Driving Ernie Davis No. 25, Richards Hangs On For First World of Outlaws Late Model Series Victory Of 2011 At Winchester
Young Star's 29th Career Win Makes Him Tour's Winningest Driver Since 2004
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
WINCHESTER, VA – June 18, 2011 – It wasn't easy. It wasn't without a controversial moment. It didn't even come behind the wheel of his signature ride.
But regardless of the path Josh Richards took to victory in Saturday night's World of Outlaws Late Model Series Gunter's Honey Spring 50 at Winchester Speedway, he was concerned with only two things following the checkered flag: finally capturing his first A-Main of 2011 on the national tour and becoming the circuit's winningest driver since 2004 in the process.
Parking his father Mark's familiar Rocket house car No. 1 in favor of driving the Ernie Davis-owned Rocket No. 25 he campaigns in most non-WoO LMS events, Richards, 23, of Shinnston, W.Va., overtook Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y., for the lead on lap seven and survived a furious late-race challenge from Jamie Lathroum of Mechanicsville, Md., to snap his win drought. It was his 29th career World of Outlaws triumph, breaking his tie with Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., atop the tour's win list.
Richards's victory also continued his torrid string of performances in Davis's Roush-Yates Ford-powered machine over the last two years at the one-third-mile oval. He's now won eight times in his last 10 starts at Winchester, including three wins this season.
"It was a little big of a rough race, but I was trying all I could out there," said Richards, who earned $10,875 for his first WoO LMS victory since Oct. 13, 2010, at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in Concord, N.C. "I was real hungry for a win and (falling short) wasn't gonna be from a lack of effort.
"I'm real excited to finally get a win this year and break that tie with Francis (on the career list). It still feels unreal to be the alltime winner now."
D.J. Myers of Greencastle, Pa., scored a WoO LMS career-best finish of second, crossing the finish line 1.674 seconds behind Richards. The driver of Winchester Speedway promoter Greg Gunter's car inherited second place on lap 42 when Lathroum executed a 360-degree spin in turn two while bidding to pass Richards, but, with Lathroum continuing without bringing out a caution flag, Myers didn't have quite enough time left to make a bid for the win.
Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., ran second throughout the race's middle stages but settled for a third-place finish – his eighth top-three outing in 10 WoO LMS starts this season. Jeremy Miller of Gettysburg, Pa., came on strong during the second half of the event to place fourth and Lathroum completed the top five after his spectacular save.
Lathroum's failed attempt to steal the top spot from Richards was the pivotal – and undoubtedly most debated – moment of the race. Lathroum, after all, had made a memorable charge forward from the 10th starting spot, cracking the top five by lap eight and reaching second when he passed Lanigan on the restart following the A-Main's only caution flag, on lap 27 for the stopped car driven by Tommy Armel of Winchester, Va.
Richards maintained a six- to seven-car length edge over Lathroum for roughly 10 circuits before the gap suddenly disappeared. Lathroum began to challenge Richards on lap 39 and two circuits later dived to the inside of the leader rounding turns three and four and surged ahead. Richards managed to cross underneath Lathroum off turn four, however, and remained in front by a nose as lap 42 was scored.
The battle came to a head seconds later. When Richards slid up the track in track in turn two, Lathroum ran out of real estate on the outside and went spinning to the inside of the track. Lathroum managed to twirl completely around and get back up to speed without causing a caution flag, but he fell to fifth and never threatened again.
Richards, who started from the pole position but was outgunned for the lead at the initial green flag by Coffey, deemed Lathroum's heartbreaking fate to be a product of hard racing.
"I saw my crew guys (motioning from the infield) – I knew someone was coming," said Richards, whose team replaced his car's seized rearend following time trials. "I thought it was Lanigan, (but) it was Lathroum. He came up through there and raced hard.
"I just tried to slide up past him (in turn two on lap 42). I really thought I had him cleared, but I got into him. I just gotta apologize for that a little bit.
"I was just trying to keep the lead," he added. "I felt like we were a little bit too soft on tires, so I was just doing all I could to hold on at the end. That was definitely the hardest (race) I've ever won here."
Lathroum, who won a WoO LMS A-Main in 2009 at Delaware International Speedway, felt that the race slipped through his fingers.
"I was way better than (Richards) at the end," said Lathroum. "I should've just let him go and passed him later because I felt we were good enough, but I thought I did a good slide-job down there (turns three and four) and had him. But then he came back by me down here (turns one and two) and his right-rear just drove over the top of my nose and spun me out.
