A Final Look Back: Facts, Figures & Statistical Notes From The 2012 World of Outlaws Late Model Series
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
CONCORD, NC – Dec. 31, 2012 – As is custom, before the arrival of the new year here’s a final look back at facts, figures and statistical notes from the 2012 World of Outlaws Late Model Series….
UNPRECEDENTED: Darrell Lanigan’s spectacular 2012 WoO LMS championship campaign has been rehashed and dissected countless times. Here’s a listing of the World of Outlaws records he set on his way to the second title of his career:
* Most wins in a single season. Lanigan’s 15 triumphs obliterated the modern-era (2004-present) standard of nine shared by Scott Bloomquist (’04) and Josh Richards (’11) and the alltime mark (including the original 1988-89 seasons) of 12 established by Billy Moyer in ’89.
* Consecutive wins. Lanigan sizzling streak of six straight wins in July and August eclipsed the modern-era record of four (Rick Eckert in ’06, Tim Fuller in ’09) and Moyer’s alltime standard of five in-a-row in ’89.
* Career wins. Lanigan vaulted to the top of the modern-era and alltime winners’ lists, ending the season with 41 career victories.
* Win percentage. Lanigan won at a .375 clip; no other regular in the national tour’s modern era has put up a win percentage of even 30 percent. Richards’s .281 percentage in 2011 ranks second to Lanigan.
* Largest championship points margin. Lanigan defeated Eckert by 228 points, easily surpassing his own record of 160 points when he won his first World of Outlaws crown in 2008.
* First driver to lead the points standings from start-to-finish. Lanigan seized the points lead with a victory in the season opener on Feb. 11 at Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, Ga., and never relinquished it.
* Number of tracks conquered. Each of Lanigan’s wins came at a different track – ranging in size from a quarter-mile to five-eighths-of-a-mile – to establish a new mark.
* Most 100-lap wins in a single season. With triumphs in the Jackpot 100 on May 26 at Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, W.Va. ($25,000), the USA Nationals on Aug. 4 at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wis. ($50,000) and the Keyser Manufacturing ‘Down & Dirty 100’ presented by NAPA on Sept. 22 at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Mich., Lanigan became the first driver to pull off a hat-trick in WoO LMS century-grind events.
* A-Main laps led. Lanigan set the pace for 638 circuits – more than three times as many laps led as the next highest-ranked driver (Eckert, 170).
* Season earnings. Lanigan pocketed $426,700 in purse and points-fund cash, nearly doubling points-runner-up Eckert’s total take in 2012.
THE SEASON: The 2012 WoO LMS was comprised of 40 A-Mains at 33 tracks in 19 states and two Canadian provinces.
Florida was the site of the most tour events, hosting five races at two tracks. There were four events held in North Carolina and Pennsylvania; three in Michigan and New York; two in Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, West Virginia and Wisconsin; and one in Alabama, Delaware, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and the provinces of Manitoba and Quebec.
Just four tracks presented multiple WoO LMS events: Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla. (three), Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa. (three), The Dirt Track at Charlotte (three) and Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla. (two).
Weather and other unexpected factors caused the cancelation of seven scheduled events in ’12, preventing the tour from surpassing its record number of races in a season (44). Five events were stopped by rain and could not be rescheduled: June 24 at Cornwall (Ont.) Motor Speedway; July 6 at Amsoil Speedway in Superior, Wis.; Aug. 25 at Winchester (Va.) Speedway; Aug. 26 at Selinsgrove (Pa.) Speedway; and Sept. 1 at Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, W.Va. Events scheduled at two other venues – July 20 at Hartford (Mich.) Motor Speedway and Sept. 14 at Farmer City (Ill.) Raceway — were canceled in advance by track management and World Racing Group officials, respectively.
The only race that was postponed by rain and then run on another date was at Shawano (Wis.) Speedway, which had its 50-lapper moved from Aug. 1 to Aug. 7.
Rain did wash out the qualifying night of the Keyser Manufacturing Down & Dirty 100 presented by NAPA Auto Parts on Sept. 21 at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway, but the entire program was spun off the following evening.
CHECKERED FLAGS: In 2012, Lanigan was the tour’s winningest driver for the first time in his career. He ended the reign of Richards, who had captured the most A-Mains in each of the last four seasons.
