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Volusia Speedway Park

Richards rallies from 10th in Volusia opener

February 18, 2013, 4:46 pm
From staff and series reports
Josh Richards (1) takes the lead from Steve Francis (15) in Monday's Volusia opener. (stlracingphotos.com)
Josh Richards (1) takes the lead from Steve Francis (15) in Monday's Volusia opener. (stlracingphotos.com)

BARBERVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 18) — Josh Richards was a man on a mission Monday night at Volusia Speedway Park.

Rampaging forward from the 10th starting spot, Richards passed Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., for the lead on lap 18 and marched on to a convincing victory in the 30-lap UMP DIRTcar Super Late Model event that opened the full-fender portion of the 42nd UNOH DIRTcar Nationals presented by Summit Racing Equipment. | Complete Speedweeks coverage

Richards, 24, earned $7,000 for his sixth career triumph during the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals but first since 2010 when he captured the World of Outlaws Late Model Series season opener. He won the national tour’s lidlifter held during Volusia’s mid-winter racing meet every year from 2007-2010.

Francis, 45, settled for a runner-up finish in the Bowyer Motorsports Barry Wright car after starting from the pole position and leading laps 1-17. He ended the race trailing Richards’s Valvoline-sponsored Rocket Chassis house car by 1.387 seconds.

Donnie Moran of Dresden, Ohio, started and finished third in a MasterSbilt machine. Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., also finished in the same position he started, driving his self-built Team Zero car under the checkered flag in fourth place after outdueling Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who completed the top five in the Sweeteners Plus Warrior.

Continuing his strong return as a Dirt Late Model regular after spending most of the 2012 season competing on the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Richards needed just six laps to crack the top five in Monday’s feature. He held fourth when the race’s lone caution flag — for a frontstretch spin by Jason McBride of Carbondale, Ill., after contact from Francis — slowed the action on lap 15.

Richards made short work of his remaining rivals after the restart, charging around the outside of Bloomquist and Moran within one circuit and doing the same to Francis on lap 18.

After falling short of victory lane at Volusia in 2011 and ’12, Richards was excited to reclaim the spotlight.

“I was a little nervous coming in here because we weren’t that good last year,” said Richards, who moved into a tie for seventh on the all-time Volusia victory list with legendary drivers Larry Moore and Freddy Smith. “Even qualifying (on Monday) I didn’t feel great, but we qualified well so I was like, ‘Well, OK, we’re not that far off.’ We made a few changes for the heat race and we kind of got shuffled back and we had some fuel-pressure problems, but we still ran second on Scott (Bloomquist).

“For the feature we made some changes, and it was one of those things where we just went out there and ran hard. It was awesome to get up through there and get a win from 10th.”

Richards, who one year ago started from the pole position in the opening-night UNOH DIRTcar Nationals by Summit feature but tumbled to an eighth-place finish, registered his third victory in the last 10 days. He also won WoO races Feb. 9 at Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, Ga., and Feb. 17 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla.

Francis, who was victorious in the first Late Model feature of last year’s UNOH DIRTcar Nationals, was no match for Richards after the race was slowed at its halfway point.

“I didn’t really need that caution there,” Francis said. “But Josh and Mark (Richards) and them guys, their car has been good anyway. We knew in the heat race he was good. He started 10th back there (in the A-Main), but when I looked up at the board and saw he was second, I knew we were probably a sitting duck.”

Finishing in positions 6-10 was Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind.; Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., who made the race’s biggest advance coming from the 20th starting spot; outside polesitter Ron Davies of Warren, Pa., who celebrated his 55th birthday on Monday; fifth-starting Eddie Carrier Jr. of Salt Rock, W.Va.; and Stormy Scott of Las Cruces, N.M., who made his first-ever start at Volusia.

Notes: Richards drives the Roush Yates-powered Rocket Chassis house car with sponsorship from Valvoline, Seubert Calf Ranches and Ernie D’s Enterprises. ... Shane Clanton slowed after two laps and went to the infield. ... Scott James was also one of five retirees. ... Seventeen of 26 starters completed 30 laps. ...Ken Schrader won the $5,000 Gator Championship for the modifieds, edging Austin Dillon in a tight finish on the final lap.