"When I seen it was clear (as he spun), I gassed it up and around it went and kept going ahead, but there went our chance. We don't run these (WoO) races but four or five times a year, so when you have a chance to win one it's a big deal to us."
Richards wasn't threatened over the final laps as he secured Davis's first-ever WoO LMS victory. The race also marked the first time in Richards's career that he entered a WoO LMS event in a car not fielded by his father.
The most emotional driver following the A-Main was Myers, who fought back tears in Victory Lane when he spoke about his runner-up finish with WoO LMS announcer Rick Eshelman. He earned the $500 WoO LMS 'Bonus Bucks' cash for being the highest-finishing driver who hasn't won a tour A-Main and wasn't ranked among the top 12 in the points standings.
"I'm gonna have a hard time talking to you," Myers told Eshelman, his voice cracking. "Last night my grandfather had open-heart surgery. He's doing O.K., but I wanted to win so bad for him. We run the wheels off that thing, but we just come up a little short.
"We'll get 'em next time. I'm gonna win one of these (World of Outlaws) races."
Coffey, who started second, faded to a sixth-place after leading laps 1-6, while his teammate, Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., started and finished seventh. Rick Eckert of York, Pa., maintained his WoO LMS points lead with a solid eighth-place finish after starting 18th; Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga., placed ninth; and third-starter Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., rounded out the top 10 after he fell out of the top five during the race's second half thanks to a tire-compound choice that was too soft.
Thirty cars entered the first-ever WoO LMS event at Winchester, which was run under a constant threat of rain. Light precipitation fell throughout the evening, but Gunter and his staff worked with tour officials to push the program along and the A-Main was checkered shortly before 9:30 p.m.
Jeremy Miller was quickest in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials with a lap of 14.647 seconds. It was his third career WoO LMS fast-time honor but first since 2008.
Heat winners were Hubbard, Richards and Lanigan, and WoO LMS Rookie of the Year points leader Pat Doar of New Richmond, Wis., captured the B-Main.
Next up on the WoO LMS schedule is the Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com on June 23-25 at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa. The weekend features full preliminary programs topped by 30-lap, $6,000-to-win A-Mains on Thurs., June 23, and Fri., June 24, and the $30,000-to-win 100-lapper on Sat., June 25.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
Results of WoO Late Model Series Gunter's Honey Spring 50 at Winchester Speedway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (1) Josh Richards/50 $10,875
2. (5) D.J. Myers/50 $5,500
3. (4) Darrell Lanigan/50 $3,650
4. (6) Jeremy Miller/50 $2,500
5. (10) Jamie Lathroum/50 $2,000
6. (2) Vic Coffey/50 $2,250
7. (7) Tim McCreadie/50 $2,050
8. (18) Rick Eckert/50 $1,850
9. (13) Shane Clanton/50 $1,750
10. (3) Austin Hubbard/50 $1,650
11. (20) Pat Doar/50 $1,850
12. (23) Chub Frank/50 $1,550
13. (17) Tim Fuller/50 $1,500
14. (8) Ronnie DeHaven/50 $900
15. (15) Gary Stuhler/50 $850
16. (16) Dan Stone/50 $800
17. (9) Clint Smith/50 $1,320
18. (11) Ron Davies/49 $1,300
19. (12) David Williams/49 $730
20. (22) Mark Pettyjohn/48 $700
21. (24) John Lobb/48 $750
22. (21) Tony Crim/30 $700
23. (14) Tommy Armel/26 $700
24. (19) J.T. Spence/25 $700
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 16 Mins., 52.387 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 1.674 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 1 (Lap 27)
Lap Leaders: Coffey (1-6); Richards (7-50)
Provisional Starters: Frank, Lobb
Rookie of the Race: Doar ($250)
WoO LMS 'Bonus Bucks' Winner: Myers ($500)
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 1M-Jeremy Miller/Gettysburg, PA 14.647
2. 91-J.T. Spence/Winchester, VA 14.773
3. 32c-Vic Coffey/Caledonia, NY 14.808
4. 19H-Austin Hubbard/Seaford, DE 14.839
5. 70J-D.J. Myers/Greencastle, PA 14.887
6. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 14.959
7. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 14.975
8. 25R-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 14.999
9. 55-David Williams/Charlotte Hall, MD 15.012
10. 21d-Dan Stone/Thompson, PA 15.041
11. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 15.133
12. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 15.136
13. 25-Shane Clanton/Fayetteville, GA 15.139
