Darrell Lanigan started Friday with a heated battle with Billy Moyer, Jr. in his heat race, but his Keyser Engineering Wild West Shootout Late Model A-Main went far more smoothly.
Lanigan, of Union, Kentucky, parlayed his door-banging heat race victory over Moyer, Jr. into a dominant victory in Friday’s 30-lap feature at USA Raceway. He parked his Childress Racing number-F5 in victory lane, fired off a few rounds from the six-shooter pistols in victory lane for the second time in four Shootout events, and walked away with an even larger Wild West Shootout point lead with two weekend races remaining in the six-night series at the Tucson, Arizona facility.
Lanigan started his Club 29 Black Diamond chassis from the eighth position, but quickly sped to the front. He used a three-wide move on lap two to get into the top five, then used all available grooves to get through the rest of the field. He shot to the inside of early leader Ronny Lee Hollingsworth on lap 11 and took the lead he would not relinquish en route to the $3,000 victory.
“It’s definitely important to get to the front as slick as (the track) is,” Lanigan told the crowd in Tucson and the viewers of the DirtOnDirt.com live video broadcast. “You get all you can on that first lap and get up there in the top couple spots and it’s a whole lot easier.”
The only potential danger for Lanigan once out in front was lapped traffic, including his early-night rival Billy Moyer, Jr. Lanigan caught Moyer, Jr. at the tail end of the field with eight laps remaining, but slid by on the high groove without any further fireworks. The three-time World of Outlaws Late Model Series champion then sliced through further lapped traffic in the closing circuits for his second win of the 2015 Wild West Shootout.
“It was pretty tough there, but we had an awesome piece here tonight,” added Lanigan. “We could definitely go anywhere we wanted on the racetrack.”
Lanigan’s two season-opening Wild West Shootout victories have put the Dirt Late Model scene on notice that the success the “Bluegrass Bandit” saw in 2014 with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series championship has carried over into the new year. Those wins have also put Lanigan in the catbird’s seat for the Wild West Shootout championship with Saturday’s $3,000-to-win feature and the series finale $10,000 show Sunday remaining on the docket.
“We definitely like points racing so we’ll see what we can get at the end of the week,” Lanigan added.
Billy Moyer, the father of Billy, Jr., finished second with Rodney Sanders in third.
Sanders, the 2014 USMTS Modified champion, dominated the 25-lap Wild West Shootout Modified feature earlier in the Tucson evening over Ryan Gustin and Grant Junghans. Scott Bintz took the victory in the X-Modified feature over Ron Schreiner and Ryan Cousins.
The three divisions in action Friday night completed their A-Mains without a single caution flag. The 20-lap X-Modified race took less than eight minutes, the Modified feature was just under nine minutes and the 30-lap Late Model feature took 11 minutes to complete.
The ninth annual Keyser Engineering Wild West Shootout in Tucson, Arizona continues Saturday with the headline event being the $3,000-to-win Late Model feature. Saturday’s event, plus Sunday’s $10,000 Shootout finale, can be watched live on the DirtOnDirt.com pay-per-view broadcast. For more information or to order and watch, click here.
– By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director
– Featured photo credit: USA Raceway Facebook
Ninth Annual Keyser Engineering Wild West Shootout Late Model Results
Friday January 16, 2015
|4||18H||Ronny Lee Hollingsworth|
|17||21JR||Billy Moyer, Jr.|