Lanigans Record-Setting 2014 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Campaign Sets The Mark For National Touring Success
Kentucky Veteran Racks Up 17 WoO LMS A-Main Victories En Route To Third Series Championship
CONCORD, N.C. - Dec. 17, 2014 - No driver has ever dominated a national tour quite like Darrell Lanigan dominated the World of Outlaws Late Model Series in 2014. Lanigan, the 44-year-old veteran racer from Union, Ky., was nearly unstoppable in scoring a record 17 WoO LMS A-Main victories on his way to claiming his third series championship.
In what was supposed to be an adjusting year as he debuted his new self-designed Club 29 Race Car, Lanigan was better than ever. He broke his WoO LMS single-season wins record of 15 victories set in 2012 and totaled a whopping $390,050 in WoO LMS earnings. In 37 WoO LMS events, Lanigan finished among the top five an astounding 33 times with 26 heat race wins and 11 fast-time awards. His dominance showed in the WoO LMS points chase with Lanigan topping Rick Eckert of York, Pa., by a modern-era record 328 points.
Few words can describe just how impressive Lanigan was on his record-breaking title run, but the driver himself summed up the season pretty well when he accepted the champion's trophy and $100,000 points-fund check at the annual World of Outlaws banquet in November.
"It's just unbelievable," said Lanigan, whose notable 2014 victories included his first Firecracker 100 victory at Lernerville Speedway, his third straight Down & Dirty weekend victory at Berlin Raceway and a title-clinching victory during the opening night of The Dirt Track at Charlotte's Bad Boy Buggies WoO World Finals. "It's been a phenomenal year. We topped our record. I didn't think we'd break 15, and we got 17. I wish everybody could have this kind of year because it makes it easy to keep going and go to the next race winning like we did."
While his 2014 season will be remembered predominantly for his dominating performance on the track, for Lanigan the outstanding campaign is just as meaningful based on the success of his first-year chassis brand. After many years of fielding Rocket Chassis and working closely with Rocket cofounder Mark Richards, making the leap to chassis builder was a major step for Lanigan, who partnered with renowned setup guru Ronnie Stuckey to design his new car.
With Lanigan's own race team serving as the fledgling chassis brand's house car program, Club 29 debuted to resounding success. Along with Lanigan's stellar season, drivers such as Jimmy Owens and Frank Heckenast Jr. also found success after switching to the cars mid-season. Owens of Newport, Tenn., drove his Club 29 car to major victories at Cedar Lake Speedway and Batesville Motor Speedway while a Club 29 car carried Heckenast of Frankfort, Ill., to the WoO LMS Rookie of the Year Award.
"It definitely was a phenomenal year. Nobody really thought it would've turned out like it did, but it did," Lanigan said of his success as both driver and chassis builder. "It's definitely fulfilling. We did something that we thought we needed to do. Nothing against Mark Richards and Rocket Chassis; they build great chassis and Mark I consider a great friend of mine. I was just something we needed to do."
The decision to leave the Rocket Chassis stable wasn't easy for Lanigan. After many years of working with Richards and the Rocket staff, Lanigan was reluctant to break ties with his friend and mentor. But as he found himself often competing Richards' son Josh Richards and other Rocket house car pilots for WoO LMS victories and championships, Lanigan felt going his own direction was for the best.
"It was just something I needed to do," said Lanigan, who finished second to Josh Richards in both the 2010 and 2013 WoO LMS championship chases. "I always said it's hard for both of us running the same chassis to run for the same thing. It's really hard to do. Them coming to look at my car or me coming to look at their car, it's hard for the same chassis brand to run for the same championship. It was time for us to separate just to see what we could do."
With the success of 2014 behind him, Lanigan heads for a 2015 season that will require yet more adjusting for the veteran racer. Along with continuing to grow and improve his chassis business, Lanigan will also have to adjust to his Lanigan Autosports team operating as a two-car program with the addition of Jason Jameson as the team's second driver.
Jameson, 29, of Lawrenceburg, Ind., has severed as Lanigan's crew chief over the past two years. After showing potential as a regional racer in recent years, Jameson took advantage of the few opportunities he had to race this season to score a pair of special event victories at Florence Speedway.
Jameson's flashes of talent behind the wheel and his setup knowledge help convince Lanigan that his young protégé is deserving of an opportunity to compete at the sport's highest level. It may also provide Lanigan with an exit strategy from full-time racing in the future.
