BARBERVILLE, FL – Feb. 14, 2008 – Josh Richards opened the 2008 World of Outlaws Late Model Series season exactly the same way he did a year ago – with a convincing victory during the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals.
But the path ‘Kid Rocket’ took to the checkered flag in Thursday night’s 50-lap A-Main was decidedly different than in 2007.
A dominant flag-to-flag winner in last year’s tour lidlifter at the half-mile oval, Richards had to battle from start-to-finish this time to pocket a $10,150 top prize for his seventh career WoO LMS triumph.
“It was a lot harder tonight,” said Richards, who started third but didn’t take over the lead until lap 31 when Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., retired with mechanical trouble. “I was a nervous wreck the whole race.”
Richards, 19, of Shinnston, W.Va., had just disposed of Newport, Tenn.’s Jimmy Owens for second place and was beginning to bid for the lead when Clanton pulled up lame on the 31st circuit with a broken right-rear axle tube. He went on to build a full straightaway edge before a caution flag on lap 46 wiped it out, but he kept his Seubert Calf Ranches Rocket No. 1 solidly in front following the restart.
Even Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., who entered the night two-for-two in UMP DIRTcar Super Late Model action during the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals, was unable to stop Richards’s drive to Victory Lane. The dirt Late Model legend restarted on Richards’s rear bumper, but he spent the remaining circuits racing for second with Rick Eckert of York, Pa.
Richards crossed the finish line 1.262 seconds ahead of Eckert, who drove forward from the 24th starting spot to earn runner-up money in Raye Vest’s GRT car.
Moyer settled for third in his Victory Circle M1 Chassis after starting 10th, followed by defending WoO LMS champion Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., in Dale Beitler’s Reliable Painting Rocket and Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., in NASCAR Sprint Cup star Clint Bowyer’s Rayburn mount.
A runner-up to Moyer in the previous night’s 30-lap UMP DIRTcar Super Late Model feature, Richards was fully expecting a challenge from ‘Mr. Smooth’ after the race’s fourth and final caution flag.
But it never materialized.
“I saw that caution at the end and I was like, Oh, man!” said Richards, whose car was powered by a Cornett engine. “I figured Moyer was just gonna drive by and that would be it, but I never even saw him.
“I just tried to hold my line the rest of the race. It felt like it took me 20 minutes to get off of turn four for the win.”
Moyer, 50, didn’t have enough speed in his car to deal with Richards.
“Everything’s been going our way, and tonight everything didn’t go 100 percent our way,” said Moyer. “I thought I wanted the caution (on lap 46), but we had an A-frame bent on the left-front (since around the race’s halfway point) and we just wanted to get to the checkered flag.
“Where it hurt me real bad was on a short run, before we really got going. I couldn’t turn in the corner like I needed to, so when Rick (Eckert) got underneath me, I just couldn’t stay down like I needed to.”
Eckert, 42, was a surprised – but very relieved – second-place finisher. His uncharacteristic winless streak in WoO LMS competition reached 58 races with his bridesmaid run, but he noted that it had “been awhile since we’ve had a run like this.”
“I guess we picked the right tires and the racetrack got slick enough that we could get by some of them guys when they slowed up,” said Eckert, who reached third place shortly before the final caution flag. “Once it got slippery enough to where your car needed to be pretty good, I could do something.”
Still, despite getting faster as the race wore on, Eckert didn’t even know that he had moved into contention for a slump-busting victory.
“When that caution come out, I thought we were probably 10th or 11th,” said Eckert. “I looked up at the scoreboard and it said the 21 (Moyer) was second, so I thought, ‘If he’s second, I gotta be third.’ We were way farther front than I thought we were.
“When they dropped the green there, I could get into one way better than most of them guys. (Moyer) turned in there wide and I filled the gap, and he couldn’t come back down.”
Could Eckert have challenged Richards with a little more time? He couldn’t say for sure.
“Until I got (Moyer) cleared, I never really got back into rhythm,” said Eckert. “I needed to run some laps to see if I had anything for Josh.”
Four caution flags slowed the competitive event, which featured five lead changes among three drivers.
Clanton and Owens were the main attractions early in the distance, swapping the top spot four times amongst themselves. Clanton, who started from the pole position, lost the lead to Owens on lap nine but regained command the following circuit, then ceded the position to Owens again on lap 18 before going back in front on the 27th lap.
Owens faded dramatically in the closing stages on worn tires, finishing eighth.
Darren Miller of Chadwick, Ill., who started 27th after using a Alltel DIRTcar Nationals high-points provisional to start the A-Main, raced through the field to finish sixth. He earned the $500 WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ prize for being the highest-finishing driver who had never won a tour event.
