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Richards Captures Crown Jewel

Aug 09, 2011

Richards Captures First Ever Crown Jewel Event with Memorable Performance in USA Nationals at Cedar Lake Speedway

SHINNSTON, W. Va. - Aug. 8, 2011 - Josh Richards achieved one of his career goals on Saturday night at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wis., capturing the 24th annual USA Nationals presented by U.S. Steel to register his first-ever victory in a crown jewel dirt Late Model event.

The fact that Richards' long-awaited breakthrough triumph came at the three-eighths-mile Badger State oval just made his $50,000 World of Outlaws Late Model Series (WoO LMS) score even sweeter.

"It hasn't even sunk in yet," Richards said after celebrating in Victory Lane following the 100-lap event. "This place has always been special to me. In 2000 when Davey Johnson was driving for us (his father Mark's Rocket Chassis house car) I remember coming here and watching the USA Nationals. I was just in awe. I just fell in love with this track at a young age.

"To finally get a crown-jewel win - and here at Cedar Lake - it really means a lot."

The 23-year-old star from Shinnston, W.Va. - who watched Johnson drive his father's familiar No. 1 to the checkered flag in the 2000 USA Nationals - demonstrated a veteran's savvy on his way to presenting his dad a second win in the Upper Midwest's mid-summer classic. He calmly ran behind Iowa's Jason Rauen for more than half the distance before finally making his move, diving to the inside of Rauen to assume command for good on lap 78.

"I knew that (turns) one and two was getting treacherous, so I just figured there was enough brown off the bottom of two that if I could stick down there and (Rauen) made a mistake, then we could go," said Richards, who recorded his fifth WoO LMS win of 2011 and the 33rd of his career on the national tour. "I think when we moved down, he started to move down and he slipped up one time off two. I was able to get a run off of two (and grab the lead).

Richards, who started fourth in the USA Nationals after a Friday night qualifying effort that saw him register the 12th fastest time, win a 15-lap heat race and finish fourth in the 10-lap dash, wasn't challenged once he took over the point. He steered his No. 1 Mark Richards Racing Enterprises/Seubert Calf Ranches/Kentucky Fuel Corporation Rocket to a convincing victory, beating Brian Birkhofer to the finish line by over two seconds.

"I've always wanted to win this race," said Richards, who hoisted the event's distinctive wooden eagle trophy during the post-race ceremonies. "It means a lot to me. We got this one, but there's a few more on the (crown-jewel) list that I'd definitely like to win."

Richards, whose only previous 100-lap dirt Late Model win came in a WoO LMS event last year at Mohawk International Raceway in Akwesasne, N.Y., was victorious for the first time with a new Roush-Yates Ford engine under the hood of his father's car. He has won several times with a similar Roush Yates Ford powering the Ernie Davis-owned No. 25 that he campaigns in selected non-WoO LMS shows.

"We just wanted to try something to do what we can to win these (WoO LMS) points," Richards said of the Ford motor, which he debuted in his No. 1 in the WoO LMS 50-lapper on Aug. 3 at Shawano (Wis.) Speedway (he finished 11th after a flat left-rear tire forced him to relinquish third place on lap 33). "Jack (his longtime engine builder Jack Cornett) has been great to us and we're still going to run his engines, but we have this Roush-Yates Ford here now too and we're going to use it at various times throughout the season.

"It performed fantastic tonight and it's a great combination. I love racing with it, It was cool to get a win with the 'Ford Mustang.'"

Richards' victory did not pull him closer in the WoO LMS points standings, however, because the USA Nationals was not run under the tour's normal format and thus offered only show-up points to all entrants. He ended the race still second in the points standings, 60 markers behind Rick Eckert entering the rescheduled WoO LMS event on Monday night (Aug. 8) at Independence (Iowa) Motor Speedway.

Josh Richards' No. 1 team carries support from Rocket Chassis, Roush Yates Engines, Cornett Racing Engines, Seubert Calf Ranches, Kentucky Fuel Corporation, Ernie D's Enterprises, ACE Metal Works, Petroff Towing, Tony Stewart Racing, Sunoco Race Fuels, Hoosier Racing Tires, Integra Shocks, Slavic Custom Decals, Valvoline, AEM, AFCO, ATL Fuel Cells, Aurora Bearing Company, Autolite, Banshee Graphics, Barnes Systems, Beyea Performance, Brinn Transmissions, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Braswell Carburetion, Butlerbuilt Seat Systems, CV Products, Dohm Cycles, Dyer's Top Rods, Fram Filters, Frankland Rearends, Howe Racing, Kwik Change Product, LSI, Mason Racin', MSD Ignition, Outerwears, Performance Bodies, Performance Friction Brakes, Performance Rod & Custom, Ringers Gloves, Scott Performance Wire, Simpson Race Products, Sweet Manufacturing, Tel Tech, TWM Racing Products, Trick Carbon Fiber Driveshafts, Jones Racing Products, TurboStart Racing Batteries, US Brake, Weld Racing Wheels, Wehr's Machine, Wilwood and Wrisco Aluminum.

Honey Elizabeth Rentz
Rising Star Management Group
(704) 658-7650

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