"My father gave me the opportunity that I got and like I said, I see special things in young people that I want to try to give them the opportunity," Lanigan said. "I see things in Jason that he definitely has the talent to do it. I just want to give him the chance to do it and see what happens there.
"I've been doing this for 25 years and kinda want to slow down a little bit. If everything works out, maybe he can do the deal and carry it on and maybe I can stay at home and build the cars. I don't know, we'll see what happens.
While Lanigan's long-term plan may be to slow down his own racing and focus on building race cars, don't expect to see that go into full effect any time soon. Just as his 2014 success proved, Lanigan believes he's still in the prime of his driving career with many more victories and championships ahead of him.
"I feel like wine right now; the older I get the better I am," Lanigan said. "Time just keeps on flying so fast, you really don't realize how long you've been doing it. But right now, I feel like I'm in my prime and we can go anywhere and win.
"I feel like I'm as good as I've ever been. I feel like I can go to any race and win the race. There's no doubt in my mind when I pull into that gate that I feel like I can win that race."
It's that confidence that has Lanigan already looking forward to the 2015 season with his eyes on another run at the WoO LMS championship and perhaps even more victories than his record-setting performance in 2014.
"It's definitely hard to top a season with 17 wins," Lanigan said. "But hell, maybe we can go to 20 next year. It's not gonna be from lack of trying because we're definitely gonna try."
Record Number Of Events On 2015 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Schedule
National Tour Releases 50-Race Schedule Featuring Visits to At Least 38 Tracks in 20 States and Canada
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Dec., 11, 2014 - The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is set for a record number events in 2015 with 50 A-Mains featured on the national tour's schedule released Thursday during the Performance Racing Industry trade show in Indianapolis. The country's longest-running national Dirt Late Model series has visits to 38 tracks in 20 states and Canada planned for its 12th season under the World Racing Group banner.
The tour's 2015 itinerary follows tradition in kicking off with a stretch of seven events in Georgia and Florida during the month of February. The Winter Freeze at Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, Ga., Feb. 6-7 will serve as the 2015 lid-lifter with a doubleheader weekend featuring 50-lap A-Mains paying $10,000 to win on both Friday and Saturday.
Also part of the busy first month of WoO LMS action is the fourth annual Bubba Army Late Model Winter Nationals at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla. The three-night extravaganza kicks off with a $5,000-to-win DIRTcar Late Model event on Feb. 13 ahead of two $10,000-to-win WoO LMS programs Feb. 14-15. The early-season stretch wraps up with the traditional visit to Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla., for the DIRTcar Nationals that in 2015 will include three complete WoO LMS programs Feb. 19-21 after three DIRTcar Late Model programs Feb. 16-18.
Three high-dollar, long-distance races also highlight the 2015 schedule. The list of marquee events includes the $50,000-to-win USA Nationals at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wis. July 30-Aug. 1; the ninth annual Firecracker 100 paying $30,000 to the winner at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa. June 25-27; and the $26,000-to-win Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury (Ill.) American Legion Speedway July 24-25.
The 2015 season will conclude for the ninth straight year with a pair of $12,000-to-win 50-lap A-Mains during the Bad Boy Buggies World of Outlaws World Finals on Nov. 5-7 at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in Concord, N.C.
Boasting three tracks that will host their first-ever WoO LMS events and nine tracks that are returning to the schedule after various hiatuses, the 50-race campaign is on course to surpass the tour's alltime single-season high of 46 A-Mains established in 2013 and equal the record of 38 different host tracks set in 2010.
"I am excited about our schedule and that we have been able to increase the number of races without adding much more travel for our teams," said WoO LMS series director Tim Christman. "A schedule of roughly 50 races has always been our goal number and we should end up right around that by the time Charlotte rolls around.
"We are thrilled that so many track promoters and managers have chosen to include the World of Outlaws Late Model Series in their 2015 plans. It's with their support that we're able to bring the most prestigious series in all of Dirt Late Model racing to fans across the country."
The three tracks set to host the WoO LMS for the first time are Friendship Motor Speedway in Elkin, N.C., a 4/10-mile oval that kicks off a May 1-2 Tar Heel State doubleheader that it shares with Fayetteville Motor Speedway; the 3/8-mile Ponderosa Speedway in Junction City, Ky., which hosts the series on May 8 ahead of a visit to Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville, Tenn.; and Quincy (Ill.) Raceways, which serves as a lead-in to Fairbury's Prairie Dirt Classic weekend with its event on Thurs., July 23.
