Two-Time Defending Tour Champion Inches Closer To Eckert In Points Standings With Flawless Effort
PEVELY, MO – Sept. 17, 2011 – Josh Richards continued his assault on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series record book – and the top spot in the points standings – with a convincing victory in Saturday night’s 29th annual Pepsi Nationals at I-55 Raceway.
The national tour’s two-time defending champion was flawless in the 55-lap A-Main. He roared off the outside pole to grab the lead at the start and never looked back, controlling the entire distance without facing a single serious challenge.
Richards, 23, of Shinnston, W.Va., beat fourth-starter Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., to the finish line by 1.635 seconds. It was his eighth win of the season, breaking him out of a tie with Lanigan for top-winner status on the series in 2011.
DIRTcar UMP star Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., placed third, over three seconds behind Richards at the finish. Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., charged forward from the 11th starting spot to place fourth – despite racing with a broken right thumb suffered on Sept. 10 in a heat-race tangle during the World 100 at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway – and Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., was fifth.
Richards earned $10,875 for a score that moved him within one triumph of matching both the single-season WoO LMS record of nine established in 2004 by Scott Bloomquist and the tour’s alltime victory standard. Already the winningest driver of the circuit’s ‘modern’ era (2004-present) with 36 checkered flags, Richards is one win from tying Billy Moyer atop the alltime win list that includes the tour’s original 1988-89 campaigns.
Adding even more significance to Richards’s success, he inched closer to points leader Rick Eckert of York, Pa., in the WoO LMS points standings. With Eckert, who has led the battle for the tour’s $100,000 title since early May, settling for a sixth-place finish, Richards shaved 12 points off his deficit to leave the high-banked, one-third-mile oval trailing Eckert by just 16 markers with five events remaining on the 2011 schedule.
“I’m very grateful for that,” Richards said of his opportunity to make WoO LMS history. “No matter what happens, I feel like we’ve had a great year. To still be there in the hunt and have a shot at (the championship) really means a lot to me and really shows how strong our team is.”
Richards registered his first-ever win at I-55, a speedy bullring promoted by NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader and Mike Marler that he called “a mini-Eldora.” He mastered the track behind the wheel of his father Mark’s Rocket Chassis house – though he had some doubts at the start.
“Whenever we lined up on the front row, I looked over and saw (polesitter Randy) Korte had some softer tires on than us,” said Richards, who has four of the last six WoO LMS A-Mains. “I was kind of nervous because we kind of gambled on tires a little bit. We didn’t really know what to do.
“I was trying to get some heat in my tires, and (then) we fired off on the start and got to the lead. Everything worked out for us.”
Four caution flags between laps 10 and 22 slowed Richards’s pace, but he easily pulled away on each restart. His biggest obstacle was negotiating heavy lapped traffic during the 33-lap run of green-flag racing that closed the race.
“My car was awesome tonight,” said Richards, whose machine was powered by a Roush-Yates Ford engine. “I was able to maneuver and have the car to be able to keep the momentum up to get by the lapped traffic. That was definitely key to winning tonight.”
Lanigan, 40, simply couldn’t match Richards’s moves through the pack of slower cars.
“Our cars were pretty close, pretty equal,” said Lanigan, whose last WoO LMS victory came six races ago, on Aug. 3 at Shawano (Wis.) Speedway. “He was a little bit better in (the turns) because I was a little bit tighter, but there wasn’t much difference.
“He just got through lapped traffic a little better than I could. Right when I started to get closer to him he got by a couple (lapped) cars quicker than I did and I got stuck back there behind them for a few laps.”
The 33-year-old Feger, meanwhile, was able to climb as high as second after passing Lanigan on lap 16, but he lost the position to Lanigan on a lap-22 restart and ran in third for the remainder of the distance. He held off a late bid from Frank to record his fourth top-five finish in 12 A-Mains starts on the 2011 WoO LMS.
Feger felt fortunate, however, to preserve a third-place finish. He struggled throughout the race with an ill-handling Pierce car.
“I don’t know if we had a rack going bad or what, but it felt like my steering was coming in-and-out,” said Feger, who started third. “I had my hands full just trying to keep it out of the wall and from spinning out. I had to try to anticipate the car, so I had to drive it a lot more sideways than I would’ve liked to just to make sure it would turn.”
Eckert, who started eighth, spent the race’s late stages battling for sixth with Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., before finally securing the spot on lap 49. Shirley placed seventh, followed by 17th-starter Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y.; 21st-starter Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga.; and Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., who won last year’s WoO LMS Pepsi Nationals but was never a factor on Saturday despite starting seventh.
The event’s four caution flags were all caused by minor problems. Mark Voigt of Marine, Ill., slowed on lap 10 after tagging the wall; 18-year-old Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., fell off the pace on lap 12 with front-end damage sustained in a scrape with Nick Lyons of Centralia, Ill.; Korte slowed and retired on lap 14 after slapping the wall while running seventh; and Lyons slowed on lap 22 with a heavily damaged rear spoiler.
