OH (June 7) -- Darrell Lanigan has been close a couple of times in the
past having finished runner-up in both the Dream and the World 100,
but that all changed Saturday night when the Union, KY driver won the
famed Dream IX race at Eldora Speedway. The 33-year old veteran driver
collected $100,000 for the win over 132 other dirt late model drivers.
The race was sanctioned by UMP which has a Hoosier tire rule for its
competitors. Drivers from across the country converged on the famous
1/2-mile track hoping to win the $100,000 prize. From 16-year-old
Justin Allgaier to 67-year-old Johnny Johnson, all were hoping to gain
entry into the elite 24-car field for the 100-lap Dream race.
Rain on Friday forced what was to be a two-day show
into a huge one-day event on Saturday with 133 drivers posting times
in qualifying. Brian Birkhofer set fast time on his first lap of
17.059 seconds followed by Tim Hitt and Jeep VanWormer.
The 133 drivers were divided into six heats. The top 3
finishers from each heat gained entry into the feature, while drivers
finishing in positions 4-6 moved to the B-feature and those finishing
in positions 7-10 went to the C-feature. The six heat race winners were
Steve Francis, Steve Shaver, Billy Moyer, Darrell Lanigan, Jay Johnson
and Matt Miller.
The C-feature, which transferred six drivers to the
B-feature, was won by Brandon Kinzer followed by Billy Drake, Josh
Williams, Eddie Carrier, Jr., Terry English and Jesse Lay.
The B-feature, which transferred four drivers into the
$100,000 A-main race, was won by Dale McDowell. McDowell was followed
by Brian Harris, Shannon Babb and Shawn Toczek.
The 133-car field was finally whittled down to 24 cars
for the night's big event. Jay Johnson and Matt Miller started the
race on the front row. When the green flag fell, Miller immediately
took the lead with second row starter Darrell Lanigan quickly moving
into second. Lanigan battled Miller for the first nine circuits before
finally taking the lead on lap 10. Lanigan defended his leader status
for the next 91 laps en route to claiming the biggest win of the
33-year-old's career. The exciting race was uninterrupted and took a
total of 29 minutes to complete.
Following Lanigan to the finish line, approximately
five car-lengths behind the race winner, was Brian Birkhofer in second
followed by Billy Moyer, Steve Francis and Scott James to round out
the top five.
New Hoosier Dirt Product Manager Shanon Rush attended
the event on a soggy Friday and used the opportunity to introduce
himself to the many teams and drivers in attendance.
Hoosier Racing Tire is the official spec tire of the Midwestern-based
UMP Series and is used exclusively at all of Eldora's marquis dirt
late model events--including the Dream and the World 100. UMP tire
sizes include the LM8611, LM8811, LM9011 and LM9211 in five specific
compounds--M10, M20, M30, M40 and M60. For more details about the
Dream IX race or the UMP Series, visit www.umpracing.com.