SARVER, Pa. — Point leader Darrell Lanigan picked up right where he left off at Lernerville Speedway, earning his 14th World of Outlaws Late Model Series victory of the season Friday night when the national tour returned to the western Pennsylvania track for the first time since Lanigan’s $30,000 Firecracker 100 victory in June.
Lanigan, 44, swept the program at Lernerville’s inaugural Working Man 50 on Friday, earning $10,650 as he closed to within one victory of matching his WoO LMS record 15-win season of 2012. The triumph also marked the third win in four WoO LMS A-Mains at Lernerville this season for Lanigan, who claimed one of two preliminary races during the Firecracker 100 weekend to go along with his victory in the event’s blockbuster finale.
Lanigan started the evening by earning fast time honors and later won his heat race and drew the pole for 50-lap feature. However, his A-Main victory was far from easy, as outside polesitter Mike Marlar tried his best to spoil Lanigan’s party.
Marlar pressured Lanigan through the race’s opening laps before taking the lead on lap four. Marlar edged away just after taking the point, but Lanigan picked up his pace and reeled in Marlar by lap 15. After a back-and-forth battle through lapped traffic, Lanigan retook the lead for good on lap 17 and never looked back. He pulled away from runner-up finisher Rick Eckert of York, Pa., on multiple late restarts on his way to his series-leading 67th career WoO LMS victory.
“Once (the track surface) blew off a little bit there our car got really, really good there in the middle to the bottom,” said Lanigan, who drew closer to his third WoO LMS championship in stretching his lead in the series standings to 282 points over Eckert. “It was just unbelievable. You hate to stop when a car’s that good.
“We could go anywhere on the racetrack. This car’s been phenomenal all year. I can’t think everybody enough on this crew. They’re doing a great job.”
Lanigan crossed the finish line 1.646 seconds ahead of Eckert, who once again fell just short of claiming his first WoO LMS victory of the season. Tim Fuller charged from his 13th starting spot to finish third with Tim McCreadie fourth and Eric Wells rounding out the top five. Marlar faded during the second half of the race, taking sixth.
Friday’s race marked the second straight WoO LMS event that Lanigan gave up the lead during early going. But just as he recovered to retake the point from Brady Smith on his way to winning Aug. 23’s event at Merritt Speedway in Lake City, Mich., Lanigan once again maintained his composure after Marlar got by him in Friday’s race and waited for his self-designed Club 29 Race Car to hit its groove.
“You’re always worried when somebody gets the lead like that,” said Lanigan, who logged his 28th top-five finish in 32 WoO LMS A-Mains contested this season. “But I could stay right there with him and pressure him a little bit. I knew once it blew off a little bit we would be really good.”