar, 19) Jonathan
Davenport, 20) Terry English, 21) Dustin Neat, 22) Justin Rattliff, 23) Ron Davies (prov.), 24) Tim
Tungate (prov.), 25) Tim Fuller, 26) Brent Robinson (prov.)
Fast Time (42 entries): James
(15.593); Heat winners: Richards, Jewell, K. Robinson, Hubbard; B-Main winners: Davenport, C.
|Scott Oglesby photo