By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
MARNE, MI – Sept. 21, 2013 – This time Darrell Lanigan didn’t need to pull off any late-race dramatics to win the Keyser Manufacturing ‘Down & Dirty 75′ Presented by NAPA Auto Parts at Berlin Raceway.
Lanigan, 43, of Union, Ky., emerged victorious in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series special for the second consecutive year in convincing fashion, grabbing the lead from Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., on lap 33 and dominating the remainder of the distance behind the wheel of his self-owned Rocket car.
Continuing his mastery of a 7/16th-mile asphalt oval that for the second straight year was covered with clay for a late-season return to its dirt-track roots, Lanigan turned back brief threats from Clanton on restarts and while negotiating lapped traffic to cross the finish line 4.629 seconds – over a full straightaway – ahead of his fellow WoO LMS regular. The two-time tour champion earned $15,650 for his series-leading 11th triumph of 2013.
“We all put our heads together on this setup and it was unbelievable,” said Lanigan, who recorded his 52nd career win on the WoO LMS. “It’s a completely different setup from what we had last year (at Berlin), but it was definitely good.”
Rick Eckert of York, Pa., who started from the pole position and led laps 1-25, finished third at Berlin for the second consecutive year. WoO LMS points leader Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., continued his march to a third career championship with a steady fourth-place finish from the seventh starting spot and 16th-starter Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., primarily used the outside groove to charge forward and place fifth.
Lanigan actually got off to a slow start in the A-Main, slipping from his fourth starting spot to sixth place on the opening lap. Richards was among the drivers who surged ahead of Lanigan at the initial green flag.
But Lanigan quickly regained his footing, driving by Jeep VanWormer of Pinconning, Mich., for fifth on lap seven, Richards for fourth on lap nine and Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., for third on lap 11. He needed just eight more circuits to erase his straightaway deficit to second-place Clanton and grabbed the runner-up position on lap 21.
A restart on lap 22 saw Clanton run the outside past Lanigan to regain second place and on the 26th lap the Georgian steered his Kennedy Motorsports Capital Race Car around Eckert to assume command. But Lanigan soon flexed his muscle, passing Eckert for second on lap 29 and overtaking Clanton with an inside move on lap 33 to take the lead for good.
“I got stuck on the outside there at the beginning and just had to bide my time to get back down there to the bottom,” said Lanigan. “Once I got to the bottom my car was on a rail down there.”
Aside from a brief outside challenge from Clanton after a lap-37 restart, Lanigan’s only real scare came with just over 10 laps remaining when he had some trouble lapping Rich Neiser of Fruitport, Mich. Lanigan’s two-second-plus lead over Clanton almost completely disappeared before he cleared Neiser on lap 65 and proceeded to pull away with ease.
“They showed me (Clanton) was closing in a little bit, so I knew I had to do something there,” Lanigan said of the signals he received from his crew while riding behind Neiser. “He was making it awful wide down the straightaways and tight on the bottom, so I just knew I had to do something quick. I got by him and got clean air, and (then) the car was good the rest of the way.”
One year after winning the inaugural ‘Down & Dirty’ event at Berlin with a late-race rally that carried him into the lead with just five laps to go, Lanigan happily spent the final circuits cruising alone around a speedway that he praised for its competitiveness.
“The track raced great,” said Lanigan. “They did a phenomenal job with this dirt on here. It was a little choppy coming off of two, but other than that the track was unbelievable again.”
Clanton, 38, spent time in the lead (laps 26-32) for the second consecutive year at Berlin but once again fell short of victory. He improved to second place after finishing fourth in 2012.
“That top (groove) kind of died there,” said Clanton, who entered the event tied for second with Lanigan in the WoO LMS points standings and ended it sitting four points behind the victor in third place. “We got so far out in (turns) three and four that it took all my momentum. Darrell was better through those holes in one and two too, so we run second again.”
Clanton registered his fifth runner-up finish of 2013 on the WoO LMS. He has won four A-Mains but last reached Victory Lane on June 1 at Stateline Speedway in Busti, N.Y.
Eckert, 47, was a serious contender for the second straight year at Berlin but ultimately was just a slight bit off the pace of Lanigan and Clanton.
“We definitely made some gains on our car from last year, but I was still a little bit free (handling),” said Eckert, who never ran worse than third in the 75-lapper. “Maybe they’ll have us back next year and we’ll figure this out.”
Matt Miller of Whitehouse, Ohio, finished sixth – the same spot from which he started – in his first WoO LMS start of 2013 in the Delong Racing No. 3, but he ran at the back end of the top 10 until gaining steam late in the distance. Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., who started 15th, settled for seventh after being overtaken by Miller in the final laps. WoO LMS rookie Morgan Bagley of Longview, Texas, slipped to eighth in the rundown after running as high as fifth; Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., placed ninth in his return to action after missing the previous weekend’s WoO LMS doubleheader due to his recovery from knee surgery; and McCool faded to a 10th-place finish.
