Richards Holds On to Collect Impressive Podium-Finish
At The Dirt Track World Championship
SHINNSTON, W.Va. (Oct. 17, 2016) - Josh Richards held on to collect an impressive third-place finish Saturday at Portsmouth (Ohio) Raceway Park after sustaining considerable nose damage at the halfway point of the 100-lap finale. The finish marks his 46th podium-finish of the season.
Heading to Portsmouth with only two race weekends left in the 2016 season, Richards had high hopes for The Dirt Track World Championship. Friday marked the start of the prestigious weekend and 79 drivers had their sights set on Saturday’s $100,000 payday.
Friday’s racing-action consisted of a hot laps and two separate heat race sessions. With no qualifying, the starting lineups for the heat races were determined by a random draw. Richards lined up for his first heat race of the night in the second position. The 28-year-old didn’t waste any time making his way to the front, as he was scored in first on Lap 1. Though several caution periods slowed the race, Richards showed his dominance leading all 12 laps en route to the heat race victory.
Next up was Richards’ second heat race of the night and this time he would have to start deep in the field lining up ninth. The car in front of Richards failed to start the race so the Rocket Chassis driver moved up to seventh just before the drop of the green flag. Navigating his way through traffic, Richards was up to fourth on Lap 6 of the 11-lap event. On Lap 9 he was in third and on the last lap of the race, Richards appeared to be poised to take over the second spot, when he suffered a flat right-rear tire going into Turn 3. Riding on the rim, Richards was able to maintain his position crossing the stripe in third. Passing points accrued in each heat race determined Saturday’s Feature lineup, and Richards’ finishes of first and third secured him the seventh starting spot for The Dirt Track World Championship.
Starting on the inside of Row 4 on Saturday, Richards was a man on a mission trying to make his way to the front. On Lap 10, the young driver was already up to fifth and by Lap 20 he had secured the fourth spot. Just a few circuits later, he had muscled his way to third and a caution on Lap 27 set him up to take over second on the ensuring restart. Now in possession of the second spot, Richards had his sights set on leader Scott Bloomquist. After racing side-by-side for several laps, Richards cleared Bloomquist and took command of the race on Lap 46. Easily pulling away from the field, it looked as if Richards was the man to beat until Lap 50, when the Valvoline driver made contact with a yuke tire between Turns 3 and 4 causing substantial damage to the front bumper of the No. 1 machine. With a never-give-up attitude, Richards gave it all he had and was able to remain out front for the next 27 laps. Ultimately, the damage made maneuvering the car difficult and Richards slipped to third on Lap 78. Though he had his hands full, Richards wasn’t willing to give up anymore ground and held on for the remaining 22 laps to bring home an impressive third-place finish.
The Valvoline driver is schedule to return to action October 27-29 at The Dirt Tack at Charlotte in Concord, N.C., for the season-ending World of Outlaws World Finals.
Qualifying –N/A Heat Race 1 - 1st Heat Race 2 – 3rd
Feature Start – 7th Feature Finish – 3rd
JOSH RICHARDS QUOTES: “We had a phenomenal Valvoline car. It’s all I could ask for. I just got a little carried away down by the yuke tires. I was under Scott (Bloomquist) and I bounced off one of them and I felt the nose bend a little bit when I passed him. Then the next lap I clipped the tire one more time. That was it. I knew at that point our race was over. I tried to hang on the best I could, but the car was hard to maneuver. I had to spin the tires and run sideways the best I could. It’s a bummer. I really wanted to add a Dirt Track World Championship win to our season this year. Considering the amount of damage the car had, I’m happy I was able to hang on to a third-place finish.
“Hats off to Brandon Sheppard for winning this race again.”