ST MARYS, Ohio (July 26, 2017) – In his first appearance at Macon (Ill.) Speedway Josh Richards scored a thrilling victory, outdueling local favorite Shannon Babb Tuesday night.
Tuesday marked the last night of a two week Midwestern race swing and Richards and crew wanted to end their trip in Victory Lane. Having never raced on the small, one-fifth-mile clay oval, Richards took to the track for the first time during hot laps and qualifying. He ran the third quickest circuit in his hot lap group and went on to qualify 12th quickest overall. His time trial effort lined him up in fourth for the start of his 10-lap heat race. At the drop of the green flag, Richards advanced to third and maintained that position throughout. His third place-finish guaranteed the West Virginia native the ninth starting spot for the 100-lap finale.
Starting on the inside of Row 5, Richards got bunched up on start and dropped to 11th during the opening laps. It didn’t take long for the Best Performance Motorsports driver to start moving forward and at Lap 4 he had muscled his way to eighth. Almost immediately encountering lapped traffic on the tiny track, Richards maneuvered through the lapped cars while continuing to advance at a steady pace. He was up to seventh at Lap 9 and running in sixth at Lap 17. The 29-year-old driver remained in sixth until a Lap 28 caution period allowed him to capitalize on the ensuing restart and take over the fifth spot. Just four laps later the yellow flag flew again restacking the field. When the green flag waved, Richards drove low in a daring move and rocketed to the third position. With the leaders just in front of him, Richards was relentless taking over the second spot on Lap 39. Determined to make it to the point positon, he drove low lap after lap putting pressure on leader Shannon Babb until he was finally able to complete the pass on Lap 60. Now in command of the race, Richards tried to distance himself from the lead pack, but lapped cars made it nearly impossible. With 40 laps remaining, Richards fought off repeated challenges from Babb while maneuvering through traffic. Just when it looked as if he was going to collect the win, the caution flag flew on Lap 99, setting the field up for a one-lap shootout. Richards didn’t disappoint, giving it all he had on the final restart to outduel Babb for his ninth victory of the season in a thrilling race.
Richards’ win advanced his lead in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series point standings 215 points over second-place Scott Bloomquist.
The Best Performance Motorsports team is scheduled to return to action Aug. 10-12 at Florence Speedway in Union, Kentucky.
Tuesday Race Results
Qualifying – 12th Heat Race –3rd Feature Start –9th Feature Finish –1st
JOSH RICHARDS QUOTES: “When you are at Macon (Speedway) and you have Shannon Babb on your bumper it makes you nervous even with one lap to go. I can’t thank my team enough. It was my first time at Macon and it was a super fun track to race. It might even be one of my favorite tracks to run on now. I didn’t know quite what to do in hot laps. So, we went back and made some changes for the heat race and feature.
“We just did what we thought would work best. The bottom was good early and then it developed a black streak. I went to the top for a while and got up there where he (Babb) was running. I just tried to ride it out and find a good pace and it worked out.”