- July 31 - Eriez Speedway by Sam Holbrooks


Darrell Lanigan and Josh Richards at Eriez Speedway

Race winner Darrell Lanigan is congratulated by runner up Josh Richards (left) after his seventh win of the season and his sixth on the World of Outlaws 2011 tour. (Todd Battin)

World of Outlaws: Lanigan Tames Eriez For Sixth WoO Win

By Kevin Kovac

HAMMETT, Pa. – July 31. Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., capped the three-race World of Outlaws Late Model Series swing through western Pennsylvania in fine fashion, mastering Eriez Speedway to capture Sunday's 50-lap A-Main.

The 2008 WoO LMS champion led from start-to-finish to register his first-ever victory at the one-third-mile oval outside Erie. He drove away from Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., following a late restart en route to his series-leading sixth win of the 2011 season behind the wheel of his self-owned Rocket car.

Darrell Lanigan at Eriez Speedway

Dave Lyon's #55 goes a lap down as Union, Ky.'s Darrell Lanigan barrels toward his second World of Outlaws win in the Keystone State in five days, this time at Eriez Speedway. (Todd Battin)

"Eriez is not one of my better tracks, but the car was awesome tonight," said the 41-year-old Lanigan, who earned $10,775 for his efforts. "Getting to draw the front row (outside pole starting spot) definitely helped out, but the car was unbelievable. We did a few things different than we usually do here and it worked."

The checkered flag was Lanigan's second of the national tour's month-ending tripleheader in the Keystone State. He also won on July 26 at Dog Hollow Speedway in Strongstown, Pa.

Richards, 23, hustled from the fifth starting spot to second by lap 23, but after overtaking Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga., for the runner-up slot, his ascension effectively stalled thanks to a faulty spark plug wire, leaving him 0.990 of a second behind Lanigan at the finish line.

Rick Eckert and Rob Blair at Eriez Speedway

Rick Eckert slips under fellow Pennsylvania standout Robbie Blair en route to a sixth place showing and a still fairly secure points lead. (Todd Battin)

Clanton, who started from the pole position, settled for a third place finish ahead of 14th starting Tim McCreadie and his Sweeteners Plus teammate Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y.

Lanigan, whose pair of Pennsylbania victories sandwiched a ninth-place finish on July 27 at McKean County Raceway in East Smethport (he went to the rear of the field after clipping the wall), outgunned Clanton for the lead at the initial green on Sunday and never looked back. He was well aware that Richards was lurking in second throughout the race's second half, but figured it would take a spectacular move for his young rival to unseat him.

"I knew (Richards) was back there, but I didn't where he was," said Lanigan, who registered his 25th career win on the series. "I knew if anyone did pass me on the outside, he was gonna' have a helluva' ride out there. It got dirty out there and it was hard to get anything going, so I didn't see how anybody could pass me out there."

Ron Davies at Eriez Speedway

Regional ace Ron Davies slows to a stop at Eriez. (Todd Battin)

Richards managed to come within inches of Lanigan's right-rear quarter-panel when he lunged into turns one and two following the race's third and final restart on lap 41, but that was as close as he got to the lead.

"We gave it all we had," said Richards, who was shooting for a second consecutive WoO LMS victory after winning the 'Penn Gold 40' at McKean County. "We had a real good car, but we broke a plug wire and I couldn't quite get the car loaded (through the corners) like we needed to. The motor would just stumble and I'd lose that little extra bit of ground when I needed to be on the gas and going."

Clanton, 35, recorded just his second top-five finish in 21 WoO LMS starts this season. He got back on track after back-to-back frustrating finishes at Dog Hollow and McKean County.

Darrell Lanigan VL at Eriez Speedway

Darrell Lanigan after his sixth World of Outlaws win of the season at Eriez Speedway. (Jay Pees)

"We worked pretty hard this week," said Clanton, who decided to pull out his Rocket car for Sunday's action after struggling with his Capital Race Car in the other Pennsylvania events. "We wanted to go racing Friday and Saturday but we didn't. We took some time off to try and concentrate on this race."

McCreadie, 37, was the most notable hard charger for the third consecutive WoO LMS A-Main, but that fact had him a bit perturbed following the race.

"I just don't qualify or heat race good," said McCreadie, who briefly took third from Clanton lap 47 before ceding the spot back the following circuit. "We had a really good car for the feature – again – but when you start so far back and have to pass all them guys, you just use a lot of your stuff up. Once you get there in contention like we did tonight, there just isn't enough left."

Coffey, who turned 40 on July 25, cracked the top five for the second consecutive race. He also threatened to take third from Clanton midway through the A-Main before he fell back to fifth place.

Scott Gurdak at Eriez Speedway

Local driver Scott Gurdak bites down on Eriez Speedway earlier in the day. (Todd Battin)

"I was probably a little bit too tight right in the center to run the bottom," said Coffey, who is still searching for his first career WoO LMS victory in 101 starts. "I finally moved up to the middle in (turns) three and four about halfway through the race and actually drove right to Clanton and got beside him a couple times, but then he kind of adjusted his line a little bit and I went down there and missed once and slid and Timmy went driving on by (for fourth on a lap 37 restart)."

WoO LMS points leader Rick Eckert of York, Pa., finished sixth after nearly slipping out of the top 10 following a lap 23 restart. He left Eriez with a 42-point advantage over Richards.

Tim McCreadie and Shane Clanton at Eriez Speedway

Tim McCreadie races past polesitter Shane Clanton in his advance from 14th to third, but #25 Clanton retook the spot for good on the next circuit and left McCreadie in fourth. (Todd Battin)

"I tightened my car up too much," said Eckert. "I was too tight to roll through the center, and on the one restart I pushed off the corner and whoa...I was in trouble. They were steady driving by me.

"That last restart I got something back. We salvaged a decent finish out of it, so we'll keep after 'em as hard as we can and hopefully we'll be there at the end (in the championship battle)."

July 31 - World of Outlaws at Eriez Speedway
1) Darrell Lanigan, 2) Josh Richards, 3) Shane Clanton, 4) Tim McCreadie, 5) Vic Coffey, 6) Rick Eckert, 7) Mike Knight, 8) Robbie Blair, 9) Dan Stone, 10) Chub Frank, 11) Pat Doar, 12) Clint Smith (prov.), 13) Austin Hubbard, 14) Rick 'Boom' Briggs, 15) Andy Boozel, 16) Dave Hess, Jr., 17) John Volpe, 18) Tim Fuller, 19) Ron Davies, 20) John Lobb, 21) Dave Lyon (prov.), 22) Scott Gurdak, 23) Bump Hedman, 24) Steve Francis (prov.), 25) Jason Dupont
Fast Time (36 entries): Hedman (16.051); Heat winners: Clanton, Lanigan, Stone, Richards; B-Main winners: Volpe, R. Davies

Todd Battin photo


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