*Note: This interview was actually conducted in March prior to the coronavirus related shutdowns. However, it is still relevant as Darrell Lanigan discusses racing at Volunteer Speedway.
The World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series is set for a return to action this weekend as part of a two-night event at Volunteer Speedway on a revamped schedule for the national touring series. The high-banked Bulls Gap, TN facility will offer up a pair of $10,000-to-win feature races in front of what is likely to be a packed grandstand on both Friday and Saturday nights.
One driver who has not often been a competitor on the east Tennessee track during his career who will be looking to make the most of these races will be Kentucky native Darrell Lanigan.
The three-time World of Outlaws Late Model Series champion took over as the driver in the Barry Wright Race Cars house car for father and son Barry and Lance Wright prior to the 2020 season. The results for the new pairing have been good. Although no series wins have yet to come their way, the No. 29 team currently sits third in the series standings with five top-5 and eight top-10 results to their credit.
“It’s been good,” Lanigan said of his team’s start in an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com prior to the COVID-19 restrictions. “We’ve been really close and if certain things had went our way we could have won a couple of races, but in hindsight, we’ve got a good piece and I look forward to the rest of the year.”
Lanigan has not raced very often at the 4/10 mile clay oval located just off I-81 in Bulls Gap. Still, the ‘Bluegrass Bandit’ is confident that his team will run well there this weekend.
“We’ve been there a couple of times but it’s been a while,” Lanigan pointed out. “We’ve ran decent there. I’m not saying we’ve had the best car. I think Barry has been over there a few times. I think they’ve had a good piece and a good setup. Hopefully we’ll run good.”
No matter where a team is racing or how familiar they are with that particular venue, preparation is the key to success. Volunteer Speedway is no different, especially when racing there twice in two days.
“You’ve definitely got to get the springs and stuff right over there but it’s got a character of its own,” the 50-year-old racer declared. “You’ve just got to go with what you feel like is best for there. You’ve always got the same preparation for every night. We’ll have the car prepped and have all the spare stuff we need. The preparation is the same for every weekend.”
For all competitors on the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series, the measuring stick for success is the Rocket Chassis house car for defending champion Brandon Sheppard. However, Lanigan believes his crew is up to the challenge.
“You’ve just got to be on top of your game,” he said. “Those guys have a good team and a good program. You’ve just got to be hitting on all eight. They’re doing that right now and they’ve been doing it, but I feel comfortable with what we’ve got. Barry and Lance have been around for a long time and I think we’ll be fine. ”
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