Darrell Lanigan left his own operation at the end of the 2015 season to join Clint Bowyer Racing and he remained in that ride until the end of last year. And while his time with CBR was far from a failure, the Union, KY driver never quite felt at home being out of the seat of his own ride. But now the 49-year-old driver is back in more a familiar setting and the results are beginning to come together.
The Darrell Lanigan Racing Club 29 Race Car has scored two wins and three runner-up finishes in its last eight starts. Those performances have lifted Lanigan up to third in the current World of Outlaws Late Model Series standings.
The veteran driver believes that being back in a more comfortable environment is serving him well in 2019.
“Sometimes drivers don’t fit in certain situations and I feel like I’m more comfortable when I’m doing my own thing, my own deal,” Lanigan explained in an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com. “I guess some drivers fit good in that deal and some drivers don’t. That’s just the way it is.”
The three-time WoO Late Models champion spent three seasons on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series while with CBR but is now back on the circuit where he experienced so much success in the past. Currently third in the series standings, Lanigan has scored one feature win in series competition along with 19 top-5 and 31 top-10 efforts in the current campaign.
“It doesn’t really matter,” the Bluegrass Bandit responded when asked if he has a series preference. “They both have got the good and the bad. I mean I’m just really familiar with these guys and I enjoy being up and down the road with them. Like I said, both series have got pluses so you just go with the one that fits your program. The Outlaws schedule is kind of more central around our area so that kind of helps me a little bit on travel.”
The DLR crew got off to a good start according to the driver but then went into a bit of a lull before regaining the momentum they currently enjoy.
“There at the beginning of the year I would have gave us a definite B+, but in the middle of the year we kind of got off on some different directions,” Lanigan graded himself and his team. “Then here at the end of the year we’re definitely back up to a B+ or an A-. Hopefully on the last few races we can get back up to second in the points.”
So what happened in the middle of the season to cause that lull?
“We just got off on some different stuff and found some stuff wrong,” the former USA Nationals winner said. “There was some new chassis blues so we went in and worked on our frame a little bit and did some different things and definitely got them better.”
Some might consider the fact that few other competitors on the WoO Late Models tour use the Club 29 Race Car to be a disadvantage. And while Lanigan will agree with that to a certain point, he contends that there can also be disadvantages to having so many similar chassis on the track.
“It definitely makes a difference but I like doing my own thing,” Lanigan reiterated. “When you’ve got a lot of cars out there and you get different feedback from other people it can help you as much as it can hurt you. If you get bad feedback or something that your driver don’t like it might hurt you in certain situations. Like I said, I just enjoy doing my own thing.”
In his first season back with his own organization Darrell Lanigan has compiled four feature wins in total and is in contention to finish second in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series final standings. Those accomplishments seem worthy of the driver and team owner’s grade for his efforts.