SHINNSTON, W. Va. (April 18, 2015) – Josh Richards scored a top-five finish at Farmer City (Ill.) Raceway in Friday’s 25-lap feature, after a promising run in Saturday’s 75-lap finale was hampered by a mid-race accident, causing substantial damage to the No. 1 Valvoline machine.
Richards and his Rocket Chassis team arrived at the quarter-mile oval on Thursday for World of Outlaws Late Model Series testing. After a full night of practice, Richards was credited with running some of the fastest lap times of the evening.
With a successful test session under his belt, Richards was optimistic about his chances in Friday night’s 25-lap feature. Unfortunately, the 27-year-old had a late draw for qualifying, putting him behind early. Richards qualified 12th in Group B, lining him up in the fourth spot for Heat Race 6. After advancing one position in the 10-lap race, Richards finished third, transferring him into the main event. Starting 18th in the feature, the Mark Richards Racing driver was on a mission and didn’t waste any time making his way toward the front of the field. Just 10 laps into the 25-lap race, Richards was scored in seventh. Continuing his impressive run through the field, the Valvoline driver made it to as high as fifth before the checkered flag flew. Though he finished fifth, Richards ran the fastest laps of the race and felt he could have contended for the lead had he not run out of laps.
Saturday night began much the same, drawing a late qualifying number. With the track conditions different from the night before, Richards was a bit conservative when making his qualifying run and ended up 15th in Group B. His qualifying effort lined him up eighth for Heat Race 3. With only the top-four cars transferring into the main event, the West Virginia native had his work cut out for him. Toward the end of the 10-lap heat race, Richards was in contention for the fourth and final transfer spot when contact with another competitor relegated him to a fifth-place finish. Richards lined up on the pole for B-Main 2 in a second attempt to race his was into the feature. With an ill-handling car, Richards slipped back to the third position early and remained there, capturing the final transfer spot.
Starting 22nd in the 75-lap finale, Richards knew he had a lot of ground to make up. Looking as though he was up to the task, the Valvoline driver methodically started making his was through the field and was scored in ninth after just 30 laps. Unfortunately, his promising run was cut short on Lap 35 when another car came down in front of Richards making contact and causing the nose of his No. 1 machine to fold under. Just a few laps later, Richards was hit by another competitor and sustained left-rear damage forcing him to bring his mangled car into the pit area for repairs. Restarting in the back of the field, Richards was able to run nine laps before coming back into the pits for a flat left-rear tire. With a ratchet strap holding the nose off of the ground and considerable sheet metal damage, the Valvoline team never gave up and Richards was able to finish the 75-lap race on the lead lap. By virtue of staying on the track, Richards was able to gain five positions to finish 16th, earning valuable points in his quest for an unprecedented fourth World of Outlaws Late Model Series Championship.
Richards returns to World of Outlaws Series racing action May 1-2, in a North Carolina doubleheader at Friendship Motor Speedway in Elkin, N.C., and Fayetteville (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The No. 1 Valvoline team plans to run the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series race at Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex in Markleysburg, Pa., on April 24.
Qualifying – 12th Heat Race -3rd Feature Start -18th Feature Finish -5th
Qualifying – 15th Heat Race -5th Feature Start -22nd Feature Finish -16th
JOSH RICHARDS QUOTE: “I had a good Valvoline car all weekend. I just put us behind early by qualifying poorly on Friday and Saturday. We had a lot of ground to make up by the time the feature rolled around each night. I had a lot of fun driving on Friday, the car was really fast. I think I could have won the race if we just had a few more laps. The track changed quite a bit on Saturday and we didn’t get our setup figured out until the feature. I feel like I had a good car and I was making my way through the field. It’s just unfortunate I got taken out of contention with considerable damage to the nose and left-rear. We had a rough night Saturday, but we’ll regroup this week and be ready to go Friday at Roaring Knob (Motorsports Complex).”
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