A total of 16 drivers reached Victory Lane on the WoO LMS in 2012 – up two from ’11, but short of the record 21 different winners in ’08. Multiple victories were claimed by Lanigan (15), Eckert (5), Tim McCreadie (three), Richards (two), Bloomquist (two), Dennis Erb Jr. (two) and Jimmy Owens (two), while single scores were garnered by Shane Clanton, Chris Garnes, Chris Madden, Jimmy Mars, Bub McCool, Billy Moyer, Brad Neat, Brandon Sheppard and Dan Stone.
After an ’11 season in which only one driver scored a career-first WoO LMS A-Main triumph, four joined the tour’s select group of winners in ’12 (in order of victories): Neat, McCool, Garnes and Sheppard.
NO CONTEST: Lanigan’s control of the ’12 campaign was evidenced by his stranglehold on the points standings. He assumed command with his victory in the season opener on Feb. 11 at Screven and never looked back, building his advantage with virtually every race to achieve a start-to-finish championship run.
En route to his record 228-point championship margin over Eckert, Lanigan pushed his points lead over the 100-point mark after just the 13th race of the season, on May 26 at Tyler County Speedway. His edge was never less than triple digits for the remainder of the schedule.
There were only 13 occasions when Lanigan left a racetrack with his points lead smaller than it was when he arrived – and just four times was his net loss to his nearest pursuer 10 or more points.
OUTDOING THE EXPERTS: Lanigan’s unprecedented championship season exceeded the expectations placed on him by members of the dirt Late Model press who participated in the fifth annual WoO LMS Pre-Season Media Poll.
Lanigan was predicted to win the title by just six of the 43 media types who voted in the poll, which awarded points to drivers named on each top-five ballot using a 5-4-3-2-1 system. He received 11 second-place, 14 third-place, six fourth-place and four fifth-place votes, good for 132 points and third place in the final tabulation behind pre-season favorite Richards (170 points, 22 first-place votes) and runner-up McCreadie (159 points, 12 first-place votes).
Six press members picked Lanigan to win the points crown: magazine writers Bill Holder and Al Martin; announcer/writer Chris Stepan; Gater Racing News blogger Bruce Eckel; and photographers Michael Moats and Lee Smith.
Holder was the year’s best prognosticator, correctly picking three of the top-five points finishers. He hit on Lanigan, fourth-place McCreadie and fifth-place Frank.
Six media types, meanwhile, had at least two of their top-five picks finish in the spots they predicted: Stepan, Moats, Paul Arch, Al Paradise, Cory Stivason and the late Charles Haffer Jr., the Midwestern photographer known as ‘Photobilly’ who lost his life in a summer highway accident. Sixteen others correctly picked one driver’s final points finish.
The poll also asked the media to predict the season’s winningest driver (including number of victories) and the winners of three marquee events – the season-opening ‘Winter Freeze’ at Screven, the Firecracker 100 at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa., and the USA Nationals at Cedar Lake.
Just three respondents – writers Keith Courson and Walt Wimer and photographer Lee Smith – predicted that Lanigan would lead the tour in A-Main triumphs, but none were close to his total of 15 victories.
In the special-event category, no media members were right with the winner of more than one race. Courson, Paradise, Don Davies, Dustin Jarrett, Paul Fletcher and Gary Shrey correctly picked Lanigan as the winner at Screven; Haffer, Stivason, Dave Argabright, Jeff Gromis, Lou Long and Ben Shelton nailed Bloomquist as the Lernerville victor; and Todd Ridgeway was the lone media member to pick Lanigan as the winner of the USA Nationals.
DYNAMIC DUO: Lanigan and Clanton remained the only drivers who have won at least one feature event in each World of Outlaws campaign since 2004.
SHUFFLING LIST: The alltime WoO LMS A-Main winner’s list – including the tour’s original 1988-89 seasons and the WRG-era since 2004 – saw some shuffling near the top in ’12.
Lanigan, of course, vaulted to career-win leader status, moving from fifth to first in the alltime rankings. His 41 wins leaves him above the four drivers he passed to reach the top: Richards (39), Moyer (38), Eckert (29) and Steve Francis (28).
