Clanton, 37, couldn’t stem Lanigan’s low-side charge.
“Darrell was just a little bit better on the bottom and snuck by me,” said Clanton, who hustled his Kennedy Motorsports Capital Race Car forward from the fourth starting spot. “I didn’t know I had to slow down that much in three and four (to run the inside). Maybe it would’ve been a different race if I did.”
Simpson, 34, emerged as Lanigan’s prime late-race threat. He sat third at the lap-37 caution flag, but he summoned some extra speed in his MasterSbilt car on the restart to pass Clanton and within two circuits was challenging Lanigan with high-side thrusts.
But just as Simpson appeared primed to make a final push for his first career WoO LMS victory, the race’s seventh and final caution flag, on lap 44, effectively snuffed out his hopes. He lost second to Clanton on the restart and never recovered.
“I didn’t need that last caution,” said Simpson. “I thought I had something for Darrell there at the end. He seemed to be slipping a little bit. He was riding the bottom down (in turns three and four) and I would get a heck of a run in one and two on him, but it is what it is. It’s our best Outlaw finish, so we’ll take it.”
Simpson did learn a valuable lesson from running with Lanigan and Clanton.
“I kind of screwed up the early part of the race and let these guys get by me,” said Simpson. “I didn’t drive hard enough. Once I followed them guys for a few laps I realized how hard they were driving and realized I had to push my stuff harder.”
Lanigan knew Simpson was chasing him late in the race, but he was confident enough to know that the Iowa driver would need to pull off a spectacular move to gain command.
“That top (lane) was way out there so really wasn’t worried too much about him,” said Lanigan. “I never did see him. I just ran my line and tried to be consistent.”
Both Lanigan and Clanton were able to find new life in the WoO LMS championship with their finishes thanks to the problems suffered by points leader Josh Richards, who followed a subpar qualifying effort (fourth place in a heat) with a rare DNF in the A-Main. Richards climbed to sixth place from the 13th starting spot in just 18 laps, but he spun in turn two on lap 22 while battling with Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., and stopped to bring out another caution on lap 37 due to a broken oil pump that left him with a 17th-place finish.
Richards’ woes shrunk his point lead to 48 over Clanton and 64 over Lanigan with 13 events remaining on the 2013 WoO LMS schedule.
Chad Simpson turned the overall fastest lap in qualifying, clicking off a circuit of 13.865 seconds in Group ‘B.’
Darrell Lanigan, Shane Clanton, Chad Simpson, Gregg Satterlee, Don O’Neal, Dale McDowell, Jason Feger, Tim Fuller, Brandon Sheppard, Bub McCool, Rick Eckert, Chub Frank, Eric Wells, Curt Martin, Clint Smith, Tyler Bruening, Josh Richards, Bobby Pierce, Tim McCreadie, Chris Simpson, Jason Rauen, Clay Fisher, Dillon Wood, Kyle Bronson, Morgan Bagley.