Richards Caps Championship Season With Victory In World of Outlaws World Finals Finale
Celebrates Third World of Outlaws Late Model Series Title In Style At The Dirt Track At Charlotte
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director: CONCORD, NC – Nov. 9, 2013 – Josh Richards capped his World of Outlaws Late Model Series championship season in style, scoring a powerful victory in Saturday night’s 50-lap World of Outlaws World Finals finale at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
With the pressure of points racing removed after clinching his third career WoO LMS title the previous night, Richards calmly roared off the pole position to lead the A-Main from start-to-finish in his father Mark’s Valvoline-sponsored Rocket Chassis house car. He turned back challenges from John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va., and Rick Eckert of York, Pa., to register his 10th triumph of 2013 and the 49th of his career on the national tour.
Richards, 25, of Shinnston, W.Va., beat Eckert to the finish line by 0.941 of a second for a $12,650 payday that gave him two reasons to celebrate in front of the event’s standing-room-only crowd at the conclusion of the blockbuster program.
“It feels awesome,” said Richards, who became the first driver to win three WoO LMS championships since the WoO LMS was restarted in 2004 under the World Racing Group banner. “It’s definitely icing on the cake (to win the A-Main).”
Sixteen-year-old Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., advanced from the 17th starting spot in his father Bob’s Pierce Race Car to finish third in his first career World Finals A-Main start. He cracked the top five on lap 25 and reached third place with a lap-44 pass of Blankenship.
Blankenship settled for a fourth-place finish – the same position from which he started –in a Rocket machine after running in second place for 29 of the race’s first 30 laps. Fifth was claimed by Dan Stone of Thompson, Pa., whose family-owned Rocket sustained heavy left-front damage after the checkered flag when he inadvertently hit Blankenship on the backstretch because he didn’t realize the race had ended.
Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., finished sixth, bringing an end to his streak of capturing the Saturday-night World Finals A-Main in each of the last four years. He had high hopes of registering a fifth straight win after drawing the outside pole starting spot, but he was penalized one row by WoO LMS officials for firing before Richards on the original start and then was forced high in turn one on the ensuing restart and fell to mid-pack.
Richards, who returned to the WoO LMS fulltime this season after spending most of 2012 competing on the NASCAR Nationwide Series, secured the $100,000 championship prize on Friday night when a third-place finish left him with an insurmountable 100-point lead over defending champ Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky. The early clinching put him in a nice spot for Saturday night’s finale.
“This is the most relaxed I’ve ever been here at Charlotte,” said Richards, who won a World Finals A-Main in 2008. “To be able to have the (points) cushion we had (entering the weekend) and wrap it up last night – compared to previous years when you’re (battling for the title) right down to the last lap (on Saturday) – was a relief. We were able to just go all-out for the win tonight.”
Richards had more than enough speed in his familiar blue No. 1 to handle six restarts between laps nine and 30 and threats early in the distance from Blankenship and later from Eckert.
“We were close last night,” said Richards, who chased Lanigan and Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., across the finish line on Friday night. “We made some changes to the car today and it was so fun to drive. You could move around. My guys did a great job making adjustments.”
Richards ended the season with a commanding 150-point championship-winning margin over Lanigan, who retired with engine problems on lap nine and finished 25th but held on to place second in the WoO LMS standings by just two points over eighth-place-finisher Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga. His 10 victories on the tour were a personal single-season high.
Eckert, 47, hustled forward from the 12th starting spot to take second place from Blankenship on a lap-30 restart. He raced within striking distance of Richards for the remainder of the race but had to be satisfied with his sixth runner-up finish of the 2013 WoO LMS season.
“I feel like I was a little better than (Richards) in (turns) one and two and he was a little better than me through them holes in three and four,” said Eckert, who won the 2011 WoO LMS championship when Richards slowed with a flat tire on the last lap of the World Finals finale. “If I could’ve ever stayed with him down the straightaway I might’ve been able to fill the gap to where he couldn’t come back across, but it’s tough do that with these cars because they get rocked up and it’s hard to see guys to the left of you.
“We’re happy with a second though. We started 12th and got up through there, so it’s a good way to end the year.”
Finishing in positions 7-10 was DIRTcar UMP Summer Nationals and national champion Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., who started 21st; Clanton; Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla.; and Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., who spent the weekend driving the Todd Wood-owned car (renumbered ’1CAT’) normally steered by Wood’s son Dillon.
Six caution flags slowed the event, including two for wall-banging incidents involving high-profile drivers. Bloomquist slapped the turn-four concrete on lap 20 while running seventh and Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., hit the turn-one wall on lap 23 after tangling with Tyler Reddick of DuQuoin, Ill., while battling for fifth place.
Other caution flags were brought out by Lanigan, who slowed after losing power on lap nine; Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., whose run in the top five ended on lap 12; Ryan Gustin of Marshalltown, Iowa, who slowed with a right-rear flat tire on lap 29; and Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who was sent spinning into the infield in a turn-four jam-up on lap 30.