Eddie Carrier Jr. of Salt Rock, W.Va., who also started the race thanks to a WoO LMS provisional, advanced from the 26th starting spot to place seventh. Owens was next, followed by John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va., and Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky.
Among the WoO LMS regulars who ran into trouble were second-starter Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., who was challenging Clanton for the lead on lap seven when he slowed with a broken right-front shock and pitted for repairs that cost him two laps, and Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., who climbed as high as seventh (from 21st) before fading with nosepiece damage that ultimately caused him to stop in turn two on lap 46.
Seventy cars were entered in the event.
Steve Shaver of Vienna, W.Va., was fastest in time trials with a lap of 16.620 seconds.
Heat winners were Fuller, Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., Terry Casey of New London, Wis., Richards, Clanton and Owens. The B-Mains were captured by Mike King of Ripley, N.Y., Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., and Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis.
The WoO LMS will return to action on Saturday night (Feb. 16), closing out the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals with a 50-lap A-Main paying $10,000 to win.
The UMP DIRTcar Super Late Models take center stage during the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals on Friday night (Feb. 15), running a 40-lap A-Main offering a $10,000 top prize.
For more information on the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals, visit www.volusiaspeedwaypark.com or www.dirtcar.com.
Results of WoO Late Model Series A-Main (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (3) Josh Richards/50 $10,150
2. (24) Rick Eckert/50 $5,100
3. (10) Billy Moyer/50 $3,000
4. (14) Steve Francis/50 $2,500
5. (8) Shannon Babb/50 $2,000
6. (27) Darren Miller/50 $2,200
7. (26) Eddie Carrier Jr./50 $1,400
8. (5) Jimmy Owens/50 $1,300
9. (11) John Blankenship/50 $1,200
10. (18) Darrell Lanigan/50 $1,100
11. (13) Tim McCreadie/50 $1,050
12. (6) Don O’Neal/50 $1,000
13. (15) Dan Schlieper/50 $950
14. (25) Clint Smith/50 $900
15. (21) Chub Frank/50 $850
16. (20) Brian Shirley/49 $800
17. (22) Mike Knight/49 $770
18. (17) Ivedent Lloyd/49 $750
19. (2) Tim Fuller/47 $730
20. (21) Brady Smith/44 $700
21. (1) Shane Clanton/30 $700
22. (9) Justin Rattliff/23 $700
23. (16) Billy Decker/15 $700
24. (7) Steve Shaver/12 $700
25. (4) Terry Casey/6 $700
26. (12) Earl Pearson Jr./4 $700
27. (22) Brandon Kinzer/0 $700
Time of Race: 29 Mins., 6.788 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 1.262 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 4 (Laps 5, 7, 8, 46)
Lap Leaders: Clanton (1-8); Owens (9); Clanton (10-17); Owens (18-26); Clanton (27-30); Richards (31-50)
Provisional Starters: C. Smith, Carrier (WoO); D. Miller (Alltel DIRTcar Nationals points standings)
Rookie of the Race: Vic Coffey ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Darren Miller ($500)
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race ($50): Chad Curran (Eckert)
Chick Hawk Racing Hot Lap Award: Clanton (half-off tire warmers)
Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 30-Steve Shaver/Vienna, WV 16.620
2. 18-Shannon Babb/Moweaqua, IL 16.640
3. 42-Terry Casey/New London, WI 16.688
4. 21-Billy Moyer/Batesville, AR 16.877
5. 21L-Ivedent Lloyd/Ocala, FL 16.950
6. 20-Jimmy Owens/Newport, TN 16.966
7. 19T-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 16.979
8. 71-Don O’Neal/Martinsville, IN 17.034
9. 16-Justin Rattliff/Campbellsville, KY 17.084
10. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 17.086
11. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA 17.092
12. 2-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, WI 17.134
13. 28-Eddie Carrier Jr./Salt Rock, WV 17.150
14. 28e-Dennis Erb Jr./Carpentersville, IL 17.174
15. 9-Dan Schlieper/Sullivan, WI 17.200
16. 91-Billy Decker/Unadilla, NY 17.214
17. 4b-Jackie Boggs/Grayson, KY 17.226
18. 44p-Earl Pearson Jr./Jacksonville, FL 17.231
19. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 17.234
20. 9K-Mike Knight/Ripley, NY 17.248
21. 3s-Brian Shirley/Chatham, IL 17.265
