Richards Dominates at Tyler County Speedway for 11th Win of the Season
SHINNSTON, W.Va. (May 30, 2016) – Josh Richards collected his 11th win of the 2016 season in dominant fashion on Saturday night at Tyler County Speedway leading the 40-lap Feature flag-to-flag. Richards also earned a runner-up finish in his first appearance at Moler Raceway Park on Friday and brought home a hard-fought eighth-place finish after being caught up in a multi-car incident in the 60-lap finale at Tyler County Speedway on Sunday.
The Memorial Day Weekend of racing for Richards and crew started at Moler Raceway Park in Williamsburg, Ohio, on Friday. A track new to Richards, his first ever laps at the one-fourth-mile, clay oval were made during hot laps. Next up, was qualifying and Richards turned the fourth quickest circuit. His time-trial effort lined him up on the outside-pole for the fourth heat race. Starting second for the 10-lap event, the Rocket Chassis driver maintained his position throughout, making him eligible for the Feature redraw. Richards drew the fifth starting spot for the 50-lap A-Main and when the green flag flew, the Valvoline driver charged to the bottom and was scored in the third when he crossed the stripe for Lap 1. The 28-year-old maintained his position until slipping back to fourth on Lap 23 while trying to navigate lap traffic. Just two laps later, he regained the third spot and remained there until a Lap 40 caution. Restarting in second with 10 laps to go, Richards held his position, capturing the runner-up spot in his first appearance at Moler Raceway Park.
The next stop on the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series schedule was Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, W.Va., for a two-night show. After sweeping the weekend at the West Virginia track last year, Richards was eager to get back and pick up where he left off and that’s exactly what the superstar driver did. Starting Saturday with qualifying, Richards showed he was a force to be reckoned with collecting the night’s fast-time award with a lap of 12.719. His qualifying effort lined him up on the pole for Heat Race 1 and Richards made quick work of the field, easily leading all 10 laps en route to the heat race win. Eligible for the redraw, the Valvoline driver drew the pole for the 40-lap Feature. Starting first, Richards quickly drove away from the field at the drop of the green flag, showing his dominance early. He maintained a blistering-pace throughout and went flag-to-flag unchallenged to take home his sixth World of Outlaws win of the season and 11th victory of the year.
The West Virginia driver started Sunday just as he had the night before, again topping the field in qualifying with a lap of 12.137. The lap marked his 46th-career fast-time award in World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series competition making him the Series all-time leader. The circuit was also fast enough for a new track record. His time-trial effort lined him up on the pole for the third heat race. Richards again showed he was the class of the field leading all 10 laps to cruise to the heat race win. The victory made him eligible for the redraw, but luck was not on Richards’ side as he drew the 8th starting spot. Starting in Row 4, Richards was up to sixth on Lap 1 and looked to again be the driver to beat, but just a few circuits later, disaster struck on Lap 6 as the No. 1 machine was caught up in a spin that happened as two drivers got together directly in front. The incident sent Richards and the other cars involved to the tail-end of the field for the ensuing restart. Starting 23rd, the young driver had his work cut out for him, but he was up for the challenge. Richards quickly began his march toward the front of the field, muscling his way to 13th by Lap 31. Just as he looked to be knocking on the door of the top-10, the No. 1 slowed on the backstretch losing fuel pressure. Making his way to the pit area the team went to work and the Mark Richards Racing driver returned to the track just as the field was about to take the green flag for the Lap 32 restart. Again starting at the tail-end of the field in 21st, Richards was determined to salvage a good finish. Passing cars two and three at a time, Richards had made his way inside the top 10 with just 10 laps remaining in the 60-lap event. Turning faster lap times than the leader, Richards made his way to eighth on Lap 56 and was running down the lead cars who were now spread out due to lap traffic and a long green-flag period. Though he was running some of the fastest lap times, the distance to make up was too great and Richards ran out of laps, ultimately crossing the line eighth. The hard-fought finish kept his top-10 streak alive, with Richards finishing inside the top 10 in all 26 events entered this season.
Richards’ now leads the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series point standings by 134 markers over second-place Shane Clanton.
The driver of the No. 1 machine is scheduled to return to racing-action, June 9-11 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, for the Dirt Late Model Dream.
Qualifying – 4th Heat Race – 2nd Feature Start -5th Feature Finish – 2nd
Qualifying – 1st Heat Race – 1st Feature Start – 1st Feature Finish – 1st
Qualifying – 1st Heat Race -1st Feature Start – 8th Feature Finish- 8th
JOSH RICHARDS QUOTES: "I’m really happy with how our weekend turned out all things considered. I had a really fast car on Friday at Moler Raceway Park. I had never been there, so it took a little time to learn the track, but I think we had the best car at the end. It was hard to pass and I just couldn’t get around (Shane) Clanton in the final laps. I’ll take a runner-up finish though.
“It was great to be racing back in West Virginia again. It’s nice to be in front of a hometown crowd at Tyler County (Speedway), and I wanted to do my best to put on a good show for them. The staff did a great job with the track and we could race all over it. I’ve never seen the track like that before, but it sure was a lot of fun. The car was so good all weekend, it was good to get a win on Saturday and I really wanted to make it a weekend sweep, but I got caught up in a spin in front of me early and lost fuel pressure halfway through. For having to restart at the back of the field a couple of times, I’m happy with an eighth-place finish. It could have been a lot worse. I just wish we had some more laps, because I feel like I had the car to beat and I could have gotten back up front to contend for the win if I had some more time. All-in-all, it was a great weekend for the Valvoline team.”