Heat winners were Owens, Richards, Reddick, Blankenship, McCool and Stone. The B-Mains were captured by Lanigan, Kenny Moreland of Waldorf, Md., and Sheppard.
The stars of the 2013 WoO LMS will be honored – and share in nearly $400,000 in points-fund cash – during the tour’s annual awards banquet on Sunday night (Nov. 10) at the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, N.C
The 2014 WoO LMS campaign is scheduled to kick off on Feb. 7-8 with the ‘Winter Freeze’ doubleheader at Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, Ga.
The 2014 World of Outlaws World Finals, meanwhile, will be held at The Dirt Track at Charlotte on Nov. 6-8.
Results of World of Outlaws Late Model Series World Finals Night No. 2 at The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (1) Josh Richards/50 $12,650
2. (12) Rick Eckert/50 $5,650
3. (17) Bobby Pierce/50 $3,550
4. (4) John Blankenship/50 $2,500
5. (5) Dan Stone/50 $2,000
6. (2) Jimmy Owens/50 $1,700
7. (21) Brandon Sheppard/50 $1,500
8. (13) Shane Clanton/50 $2,000
9. (22) Earl Pearson Jr./50 $1,350
10. (23) Clint Smith/50 $1,950
11. (26) Eric Wells/50 $2,100
12. (18) Morgan Bagley/50 $1,750
13. (24) Tim Fuller/50 $1,700
14. (16) B.J. Robinson/50 $1,200
15. (20) Kenny Moreland/37 $1,050
16. (10) Gregg Satterlee/30 $1,000
17. (9) Duane Chamberlain/29 $1,000
18. (25) Tim McCreadie/29 $1,650
19. (15) Ryan Gustin/28 $1,000
20. (7) Chris Ferguson/26 $1,000
21. (6) Tyler Reddick/23 $1,000
22. (8) Steve Francis/23 $1,100
23. (14) Scott Bloomquist/20 $1,100
24. (3) Bub McCool/11 $1,500
25. (19) Darrell Lanigan/9 $1,650
26. (11) Steve Shaver/9 $1,000
27. (27) Jeremy Miller/6 $1,000
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 27 Mins., 19.379 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.941 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 6 (laps 8, 12, 20, 23, 29, 30)
Lap Leaders: Richards (1-50)
Provisional Starters: McCreadie, Wells (WoO); Miller (fastest pre-entered non-qualifier)
Rookie of the Race: Wells ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Pierce ($500)
Heat No. 1 Finish (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Jimmy Owens, 2. Chris Ferguson, 3. Shane Clanton, 4. Darrell Lanigan, 5. Will Vaught, 6. Billy Decker, 7. Rod Conley, 8. Dale Hollidge, 9. Chris Madden, 10. Kyle Hardy, 11. Chase Junghans, 12. James O’Hara (DNS) Tim Allen
Heat No. 2 Finish (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Josh Richards, 2. Steve Francis, 3. Scot Bloomquist, 4. Eric Wells, 5. Earl Pearson Jr., 6. Jason Feger, 7. J.T. Spence, 8. Brian Tavenner, 9. Vic Hill, 10. Mike Benedum, 11. Chuck Harper, 12. Kevin Wilson
Heat No. 3 Finish (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Tyler Reddick, 2. Duane Chamberlain, 3. Ryan Gustin, 4. Kenny Moreland, 5. Jeff Babcock, 6. Chad Hollenbeck, 7. Dale McDowell, 8. Tim McCreadie, 9. Eric Jacobsen, 10. Pancho Lawler, 11. Don Gordon (DNS) Casey Roberts
Heat No. 4 Finish (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. John Blankenship, 2. Gregg Satterlee, 3. B.J. Robinson, 4. Mike Marlar, 5. Dennis ‘Rambo’ Franklin, 6. Clint Smith, 7. Chub Frank, 8. Andrew Reaume, 9. Coleby Frye, 10. Bryan Force, 11. Glenn Elliott, 12. Kerry King
Heat No. 5 Finish (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Bub McCool, 2. Steve Shaver, 3. Bobby Pierce, 4. Chris Brown, 5. Jeremy Miller, 6. Austin Hubbard, 7. Devin Moran, 8. Ricky Elliott, 9. Jared Landers, 10. Mason Zeigler, 11. Brian Ledbetter, 12. Jonathan Davenport
Heat No. 6 Finish (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Dan Stone, 2. Rick Eckert, 3. Morgan Bagley, 4. Brandon Sheppard, 5. Tim Fuller, 6. Don O’Neal, 7. Dennis Erb Jr., 8. Walker Arthur, 9. John Garvin, 10. Matt Cochran, 11. Billy Ogle Jr.