Three caution flags for stopped cars slowed the event: Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., on lap 22; David Hilliker of Midland, Mich., on lap 37; and Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., on lap 45.
Thirty-three cars were entered in the event, which was condensed to one evening of action after Friday night’s scheduled qualifying program was canceled because track officials determined that the track surface was too wet to allow safe and competitive racing. With the weekend cut back to just a single day, the WoO LMS A-Main was reduced to 75 laps from its scheduled 100-lap distance and the purse was readjusted, most notably from $20,000 to $15,000 for first place.
Ohlins Shocks Time Trials were split into ‘A’ and ‘B’ groups, with the first half competing for starting positions in heats one and two and the second half racing against the clock to align heats three and four.
Lanigan topped Ohlins Shocks Time Trials with a lap of 16.615 seconds during Group B. It was his fifth WoO LMS fast-time honor of 2013.
Heat winners were Miller, Clanton, Lanigan and Eckert. The B-Mains were captured by Hilliker and Brian Ruhlman of Clarklake, Mich.
The WoO LMS is off until visiting Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in Elbridge, N.Y., on Thurs., Oct. 10, for a 50-lap, $10,000-to-win event during NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week.
Results of World of Outlaws Late Model Series Keyser Manufacturing ‘Down & Dirty 75′ Presented by NAPA Auto Parts at Berlin Raceway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (4) Darrell Lanigan/75 $15,650
2. (2) Shane Clanton/75 $8,050
3. (1) Rick Eckert/75 $5,650
4. (7) Josh Richards/75 $4,400
5. (16) Tim Fuller/75 $3,850
6. (6) Matt Miller/75 $3,300
7. (15) Chub Frank/75 $2,750
8. (8) Morgan Bagley/75 $2,800
9. (14) Clint Smith/75 $2,350
10. (2) Bub McCool/74 $2,250
11. (10) Rich Neiser/74 $1,600
12. (22) Eric Wells/74 $2,050
13. (18) Brian Ruhlman/74 $1,450
14. (20) Andrew Reaume/73 $1,350
15. (21) Eric Spangler/71 $1,250
16. (13) Ryan VanderVeen/66 $1,200
17. (5) Jeep VanWormer/62 $1,250
18. (9) Curt Spalding/49 $1,100
19. (12) Jason Feger/45 $1,050
20. (17) David Hilliker/36 $1,000
21. (11) Tim McCreadie/30 $1,650
22. (24) Sammy Epling/20 $1,000
23. (19) Dave Hartman/7 $1,000
24. (23) Tom Sprague Jr./5 $1,025
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 34 Mins., 33.218 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 4.629 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 3 (laps 22, 37, 45)
Lap Leaders: Eckert (1-25); Clanton (26-32); Lanigan (33-75)
Provisional Starters: Sprague, Epling
Rookie of the Race: Bagley ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Miller ($500)
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 3M-Matt Miller/Whitehouse, OH 17.117
2. 25-Shane Clanton/Zebulon, GA 17.150
3. 111-Curt Spalding/Watervliet, MI 17.271
4. 14M-Morgan Bagley/Longview, TX 17.282
5. 57J-Bub McCool/Vicksburg, MS 17.645
6. 21s-Tom Sprague Jr./Muskegon, MI 17.803
7. 27-Eric Spangler/Lake City, MI 17.823
8. 87-Rich Neiser/Fruitport, MI 17.875
9. 15-Dave Hartman/Saranac, MI 17.907
10. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 17.947
11. 23V-Ryan VanderVeen/Six Lakes, MI 17.974
12. 21-David Hilliker/Midland, MI 18.089
13. 34-Alan Vochaska/South Haven, MI 18.148
14. 28-John McDonald/Muskegon, MI 18.468
15. 61-Jim Fairbanks/Coopersville, MI 18.559
16. 28E-Sammy Epling/Bancroft, MI 18.627
17. 1G-Greg Gokey/Buckley, MI 18.817
1. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 16.615
2. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 17.028
3. 55-Jeep VanWormer/Pinconning, MI 17.250
4. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 17.381
5. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 17.383
6. 25F-Jason Feger/Bloomington, IL 17.424
7. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 17.481
8. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 17.524
9. 13-J.R. Hotovy/Hartford, MI 17.765
10. 49-Brian Ruhlman/Clarklake, MI 17.772
11. 88-Andrew Reaume/Blenheim, ONT 17.837
12. 75-Dusty Moore/Swanton, OH 17.873
13. 18-Eric Wells/Hazard, KY 17.884
14. 8-Keith Gentz/Grant, MI 18.668
15. 99-Mike Wilburn/Muskegon, MI 18.749
16. 3-Scott Wenell/Muskegon, MI 19.094
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Miller, McCool, Spalding, VanderVeen, Hartman, Spangler, Fairbanks, Gokey, Vochaska
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Clanton, Bagley, Neiser, C. Smith, Hilliker, Sprague, Epling, McDonald
