Red-Hot West Virginian Rolls Forward From 11th Starting Spot To Capture Tuesday’s $7,000 Top Prize
BARBERVILLE, FL – Feb. 19, 2013 – There appears to be no stopping Josh Richards during the 42nd UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment.
With another spectacular charge forward – this time from the 11th starting spot – Richards captured Tuesday night’s 30-lap DIRTcar UMP Super Late Model feature for his second victory in as many evenings at Volusia Speedway Park.
Richards, 24, of Shinnston, W.Va., powered his Valvoline-sponsored Rocket Chassis house car to second place on lap 16, putting himself in position to inherit the lead when Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., pulled to the infield with mechanical trouble during a lap-19 caution period. The two-time World of Outlaws Late Model Series champion dominated the remainder of the distance to pocket a $7,000 top prize.
WoO LMS Rookie of the Year contender Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., grabbed second from his chassis builder, Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., on lap 20 and stayed there to the finish. The 24-year-old, who sat out Monday night’s DIRTcar UMP Late Model opener, crossed the finish line 2.709 seconds behind Richards to cap a career-best performance at the half-mile oval.
Stormy Scott, 23, of Las Cruces, N.M., placed third in the Bryan Rowland Motorsports Team Zero by Bloomquist car, cracking the podium in just his second week of dirt Late Model racing. A standout in the open-wheel Modified division who is transitioning to dirt Late Model racing this season, Scott, who started 13th, overtook Bloomquist for the show position on lap 22.
Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., also passed Bloomquist late in the distance, grabbing fourth on lap 25 and finishing there in his Victory Circle machine. Bloomquist, who started from the outside pole, faded to a fifth-place run in his self-built car.
In a competitive race that featured four different leaders, Richards proved to be the last man standing up front for the second consecutive night at Volusia. But his march to the lead wasn’t quite as smooth as on Monday evening, when he sailed around the outside of the track in advancing from the 10 th starting spot to the lead in 18 circuits.
Richards actually surprised himself with his quick ascension through the field. He cracked the top five in three laps and reached second by lap nine, though he swapped the runner-up spot once with Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., before gaining control on lap 16.
“I knew everybody gambled on tires a little bit,” said Richards. “We just went with a softer compound and tried to stay slow and not wear anything out, and try to get one at a time as we could. I didn’t expect to get up through there like we did, but I think everybody just kind of got bound up and slid and we were able to get quite a few cars early.”
Richards’s move to grab second from Lanigan on lap 16 might have been the critical point of the race. After Richards dived to the inside of turns three and four and slid in front of Lanigan, contact between the two friendly rivals in turn four damaged the nosepiece of Lanigan’s car. Three laps later Lanigan skated into the turn-three guardrail due to a left-front tire that was cut by his bent bodywork, bringing out the race’s only caution flag.
“We were going down the backstraightaway and I just drove straight down to the bottom and Darrell went to the top,” Richards said of the scrape with Lanigan. “Well, he got turned and came straight back down to the bottom and ran into our left rear.
“I think there was a little bit of heat over that. I don’t think he knew exactly what happened. I think he just thought I drove in there after he turned, but we were just racing. It’s unfortunate that he got a car tore up, but I don’t feel like we did anything wrong.”
Lanigan, who started from the pole position and led the first circuit and laps 6-10, limped into the infield and retired after the caution flag flew on lap 19. He declined to comment on the situation with Richards.
Moments after Lanigan left the track, O’Neal, who started fifth and passed Lanigan for the lead on lap 11, also drove into the infield. A line of moisture began to trail behind his Larry Moring-owned car during the caution period; it was later determined to be fuel from a busted fuel pump.
“It’s unfortunate that O’Neal broke,” said Richards, who led laps 20-30 without receiving a single challenge. “I feel like we could’ve gotten him anyway, but everything’s been going our way. We’ll take it.”
Richards’s victory was his third in as many days – he started the streak with a $20,000-plus triumph in Sunday’s 75-lap WoO LMS event at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla. – and the seventh of his career during the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals by Summit at Volusia. He moved into a tie for fourth on the alltime DIRTcar Nationals win list with veterans O’Neal, Bloomquist and Rick Eckert of York, Pa.
In addition, according to records compiled by racing historian Bob Markos, Richards became the sixth driver in the 42-year history of the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals by Summit to open the dirt Late Model portion of the meet with back-to-back wins. He joins a list that includes Moyer (1997, 2008), O’Neal (2002, ‘03), Larry Moore (1981), Morgan Shepherd (1977) and Wayne Shugart (1973, ’78).
The A-Main’s other leader was Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who surged forward from the fourth starting spot to pass Lanigan for the top spot on lap two. McCreadie was in front on lap five when he jumped the cushion in turn two and slapped the outside wall, inflicting damage to his Warrior machine that forced him to cede the lead to Lanigan on lap six and pull off that circuit.
