SHINNSTON, W. Va. (May 4, 2015) – In his first-career race at Friendship Motor Speedway in Elkin, N.C., Josh Richards scored a second-place finish in Friday night’s World of Outlaws Late Model Series event. Richards rounded out his weekend in the Tar Heel state with a seventh-place finish at Fayetteville (N.C.) Motor Speedway on Saturday.
Just hours after seeing the four-tenths-mile Elkin, N.C., track for the first time, Richards climbed into his No. 1 Valvoline car for hot laps and qualifying. The 27-year-old qualified 16th, lining him up in the sixth spot for Heat Race 1. Running the high groove, Richards advanced two positions to finish fourth in his 10-lap heat race, transferring into the main event.
Lining up 10th in the 50-lap feature, the Rocket driver methodically worked his way through the field and was scored in fifth at Lap 16. Continuing to run on the high-side of the track, Richards made his way to the second position at the halfway point of the race. After multiple cautions in the remaining 25 laps, Richards tried his best to overtake race leader Chris Ferguson. Though he was gaining time on Ferguson in the final laps, it wasn’t enough and Richards ultimately finished second.
After his runner-up finish on Friday, the Valvoline team traveled to Fayetteville (N.C.) Motor Speedway, a place the where Richards had visited Victory Lane previously. With two wins under his belt, Richards felt comfortable going into Saturday night’s 50-lap feature. He began the evening by turning the fastest lap in his hot lap group and went on to qualify fifth overall. Starting on the outside pole for Heat Race 2, the driver of the No. 1 machine was unable to advance and finished second in the 10-lap race. By virtue of a top-two finish in his heat, Richards was eligible for the redraw. With only six numbers to choose from, Richards drew the last starting position and lined up sixth for the feature.
Starting the A-Main happy with how his car was handling, Richards gained three positions in just the first lap. He remained in third until the first caution flag of the night flew on Lap 21, causing the West Virginia driver to slip back one spot. With four caution flags waving in the remaining 30 laps, Richards fell back several positions while fighting a loose condition. After falling back to as far as eighth on Lap 36, Richards was able to gain one position in the closing laps to finish seventh, despite battling an ill-handling car. Saturday’s finish marks Richards 15th top-10 finish of the season.
Richards returns to World of Outlaws Late Model Series action at Ponderosa Speedway in Junction City, Ky., on May 8 and Smokey Mountain Speedway in Maryville, Tenn., on May 9.
Qualifying – 16th Heat Race -4th Feature Start – 10th Feature Finish – 2nd
Qualifying – 5th Heat Race -2nd Feature Start -6th Feature Finish -7th
JOSH RICHARDS QUOTE: “Overall we had a good weekend in North Carolina in our Valvoline machine. It’s always a challenge to go to a track you’ve never been to before, but we were able to figure things out pretty quick. Obviously I wanted to win, but we just didn’t have enough to catch (Chris) Ferguson. All things considered, with it being our first race, I’m really happy with our second-place finish.
“I was looking forward to Saturday, I really like racing at Fayetteville (NC) Motor Speedway. It’s a place where I’ve had success before. I started the night off well and just got too loose in the feature. I think I could have had a top-five car, I just kept getting behind on all those restarts.”