Richards Dominates Field at Deer Creek Speedway
To Collect 15th Win of the Season
SHINNSTON, W.Va. (July 11, 2016) - Josh Richards dominated the field at Deer Creek Speedway, in Spring Valley, Minn., on Saturday to collect his ninth World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series win of the season and his 15th dirt late model victory of the year. Richards also earned a fourth-place finish at Hamilton County Speedway in Webster City, Iowa, on Thursday and a runner-up finish at Mason City (Iowa) Motor Speedway on Friday.
The World of Outlaws regulars headed to Hamilton County Speedway for the first-time ever on Thursday and Richards started the evening with hot laps. He turned the third quickest circuit in the short three-lap practice session, before taking to the track for time trials. Qualifying 17th, Richards had his work cut out for him as he lined up in sixth for Heat Race 2. Shortly after the drop of the green flag, the field spread out single-file making it tough to gain any ground. The Valvoline driver was able to advance one position to finish fifth in the 10-lap event. With the top-six drivers in each Heat Race transferring to the main event, Richards secured the 14th starting spot for the 40-lap Feature. When the green flag flew, Richards slipped back to 18th before a flat right-rear tire sent him to the pits on Lap 6. Restarting at the tail of the field in 23rd, the West Virginia native had the odds stacked against him. Though the cars quickly spread out with not much passing, Richards didn’t let that deter him and he began to methodically march toward the front. At Lap 20, the halfway point, Richards was up to 13th and he wasn’t finished yet. The superstar driver continued his impressive run and was scored in seventh with just 10 laps remaining. With the frontrunners in sight, Richards muscled his way to fourth in the final circuits to collect a solid top-five finish.
Friday, the Rocket Chassis crew headed to Mason City Motor Speedway, the sight of Richards’ first-career fast-time award in 2004. Not having raced at the venue in 12 years, Richards was eager to get back on the track for hot laps and qualifying. The 28-year-old driver turned the third quickest circuit in hot laps and qualified sixth. His time-trail effort lined him up in second for the night’s third Heat Race. Starting on the outside, Richards slipped back to third before he could get down to his preferred inside line. With the field spread out nose-to-tail, Richards was unable to advance and ultimately finished third. His third-place finish lined him up in ninth for the start of the Feature and Richards was determined to get to the front. Shortly after the green flag flew, Richards was scored in sixth and knocking on the door of the top-five. At Lap 27 of the 50-lap event the young driver was up to fourth and running lap times comparable to the leader. With no caution periods to bunch the field, Richards had a long way to go to make up ground on the top-three. The Rocket Chassis driver continued to click off fast laps and by Lap 43 he was running in second with the leader in sight. Though Richards was running faster lap times and gaining ground on the leader, he didn’t have enough laps to make up the distance and had to settle for a runner-up finish in the caution-free race. The second-place run marks his 28th top-three finish of the season.
After coming up just shy of the win on Friday, Richards was on a mission to visit Victory Lane on Saturday at Deer Creek Speedway. It didn’t take long for him to show he was going to be a force to be reckoned with as Richards clicked off the fastest qualifying lap to collect the night’s fast-time award. His time-trail effort lined him up on the pole for Heat Race 1 and Richards easily cruised to the heat win in the 10-lap event. With the top-two finishers in each Heat Race eligible for the redraw, Richards drew the third starting spot for the 50-lap Feature. Starting on the inside of Row 3, he quickly made his way to the point position on Lap 3. Once in command of the field, the three-time World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series Champion never looked back leading the remaining 47 laps to collect his 15th win of the season in commanding fashion.
Richards’ stellar weekend extended his World of Outlaws Series championship point lead to 220 markers over second-place Shane Clanton.
The Valvoline driver will wrap up the Wild West Tour this week with racing on July 13-14 at Ogilvie (Minn.) Raceway, Hibbing (Minn.) Raceway and River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Qualifying – 17th Heat Race – 5th Feature Start – 14th Feature Finish – 4th
Qualifying – 6th Heat Race – 3rd Feature Start – 9th Feature Finish 2nd
Qualifying – 1st Heat Race -1st Feature Start – 3rd Feature Finish- 1st
JOSH RICHARDS QUOTES: "I’d never been to Hamilton County Speedway before and we just got behind on adjustments early. I dug myself a hole with qualifying and then when we blew a tire in the Feature and had to start in the back, I thought we were in trouble. Thankfully my Valvoline machine was super fast and I was able to get through the field pretty good. If we had some more laps I think I could have made a run on the leader.
“My car was great at Mason City (Motor Speedway) too, I just got stuck on the outside for my heat race, lost position and had to start ninth in the Feature. It was green-flag racing the whole way and it just took so long to run everybody down. I think we were better than the leader at the end, but we were just strung out way too far to catch him.
“Deer Creek Speedway does not get enough credit, it is probably one of the top facilities in the country. I always enjoy going there. Again my car was great, I can’t thank my crew enough for all of their hard work. It’s really cool to go out and win at a place like Deer Creek. The track staff is great and the fans are awesome.”