Victory At Hagerstown Gives Richards Sweep Of East Coast Doubleheader

By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director

HAGERSTOWN, MD – May 15, 2010 – Josh Richards was victorious in Saturday night’s 29th annual ‘Conococheague 50’ at Hagerstown Speedway, giving him a sweep of the World of Outlaws Late Model Series’s East Coast doubleheader. 

The national tour’s defending champion was nearly perfect in earning back-to-back triumphs, both worth $10,675. He led every lap of Thursday night’s ‘First State 50’ at Delaware International Speedway and all but one circuit of Saturday’s 50-lap A-Main at Hagerstown, a half-mile oval where he’s raced often during his seven-year career.

Richards, 22, of Shinnston, W.Va., lost the top spot to Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., on lap 18 of the Conococheague 50 but regained it the following tour. He controlled the remainder of the distance behind the wheel of his father Mark’s Seubert Calf Ranches Rocket car, keeping Francis at arm’s length en route to his series-leading fourth win of 2010.

“We had an awesome weekend,” said Richards, the WoO LMS points leader and only driver with more than one tour victory after 14 events on this season’s 48-race schedule. “We were able to qualify good both nights, run good in the heats, start from the outside pole twice and stay up front in clean air. We couldn’t ask for things to go any better.”

Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., finished second in his PRC Rocket machine, 0.718 of a second behind Richards after overtaking Francis with an outside move off turn four on the final lap. Francis settled for third in his Valvoline Rocket – his second consecutive show-position finish – after starting from the pole and running second for virtually the entire event.

There was also a last-lap pass for fourth place, which Jason Covert of York Haven, Pa., claimed by slipping past Nick Dickson of Lewistown, Pa. The move earned Covert, who started 11th in Barry Klinedinst’s Rocket, the $500 WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ cash for being the highest-finishing driver who hasn’t won a tour A-Main and isn’t among the top 12 in the points standings and forced Dickson, who started seventh in his father’s Rocket car, to be satisfied with a career-best WoO placing of fifth.

Richards captured his second career WoO LMS A-Main at Hagerstown, finally returning to Victory Lane at the Frank Plessinger-promoted facility nearly three years after his initial triumph on July 21, 2007. It was his 24th career win on the tour since 2004, moving him closer to Francis’s all-time best total of 27 wins.

Francis, of course, proved to be Richards’s strongest challenger. Francis managed to sneak ahead to lead lap 18, but he couldn’t stay in front and ultimately saw his hopes hampered by the three caution flags that flew during the race’s middle stages.

“I didn’t really know where I had to be in lapped traffic and Francis got by me (for the lead) because I was kinda messing around in the middle,” said Richards, whose car was powered by a Jack Cornett engine. “But luckily we were able to get back in front of him. He slipped up off the corner, and I was able to turn underneath of him.

“We were actually fortunate to have cautions come out when they did,” he continued. “My tires got hot (during extended green-flag periods), and then it seemed like my car would push worse and worse. Those cautions helped us cool the tires, get regrouped and figure out what we needed to do.”

The slowdowns were a killer to Francis, who appeared ready to turn up the pressure on Richards just before each yellow flag was displayed.

“I didn’t need them cautions,” said Francis, the 2007 WoO LMS titlist. “I felt like our car was a little better on long runs and Josh was better on firing off (on restarts) for some reason.

“It’s all would of-could of-should of, but I feel like we were moving in on Josh every time the caution came out. Who knows if we would’ve been able to pass him, but I think we had a good shot.”

Francis, 42, ultimately lost second to Lanigan exiting turn four with the checkered flag flying. Lanigan came on strong late in the distance, exploding from 11th place on lap 20 to fourth just 12 circuits later. It took him until lap 42 to get by Dickson for third, however, and he only had enough time left to grab second from Francis.

“We were too tight at the start, but we got better and better,” said Lanigan, the 2008 WoO LMS champion. “We were coming. It would’ve been close if we had a few more laps (to run down Richards).”

Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., started 19th and finished sixth, falling one spot in the final rundown on lap 47 after he ran out of racing room in turn one as he attempted to pass Dickson for fourth. Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., moved up slightly from the 10th starting spot to claim seventh, followed by J.T. Spence of Winchester, Va., who ran as high as fifth, WoO LMS rookie Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., and 22nd-starter Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y.

