Hess, who started from the pole position, was outgunned for the lead at the initial start by WoO LMS rookie Eric Wells. But Hess pushed his Craiger-powered Rocket past Wells for the top spot on lap two and maintained firm control for the remainder of the distance.
Running hard on the top side of the three-eighths-mile oval, Hess kept Richards and the rest of the star-studded field at bay. He understood that he had to be flawless to reach the checkered flag first.
“You gotta have your car perfect, have the right tires on and then drive a perfect race,” said Hess, noting the ingredients for success in a WoO LMS event. “You know guys like Josh Richards and Darrell Lanigan, they ain’t gonna make mistakes. So if you make any, it’ll put you behind.
“My cars felt real great around that top of one and two, but that berm was pretty tall so if you got into it very hard it really got you out of a shape. It scared me a few times, but I knew I had to push it as hard as I could because Josh and Darrell would be coming.”
Hess threw every last bit of caution to the wind following the race’s final restart, which came on lap 36 after George Lee slowed to bring out a yellow flag.
“It seemed like every restart the car would just be great for about six, seven, eight laps, and then it would start laying down just a little bit and losing a little bit of traction,” said Hess. “I knew I just had to push it as hard as I could on that last restart and hope I could build enough cushion to hold ‘em off.”
Richards showed his nose to Hess entering turn one on the lap-36 restart, but he never got his Rocket Chassis house car close enough to challenge Hess again over the remaining circuits.
“We had a really good car but I was a little too tight to run up on the cushion off of (turn) two,” said Richards, who recorded his series-leading 11 th top-five finish in 14 A-Mains this season. “That’s where he would really get a run.”
“Dave’s a really great race car driver and I’m glad to see those guys get a win. He did a great job.”
Richards’s runner-up finish allowed him to extended his WoO LMS points lead to 32 markers over Shane Clanton.
Dave Hess Jr., Josh Richards, Darrell Lanigan, Rick Eckert, Chub Frank, Bub McCool, Eric Wells, Morgan Bagley, Gregg Satterlee, Tim Fuller, Doug Drown, Russ King, Corey Conley, Ryan Markham, Shane Clanton, Davey Johnson, George Lee, Shane McLoughlin, Tim McCreadie, Zack Dohm, J.R. Gentry, Steve Casebolt Jr., Clint Smith, Ron Davies.