Richards Extends Points Lead with Two Wins
And Two Runner-Up Finishes at Weedsport and Lernerville
SHINNSTON, W.Va. (June 27, 2016) - Josh Richards continues his outstanding season collecting two wins and two runner-up finishes last week at Weedsport (N.Y.) Speedway and Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Penn., extending his World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series points lead to 208 markers over second place.
The week began with the Rocket Chassis team heading north to Weedsport Speedway for Tuesday's Finger Lakes 40. Once unloaded, it didn't take long for Richards to show he was fast, turning the second fastest lap time during hot laps and qualifying. His time trial effort lined the 28-year-old up on the pole for Heat Race 2, and Richards made quick work of the field winning the 10-lap event by a straightaway. With his Heat Race win making him eligible for the redraw, Richards drew the number one. Starting on the pole for the Feature, the Valvoline driver quickly took command of the race and never looked back dominating the 40-lap event. The superstar driver led flag-to-flag winning by over 10 seconds and lapping up to the fifth-place car. The victory marked Richards 12th win of the year.
After his impressive run at Weedsport Speedway, Richards and crew headed to Lernerville Speedway for Firecracker 100 weekend. Racing was scheduled to begin on Thursday, but inclement weather forced Thursday's show to be postponed until Saturday afternoon before the 100-lap finale scheduled for Saturday night.
Friday night at Lernerville Speedway began with hot laps and Richards turned the overall fastest circuit. He then went on to qualify seventh quickest. His time trial effort lined him up in third for Heat Race 4 and Richards was able to advance to second in the 10-lap event. With the top-three in each heat transferring to the main event, Richards was guaranteed the 10th starting spot in the 30-lap Feature. Starting in Row 5, the Mark Richards Racing driver immediately started his march toward the front of the field and by Lap 5 he was already running in fourth. Just a few laps later he was scored in second and had his eye on the point position. Richards took over the top spot on Lap 13, but a slow car exiting into the pits caused Richards to check-up and relinquish the lead to Brandon Overton on Lap 18. On a mission to get back to the front, Richards again took over the point position on Lap 22 and remained in command of the field for the final eight circuits to capture his eighth World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series win of the year and 13th overall victory of the season.
Saturday's doubleheader started off with Richards running Thursday's make-up race first. He ran the second fastest lap in both hot laps and qualifying. His time trial effort, lined him up on the pole for Heat 4 and the young driver led all 10 laps to bring home the win. Richards heat victory made him eligible for the redraw and he drew the third starting spot for the 30-lap event. Starting the Feature in Row 2, Richards slipped to fourth on the initial lap, but was able to make his way back to third on Lap 5. With the field quickly spreading out single-file, the Valvoline driver remained in third until the halfway point where he took over the second position. Trying to make it three wins in a row, Richards was inching closer to leader Overton, but just as he pulled to his back bumper, a lapped car blocked Richards' groove and caused him to loose momentum. With just a few laps remaining, Richards was unable to make up the ground and he ultimately crossed the line in second.
With Thursday's postponed event in the books, it was time for the Valvoline team to get ready for Saturday night's 100-lap finale. The Heat Races were set by Thursday and Friday's Feature finishes, so Richards lined up on the pole for Heat Race 1 and led all 15 laps en route to the win. His Heat Race victory made him eligible for the redraw and the West Virginia native drew the fifth starting spot for the Feature. Starting on the inside of Row 3, Richards was already up to third by Lap 10. Shortly after Richards overtook the third spot, the field began to spread out with little passing and Richards remained in third searching the track to try and find the fastest groove. As the laps wore on, Richards began to gain ground on the second-place car of Dale McDowell and was able to complete the pass on Lap 66. With lapped traffic separating Richards from leader Scott Bloomquist, he methodically made his way through traffic and was able to pull alongside of Bloomquist on several occasions. Running a similar racing groove to Bloomquist, Richards was unable to make the pass and was forced to settle for a runner-up finish in the Firecracker 100. The second-place finish marks his 28th top-five finish in 33 Feature events this season.
The Valvoline driver is scheduled to return to action June 30 at Rockford Speedway in Loves Park, Illinois.
Tuesday Race Results
Qualifying - 2nd Heat Race - 1st Feature Start - 1st Feature Finish - 1st
Thursday Make-Up Race Results
Qualifying - 2nd Heat Race - 1st Feature Start -3rd Feature Finish - 2nd
Qualifying - 7th Heat Race - 2nd Feature Start - 10th Feature Finish 1st
Qualifying - N/A Heat Race -1st Feature Start - 5th Feature Finish- 2nd
JOSH RICHARDS QUOTES: "Weedsport (Speedway) was a lot of fun. I didn't realize how good our car was until the Feature. That was one of the best tracks I've run on in a long time. They do a phenomenal job there. It is a beautiful place. I remember going there ten years ago as a rookie and it's really cool to go back and get a win.
"Lernerville (Speedway) is a place where we've had success in the past, so I always look forward to going there. Friday I had a great Valvoline machine, I was able to move around all over the track and it was fast. It was great to get a win, I can't thank my crew enough for all of their hard work. Saturday was a lot of fun too. We gave it all we had in both races to try and bring home some more wins, but just came up a little short. All-in-all we had a great week."