Each of the race’s three caution flags was triggered by a WoO LMS regular, beginning on lap 20 when 2006 champion Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., pulled his Sweeteners Plus Rocket to a stop on the inside of the homestretch while running sixth. McCreadie was in pain when he jumped out of his cockpit because hot fluid from a leaking oil line splashed on his right leg, but he did not suffer a significant burn.

McCreadie did not continue racing, leaving him with a 24th-place finish that dropped him to third in the points standings, 70 points behind Richards. He entered the Delaware/Hagerstown double-dip as the points leader but experienced mechanical trouble in both events.

Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., meanwhile, slowed on lap 31 while running ninth due to a broken power-steering pump, and Rick Eckert of York, Pa., retired after a broken rearend forced him to fall off the pace on lap 39 while holding fifth place.

A field of 37 cars was signed in for the program, which was contested on a brilliant, clear spring evening.

Eckert established a new track record in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials, blistering the oval in 18.096 seconds (99.469 mph). He erased Billy Moyer’s nearly five-year-old mark of 18.097 seconds.

Heat winners were Eckert, Marvin Winters of McConnellsburg, Pa., who pulled up lame with an expired engine after taking the checkered flag and was forced to start the A-Main at the rear of the field in Ronnie DeHaven Jr.’s car, Jamie Lathroum of Mechanicsville, Md., and McCreadie. The B-Mains were captured by Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., and Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga.

The WoO LMS is off until Memorial Day weekend when the tour visits Bedford (Pa.) Speedway on Fri., May 28, and West Virginia Motor Speedway on May 29-30.

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

Results of WoO Late Model Series ‘Conococheague 50’ (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):

1. (2) Josh Richards/50 $10,675
2. (13) Darrell Lanigan/50 $5,600
3. (1) Steve Francis/50 $3,600
4. (11) Jason Covert/50 $3,000
5. (7) Nick Dickson/50 $2,000
6. (19) Tim Fuller/50 $2,200
7. (10) Brady Smith/50 $1,900
8. (14) J.T. Spence/50 $1,300
9. (9) Austin Hubbard/50 $1,950
10. (22) Vic Coffey/50 $1,100
11. (17) Chub Frank/50 $1,600
12. (25) Frankie Plessinger/50 $1,000
13. (18) Clint Smith/50 $1,450
14. (21) Dan Stone/50 $900
15. (20) Brent Robinson/50 $850
16. (24) Jill George/48 $800
17. (3) Rick Eckert/39 $1,320
18. (4) D.J. Myers/35 $750
19. (23) Russell King/33 $1,230
20. (16) Shane Clanton/30 $1,225
21. (6) Jamie Lathroum/30 $700
22. (15) Gary Stuhler/25 $700
23. (12) Jeremy Miller/22 $700
24. (8) Tim McCreadie/19 $1,300
25. (5) Marvin Winters/6 $700

* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses

Time of Race: 30 Mins., 33.946 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.718 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 3 (Laps 20, 31, 39)
Lap Leaders: Richards (1-17); Francis (18); Richards (19-50)
Provisional Starters: King, George (WoO); Plessinger (track)
Rookie of the Race: Hubbard ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Covert ($500)

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

1. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 18.096 (NTR)
2. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 18.182
3. 6-Jamie Lathroum/Mechanicsville, MD 18.230
4. 15-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 18.235
5. 70J-D.J. Myers/Greencastle, PA 18.262
6. 46-Marvin Winters/McConnellsburg, PA 18.285
7. 17-Nick Dickson/Lewistown, PA 18.323
8. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 18.367
9. B2-Brian Booze/Marion, PA 18.372
10. 91-J.T. Spence/Winchester, VA 18.382
11. 3-Brent Robinson/Smithfield, VA 18.407
12. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA 18.416
13. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 18.466
14. 21d-Dan Stone/Thompson, PA 18.473
15. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 18.476
16. 1M-Jeremy Miller/Gettysburg, PA 18.479
17. 19H-Austin Hubbard/Seaford, DE 18.482
18. 2-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, WI 18.525
19. 7-Gary Stuhler/Greencastle, PA 18.544
20. 56-Russell King/Bristolville, OH 18.586
21. 06-Mike Lupfer/Shermansdale, PA 18.592
22. 25A-Andy Anderson/Bunker Hill, WV 18.620
23. 43A-Jason Covert/York Haven, PA 18.664
24. 9-Frankie Plessinger/Big Cove Tannery, PA 18.672
25. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 18.712
26. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 18.778
27. 26-Jerry Bard/Shippensburg, PA 18.839
28. 32c-Vic Coffey/Caledonia, NY 18.851
29. 8L-Scott LeBarron/Dover, PA 18.960
30. 74-Tyler Hershey/Mercersburg, PA 19.002
31. 22-Jill George/Cedar Falls, IA 19.061
32. 81-Alan Sagi/Hagerstown, MD 19.104
33. 71-Brent Smith/Mercersburg, PA 19.104
34. 19d-Ronnie DeHaven Jr./Winchester, VA 19.178
35. 25z-Mason Ziegler/Chalk Hill, PA 19.218
36. 73-Al Cheney/Hamilton Square, NJ 19.316
37. 05-Roy Deese Jr./Laurel, MD N/T

Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Eckert, Myers, Hubbard, Lanigan, Frank, Lupfer, Brent Smith, Booze, LeBarron (DNS) Deese

Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Winters, Richards, Brady Smith, Spence, Stone, Fuller, Anderson, Hershey, DeHaven

Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Lathroum, Dickson, Covert, Stuhler, C. Smith, Robinson, Bard, George, Ziegler

Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): McCreadie, Francis, Miller, Clanton, Plessinger, King, Coffey, Cheney, Sagi

B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Frank, Fuller, Stone, Anderson, LeBarron, Hershey, Lupfer, DeHaven (DNS) Brent Smith, Booze, Deese

B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): C. Smith, Robinson, Coffey, Bard, King, Plessinger, George, Cheney (DNS) Ziegler, Sagi

World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:

Arizona Sports Shirts ($50 product certificate): Ronnie DeHaven Jr./Jill George
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main w/decal): Jason Covert
Eibach Springs (one free spring): Brent Robinson
MSD Ignition ($75 cash award): Josh Richards
MSD Ignition ($25 cash award): Shane Clanton
Ohlins Pole Award ($50 cash award to fastest qualifier w/decal): Rick Eckert
Pink Carburetors ($100 product certificate): Rick Eckert
Quartermaster ($100 product certificate): Josh Richards
Quartermaster ($50 product certificate): Nick Dickson
Quartermaster ($25 product certificate): Brent Robinson
R2C Performance: Steve Francis
STP ($50 cash award): Chub Frank
VP Racing Fuels ‘Nice Jugs Award’ (two five-gallon plastic fuel jugs to fastest qualifier who does not make the A-Main if decal is displayed): Brian Booze
Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner w/decal): Chub Frank

2010 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of May 15 – 14 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):

1. Josh Richards 1978 (-0)
2. Darrell Lanigan 1922 (-56)
3. Tim McCreadie 1908 (-70)
4. Steve Francis 1858 (-120)
5. Austin Hubbard 1836 (-142)
6. Tim Fuller 1828 (-150)
7. Brady Smith 1798 (-180)
8. Rick Eckert 1772 (-206)
9. Chub Frank 1762 (-216)
10. Shane Clanton 1734 (-244)
11. Clint Smith 1718 (-260)
12. Russell King 1586 (-392)
13. Brent Robinson 1500 (-478)
14. Jill George 1012 (-966)
15. Brian Birkhofer 830 (-1148)
16. Dale McDowell 748 (-1230)
17. Billy Moyer 696 (-1282)
18. Shannon Babb 682 (-1296)
19. Dan Schlieper 660 (-1318)
20. Tony Knowles 638 (-1340)

FOLLOW THE ACTION ON TWITTER: Fans can now keep up-to-date with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series online and through text messages on cell phones via Twitter, the internet’s fast-growing social-networking and micro-blogging website. Updates are provided to Twitter ‘followers’ of the WoO LMS throughout each race night, and fans also receive breaking news and interesting notes from the tour.

To sign-up as a WoO LMS ‘follower’ on Twitter to receive updates anywhere at anytime, visit http://twitter.com/WoOLateModels.

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]

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), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), SuperClean (Official Cleaner-Degreaser), VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award) and Chizmark & Larson Insurance; in addition to contingency sponsors Eibach Springs, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, Pink Carburetors, Pro Power Engines, Quartermaster, Rocket Chassis and Wrisco Aluminum.