What A Charge: Richards Comes From 17th To Capture World of Outlaws Late Model Series Lidlifter At Volusia Speedway Park

By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director

BARBERVILLE, FL – Feb. 11, 2010 – No one was surprised to see Josh Richards win Thursday night’s 50-lap World of Outlaws Late Model Series season opener at Volusia Speedway Park. 

But from the 17th starting spot? Even Richards couldn’t have conjured up a more exciting way to kick off his WoO LMS title defense and capture the national tour’s lidlifter for an unprecedented fourth consecutive year.

“I was not expecting that at all,” Richards said after putting on the most memorable performance of the 39th annual DIRTcar Nationals by University of Northwestern Ohio. “To have a car that good, and to start so far back and be that dominant in a race against these guys – it’s just very rare. It’s an awesome feeling.”

Richards, 21, of Shinnston, W.Va., blasted through the field in the Rocket Chassis house car he drove to victory in last year’s opener, cracking the top five on a lap-15 restart and then sliding by Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., and Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., in succession to reach second on lap 19. He quickly ran down race-long leader Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., and sailed by the homestate driver on lap 27 to assume command for good.

Pearson settled for second place in the Bobby Labonte Motorsports MasterSbilt mount, crossing the finish line 4.320 seconds behind Richards. Brady Smith had his Team Zero by Bloomquist car hot on Pearson’s rear deck in the final laps and finished third, while McCreadie placed fourth in the Sweeteners Plus Rocket and 2007 WoO LMS champion Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., advanced from the 19th starting spot to finish fifth in his Valvoline Rocket.

Richards pocketed $10,675 for what might have been the most spectacular of his 21 career WoO LMS triumphs. He won from the 18th starting spot on Oct. 7, 2008, at Fayetteville (N.C.) Motor Speedway, but that race didn’t come with the extra significance of extending an amazing win streak.

“To win four openers in a row is just really cool,” said Richards, who started from the pole position in 2007 and third in both the 2008 and 2009 opening-night WoO LMS events at the half-mile oval outside Daytona Beach. “There’s always the luck factor involved – and we’ve been very lucky here. But I feel like we earned this one too.

“To come from the back really shows how strong your team is. Matt (Barnes), Jimmy (Frey), Joe (Pilkenton), Ernie (Davis), my dad (Mark Richards), Steve Baker – they all did an awesome job.”

Richards found himself mired deep in the starting field after finishing third in his heat race, but he began the A-Main confident he could climb forward. It didn’t take him long to realize he just might be able to still pull off a victory.

“I drove a little hard in the heat and fell back to third, so I was a little disappointed in myself for that,” said Richards. “But I was like, ‘You know what? Just get out there and ‘race, do what you always do.’ I put the heat out of my head and just started fresh in the feature.

“The way the car felt, after a few laps I knew we were gonna be good,” he continued. “The car was just phenomenal. We started passing cars, but I had no idea what position we were in. Then I looked up (at the scoreboard), saw Brady (Smith) was fifth and he was right there in front of us, and I was like, ‘We’re up there and have a pretty good shot of running top-three.’

“After I got the lead I just tried to stay patient. Those last few laps I just about stopped going around there, and I guess going slower actually made me faster. The car was just phenomenal.”

The drivers Richards vanquished certainly agreed with his assessment.

“(Richards) was extremely good tonight,” said Pearson, who started third but moved up one row after polesitter Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., spun between turns one and two at the initial green flag. “He could roll right through that middle or wherever he needed to go. We were a little bit too tight and had to stay down there on the bottom. I don’t even know where he started, but he blew by me and that’s all I saw of him.”

Smith, meanwhile, stood in awe of Richards’s opening-night superiority but was very satisfied with his outing. He didn’t even qualify for last year’s opener at Volusia, putting him in a points hole for the start of his first campaign as a WoO LMS regular.

“I don’t know what it is about the opener here, but Josh has something figured out,” said Smith, who started sixth. “We got tight and couldn’t run the way he could, but we’re very happy with third. This is a lot better start than last year.”

Four caution flags slowed the event, but there were no serious incidents. After McDowell’s opening-lap spin, the other cautions flew for stopped cars – Jared Landers of Batesville, Ark., on lap 15; Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., on lap 19; and Brad Neat of Dunnville, Ky., on lap 37.

Finishing in positions 6-10 was McDowell, who rallied from the rear after his disappointing miscue; Moyer; 21st-starter Tim Dohm of Cross Lanes, W.Va., who earned the $500 WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ cash for being the highest-finishing driver who hasn’t won a tour A-Main; Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill.; and WoO LMS rookie Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del.

A banner field of 68 cars was signed in for the event.

