SHINNSTON, W. Va. (May 12, 2015) – Josh Richards collected a pair of top-10 finishes in Friday and Saturday’s World of Outlaws Late Model Series races, bringing home a fourth-place finish in his first ever race at Ponderosa Speedway and a seventh-place finish at Smokey Mountain Speedway.
Visiting a new race track for the second weekend in a row, Richards arrived Friday at Ponderosa Speedway in Junction City, Ky., not knowing what to expect. Though it was his first visit to the three-eights-mile track, it didn’t take the West Virginia native long to figure things out. During his first laps around the track, Richards was the fastest car in his hot lap group and the fifth fastest car overall. Following hot laps, the 27-year-old qualified fourth in Group B, lining him up in second for his heat. Richards maintained his position and finished second in the 10-lap event. With the top-two finishers of each heat race eligible for the redraw, the Rocket driver drew a six to start the A-Main.
Lining up on the outside of row three for the start of the 50-lap feature, Richards moved up to fifth on Lap 1 and remained there until the halfway point of the race. The Valvoline car was scored in fourth on Lap 25 and had moved up to third by Lap 30. Just two laps later, Richards had taken over the second spot when a multi-car accident brought out the red flag. On the ensuing restart, Richards slipped back to fifth after picking the bottom when the green flag flew. With 17 laps remaining, the driver of the No. 1 machine gained one spot to finish fourth in his first appearance at Ponderosa Speedway.
Saturday the team traveled to Smokey Mountain Speedway in Maryville, Tenn., for the second World of Outlaws Late Model Series race of the weekend, and Richards was fast from the start. He ran a lightning-quick qualifying lap, topping the field, and earning the night’s fast-time award. His qualifying effort lined him up on the pole for Heat Race 1 and Richards drove off from the field leading all 10 laps by an entire straightaway. After winning his heat, the Mark Richards Racing driver was again eligible for the redraw. Much to his displeasure, Richards picked the eight and final number.
Starting in the eight spot, Richards raced his way up to the sixth position by Lap 3. With the field spread out single-file, Richards remained in sixth until the halfway point of the 50-lap event. Fighting a loose-condition for the remainder of the race, the three-time World of Outlaws Champion slipped back to as far as eighth on Lap 32, before ultimately crossing the finish line in the seventh position. Saturday’s finish marks Richards 17th top-10 finish of the season.
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series will be off this weekend. Richards will return to Series action in his home state of West Virginia at Tyler County Speedway, May 23-24.
Qualifying – 4th Heat Race -2nd Feature Start – 6th Feature Finish – 4th
Qualifying – 1st Heat Race -1st Feature Start -8th Feature Finish -7th
JOSH RICHARDS QUOTE: “It was my first time at Ponderosa Speedway and I was happy with how we started out the night. The Valvoline car was good in the feature, I’m just mad at myself for picking the wrong line on the last restart. I feel like we had a top-two car, but there was just too much ground to make up after I slipped back to fifth on that restart.
“Saturday was a lot of fun at Smokey Mountain Speedway. The Valvoline car was really fast. We had a great car for qualifying and the heat race. We anticipated the track being faster than it was for the feature and just got way too loose. The field was pretty spread out, and it was hard to pass. We ended the weekend with two top-10’s, but I’m ready to get back in Victory Lane. We’ll have a weekend off to work on some things before we go back looking for a win at our home track (Tyler County Speedway).”