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Volusia Speedway Park

Red-hot Richards makes it two in a row at Volusia

February 19, 2013, 5:03 pm
From staff and series reports
Winner Josh Richards (1) goes by Scott Bloomquist (0) early in the main event. (stlracingphotos.com)
Winner Josh Richards (1) goes by Scott Bloomquist (0) early in the main event. (stlracingphotos.com)

BARBERVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 19) — There appears to be no stopping Josh Richards during the 42nd UNOH DIRTcar Nationals presented by Summit Racing Equipment.

With another spectacular charge forward — this time from the 11th starting spot — Richards captured Tuesday’s 30-lap UMP DIRTcar Super Late Model feature for his second victory in as many evenings at Volusia Speedway Park. | Complete Speedweeks coverage

Richards, 24, of Shinnston, W.Va., powered his Valvoline-sponsored Rocket Chassis house car to second place on lap 16, putting himself in position to inherit the lead when Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., pulled to the infield with mechanical trouble during a lap-19 caution period. The two-time World of Outlaws Late Model Series champion dominated the remainder of the distance to pocket a $7,000 top prize.

Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., grabbed second from his chassis builder, Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., on lap 20 and stayed there to the finish. The 24-year-old, who sat out Monday night’s opener, crossed the finish line 2.709 seconds behind Richards to cap a career-best performance at the half-mile oval.

Stormy Scott, 23, of Las Cruces, N.M., placed third in the Bryan Rowland Motorsports Team Zero by Bloomquist car, cracking the podium in just his second week of Dirt Late Model racing. A standout in the open-wheel modified division who is transitioning to Dirt Late Models, Scott, who started 13th, overtook Bloomquist for the show position on lap 22.

Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., also passed Bloomquist late in the distance, grabbing fourth on lap 25 and finishing there in his Victory Circle machine. Bloomquist, who started from the outside pole, faded to a fifth-place run in his self-built car.

In a competitive race that featured four different leaders, Richards proved to be the last man standing up front for the second consecutive night at Volusia. But his march to the lead wasn’t quite as smooth as on Monday evening, when he sailed around the outside of the track in advancing from the 10th starting spot to the lead in 18 circuits.

Richards actually surprised himself with his quick ascension through the field. He cracked the top five in three laps and reached second by lap nine, though he swapped the runner-up spot once with Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., before gaining control on lap 16.

“I knew everybody gambled on tires a little bit,” said Richards. “We just went with a softer compound and tried to stay slow and not wear anything out, and try to get one at a time as we could. I didn’t expect to get up through there like we did, but I think everybody just kind of got bound up and slid and we were able to get quite a few cars early.”

Richards’s move to grab second from Lanigan on lap 16 might have been the critical point of the race. After Richards dived to the inside of turns three and four and slid in front of Lanigan, contact between the two friendly rivals in turn four damaged the nosepiece of Lanigan’s car. Three laps later Lanigan skated into the turn-three guardrail due to a left-front tire that was cut by his bent bodywork, bringing out the race’s only caution flag.

“We were going down the backstraightaway and I just drove straight down to the bottom and Darrell went to the top,” Richards said of the scrape with Lanigan. “Well, he got turned and came straight back down to the bottom and ran into our left rear.

“I think there was a little bit of heat over that. I don’t think he knew exactly what happened. I think he just thought I drove in there after he turned, but we were just racing. It’s unfortunate that he got a car tore up, but I don’t feel like we did anything wrong.”

Lanigan, who started from the pole position and led the first circuit and laps 6-10, limped into the infield and retired after the caution flag flew on lap 19. He declined to comment on the situation with Richards.

Moments after Lanigan left the track, O’Neal, who started fifth and passed Lanigan for the lead on lap 11, also drove into the infield. A line of moisture began to trail behind his Larry Moring-owned car during the caution period; it was later determined to be fuel from a busted fuel pump.

“It’s unfortunate that O’Neal broke,” said Richards, who led laps 20-30 without receiving a single challenge. “I feel like we could’ve gotten him anyway, but everything’s been going our way. We’ll take it.”

