ST MARYS, Ohio (Feb. 22, 2017) – Best Performance Motorsports driver Josh Richards rallied to a top-10 finish at Bubba Raceway Park on Sunday after enduring heavy front-end damage while being swept up in a mid-race accident among lapped traffic while leading.
Sunday marked the last race of Georgia/Florida Speedweeks for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. Hungry for another win before heading home, Richards and crew showed they were going to be a force to be reckoned with, laying down the fastest qualifying lap in Group A. The 28-year-old’s time trial effort lined him up on the pole for the first Heat Race of the night and Richards easily led flag-to-flag en route to his fifth heat win of the season. His heat victory put the young driver on the pole for the 50-lap Feature.
Starting on the inside of Row 1, Richards briefly slipped back to second on Lap 1 before regaining the point position on Lap 2. Once out front, Richards began to open up some distance on the field and began working lapped cars on Lap 7. Just one circuit later, the caution flag flew restacking the field for the ensuing restart. At the drop of the green, Richards remained out front and on Lap 15 he was again catching lapped traffic. The Best Performance Motorsports driver was working his way through a gaggle of slower traffic on Lap 21, when a car spun exiting Turn 4 directly in front of him. With the lapped car facing the wrong way, Richards and the second-place car of Don O’Neal had nowhere to go and were caught in the pile-up. The contact resulted in substantial front-end damage on the No. 1 car. Having to go pit side for repairs, Richards was forced to restart at the tail-end of the field with a battered machine. Restarting in 21st, the young driver muscled his way to the top-side and began to methodically work his way forward. Though his car was heavily damaged, Richards wasn’t going to let that stop him, driving to 16th by Lap 30. With 20 laps remaining, the West Virginia native continued to rally and was inside the top-10 on Lap 45. Richards held his position in the final laps to bring home an impressive 10th-place finish.
Richards remains the leader in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series point standings coming out of Speedweeks.
The Best Performance Motorsports team is scheduled to return to racing-action Friday, March 17, at Atomic Speedway in Chillicothe, Ohio, for the Buckeye Spring 50.
Sunday Race Results
Qualifying – 1st Heat Race – 1st Feature Start -1st Feature Finish – 10th
JOSH RICHARDS QUOTES: “Our Best Performance Motorsports car was great at Ocala, (Florida). I was coming up on lapped traffic pretty quick. They were all getting bunched up on front of me and I was trying to move around and get through the lapped cars. I came off of Turn 4 and just got back on the gas when I saw a whole group of cars, and all of a sudden a car was facing the wrong way and there was nowhere to go at that point. I hit him and it spun us around, and then a car got piled on top of me.
“It’s frustrating because I knew how good our car was and I felt like we could have run up front all night. I can’t give the crew enough credit for getting me back on track after the incident so we could try and gain as many points as possible. Randall (Edwards) and the guys worked really hard and we came together as a team to be able to earn a top-10 finish. Overall we had a great Speedweeks and I’m excited to get back to racing in March.”