LITTLE VALLEY, N.Y. – Darrell Lanigan showed the fast way around Little Valley Speedway for the second consecutive year, leading all 50 laps of Thursday night’s World of Outlaws Late Model Series A-Main for his milestone 50th career win on the national tour.
But while Lanigan cruised alone out front for virtually the entire distance to score his series-leading ninth triumph of 2013, his final margin of victory was a slight 0.377 of a second. That’s because Dan Stone made a gallant late-race charge, overtaking both Rick Eckert and Josh Richards over the final seven circuits and closing within a car length of Lanigan at the checkered flag.
Richards settled for third place after starting from the pole position, maintaining his comfortable lead in the WoO LMS points standings with 11 races remaining on the schedule. The two-time series champion ended the night with a 62-point advantage over Lanigan, who moved past Shane Clanton for second in the title battle.
Clanton stayed within two points of Lanigan in the standings by finishing fourth after rallying from a lap-six bounce over the inside berm in turn two that caused him to fall from fourth to eighth in the running order. Eckert settled for fifth after climbing as high as second early in the distance.
Lanigan, 43, almost precisely duplicated his run to victory in last year’s inaugural WoO LMS event at the paper-clip-shaped half-mile oval. He once again roared off the outside pole to pace the field from start to finish, earning himself a $10,650 payoff.
The defending WoO LMS champion even was back behind the wheel of the Rocket car he used for much of his record-breaking success on last year’s tour. The machine was knocked out of action in June by serious damage it sustained in a heat-race crash during the DIRTcar UMP-sanctioned Dream weekend at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway, but Lanigan decided to fix it up because he hasn’t been totally satisfied with the performance of two new cars he has been campaigning this summer.
“We just finally made a couple weeks time and got it back together this week,” Lanigan said of the car, which needed new front and rear clips. “We rebuilt the whole car and got it back to new, and it’s definitely back to where it was. Sometimes you get a good car, a car you really like, and this is definitely one of the good ones.”
After beating the polesitting Richards, 25, to the first turn to grab the lead at the initial green flag, Lanigan dominated most of the race, building an edge of as much as a half-straightaway. He was never seriously challenged, but Stone did threaten him.
Stone, 37, settled into fourth place early in the A-Main after starting sixth. He was still running in the position with 10 laps to go when he began tossing his Rocket car around the top side of Little Valley’s tight corners. He passed Eckert for third on lap 43, overtook Richards for second on lap 45 and erased Lanigan’s two-second lead before running out of time.