Red-Hot Richards Takes Advantage Of Lanigan’s Misfortune To Bag ‘Showdown In Sarvertown’ At Lernerville Speedway
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
SARVER, PA – June 25, 2009 – The ‘Great Northern Tour’ has been very good to Josh Richards.
Continuing the hottest stretch of his World of Outlaws Late Model Series career, Richards rolled to his second straight and fifth overall victory of the season in Thursday night’s postponed 50-lap ‘Showdown in Sarvertown’ at Lernerville Speedway.
Richards, 21, of Shinnston, W.Va., took advantage of the misfortune suffered by defending WoO LMS champion Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., who started from the pole position and led laps 5-33 before engine problems ended his hopes during a caution period. The turn of events handed the top spot to Richards and he never looked back over the remaining distance.
The $10,600 triumph in a caution-plagued race held-over by rain from May 5 gave Richards four wins in six starts on the Great Northern Tour, which concludes on Friday and Saturday (June 26-27) with the Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com at Lernerville. It also gave him sole possession of the WoO LMS points lead, pulling him out of a tie with Lanigan.
“Things have been going our way, but it can change at any time,” said Richards, whose 17th career WoO LMS A-Main victory tied him with Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., for third on the tour’s win list since 2004. “I’ve seen it happen before, so we’re going to enjoy this.
“We’re just on a roll right now. We haven’t been getting crazy with our adjustments like we have in the past and we’ve been doing better.”
Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., chased Richards after Lanigan’s departure but was unable to mount a serious challenge. He settled for second place, 2.277 seconds – nearly a full straightaway – behind Richards at the checkered flag.
Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., survived a near-spin in turn four on the 20th lap to finish third in his Team Zero by Bloomquist mount, less than a car length ahead of Ashland, Ky’s Steve Francis, who rallied from the rear of the field after contact on a lap-10 restart sent his Beitler Motorsports Rocket spinning into the infield on the backstretch. Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., who straightened Smith’s car with a glancing hit on lap 20, placed fifth in his RSD Enterprises Rocket to register just his third top-five finish on the 2009 tour.
Richards, who started third, was looking forward to a late-race showdown with Lanigan but gladly drove through the open door to Victory Lane.
“When I moved up to Lanigan’s lane (high on the track), I was running right up over top of him,” said Richards, who continued his successful week with the new Seubert Calf Ranches Rocket car that he debuted on June 18 at Ohsweken (Ont.) Speedway. “I was really hoping to race for the win with him, but he blew up right in front of me. That’s unfortunate for him, but we’ll take what we can get.”
A hot, humid night created vision problems for Richards (his helmet shield continually fogged up) and had him concerned about overheating his Cornett engine if there happened to be an extended green-flag run on the hammer-down racing surface (11 caution flags prevented that, however).
But his most anxious moment might have come on the final lap when he tangled with the track’s ample cushion in turn four.
“Off four the cushion just kept getting taller and taller, and I just had to make sure I was bent before I got to it so I could just brush it off the corner,” said Richards. “But on the last lap I jumped over it and I didn’t think I was gonna be able to make it to the checkered flag.”
Fortunately for Richards, he held a commanding edge on Frank, who started second but fell as far back as fourth after leading laps 1-4. The 47-year-old Frank had nothing for Richards but was satisfied after recording just his third top-five finish of the season and best finish since a runner-up on Sept. 13, 2008, at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo.
“The only way I was gonna pass (Richards) was if he broke,” said Frank, who is riding a 52-race winless streak on the WoO LMS. “But I’m happy – I’m happy to get a (substantial) paycheck. I haven’t gotten one in awhile.
“We made the right move when we changed (Rocket) cars after hot laps,” he added. “That (first) car was set up for the slick and I knew (the surface) was gonna be wide open.”
After tying Francis for the ’09 WoO LMS win lead with his fifth victory, Richards immediately turned his attention to this weekend’s $30,000-to-win Firecracker 100. He would love to bag his coveted first crown-jewel event win at Lernerville, a track where he made his first-ever WoO LMS start in 2004 and scored his first tour top-five finish in 2005.
“I know I’m capable of doing it (winning the Firecracker), but we still have a lot to learn with our 100-lap program,” said Richards. “We’ve been fast in all these 50-lap shows, but a hundred laps is a whole different story. You gotta get yourself in position in time trials and heat races, and then the rest is driving conservative and being there at the end.”
Finishing in positions 6-10 was 14th-starter Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga.; Rick Eckert of York, Pa., who came from the rear of the field after pitting to make a tire-compound change on lap 10; Doug Horton of Bruceton Mills, 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 and isn’t ranked among the top 12 in the points standings; Rick Briggs of Bear Lake, Pa.; and provisional-starter Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y., who brought out the race’s first caution flag on lap four with a spin in the fourth turn.
Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., salvaged an 11th-place finish after breaking an axle flange on his car while bidding for a top-five spot on lap 39. His crew managed to make repairs and get him back on the track in time to remain on the lead lap.
