Mr. Opening Night: Josh Richards Captures World of Outlaws Late Model Series Lidlifter For Third Straight Year

By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director

BARBERVILLE, FL – Feb. 12, 2009 – Just call him Mr. Opening Night. 

Josh Richards continued his mastery of the World of Outlaws Late Model Series season opener during the 38th annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH, capturing the tour’s lidlifter for the third consecutive year on Thursday night at Volusia Speedway Park.

Though the 20-year-old sensation from Shinnston, W.Va., initially had some doubts about extending his unprecedented streak, he turned up the wick on his Rocket car to take the lead from Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., on lap 14 and march to a triumph worth $10,600.

“I ran the first couple laps and didn’t know if we could pull off three in a row off,” said Richards, who started third after winning his heat race despite suffering some electrical problems with his car’s motor. “I fell back to fourth, but then the car just came on.

“Winning the opener three years in a row – it’s just crazy. It’s a great feeling.”

With the race slowed by only a single caution flag on lap five, Richards dominated the uninterrupted action once he sailed by Babb’s Sheltra Construction Rocket for the lead. He built an edge of more than a full straightaway before late-race lapped traffic helped shrink his final victory margin to 2.013 seconds over defending WoO LMS champion Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., who cut a half-straightaway off Richards’s advantage after overtaking Babb for second on lap 41.

Babb, who started from the outside pole in his new ride for ’09, settled for third place after leading laps 1-13. Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., drove Dale Beitler’s Rocket forward from the ninth starting spot to place fourth and polesitter Dan Schlieper of Sullivan, Wis., who won the previous night’s UMP DIRTcar Late Model feature, finished fifth in his Wild Chassis.

Richards, who in 2008 finished a career-high second in the WoO LMS points standings and tied Francis as the tour’s winningest driver, struggled the first three nights of the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH, finishing no better than seventh in UMP DIRTcar-sanctioned competition. But a change for Thursday’s program to a car he drove to three WoO LMS victories last season got him back to his old self at the sweeping, half-mile oval.

“We just hit everything right tonight,” said Richards, who registered his 13th career win on the WoO LMS. “When this track is like this, I love every second out there. It just fits my driving style. You can get in the black, and you can get in the traction. You don’t have to worry about being on the cushion the whole race.”

Lanigan, 38, recorded his third runner-up finish in four starts during the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH. He ran out of time in his advance from the seventh starting spot with his Fusion Energy Rocket car.

“We had a good enough car to win, but starting behind so many good cars makes it tough,” said Lanigan. “It’s just hard to get past them all. It’s frustrating (to fall short again), but we’ve been running good, so the wins will come.”

The 35-year-old Babb, meanwhile, was satisfied with a third-place run that shook him out of some “new car blues.” An engine change earlier in the day got him back on track, albeit not good enough to hold off the top two drivers in last year’s WoO LMS points standings.

“Josh had a real good driving car and so did Darrell,” said Babb. “I had a fast car, but I just got tighter as the race went on. We gotta get it a little freer.”

Finishing in positions 6-10 was Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark.; Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., who ran as high as third early in the distance; fifth-starter Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y.; Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., who slipped into the top 10 late in the race; and Rick Eckert of York, Pa., who rallied back from a left-rear tire change after tangling in turn four with Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y., in the event’s only caution-causing incident, on lap five.

Sixty-one cars were signed in for the start of the sixth WoO LMS campaign under the World Racing Group banner.

Lanigan was fastest in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials, topping the field with a lap of 15.946 seconds.

Heat winners were Fuller, Clanton, Moyer, Schlieper, Richards and Babb. The B-Mains were captured by Tyler Ivey of Tallahassee, Fla., Eckert and Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn.

The Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH continue on Friday night (Feb. 13) with a doubleheader featuring the $10,000-to-win finale for the UMP DIRTcar Super Late Models and the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series for big-block Modifieds. WoO LMS action returns on Saturday night (Feb. 14), concluding the 12-night meet with a 50-lap, $10,000-to-win A-Main that shares the card with a 50-lap big-block Modified special.

For more information on the WoO LMS or the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com or www.dirtcarnationals.com.

