Eckert started third in his self-owned Team Zero by Bloomquist car — a welcomed position for the green flag after he picked the worst starting spot possible in the feature redraw at the first two events on the Wild West Tour. He immediately snatched second place when the race began and chased Lanigan’s Rocket machine until surging by for the lead off the inside of turn four on lap 18.
“He got to rolling that middle (lane) in (turns) one and two and I just got to him,” Eckert said of his pursuit of Lanigan. “It got a slippery spot out and in (the corners), and there was one spot of brown through the middle — and that was the key thing. I just started aiming for those brown spots, and as it got more technical it got more into my favor.
“I think (Lanigan) was a little too tight to hit the brown spots. He ran a good wide, hustle line, but he couldn’t cross back to the brown spots like I could.”
Eckert’s pace was slowed by just one caution flag once he gained command, on lap 25 when David Karst spun into an inside marker tire in turn two just a short distance in front of Eckert. He handled the restart and smoothly negotiated lapped traffic down the stretch to become the 10th different WoO LMS A-Main winner this season.
Lanigan, who won the 2009 WoO LMS event at the one-third-mile Gillette oval, felt he let a golden opportunity to score his eighth win of the season slip through his fingers.
“ I just gave him the bottom (groove),” said Lanigan. “It’s my own fault. When we were lapping cars (early) we were running a groove in the middle and coming off the bottom and I thought we were pretty good, but it was definitely better around the very bottom.”
Lanigan’s lap of 13.641 seconds during Group ‘B’ was the quickest overall, earning him not only his fourth WoO LMS fast-time honor of 2013.
Rick Eckert, Darrell Lanigan, Clint Smith, Jimmy Mars, Eric Wells, Tim McCreadie, Shane Clanton, Morgan Bagley, Josh Richards, Brady Smith, Bub McCool, Chub Frank, Tim Fuller, Eric Mass, Pat Doar, John Mason, Bumper Jones, John Winge, David Karst, Scott Anderson, Chris Dunn, Scott Lewis, Mike Stadel, Dan Henrickson.