Richards leads 30 laps, wins Firecracker prelim
By Kevin KovacWorld of Outlaws Late Model Series
SARVER, Pa. (June 24) — Josh Richards tip-toed his way to victory in Thursday night’s 30-lap World of Outlaws Late Model Series event at Lernerville Speedway. Kicking off the fourth annual Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com weekend with a flourish, the national tour’s defending champion led from start-to-finish for his series-leading fifth triumph of the 2010 season. | Slideshow
Richards, 22, of Shinnston, W.Va., raced from outside the front row to outgun fellow former WoO titlist Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., at the initial green flag. He went on to turn back a late challenge from Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., in a caution-free event that was completed in under 10 minutes.
“That’s definitely the slickest track I’ve ever won on,” said Richards, who earned $6,000 for his 25th career WoO victory. “It was definitely the slowest I’ve ever gone to win, but (the track is) really fun when it’s like that. I really had no idea where to go or where to be, but it worked out.”
The triumph guaranteed Richards a pole position starting slot in one of the qualifying heat races for the Firecracker 100 on Saturday, regardless of his finish in Friday’s second 30-lap preliminary feature. He will bid for his first-ever 100-lap Dirt Late Model victory in Saturday’s $30,000-to-win blockbuster.
Clanton, 34, settled for second place in his RSD Enterprises Rocket car, 0.428 of a second behind Richards’s Seubert Calf Ranches Rocket at the checkered flag. The WoO regular started fourth but didn’t reach the runner-up spot until slipping underneath Moyer on lap 24.
Inaugural Firecracker 100 winner Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., who started seventh, came on strong during the race’s final circuits to place third in his self-designed machine. Moyer faded to fourth at the finish in his Victory Circle Chassis and third-starter Steve Shaver of Vienna, W.Va., placed fifth in the K&L Rumley Rocket.
Richards, who opened last year’s Firecracker 100 weekend by winning a postponed 50-lap WoO event, felt the late-race pressure that Clanton applied. But the young sensation didn’t falter, allowing him to extend his tour points lead to 30 markers over Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky. (finished eighth) and 34 over Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y. (seventh).
“I saw Clanton down off the bottom of (turn) four,” said Richards, who made his first career WoO start at Lernerville in 2004. “I’d push all the way to the cushion and look left, and he’d be there. I just kinda had the momentum off the top (to stay ahead).”
Thursday night’s preliminary action left Richards with a good feeling about his chances in the Firecracker 100, which he believes has the makings of a thrilling extra-distance affair.
“I think the UMP (Hoosier LM) tire rule is gonna make it a really good race,” Richards said. “The tires aren’t really the right tires for the track, which made everybody just kind of slip and skate around (tonight). This was a preview of what you’re gonna see the rest of the weekend.”
Clanton, who has been a contender for victory in two of the three previous Firecracker 100s, stamped himself as a driver to watch once again with his Thursday-night performance. He just wished that he hadn’t missed the white flag being thrown.
“I thought I saw the white flag, but I guess they were just still waving it to everybody else when we came by (for the checkered flag),” said Clanton. “When I realized the checkered was out I was like, ‘Oh, no.’ I thought I had more time, but I guess I didn’t.
“I had a pretty good car,” he added. “Our cars were about equal, but I must have been pretty good if I was a little bit harder on tire (than Richards).”
Bloomquist, meanwhile, was on the charge at the finish in his first WoO start of 2010. He broke into fourth place on lap 17 by splitting Shaver and Mars off turn two, then ran down Moyer to grab third on lap 25.
“I needed 10 more laps, maybe five,” said Bloomquist, who raced with a red, swollen left eye after apparently getting something in it earlier in the day. “My car was good. I could run anywhere — and I was running those guys (the leaders) down at the end.”
Mars, the defending Firecracker 100 champ, started and finished sixth. The 10th-starting McCreadie placed seventh after falling as far back as 15th and Lanigan advanced from the 16th starting spot to secure an eighth-place finish. Doug Drown of Wooster, Ohio, was ninth to earn a $500 bonus for being the highest-finishing driver who hasn’t won on the tour and isn’t ranked among the top 12 in points.
The Firecracker 100 weekend continues Friday with another WoO program topped by a 30-lapper paying $6,000 to the winner. Drivers will use their best finish from the Thursday and Friday competition to align themselves in Saturday night’s Firecracker 100 heat races.
