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Richards Pulls Off Unprecedented $42,000-Plus Sweep of Firecracker 100 Weekend at Lernerville Speedway

Jul 01, 2013

SHINNSTON, W. Va. – July 1, 2013 – Josh Richards added another highlight to his ever-growing racing resume with a historic performance at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa.

The 25-year-old from Shinnston, W.Va., pulled off an unprecedented sweep of the World of Outlaws Late Model Series Firecracker 100 weekend, backing up his victories in the 30-lap preliminary A-Mains on Thursday night and Saturday afternoon with a powerful drive to the checkered flag in Saturday evening’s seventh annual 100-lap finale.

Richards not only became the first driver to sweep the Firecracker 100 extravaganza since it was expanded to three full racing programs in 2010 but also the first to capture both preliminary events – a triple worth $42,950. His commanding performance over one of the most talented fields dirt Late Model racing will see all season continued his already spectacular return to fulltime action in the full-fender division this season.

“It means a lot to me to win a race of this much prestige – as well as (the fact that) this is the place I ran my first Outlaw race (in 2004),” Richards said in a WoO LMS press release detailing Saturday night’s Firecracker 100 finale. “This track means a lot to me and to get a crown-jewel (event win) here is huge. There are a lot of great cars here and just to be able to win one of the (weekend) races means a lot – and to win all three is unreal.”

After earning a pole position starting spot in a Firecracker 100 heat race on Saturday night thanks to his preliminary A-Main triumphs, Richards raced to victory in the 10-lap sprint to earn an opportunity to redraw for a top-six start in the century grind. He took full advantage of the prime position for his Valvoline-sponsored Mark Richards Racing Enterprises Rocket Chassis No. 1, chasing early leader and defending Firecracker 100 winner Scott Bloomquist before surging into the top spot for good on lap 16.

In a tough race (11 caution flags, two red flags) that was run on a four-tenths-mile oval made tacky and fast by rain that delayed the start of the Saturday-night program for two hours, Richards never faltered once in command. He survived challenges from Bloomquist, Shane Clanton, John Blankenship, Rick Eckert and Tim McCreadie en route to registering a $30,650 victory that ranks as the second-richest of his racing career.

“I just had to try to stay focused and race smart,” said Richards, who beat McCreadie to the finish line by 0.976 of a second after Eckert’s bid ended when he stopped to bring out a caution flag on lap 96 due to a broken rear-end. “We just had to try to harness it all and be fast but not get out of control. You have to just stay smooth, and when guys pressure you-you still gotta stay focused and do your thing.”

Richards wore a big smile after celebrating his Firecracker 100 victory in the early-morning hours of Sunday, but he deflected praise for his third career 100-lap win to his supporters.

“I’m happier for all the guys who are a part of this team,” Richards said of his hard-working road crew comprised of Mark Richards, Matt Barnes and Cody Duncan, all the staff back at the Rocket Chassis shop and his financial backers. “For me personally it means a lot to win any race, but more importantly to do it for them – all my sponsors and my fans – to finally pull it off for them is real satisfying. They put a lot of effort into me and give me a lot of support, so I’m thrilled to have a weekend like this for them.”

After rain pushed Friday night’s second Firecracker 100 preliminary program to Saturday afternoon – setting up a huge doubleheader at Lernerville – Richards picked up where he left off. He won his heat race, picked the pole position for the feature and then ran away to another victory on the sun-baked afternoon surface.

“The pill draw was huge,” Richards said of his afternoon triumph, “but we still had to earn our spot up front. We went out second-to-last in qualifying (Group ‘B’), but I knew we had a really good car so I just tried to make a smooth lap and we ended up qualifying fifth. Then I was able to get by (Ron) Davies there in the heat (for the win); I had to make the move early because I knew once everybody got in line it would be hard to pass and we were able to get that done.”

With his Lernerville hat trick, Richards became the first driver in WoO LMS history to win three A-Mains in as many days at a single track. He also pushed his 2013 World of Outlaws win total to six – tied with Darrell Lanigan for the most on the tour this season – and extended his WoO LMS points lead from eight to 44 points over Clanton.

Richards will have a few days to regroup before heading out on his most far-flung trip of the season: the WoO LMS Wild West Tour. The six-race swing begins on July 5 at Amsoil Speedway in Superior, Wis., and continues at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn., on July 6; Black Hills Speedway in Rapid City, S.D., in July 8; Gillette (Wyo.) Thunder Speedway in July 9; Red River Co-op Speedway in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in July 11; and River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D., on July 12.

For more information on Josh Richards, visit www.joshrichards.com and follow him on Twitter at @Josh_Richards1 and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/JoshRichardsRacing.

Josh Richards’ No. 1 team carries support from Valvoline, Seubert Calf Ranches, Ernie D’s, Ace Welding, Petroff Towing, Sallack Well Service, Tony Stewart Racing, Rocket Chassis, Roush Yates Engines, Hoosier Racing Tires, Sunoco Racing Fuels, Keyser Manufacturing, Integra Shocks, Sweet Manufacturing, Slavic Custom Tee Shirts And Graphics, Brown and Miller, Brazwell Carburetors, Bazell Racing Fuels, ButlerBuilt Seat, Beyea Headers, Performance Rod and Custom, Wilwood Disc Brakes, Frankland Rear Ends, Simpson Safety Equipment, J E Pistons, Strange Oval, Wrisco Aluminum, R2C Filters, Aurora Rod Ends, Snap On Tools, Scott Wires, Trick Carbon Fiber Drive Shafts, Five Star Bodies, Jones Racing Products, Howe Racing, Performance Bodies, Turbo Start Batteries, Brinn Transmissions, Eagle One, Car

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