Richards’s victory was his third in as many days — he started the streak with a $20,000 triumph in Sunday’s 75-lap WoO LMS event at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla. — and the seventh of his career at Volusia. He moved into a tie for fourth on the all-time DIRTcar Nationals win list with veterans O’Neal, Bloomquist and Rick Eckert of York, Pa.

In addition, according to records compiled by racing historian Bob Markos, Richards became the sixth driver in the 42-year history of the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals by Summit to open the Dirt Late Model portion of the meet with back-to-back wins. He joins a list that includes Moyer (1997, 2008), O’Neal (2002, ‘03), Larry Moore (1981), Morgan Shepherd (1977) and Wayne Shugart (1973, ’78).

The 30-lapper’s other leader was Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who surged forward from the fourth starting spot to pass Lanigan for the top spot on lap two. McCreadie was in front on lap five when he jumped the cushion in turn two and slapped the outside wall, inflicting damage to his Warrior machine that forced him to cede the lead to Lanigan on lap six and pull off that circuit.

Finishing in positions 6-10 were Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y.; Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., who started 23rd; Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., who didn’t compete in Monday’s program; 20-year-old Mason Zeigler of Chalk Hill, Pa., who recorded a career-best finish at Volusia; and 16-year-old Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill.

The DIRTcar Nationals continue Wednesday with the 40-lap UMP Late Model finale that offers a $10,000 top prize. The Super DIRTcar Series for big-block modifieds will also be on hand for the division’s first of four straight race nights. Race time is 7:30 p.m.

UNOH DIRTcar Nationals presented by Summit (Feb. 19): (1) Josh Richards, (2) Eric Wells, (3) Stormy Scott, (4) Billy Moyer, (5) Scott Bloomquist, (6) Tim Fuller, (7) Brady Smith, (8) Bub McCool, (9) Mason Zeigler, (10) Bobby Pierce, (11) Earl Pearson Jr., (12) Stacy Boles, (13) Jimmy Mars, (14) Donnie Moran, (15) Brandon Sheppard, (16) Morgan Bagley, (17) Ricky Weiss, (18) Michael Norris, (19) Ron Davies, (20) Don O’Neal, (21) Darrell Lanigan, (22) Steve Francis, (23) Kenny Pettyjohn, (24) Billy Moyer Jr., (25) Tim McCreadie, (26) Eddie Carrier Jr. Fast qualifier (among 47 cars): Richards, 15.752 seconds. Heat race winners: Lanigan, Bloomquist, Moyer Jr., McCreadie, O’Neal, Zeigler. Consolation winners: Pettyjohn, Mars, Davies. Provisional starters: Sheppard, Landers. Non-qualifiers’ race winner: Jared Landers.

Blog-style reports of Tuesday's action:

Consolation races

First consolation: Kenny Pettyjohn, Stacy Boles, Billy Ogle Jr., Dennis Erb Jr., Vic Coffey, Dan Stone, Kent Robinson, Clint Smith, Jason McBride, Chuck Julien.

Second consolation: Jimmy Mars, Brady Smith, Chub Frank, Brandon Sheppard, Joey Coulter, Jared Landers, Chad Hollenbeck, Todd Frank. Scratched: Eddie Carrier Jr., Jerry Lierly.

Third consolation: Ron Davies, Michael Norris, Casey Roberts, Eric Jacobsen, Gregg Satterlee, Mike Benedum, Justin Rattliff, Michael Walker, Mike Hammerle.

