ST MARYS, Ohio (April 24, 2017) – Leading nearly the entire race, Josh Richards scored a convincing victory Friday at Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio. Richards also brought home an impressive fourth-place finish on Sunday at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway and rallied for a top-15 finish on Thursday after suffering a flat tire late in the race at Atomic Speedway in Waverly, Ohio.
Thursday’s event at Atomic Speedway marked the beginning of a weekend full of racing for the Best Performance Motorsports crew. Richards started the evening with qualifying where he ran the fifth quickest lap in Group B. His time trial effort lined him up in the third spot for Heat Race 3. Richards maintained his positon throughout the 10-lap event to finish third. With the top-four cars from each Heat Race transferring into the main event, Richards was guaranteed the 11th starting spot in the 50 lap Feature.
Starting on the inside of Row 6, Richards began to methodically make his way forward at the drop of the green flag. The West Virginia native was up to ninth on Lap 10 and at Lap 25 he was running in eighth. Continuing to move forward, Richards was running in seventh and about to take over the sixth spot when he suffered a flat left-rear tire on Lap 31, forcing the No. 1 machine pit side for repairs. Having to restart at the tail-end of the field in 19th, Richards was determined to make up as much ground as possible in the remaining laps. The 29-year-old muscled his way to 17th at Lap 35 and by Lap 40 he was running in sixteenth. Though he was stuck in traffic, Richards refused to give up, driving to 15th on the final lap to bring home a top-15 finish.
Friday the team traveled to Sharon Speedway, where Richards began the evening with a sixth-place qualifying effort. His qualifying result lined him up on the outside pole for Heat Race 3. Starting in second, Richards took over the top spot on Lap 8 and remained in command of the field for the final two laps to capture the heat win. By virtue of his Heat Race victory, Richards was guaranteed the third starting spot for the A-Main.
Prior to the start of the Feature, poor track conditions resulted in a unanimous vote by the top-fourteen in championship standings, to decide to award 100 show-up points to the entire field.
Though it was not a traditional points race, Richards didn’t let that deter him as he quickly jumped to the second spot on the opening lap. On Lap 4 Richards rocketed to the front of the pack and once in command of the race, he never looked back. Fighting rough track conditions that caused the car to go airborne on multiple occasions and surviving a near flip, Richards never slowed showing his determination as he led the remaining 47 laps to earn a hard-fought victory. The win marks Richards’ fourth of the season.
Saturday’s scheduled event at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway was cancelled due to inclement weather giving the teams a day off before returning to racing-action Sunday at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway.
Arriving at Port Royal Speedway, Richards was eager to get back on a track he hadn’t raced at in nearly 10 years. The night began with qualifying where Richards turned the 6th quickest lap in Group A. His time trial effort lined him up in third for the start of Heat Race 2. Stuck on the inside, Richards slipped back to fifth at the drop of the green flag, but was able to make his way back to fourth in the remaining 9 laps. With the top-four cars transferring into the Feature, Richards was slated to start 15th in the 50-lap race.
Starting back in Row 8, Richards knew he had his work cut out for him if he wanted to make his way toward the front of the field. At the drop of the green flag, the Best Performance Motorsports driver showed he was on a mission as he was up to 13th on the initial lap. At Lap 5 he was inside the top-10 and gaining ground on the front runners. A caution on Lap 20 restacked the spread-out field for the ensuing restart and Richards took advantage muscling his way past three cars when the green flag flew. Now running in seventh, the young driver continued to methodically move forward. At Lap 30 he was in sixth and at Lap 40 he had worked his way up to fourth. With the field spread out, Richards continued to gain ground on the leaders, but ultimately ran out of laps, crossing the finish line in fourth to bring home an impressive top-five finish.
Richards sits in the third position in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series point standings after racing at Port Royal Speedway.
The Best Performance Motorsports Team heads to the Land of Lincoln for a weekend of racing in Illinois April 28-29 at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Ill., and Macon (Ill.) Speedway.
Thursday Race Results
Qualifying – 5th Heat Race –3rd Feature Start – 11th Feature Finish – 15th
Friday Race Results
Qualifying–6th Heat Race – 1st Feature Start -3rd Feature Finish – 1st
Sunday Race Results
Qualifying – 6th Heat Race – 4th Feature Start – 15th Feature Finish – 4th
JOSH RICHARDS QUOTES: “We had a good solid weekend. I’m proud of our Best Performance Motorsports team. We had to overcome some adversity getting that flat-tire on Thursday, but we were able to put that behind us and rally to get a win on Friday and a solid top-five finish on Sunday.
“We had a pretty good car at Atomic Speedway, it’s unfortunate a flat-tire took us out of contention and forced us to restart deep in the field. If it weren’t for that, I feel like we had a good run going and would’ve had a solid top-five car.
“Even though the track was rough Friday at Sharon Speedway, the track crew did a great job making it raceable for the Feature. It was both mentally and physically tough on the drivers and especially the cars, but we raced as hard as we could to put on a show for the fans. It feels good to come out on top with a very fast race car.
“We got put behind qualifying and weren’t quite where we needed to be for the Heat Race at Port Royal. We worked on the car and got it where it needed to be for the Feature and I was able to drive up through the field. I’m definitely happy with a fourth-place finish.”