UNOH DIRTcar Nationals presented by Summit (Feb. 18): (1) Josh Richards, (2) Steve Francis, (3) Donnie Moran, (4) Scott Bloomquist, (5) Tim McCreadie, (6) Don O’Neal, (7) Brady Smith, (8) Ron Davies, (9) Eddie Carrier Jr., (10) Stormy Scott, (11) Brandon Sheppard, (12) Jared Landers, (13) Bobby Pierce, (14) Pat Doar, (15) Earl Pearson Jr., (16) Tim Fuller, (17) Dennis Erb Jr., (18) Eric Jacobsen, (19) Gregg Satterlee, (20) Dan Stone, (21) Todd Frank, (22) Clint Smith, (23) Jason McBride, (24) Mason Zeigler, (25) Scott James, (26) Shane Clanton. Fast qualifier (among 48 cars): Pearson, 15.550 seconds. Heat race winners: Francis, Davies, Moran, Bloomquist, Carrier, McCreadie. Consolation winners: Clanton, B. Smith, James. Provisional starters: Erb, Babb. Non-qualifiers’ race winner: Kent Robinson.

Correction: Fixes McCreadie in Warrior Race Car, sted Rocket.

Blog-style reports of Monday's action:

Late Model Bulrush Dash lineup

(Non-qualifiers' race)
Row 1: Stacy Boles (11B), Chuck Julien (57)
Row 2: Jimmy Mars (28), Kenny Pettyjohn (38)
Row 3: Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Ricky Weiss (7w)
Row 4: Kent Robinson (7r), Mike Hammerle (16H)
Row 5: Chub Frank (1*), Jason McBride (77)
Row 6: Chad Stapleton (32), Michael Norris (72)
Row 7: Mike Benedum (25), Chad Hollenbeck (4DS)

Consolation races

First consolation: Shane Clanton, Tim Fuller, Justin Rattliff, Stacy Boles Kenny Pettyjohn, Kent Robinson, Jason McBride, Mike Benedum, Michael Walker, Billy Ogle Jr.

Second consolation: Brady Smith, Brandon Sheppard, Dennis Erb Jr., Chuck Julien, Billy Moyer Jr., Mike Hammerle, Jerry Lierly, Billy Moyer, Casey Roberts.

Third consolation: Scott James, Dan Stone, Jimmy Mars, Ricky Weiss, Chub Frank, Michael Norris, Chad Hollenbeck, Joey Coulter, Scott Phillips.

Consolation lineups

(10 laps; top two transfer)
First consolation
Row 1: Tim Fuller (19), Billy Ogle Jr. (201)
Row 2: Shane Clanton (25), Kenny Pettyjohn (38)
Row 3: Stacy Boles (11B), Justin Rattliff (16)
Row 4: Jason McBride (77), Kent Robinson (7r)
Row 5: Michael Walker (64), Mike Benedum (25)
Second consolation
Row 1: Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Brady Smith (2)
Row 2: Brandon Sheppard (B5), Dennis Erb Jr. (28)
Row 3: Chad Stapleton (32), Jerry Lierly (7L)
Row 4: Billy Moyer (21), Chuck Julien (57)
Row 5: Casey Roberts (101), Mike Hammerle (16H)
Third consolation
Row 1: Shannon Babb (18), Scott James (1G)
Row 2: Dan Stone (21D), Ricky Weiss (7w)
Row 3: Jimmy Mars (28), Joey Coulter (2c)
Row 4: Michael Norris (72), Chad Hollenbeck (4DS)
Row 5: Chub Frank (1*), Scott Phillips (50)

Sixth heat

Third-starting Steve Francis slid past the tight-hanlding car of poleisitter Ricky Weiss early and cruised to an eight-lap victory. Eric Jacobsen tried to track Francis down but settled for second while outside front-row starter Bobby Pierce narrowly edged Scott James for the final transfer spot.

