Lanigan Pushes Win Total To Six With Late-Race Pass Of McCreadie Sunday Night At Eriez Speedway
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Points Leader Victorious For Fourth Time In Last Six Events
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
HAMMETT, PA – June 17, 2012 – Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., maintained his status as top dog on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series, cooling off the resurgent Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., with a late-race pass for the lead to win Sunday night’s 50-lap A-Main at Eriez Speedway.
Adding to his already commanding WoO LMS points lead, Lanigan, 42, turned up the wick on his Rocket car following a lap-41 restart and sailed by McCreadie on lap 44 to assume command for good. The circuit’s 2008 champion beat McCreadie, the 2006 World of Outlaws titlist, to the finish line by 0.867 of a second for his series-leading sixth victory of the 2012 season.
Defending WoO LMS champ Rick Eckert of York, Pa., placed third, Rookie of the Year leader Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., was fourth in his first-ever start at Eriez and polesitter Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., went too soft with his tire choice and slipped to fifth at the checkered flag to run his WoO LMS winless streak to 99 races.
Lanigan’s $10,650 triumph was his fourth in the last six WoO LMS A-Mains and marked the second straight year that he emerged victorious in the national tour’s annual visit to the one-third-mile Eriez oval. His 32nd career World of Outlaws A-Main win also pushed his ’12 earnings to $128,700 through 17 events – more than double McCreadie’s second-highest total of $63,410.
What’s more, Lanigan grabbed a checkered flag by passing McCreadie late in the distance for the second time in a month, duplicating his winning effort of May 25 at Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio, and allowing him to remain the hottest driver on the WoO LMS. McCreadie, 38, is vying with Lanigan for that lofty status with six top-five finishes in his last eight starts, including wins on May 4 at 311 Motor Speedway in Pine Hall, N.C., and June 16 at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway and Sunday evening’s runner-up finish.
“Timmy, he’s running good right now,” said Lanigan, whose perfect Eriez night included setting fast time in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials and winning a heat race. “They got their program working good. He raced me clean tonight and I’d say he’ll be tough all year.”
McCreadie, who started from the outside pole in the Sweeteners Plus Warrior car, led the race’s first lap before being overtaken by Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, N.C. The winner of the DIRTcar UMP-sanctioned $100,000 Dream one week earlier at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway, Clanton built a solid lead until his bid for his first WoO LMS win of ’12 ended abruptly on lap 14 due to terminal engine problems.
Clanton’s departure put McCreadie back in the lead and he seized the opportunity. Lanigan, who started sixth, moved by Frank for second on lap 23 but couldn’t challenge McCreadie, falling over one second in arrears of the leader.
The race’s fourth and final caution flag, on lap 41 for a turn-four spin executed by John Lobb of Frewsburg, N.Y., gave Lanigan new life. He tossed his machine around the outside lane to take the lead from McCreadie on lap 44 and held on for the remaining circuits.
“This was probably a ‘9’ on the difficulty (scale),” said Lanigan, who is within sight of the WoO LMS’s modern-era (2004-present) single-season victory record of nine held by Scott Bloomquist and Josh Richards. “I had to get up on the wheel hard this year. Last year (his first Eriez win) was a little easier.
“T-Mac was running good there on the bottom. I just had to find another groove there on the outside. I finally got enough momentum to get by him.”
McCreadie could taste a second consecutive win, but he settled for a strong bridesmaid finish.
“That darn Darrell – he’s tough,” said McCreadie. I knew the outside might be good, but I was married to the bottom (lane). Once he showed me (the top) it was better, I moved up and he still kind of got away, so he had the best car.
“Tonight we had a car that I thought was capable of winning, but it’s just that Darrell was a little quicker. But we’re with him. We were off just a little – just a little. We’re getting closer to running with him.”
Eckert, 46, started fourth and never slipped out of the top five in his Team Zero by Bloomquist mount. The ’09 WoO LMS winner at Eriez scored his eighth top-five finish of the ’12 tour, second only to Lanigan’s 13.
“We haven’t been very competitive here lately,” said Eckert, “so for us to be able to drive back up to them guys and race with them makes me feel better for sure.”