Late Model consolations

(10 laps; top two transfer)
First consolation
Row 1: Kenny Pettyjohn (38), Stacy Boles (11B)
Row 2: Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Billy Ogle Jr. (201)
Row 3: Vic Coffey (32c), Kent Robinson (7r)
Row 4: Jason McBride (77), Dan Stone (21D)
Row 5: Chuck Julien (57), Clint Smith (44)
Second consolation
Row 1: Jimmy Mars (28), Brady Smith (2)
Row 2: Jared Landers (5), Chub Frank (1*)
Row 3: Chad Hollenbeck (4DS), Brandon Sheppard (B5)
Row 4: Eddie Carrier Jr. (28), Joey Coulter (2c)
Row 5: Jerry Lierly (7L), Todd Frank (21)
Third consolation
Row 1: Eric Jacobsen (5), Ron Davies (71D)
Row 2: Casey Roberts (101), Michael Norris (72)
Row 3: Mike Benedum (25), Michael Walker (64)
Row 4: Gregg Satterlee (22), Mike Hammerle (16H)
Row 5: Justin Rattliff (16)

Sixth heat

Billy Moyer Jr. raced to his first heat race victory of Florida Speedweeks. Steve Francis and Ricky Weiss got the other two transfer spots in the caution-free prelim.

Finish: Billy Moyer Jr., Steve Francis, Ricky Weiss, Ron Davies, Michael Norris, Michael Walker, Mike Hammerle.

Fifth heat

Tim McCreadie won the fifth heat from outside the front row, outrunning Monday's winner Josh Richards in a two-car breakaway. Polesitter Bub McCool was a distant third — and appeared to struggle a bit on the last lap — with Eric Jacobsen in the fourth spot, heading to a consolation race.

Finish: Tim McCreadie, Josh Richards, Bub McCool, Eric Jacobsen, Casey Roberts, Mike Benedum, Gregg Satterlee, Justin Rattlff.

Fourth heat

Fourth-starting Darrell Lanigan quickly overcame the inversion, blazing into the lead on the first lap and pulling away for a victory. Outside front-row starter Tim Fuller chased Lanigan home in finishing second while polesitter Morgan Bagley settled for third, fighting off Brady Smith.

Finish: Darrell Lanigan, Tim Fuller, Morgan Bagley, Brady Smith, Chub Frank, Joey Coulter, Brandon Sheppard, Todd Frank.

Third heat

Polesitter Scott Bloomquist cruised to an eight-lap victory over Eric Wells, giving Bloomquist cars a 1-2 finish. Earl Pearson Jr. took the third and final transfer spot from Jared Landers on the sixth lap with a backstretch pass, while Landers later slipped back to fifth behind Jimmy Mars in the caution-free prelim. Volusia plans a brief for big-block modified hot laps before the fourth heat.

Finish: Scott Bloomquist, Eric Wells, Earl Pearson Jr., Jimmy Mars, Jared Landers, Chad Hollenbeck, Eddie Carrier Jr., Jerry Lierly.

Second heat

Mason Zeigler raced to victory from outside the front row for his second heat race victory of Florida Speedweeks. Zeigler kept Bobby Pierce in check throughout the eight-lap distance while polesitter Donnie Moran slipped back to third early, holding onto the final transfer spot throughout. Stacy Boles finished fourth in the caution-free prelim ahead of fellow Tennessean Billy Ogle Jr., the group's fastest qualifier. Clint Smith pulled out halfway through the race.

Finish: Mason Zeigler, Bobby Pierce, Donnie Moran, Stacy Boles, Billy Ogle Jr., Kent Robinson, Dan Stone, Clint Smith.

First heat

Outside front-row starter Don O'Neal jumped into the lead and fought off Stormy Scott — as he did last night in finishing second in a heat — to grab a victory in the first eight-lap prelim. Scott slipped up exiting turn two on the final lap, allowing Billy Moyer to get second. Scott got the third transfer spot. Kenny Pettyjohn was just out of contention in fourth. The race's lone caution appeared on the third lap when polesitter Jason McBride got into the turn-two guardrail; workers were able to get the car off the guardrail and he rejoined the field.

Finish: Don O'Neal, Billy Moyer, Stormy Scott, Kenny Pettyjohn, Dennis Erb Jr., Vic Coffey, Jason McBride, Chuck Julien.

Qualifying

Monday’s winner Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., topped 47 qualifiers Monday at Volusia Speedway Park for the second round of the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals presented by Summit Racing Equipment.

Richards posted a time of 15.752 seconds at the half-mile oval and will gun for his second straight victory at Volusia.

