SHINNSTON, W. Va. – Aug. 27, 2013 - The drumbeat of consistency on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series rolled on for Josh Richards, who tallied two more top-five visits in visits to Little Valley (N.Y.) Speedway and Winchester (Va.) Speedway to continue building his lead in the national tour’s points battle.
Richards, 25, of Shinnston, W.Va., finished third in Little Valley’s 50-lap A-Main on Aug. 22 and a hard-earned fifth in Winchester’s Raye Vest Memorial 50 Presented by Ernie D’s Enterprises – making him the lone driver to record top-five runs in both events.
While Richards was certainly not satisfied with falling short of the winner’s circle – a place he last reached on the WoO LMS nine races ago, on July 11 at Manitoba’s Red River Co-op Speedway – he lengthened his edge in the WoO LMS standings. After entering the pair of events leading Shane Clanton by 62 points and Darrell Lanigan by 68 points, he departed Winchester holding a 68-point edge over Clanton and 82-point advantage over Lanigan with just 10 races remaining on the 2013 schedule.
“It was a good weekend,” said Richards, who is pursuing his third career WoO LMS title. “You always want a win – and I feel like we definitely have to get back to Victory Lane – but we’re still doing what we need to do to win a championship. We’re just getting what we can in every race.”
Richards was in position to end his short checkered-flag dry spell in last Thursday night’s A-Main at Little Valley, starting from the pole position. But he was outgunned for the lead at the initial green flag by Lanigan, who started second, and spent most of the distance battling for second place as Lanigan raced to victory. Richards ultimately lost the runner-up spot to Dan Stone with five laps remaining and settled for third in his Valvoline-sponsored Mark Richards Racing Enterprises Rocket No. 1.
“At Little Valley, we were just a little off,” said Richards. “I felt like we should’ve run at least second, but we were just too tight and Stone got by us late in the race. We started closing back in on Darrell (behind Stone) in the last few laps but we ran out of time.”
Richards could have also used a bit more time in last Saturday night’s Raye Vest Memorial 50 at Winchester, a three-eighths-mile oval where he’s enjoyed plenty of success in the past. In a race that ran caution-free from start-to-finish, Richards had to battle to advance from the 11th starting spot to a fifth-place finish.
“I put us behind early in qualifying because we were just a little free and ended up starting eighth in the heat race,” said Richards, who timed 15th-fastest in the second group of time trials. “But we marched forward all night long. We moved up to finish third in the heat, and I feel like we had a great car in the race but I just wish we had better track position to start with.
“It was just tough to make up ground (in the feature). There were no cautions, and it just took forever to clear somebody. We could charge up on somebody, but it just took so long to clear them because you had to be so smooth with your moves.”
After surging into the top five on the final lap, Richards ended up as the highest-finishing WoO LMS regular in the A-Main. Considering the circumstances, he was happy with that fact. He was also pleased to see Maryland’s Dale Hollidge pull off a major upset in winning his first-ever WoO LMS event.
“I’m glad to see a local like Dale Hollidge win in a Rocket car,” said Richards. “He did a great job. I wish we could’ve been up there to race with him and the other local cars that finished ahead of us, but I had a blast racing out there anyway.
“Winchester is definitely my favorite short track to race on,” he continued. “I miss coming here. It’s been two years since the last time I was here, so running (on Saturday night) brought back old memories from when I drove Ernie’s car here (the Ernie Davis-owned No. 25.”
Richards has a big Labor Day racing weekend ahead of him. In addition to entering WoO LMS events on Aug. 30 at West Virginia Motor Speedway in Mineral Wells and Aug. 31-Sept. 1 at Selinsgrove (Pa.) Speedway, Richards said he plans to compete in the $20,000-to-win NDRL ‘Let’s Get Dirty 75′ on Mon., Sept. 2, at Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex in Markleysburg, Pa., and is contemplating running the ADRA Super Late Model event that opens West Virginia Motor Speedway’s two-day RaceFest on Thurs., Aug. 29.
For more information on Josh Richards, visit www.joshrichards.com and follow him on Twitter at @Josh_Richards1 and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/JoshRichardsRacing.
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Josh Richards’ No. 1 team carries support from Valvoline, Seubert Calf Ranches, Ernie D’s, Ace Welding, Petroff Towing, Sallack Well Service, Tony Stewart Racing, Rocket Chassis, Roush Yates Engines, Hoosier Racing Tires, Sunoco Racing Fuels, Keyser Manufacturing, Integra Shocks, Sweet Manufacturing, Slavic Custom Tee Shirts And Graphics, Brown and Miller, Brazwell Carburetors, Bazell Racing Fuels, ButlerBuilt Seat, Beyea Headers, Performance Rod and Custom, Wilwood Disc Brakes, Frankland Rear Ends, Simpson Safety Equipment, J E Pistons, Strange Oval, Wrisco Aluminum, R2C Filters, Aurora Rod Ends, Snap On Tools, Scott Wires, Trick Carbon Fiber Drive Shafts, Five Star Bodies, Jones Racing Products, Howe Racing, Performance Bodies, Turbo Start Batteries, Brinn Transmissions, Eagle One, Car Brite, ATL Fuel Cells, Dohm’s Cycles, Weld Wheels, Barnes Oil Systems, Tel-Tac, MSD Ignitions.