Joining Lanigan as contenders who ran into engine trouble during the rough-and-tumble event were 17-year-old Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., who ran in the top five until retiring on lap 33, and Jason Covert of York Haven, Pa., who stopped on the track on lap 19.
The race was run under a threat of rain, forcing drivers to consider the possibility of a shortened event. But while lightning flashed in the sky repeatedly and light rain fell during the race’s first 20 laps, the entire distance was completed.
Thunderstorms did strike Lernerville Speedway after about 40 minutes of open practice for the Firecracker 100 were run.
Heat races and the first of two B-Mains for the ‘Showdown in Sarvertown’ were completed on the original May 5 date. The second B-Main kicked off Thursday night’s program with Lynn Geisler of Cranberry Twp., Pa., emerging victorious.
The Firecracker 100 weekend rolls on Friday (June 26) with time trials and heat races for the WoO LMS, plus a post-race concert in the parking lot. The Saturday-night (June 27) program will include last-chance races, the $3,000-to-win Uncle Sam 30 non-qualifiers’ race and the Firecracker 100.
For more information on the Firecracker 100 and the WoO LMS, visit www.lernerville.com or www.worldofoutlaws.com.
Results of WoO Late Model Series ‘Showdown in Sarvertown’ (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (3) Josh Richards/50 $10,600
2. (2) Chub Frank/50 $5,500
3. (11) Brady Smith/50 $3,500
4. (5) Steve Francis/50 $3,150
5. (9) Shane Clanton/50 $2,500
6. (14) Clint Smith/50 $2,200
7. (10) Rick Eckert/50 $1,900
8. (8) Doug Horton/50 $1,800
9. (13) Rick Briggs/50 $1,200
10. (23) Vic Coffey/50 $1,700
11. (12) Tim Fuller/50 $1,550
12. (18) Lynn Geisler/50 $1,000
13. (24) Jordan Bland/50 $1,700
14. (16) Russell King/49 $900
15. (21) Brent Robinson/40 $850
16. (1) Darrell Lanigan/33 $1,450
17. (4) Austin Hubbard/33 $770
18. (22) Jared Miley/33 $750
19. (17) Alex Ferree/31 $730
20. (7) Jason Covert/18 $700
21. (15) Gregg Satterlee/13 $700
22. (25) John Garvin/13 $700
23. (6) Steve Shaver/10 $700
24. (20) Dave Hess Jr./10 $700
25. (19) Matt Lux/9 $700
DNS: Bob Wearing Jr.
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 43 Mins., 35.845 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 2.277 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 11 (Laps 4, 8, 10, 10, 16, 19, 20, 33, 39, 40, 40)
Lap Leaders: Frank (1-4); Lanigan (5-33); Richards (34-50)
Provisional Starters: Coffey, Bland
Rookie of the Race: Bland ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Horton ($500)
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race: Brad Baum (Frank)
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Lynn Geisler, 2. Dave Hess Jr., 3 Jared Miley, 4. Gary Lyle, 5. Vic Coffey, 6. Bob Wearing Jr., 7. Mike Johnson, 8. Ken Schaltenbrand (DNS) Shannon Babb, Davey Johnson, Doug Drown, Jamie Neiman, Jeremy Miller
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:
* Arizona Sport Shirts ($50 product certificate to fifth-place finisher in B-Mains):
* Armor All (case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main w/decal): Doug Horton
* Champ Pans ($50 product certificate to ‘Bonus Bucks’ winner w/decal): Doug Horton
* 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): Vic Coffey
* Crane Cams ($100 product certificate to Heat 3 winner w/decal): Austin Hubbard
* Eibach Springs (one free spring to each B-Main winner w/decal): Alex Ferree, Lynn Geisler
* Fusion Energy ($50 cash award to Heat 2 winner w/decal): Steve Francis
* 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): Shane Clanton
* Quarter-Master ($25 product certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Brent Robinson
* Super Clean ‘Start of the Race’ (one case of product): Chub Frank
* 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): Dustin Hapka
* Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner w/decal): Josh Richards
2009 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of June 25 – 20 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Josh Richards 2685 (-0)
2. Steve Francis 2673 (-12)
3. Darrell Lanigan 2653 (-32)
4. Rick Eckert 2639 (-46)
5. Shane Clanton 2577 (-108)
6. Brady Smith 2556 (-129)
7. Tim Fuller 2551 (-134)
8. Chub Frank 2547 (-138)
9. Clint Smith 2435 (-250)
10. Russell King 2086 (-599)
11. Jordan Bland 2076 (-609)
12. Brent Robinson 2012 (-673)
13. Vic Coffey 1932 (-753)
14. Dustin Hapka 1839 (-846)
15. Tyler Reddick 1640 (-1045)
16. Shannon Babb 1470 (-1215)
17. Austin Hubbard 1469 (-1216)
18. Matt Lux 1016 (-1669)
19. Dan Stone 874 (-1811)
20. Dale McDowell 717 (-1968)
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