Darrell Lanigan Overtakes Chub Frank at Big Diamond for Fifth World of Outlaws Late Model Series Win of the Season
Stage set for Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com Thursday-Friday-Saturday at Lernerville Speedway
By Kevin Kovac
FORESTVILLE, Pa. – June 24 – Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., overtook race-long pacesetter Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., for the lead on lap 25 and marched on to capture Tuesday’s World of Outlaws Late Model Series Diamond Shine 40 at Big Diamond Raceway.
The 43-year-old Lanigan continued his relentless pursuit of a third career WoO LMS championship, padding his already healthy points lead with his series-leading fifth victory of the 2014 season and the 58th of his career. He earned $8,650 for his second triumph in three career starts at the 3/8-mile oval in Pennsylvania’s coal region, which hosted the national tour for the first time in five years.
“We’ve got an A-plus season going right now,” said Lanigan, who has 13 top-10 finishes in 14 WoO LMS starts this season. “The piece (Club 29 Race Car) we built and designed has been unbelievable since we brought it out of the box in February, so I couldn’t ask for nothing better.”
Lanigan, who won the inaugural WoO LMS event at Big Diamond in 2008, swept Tuesday night’s program. He set fast time in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials, won a heat race and stormed to the feature win, which kept him as the only repeat winner on the tour this season.
Starting third in the 40-lap A-Main, Lanigan passed Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., for second on a lap-11 restart and settled in behind the 51-yearold Frank, who started second and grabbed the lead at the initial green flag. Finally, on lap 25, Lanigan surged by Frank to assume command for good.
Rick Eckert of York, Pa., sailed around the outside of Frank to take second place on a lap-26 restart and drew close to Lanigan for a short time, but Lanigan’s inside line was too much for Eckert to overcome. The home-state driver finished second, 1.430 seconds behind the winner.
Frank settled for a third-place finish, with 10th-starter Dan Stone of Thompson, Pa., placing fourth and Wells, who started from the pole, completing the top five.
“I just had to wait to get to (lapped) traffic there,” said Lanigan. “Chub was pretty good, but our car was pretty good and it was getting better toward the end of the race. Then he kind of chose the wrong line when he got to traffic and we got by him.”
Eckert, 48, made a gallant attempt to challenge Lanigan riding the high side of the track, but his bid fell short.
“The bottom started picking up by the time I got to Darrell,” said Eckert, who was seeking his first WoO LMS victory since joining the Rocket Chassis house car team in late April. “It started to rubber a little bit, and I just couldn’t keep running up there anymore. That end (turns three and four) got so dirty too that I’d just float the whole car on exit.
“We had a great car, and I found something up top to get up to second. We just couldn’t get all the way to the front though.”
Seeking to end a WoO LMS winless streak dating back to August 2009, Frank led the race’s first 24 laps but couldn’t stay up front to the finish. He still recorded his second consecutive podium finish on the tour.
“I really didn’t feel that good, but nobody was catching us for the first half of the race,” said Frank, who finished second in the Jackpot 100 on May 25 at West Virginia’s Tyler County Speedway. “I think when I got in behind somebody (in traffic) it was dirty (air), and I didn’t feel right and Darrell got by us.
“I could see where we could adjust the car, so at least we held on to get a good finish.”
Three caution flags slowed the race: for Ben Whitaker’s turn-four spin on lap 11; Boom Briggs slowing on lap 26; and Chase Junghans slowing with a flat tire on lap 36.
Thirty-one cars entered the event.
Lanigan was fastest in qualifying with a lap of 15.968 seconds, and he joined Wells and Shane Clanton as heat winners.