22. 32d-Darren Miller/Chadwick, IL 17.288
23. 41-Josh McGuire/Grayson, KY 17.301
24. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 17.361
25. 7F-Jason Fitzgerald/Jacksonville, FL 17.374
26. 88-Wendell Wallace/Batesville, AR 17.378
27. 45-Ricky Elliott/Seaford, DE 17.401
28. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 17.436
29. 23-John Blankenship/Williamson, WV 17.447
30. 5E-Michael England/Glasgow, KY 17.451
31. 55-Jeep VanWormer/Pinconning, MI 17.462
32. 21d-Dan Stone/Thompson, PA 17.503
33. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 17.509
34. 90-Lance Mathees/Winona, MN 17.517
35. 99B-Rick Briggs/Bear Lake, PA 17.533
36. 71M-Andrew McKay/Edina, MN 17.541
37. 75-Bart Hartman/Zanesville, OH 17.570
38. 19-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 17.573
39. 33-Al Purkey/Coffeyville, KS 17.577
40. A1-Duke Whiseant/Texarkana, AR 17.577
41. 99J-Frank Heckenast Jr./Orland Park, IL 17.582
42. 26-Dillon Wood/Daytona Beach, FL 17.591
43. 7J-Joe Isabell/Pennellville, NY 17.609
44. 64-Michael Walker/Lewisburg, TN 17.609
45. 23-Patrick Sheltra/Indiantown, FL 17.629
46. 99-Donnie Moran/Dresden, OH 17.690
47. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 17.705
48. 3-Austin Dillon/Welcome, NC 17.716
49. 7M-Matt Miller/Whitehouse, OH 17.728
50. 18K-Brandon Kinzer/Allen, KY 17.759
51. 77-Jason McBride/Carbondale, IL 17.764
52. 83-Scott James/Greendale, IN 17.907
53. 33-Chris Hackett/Erie, PA 17.907
54. 10s-George Scheffler/Waukesha, WI 17.942
55. 32c-Vic Coffey/Leicester, NY 17.951
56. 27R-Jake Redetzke/Eau Claire, WI 17.955
57. 17H-Jared Hawkins/Fairmont, WV 17.956
58. J4-John Garvin/Sarver, PA 17.961
59. 1M-Peter Mantha/Gatineau, QUE 18.016
60. 92b-Matt Santel/Memphis, IL 18.069
61. 1c-Wayne Chinn/Tipp City, OH 18.129
62. 17s-D.J. Miller/Elkins, WV 18.143
63. U1-Dave Tyrchniewicz/St. Andrews, MAN 18.225
64. 78-Jeff Alsip/Walton, KY 18.263
65. 14-Reid Millard/Jefferson City, MO 18.330
66. 33R-Andrew Reaume/Blenheim, ONT 18.444
67. 1A-Audie Schwartz/Minford, OH 18.804
68. 16H-Mike Hammerle/St. Charles, MO 19.581
69. 38-Bob Geiger/Laurel, DE 19.935
70. 57-Chuck Julien/Apopka, FL DQ
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Fuller, Shaver, McCreadie, Carrier, Hartman, M. Miller, VanWormer, Fitzgerald, Coffey, Chinn, Isabell, Schwartz
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): O’Neal, Babb, Francis, Knight, Erb, Kinzer, Wallace, Stone, Redetzke, Walker, D.J. Miller, Hammerle
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Casey, Rattliff, Schlieper, Shirley, Elliott, C. Smith, Purkey, Sheltra, Hawkins, McBride, Tyrchniewicz, Geiger
Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Richards, Moyer, Decker, Frank, D. Miller, Moran, James, Whiseant, Matthees, Garvin, Alsip, Julien
Heat No. 5 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Clanton, Blankenship, Lloyd, Eckert, Boggs, McGuire, Briggs, Heckenast, Millard, Hackett, Mantha
Heat No. 6 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Owens, Pearson, Lanigan, B. Smith, England, Dillon, McKay, Wood, Reaume, Santel, Scheffler
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): Knight, Kinzer, Carrier, M. Miller, Wallace, VanWormer, Coffey, Stone, Chinn, Redetzke, Fitzgerald, Walker, D.J. Miller, Hartman, Erb, Isabell, Hammerle, Schwartz
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): Shirley, Frank, Elliott, C. Smith, James, D. Miller, Moran, Purkey, Sheltra, Whiseant, Matthees, McBride, Hawkins, Garvin, Alsip, Tyrchniewicz, Geiger (DNS) Julien
B-Main No. 3 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): B. Smith, Eckert, Briggs, England, Dillon, McGuire, Heckenast, Boggs, McKay, Hackett, Reaume, Mantha, Santel, Millard, Wood (DNS) Scheffler
LISTEN ONLINE: If fans can’t get to a track to see the series, they can experience the excitement of the World of Outlaws Late Model Series 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]
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by several sponsors and partners, including Advance Auto Parts – the official auto parts store of the WoO LMS – and contingency sponsors Wrisco Industries, Chicken Hawk Racing, Crane Cams, Ohlins Shocks, Quarter-Master, Eibach Springs, Integra Shocks, Jake’s Custom Golf Carts and Qwikliner.