FULL PITS: The average field for a WoO LMS event in 2012 was 42.58 cars, down just a single machine from the previous season.
The season-high turnout of 79 cars was for the Feb. 23 event at Volusia Speedway Park. In all, 14 events drew 50 or more cars and 18 attracted over 40 entrants. Just six races produced fields below 30 cars.
A total of 510 drivers representing 32 states and two Canadian provinces entered at least one WoO LMS event in 2012, and 269 drivers started an A-Main.
The state from which the most WoO LMS entrants hailed was Pennsylvania, with 71 drivers. Illinois was next with 57 entrants, followed by West Virginia (45), Michigan (41) and Ohio (34).
THE OUTLAWS: Ten drivers had perfect attendance on the 2012 tour: Lanigan, Eckert, Clanton, McCreadie, Frank, Clint Smith, Bub McCool, Tim Fuller, Pat Doar and Kent Robinson. Vic Coffey would have also been in that group if hadn’t been prevented from competing in the two Canadian races by problems at the border.
The top seven drivers in the final points standings – Lanigan, Eckert, Clanton, McCreadie, Frank, Smith and McCool – started all 40 A-Mains. Coffey, Doar and Robinson ran 37 A-Mains and Fuller competed in 36.
CASH: Over $2.7 million was paid out to drivers during the 2012 WoO LMS, including just over $400,000 in points-fund and post-season bonus cash.
Lanigan led the money-won list with $426,700 in event and points-fund earnings. Eckert ranked second at $217,930, and also reaching six-figures was McCreadie ($165,970), Clanton ($143,250), McCool ($123,880), Frank ($115,750) and Smith ($114,570).
Bloomquist was the top non-WoO regular on the list, coming in 12th with $59,000 in earnings for just nine starts.
ROOKS: Vicksburg, Miss.’s McCool dominated the 2012 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year battle, easily outdistancing Bloomington, Ind.’s Robinson by 302 points (3,346-3,044) in standings determined using drivers’ best 25 finishes.
McCool, 35, beat the 25-year-old Robinson in wins (1-0), top-fives (9-1) and top-10s (15-6). The Gulf Coast racer’s first-ever WoO LMS triumph, on April 28 at Tazewell (Tenn.) Speedway, made him the fifth driver to reach Victory Lane during their Rookie of the Year campaign, joining Richards (’05), Fuller (’07), Brian Shirley (’07) and Austin Hubbard (’10).
MAKING THE CUT: McCreadie was the most consistent qualifier among the fulltime travelers, leading the way with an average time-trial placing of 9.62 to narrowly nip Lanigan (9.9).
Eckert was third-best on the average time-trial list at 10.05, followed by Clanton (11.67), Smith (15.67), Coffey (15.67), McCool (15.73), Frank (17.18), Robinson (18.72), Fuller (19.26) and Doar (20.97).
Lanigan, meanwhile, was the strongest heat-race performer, failing to transfer through a heat just three times in 40 events. Eckert was second-best with four B-Main appearances, followed by Clanton (six); McCreadie (eight); McCool (nine); Smith and Coffey (13); Frank (14); Fuller (18); Doar (20); and Robinson (21).
Not surprisingly, Lanigan also used the fewest points provisionals to start an A-Main: two. Eckert resorted to a provisional spot three times, while Clanton and McCreadie used four; McCool and Fuller used five; Smith, Coffey and Robinson used seven; Frank used eight; and Doar used 11.
ON THE CHARGE: The deepest in the starting field from which a driver advanced to win a WoO LMS A-Main in 2012 was ninth. It occurred on four occasions: Moyer on Feb. 25 at Volusia; Lanigan on Sept. 22 at Berlin; Eckert on Oct. 10 at The Dirt Track at Charlotte; and Owens on Nov. 2 at The Dirt Track.
Eight A-Mains were won by drivers starting from the pole position and 12 were captured off the outside pole.
The average starting spot for a WoO LMS A-Main winner in 2012 was 3.63.
MUST BE ON THE FRONT ROW: WoO LMS regulars accounted for 23 pole position starts in A-Mains during the 2012 season, but they turned those prime spots into a modest five triumphs – a success rate of just 21.7 percent.
