KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Josh Richards showed his speed at Knoxville Raceway, winning the $7,000-to-win feature event on Friday night.
Richards also captured Thursday Nights’ preliminary feature. On Saturday, Richards can become the second driver in the history of the Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals to sweep all three nights. Billy Moyer completed the feat in 2010.
Jimmy Owens came home in second followed by A.J. Diemel, Earl Pearson Jr. and 21st-starting Tim McCreadie.
The 25-lap main event got off to a rocky start with a pair of caution flags during the first five laps of the race. Jimmy Owens led the first four laps, until A.J. Diemel took over the point. Diemel held the lead for four circuits until Richards powered by him on lap nine.
“It was a crazy start to the race,” said Richards, who is racing at Knoxville for the first time in three years. “Our car was real good again tonight. This track suits our driving style, and we go into the turns wide open and let the car rotate through the turns. As I said last night, this is one of my favorite tracks. I certainly have missed coming here the last three years, and to win the first two nights, it’s just unbelievable.”
Richards held a sizable lead over Diemel and Owens with ten laps to go. Owens tried several times to get around Diemel. Finally, with seven to go, Owens made the pass on Diemel for second, coming out of turn number two. A caution with five laps to go set-up a dash between Richards and Owens, but Richards prevailed, holding off Owens for the victory.
“We were having electrical problems on the restarts, it was cracking and popping,” said Owens. “I thought it was going to die on us, and then finally it ran like it should towards the end. We got around him (Diemel), but Josh was already so far out in front, we weren’t going to catch him. We got that caution with five to go, and I was going to try a move going into one, but if I couldn’t clear him, I wasn’t going to take a chance of tearing us both up.”
In preliminary action Ryan Gustin set the RED BUCK Fast Time (Group A) with a lap of 17.941 seconds. John Blankenship set the RED BUCK Fast Time (Group B) with a lap of 18.021 seconds.
Josh Richards, Jimmy Owens, A.J. Diemel, Earl Pearson Jr., Tim McCreadie, Steve Francis, Jimmy Mars, Jason Feger, Ryan Gustin, John Blankenship, Scott Bloomquist, Brady Smith, Jason Utter, Eddie Carrier Jr., Chris Simpson, Matt Furman, Ryan Unzicker, Rodney Sanders, Darrell Lanigan, Billy Moyer, Shannon Babb, Don O’Neal, Chad Simpson, Dale McDowell.