With a four-car heat-race inversion, Tuesday’s heat race polesitters will be Jason McBride of Carbondale, Ill.; Donnie Moran of Dresden, Ohio; Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn.; Morgan Bagley of Longview, Texas; Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss.; and Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark.

Late Models will run for a $7,000-to-win UMP DIRTcar feature while UMP modifieds will run three separate features in wrapping up their stint at Volusia. Late Model action includes six heat races, three consolation races, the 30-lap main event and Bulrush Dash for non-qualifiers.

Pre-race notes

Volusia ran combination hot laps/time trials for the Late Models. ... Josh Richards, who started 10th in Monday’s 26-car feature, overtook Steve Francis just after a mid-race restart and cruised to a victory over Francis, Don O’Neal, Donnie Moran, Scott Bloomquist and Tim McCreadie. ... Among drivers sitting out who competed last night are Pat Doar and Scott James. ... Drivers who sat out Monday but have joined tonight’s field include Darrell Lanigan, Eric Wells, Morgan Bagley and Bub McCool. ... Brady Smith battled carburetor problems Monday before engine builder Vic Hill helped tune things up, leading to Smith’s 20th-to-seventh charge in Monday’s feature. ... Tuesday's 42 modifieds are split up into fast, faster and fastest features. ... UMP DIRTcar action concludes with a $10,000-to-win event on Wednesday before its big brother World of Outlaws Late Model Series runs three consecutive $10,000-to-win events through Saturday.

Late Model heat lineups

(Eight laps; top three transfer)
First heat
Row 1: Jason McBride (77), Don O’Neal (1)
Row 2: Stormy Scott (2s), Billy Moyer (21)
Row 3: Vic Coffey (32c), Kenny Pettyjohn (38)
Row 4: Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Chuck Julien (57)
Second heat
Row 1: Donnie Moran (99), Mason Zeigler (25z)
Row 2: Bobby Pierce (32), Billy Ogle Jr. (201)
Row 3: Clint Smith (44), Stacy Boles (11B)
Row 4: Kent Robinson (7r), Dan Stone (21D)
Third heat
Row 1: Scott Bloomquist (0), Jared Landers (5)
Row 2: Eric Wells (18), Earl Pearson Jr. (44)
Row 3: Jimmy Mars (28), Jerry Lierly (7L)
Row 4: Eddie Carrier Jr. (28), Chad Hollenbeck (4DS)
Fourth heat
Row 1: Morgan Bagley (14m), Tim Fuller (19)
Row 2: Brady Smith (2), Darrell Lanigan (29)
Row 3: Brandon Sheppard (B5), Chub Frank (1*)
Row 4: Joey Coulter (2c), Todd Frank (21)
Fifth heat
Row 1: Bub McCool (57j), Tim McCreadie (39)
Row 2: Eric Jacobsen (5j), Josh Richards (1)
Row 3: Mike Benedum (25), Casey Roberts (101)
Row 4: Gregg Satterlee (22), Justin Rattliff (16)
Sixth heat
Row 1: Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Ricky Weiss (7w)
Row 2: Steve Francis (15), Ron Davies (71D)
Row 3: Michael Norris (72), Michael Walker (64)
Row 4: Mike Hammerle (16H)

Time trials (unofficial)

