WHEATLAND, Mo. (May 28) — It was a long, excellent Friday night for Josh Richards at Lucas Oil Speedway — especially the second half of the doubleheader of twin prelimenary features that set the stage for Saturday's 29th annual Show-Me 100 Presented by ProtectheHarvest.com.
Richards, of Shinnston, W.Va., followed a fifth-place run in the night's first feature by dominating the Tribute to Don and Billie Gibson program. Taking the lead from polesitter Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., on lap six of the 40-lapper, the sixth-starting Richards led the remaining distance virtually unchallenged to beat Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., and hard-charging Chris Ferguson of Mount Holly, N.C., to earn a $6,000 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victiory in a race that ended at 2 a.m.
"I can't thank everyone with Clint Bowyer racing and everyone on this car enough," said Richards, who start near the front of Saturday's $30,000-to-win Show-Me 100 finale based on event points from the weekend. "The car was really good. I can't thank everyone enough for staying up. We had a great night tonight and we're looking forward to tomorrow."
Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., took the first preliminary earlier on Friday night, leading all 45 laps of the Cowboy Classic. McCreadie finished seventh in the second half of the doubleheader.
After taking over the lead, not even four caution flags the rest of the way could help the field run Richards down. He held a commanding 4.1-second margin over Scott Bloomquist of Moorseburg, Tenn., when the race's first caution flew at the midpoint when Ryan Gustin of Marshalltown, Iowa, slowed on the front stretch.
It didn't take long after the lap 20 restart for Richards to re-establish dominance as he opened up by 2.4 seconds over Shirley, Bloomquist and Clanton in just two laps and kept building it as that trio slugged it out in a battle for second.
A turn-one tangle between Chase Junghans Manhattan, Kan., and Hudson O'Neal or Martinsville, Ind., who were battling for eighth, brought out a caution on lap 27. That again erased a comfortable margin that Richards had built, 3.7 seconds over Clanton with Shirley third and Bloomquist in fourth.
Once again, it was no problem for Richards, a 33-year-old who's seeking his first Show-Me 100 triumph. Navigating another caution with five laps to go, Richards went on to beat Clanton by 2.26 seconds.
"I was a little bit," Richards said of his level of concern after the late cautions. "It felt like the right rear tire kind of greased up a little bit. My biggest fear was hitting a hole and pushing down in (turns) one and two.
"I was a little conservative on my entry, but after we ran a couple of laps and I was able to widen out and get a little more speed once was got a little bit of gap."
Clainton said he thought he might have something for Richards on the final restart.
"But overall we had a good night and hopefully it puts us in a good spot tomorrow to win this thing," Clanton said.
Ferguson charged from 23rd at the start to finish third. Not only did his North Carolina-based team deal with mechanical issues on the transporter on the way to Missouri, it had to replace the rear-end in the race car following hot laps prior to Friday's second feature.
Last year's Diamond Nationals winner at Lucas Oil Speedway, Ferguson raced his way into the Gibson Tribute feature through a consolation race.
"We battled all night and had a good hot rod," Ferguson said. "We just needed a couple of more laps. We really like coming out here to this place. If we can put ourselves in a position to start up front, I think we can win that thing tomorrow."
Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., wound up fourth with Kyle Bronson of Brandon, Fla., fifth and Bloomquist sixth.
Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler Ariz., had the fastest qualifying lap with a time of 14.931 seconds in Group A. Bloomquist paced Group B at 15.371. Bloomquist went on to win his heat race to earn a front-row starting position for the feature.
Row 1: Brian Shirley, Scott Bloomquist
Row 2: Kyle Bronson, Ryan Gustin
Row 3: Shane Clanton, Josh Richards
Row 4: Chase Junghans, Tim McCreadie
Row 5: Shannon Babb, Brandon Sheppard
Row 6: Tony Jackson Jr., Jimmy Owens
Row 7: Ricky Thornton Jr., Chad Simpson
Row 8: Stormy Scott, Logan Martin
Row 9: Matt Cosner, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 10: Mike Marlar, Garrett Alberson
Row 11: Billy Moyer Jr., Rick Eckert
Row 12: Chris Ferguson, Hudson O’Neal
(10 laps; top 2 transfer)
First consolation finish: Mike Marlar, Rick Eckert, Mason Oberkramer, Tyler Erb, Austin Rettig, Kaeden Cornell, Scott Lewis, Jeremy Grady, Jay Fields (DNS) Justin Duty, Payton Looney, Ryan Johnson, Gordy Gundaker.
Second consolation finish: Garrett Alberson, Chris Ferguson, Jonathan Davenport, Jeremiah Hurst, Daniel Hilsabeck, Scott Crigler, Jake Timm, Kolby Vandenbergh, Justin Reed, Reid Millard, Larry Clawson, Jesse Stovall (DNS) Cole Wells, Cody Holtkamp.
