When the World of Outlaws Late Models made their inaugural appearance last season at Little Valley Speedway, the only driver to appear on the lap leader board that night was Darrell Lanigan. In a spectacular performance, Lanigan led all 50-laps.
Lanigan duplicated that performance last Thursday when he and his traveling World of Outlaws peers again invaded Little Valley, leading every lap on his way to another WOO Little Valley 50-lap race triumph.
This time, the Union, Ky., driver took off from the outside pole position and earned the big $10,650 winner’s check. Unlike last season, however, this past Thursday’s track surface was more racy, albeit a bit dusty, and the winning margin over second-place finisher Dan Stone was closer, at .377 seconds. It was Lanigan’s ninth World of Outlaws Series win this season.
While Lanigan suffered no problems in the 50-lap feature, his night was not totally trouble free. During the warm-up session at the beginning of the evening, Lanigan’s disabled car had to be pushed from the track to the pits.
“I enjoy coming here because we usually run good on these big tracks,” Lanigan said. “This track definitely fits our program very well. We had a new car tonight and the battery shorted out, but we were able to change the battery before qualifying and got it going again eventually all the way to victory lane.
“The track was pretty close to what it was last year so we just pretty much used the same car setup from last year.”
Lanigan earned his 50th career Outlaws series win. He is the first to hit that milestone.
For the longest time it appeared that series points leader Josh Richards of Shinnston, W. Va., would finish second but in the late going a hard charging Stone got by him mainly due to lapped traffic to record the runner-up finish.
“I’m happy,” said Stone, of Thompson, Pa. “We’ve been struggling the last couple weeks and kind of went back to the basics with the car. As long as I don’t get any dumb ideas and change stuff again we’ll be all right.
“I got close to Lanigan because of lapped traffic but I don’t think he knew I was coming and he was setting a good pace. He was probably faster yet. I think he might have had something more in the tank, I’d imagine.”
The race attracted a field of 28 cars, of which about 11 were regular World of Outlaws traveling participants and the rest were local and regional runners.
One driver who figured to be in the mix was Little Valley Super Late Model points leader Ron Davies, but due to injuries suffered in a very scary accident on Aug. 16 at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa., Davies had to sit on the sidelines and watch. The Warren, Pa., driver is out for the rest of the year, wiping out his chances for the Little Valley points crown. Davies did serve as the grand marshal for Thursday’s race program.
The accident, which Davies called his worst in 37 years of driving, occurred during the first heat race at Lernerville. He flew off the end of the track in the third turn area going airborne, flipping and almost getting into the pit crew grandstand.
“My throttle stuck and I turned and I was trying to hit my switches but we were just going so fast into the corner that I tried to get the motor shut down, but I hit” Doug Eck’s car “with the right rear and launched straight over the top of his car,” recalled Davies, who has won a pair of Little Valley races this season.
“I just remember going through the air and I knew it was going to hurt. I came down on the right side and it flipped driver’s side into the cement wall and then into the catch fence right in front of the pit grandstand.
“If I had cleared that cement wall I would have gone right into that grandstand. Luckily we got slowed down enough before I got there. My whole crew was standing right there and they took off running. This one guy just froze. My nose ended up about 6 inches from him to where I stopped. That’s how close it was.
“I have a concussion and my left shoulder’s messed up.”
Davies hoped to do well enough in the World of Outlaws event, as well as the Little Valley regular season finale on Sept. 14, to lock up the points title but that won’t happen.
“I may have to have something done to my shoulder and that would take two months,” Davies said. “I’ve got a business I’ve got to take care of. So racing’s not on my mind right now. We were the point leader here but it’s no more.”
Multi-time Raceway 5 (formerly Genesee Speedway) DIRTcar Sportsman champion Brian Sage scored his first career Ransomville Speedway DIRTcar 358 Modified feature victory last Friday.