Clanton and Clint Smith enjoyed the most pole position starts with five apiece. Clanton was able to convert one into a victory but Smith could not turn any of his poles into a checkered flag.
McCool had the best winning percentage for pole starts, converting his single pole into a victory. Eckert, Lanigan and McCreadie were each one-for-three, while Frank was winless in two pole starts and Doar failed to capitalize on his single pole start.
WoO LMS regulars also had 22 outside-pole starting spots in A-Mains. Lanigan won six times in seven starts from the second position and Eckert was one-for-three, but eight other drivers failed to convert their outside-pole starts.
MANUFACTURERS BATTLE: Eight dirt Late Model chassis companies claimed victories in WoO LMS A-Mains during the 2012 season.
Rocket Chassis once again led the way with 19 wins (same as ’11), divided among Lanigan, Richards, Sheppard and Stone.
Team Zero by Bloomquist Chassis finished second on the win list with 12 victories (Eckert, Bloomquist, Owens, Madden and Dennis Erb Jr.). Warrior Chassis scored three wins (McCreadie), Victory Circle nabbed two victories (Moyer and McCool) and single scores went to Mars Race Cars (Jimmy Mars), B&B Motorsports (Neat), Swartz (Garnes) and Capital (Clanton).
A total of seven engine builders, meanwhile, laid claim to a WoO LMS A-Main triumph in 2012. Cornett Racing Engines led the way with 20 victories, split among Lanigan, Lanigan, Owens, Neat and Madden. Roush-Yates (Richards, Bloomquist, Mars, Sheppard) and Dickens (Eckert, McCool) tied for second on the list with six triumphs each.
Other engine builders with multiple victories were Pro Power (three), Clements (two) and Vic Hill (two), while Pro Performance claimed a single triumph.
FAST RACES: There were three caution-free A-Mains in 2012 – April 28 at Tazewell (50 laps); June 26 at Canandaigua (40 laps); and June 29 at Lernerville (30 laps). Five more features were slowed by just a single caution flag.
An average of 3.4 caution flags flew per A-Main during the ’12 campaign – almost exactly the average of ’11 (3.44). The most caution-plagued event was the 50-lapper on April 27 at North Alabama Speedway in Tuscumbia (10).
Four red flags were displayed for significant wrecks during A-Mains in ’12: Feb. 16 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla.; Feb. 23 at Volusia; May 4 at 311 Motor Speedway in Pine Hall, N.C.; and Aug. 4 at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wis. (USA Nationals 100).
* Twenty-one drivers earned a WoO LMS fast-time honor in 2012. Lanigan led the way with six, followed by Eckert (five); Richards (four); Fuller (three); Clanton, Jamie Lathroum and Chad Simpson (two); and 14 drivers with one.
* Eckert ended the season with 33 career WoO LMS fast-time awards, tops among all drivers in the category since 2004. Richards sits second with 31 and Lanigan (26) moved past Francis for third.
* Richards and Francis remain the only drivers who have registered at least one fast-time honor in every season since ’04.
* Fifty-two drivers won at least one heat race on the tour in ’12. Lanigan led the list with 18 prelim victories, with Clanton (15), Eckert (12) and McCreadie (12) the only others to crack double figures.
* Steve Francis remains the most prolific WoO LMS heat-race winner since ’04, with 121 victories. But Lanigan pulled close to the alltime mark, ending the season with 118 prelim triumphs.
* Entering the ’12 season, 12 drivers had won at least one heat race in every season since ’04: Francis, Richards, Lanigan, Eckert, McCreadie, Clanton, Moyer, Frank, Clint Smith, Shannon Babb, Dale McDowell and Brian Birkhofer. The list now shows 11 names after Birkhofer was the only member of the group who failed to capture a heat in ’12.
* There were 52 B-Main winners in ’12, with Fuller’s five checkered flags setting the pace. Clint Smith, whose 27 B-Main triumphs since 2004 leads all drivers, was one of four racers with three Last Chance Showdown wins in ’12.
* Thirty-one drivers led at least one A-Main lap in 2012. Lanigan led the most (638), followed by Eckert (170), McCreadie (163), Richards (117) and Clanton (107). Rounding out the top 10 on the lap-leader list was Bloomquist (104), Mars (100), Moyer (91), Owens (77) and Clint Smith (72).
