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Fourteen Months After Memorable Win, Series Points Leader Josh Richards Returns To Attica On Friday PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
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ImageBy  Kevin Kovac (World of Outlaws Late Model Series P.R. Director)

(Attica, OH)
Josh Richards turned a corner in his career when he won last year’s World of Outlaws Late Model Series event at Attica Raceway Park.

Fourteen months later, the 21-year-old sensation from Shinnston, W.Va., will return to the one-third-mile oval on Friday night (July 24) with his racing fortunes flying even higher.

With the WoO LMS headed to Attica on Friday for a 50-lap, $10,000-to-win A-Main that is scheduled as the second stop of the four-race Ohio Speedweek, Richards sits atop the tour’s points standings and 2009 win list. He’s flashing true championship form – the elusive combination of speed and smarts he showed he was capable of when he captured last year’s inaugural series event at the high-banked track in the center of the Buckeye State.

Richards drew raves for his ’08 performance at Attica. Racing at a bullring he had never before seen, the 2005 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year demonstrated a veteran’s poise as he patiently chased fellow Outlaw Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., until finally pulling off a high-side move to assume command with six laps remaining.

It was a hallmark night for Richards. Yes, he had won seven WoO LMS A-Mains before reaching Victory Lane at Attica, but his eighth career triumph was just different. Something seemed to click in the youngster’s head that evening. He didn’t force the issue, didn’t wear out his tires, didn’t get over-anxious. He just calmly waited for his inevitable opportunity to pass Frank, who had gone too soft with his tire choice, and seized it.

“My car felt really good the whole race,” Richards said after his win on May 16, 2008. “I knew (Frank) couldn’t pull away, so I thought if I just maintained, there would be a chance that I could get by him.

“He looked a little too tight to run the top, and my car was just balanced well. I don’t know if he was fading just a little to where he had to search (for a line), but when he moved down (on lap 44) I snuck around the outside of him and got the lead.”

ImageFrank, a hard-nosed 47-year-old whose racing career has stretched nearly a decade longer than Richards’s life, led the chorus of observers hailing Richards after the event.

“Josh did a very good job,” said Frank. “He was very patient. He didn’t do anything that would’ve wrecked either one of us. He took his shots when he thought he had ‘em, and when he couldn’t clear me on those ‘sliders’ he got out of the gas and let me go.

“I think that was very good for him to see that patience sometimes is better than being aggressive.”

While Richards hasn’t been perfect since that spring night at Attica, he’s certainly emerged as a serious championship contender. He went on to finish second in last year’s points standings and tie Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., for the most wins on the ’08 tour, and this season he’s stepped up to threaten the tour’s modern-day (2004-present) single-season win record and thrust himself into a tight title battle with former champions Francis and Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky. – two drivers Richards calls “the best point racers in the country.”

Driving his father Mark’s familiar Seubert Calf Ranches Rocket No. 1, Richards enters the WoO LMS Ohio Speedweek on a major tear. He’s won six of the last 11 tour A-Mains – including a victory in the last series event, on July 16 at Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron, S.D., during which he used his head and well as his right foot to survive a surface that wore tires – to leave him just two wins shy of matching Scott Bloomquist’s single-season win standard (nine victories in 2004).

In addition, since last year’s Attica event, no driver has won more WoO LMS A-Mains than Richards, whose 11 victories over the past 58 races have pushed him to second on the tour’s modern-day win list, with 19 wins.

What’s more, Richards is gaining national notoriety beyond the dirt tracks. Earlier this year he made his NASCAR asphalt debut in a Camping World East Series event, and last Saturday night he ran his first ARCA superspeedway race at Kentucky Speedway.

“Hopefully we can keep up our momentum on the Ohio swing,” said Richards, who holds a 10-point lead over both Francis and Lanigan entering the WoO LMS Ohio Speedweek. “I’m definitely looking forward to going back to Attica. That race last year was one of the most fun races I’ve ever run. It’s a real racy track.”

Frank will be one of the WoO LMS drivers looking to slow down Richards at Attica. Last year’s second-place finisher at ARP, the veteran comes into Ohio Speedweek riding a frustrating 14-month, 57-race winless streak on the tour.

Lanigan, who finished third last year at Attica, and Francis (eighth place) will arrive in Ohio just below Richards on the ‘Who’s Hot’ scale. Lanigan won two of the four A-Mains on the recent WoO LMS ‘Wild West Tour,’ while Francis is second to Richards with five wins this season and owns runner-up finishes in the last two WoO LMS events.

Other World of Outlaws travelers ready for Ohio Late Model Speedweek include Rick Eckert of York, Pa., Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., and Rookie of the Year contenders Russell King of Bristolville, Ohio, Jordan Bland of Campbellsville, Ky., Brent Robinson of Smithfield, Va., Dustin Hapka of Grand Forks, N.D., and 14-year-old Tyler Reddick of Corning, Calif.

An impressive influx of regional and local drivers are expected to challenge the Outlaws at Attica, which runs UMP DIRTcar-sanctioned Super Late Models as part of its weekly shows. Last year’s WoO LMS field numbered a healthy 52 cars.

Several drivers have listed all the Ohio Speedweek events on their schedules, including Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs of Bear Lake, Pa., 17-year-old Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., Matt Lux of Franklin, Pa., Gregg Satterlee of Rochester Mills, Pa., and Mike Knight of Ripley, N.Y.

Other drivers expected at Attica include 2006 WoO LMS champion Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., Donnie Moran of Dresden, Ohio, Jeep VanWormer of Pinconning, Mich., Wayne Chinn of Tipp City, Pa., Matt Miller of Waterville, Ohio, Rusty Schlenck of Jackson, Mich., Jon Henry of Ada, Ohio, Doug Drown of Wooster, Ohio, and Duane Chamberlain of Richmond, Ind.

Friday’s show will offer show-up points and some bonus cash for Attica’s weekly UMP DIRTcar Super Late Model competitors. The top 20 drivers in Attica’s points standings are eligible to collect a $1,000 bonus if they win the WoO LMS A-Main; if an Attica driver doesn’t pull off the upset, then the highest-finisher in the A-Main who’s ranked among the top 20 in the Attica points will receive $500.

In addition, there’s the $500 WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ cash that goes to the highest-finishing driver in the A-Main who has never won a tour event and isn’t ranked among the top 12 in the series points standings.

Friday’s program, which also includes a complete show for Attica’s regular 410 Sprint Car division, will see racing action begin at 7:45 p.m. Gates are scheduled to open at 4 p.m.

Tickets are $30 for adults, $15 for teens 11-15 and free for kids 10-and-under. Pit passes are $35.

Additional info on Attica’s WoO LMS event is available by logging on to www.atticaracewaypark.com.

The WoO LMS Ohio Speedweek kicks off on Thurs., July 23, at Muskingum County Speedway in Zanesville, Ohio. After Attica, the swing will also visit Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio, on Sat., July 25, and Eriez Speedway in Hammett, Pa., on Sun., July 26.

For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.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), Crane Cams (Official Valvetrain), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), Fusion Energy Boost (Official Energy Boost), SuperClean (Official Cleaner-Degreaser) and VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel); in addition to contingency sponsors Champ Pans, Eibach Springs, Hoosier Tires, Integra Shocks, Jake’s Custom Golf Carts, Ohlins Shocks, Racing Electronics, Quarter Master and Wrisco Aluminum; Crane Cams Engine Builder's Challenge participants Cornett Racing Engines, Custom Race Engines and Pro Power Racing Engines; and Chassis Builder Challenge participants Rocket Chassis and Team Zero by Bloomquist.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 July 2009 )
 
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