14. 71d-Ron Davies/Warren, PA 15.142
15. 17-Gary Stuhler/Greencastle, PA 15.147
16. 6L-Jamie Lathroum/Mechanicsville, MD 15.159
17. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 15.175
18. 100-Kenny Pettyjohn/Millsboro, DE 15.181
19. 22-Jill George/Cedar Falls, IA 15.269
20. 92-Walter Crouch/Bealton, VA 15.337
21. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 15.357
22. 5-Brad Omps/Winchester, VA 15.363
23. 15-Tommy Armel/Winchester, VA 15.385
24. 8-Mark Pettyjohn/Milton, DE 15.399
25. 37-Brian Tavenner/Winchester, VA 15.404
26. 13d-Jonathan DeHaven/Winchester, VA 15.451
27. 11d-Pat Doar/New Richmond, WI 15.458
28. 93-Tony Crim/Front Royal, VA 15.493
29. 1d-Ronnie DeHaven Jr./Winchester, VA 15.586
30. 1L-John Lobb/Frewsburg, NY 15.851
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Hubbard, Miller, McCreadie, Lathroum, Clanton, Stone, Crim, George, Omps, Tavenner
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Richards, Myers, R. DeHaven, Davies, Armel, Fuller, Spence, J. DeHaven, Crouch, Frank
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Lanigan, Coffey, Smith, Williams, Stuhler, Eckert, Doar, M. Pettyjohn, K. Pettyjohn, Lobb
B-Main (12 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Spence, Doar, Crim, M. Pettyjohn, K. Pettyjohn, George, Tavenner, Lobb, Omps, Frank (DNS) J. DeHaven, Crouch
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:
Arizona Sports Shirts ($100 apparel certificate to 22nd fastest qualifier): Jonathan DeHaven
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main w/decal): Ronnie DeHaven
Comp Cams ($50 cash to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Josh Richards
Comp Cams (certificate to 11th place in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Austin Hubbard
Eibach Springs (one free spring to each B-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Pat Doar
JE Pistons ($50 cash to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Josh Richards
JE Pistons (one set of Pro Seal rings to 11th-place or next highest w/decal, redeemable w/next purchase of one complete set of rings): Pat Doar
JE Pistons (one set of Pro Seal rings to 21st-place or next highest w/decal, redeemable w/next purchase of one complete set of rings): John Lobb
MSD Ignition ($75 cash to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Josh Richards
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to last-place in A-Main or next lowest w/decal): John Lobb
Ohlins Pole Award ($50 cash to fast qualifier or next highest w/decal): Jill George
Quartermaster ($100 product certificate to A-Main winner or next highest w/decal): Josh Richards
Quartermaster ($50 product certificate to 5th-place or next highest w/decal): Jamie Lathroum
Quartermaster ($25 product certificate to 15th-place or next highest w/decal): Gary Stuhler
R2C Performance ($100 certificate to highest-finishing driver w/decal or $100 cash if race winner is using R2C filter and decal is displayed): Josh Richards (cash)
STP ($50 cash to 2nd-place in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Darrell Lanigan
Superflow Dynos ($50 cash to 7th-place in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Rick Eckert
VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to winner of Heat 1 or next highest w/decal): Tim McCreadie
VP Racing Fuels 'Nice Jugs Award' (one five-gallon plastic fuel jugs to fastest qualifier who does not make the A-Main or next highest w/decal): Kenny Pettyjohn
WIX Filters ($50 cash to 13th-place in A-Main or next highest w/decal): Tim Fuller
Wrisco Aluminum (Three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner w/decal): Josh Richards
2011 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of June 18 – 11 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Rick Eckert 1636
2. Josh Richards 1624 (-12)
3. Darrell Lanigan 1586 (-50)
4. Austin Hubbard 1562 (-74)
5. Tim McCreadie 1542 (-94)
6. Chub Frank 1516 (-120)
7. Shane Clanton 1502 (-134)
8. Clint Smith 1500 (-136)
9. Tim Fuller 1416 (-220)
10. Vic Coffey 1398 (-238)
11. Pat Doar 1350 (-286)
12. Ron Davies 1280 (-356)
13. John Lobb 1206 (-430)
14. Jill George 1160 (-476)
15. Jason Feger 1010 (-626)
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award), McCarthy's One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award), Chizmark Larson Insurance, Factory Value Parts and RacingJunk.com; in addition to contingency sponsors Comp Cams, Eibach Springs, JE Pistons, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, Pro Power Engines, Quartermaster, Rocket Chassis, R2C Performance, Superflow Dynos, Wix Filters and Wrisco Aluminum.