Other WoO LMS regulars who led laps were McCool (60), Frank (27), Robinson (eight) and Coffey (one). Fuller and Doar were the only World of Outlaws travelers who did not pace a single circuit.
* Three drivers won consecutive A-Mains in ’12, topped by Lanigan’s record-setting streak of six in-a-row. Lanigan also won back-to-back races twice earlier in the season, while Eckert and Owens recorded two-race win streaks late in the campaign.
* Eckert outshined Lanigan in the laps-completed category in ’12, running 2,195 of a possible 2,216 A-Main circuits. Lanigan was second on the list with 2,176 laps completed.
Clint Smith placed third (2,112 of a possible 2,216 laps), followed by Frank (2,036/2,216); Clanton (2,019/2,216); Coffey (1,906/2,016); McCool (1,802/2,216); McCreadie (1,757/2,216); Robinson (1,669/2,066); Doar (1,619/2,066); and Fuller (1,521/1,916).
* Eckert was tops on the list of most consecutive lead-lap finishes among WoO LMS regulars in 2012, rolling up 21 in a row. McCreadie was next with 15 straight, followed by Lanigan (15), Frank (12), Clanton (10), McCool (nine), Robinson (eight), Smith (six), Coffey (six), Fuller (six) and Doar (five).
* Lanigan and Eckert tied for the lead in the fewest DNFs category in 2012, suffering just two each. Frank, Smith and Coffey failed to finish five A-Mains, followed by Clanton (six); McCool (eight); Fuller (10); Doar (11); and McCreadie and Robinson (12).
* While McCreadie failed to finish more than a quarter of the season’s A-Mains, he did put together the best streak of top-five finishes of ’12 – besting even Lanigan in the category. From June 16 at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway to July 10 at Black Hills Speedway in Rapid City, S.D., T-Mac ran off a season-high nine straight top-fives.
Lanigan was second on the consecutive top-five list with 8 in-a-row, followed by Eckert (four); Clanton, Frank, Smith, McCool, Coffey and Fuller (two); and Doar and Robinson (one).
* Lanigan and McCreadie registered streaks of 16 consecutive top-10 finishes in ’12, topping the category. Eckert had 12 straight, followed by Clanton (six); Smith, McCool and Coffey (five); Frank, Fuller and Doar (four); and Robinson (two).
* Lanigan had the best average A-Main finish in 2012, at 3.9. He was followed by Eckert (6.75), Clanton (9.9), Frank (10.83), McCreadie (10.93), Smith (11.23), Coffey (11.81), McCool (12.38), Fuller (13.86), Doar (15.81) and Robinson (16.46).
* Lanigan ended the 2012 season with a tour-best average A-Main starting position of 6.63. Eckert was next with an average starting position of 8.58, followed by Clanton (8.8), McCreadie (10.28), McCool (12.85), Frank (13.05), Smith (13.35), Coffey (13.35), Fuller (14.22), Robinson (16.16) and Doar (16.76).
* The WoO LMS career win lists now show 47 drivers have won an A-Main since 2004 and 57 drivers own tour victories when the 1988-89 seasons are included.
* Since 2004, there have been 353 WoO LMS A-Mains contested at 130 different tracks in 30 states and four Canadian provinces. The ’12 season added seven new tracks (311 Motor Speedway, I-77 Raceway Park, Autodrome Granby, Black Hills Speedway, Red River Co-op Speedway, Little Valley Speedway, Belle-Clair Speedway and Berlin Raceway) and one new province (Manitoba) to the tour’s alltime list.
The 2013 WoO LMS season will begin with on Feb. 8-9 with the ‘Winter Freeze’ doubleheader at Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, Ga. A busy month of February for the tour also includes the inaugural ‘Bubba Army Late Model Winter Nationals’ on Feb. 15-17 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla., and the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals presented by Summit Racing Equipment on Feb. 21-23 at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla.
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award), McCarthy’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award), Chizmark Larson Insurance, Factory Value Parts and RacingJunk.com; in addition to contingency sponsors Comp Cams, Eibach Springs, JE Pistons, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, Pro Power Engines, Quartermaster, Rocket Chassis, R2C Performance, Superflow Dynos and Wrisco Aluminum.