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Lanigan, VanWormer, McCreadie, Frank, Reaume, Hotovy, Wells, Wilburn
Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Eckert, Richards, Feger, Fuller, Ruhlman, Moore, Gentz, Wenell
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Hilliker, Hartman, Spangler, Fairbanks, Gokey, Epling, McDonald, Vochaska, Sprague
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Ruhlman, Reaume, Wells, Hotovy, Moore, Gentz, Wilburn, Wenell
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners (awards presented to noted finisher/qualifier or next highest displaying decal:
Ohlins Shocks ($50 cash to fast qualifier): Jeep VanWormer
Eibach Springs (one free spring to each B-Main winner): David Hilliker/Brian Ruhlman
VP Race Fuels ‘Nice Jugs’ Award: (One VP 5-gallon container to fastest qualifier who misses A-Main): J.R. Hotovy
Wrisco Aluminum (3 sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner only): Darrell Lanigan
Armor All (One case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main): Matt Miller
Comp Cams ($50 certificate to A-Main winner): Shane Clanton
QuarterMaster ($100 certificate to A-Main winner): Darrell Lanigan
MSD Ignition ($50 cash to A-Main winner): Darrell Lanigan
STP ($50 cash to 2nd-place finisher in A-Main): Shane Clanton
XS Power ($50 cash to 3rd-place finisher in A-Main): Tim Fuller
Roush Yates ($50 cash to 4th-place finisher in A-Main): Josh Richards
JE Pistons ($50 cash to 5th-place finisher in A-Main): Tim Fuller
Dominator ($50 cash to 6th-place finisher in A-Main): Matt Miller
American Race Wheels ($50 cash to 7th-place finisher in A-Main): Chub Frank
VP Race Fuels ($50 cash to 8th-place finisher in A-Main): Morgan Bagley
Edelbrock Manifolds ($50 cash to 9th-finisher in A-Main): Clint Smith
Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th-place finisher in A-Main): Bub McCool
XS Power ($60 product certificate to 11th-place finisher in A-Main): Rich Neiser
Cometic Gasket ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main): Eric Wells
JRI Shocks ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main): Brian Ruhlman
Super Flow Dynos ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main): Andrew Reaume
QuarterMaster ($25 certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main): Eric Spangler
JE Pistons (one complete set of JE Pro Seal rings to 16th-place finisher in A-Main, redeemable w/next purchase of set): Jeep VanWormer
Klotz Lubricants ($50 cash to 17th-place finisher in A-Main): Jeep VanWormer
Roush Yates ($50 gift card to 18th-place finisher in A-Main): Curt Spalding
QuarterMaster ($50 certificate to 19th-place finisher in A-Main): David Hilliker
Arizona Sport Shirts ($100 certificate to 20th-place finisher in A-Main): David Hilliker
JE Pistons (one complete set of JE Pro Seal rings to 21st-place finisher in A-Main, redeemable w/next purchase of set): Tim McCreadie
Roush Yates ($50 gift card to 22nd-place finisher in A-Main): Sammy Epling
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main): Tom Sprague Jr.
XS Power ‘Power Move of the Race’ ($60 product certificate): Darrell Lanigan
Roush Yates ($25 gift card to driver who leads most laps in the A-Main): Darrell Lanigan
Reliable Painting Award (one free tire): Rick Eckert
2013 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of Sept. 21 – 44 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Josh Richards 6100
2. Darrell Lanigan 5994 (-106)
3. Shane Clanton 5990 (-110)
4. Rick Eckert 5914 (-186)
5. Tim McCreadie 5624 (-476)
6. Tim Fuller 5542 (-558)
7. Eric Wells 5538 (-562)
8. Chub Frank 5448 (-652)
9. Bub McCool 5426 (-674)
10. Morgan Bagley 5398 (-702)
11. Clint Smith 4946 (-1154)
12. Dan Stone 2546 (-3554)
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including: American Racing Custom Wheels (Official Custom Wheel), Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), KMC (Official Custom Truck Wheel), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing Fuel (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award) and McCarthy’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award); in addition to contingency sponsors: Butlerbuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Dominator Race Products, Edelbrock, Eibach Springs, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, QuarterMaster, Roush Yates Performance Parts, Superflow Dynos, Wrisco Aluminum and XS Power Racing Batteries; along with manufacturer sponsors Capital Race Cars, Integra Shocks, GRT Chassis, Jake’s Carts, Racing Electronics, Rocket Chassis, TNT Rescue, and Warrior Chassis.