PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (Oct. 21) — In a dominant Sunday afternoon performance, Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., became just the second driver to ever score back-to-back victories in Portsmouth Raceway Park’s Rhino Ag Dirt Track World Championship.
Sliding ahead of polesitter Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., in turns three and four to assume the point on lap 22 of 100, Richards led the remaining distance to earn his second consecutive $100,000 payday in the 38th annual event crown jewel event sanctioned by the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.
“We had a really good car,” Richards said after the race. “I felt like we had a pretty good car through the heats. We changed a few things and I wasn’t really happy with it. We made some changes today. You try to go with your gut and do what you think you need to do. The tire game is a little bit of a deal because there’s zero laps on the track. We had the same combination as most of the guys out there. Luckily, we had a good enough car.
“I knew I wanted to try to get by (Brian) Shirley. He was really good. I was like, ‘Man, if we get a shot here, I want to try to get out front.’ Then you’ve got clean air and you can set the pace and do what you need to do. Luckily, the car was good enough that I could do that. It turned out to be a really good day.”
Starting fifth, Richards overtook outside polesitter Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., for second on lap seven, quickly reeling in Shirley as the frontrunners worked their way through lapped traffic. Charging around the high side, Richards challenged Shirley for several laps before finally shooting ahead on the 22nd circuit. Setting a torrid pace out front, Richards stretched his lead late-race, earning the St. Marys, Ohio-based Best Performance Motorsports team its third straight DTWC victory.
“There for a while you could kind of run the top and it was fast,” Richards said. “When I got by Shirley, man I was zipping the tires so hard. I didn’t want to do that too many laps in a row. Jonathan (Davenport), I knew on those restarts he could get a good run. That was my biggest concern were the restarts. That one he got up underneath of me into turn one and I throttled back up to try to stay in front of him and stay out front.
“You’re thinking all these things. You don’t want to catch lapped cars too quick once it landed up because you don’t want to get stuck in their crumbs and slow up and have someone roll right around you. Luckily, it all worked out.”
After briefly falling back to third, Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., finished runner-up, with Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., advancing from the 11th starting spot to run third. Charging from the 14th starting position and running as high as second, two-time DTWC winner Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., finished fourth, with Zack Dohm of Cross Lanes, W.Va., slipping past Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., late-race to round out the top five.
While Davenport was able to challenge Richards on restarts, he was unable to make a pass for the lead stick. But regardless of the race’s outcome, the driver of the Lance Landers-owned No. 49 still closed the DTWC weekend as the 2018 Lucas Oil Series champion.
“Everybody knows I really don’t run too good here,” Davenport said. “We had a shot to win there at the end. I saved my tires as long as I could. I was a little softer on the left-rear than Josh (Richards), so I thought I’d be a little better on restarts. I got one big run on him. I kept trying to change how I started just by a little bit.
"I finally got a run on him but I didn’t quite get him cleared getting in (turn) one. I guess you could say I let him live. Me and (Richards) have a lot of respect for each other and I think we’re going to be racing side-by-side for a lot of years to come. So maybe he’ll pay me back that favor one day.”
After running fifth in the Oct. 13 World 100 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, Overton, the 2018 Hillbilly 100 winner, posted yet another solid finish in one of Dirt Late Model racing’s major events.
“If we can finish them, we kind of find our way to the front,” Overton said. “All in all, it was a good weekend. I’m sure most of us would have liked to have got it in (Saturday) night. I think we had a really good car for last night’s conditions. It wasn’t too bad today, just kind of took me a little too long to get toward the front. Then I kind of calmed down right there through the middle stages and a couple of them got back by me. So then I had to kind of hustle it back again. But the car was really good. I guess it’s the best you can ask for daytime racing.”
Notes: Richards scored his 25th career Lucas Oil Series victory, the third of his 2018 campaign. … Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., was previously the only driver to boast back-to-back DTWC victories, winning the event in 2014 and again in 2015. … Richards ended his season-long winless streak during the Oct. 13 World 100 preliminaries at Eldora Speedway, capturing his first victory since February’s Georgia-Florida Speedweeks. … With former team driver Brandon Sheppard scoring his second career DTWC victory behind the wheel of a Best Performance Motorsports entry back in 2016, the team earned its third win in the crown jewel event. … Runner-up finisher Jonathan Davenport was officially crowned the 2018 Lucas Oil Series champion on Saturday afternoon. … Mason Zeigler of Chalk Hill, Pa., is the 2018 Lucas Oil Series Rookie of the Year. ... Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan., was the winner of Saturday's Jim Dunn Memorial non-qualifiers' race, electing to forfeit the $3,000 prize and start on the tail of Sunday’s 100-lapper. He finished 10th. ... K.C. Burdette of Parkersburg, W.Va., was the winner of Saturday's $4,000-to-win modified feature.