World of Outlaws @ Lernerville: (1) Josh Richards, (2) Shane Clanton, (3) Scott Bloomquist, (4) Billy Moyer, (5) Steve Shaver, (6) Jimmy Mars, (7) Tim McCreadie, (8) Darrell Lanigan, (9) Doug Drown, (10) Clint Smith, (11) Steve Francis, (12) Chub Frank, (13) Boom Briggs, (14) Rick Eckert, (15) Will Vaught, (16) Tim Fuller, (17) Vic Coffey, (18) Brady Smith, (19) Austin Hubbard, (20) Jamie Lathroum, (21) John Mollick, (22) Gregg Satterlee, (23) Matt Miller, (24) Davey Johnson, (25) Russ King, (26) Alex Ferree. Fast qualifier (among 57 cars): Clanton, 15.849 seconds. Heat race winners: Clanton, Richards, Mars, Briggs, Moyer, Shaver. Consolation winners: Fuller, Frank, Miller. Provisional starters: Hubbard, King.
Ohlins Shocks time trialsPos. Driver (car no.), hometown, time
1. Shane Clanton (25), Locust Grove, Ga., 15.849
2. Dan Stone (21d), Thompson, Pa., 15.980
3. Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., 16.065
4. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 16.136
5. Mike Johnson (2j), Imperial, Pa., 16.163
6. John Mollick (4j), Toronto, Ohio, 16.184
7. Doug Horton (46), Bruceton Mills, W.Va., 16.190
8. Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., 16.195
9. Rick Eckert (24), York, Pa., 16.264
10. Boom Briggs (99b), Bear Lake, Pa., 16.276
11. Austin Hubbard (19), Seaford, Del., 16.293
12. Chuck Sarver (88), West Sunbury, Pa., 16.315
13. Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 16.338
14. Vic Coffey (32c), Caledonia, N.Y., 16.346
15. Tyler Reddick (11), Corning, Calif., 16.363
16. Darrell Lanigan (29), Union, KY 16.377
17. Will Vaught (1), Crane, Mo., 16.405
18. Steve Shaver (6), Vienna, W.Va., 16.411
19. Davey Johnson (1j), Latrobe, Pa., 16.452
20. Tim Fuller (19), Watertown, N.Y., 16.458
21. Clint Smith (44), Senoia, Ga., 16.460
22. Chub Frank (1*), Bear Lake, Pa., 16.461
23. Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 16.483
24. Jared Miley (H1), South Park, Pa., 16.510
25. Steve Francis (15), Ashland, KY 16.624
26. Mason Ziegler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., 16.690
27. Brady Smith (2), Solon Springs, Wis., 16.718
28. Russ King (56), Bristolville, Ohio, 16.723
29. Gregg Satterlee (22), Rochester Mills, Pa., 16.723
30. Alex Ferree (4), Saxonburg, Pa., 16.783
31. John Garvin (J4), Sarver, Pa., 16.857
32. Doug Drown (12), Wooster, Ohio, 16.871
33. Brian Birkhofer (15B), Muscatine, Iowa, 16.877
34. Corey Conley (14), Wellsburg, W.Va., 16.946
35. Matt Miller (7), Waterville, Ohio, 16.872
36. Jamie Lathroum (6), Mechanicsville, Md., 16.999
37. Mark Byram (45), Georgetown, Del., 17.054
38. John Mason (72), Millersburg, Ohio, 17.062
39. Dave Hess Jr. (44), Waterford, Pa., 17.092
40. Robbie Blair (11), Titusville, Pa., 17.101
41. Bub McCool (57j), Vicksburg, Miss., 17.120
42. Tony Burke (23), Sarver, Pa., 17.123
43. Brent Robinson (3), Smithfield, Va., 17.201
44. Lynn Geisler (1c), Cranberry Township, Pa., 17.202
45. Mike Knight (9k), Ripley, N.Y., 17.215
46. Todd Bachman (66), Natrona Heights, Pa., 17.272
47. Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 17.281
48. Matt Lux (21), Franklin, Pa., 17.392
49. Dave Murdick (1jx), Slippery Rock, Pa., 17.394
50. Greg Oakes (22), Franklinville, N.Y., 17.486
51. April Farmer (14), Livingston, Tenn., 17.890
52. Peter Mantha Jr. (1cfr), Gatineau, Quebec 17.891
53. Nick Reges (38), Butler, Pa., 17.986
54. Michael Norris (72), Sarver, Pa., 18.108
55. Chris Casner (c33), Mifflintown, Pa., 18.184
56. Jason Fosnaught (J19), Creighton, Pa., no time
Disqualified (light at scales): Ken Schaltenbrand (29s), Sarver, Pa., 16.852