ELBRIDGE, N.Y. — Darrell Lanigan might have hummed the chorus of that old country song “Close Enough To Perfect For Me” as he headed for his victory lane interview following Thursday night’s World of Outlaws Late Model Series 50-lap feature at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park.
He didn’t quite take the series point lead and he didn’t lead every lap, but he did just about everything else perfectly in scoring his fifth victory of the season, worth $10,000.
The Kentucky driver set a track record in qualifying, won his heat from the pole and redrew the pole for the feature. Vic Coffey took the early lead from the outside of the front row, but when Coffey pitted under caution after 11 laps to replace his missing radiator cap, Lanigan was in command.
He beat ninth-place starter Rick Eckert by 1.3 seconds after holding Eckert off on a pair of late-race restarts. Ricky Elliott was third, Tim Fuller fourth and Steve Francis fifth.
The best side-by-side racing of the night had been provided by Shane Clanton and Elliott battling for second. Elliott repeatedly drew even using the low groove in turns one and two, but Clanton surged back in front on the cushion at the other end of the track. Clanton eventually won that battle, but lost the war to engine problems.
Defending champion and point-leader Josh Richards had the opposite of Lanigan’s night. He damaged the front end of his primary car in hot laps, dropped out of his heat in the backup, and picked his way carefully forward in the feature. He finished eighth after starting 20th and retained a 20 point margin over Lanigan.
Jip Ortiz, who has made the unusual career move from the flagstand to the driver’s seat, won the supporting sportsman event.
Darrell Lanigan, Rick Eckert, Ricky Elliott, Tim Fuller, Steve Francis, Dan Stone, Chub Frank, Josh Richards, Tim McCreadie, Vic Coffey, Austin Hubbard, Billy Decker, Ron Davies, Jeff Isabell, Sr., Shane Clanton, Clint Smith, Rick Briggs, Russell King, Alan Fink, Justin Wright, Gregg Satterlee, Larry Wight, Michael Trapp, Jill George.