Finishing in positions 6-10 were Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y.; Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., who started 23rd; Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., who didn’t compete in Monday’s program; 20-year-old Mason Zeigler of Chalk Hill, Pa., who recorded a career-best finish at Volusia; and 16-year-old Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill.
Forty-seven cars were entered in the program, which utilized group qualifying to set the starting lineups for six heat races.
Richards registered the fastest overall qualifying lap at 15.752 seconds. Other group fast-timers were Lanigan (15.952), Ron Davies of Warren, Pa. (16.065), Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla. (16.072), Billy Ogle Jr. of Knoxville, Tenn. (16.416) and Moyer (16.930).
Heat winners were O’Neal, Zeigler, Bloomquist, Lanigan, McCreadie and Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark. The B-Mains were captured by Kenny Pettyjohn of Millsboro, Del., Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., and Davies, and Jared Landers of Batesville, Ark., topped the 5-lap Bulrush Dash for non-qualifiers.
The DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit continues on Wednesday night (Feb. 20) with the 40-lap UMP Late Model finale that offers a $10,000 top prize. The Super DIRTcar Series for Big-Block Modifieds will also be on hand for the division’s first of four straight race nights. Race time is 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
For more information on the DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH, log on to www.DIRTcarNationals.com.
DIRTcar UMP Late Model 30-Lap A-Main Finish (Finish Pos./Start Pos./Driver/Laps Completed):
1. (11) Josh Richards/30
2. (9) Eric Wells/30
3. (13) Stormy Scott/30
4. (7) Billy Moyer/30
5. (2) Scott Bloomquist/30
6. (10) Tim Fuller/30
7. (23) Brady Smith/30
8. (17) Bub McCool/30
9. (6) Mason Zeigler/30
10. (8) Bobby Pierce/30
11. (15) Earl Pearson Jr./30
12. (22) Stacy Boles/30
13. (20) Jimmy Mars/30
14. (14) Donnie Moran/29
15. (26) Brandon Sheppard/29
16. (16) Morgan Bagley/29
17. (18) Ricky Weiss/29
18. (24) Michael Norris/28
19. (21) Ron Davies/20
20. (5) Don O’Neal/19
21. (1) Darrell Lanigan/19
22. (12) Steve Francis/18
23. (19) Kenny Pettyjohn/18
24. (3) Billy Moyer Jr./9
25. (4) Tim McCreadie/6
26. (25) Eddie Carrier Jr./2
Heat No. 1 (8 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Don O’Neal, 2. Billy Moyer, 3. Stormy Scott, 4. Kenny Pettyjohn, 5. Dennis Erb Jr., 6. Vic Coffey, 7. Jason McBride, 8. Chuck Julien
Heat No. 2 (8 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Mason Zeigler, 2. Bobby Pierce, 3. Donnie Moran, 4. Stacy Boles, 5. Billy Ogle Jr., 6. Kent Robinson, 7. Dan Stone, 8. Clint Smith
Heat No. 3 (8 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Scott Bloomquist, 2. Eric Wells, 3. Earl Pearson Jr., 4. Jimmy Mars, 5. Jared Landers, 6. Chad Hollenbeck, 7. Eddie Carrier Jr., 8. Jerry Lierly
Heat No. 4 (8 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Darrell Lanigan, 2. Tim Fuller, 3. Morgan Bagley, 4. Brady Smith, 5. Chub Frank, 6. Brandon Sheppard, 7. Joey Coulter, 8. Todd Frank
Heat No. 5 (8 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Tim McCreadie, 2. Josh Richards, 3. Bub McCool, 4. Eric Jacobsen, 5. Casey Roberts, 6. Mike Benedum, 7. Gregg Satterlee, 8. Justin Rattliff
Heat No. 6 (8 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Billy Moyer Jr., 2. Steve Francis, 3. Ricky Weiss, 4. Ron Davies, 5. Mike Norris, 6. Michael Walker, 7. Mike Hammerle
B-Main No. 1 (10 laps – Top 2 Transfer): 1. Kenny Pettyjohn, 2. Stacy Boles, 3. Billy Ogle Jr., 4. Dennis Erb Jr., 5. Vic Coffey, 6. Dan Stone, 7. Kent Robinson, 8. Clint Smith, 9. Jason McBride, 10. Chuck Julien
B-Main No. 2 (10 laps – Top 2 Transfer): 1. Jimmy Mars, 2. Brady Smith, 3. Chub Frank, 4. Brandon Sheppard, 5. Joey Coulter, 6. Jared Landers, 7. Chad Hollenbeck, 8. Todd Frank (DNS) Eddie Carrier Jr., Jerry Lierly
B-Main No. 3 (10 laps – Top 2 Transfer): 1. Ron Davies, 2. Michael Norris, 3. Casey Roberts, 4. Eric Jacobsen, 5. Gregg Satterlee, 6. Mike Benedum, 7. Justin Rattliff, 8. Michael Walker, 9. Mike Hammerle