Cedar Lake Speedway's 100-lap USA Nationals occupies a spotlighted position on the World of Outlaws trail for the sixth consecutive year and ninth time overall in its 28-year history. The three-day crown jewel event features two WoO LMS programs. A Thursday-night preliminary program on July 30 offering a $6,000 first-place check, leading into the traditional USA Nationals qualifying night on Fri., July 31 and the 100-lap, $50,000-to-win finale on Sat., Aug. 1.
Lernerville's Firecracker 100, meanwhile, will again feature three full nights of competition with a fan-friendly format that boasts 30-lap, $6,000-to-win preliminary A-Mains on Thurs., June 25, and Fri., June 26, before ending with the 100-lap headliner offering a $30,000 first-place prize on Sat., June 27.
Fairbury American Legion Speedway will once again welcome the WoO LMS for its popular Prairie Dirt Classic event on July 24-25. In the event's third straight year of WoO LMS sanctioning, the race payout will again see an increase with the winner's pay bumped to $26,000 for the 26th running of the event.
Special events are also set for the quarter-mile Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, W.Va., for the Jackpot Weekend on May 23-24, Farmer City (Ill.) Speedway for the Illini 100 weekend March 27-28, and Berlin Raceway in Marne, Mich., a 7/16th-mile asphalt track that will be covered with dirt for the Keyser Manufacturing Down & Dirty Weekend on Sept. 18-19. Race formats and purse structures for all three events will be announced in the near future.
A pair of lucrative regional swings also bolster the 2015 schedule with both the Wild West Tour and the traditional Northeast swing featuring expanded slates. The Northeast swing features four events in New York and Canada between June 18-23. New York's Fonda Speedway kicks things off on Thurs., June 18 ahead of a pair of events in Ontario, Canada at Brighton Speedway on Sat., June 20 and Cornwall Speedway on Sun., June 21. The tour then returns to New York for a Tues., June 23 date at in Weedsport Speedway, which welcomes the series for the first time since 2007. The four-race stretch leads into the Firecracker 100 weekend June 25-27 at Lernerville Speedway.
The Wild West Tour, meanwhile, will take the tour to at least four states for seven races between July 9-16. Hibbing (Minn.) Raceway opens the Wild West Tour for the second straight year on Thurs., July 9 followed by a visit to River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D., on Fri., July 10 and a yet-to-be-announced track on Sat., July 11. Gillette (Wyo.) Thunder Speedway and Black Hills Speedway in Rapid City, S.D., both return to the Wild West Tour slate in 2015 with events on Tues., July 14 and Wed., July 15 respectively. Another yet-to-be-announced track will host the series on Thurs., July 15 ahead of the Wild West Tour finale at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn., on Sat., July 18.
Three more tracks returning to the schedule in 2015 will make a late-summer three-race weekend. Atomic Speedway in Chillicothe, Ohio, will host its first WoO LMS event since 2009 on Aug. 21 ahead of another visit to the Empire State for an Aug. 22 event at Stateline Speedway in Busti, N.Y., and an Aug. 22 and Eriez Speedway in Erie, Pa.
Another three-day weekend is scheduled for Labor Day weekend with the WoO LMS making another visit to Lernerville Speedway on Sept. 4 followed by a doubleheader at Selinsgrove (Pa.) Speedway Sept. 5-6.
Three other doubleheader weekends highlight the 2015 WoO LMS tour. The series heads to Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway in Calvert City, Ky., for the first time since 2005 on March 20 ahead of a visit to I-30 Speedway in Little Rock, Ark., which welcomes the tour for the third consecutive year with its March 21 event. Another weekend calls for a visit to the Volunteer State for events at Duck River Raceway Park in Wheel, Tenn., on April 10 and Tazewell (Tenn.) Speedway on April 11. A trip to the Mid-Atlantic region will see the tour hit Potomac Speedway in Budds Creek, Md., on Aug. 14 and Winchester (Va.) Speedway on Aug. 15.
Standalone events fill out the remainder of the 2015 WoO LMS slate, with Delaware International Speedway in Delmar, Del., scheduled to host its 11th WoO LMS event on Thurs., May 28. Shawano (Wis.) Speedway will provide WoO LMS competitors a stop-off between Fairbury and Cedar Lake Speedway for the second straight year with its event on Tues., July 28.