38th annual Rhino Ag Dirt Track World Championship
1. Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., Rocket, $100,000
2. Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., Longhorn, $20,000
3. Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., Rocket, $10,000
4. Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., Rocket, $7,000
5. Zack Dohm (17), Cross Lanes, W.Va., Swartz, $5,000
6. Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., Longhorn, $3,500
7. Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., Club 29, $3,200
8. Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., Black Diamond, $3,000
9. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., Rocket, $2,800
10. Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., Rocket, $2,500
11. Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., Sweet-Bloomquist, $2,450
12. Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., Rocket, $2,400
13. Chris Ferguson (22), Mount Holly, N.C., Sweet-Bloomquist, $2,350
14. Jared Hawkins (11), Fairmont, W.Va., Rocket, $2,300
15. Ricky Thornton Jr. (20RT), Chandler, Ariz., Club 29, $2,250
16. Eddie Carrier Jr. (10), Salt Rock, W.Va., Longhorn, $2,200
17. R.J. Conley (71c), Wheelersburg, Ohio, Rocket, $2,150
18. Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., Rocket, $2,100
19. Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., Sweet-Bloomquist, $2,075
20. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., Longhorn, $2,060
21. Boom Briggs (99B), Bear Lake, Pa., Club 29, $2,050
22. Brandon Fouts (81), Kite, Ky., Swartz, $2,040
23. Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., Rocket, $2,030
24. Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa., Rocket, $2,020
25. Brian Shirley (3s), Chatham, Ill., Rocket, $2,010
26. Shannon Thornsberry (17), Martin, Ky., Swartz, $2,000
27. Jason Covert (72), York Haven, Pa., Rocket, $2,000
28. Darrell Lanigan (14), Union, Ky., Club 29, $2,000
Lap leaders: Shirley 1-21; Richards 22-100
Heat race winners (among 49 cars): O’Neal, Thornton, Shirley, McDowell, Marlar, Sheppard, Bloomquist, Overton, Fouts, Thornsberry
Consolation winners: Pierce, McDowell
Provisional starters: Pearson, Owens, Lanigan, Fouts, R.J. Conley
Non-qualifiers’ race winner: Junghans
Main event notes
Lap 100: Stretching his lead late-race, Richards captures his second straight DTWC victory.
Lap: 73: Charging from the 21st starting spot, Zack Dohm overtakes Marlar for fifth on the restart.
Lap 71: Challenging Marlar for the fifth-place spot, Ferguson spins in turns three and four for a caution. Richards continues to lead Davenport, Overton, Sheppard and Marlar.
Lap 68: Hawkins spins in the bottom of turns three and four to draw a caution.
Lap 66: A yellow flag waves when third-running McCreadie slows in the top of turn four. Richards leads Davenport, Overton, Marlar and Sheppard. After starting 22nd, Chris Ferguson is up to seventh.
Lap 60: Pierce slows in the top of turn two to draw a caution.
Lap 50: At the halfway mark, Richards holds a comfortable lead over Davenport, Sheppard, McCreadie and Marlar.
Lap 44: A caution falls on the ensuing restart for a turn-four pileup involving Boom Briggs, Brandon Fouts, R.J. Conley, Jared Hawkins and McDowell.
Lap 44: A yellow flag waves when Kyle Bronson slows on the frontstretch.
Lap 40: Gregg Satterlee slows on the backstretch to draw a caution. Richards leads Davenport, Sheppard, Marlar and Tim McCreadie. Charging from the 24th starting spot, Jimmy Owens runs in seventh.
Lap 37: As the field is set to take the green flag, third-running Shirley heads to the hot pit.
Lap 37: A yellow flag waves when Bloomquist slows in the top of turns three and four. Richards leads Sheppard (from 14th), Shirley, Davenport and Marlar. After starting 11th, Brandon Overton runs sixth. Dale McDowell and Shannon Thornsberry pit under the caution.
Lap 25: Charging around the high side, Sheppard takes second from Shirley, setting his sights on Richards.
Lap 22: Sliding ahead of Shirley in turns three and four, Richards takes the lead.
Lap 19: Covert, Bloomquist and Brandon Fouts tangle in turn four to draw a caution. Shirley leads Richards, Davenport, Marlar and Satterlee. Brandon Sheppard, who started 14th, is up to sixth.
