Richards’s Heat-Race Victory Over Babb Among Highlights Of Illini 100 Qualifying Night At Farmer City Raceway

By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director

FARMER CITY, IL – April 3, 2009 – Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., did what few drivers are able to do at Farmer City Raceway on Friday night – outrun Moweaqua, Ill.’s Shannon Babb.

But while Richards beat the master of the quarter-mile oval to capture a heat race for Saturday night’s second annual World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘Illini 100,’ the 21-year-old knows he has a tough road ahead of him in the weekend’s $20,000-to-win finale.

“Shannon is always fast here and he’ll be the guy to beat (on Saturday night),” said Richards, who leads the WoO LMS points standings entering the season’s sixth event. “I just was able to get ahead of him at the start of the heat because the top (groove) was the preferred line and that’s where I started (alongside Babb on the front row).”

Richards was certainly pleased with the performance of his Rocket Chassis house car, giving him high hopes that he can pull off the richest victory of his career at a bullring he loves to visit.

“My car felt like it was pretty good,” said Richards, who has a top-five finish in four of the five WoO LMS A-Mains contested to date. “We wanted to come here and have a solid qualifying night and we did that, and now we’ll concentrate on (the Illini 100) and hopefully we’ll have everything go our way.

“I’m excited,” he continued. “This place is fun to race. It’s usually fast early in the night and by feature time you can really move all over. I think that’s what it’ll be like (on Saturday night), so we’ll have to be fast to stay up front.”

Babb, who registered the fastest lap of the 51 drivers taking time-trial circuits on Friday night (12.179 seconds), settled for second place in the first 10-lap heat. He’ll start seventh in the Illini 100, behind the six Friday-night heat winners who will redraw for positions 1-6 in the feature event.

Other heat winners were Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., Richie Hedrick of Urbana, Ill., and Rick Eckert of York, Pa.

Eckert’s triumph in the final heat came after his fellow WoO LMS regular, Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., relinquished the lead on lap five due to a flat right-rear tire. Frank made a crowd-pleasing charge after pitting for a new tire, grabbing the third and final transfer spot by overtaking Ryan Unzicker of El Paso, Ill., and Donny Walden of Towanda, Ill., on the last lap.

The evening’s most serious accident occurred during hot laps when Jon Rogers of German Valley, Ill., flipped his car between turns one and two. He escaped the ordeal without injury, but his badly damaged machine was sidelined for the weekend.

A huge crowd is expected to pack the fairgrounds track for Saturday night’s Illini 100. The program, which kicks off at 6 p.m., includes two B-Mains, a 25-lap Non-Qualifiers’ Race and the Illini 100 plus a $750-to-win show for the UMP DIRTcar Modifieds.

Ticket information is available at www.farmercityraceway.net or by calling the speedway at 217-828-0078.

For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.

Ohlins Shock Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):

1. 18-Shannon Babb/Moweaqua, IL 12.179
2. 19-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 12.231
3. 28-Jimmy Mars/Menomonie, WI 12.305
4. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 12.328
5. 0-Richie Hedrick/Urbana, IL 12.347
6. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 12.408
7. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 12.434
8. 15b-Brian Birkhofer/Muscatine, IA 12.471
9. 9-Eric Smith/Bloomington, IL 12.523
10. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA 12.537
11. 32c-Vic Coffey/Caledonia, NY 12.543
12 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 12.552
13. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 12.554
14. b5-Brandon Sheppard/New Berlin, IL 12.584
15. 35-Derek Chandler/Pontiac, IL 12.601
16. 1v-Will Vaught/Crane, MO 12.672
17. 5s-Steve Sheppard Jr./New Berlin, IL 12.698
18. 24U-Ryan Unzicker/El Paso, IL 12.721
19. 99J-Jimmy Dehm/Lexington, IL 12.732
20. 25-Jason Feger/Bloomington, IL 12.752
21. Z-Joe Harlan/El Paso, IL 12.765
22. 28-Dennis Erb Jr./Carpentersville, IL 12.783
23. 21L-Matt Lux/Franklin, PA 12.800
24. 2b-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, WI 12.836
25. 89-Daren Friedman/Forrest, IL 12.862
26. b12-Kevin Weaver/Gibson City, IL 12.889
27. 83-Scott Bull/Fairbury, IL 12.903
28. 3s-Brian Shirley/Chatham, IL 12.940
29. 19T-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 12.964
30. 1W-Donny Walden/Towanda, IL 13.040
31. 14-Kerry Mathew/Rensselaer, IN 13.053
32. 56-Russell King/Bristolville, OH 13.089
33. 73-Zach Johnson/Kensington, MN 13.095
34. 11-Tyler Reddick/Corning, CA 13.103
35. F15-Jeremy Conaway/Springfield, IL 13.294
36. 18H-Dustin Hapka/Grand Forks, ND 13.302
37. 3R-Brent Robinson/Smithfield, VA 13.308
38. 96-Cory Daugherty/Blue Mound, IL 13.352
39. 36-Eric Vaughan/Fairbury, IL 13.356
40. 21B-Rich Bell/Sheffield, IL 13.409
41. 12-Jordan Bland/Campbellsville, KY 13.425
42. 22-Jill George/Cedar Falls, IA 13.656
43. 1M-Mike Mataragas/Dekalb, IL 13.756
44. 7M-Adam Mefford/Jacksonville, IL 13.767
45. 64-Gary Cook Jr./Deer Creek, IL 13.806
46. 56s-Chas Shellenberger/Winfield, PA 13.940
47. 74-Russ Adams/Princeville, IL 14.009
48. 33H-Roben Huffman/Clinton, IL 14.193
49. z45-Paul Zehr/Fisher, IL 14.626
50. 23L-Ted Loomis/Kingston, IL N/T
51. 61-Jon Rogers/German Valley, IL N/T

Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Richards, Babb, C. Smith, Dehm, Mathew, Friedman, Robinson, Mataragas, Zehr

Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Birkhofer, Francis, Feger, B. Sheppard, King, Weaver, Loomis, Mefford, Daugherty

Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Mars, Harlan, Z. Johnson, E. Smith, Bull, Chandler, Cook, Vaughan (DNS) Rogers

Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Clanton, Lanigan, Vaught, Erb, Shirley, Reddick, Bell, Shellenberger

Heat No. 5 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Hedrick, Lux, Fuller, Bland, Conaway, S. Sheppard, Coffey, Adams

Heat No. 6 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Eckert, B. Smith, Frank, Unzicker, Walden, Hapka, George, Huffman

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The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Crane Cams (Official Valvetrain), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), Fusion Energy Boost (Official Energy Boost), SuperClean (Official Cleaner-Degreaser) and VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel); in addition to contingency sponsors Champ Pans, Eibach Springs, Hoosier Tires, Integra Shocks, Jake’s Custom Golf Carts, Ohlins Shocks, Racing Electronics, Quarter Master and Wrisco Aluminum; Crane Cams Engine Builder’s Challenge participants Cornett Racing Engines, Custom Race Engines and Pro Power Racing Engines; and Chassis Builder Challenge participants Rocket Chassis and Team Zero by Bloomquist.