DELMAR, Del. — Darrell Lanigan continued his World of Outlaws Late Model Series onslaught on Thursday night at Delaware Int’l Speedway, dominating the Fulton Bank 50 for his third win in the last four races.
Racing just three days before his 42nd birthday, Lanigan blasted forward from the sixth starting spot to take the lead from Austin Hubbard on lap 18 and never looked back. He easily handled two restarts over the remaining distance to pad his already substantial points lead with his series-leading fifth victory of the 2012 season.
With the $10,650 triumph, Lanigan pushed his earnings through 15 WoO LMS events this season to a resounding $115,700. No other driver has won even half that amount — and Lanigan remains the only driver with more than one win on the circuit.
“Everything is just clicking for us right now,” said Lanigan, who won for the third time in eight WoO LMS starts at Delaware International and the 31st time overall in his career on the series. “The car, the engine, my crew — we’re just on a roll. We’re having fun.”
The 20-year-old Hubbard settled for second place after leading laps 1-17, crossing the finish line 1.940 seconds behind Lanigan at a half-mile oval located less than 20 minutes from his home. It was the best finish in five career WoO LMS starts at DIS for the national tour’s 2010 Rookie of the Year.
Defending WoO LMS champion Rick Eckert started from the pole position but slipped to third at the checkered flag. Ricky Elliott advanced from the 17th starting spot to place fourth and ninth-starter Shane Clanton was fifth for his first top-five run on the WoO LMS since Feb. 25 at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla.
Lanigan’s victory completed a very successful four-race stretch, which also included wins on May 25 at Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio, and May 26 at Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, W.Va. ($25,000-plus ‘Jackpot 100’). A sixth-place finish on May 27 at I-77 Raceway Park in Ripley, W.Va., was his only slight stumble.
The 2008 WoO LMS champion was on his game at Delaware International, a track where he is the only driver to win more than one World of Outlaws A-Main. He simply blasted the outside of the track to reach the front in his Cornett-powered Rocket machine.
“It was on a rail,” said Lanigan, who outdueled Eckert for second on a lap-15 restart and sailed by Hubbard just three circuits later. “We could go right around the top there. I passed ’em all right around the top. You usually don’t get to do that here.
“It was unbelievable out there on that outside. It was a great track — I can’t believe the track came around like that.”
Hubbard’s attempt to make the inside lane work at one of the track opened the door for Lanigan to surge into the lead.
“I moved down (in turns three and four) after that (lap-15) restart and it felt good,” said Hubbard, who started from the outside pole in his father’s Rocket car. “I said, ‘I’ll just go to the top down here (one and two) and the bottom down there (three and four,’ and then Darrell just blew by me. Then I was like, ‘I guess I’ll move up.’”
The race ended just in time for Hubbard, whose engine began going sour late in the distance and finally broke on the final lap.
Eckert, 46, wished he could have a mulligan on his tire selection.
“I beat myself in the pit area,” said Eckert, who won last year’s WoO LMS A-Main at Delaware Int’l. “We run the same tires we had last year, and they changed the racetrack up a good bit. It was a good bit faster around the top than it has been in the past, and I was a little too tight to be up there.
“That was the first time we started up front in a long time so you’re a little bitter about not winning, but we just got beat in the pits. It was a tire choice, and I made the wrong one.”
Darrell Lanigan, Austin Hubbard, Rick Eckert, Ricky Elliott, Shane Clanton, Tim McCreadie, Chub Frank, David Williams, Tim Fuller, Clint Smith, Vic Coffey, Pat Doar, Rob Schirmer, Bub McCool, Donnie Lingo Jr., Jamie Lathroum, Dale Lingo IV, Kent Robinson, Gregg Satterlee, Kenny Pettyjohn, Darryl Hills, Richard Jarvis Jr., Mark Byram, John Lobb.