The fifth-, sixth- and seventh-place finishers – Frank, Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs of Bear Lake, Pa., and John Volpe of Lakewood, N.Y. – had close ties because all three cars are housed at Frank’s race car shop. Briggs picked up the $500 ‘Bonus Bucks’ cash for being the highest-finishing driver who has never won a WoO LMS A-Main and isn’t ranked among the top 12 in the points standings, while the 21-year-old Volpe, who began working fulltime on Frank’s crew last month, advanced from the 13th starting spot to register a career-best WoO LMS finish.
Ron Davies of Warren, Pa., finished a quiet eighth; WoO LMS rookie Jack Sullivan of Greenbrier, Ark., recovered from a turn-four spin that brought out the caution flag on lap nine to finish ninth for his first top-10 run of ’12; and Pat Doar of New Richmond, Wis., completed the top 10.
Mike Knight of Ripley, N.Y., joined Clanton as a high-profile early retiree, pulling up lame with mechanical trouble on lap 38 while running fifth. He briefly climbed as high as third place after starting fifth.
Thirty-six cars were signed in for the event, which was run under a constant threat of rain. As the night’s scheduled race time neared, in fact, it appeared that showers were so close at hand that officials decided to run the three support-division features first in an effort to avoid having rain fall midway through WoO LMS time trials or heat races – a situation that would require the tour’s program to restart from scratch.
The expected heavy rain never struck Eriez, however. A very brief shower forced officials to red flag the second B-Main at lap three, but the weather cleared and racing resumed just under an hour later.
Lanigan’s lap of 15.968 seconds in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials gave him his series-leading fourth fast-time honor of 2012.
Heat winners were Lanigan, Briggs, Russell King of Bristolville, Ohio, and Frank. The B-Mains were captured by Doar and Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y.
Qualifying action was marred by a wild accident during the first heat involving WoO LMS Rookie of the Year contender Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind., who was swept up in a multi-car lap-three restart tangle that sent him barrel-rolling onto his roof off turn two.
One night after losing an engine as he took the checkered flag to win a heat race at Hagerstown Speedway (he started the A-Main last in a backup car), Robinson ended up a victim of circumstance at Eriez. Davey Johnson of Latrobe, Pa., was the leader on the restart but got out of shape rounding turns one and two due, he said, to a broken rearend, and the ensuing scramble behind Johnson turned Robinson sideways and then a hit from another car flipped him one-and-a-half times.
Robinson, 25, climbed out of his car after it was righted by track safety crews, dejected but otherwise uninjured after getting upside down for the first time since moving to the dirt Late Model division in 2010. His car was taken back to the pit area on a rollback truck.
Robinson earned a points provisional to start the A-Main, but with his backup car not equipped with an engine he jumped in the crate Late Model of Rob Bates to take the green flag.
The WoO LMS will remain in the Northeast for the next two weeks, competing on June 22 at Autodrome Granby in Granby, Que.; June 24 at Cornwall (Ont.) Motor Speedway; June 26 at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Speedway; and June 28-30 at Lernerville Speedway (the sixth annual Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com).
Results of WoO Late Model Series at Eriez Speedway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (6) Darrell Lanigan/50 $10,650
2. (2) Tim McCreadie/50 $5,700
3. (4) Rick Eckert/50 $3,650
4. (11) Bub McCool/50 $3,100
5. (1) Chub Frank/50 $2,550
6. (7) Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs/50 $2,200
7. (13) John Volpe/50 $1,450
8. (12) Ron Davies/50 $1,300
9. (10) Jack Sullivan/50 $1,750
10. (17) Pat Doar/50 $1,750
11. (9) Dave Hess Jr./50 $1,050
12. (16) Scott Johnson/50 $1,000
13. (15) Jason Dupont/50 $1,100
14. (24) John Lobb/50 $950
15. (22) David Lyon/50 $850
16. (14) Vic Coffey/49 $1,350
17. (5) Mike Knight/37 $770
18. (25) Rich Gardner/30 $800
19. (19) Scott Gurdak/25 $730
20. (21) Andy Boozel/23 $700
21. (8) Russell King/15 $700
22. (3) Shane Clanton/14 $1,250
23. (20) Clint Smith/8 $1,250
24. (18) Tim Fuller/2 $1,250
25. (23) Kent Robinson/1 $1,250