Darrell Lanigan banks Knoxville’s $40,000 purse in Late Model Nationals
Knoxville September 29th– The Knoxville Nationals for the Late Model Sedans celebrated the 10th running of this classic and prestige event over three days with fan cracking action.
Jos Richard started off his quest for his first ever Knoxville win after finishing second in the last two classics with a dominating wins on night one and night two. Richards was spotted in tactical discussions with Outlaws start Donny Schatz , himself a great Late Model Sedan driver. .
Heading iInto the big money final the Richards team would have been quietly confident of breaking through for his first Knoxville national Title.
The 100 laps around Knoxville is a daunting task and Richards even when second to Lanigan at the 25 lap mark would still have fancied his chances .Lanigan had put behind his recent bad luck and was taking advantage of every caution and during the course of the race there were plenty .
50 down and 50 to run and Lanigan still in control followed by Richards, McDowell, Fegers and a charging Billy Moyer.
Lanigan, Richards and McDowell continued to lead the National through to lap 81 before Moyer shot by Feger for third. Richards was working over Lanigan and finally retook the lead on lap 84 and pair then embarked on a brutal battle for the National Title as they race through traffic.
Richards looked strong but disaster struck soon after when , with six laps to go, Eddie Carrier Jr. flipped in turn three, bringing out the red flag. A six lap Dash to the checker.and Richards would now have to battle Lanigan, a battle that would again end with Richards finishing second for third time at Knoxville in the premier Late Model Knoxville Nationals.
The defending Knoxville Nationals Champion Steve Francis came home in 4th place while Jimmy Owen well known to Australian race fans crossed in 9th place.
Darrel Lanigan quote
“It’s one of the bigger ones,” Lanigan said when asked what winning the Knoxville Nationals meant to him. “It ranks right up there with the Dream and all them (other major races). It’s a big event.”
“We just had a little bit of drama (Friday) night which I don’t like,” Lanigan said during the press conference that followed his Saturday-night victory. “Me and Josh race hard and we do get into each other when you’re racing hard like that. When we do (tangle), it’s usually up front.”
“We still had a phenomenal weekend and our guys did a great job,” said Richards, who was hoping to duplicate his sweep earlier this year of the three-night WoO LMS Firecracker 100 at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa. “I’m just very competitive…and anytime you feel like you should’ve done something different to win the race, that’s just part of it. I try to hide (the emotions) as much as I can, but it’s still frustrating.”
“Shoulda, coulda, woulda – we’ve run second here three times. We’ll get one eventually.”
A main (started), 100 laps, NT: 1. 29x, Darrell Lanigan, Union, KY (3); 2. 1, Josh Richards, Shinnston, WV (2); 3. 39, Tim McCreadie, Watertown, NY (6); 4. 15, Steve Francis, Ashland, KY (22); 5. 21, Billy Moyer, Batesville, AR (14); 6. 23, John Blankenship, Williamson, WV (12); 7. 2, Brady Smith, Solon Springs, WI (21); 8. 0, Scott Bloomquist, Mooresburg, TN (9); 9. 20, Jimmy Owens, Newport, TN (13); 10. 25x, Chad Simpson, Mt. Vernon, IA (19); 11. 31, Jason Utter, Columbus Junction, IA (15); 12. Ryan Unzicker (29); 13. Dennis Erb Jr. (31, pr.); 14. 25, Jason Feger, Bloomington, IL (5); 15. 71, Don O’Neal, Martinsville, IN (11); 16. 17M, Dale McDowell, Chickamauga, GA (1); 17. 28, Eddie Carrier Jr., Salt Rock, WV (17); 18. 19R, Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, IA (10); 19. 99JR, Frank Heckenast Jr., Frankfort, IL (24); 20. Denny Eckrich (26); 21. Billy Moyer Jr. (32, pr.); 22. 5, Jared Landers, Batesville, AR (20); 23. 28M, Jimmy Mars, Menomonie, WI (7); 24. 44, Earl Pearson Jr., Jacksonville, FL (8); 25. B5, Brandon Sheppard, Berlin, IL (18); 26. 58D, AJ Diemel, Elk Mound, WI (4); 27. Shannon Babb (27); 28. Morgan Bagley (25); 29. 32s, Chris Simpson, Oxford, IA (23); 30. 57J, Bub McCool, Vicksburg, MS (16); 31. Justin Kay (30); 32. Tony Jackson Jr. (28).
Lap Leaders: Richards 1-6, McDowell 7, Richards 8-19, Lanigan 20-83, Richards 84-94, Lanigan 95-100. Hard-charger: Francis