LITTLE VALLEY, N.Y. — Well, that ‘slump’ didn’t last long.
Darrell Lanigan snapped a modest two-race winless streak on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series Wednesday night, rolling to a runaway victory before a standing-room-only crowd in the national tour’s inaugural 50-lap A-Main at Little Valley Speedway.
The 42-year-old star raced off the outside pole starting spot to lead the entire distance. He turned back a brief mid-race threat from Josh Richards and pulled away following a lap-32 restart to defeat the returning two-time WoO LMS champion by a commanding 2.231 seconds.
Lanigan’s triumph was his record 14th of the 2012 season and the 40th of his career in World of Outlaws competition, moving him out of a tie with Richards for the top spot on the circuit’s all-time win list.
“I think we’re bouncing that most wins (record) back and forth,” said Lanigan, who watched Richards tie him for career top-winner status with a victory on Aug. 18 at Merritt Raceway in Lake City, Mich. “We’ll see who comes up with it.”
Clint Smith finished a distant third, nearly a half-lap behind Lanigan on the sprawling half-mile fairgrounds oval. Smith started from the pole position but was outgunned by Lanigan at the initial green flag and lost second to Richards on lap nine.
Ron Davies, a 54-year-old veteran who won the most recent dirt late model feature run at Little Valley, settled for a fourth-place finish after starting third. Sixth-starter Vic Coffey, who won the only dirt late model feature of his career in 2007 at Little Valley, briefly grabbed fourth from Davies on a lap-16 restart but ceded the spot back two circuits later and went on to place fifth.
Of the top five finishers, only Davies did not drive a Rocket Chassis machine. He was behind the wheel of an MB Customs mount.
Lanigan, of course, raved about the performance of his Cornett-powered Rocket car after scoring a $10,650 checkered flag that pushed his 2012 WoO LMS earnings to an astounding $284,650.
“The car was just awesome,” said Lanigan, who extended his points lead to 172 over ninth-place finisher Rick Eckert with just eight events remaining on the 2012 schedule. “The carburetor stumbled a little bit in the corners and kind of screwed me up, but man, that thing would run down the straightaways. It’s just an unbelievable motor.”
Lanigan, whose record streak of six consecutive wins ended with quiet finishes of fifth and eight during the tour’s Michigan doubleheader on Aug. 17-18, kept Richards from scoring a second straight victory. Richards, 24, took advantage of an open spot on his NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule to enter his third WoO LMS event in a row.
“We were softer (compound) with the left-rear and right-front tire than Darrell and I thought we had something on him,” said Richards, who started fourth. “They said we were a half-second faster (than Lanigan) when I got to second and he got hung up in some traffic during the first green flag run. We caught him and I felt like if we could’ve got by him we could’ve held him off even though he was better at the end, but we couldn’t get by him and then our tires started giving out.
“We were trying hard. It definitely wasn’t from lack of effort. But Darrell and his guys were really good tonight and we just gambled on tires and it didn’t work out. It was still good enough to run second, so we’re happy.”
Darrell Lanigan, Josh Richards, Clint Smith, Ron Davies, Vic Coffey, Shane Clanton, Bub McCool, Jimmy Mars, Rick Eckert, Mike Knight, Tim Fuller, Kent Robinson, Bob Close, John Lobb, Jason Dupont, Dick Barton, Bump Hedman, Dan Stone, Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs, Brian Reese, Gregg Satterlee, Tim McCreadie, Chub Frank, Pat Doar.