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): 1. Darrell Lanigan, 2. Earl Pearson Jr., 3. Jason Feger, 4. Billy Decker, 5. Eric Wells, 6. Chris Madden, 7. Rod Conley, 8. J.T. Spence, 9. Dale Hollidge, 10. Brian Tavenner, 11. Kyle Hardy, 12. Chase Junghans, 13. Mike Benedum, 14. Chuck Harper, 15. Will Vaught, 16. James O’Hara, 17. Kevin Wilson
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): 1. Kenny Moreland, 2. Clint Smith, 3. Jeff Babcock, 4. Eric Jacobsen, 5. Chub Frank, 6. Andrew Reaume, 7. Dennis ‘Rambo’ Franklin, 8. Chad Hollenbeck, 9. Pancho Lawler, 10. Bryan Force, 11. Kerry King, 12. Mike Marlar, 13. Don Gordon, 14. Glenn Elliott, 15. Dale McDowell, 16. Coleby Frye
B-Main No. 3 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): 1. Brandon Sheppard, 2. Tim Fuller, 3. Chris Brown, 4. Don O’Neal, 5. Austin Hubbard, 6. John Garvin, 7. Ricky Elliott, 8. Mason Zeigler, 9. Walker Arthur, 10. Jared Landers, 11. Devin Moran, 12. Dennis Erb Jr., 13. Matt Cochran, 14. Brian Ledbetter, 15. Jeremy Miller, 16. Jonathan Davenport
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners (awards presented to noted finisher/qualifier or next highest displaying decal):
Ohlins Shocks ($50 cash to fast qualifier): Billy Moyer
Eibach Springs (one free spring to each B-Main winner): Earl Pearson Jr./Kenny Moreland/Don O’Neal
VP Race Fuels ‘Nice Jugs’ Award: (One VP 5-gallon container to fastest qualifier who misses A-Main): Billy Moyer
Wrisco Aluminum (3 sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner only): Josh Richards
Armor All (One case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main): Bobby Pierce
Comp Cams ($50 certificate to A-Main winner): Josh Richards
QuarterMaster ($100 certificate to A-Main winner): Rick Eckert
MSD Ignition ($50 cash to A-Main winner): Josh Richards
STP ($50 cash to 2nd-place finisher in A-Main): Rick Eckert
XS Power ($50 cash to 3rd-place finisher in A-Main): Bobby Pierce
Roush Yates ($50 cash to 4th-place finisher in A-Main): Eric Wells
JE Pistons ($50 cash to 5th-place finisher in A-Main): Shane Clanton
Dominator ($50 cash to 6th-place finisher in A-Main): Clint Smith
American Race Wheels ($50 cash to 7th-place finisher in A-Main): Eric Wells
VP Race Fuels ($50 cash to 8th-place finisher in A-Main): Shane Clanton
Edelbrock Manifolds ($50 cash to 9th-finisher in A-Main): Clint Smith
Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th-place finisher in A-Main): Clint Smith
XS Power ($60 product certificate to 11th-place finisher in A-Main): Eric Wells
Cometic Gasket ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main): Morgan Bagley
JRI Shocks ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main): B.J. Robinson
Super Flow Dynos ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main): B.J. Robinson
QuarterMaster ($25 certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main): Kenny Moreland
JE Pistons (one complete set of JE Pro Seal rings to 16th-place finisher in A-Main, redeemable w/next purchase of set): Tim McCreadie
Klotz Lubricants ($50 cash to 17th-place finisher in A-Main): Tim McCreadie
Roush Yates ($50 gift card to 18th-place finisher in A-Main): Scott Bloomquist
QuarterMaster ($50 certificate to 19th-place finisher in A-Main): Bub McCool
Arizona Sport Shirts ($100 certificate to 20th-place finisher in A-Main): Scott Bloomquist
JE Pistons (one complete set of JE Pro Seal rings to 21st-place finisher in A-Main, redeemable w/next purchase of set): Bub McCool
Roush Yates ($50 gift card to 22nd-place finisher in A-Main): Scott Bloomquist
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main): Bub McCool
XS Power ‘Power Move of the Race’ ($60 product certificate): Josh Richards
Roush Yates ($25 gift card to driver who leads most laps in the A-Main): Josh Richards
Reliable Painting Award (one free tire): Eric Wells
Final 2013 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings – 46 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Josh Richards 6394
2. Darrell Lanigan 6244 (-150)
3. Shane Clanton 6242 (-152)
4. Rick Eckert 6200 (-194)
5. Tim McCreadie 5840 (-554)
6. Eric Wells 5780 (-614)
7. Tim Fuller 5770 (-624)
8. Morgan Bagley 5632 (-762)
9. Chub Frank 5620 (-774)
10. Bub McCool 5598 (-796)
11. Clint Smith 5196 (-1198)
12. Dan Stone 2768 (-3626)
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including: American Racing Custom Wheels (Official Custom Wheel), Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), KMC (Official Custom Truck Wheel), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing Fuel (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award) and McCarthy’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award); in addition to contingency sponsors: Butlerbuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Dominator Race Products, Edelbrock, Eibach Springs, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, QuarterMaster, Roush Yates Performance Parts, Superflow Dynos, Wrisco Aluminum and XS Power Racing Batteries; along with manufacturer sponsors Capital Race Cars, Integra Shocks, GRT Chassis, Jake’s Carts, Racing Electronics, Rocket Chassis, TNT Rescue, and Warrior Chassis.