KNOXVILLE, Iowa — In his first visit to Knoxville Raceway since 2010, Josh Richards captured the opening night of the 10th annual Lucas Oil Knoxville Late Model Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores.
Richards took the lead from Brandon Sheppard on lap eight and led the remainder of the race for the $7,000 victory in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series-sanctioned event.
Richards took the Mark Richards Racing Rocket Ford to victory lane ahead of Darrell Lanigan, Jason Feger, Dale McDowel and Bub McCool.
“It’s great to be back here, I love this place,” Richards said. “It’s hard to believe it has been three years. The track was great as always and it’s one of my favorite tracks, no doubt. I could hear him (Lanigan) a few times, but I just kept my line. I had a couple of issues in turn two and he was able to pull along-side me a few times.”
Sheppard took the lead at the start of the 25-lapper and looked dominant in the early going. A red flag for a multi-car accident involving Jimmy Owens, Dennis Erb Jr., and Joel Callahan halted the action with seven laps complete. All drivers escaped unharmed, but their cars were done for the night.
When the race went green again, Richards made the pass for the lead on Sheppard. Richards then had to fight off several challenges from Lanigan as he held the lead to the finish. Feger made it close towards the end, rallying on the topside to earn a podium finish.
“We had a really good car. He (Richards) was just a tick better tonight. We aren’t used to this hard-tire rule, but it’s the same for everyone. The crew did a great job. The track was great as always here. We got some good points tonight, so we’ll tune on the car even more tomorrow,” said Lanigan.
In preliminary action Don O’Neal set the RED BUCK Fast Time (Group A) with a lap of 17.363 seconds. Dale McDowell set the RED BUCK Fast Time (Group B) with a lap of 17.718 seconds.
Josh Richards, Darrell Lanigan, Jason Feger, Dale McDowell, Bub McCool, Billy Moyer, Chad Simpson, John Blankenship, Brandon Sheppard, Earl Pearson Jr., Don O’Neal, Steve Francis, Morgan Bagley, Eddie Carrier Jr., Jason Utter, Jared Landers, Tony Jackson Jr., Ryan Unzicker, Frank Heckenast Jr., Scott Bloomquist, Austin Hubbard, Joel Callahan, Dennis Erb Jr., Jimmy Owens.