ST MARYS, Ohio (Aug. 22, 2017) – Josh Richards scored an impressive eighth-place finish after two flat tires sent him pit side in the wild, caution-filled, Topless 100 at Batesville (Ark.) Motor Speedway on Sunday.
The two-night show, at the three-eights-mile Arkansas track, began Friday with qualifying and heat races. The Best Performance Motorsports driver started the evening by turning the fourth fastest qualifying lap in Group A. Richards’ time trial effort lined him up on the outside-pole for Heat Race 2. At the drop of the green flag, Richards remained in second until taking over the lead on Lap 9 of the 15-lap event. His heat race win guaranteed him the third starting spot for Saturday’s scheduled Topless 100.
Heavy rain showers Saturday evening, forced race officials to postpone the start of the 100-lap finale to Sunday afternoon.
Starting in third for the Feature, Richards maintained his positon after the drop green flag. The field quickly spread out single-file, with no passing among the frontrunners. Richards began to encounter lapped traffic on Lap 15 while continuing to run in third. The first of 13 caution flags flew on Lap 24 for multiple cars with flat tires, proving to be the theme for the remainder of the event. With the track rubbered and only one lane of racing, officials decided to enforce single-file restarts for the entirety of the event. Restarting in third, Richards closed in on the back bumper of the second-place car and tried to complete the pass, but was unable to do so on the one-lane track. Continuing on in third, the caution flag flew on Lap 42 and 43 for more tire failures. Taking advantage of the ensuing restart, Richards was able to take over the second spot on Lap 44. He remained in second until a flat-tire caused him to pit under caution on Lap 65. Restarting at the tail-end of the field in 23rd, the West Virginia native methodically began to make his way back toward the front. He was scored in 19th on Lap 76 and up to 10th on Lap 88. Caution flags flew the next two laps and on Lap 89, the 29-year-old driver again came to the pits with a flat tire. Restarting in the back, a multi-car pileup in front of Richards on Lap 90 sent him careening off the track as he tried to evade the melee. Though he flew off the track, he avoided any substantial damage and restarted in the 14th spot. With 10-laps remaining, Richards gave it his all as he muscled his way back inside the top-10 to finish eighth in the wild 100-lap finale.
Richards remains first in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series point standings after racing at Batesville Motor Speedway.
The Best Performance Motorsports team is scheduled to return to action Saturday, Aug. 26 at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway.
Friday Race Results
Qualifying – 4th Heat Race – 1st
Sunday Race Results
Feature Start -3rd Feature Finish – 8th
JOSH RICHARDS QUOTE: “What a wild weekend. I felt like our Best Performance Motorsports car was pretty good. We were decent on Friday during qualifying and the heat race. We made some changes for Sunday and the car felt good. I knew tires were going to be an issue from the beginning and I was just trying to ride it out and be as easy as I could on my tires. I saw everyone start pitting for flats and I knew it was only a matter of time before I had to come in for a new tire. After our first flat we were able to get up through the field pretty good, but that second flat came so late in the race it was hard to make up much ground. All things considered, I’ll take an eighth-place finish. We’ll regroup this week and be ready to go get them Saturday at Lawrenceburg (Speedway).”