Finish: Steve Francis, Eric Jacobsen, Bobby Pierce, Scott James, Ricky Weiss, Joey Coulter, Chad Hollenbeck, Scott Phillips.

Fifth heat

Ron Davies won from outside the front row, taking the checkers a half-straight ahead of polesitter Jared Landers. Fast qualifier Earl Pearson Jr. got the third and final transfer spot. A second-lap yellow appeared when Jimmy Mars spun exiting turn two.

Finish: Ron Davies, Jared Landers, Earl Pearson Jr., Shannon Babb, Dan Stone, Jimmy Mars, Michael Norris, Chub Frank.

Fourth heat

Scott Bloomquist got the jump from outside the front row and cruised to an eight-lap victory. Josh Richards got the second spot late but couldn't track down Bloomquist, while polesitter Gregg Sattterlee was third after battling Dennis Erb Jr. and then Richards for position. Erb slipped to fifth behind Brady Smith. Chuck Julien spun exiting turn two to scrap the first attempted start.

Finish: Scott Bloomquist, Josh Richards, Gregg Satterlee, Brady Smith, Dennis Erb Jr., Jerry Lierly, Chuck Julien, Mike Hammerle.

Third heat

In a race where front-row starters weren't anything like the lineup, inherited polesitter Donnie Moran raced to victory. Clint Smith got the second spot while tail-starting Todd Frank got the third and final transfer spot. Billy Moyer, who survived a scrape with his son Billy Moyer Jr. early, held the second spot midway through the race but spun in turn two. He retired. A lap-one caution appeared when Brandon Sheppard spun exiting turn four. Original outside front-row starter Casey Roberts didn't make the lineup while Billy Moyer Jr. and Sr. were docked a row after two poor start attempts

Finish: Donnie Moran, Clint Smith, Todd Frank, Billy Moyer Jr., Brandon Sheppard, Chad Stapleton, Billy Moyer. Scratched: Casey Roberts.

Second heat

Polesitter Tim McCreadie ran unchallenged to a victory in the second heat, outrunning fellow front-row starter Don O'Neal. Stormy Scott got the third and final transfer spot after a nifty move on the inside groove on the frontstretch at the beginning of the second lap. Scott gave O'Neal all he wanted in the battle for second while Billy Ogle Jr. slipped up high midway through the heat and finished further back in fourth.

Finish: Tim McCreadie, Don O'Neal, Stormy Scott, Billy Ogle Jr., Kenny Pettyjohn, Justin Rattliff, Kent Robinson, Mike Benedum.

First heat

Outside front-row starter Eddie Carrier Jr. cruised to victory in the first prelim, winning by a half-straightaway over third-starting Pat Doar. Polesitter Mason Zeigler ended up third with the final transfer spot. Kennedy Motorsports Tim Fuller and Shane Clanton will head to consolation races.

Finish: Eddie Carrier Jr., Pat Doar, Mason Zeigler, Tim Fuller, Shane Clanton, Stacy Boles, Jason McBride, Michael Walker.

Qualifying

Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., topped 48 qualifiers Monday at Volusia Speedway Park for the first round of Late Model action at the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals presented by Summit Racing Equipment. The night’s 30-lap feature pays $7,000-to-win.

Pearson turned a lap of 16.550 seconds on the half-mile oval to top all six qualifying groups. With the top four inverted in each heat race, heat race polesitters are: Stacy Boles of Clinton, Tenn.; Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y.; Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark.; Gregg Satterlee of Rochester Mills, Pa.; Jared Landers of Batesville, Ark.; and Ricky Weiss of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

UMP modifieds are also in action with the main event lined up based on previous action at Volusia. The $5,000-to-win Gator Championship will be preceded by three consolation races.

