RICHMOND, Ky. — In dominating most of Saturday's 35th annual Paul "Butterball" Wooldridge Memorial at Richmond Raceway, Josh Rice had an early scrape with the outside fence exiting turn two. He survived.
Then Rice got too high in turn four after a lap-44 restart. He survived again.
Then on the second-to-last lap at the 3/8-mile oval, Rice again got into the wall at the top of the backstretch. it didn't go so well this time.
With Rice trying to wrestle his car away from the concrete, third-starting Ricky Weiss of Headingley, Manitoba, blew past and headed for the white flag, leading the final two laps for a $20,059 payday in the Ultimate Heart of America Series event.
"I was just pumped for my guys, pumped for everybody that works on this thing," Weiss said in victory lane. "We got this thing rolling and finally we got a big one this year again. Hopefully we can keep it rolling.
Last year's race winner Zack Dohm of Cross Lanes, W.Va., who started fourth but faded from contention early in the race, fought back to finish second with Victor Lee of Danville, Ky., in third and 12th-starting Trevor Landrum of Erlanger, Ky., finishing fourth.
Rice, who led 58 of 60 laps after starting outside the front row, settled for a fifth-place finish in Richmond's richest and longest-running event.
Weiss scored his fourth overall victory of the season, all of them coming on different touring series.
"It was tough," Weiss said in victory lane. "I said, you know, 30 (laps), 20, 10 to go, I mean, you can't beat (Rice) up top. I don't know if he used up his right-rear (tire). I started rolling the middle there and I knew if I could hit the bottom in (turns) one and two, we could say with them. I don't think we we're any better.
"But all I had to do is show my door a little bit. He got me back. I missed my line a little bit and I thought I gave it away. Then he missed his a little worse."
Rice's final miscue was all Weiss needed to finish off his second-richest victory of the season.
Dohm crossed the line second, but he had no designs on taking a checkered flag after his suspension setup didn't match track conditions.
"We was terrible. We tightened up way too much," Dohm said. "I could see like a black streak coming in (the track surface) in the B-mains and whatnot, so we just did what we always do and that was absolutely horrible. I think I hung out around 10th most of the race, to be honest ... to finish first, first you must finish. So we just adopted that philosophy and came home with a pretty good payday and a second place finish. But we probably had about a 15th-place car."
Nine cautions slowed the action, several of them with contenders falling by the wayside, including on the seventh lap when polesitter and second-running Jared Hawkins of Fairmont, W.Va., got into the turn-one wall.
Sixth-starting Dustin Linville of Bryantsville, Ky., was running third when he slowed on the 21st lap with a flat tire. He pitted for new rubber but retired just past halfway with a 16th-place finish.
Michael Chilton of Salvisa, Ky., had an early flat tire and rallied back to the third position, but he got into the wall with five laps remaining to end his chances.
Notes: Weiss had three previous victories entering action at Richmond. He won March 19 at Boyd's Speedway in Ringgold, Ga., on the Ultimate Southeast Super Late Model Series. ... He won in World of Outlaws Case Late Model Series competition April 30 at a dirt-covered Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, pocketing a season-high $25,000. ... He also won July 3 at Tazewell (Tenn.) Speedway in Valvoline Iron-Man Racing Series action. ... Among other retirees at Richmond was fifth-starting Scott James of Bright, Ind., who was running sixth when he pulled into the infield before the halfway point. ... Top-five runner Derek Fisher headed to the infield during the caution after the James departure. ... Shane Irvin had right-front problems for a lap-30 caution. ... James Rice, the winner's older brother, spun into the turn-one infield with 16 laps remaining. ... Former race winner Tyler Carpenter retired during the caution for the James Rice spin. ... Blake Creech spun inside turn three on lap 46.