Lap 17: The first yellow flag waves on lap 17 when Jason Covert slows on the backstretch. As the frontrunners worked through lapped traffic, Richards was closing the gap between himself and Shirley, who leads Richards, Davenport, Gregg Satterlee and Mike Marlar. Scott Bloomquist and Bobby Pierce pitted under the caution.
Lap seven: After starting fifth and racing side-by-side with Davenport, Josh Richards moves to second.
Lap one: Edging ahead of fellow front-row starter Jonathan Davenport in turns one and two, polesitter Brian Shirley leads the opening lap.
2:25 p.m.: Out-of-car driver introductions are complete and drivers are given the call to fire engines. Cars get set to roll out for pace laps.
2:07 p.m.: Feature cars roll on to the frontstretch and driver introductions will get under way shortly.
Dirt Track World Championship lineup
Row 1: Brian Shirley, Jonathan Davenport
Row 2: Ricky Thornton Jr., Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 3: Josh Richards, Gregg Satterlee
Row 4: Mike Marlar, Eddie Carrier Jr.
Row 5: Jared Hawkins, Don O’Neal
Row 6: Brandon Overton, Jason Covert
Row 7: Boom Briggs, Brandon Sheppard
Row 8: Tim McCreadie, Shannon Thornsberry
Row 9: Bobby Pierce, Dale McDowell
Row 10: Kyle Bronson, Scott Bloomquist
Row 11: Zack Dohm, Chris Ferguson
Row 12: Earl Pearson Jr., Jimmy Owens
Row 13: Darrell Lanigan, Brandon Fouts
Row 14: R.J. Conley, Chase Junghans
Postponed until Sunday
The cold rain and strong winds that struck Portsmouth Raceway Park as the Dirt Track World Championship feature field was moments away from rolling onto the racetrack led officials to postpone the 100-lap headliner to Sunday afternoon.
Gates will open at 12 noon and hot laps for the feature field are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. The A-main — the only event remaining on the schedule — will follow.
With the DTWC feature field lined up in the pit area waiting to roll onto the track at about 8:20 p.m., winds suddenly picked up and a cold rain began to fall, forcing teams to scramble back to their trailers and fans to scurry out of the stands.
As the 9 o'clock hour approached, the program was under a rain delay and officials were monitoring the weather.
Jim Dunn Memorial non-qualifiers’ race
Finish: Chase Junghans, Rod Conley, Mike Benedum, Colton Flinner, Chub Frank, Colten Burdette, Devin Moran, Jason Jameson, Lee Logan, Dave Hess Jr., Jackie Boggs, Jose Parga, Charlie Jude. Scratched: Ben Adkins, Robbie Scott, Stephen Breeding, Doug Drown, Austyn Mills, Delmas Conley, Josh Bocook, Billy Gullion, Ronnie Whitt.
Jim Dunn Memorial non-qualifiers’ lineup
(30 laps; $3,000-to-win)
Row 1: Chase Junghans, Devin Moran
Row 2: Rod Conley, Colton Flinner
Row 3: Chub Frank, Mike Benedum
Row 4: Jackie Boggs, Jose Parga
Row 5: Dave Hess Jr., Ben Adkins
Row 6: Colten Burdette, Lee Logan
Row 7: Jason Jameson, Robbie Scott
Row 8: Stephen Breeding, Doug Drown
Row 9: Charlie Jude, Austyn Mills
Row 10: Delmas Conley, Josh Bocook
Row 11: Billy Gullion, Ronnie Whitt
Polesitter Dale McDowell edged ahead of Scott Bloomquist to take an early lead, as Brandon Fouts and Chris Ferguson battled for third. The top two cars began distancing themselves from the field in the early running, as Earl Pearson Jr. joined the battle for the final transfer spot. After falling back to fifth, Ferguson began charging back around the high side, overtaking Fouts for third on the 10th lap. A yellow flag waved on lap 13 when Charlie Jude spun on the backstretch, narrowly missing frontrunners McDowell and Bloomquist. McDowell led the final two laps to win the consolation, with Bloomquist and Ferguson rounding out the podium.
Finish (top three transfer): Dale McDowell, Scott Bloomquist, Chris Ferguson, Brandon Fouts, R.J. Conley, Rod Conley, Colten Flinner, Mike Benedum, Jose Parga, Ben Adkins, Earl Pearson Jr., Jason Jameson, Stephen Breeding, Charlie Jude, Austyn Mills. Scratched: Delmas Conley.
