MIDDLEBOURNE, W.Va. – West Virginia native Josh Richards won his first Hillbilly Hundred on Sunday night at Tyler County Speedway.
The 31-year-old grew up coming to the track, and led all 100 laps to score the $30,000 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory in front of a capacity crowd.
Richards’ third Lucas Oil win of the season came over defending Hillbilly Hundred winner Brandon Overton, Tim McCreadie, 20th-starting Shanon Buckingham and Jimmy Owens.
Richards fought off the challenges of Owens for the first 80 laps of the race, as they ran first and second for that entire distance until a caution flag with 20 laps to go changed the complexion of the race.
On the restart, Richards maintained his lead, but McCreadie moved into second. At one point, McCreadie, Overton and Buckingham raced three-wide around the tight bullring for the second position.
A caution with seven laps to go then set up a quick dash to the finish. Richards again pulled away to pick up the win, while Overton passed McCreadie with two laps remaining.
In front of a partisan West Virginia crowd, the home state driver had accomplished one of his life-long dreams, winning America’s oldest dirt late model crown jewel event.
“I don’t know if I wanted to see that last caution. I wanted to get a couple of lap cars between myself and those other guys,” admitted Richards. “You never really know what you’ve got. The right rear tire was getting a little warmer than I wanted. The car was phenomenal, though. The guys did a great job on the car.
“I used to come here with my uncle Robbie Scott and watch everybody win this race; guys like Davey Johnson, who drove for my dad won this race. I want to thank the crowd; they are great as always tonight … and thanks to Carl Short for putting on this event.”
Richards was finally happy to get a representative finish for his Clint Bowyer Racing team.
“We have had a good car all year long. We have had a lot of speed. We just don’t have the finishes we deserve. It’s pretty cool to finally win this race,” he noted. “I would have liked to have seen it go all 100 laps without (a) caution. Once you’re out there, you are laser focused. I felt like I had some pretty good distance from the lapped cars. The track was smooth all night, and it was a fun race.”
Overton, who captured the 50th anniversary of the Hillbilly Hundred last year, entered the event with a two-race win streak at Tyler County.
“That was a good race. It’s like being a day late and a dollar short,” Overton said. “My hat is off to Josh and his crew for the win. They deserved it. Rocket Chassis ran first and second, so that’s good. We’ve had a good weekend to come with the win last year and second tonight we are very pleased with that.
“I felt like we had a winning car; we just ran out of laps.”
McCreadie topped off his weekend with his third podium finish in as many nights.
“That’s the way it goes, when that last caution came out,” McCreadie said. “Our car got too snug. I had to run so hard early on to get to the front. It was a racy little track tonight for sure. The track was drier than last year and that made it racier. I hope everybody had a great time watching that. It was great fun racing out there tonight.”
Josh Richards, Brandon Overton, Tim McCreadie, Shanon Buckingham, Jimmy Owens, Jonathan Davenport, Jared Hawkins, Tanner English, Devin Moran, Tyler Erb, Chase Junghans, Johnny Scott, Stormy Scott, Chris Ferguson, Kyle Bronson, Brandon Sheppard, Don O’Neal, Billy Moyer Jr., Mike Benedum, Hudson O’Neal, Earl Pearson Jr., Colten Burdette, Derek Doll, Travis Brown, Kyle Thomas, Shane Hitt.