For the most up-to-date schedule information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com. Fans can also follow the WoO LMS on Twitter at Twitter.com/WoOLateModels and at the tour's new Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/WorldofOutlawsLateModelSeries
2015 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Schedule
(as of 12/11/14) Schedule subject to change. Check WorldofOutlaws.com for latest information.
Date Day Track/Location
Feb. 6 Friday Screven Motor Speedway/Sylvania, GA
Feb. 7 Saturday Screven Motor Speedway/Sylvania, GA
Feb. 14 Friday Bubba Raceway Park/Ocala, FL
Feb. 15 Saturday Bubba Raceway Park/Ocala, FL
Feb. 19 Thursday Volusia Speedway Park/Barberville, FL
Feb. 20 Friday Volusia Speedway Park/Barberville, FL
Feb. 21 Saturday Volusia Speedway Park/Barberville, FL
March 20 Friday Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway/Calvert City, KY
March 21 Saturday I-30 Speedway/Little Rock, AR
March 27-28 Fri./Sat. Farmer City Raceway/Farmer City, IL
April 10 Friday Duck River Raceway Park/Wheel, TN
April 11 Saturday Tazewell Speedway/Tazewell, TN
May 1 Friday Friendship Motor Speedway/Elkin, NC
May 2 Saturday Fayetteville Motor Speedway/Fayetteville, NC
May 8 Friday Ponderosa Speedway/Junction City, KY
May 9 Saturday Smoky Mountain Speedway/Maryville, TN
May 23-24 Sat./Sun. Tyler County Speedway/Middlebourne, WV
May 28 Thursday Delaware International Speedway/Delmar, DE
June 18 Thursday Fonda Speedway/Fonda, NY
June 20 Saturday Brighton Speedway/Brighton, ONT
June 21 Sunday Cornwall Motor Speedway/Cornwall, ONT
June 23 Tuesday Weedsport Speedway/Weedsport, NY
June 25 Thursday Lernerville Speedway/Sarver, PA
June 26 Friday Lernerville Speedway/Sarver, PA
June 27 Saturday Lernerville Speedway/Sarver, PA
July 9 Thursday Hibbing Raceway/Hibbing, MN
July 10 Friday River Cities Raceway/Grand Forks, ND
July 11 Saturday TBA
July 14 Tuesday Gillette Thunder Speedway/Gillette, WY
July 15 Wednesday Black Hills Speedway/Rapid City, SD
July 16 Thursday TBA
July 18 Saturday Deer Creek Speedway/Spring Valley, MN
July 23 Thursday Quincy Raceways/Quincy, IL
July 24-25 Fri./Sat. Fairbury American Legion Speedway/Fairbury, IL
July 28 Tuesday Shawano Speedway/Shawano, WI
July 30 Thursday Cedar Lake Speedway/New Richmond, WI
July 31-Aug. 1 Fri./Sat. Cedar Lake Speedway/New Richmond, WI
Aug. 14 Friday Potomac Speedway/Budds Creek, MD
Aug. 15 Saturday Winchester Speedway/Winchester, VA
Aug. 21 Friday Atomic Speedway/Chillicothe, OH
Aug. 22 Saturday Stateline Speedway/Busti, NY
Aug. 23 Sunday Eriez Speedway/Erie, PA
Sept. 4 Friday Lernerville Speedway/Sarver, PA
Sept. 5 Saturday Selinsgrove Speedway/Selinsgrove, PA
Sept. 6 Sunday Selinsgrove Speedway/Selinsgrove, PA
Sept. 18-19 Fri./Sat. Berlin Raceway/Marne, MI
Nov. 5 Thursday The Dirt Track at Charlotte /Concord, NC
Nov. 6 Friday The Dirt Track at Charlotte/Concord, NC
Nov. 7 Saturday The Dirt Track at Charlotte/Concord, NC
1. Darrell Lanigan 5196
2. Rick Eckert 4868
3. Tim McCreadie 4852
4. Morgan Bagley 4590
5. Chub Frank 4550
5. Eric Wells 4550
7. Shane Clanton 4510
8. Frank Heckenast Jr. 4382
9. Clint Smith 4282
10. Chase Junghans 4134