Babb was quickest in the 42-car Ohlins Shocks Time Trials session with a lap of 12.096 seconds – just off the track record of 12.031 seconds. It was his first WoO LMS fast-time honor of 2011 and the 13th of his career.
Heat winners were Babb, Lanigan, Richards and Shirley. The B-Mains were captured by McCreadie and Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga.
The program was completed despite being a day-long threat of rain. While showers struck just south of the track, only a few brief spits of drizzle fell at the speedway.
The next action for the WoO LMS will come on Thurs., Oct. 6, when the tour visits Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in Elbridge, N.Y., for a 50-lap, $10,000-to-win event as part of the annual Super DIRT Week activities in and around Syracuse, N.Y.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
Results of WoO Late Model Series ‘Pepsi Nationals’ at I-55 Raceway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (2) Josh Richards/55 $10,875
2. (4) Darrell Lanigan/55 $5,650
3. (3) Jason Feger/55 $3,000
4. (11) Chub Frank/55 $3,050
5. (6) Jimmy Mars/55 $2,000
6. (8) Rick Eckert/55 $2,250
7. (5) Brian Shirley/55 $1,400
8. (17) Tim McCreadie/55 $1,950
9. (21) Shane Clanton/55 $1,750
10. (7) Shannon Babb/55 $1,200
11. (14) Dennis Erb Jr./55 $1,050
12. (13) Bub McCool/54 $1,500
13. (18) Clint Smith/54 $1,500
14. (23) Vic Coffey/54 $1,450
15. (24) Tim Fuller/54 $1,500
16. (19) Austin Hubbard/54 $1,350
17. (10) Brandon Sheppard/54 $770
18. (12) Ron Davies/54 $1,550
19. (16) Jason McBride/53 $730
20. (20) Jack Sullivan/52 $700
21. (15) Frankie Heckenast Jr./44 $700
22. (9) Nick Lyons/21 $700
23. (1) Randy Korte/13 $700
24. (22) Mark Voigt/9 $700
25. (25) Jeff Johns/1 $425
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 22 Mins., 55.246 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 1.635 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 4 (Laps 10, 12, 14, 22)
Lap Leaders: Richards (1-55)
Provisional Starters: Coffey, Fuller (WoO); Johns (track)
Rookie of the Race: Davies ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: McCool ($500)
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 18-Shannon Babb/Moweaqua, IL 12.096
2. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 12.237
3. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 12.239
4. 71d-Ron Davies/Warren, PA 12.291
5. 25F-Jason Feger/Bloomington, IL 12.325
6. 00-Randy Korte/Highland, IL 12.356
7. 28-Jimmy Mars/Menomonie, WI 12.390
8. 3s-Brian Shirley/Chatham, IL 12.486
9. 57J-Bub McCool/Vicksburg, MS 12.489
10. 28e-Dennis Erb Jr./Carpentersville, IL 12.493
11. 30-Mark Voigt/Marine, IL 12.530
12. 6K-Michael Kloos/Trenton, IL 12.563
13. 2x-Nick Lyons/Centralia, IL 12.570
14. b5-Brandon Sheppard/New Berlin, IL 12.573
15. 21JR-Billy Moyer Jr.//Batesville, AR 12.586
16. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 12.608
17. 21-Billy Moyer/Batesville, AR 12.617
18. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 12.621
19. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 12.679
20. 77-Jason McBride/Carbondale, IL 12.691
21. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 12.734
22. 32c-Vic Coffey/Caledonia, NY 12.761
23. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 12.783
24. 1s-Jack Sullivan/Greenbrier, AR 12.834
25. 25-Shane Clanton/Fayetteville, GA 12.854
26. 88-Wendell Wallace/Batesville, AR 12.874
27. 99Jr-Frankie Heckenast Jr./Orland Park, IL 12.895
28. 1L-John Lobb/Frewsburg, NY 12.927
29. 11-Pat Doar/New Richmond, WI 12.947
30. 4J-Scott Weber/Festus, MO
31. 33F-Ricky Frankel/Quincy, IL 13.083
32. 0-Dewayne Kiefer/St. Genevieve, MO 13.168
33. 3c-Mike Collins/Council Bluffs, IA 13.350
34. 78-Mark Miner/Arnold, MO 13.362
35. 95-Jeff Johns/Belleville, IL 13.392
36. 23-Dylan Sharp/Pevely, MO 13.433
37. 2J-David Jumper/Fenton, MO 13.438
38. 86-Jason Crump/St. Genevieve, MO 13.672
39. 66-Chris Hall/Sikeston, MO 14.048
40. 26-Randy Estes/Pevely, MO 15.076
41. 19H-Austin Hubbard/Seaford, DE 12.495 (DQ-light)
42. 1HR-Ron McQuerry/St. Albans, MO 13.647 (DQ-technical)
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Babb, Feger, Lyons, McCool, Hubbard, Fuller, Clanton, Collins, Moyer, Doar, Jumper
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Lanigan, Korte, Sheppard, Erb, McCreadie, Wallace, Weber, Coffey, McQuerry, Crump (DNS) Miner
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Richards, Mars, Frank, Heckenast, Smith, Voigt, Moyer Jr., Frankel, Johns, Hall
Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Shirley, Eckert, Davies, McBride, Sullivan, Kiefer, Lobb, Sharp, Kloos, Estes
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): McCreadie, Hubbard, Clanton, Wallace, Moyer, Weber, Fuller, Doar, Coffey, Collins, McQuerry, Jumper, Crump
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Smith, Sullivan, Voigt, Moyer Jr., Kiefer, Miner, Lobb, Frankel, Johns, Hall, Sharp, Estes (DNS) Kloos
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:
Arizona Sports Shirts ($100 apparel certificate to 22nd fastest qualifier): Vic Coffey
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main w/decal): Jason Feger
Comp Cams ($50 cash to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Josh Richards
Comp Cams (certificate to 10th place in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Clint Smith
Eibach Springs (one free spring to each B-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Billy Moyer/Jack Sullivan
JE Pistons ($50 cash to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Josh Richards
JE Pistons (one set of Pro Seal rings to 11th-place or next highest w/decal, redeemable w/next purchase of one complete set of rings): Dennis Erb Jr.