A yellow flag waved on the opening lap when Robbie Scott spun in turn two, collecting Doug Drown and bringing the race to a complete restart. Polesitter Bobby Pierce charged to the front of the field as the race went green, with Zack Dohm shooting ahead of Scott to take second. As Pierce began stretching his lead, a yellow flag waved on lap five when Scott slowed in the top of turns three and four, retiring early. Using the restart to his advantage, Kyle Bronson overtook Dohm for second, with Chase Junghans challenging the West Virginia driver for the third and final transfer spot. With Pierce holding a comfortable lead, the top two cars distanced themselves from the field in the final laps. Pierce won the consolation, with Bronson and Dohm running second and third to transfer to the feature.
Finish (top three transfer): Bobby Pierce, Kyle Bronson, Zack Dohm, Chase Junghans, Devin Moran, Jimmy Owens, Darrell Lanigan, Chub Frank, Jackie Boggs, Dave Hess Jr., Colten Burdette, Lee Logan, Robbie Scott, Doug Drown. Scratched: Billy Gullion, Josh Bocook, Ronnie Whitt.
The 38th annual Rhino Ag Dirt Track World Championship weekend concludes on a cool, breezy fall evening. The Portsmouth Raceway Park pits and grounds were muddied by several hours of steady overnight rain, but peaks of sunshine began peaking through clouds by early afternoon. … Officials did move the start of Saturday’s hot laps up to 5 p.m. because temperatures are expected to turn colder as the night progresses. … Just two drivers who competed on Friday night will not run a Saturday B-main: veteran Delmas Conley of Wheelersburg, Ohio, who has his car loaded up in his trailer in the pit area and will spend the night watching his sons R.J. and Rod in action, and Billy Gullion of Waverly, Ohio. … Jackie Boggs of Grayson, Ky., has his Swartz Race Car repaired after a broken rearend during the pace laps of his Round 1 heat on Friday sidelined him for the remainder of the night. He faces an uphill battle to make the 100-lapper, however, starting at the rear of a B-main. … DTWC polesitter Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., who is surprisingly starting the crown jewel event’s feature for the first time in his career, is cautiously optimistic about his chances for the $100,000 top prize. “You never know when it’s your day,” said Shirley, who has runner-up finishes in the Show-Me 100 and USA Nationals this season, “but we’re going to try our best.” … Joining Shirley as first-time DTWC feature starters after earning enough passing points in Friday’s heats to transfer are Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., Boom Briggs of Bear Lake, Pa., and Shannon Thornsberry of Martin, Ky. … Jason Covert of York Haven, Pa., was smiling this afternoon after locking into the 12th starting spot for the DTWC, giving him his second career start in the event’s A-main. He’s hoping to get through the race unscathed because his Cameron-Mann Motorsports team is planning to head south for a Rocket Chassis team test session on Monday at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in Concord, N.C., in advance of entering the track’s Nov. 1-3 World of Outlaws World Finals.
(number of starters equals number of laps; top three transfer)
Row 1: Bobby Pierce, Robbie Scott
Row 2: Zack Dohm, Darrell Lanigan
Row 3: Kyle Bronson, Chub Frank
Row 4: Chase Junghans, Doug Drown
Row 5: Devin Moran, Jimmy Owens
Row 6: Billy Gullion, Dave Hess Jr.
Row 7: Colten Burdette, Josh Bocook
Row 8: Ronnie Whitt, Lee Logan
Row 9: Jackie Boggs
Row 1: Scott Bloomquist, Dale McDowell
Row 2: Brandon Fouts, Chris Ferguson
Row 3: Earl Pearson Jr., Jason Jameson
Row 4: Rod Conley, Stephen Breeding
Row 5: R.J. Conley, Ben Adkins
Row 6: Charlie Jude, Colton Flinner
Row 7: Mike Benedum, Jose Parga
Row 8: Austyn Mills, Delmas Conley
Lucas Oil Series action continues on Saturday at Portsmouth (Ohio) Raceway Park with the conclusion of the 38th annual Rhino Ag Dirt Track World Championship. The evening’s race lineups have already been determined by the double round of heat races contested on Friday night.
The top 16 drivers in Friday’s combined passing points totals are already locked in to Saturday’s 100-lap feature. Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., and Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., will make up the front row of the $100,000-to-win main event.
Saturday’s program will include two consolation races, with the top three finishers from each race transferring to the 100-lapper. Series and track provisionals will makeup the final rows of the feature lineup. The show will also include the 30-lap Jim Dunn Memorial non-qualifiers’ race and the $4,000-to-win modified feature.