Pre-race notes

Scott James of Lawrenceburg, Ind., shut down his Warrior house car on his second qualifyling lap. ... Among Late Model drivers entered are Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., last year’s UNOH DIRTcar Nationals champion. Some drivers who have raced extensively in recent days, including reigning World of Outlaws champion Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., are taking the night off. ... Perhaps 60 Late Model teams are in the pits with a dozen drivers taking the night off. ... Among drivers making their first appearances of Georgia-Florida Speedweeks: Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., Billy Ogle Jr. of Knoxville, Tenn., and Michael Norris of Sarver, Pa. ... Bulrush Dashes will be held for both divisions among drivers who didn’t transfer to the main event through consolation races.

Late Model heat race lineups

First heat
Row 1: Mason Zeigler (25z), Eddie Carrier Jr. (28)
Row 2: Pat Doar (11), Tim Fuller (19)
Row 3: Stacy Boles (11B), Shane Clanton (25)
Row 4: Jason McBride (77), Michael Walker (64)
Second heat
Row 1: Tim McCreadie (39), Don O’Neal (1)
Row 2: Justin Rattliff (16), Billy Ogle Jr. (201)
Row 3: Stormy Scott (2s), Kent Robinson (7r)
Row 4: Kenny Pettyjohn (38), Mike Benedum (25)
Third heat
Row 1: Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Casey Roberts (101)
Row 2: Donnie Moran (99), Billy Moyer (21)
Row 3: Clint Smith (44), Brandon Sheppard (B5)
Row 4: Chad Stapleton (32), Todd Frank (21)
Fourth heat
Row 1: Gregg Satterlee (22), Scott Bloomquist (0)
Row 2: Josh Richards (1), Dennis Erb Jr. (28)
Row 3: Brady Smith (2), Chuck Julien (57)
Row 4: Mike Hammerle (16H), Jerry Lierly (7L)
Fifth heat
Row 1: Jared Landers (5), Ron Davies (71D)
Row 2: Jimmy Mars (28), Earl Pearson Jr. (44)
Row 3: Shannon Babb, (18), Dan Stone (21D)
Row 4: Chub Frank (1*), Michael Norris (72)
Sixth heat
Row 1: Ricky Weiss (7), Bobby Pierce (32)
Row 2: Steve Francis (15), Eric Jacobsen (5)
Row 3: Scott James (1G), Chad Hollenbeck (4DS)
Row 4: Joey Coulter (2c), Scott Phillips (50)

Late Model time trials (unofficial)

First group
Tim Fuller (19), Watertown, N.Y., 15.704
Pat Doar (11), New Richmond, Wis., 15.867
Eddie Carrier Jr. (28), Salt Rock, W.Va., 15.958
Stacy Boles (11B), Clinton, Tenn., 16.113
Shane Clanton (25), Fayetteville, Ga., 16.159
Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., 16.508
Jason McBride (77), Carbondale, Ill., 16.577
Michael Walker (64), Franklin, Tenn., 17.249
Second group
Billy Ogle Jr. (201), Knoxville, Tenn., 15.818
Justin Rattliff (16), Campbellsville, Ky., 15.862
Don O’Neal (1), Martinsville, Ind., 15.896
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 15.900
Stormy Scott (2s), Las Cruces, N.M., 16.128
Kent Robinson (7r), Bloomington, Ind., 16.134
Kenny Pettyjohn (38), Millsboro, Del., 16.160
Mike Benedum (25), Bristol, W.Va., 16.369
Third group
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 15.688
Donnie Moran (99), Dresden, Ohio, 15.734
Casey Roberts (101), Toccoa, Ga., 16.015
Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesvile, Ark., 16.040
Clint Smith (44), Senoia, Ga., 16.048
Brandon Sheppard (B5), New Berlin, Ill., 16.284
Chad Stapleton (32), Edinburgh, Ind., 16.467
Todd Frank (21), Mellen, Wis., 17.358
Fourth group
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 15.627
Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., 15.639
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 15.649
Gregg Satterlee (22), Rochester Mills, Pa., 16.023
Brady Smith (2), Solon Springs, Wis., 16.192
Chuck Julien (57), Apopka, Fla., 17.869
Mike Hammerle (16H), St. Charles, Mo., 17.880
Jerry Lierly (7L), Camp Point, Ill., no time
Fifth group
Earl Pearson Jr. (44), Jacksonville, Fla., 15.550
Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., 15.810
Ron Davies (71D), Warren, Pa., 15.914
Jared Landers (5), Batesville, Ark., 15.936
Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 16.026
Dan Stone (21D), Thompson, Pa., 16.265
Chub Frank (1*), Bear Lake, Pa., 16.384
Michael Norris (72), Sarverville, Pa., 17.077
Sixth group
Eric Jacobsen (5), Santa Cruz, Calif., 15.675
Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky., 15.706
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 15.842
Ricky Weiss (7w), Winnipeg, Manitoba, 15.956
Scott James (1G), Lawrenceburg, Ind., 16.075
Chad Hollenbeck (4DS), Kingsly, Pa., 16.116
Joey Coulter (2c), Concord, N.C., 16.775
Scott Phillips (50), Marlette, Mich., 17.102

