ST MARYS, Ohio (July 5, 2017) – Josh Richards dominated the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Fourth of July weekend, leading flag-to-flag at both Portsmouth (Ohio) Raceway Park and Mansfield (Ohio) Speedway to collect back-to-back victories on Saturday and Sunday. Richards also scored a top-five finish on Monday at Muskingum County Speedway in Zanesville, Ohio.
The Best Performance Motorsports team began their weekend of racing in the Buckeye State at Portsmouth on Friday. The night started with Richards taking to the track for hot laps where he turned the quickest circuit in his group. Next up was qualifying and again Richards clicked off the fastest lap to earn the night’s Fast-Time Award. His time trial effort lined him up on the pole for Heat Race 1 and the 29-year-old continued his dominance, leading all 10 laps en route to the heat victory. His heat race win guaranteed him the first starting spot for the 60-lap Feature.
Starting on the pole, Richards didn’t waste any time putting some distance between himself and the rest of the field. As the race went on he continued to outpace his competitors, enduring five caution periods and contending with lapped traffic throughout. Never challenged, Richards led all 60 laps to collect his fifth victory of the year and gain valuable Lucas Oil Championship points.
Sunday the team traveled to Mansfield Speedway, a track converted from asphalt to dirt earlier this year. The team began the night with hot laps and qualifying, but transponder issues only allowed for one qualifying lap and Richards had to settle for the fifth quickest time overall. Starting on the outside-pole of Heat Race 2, the young driver didn’t waste any time making his way to the point position on Lap 1. Richards continued his success from the night before, leading all 10 laps to bring home the heat win by nearly a straightaway. His heat race victory lined him up in the second starting spot for the 50-lap Feature.
At the drop of the green flag, Richards surged to the front and was credited with leading Lap 1. Once in command of the race, the West Virginia native quickly began to put distance between himself and the rest of the field. Richards found himself navigating lapped traffic for the majority of the event as only two caution flags slowed the race, but nothing could stop Richards from being the class of the field as he led flag-to-flag for the second night in a row. The win marked his 6th victory of the season.
Monday looked as if Richards was again going to be a force to be reckoned with at Muskingum County Speedway as he ran the quickest circuit in his hot lap group and the fastest lap in Group B qualifying. Despite having the top-time in his qualifying group, Richards was forced to be pushed to the pit area after breaking an oil pump on his second lap of time trials. The Best Performance Motorsports team quickly went to work pulling out the backup car and getting it ready before the start of Heat Race 3. Though Richards was slated to start on the pole, he was forced to start at the tail-end of the field in ninth for switching cars. When the green flag flew for Heat Race 3, he quickly began to work his way forward making it to the fourth and final transfer position before the finish of the 10-lap event. By virtue of his heat finish, Richards was guaranteed the 14th starting spot in the Feature.
Starting in 14th, the Best Performance Motorsports driver muscled his way to 10th on Lap 1. At Lap 10 he was up to eighth and remained there for the majority of the race enduring 8 caution periods. Lap 47 marked the final caution of the night and Richards capitalized on the ensuing restart making his way to fifth at Lap 50. The West Virginia driver was able to maintain his position for the final 10 laps to bring home a solid top-five finish.
Richards’ outstanding weekend moved him to the second position in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series point standings, only 15 points out of the top spot.
The Best Performance Motorsports team is scheduled to return to action July 6 at Fayetteville (N.C.) Motor Speedway, July 7 at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, S.C. and July 8 at Smokey Mountain Speedway in Maryville, Tennessee.
Saturday Race Results
Qualifying – 1st Heat Race –1st Feature Start –1st Feature Finish–1st
Sunday Race Results
Qualifying – 5th Heat Race –1st Feature Start –2nd Feature Finish –1st
Monday Race Results
Qualifying – 1st Heat Race –4th Feature Start–14th Feature Finish –5th
JOSH RICHARDS QUOTES: “I’m so proud of our whole team. Our Best Performance Motorsports car was phenomenal. It was so much fun to drive and I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend of racing.
“We haven’t done a whole lot of racing lately. We only had one Lucas Oil race in June, but we have a busy schedule for July, so it’s a good way to kick off the month. We have been working extremely hard on this car over the last month. I can’t thank everyone enough at Best Performance Motorsports for this opportunity. It’s been awesome and a lot of fun.
“I want to thank Randall (Edwards) and Tyler (Nevins) and everyone back at the shop. I want to thank my wife for her support. I think we have hit on somethings that are going to help us moving forward.”