Third consolation finish: Billy Moyer Jr., Hudson O’Neal, Bobby Pierce, Jason Papich, Frank Heckenast Jr., Bob Gardner, Chris Simpson, Chris Kratzer, Brennon Willard, Steve Stultz, David Webster, Aaron Marrant (DNS) Al Humphrey.
Heat race results
(8 laps; top 3 transfer)
First heat finish: Brian Shirley, Chase Junghans, Ricky Thornton Jr., Mike Marlar, Tyler Erb, Justin Duty, Payton Looney, Scott Lewis (DNS) Ryan Johnson.
Second heat finish: Kyle Bronson, Shannon Babb, Stormy Scott, Rick Eckert, Mason Oberkramer, Austin Rettig, Kaeden Cornell, Jeremy Grady (DNS) Jay Fields, Gordy Gundaker.
Third heat finish: Shane Clanton, Tony Jackson Jr., Matt Cosner, Garrett Alberson, Chris Ferguson, Jeremiah Hurst, Daniel Hilsabeck, Reid Millard, Larry Clawson (DNS) Cody Holtkamp.
Fourth heat finish: Scott Bloomquist, Tim McCreadie, Chad Simpson, Jonathan Davenport, Jake Timm, Scott Crigler, Kolby Vandenbergh, Justin Reed (DNS) Cole Wells, Jesse Stovall.
Fifth heat finish: Ryan Gustin, Brandon Sheppard, Logan Martin, Billy Moyer Jr., Hudson O’Neal, Frank Heckenast Jr., Chris Kratzer, Aaron Marrant, David Webster (DNS) Al Humphrey.
Sixth heat finish: Josh Richards, Jimmy Owens, Earl Pearson Jr., Bobby Pierce, Jason Papich, Chris Simpson, Bob Gardner, Steve Stultz, Brennon Willard.
Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt), Chandler, Ariz., 14.931
Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 14.934
Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 15.043
Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., 15.088
Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 15.096
Matt Cosner (66), Ridgeley, W.Va., 15.114
Payton Looney (15), Republic, Mo., 15.116
Mason Oberkramer (93), Brosley, Mo., 15.134
Garrett Alberson (59), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.136
Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas, 15.148
Stormy Scott (2), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.152
Tony Jackson Jr. (56), Lebanon, Mo., 15.202
Brian Shirley (3S), Chatham, Ill., 15.309
Rick Eckert (0E), York, Pa., 15.354
Jeremiah Hurst (41), Dubuque, Iowa, 15.477
Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 15.544
Austin Rettig (94), Sikeston, Mo., 15.607
Daniel Hilsabeck (22H), Adel, Iowa, 15.621
Justin Duty (15), Mulino, Ore., 15.694
Jeremy Grady (43), Story City, Iowa, 15.739
Reid Millard (14R), Jefferson City, Mo., 15.784
Ryan Johnson (7J), Aurora, Mo., 15.810
Kaeden Cornell (50x), Willard, Mo., 15.939
Larry Clawson (L88), Kansas City, Mo., 16.034
Scott Lewis (99), Henderson, Colo., 16.086
Jay Fields (7J), Colorado Springs, Col., 16.932
Cody Holtkamp (23), Holts Summit, Mo., 17.429
Chris Ferguson (22), Mount Holly, N.C., no time
Gordy Gundaker (11), St. Charles, Mo., no time
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 15.371
Ryan Gustin (19R), Marshalltown, Iowa, 15.381
Josh Richards (14), Shinnston, W.Va., 15.393
Chad Simpson (25), Mount Vernon, Iowa, 15.396
Brandon Sheppard (b5), New Berlin, Ill., 15.460
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 15.465
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 15.473
Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 15.537
Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., 15.553
Kolby Vandenbergh (15), Ashland, Ill., 15.595
Logan Martin (36), West Plains, Mo., 15.616
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 15.675
Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., 15.724
Hudson O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 15.749
Bob Gardner (4G), East Peoria, Ill., 15.773
Jake Timm (49), Winona, Minn., 15.932
Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 16.019
Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 16.082
Justin Reed (11R), Camp Point, Ill., 16.096
Chris Kratzer (55), Wichita, Kan., 16.097
Jason Papich (91P), Nipomo, Calif., 16.150
Cole Wells (7), Aurora, Mo., 16.208
Aaron Marrant (1x), Richmond, Mo., 16.222
Brennon Willard (3W), Lebanon, Mo., 16.269
Scott Crigler (12c), Monticello, Ark., 16.347
David Webster (44W), Monroe, Wis., 16.401
Steve Stultz (78s), Peoria, Ariz., 16.498
Jesse Stovall (00), Billlings, Mo., no time
Al Humphrey (6), Giltner, Neb., no time
Tribute to Don and Billie Gibson schedule
(Event begins after conclusion of Cowboy Classic)
- Hot laps (Late Models)
- Late Model time trials
- Late Model heats (8 laps)
- Late Model consolations (10 laps)
- Late Model feature (40 laps)
- Modified hot laps
- Modified heats (8 laps)
- Modified consolations (12 laps)
- Modified feature (20 laps)