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Richards Extends World of Outlaws Late Model Series Points Lead During Five-Race Swing Through Midwest

Aug 08, 2013

SHINNSTON, WV – Aug. 7, 2013 – Josh Richards wasn’t satisfied after falling short of a victory during the five-race World of Outlaws Late Model Series swing through the Midwest that hurtled the national tour into August, but he continued one distinct trend: he remains the driver to beat for the 2013 championship.

Even after ending the 11-day trip through Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa with a rare DNF on Aug. 5 at Independence (Iowa) Motor Speedway, Richards headed home to Shinnston, W.Va., with his points lead larger than it was when he pulled out of the shop. After beginning the swing with a 38-point edge over Shane Clanton in the standings, he ended it leading Clanton by 48 points and defending champ Darrell Lanigan by 64 markers.

“We didn’t end the trip the way we would’ve liked but I’m still happy with it,” said the 25-year-old Richards, whose 17th-place finish in the 50-lapper at Independence marked the first WoO LMS A-Main this season that he failed to finish (he advanced from 13thto sixth in 18 laps before spinning on lap 22 while battling for position and later dropping out due to a broken oil-pump belt). “We didn’t get a win, but we definitely had some strong runs and good points nights to keep our goal of the championship in sight.”

The highlight of the busy stretch of action for Richards and his Valvoline-sponsored Mark Richards Racing Enterprises team came during the 26thannual USA Nationals at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wis. Racing at the three-eighths-mile track for the first time since he won the $50,000 USA Nationals 100 top prize in 2011, Richards registered a strong second-place finish in the weekend’s 40-lap WoO LMS preliminary A-Main on Aug. 1 and finished fourth in the 100-lap finale on Aug. 3.

Following his runner-up outing behind Brandon Sheppard in Cedar Lake’s preliminary feature – a race that saw Richards break into second place with just three laps remaining and run out of time to mount a bid for the lead – the two-time WoO LMS titlist won a USA Nationals 100 qualifying heat race and finished second in the six-lap heat-winners’ dash on Aug. 2. He started from the outside pole in the 100-lapper, which offered only WoO LMS show-up points because it deviated from the tour’s normal format, but missed the optimum setup on his Rocket car just slightly and ran most of the distance at the back end of the top five, ultimately settling for fourth close behind runner-up Don O’Neal and third-place Lanigan.

“I was frustrated at Cedar Lake because I felt like with a few little things done differently we could have had a shot to win the race,” said Richards. “We still ran fourth – and realistically, we were right there for second – but I put so much pressure on myself to run well there that I was disappointed with that. We just needed to change our (car) balance just a little bit and I think we could have been in contention to for the win.”

Prior to the weekend at Cedar Lake, Richards kicked off his mid-summer tour of the Midwest on July 27 with a sixth-place finish in the 24thannual Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury (Ill.) American Legion Speedway. Making his first-ever start at the quarter-mile oval, Richards missed a transfer spot by one in his Friday-night heat race but rallied on Saturday evening. He won the B-Main – just the second time this season that he had to run a Last Chance Race on the WoO LMS – and marched forward from the 20thstarting spot to cross the finish line sixth.

Richards also scored a third-place finish in the 50-lap WoO LMS A-Main on July 30 at Shawano (Wis.) Speedway. It was a noteworthy performance for the young star, who moved steadily through the field from the 14thstarting spot to grab a podium finish.

Shawano’s WoO LMS feature was captured by Pennsylvania’s Gregg Satterlee, a Rocket Chassis loyalist who finally earned his first-ever victory on the circuit. Satterlee’s triumph and the Cedar Lake score by the 20-year-old Sheppard just two days later were well-received by Richards, who works closely with both drivers.

“Big congrats to Gregg and Gary Satterlee and (crew chief) Robby Allen,” said Richards. “Those guys have had some rough luck this year and I’m glad to see them get an Outlaw win. It means a lot to me to see them run well.”

And Richards had words of praise for Sheppard as well after the Cedar Lake preliminary A-Main: “Brandon did a great job. If we couldn’t win, he’s the next person I’d like to see win. It’s good to see the young guys win. It’s good for the sport.”

Fourteen races remain on the 2013 WoO LMS schedule as Richards pursues his third career championship. He will return to action on the tour when he enters a Wolverine State doubleheader on Aug. 16 at Winston Speedway in Montague, Mich., and Aug. 17 at Merritt Speedway in Lake City, Mich.

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 Brite, ATL Fuel Cells, Dohm’s Cycles, Weld Wheels, Barnes Oil Systems, Tel-Tac, MSD Ignitions.

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