JE Pistons (one set of Pro Seal rings to 21st-place or next highest w/decal, redeemable w/next purchase of one complete set of rings): Mark Voigt
MSD Ignition ($75 cash to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Josh Richards
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to last-place in A-Main or next lowest w/decal): Jeff Johns
Ohlins Pole Award ($50 cash to fast qualifier or next highest w/decal): Shannon Babb
Quartermaster ($100 product certificate to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Chub Frank
Quartermaster ($50 product certificate to 5th-place or next highest w/decal): Rick Eckert
Quartermaster ($25 product certificate to 15th-place or next highest w/decal): Ron Davies
R2C Performance ($100 certificate to highest-finishing driver w/decal or $100 cash if race winner is using R2C filter and decal is displayed): Josh Richards (cash)
STP ($50 cash to 2nd-place in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Darrell Lanigan
Superflow Dynos ($50 cash to 7th-place in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Tim McCreadie
VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to winner of Heat 1 or next highest w/decal): Shannon Babb
VP Racing Fuels ‘Nice Jugs Award’ (one five-gallon plastic fuel jugs to fastest qualifier who does not make the A-Main or next highest w/decal): Michael Kloos
WIX Filters ($50 cash to 13th-place in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Clint Smith
Wrisco Aluminum (Three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner w/decal): Josh Richards
2011 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of Sept. 17 – 28 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Rick Eckert 3928
2. Josh Richards 3912 (-16)
3. Darrell Lanigan 3816 (-112)
4. Tim McCreadie 3726 (-202)
5. Chub Frank 3654 (-274)
6. Shane Clanton 3634 (-294)
7. Austin Hubbard 3610 (-318)
8. Clint Smith 3598 (-330)
9. Vic Coffey 3472 (-456)
10. Tim Fuller 3466 (-462)
11. Pat Doar 3328 (-600)
12. Ron Davies 3214 (-714)
13. John Lobb 3046 (-882)
14. Jill George 2122 (-1806)
15. Jason Feger 1756 (-2172)
FOLLOW THE ACTION ON TWITTER: Fans can keep up-to-date with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series online and through text messages on cell phones via Twitter, the internet’s fast-growing social-networking and micro-blogging website. Updates are provided to Twitter ‘followers’ of the WoO LMS throughout each race night, and fans also receive breaking news and interesting notes from the tour.
Over 5,100 fans are now WoO LMS ‘followers’ on Twitter. To sign-up and receive updates anywhere at anytime, visit http://twitter.com/WoOLateModels.
LISTEN ONLINE: If fans can’t get to a track to see the World of Outlaws Late Model Series, they can experience the excitement of the nation’s premier tour live on DIRTvision.com through the DIRT Radio Network.
To listen to the free audio broadcasts, log on to http://www.dirtvision.com/welcome.php and click on the DIRT Radio Network logo.
BLOGGING: WoO LMS fans can now read interesting stories from the road by checking out two blogs –‘Life As An Outlaw’ by series announcer Rick Eshelman and ‘The Scoop With Scoop’ by tour P.R. director Kevin Kovac. Both blogs can be accessed by clicking on the preceding links or the specific ‘Blog’ buttons on the right-hand side of http://www.woolms.com/.
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award), McCarthy’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award), Chizmark Larson Insurance, Factory Value Parts and RacingJunk.com; in addition to contingency sponsors Comp Cams, Eibach Springs, JE Pistons, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, Pro Power Engines, Quartermaster, Rocket Chassis, R2C Performance, Superflow Dynos, Wix Filters and Wrisco Aluminum.