Results of WoO Late Model Series at Volusia Speedway Park (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):

1. (3) Josh Richards/50 $10,600
2. (7) Darrell Lanigan/50 $5,650
3. (2) Shannon Babb/50 $3,000
4. (9) Steve Francis/50 $3,100
5. (1) Dan Schlieper/50 $2,000
6. (4) Billy Moyer/50 $1,800
7. (6) Shane Clanton/50 $1,950
8. (5) Tim Fuller/50 $1,800
9. (11) Chub Frank/50 $1,700
10. (20) Rick Eckert/50 $1,700
11. (10) Jimmy Owens/50 $1,050
12. (8) Billy Decker/50 $1,500
13. (21) Scott Bloomquist/50 $1,050
14. (23) Chris Madden/49 $900
15. (13) Dale McDowell/49 $850
16. (22) Vic Coffey/49 $1,300
17. (26) John Blankenship/49 $770
18. (18) Justin Rattliff/49 $750
19. (12) Ivedent Lloyd/49 $730
20. (25) Clint Smith/49 $1,200
21. (24) Jordan Bland/49 $700
22. (19) Tyler Ivey/48 $700
23. (16) Tommy Weder/48 $700
24. (17) Tyler Reddick/48 $700
25. (14) Kelly Boen/48 $700
26. (15) Darren Miller/15 $700

* Earnings include Winner’s Circle program bonuses for WoO LMS Platinum Team members and cash contingency award bonuses

Time of Race: 18 Mins., 28.441 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 2.013 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 1 (Lap 5)
Lap Leaders: Babb (1-13); Richards (14-50)
Provisional Starters: C. Smith, Blankenship
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Billy Decker ($500)
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race ($50): Matt Barnes (Josh Richards)

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

1. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 15.946
2. 91-Billy Decker/Unadilla, NY 15.959
3. 21M-Billy Moyer/Batesville, AR 15.975
4. 9-Dan Schlieper/Sullivan, WI 16.037
5. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 16.046
6. 21L-Ivedent Lloyd/Ocala, FL 16.166
7. 19T-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 16.173
8. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA 16.178
9. 19-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 16.183
10. 02-Tommy Weder/Woodward, OK 16.228
11. 11R-Tyler Reddick/Corning, CA 16.258
12. 18-Shannon Babb/Moweaqua, IL 16.280
13. 47-Tyler Ivey/Tallahassee, FL 16.293
14. 07-Kelly Boen/Henderson, CO 16.294
15. 32d-Darren Miller/Milledgeville, IL 16.295
16. 2A-John Anderson/Omaha, NE 16.311
17. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 16.313
18. 0-Scott Bloomquist/Mooresburg, TN 16.331
19. 2-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, WI 16.342
20. 26-Dillon Wood/Daytona Beach, FL 16.342
21. 19J-Greg Johnson/Bedford, IN 16.348
22. 44P-Earl Pearson Jr./Jacksonville, FL 16.374
23. 49-Mark Pettyjohn/Milford, DE 16.375
24. 16R-Justin Rattliff/Campbellsville, KY 16.379
25. 28e-Dennis Erb Jr./Carpentersville, IL 16.388
26. 21d-Dan Stone/Thompson, PA 16.395
27. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 16.397
28. 18K-Brandon Kinzer/Allen, KY 16.402
29. Jordan Bland/Campbellsville, KY 16.429
30. 28c-Eddie Carrier Jr./Salt Rock, WV 16.453
31. 33-Dale McDowell/Chickamauga, GA 16.457
32. 32c-Vic Coffey/Caledonia, NY 16.461
33. 44M-Chris Madden/Gaffney, SC 16.474
34. 20-Jimmy Owens/Newport, TN 16.506
35. 56K-Russell King/Bristolville, OH 16.511
36. 4T-Tommy Kerr/Maryville, TN 16.514
37. 23-John Blankenship/Williamson, WV 16.517
38. 77-Jason McBride/Carbondale, IL 16.535
39. 3R-Brent Robinson/Smithfield, VA 16.590
40. 54-David Breazeale/Four Corners, MS 16.606
41. 11H-Austin Hubbard/Seaford, DE 16.622
42. 88-Wendell Wallace/Batesville, AR 16.635
43. 83-Scott James/Greendale, IN 16.642
44. 99B-Rick Briggs/Bear Lake, PA 16.646
45. 5-Eric Jacobsen/Sea Cliff Beach, CA 16.679
46. 17J-Davey Johnson/Latrobe, PA 16.703
47. 18H-Dustin Hapka/Grand Forks, ND 16.703
48. 12K-A.J. Kirkpatrick/Castroville, CA 16.709
49. 44H-Dave Hess Jr./Waterford, PA 16.737
50. 3c-Mike Collins/Council Bluffs, IA 16.781
51. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 16.796
52. 27-Jeff Beyers/Pana, IL 16.821
53. 29R-Ronnie Rihn/Chippewa Falls, WI 16.990
54. 7J-Joe Isabell/Pennellville, NY 17.043
55. 32s-Chris Shannon/Merced, CA 17.101
56. 22-Jill George/Cedar Falls, IA 17.241
57. 64-Michael Walker/Lewisburg, TN 17.470
58. 1*CFR-Peter Mantha/Gatineau, QUE 17.477
59. 56s-Chas Shellenberger/Winfield, PA 17.622
60. 25H-Chuck Hummer/Ottawa Lake, MI 17.688
61. 16H-Mike Hammerle/St. Charles, MO 17.929

Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Fuller, Lanigan, McDowell, Ivey, Blankenship, James, Erb, Hess, Shannon, Hammerle, B. Smith

Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Clanton, Decker, Boen, Coffey, Wood, Stone, Briggs, Collins, McBride, George

Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Moyer, Francis, D. Miller, Eckert, Madden, C. Smith, Jacobsen, G. Johnson, Robinson, Walker

Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Schlieper, Owens, Weder, Anderson, Pearson, Breazeale, Kinzer, D. Johnson, Beyers, Mantha

Heat No. 5 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Richards, Frank, Reddick, Bland, Pettyjohn, Hubbard, King, Hapka, Shellenberger, Rihn

Heat No. 6 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Babb, Lloyd, Rattliff, Bloomquist, Carrier, Wallace, Kirkpatrick, Isabell, Hummer, Kerr

B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): Ivey, Coffey, Blankenship, Erb, Stone, McBride, Shannon, Collins, James, Briggs, George, Hammerle, Hess, Wood (DNS) B. Smith

B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): Eckert, Madden, Pearson, Jacobsen, C. Smith, Kinzer, Beyers, Mantha, Robinson, D. Johnson, Anderson, G. Johnson (DNS) Breazeale, Walker

B-Main No. 3 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): Bloomquist, Bland, Carrier, King, Pettyjohn, Shellenberger, Isabell, Kirkpatrick, Hapka, Hummer, Wallace (DNS) Hubbard, Rihn, Kerr

World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:

* Arizona Sport Shirts ($50 product certificate to fifth-place finisher in B-Mains): Dan Stone, Clint Smith, Mark Pettyjohn
* Armor All (case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main w/decal): Shannon Babb
* Champ Pans ($50 product certificate to ‘Bonus Bucks’ winner w/decal): Billy Decker
* Crane Cams ($100 cash award to A-Main winner w/decal): Josh Richards
* Crane Cams ($100 cash award to 10th-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Rick Eckert
* Crane Cams ($100 product certificate to Heat 3 winner w/decal): Billy Moyer
* Eibach Springs (one free spring to each B-Main winner w/decal): Tyler Ivey, Rick Eckert, Scott Bloomquist
* Fusion Energy ($50 cash award to Heat 2 winner w/decal): Shane Clanton
* Ohlins Shocks ($50 cash award to fast qualifier w/decal): Darrell Lanigan
* Quarter-Master ($100 product certificate to A-Main winner w/decal): Josh Richards
* Quarter-Master ($50 product certificate to fifth-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Dan Schlieper
* Quarter-Master ($25 product certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Dale McDowell
* Super Clean ‘Start of the Race’ (one case of product): Shane Clanton
* VP Racing Fuels ‘Nice Jugs Award’ (two free VP five-gallon containers to fastest qualifier who does not make the A-Main if decal is displayed): John Anderson
* Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner w/decal): Josh Richards

LISTEN ONLINE: If fans can’t get to a track to see the World of Outlaws Late Model Series, they can experience the excitement of the nation’s premier tour live on DIRTvision.com through the DIRT Radio Network.

To listen to the free audio broadcasts, log on to www.dirtvision.com and click on the DIRT Radio Network logo.

Listeners will need Windows Media Player 9 or higher to listen to the DIRT Radio Network. For technical support or questions, e-mail [email protected]