SPRING VALLEY, Minn. — Darrell Lanigan raced to his fourth career victory in Deer Creek Speedway’s NAPA Auto Parts Gopher 50 Sunday evening, earning $11,600 for his eighth World of Outlaws Late Model Series victory of the season.
Lanigan, the two-time WoO LMS champion and current point leader, advanced from fourth starting spot and drove his Gotta Race-sponsored Club 29 Race Car by polesitter Morgan Bagley on lap 23 of the 50-lap event on his way to winning Minnesota’s biggest late model race for the second straight year.
Lanigan crossed the finish line 1.319 seconds ahead of Bagley, who settled for the runner-up finish after leading laps 4-22. Fifth-starting Tim Fuller was just behind Bagley in third, while second-starting Rick Eckert slid back to fourth after leading the race’s first three laps. Eighth-starting Eric Wells rounded out the top five after running as high as third midway through the race.
Lanigan’s 61st career WoO LMS victory came in the second leg of the series’ four-race Wild West Tour and helped to ease the disappointment of a missed opportunity in the Wild West Tour opener Thursday night at Hibbing (Minn.) Raceway when Lanigan fell to third after leading the first half of the race.
“We definitely let one get away the other night,” said Lanigan, who stretched his WoO LMS points lead to an even 200 points with the victory. “That was our own fault. But we’re having a great year, so I ain’t complaining.
“The car was great tonight; we could go anywhere we wanted to. Went a little harder than they did on tires, and I think it paid off in the end.”
Looking for his first career WoO LMS victory, Bagley topped an early battle with Eckert to put his P&W Sales-sponsored Rocket Chassis out front on lap four. He fought hard to turn back Lanigan’s challenge around the 20-lap mark but couldn’t hold him off after the two leaders raced side-by-side through traffic for three laps.
Bagley mounted a challenge to retake the lead just after the halfway point and even pulled alongside Lanigan on lap 27. But a lap-29 caution slowed Bagley’s momentum, and Lanigan pulled away after the restart.
“It was good to get out and lead some laps and be competitive,” said Bagley, who recorded his career best WoO LMS A-Main finish and his second consecutive top-five finish. “”It was a good race. I just zigged when I should’ve zagged there. I knew it was gonna be hard to beat Darrell regardless. But at least I got to follow him and drive hard. Maybe we’ll have something for him next time.
“We’ve been paying our dues and that’s part of it. We’re just gonna keep on digging and fine tuning. We’ve got a good team and hopefully (a victory) will come here pretty quick because everybody on this team deserves it.”