SELINSGROVE, Pa. — Darrell Lanigan gained a dose of redemption with a dominant victory in Sunday night’s 50-lap World of Outlaws Late Model Series National Open at Selinsgrove Speedway.
Twenty-four hours after dropping out of the weekend’s opening event due to an overheating engine, Lanigan stormed forward from the fourth starting spot to take the lead from Rick Eckert on lap 14 and never looked back en route to his series-leading 10th win of the season.
Lanigan, 43, was never challenged once in command, cruising to the checkered flag in a race that ran non-stop following an opening-lap caution flag. He beat the 47-year-old Eckert to the finish line by 2.859 seconds to secure a paycheck worth $10,650.
Matt Cochran, 20, defended the honor of Selinsgrove’s regular Late Model competitors with a strong third-place finish in just the second WoO LMS A-Main start of his career. He drove a Rocket car that he purchased earlier this summer from Lanigan, who assembles machines for several customers as part of his ‘Club 29’ business.
Josh Richards maintained control of the WoO LMS points battle with a fourth-place finish after starting 10th and Shane Clanton started and finished fifth. The weekend ended with Richards leading Clanton by 96 points with seven events remaining on the 2013 schedule.
Lanigan saw his hopes for a second straight WoO LMS title take a major hit on Saturday night when a hot engine forced him to slow moments after he lost the lead to Gregg Satterlee on lap 17 of the 40-lap A-Main. He tried to continue after making a pit stop but retired shortly thereafter, pushing his deficit to Richards in the standings to triple digits.
Disappointed but undaunted, Lanigan and his crew went to work on Sunday to rectify their overheating problem. He knew his Rocket machine would be tough to beat on the sprawling half-mile oval if its Cornett engine didn’t heat up past the 300-degree mark like it did on Saturday, so keeping the powerplant cool was his number one priority.
“We just changed some stuff on it – the oil cooler and radiator again – to try and make it run cooler,” said Lanigan, who sits third in the standings. “I think we found the problem in it.”
Indeed, Lanigan experienced no dire overheating while driving away from the pack on Sunday night. He built an edge of nearly a straightaway over Eckert, who started on the outside pole and led laps 1-13 before occupying second place for the final 37 circuits.
“I definitely had (the overheating) in the back of my mind,” said Lanigan, whose alltime-series-best 51st career win pushed him over the $200,000 mark in earnings for the 2013 season. “But I was keeping my eye on the gauge and it was staying pretty steady so I knew we was alright then.
“The car was phenomenal. We learned some things on tires last night that helped us tonight. There at the end the car was on a rail – I thought (the track surface) rubbered up actually.
“The car was so good all weekend,” he added. “I wish we could’ve stayed in (the A-Main) last night. I think we would’ve had that one too.”