SPRING VALLEY, Minn. — official release — Scott Gulbranson photo — Darrell Lanigan raced to his fourth career victory in Deer Creek Speedway’s NAPA Auto Parts Gopher 50 Sunday evening, earning $11,600 for his eighth World of Outlaws Late Model Series victory of the season.
Lanigan, the two-time WoO LMS champion and current point leader, advanced from fourth starting spot and drove his Gotta Race-sponsored Club 29 Race Car by polesitter Morgan Bagley on lap 23 of the 50-lap event on his way to winning Minnesota’s biggest late model race for the second straight year.
Lanigan crossed the finish line 1.319 seconds ahead of Bagley, who settled for the runner-up finish after leading laps 4-22. Fifth-starting Tim Fuller was just behind Bagley in third, while second-starting Rick Eckert slid back to fourth after leading the race’s first three laps. Eighth-starting Eric Wells rounded out the top five after running as high as third midway through the race.
Lanigan’s 61st career WoO LMS victory came in the second leg of the series’ four-race Wild West Tour and helped to ease the disappointment of a missed opportunity in the Wild West Tour opener Thursday night at Hibbing (Minn.) Raceway when Lanigan fell to third after leading the first half of the race.
“We definitely let one get away the other night,” said Lanigan, who stretched his WoO LMS points lead to an even 200 points with the victory. “That was our own fault. But we’re having a great year, so I ain’t complaining.
“The car was great tonight; we could go anywhere we wanted to. Went a little harder than they did on tires, and I think it paid off in the end.”
Looking for his first career WoO LMS victory, Bagley topped an early battle with Eckert to put his P&W Sales-sponsored Rocket Chassis out front on lap four. He fought hard to turn back Lanigan’s challenge around the 20-lap mark but couldn’t hold him off after the two leaders raced side-by-side through traffic for three laps.
Bagley mounted a challenge to retake the lead just after the halfway point and even pulled alongside Lanigan on lap 27. But a lap-29 caution slowed Bagley’s momentum, and Lanigan pulled away after the restart.
“It was good to get out and lead some laps and be competitive,” said Bagley, who recorded his career best WoO LMS A-Main finish and his second consecutive top-five finish. “”It was a good race. I just zigged when I should’ve zagged there. I knew it was gonna be hard to beat Darrell regardless. But at least I got to follow him and drive hard. Maybe we’ll have something for him next time.
“We’ve been paying our dues and that’s part of it. We’re just gonna keep on digging and fine tuning. We’ve got a good team and hopefully (a victory) will come here pretty quick because everybody on this team deserves it.”
Fuller continued his recent resurgence in his Kennedy Motorsports Rocket Chassis with a solid performance that began with lowering Deer Creek’s late model track record in qualifying. After settling into fifth early in the main event, he later took third in a heated mid-race battle with Eckert and Wells, but he couldn’t catch the leaders in the closing laps.
“It was a real good night,” said Fuller, who plans to follow the remainder of the WoO LMS schedule after missing much of the first half of the season. “We just weren’t as good as Darrell and (Bagley). We’ve been running good, and you hang around the top five long enough and you’re gonna grab some wins.”
The Wild West Tour continues Tuesday (July 15) with a visit to Brown County Speedway in Aberdeen, S.D., for the third-mile oval’s first WoO LMS event since 2008. River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D., hosts the Wild West Tour finale Friday (July 18).
Results of World of Outlaws Late Model Series NAPA Auto Parts Gopher 50 at Deer Creek Speedway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (4) Darrell Lanigan/50 $11,600
2. (1) Morgan Bagley/50 $5,600
3. (5) Tim Fuller/50 $3,000
4. (2) Rick Eckert/50 $3,050
5. (8) Eric Wells/50 $2,550
6. (10) Shane Clanton/50 $2,250
7. (3) Frank Heckenast Jr./50 $2,350
8. (7) Jimmy Mars/50 $1,350
9. (24) Lance Matthees/50 $1,850
10. (18) Chub Frank/50 $1,650
11. (11) Chase Junghans/50 $1,550
12. (15) Tyler Bruening/50 $1,000
13. (9) Boom Briggs/49 $1,550
14. (14) Clint Smith/48 $1,450
15. (21) Adam Hensel/40 $850
16. (6) Tim McCreadie/29 $1,400
17. (17) Jason Krohn/29 $770
18. (16) Rodney Sanders/24 $750
19. (13) Brady Smith/24 $730
20. (20) Mike Fryer/24 $700
21. (22) Pat Doar/18 $700
22. (12) Jordan Yaggy/17 $700
23. (19) Nick Herrick/15 $700
24. (23) John Winge/6 $725