Gator Championship lineup (modifieds)

Row 1: Nick Hoffman (2h), Justin Allgaier (31)
Row 2: Rodney Sanders (20), Dale Mathison (9m)
Row 3: Kenny Wallace (36), Matt Cooper (18c)
Row 4: Matt Westfall (54w), Jacob Poel (82p)
Row 5: Wendell Wallace (5w), Ken Schrader (9)
Row 6: Bryce Jewell (0J), Brian Shaw (2s)
Row 7: Kyle Bronson (40), Austin Dillon (3)
Row 8: Jake Griffin (08), Bart Hartman (75)
Row 9: Ty Dillon (41), Richard Michael (17x)
Row 10: Danny Schwartz (21), Jeff Babcock (7B)
Row 11: David Mielke (87), Dave Weitholder (05)
Row 12: Dave Weitholder (93), Jason Beaulieu (05)
Row 13: Consolation transferrees

Modified consolation lineups

First consolation
Row 1: David Mielke (87), Jason Beaulieu (90)
Row 2: Troy Giralimo (2G), Kody Weisner (20)
Row 3: J.E. Stalder (17je), Justin Marks (66)
Row 4: Tyler Carpenter (8c), Mike Weidelstadt (77)
Row 5: Brian Ruhlman (49), Rob Underwood (09)
Row 6: Dalton Lanich (2L), Nick Kurtz (79)
Row 7: Matt Gresham (711), Brandon Davis (23)
Row 8: Joe Carr (12c), Shaun Dougharty (00D)
Second consolation
Row 1: Wayne Hammond (40H), Donovan Lodge (32)
Row 2: Jeff Mathews (21m), Dave Weitholder (05)
Row 3: Todd Neiheiser (72), Kyle Strickler (8s)
Row 4: David Stremme (35), Joel Ortberg (00)
Row 5: Jim Zimmer (32z), Jason Gross (12r)
Row 6: Brendan Gaughan (62), Nick Tharp (82n)
Row 7: Trey Bryant (6T), Dave Baldwin (6B)
Row 8: Kevin Gummere (39)
Third consolation
Row 1: Garrett Stewart (51), Cory Daugherty (96)
Row 2: Jonathan Taylor (5T), Kelly Shryock (93)
Row 3: Tyler Nicely (25), Mitch Opatik (01)
Row 4: Jeff Thomas (07), Collin Thirlby (47)
Row 5: Gary Cook Jr. (64), Dwight Niehoff (1)
Row 6: Matt Crafton (88), Todd Sherman (65)
Row 7: Paul Miles (28), Tony Anderson (22T)
Row 8: Buzzie Reutimann (00R)

Feature lineup

Row 1: Francis, Davies
Row 2: Moran, Bloomquist
Row 3: Carrier, McCreadie
Row 4: Doar, O'Neal
Row 5: C. Smith, Richards
Row 6: Landers, Jacobsen
Row 7: Zeigler, Scott
Row 8: Frank, Satterlee
Row 9: Pearson, Pierce
Row 10: Clanton, B. Smith
Row 11: James, Fuller
Row 12: Sheppard, Stone
Row 13: Erb, McBride
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