SHINNSTON, W. Va. (April 13, 2015) – Josh Richards finished third at Tazewell Speedway after a heartbreaking last-lap pass by fellow Rocket driver Billy Ogle Jr. Saturday’s race marked the first World of Outlaws Late Model Series event in more than a month, due to weather canceling or postponing the last five scheduled Series races.
In his first appearance back at the high-banked, Tennessee clay oval in over four years, Richards looked strong from the start. He began the evening by turning the fastest circuit in his hot lap group. His stellar run continued when he was credited with the fastest qualifying lap in Group 3 with a time of 11.584 seconds. His effort placed him sixth overall. Richards lined up on the outside pole for his heat race and quickly took the lead exiting Turn 1. The West Virginia driver led all 10 laps en route to his heat race win. With the top two drivers of each of the three heat races drawing for their starting position in the main event, Richards was third in line to pull his number. Much to his liking, the 27-year-old driver drew the second starting spot for the 50-lap feature.
With a capacity crowd on their feet, Richards took the green flag with his sights set on the top spot. It didn’t take the three-time champion long, as he took command of the field on Lap 2. Richards led Shane Clanton for the majority of the race as the two drove away from the field early. As the laps wore on, Clanton seemed to fade and Richards knew his tires were beginning to wear as well. With 10 laps remaining, it was all the Rocket Chassis driver could do to hold on to the lead as his car began to slip out of the groove. Though his tires were fading, Richards was able to hold off a hard-charging Ogle Jr. until the final lap when he slipped coming out of Turn 1, allowing Ogle to pull alongside of him. The two remained close until the final turn when Ogle made slight contact as he drove by Richards, causing the Valvoline driver to slide high and tag the wall coming to the checkered flag. The slip also allowed Jimmy Owens to drive underneath the No. 1 machine and Richards crossed the stripe third in a heartbreaking finish after leading all but two laps of the 50-lap feature.
Richards is scheduled to return to World of Outlaws Late Model Series action April 17-18 at Farmer City (Ill.) Raceway.
Qualifying – 6th Heat Race -1st Feature Start -2nd Feature Finish – 3rd
JOSH RICHARDS QUOTE: “It was a tough break for the Valvoline team at Tazewell (Speedway). We had a good car, but our tires just started to fade at the end. It was all I could do to hold on. I kept trying to protect too much and I got myself sideways going into Turn 1 on the last lap. Billy (Ogle Jr.) was just better and he did what he had to do to get by. It’s tough to lead so many laps and get beat on the last one, but we’ll keep our heads up and head to Farmer City (Raceway) next week with our sights set on a win.”
Josh Richards’ No. 1 team carries support from Valvoline, Seubert Calf Ranches, Ace Welding, Petroff Towing, Sallack Well Service, Rocket Chassis, Durham 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, Lithionics Batteries, Brinn Transmissions, Eagle One, Car Brite, ATL Fuel Cells, Dohm’s Cycles, Weld Wheels, Barnes Oil Systems, Tel-Tac, MSD Ignitions.