Landers, who won the DIRTcar UMP Modified ‘Gator Championship’ on Monday night, blistered the track in 15.961 seconds during qualifying to earn the Ohlins Shocks Pole Award. It was his first-ever fast-time honor on the WoO LMS.

Heat winners were Moyer, McCreadie, Brady Smith, Babb, McDowell and Pearson. The B-Mains were captured by Francis, Greg Johnson of Bedford, Ind., and Dohm.

The 39th annual DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH continue on Fri., Feb. 12 (a grand finale for DIRTcar UMP Late Models with a $10,000 top prize) and Sat., Feb. 13 (another 50-lap, $10,000-to-win show for the WoO LMS). A full program featuring the Super DIRTcar Series for big-block Modifieds is also on the agenda each evening.

Additional info on the DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH is available by logging on to www.dirtcar.com, www.volusiaspeedwaypark.com or www.dirtcarnationals.com.

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

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

1. (17) Josh Richards/50 $10,675
2. (3) Earl Pearson Jr./50 $5,000
3. (6) Brady Smith/50 $3,500
4. (2) Tim McCreadie/50 $2,600
5. (19) Steve Francis/50 $2,650
6. (1) Dale McDowell/50 $1,700
7. (5) Billy Moyer/50 $1,500
8. (21) Tim Dohm/50 $1,800
9. (22) Dennis Erb Jr./50 $1,200
10. (24) Austin Hubbard/50 $1,850
11. (10) Darrell Lanigan/50 $1,650
12. (18) Eddie Carrier Jr./50 $1,000
13. (7) Rick Eckert/50 $1,450
14. (25) Tim Fuller/50 $1,400
15. (23) Eric Jacobsen/50 $850
16. (15) Jack Sullivan/49 $800
17. (4) Shannon Babb/49 $770
18. (14) Chub Frank/49 $1,250
19. (26) Clint Smith/49 $1,230
20. (16) Brandon Kinzer/48 $700
21. (8) Jimmy Owens/36 $700
22. (11) John Blankenship/36 $700
23. (12) Brad Neat/35 $700
24. (29) Russell King/23 $500
25. (9) Chris Madden/19 $700
26. (27) Jason Feger/13 $700
27. (13) Jared Landers/13 $750
28. (20) Greg Johnson/13 $700
29. (28) Shane Clanton/0 $525

* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses

Time of Race: 22 Mins., 13.879 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 4.320 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 4 (Laps 0, 15, 19, 37)
Lap Leaders: Pearson (1-26); Richards (27-50)
Provisional Starters: Fuller, C. Smith, Clanton, King (WoO); Feger (UMP)
Rookie of the Race: Hubbard ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Dohm ($500)
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race: Matt Barnes (Richards)

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

1. 777-Jared Landers/Batesville, AR 15.961
2. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 16.047
3. 1x-Jack Sullivan/Greenbrier, AR 16.055
4. 18-Shannon Babb/Moweaqua, IL 16.063
5. 23-John Blankenship/Williamson, WV 16.069
6. 41-Brad Neat/Dunnville, KY 16.095
7. 21-Billy Moyer/Batesville, AR 16.110
8. 20-Jimmy Owens/Newport, TN 16.117
9. 2-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, WI 16.195
10. 18K-Brandon Kinzer/Allen, KY 16.206
11. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 16.236
12. 44P-Earl Pearson Jr./Jacksonville, FL 16.267
13. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 16.301
14. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 16.327
15. 44M-Chris Madden/Gaffney/SC 16.334
16. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 16.335
17. 17M-Dale McDowell/Chickamauga, GA 16.341
18. 4T-Tommy Kerr/Maryville, TN 16.355
19. 16T-Tyler Bruening/Decorah, IA 16.377
20. 28E-Dennis Erb Jr./Carpentersville, IL 16.380
21. 14-Kyle Berck/Marquette, NE 16.383
22. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 16.385
23. 88-Wendell Wallace/Batesville, AR 16.412
24. 12-Jordan Bland/Campbellsville, KY 16.419
25. 18W-Eric Wells/Hazard, KY 16.424
26. 32c-Vic Coffey/Caledonia, NY 16.480
27. C9-Steve Casebolt/Richmond, IN 16.491
28. 5s-Steve Sheppard Jr./New Berlin, IL 16.496
29. 17T-Tim Dohm/Cross Lanes, WV 16.514
30. 28-Eddie Carrier Jr./Salt Rock, WV 16.533
31. 9k-Mike Knight/Ripley, NY 16.554
32. 15-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 16.556
33. 11R-Tyler Reddick/Corning, CA 16.561
34. 1V-Will Vaught/Crane, MO 16.606
35. 00-Randy Korte/Highland, IL 16.625
36. 19H-Austin Hubbard/Seaford, DE 16.625
37. 16R-Justin Rattliff/Campbellsville, KY 16.668
38. 9-Dan Schlieper/Sullivan, WI 16.683
39. 26-Tony Knowles/Tyrone, GA 16.703
40. 5-Eric Jacobsen/Sea Cliff Beach, CA 16.736
41. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 16.757
42. 56-Russell King/Bristolville, OH 16.763
43. 21d-Dan Stone/Thompson, PA 16.768
44. 7W-Ricky Weiss/Winnipeg, MAN 16.772
45. 46-Greg Johnson/Bedford, IN16.801
46. 23P-Patrick Sheltra/Indiantown, FL 16.849
47. 47-Tyler Ivey/Tallahassee, FL 17.023
48. 27-Jeff Beyers/Pana, IL 17.030
49. b5-Brandon Sheppard/New Berlin, IL 17.061
50. 15b-Brian Birkhofer/Muscatine, IA 17.072
51. 25F-Jason Feger/Bloomington, IL 17.278
52. 3-Brent Robinson/Smithfield, VA 17.441
53. 77-Jason McBride/Carbondale, IL 17.612
54. 40-Joe Callahan/Dubuque, IA 17.755
55. 19d-Ronnie DeHaven Jr./Winchester, VA 17.816
56. 13d-Jonathan DeHaven/Winchester, VA 17.845
57. 1P-Darren Peters/Fort Erie, ONT 17.911
58. 25z-Mason Ziegler/Chalk Hill, PA 18.011
59. 3c-Mike Collins/Carter Lake, IA 18.077
60. 99z-Dave Zona/Montrose, PA 18.102
61. 5M-Whitney McQueary/Liberty, KY 18.558
62. 27d-Donald Beyers/Pana, IL 18.647
63. 29R-Ronnie Rihn/Bloom, WI 18.778
64. 57-Chuck Julien/Apopka, FL 18.829
65. 99B-Rick Briggs/Bear Lake, PA 19.010
66. 16H-Mike Hammerle/St. Charles, MO 19.037
67. 22-Jill George/Cedar Falls, IA N/T
68. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA N/T

Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Moyer, Eckert, Landers, Wells, Bruening, Stone, Knight, McQueary, B. Sheppard, Rattliff, R. DeHaven (DNS) George

Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): McCreadie, Owens, Frank, Schlieper, Coffey, Francis, Erb, Weiss, J. DeHaven, D. Beyers, Birkhofer

Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): B. Smith, Madden, Sullivan, Casebolt, Feger, Reddick, G. Johnson, Rihn, Peters, Berck, Knowles

Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Babb, Lanigan, Kinzer, Jacobsen, Sheltra, S. Sheppard, Vaught, Robinson, Ziegler, Julien, C. Smith

Heat No. 5 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): McDowell, Blankenship, Richards, Dohm, Korte, Fuller, Briggs, Ivey, McBride, Collins, Wallace

Heat No. 6 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Pearson, Neat, Carrier, Hubbard, Kerr, King, Bland, J. Beyers, Callahan, Zona, Hammerle

B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): Francis, Erb, Schlieper, Stone, Knight, McQueary, Bruening, Wells, J. DeHaven, George, Coffey, B. Sheppard, Birkhofer, Weiss, R. DeHaven (DNS) D. Beyers, Rattliff

B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): G. Johnson, Jacobsen, Casebolt, Sheltra, Reddick, Vaught, Knowles, C. Smith, Ziegler, Rihn, Peters, Julien, S. Sheppard, Robinson, Feger (DNS) Berck

B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): Dohm, Hubbard, Korte, Fuller, Ivey, Bland, Kerr, McBride, J. Beyers, Wallace, Collins, Zona, Briggs, Callahan, King, Hammerle

World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:

Arizona Sports Shirts ($50 product certificate to fifth-place finisher in each B-Main): Mike Knight, Tyler Reddick, Tyler Ivey
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main w/decal): Earl Pearson Jr.
Eibach Springs (one free spring to each B-Main winner): Steve Francis, Greg Johnson, Tim Dohm
MSD Ignition ($75 cash award to A-Main winner w/decal): Josh Richards
MSD Ignition ($25 cash award to last-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Shane Clanton
Ohlins Pole Award ($50 cash award to fast qualifier w/decal): Jared Landers
Pink Carburetors ($100 product certificate for new/rebuild to A-Main winner w/decal): Josh Richards
Pink Carburetors ($50 product certificate for new/rebuild to last-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Shane Clanton
Quartermaster ($100 product certificate to A-Main winner w/decal): Josh Richards
Quartermaster ($50 product certificate to fifth-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Steve Francis
Quartermaster ($25 product certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Eric Jacobsen
STP ($50 cash award to the winner of B-Main No. 1 w/decal): Steve Francis
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): Tyler Bruening
Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner w/decal): Josh Richards

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]