First group
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 16.390
Stormy Scott (2s), Las Cruces, N.M., 16.966
Don O’Neal (1), Martinsville, Ind., 17.252
Jason McBride (77), Carbondale, Ill., 17.271
Vic Coffey (32c), Caledonia, N.Y., 17.308
Kenny Pettyjohn (38), Millsboro, Del., 17.371
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 17.401
Chuck Julien (57), Apopka, Fla., 19.378
Second group
Billy Ogle Jr. (201), Knoxville, Tenn., 16.416
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 16.619
Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., 16.664
Donnie Moran (99), Dresden, Ohio, 16.727
Clint Smith (44), Senoia, Ga., 16.814
Stacy Boles (11B), Clinton, Tenn., 16.910
Kent Robinson (7r), Bloomington, Ind., 16.994
Dan Stone (21D), Thompson, Pa., 17.242
Third group
Earl Pearson Jr. (44), Jacksonville, Fla., 16.072
Eric Wells (18), Hazard, Ky., 16.221
Jared Landers (5), Batesville, Ark., 16.358
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 16.601
Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., 16.625
Jerry Lierly (7L), Camp Point, Ill., 16.653
Eddie Carrier Jr. (28), Salt Rock, W.Va., 16.744
Chad Hollenbeck (4DS), Kingsley, Pa., 16.827
Fourth group
Darrell Lanigan (29), Union, Ky., 15.952
Brady Smith (2), Solon Springs, Wis., 16.142
Tim Fuller (19), Watertown, N.Y., 16.243
Morgan Bagley (14m), Longview, Texas, 16.447
Brandon Sheppard (B5), New Berlin, Ill., 16.498
Chub Frank (1*), Bear Lake, Pa., 16.527
Joey Coulter (2c), Concord, N.C., 16.730
Todd Frank (21), Mellen, Wis., 17.067
Fifth group
Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., 15.752
Eric Jacobsen (5), Santa Cruz, Calif., 16.139
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 16.205
Bub McCool (57j), Vicksburg, Miss., 16.210
Mike Benedum (25), Bristol, W.Va., 16.608
Casey Roberts (101), Toccoa, Ga., 16.636
Gregg Satterlee (22), Rochester Mills, Pa., 16.716
Justin Rattliff (16), Campbellsville, Ky., 16.944
Sixth group
Ron Davies (71D), Warren, Pa., 16.065
Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky., 16.109
Ricky Weiss (7w), Winnipeg, Manitoba, 16.300
Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesvile, Ark., 16.344
Michael Norris (72), Sarverville, Pa., 16.550
Michael Walker (64), Franklin, Tenn., 16.771
Mike Hammerle (16H), St. Charles, Mo., 18.269

Modified feature lineups

First feature
Row 1: James Smith (40), Dave Baldwin (6B)
Row 2: Wayne Hammond (40H), Shaun Daugharty (00D)
Row 3: Joe Carr (12), Donovan Lodge (32)
Row 4: Dwight Niehoff (1), Kevin Gummere (39)
Row 5: Tony Anderson (22T), Nick Kurts (79)
Row 6: Jason Gross (12G), Trey Bryant (6T)
Row 7: Wendell Wallace (5)
Second feature
Row 1: Jeff Thomas (07), Troy Giralmo (2G)
Row 2: Joel Ortberg (00), Collin Thirlby (47)
Row 3: Jonathan Taylor (5T), Brendan Gaughan (62)
Row 4: Tyler Carpenter (8c), Todd Sherman (65)
Row 5: Jacob Poel (82), Jake Griffin (08)
Row 6: David Mielke (87), Mitch Opatak (01)
Row 7: J.E. Stalder (17), Cory Daugherty (96)
Third feature
Row 1: Brian Ruhlman (49), Rodney Sanders (20)
Row 2: Ty Dillon (41), Kelly Shryock (93)
Row 3: Matt Westfall (54), Kenny Wallace (36)
Row 4: Nick Hoffman (2H), Justin Allgaier (31)
Row 5: Kyle Bronson (40), Ken Schrader (9)
Row 6: Dave Wietholder (05), Jason Beaulieu (90)
Row 7: Richard Michael Jr. (17x), Jeff Babcock (7B)

Feature lineup

Row 1: Lanigan, Bloomquist
Row 2: Moyer Jr., McCreadie
Row 3: O'Neal, Zeigler
Row 4: Moyer Sr., Pierce
Row 5: Wells, Fuller
Row 6: Richards, Francis
Row 7: Scott, Moran
Row 8: Pearson, Bagley
Row 9: McCool, Weiss
Row 10: Pettyjohn, Mars
Row 11: Davies, Boles
Row 12: B. Smith, Norris
Row 13: Sheppard, Carrier
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