GIBSONTON, Fla. – Josh Richards survived a caution-filled make-up feature to earn his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory of the season in Thursday’s nightcap at East Bay Raceway Park.
The 2017 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion started inside of the fifth row and raced to his first victory of the Winternationals. The race was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but was postponed to Thursday evening due to weather.
Richards took the lead on lap seven from Mark Whitener and then proceeded to lead the rest of the way to score his 32nd career win with the tour and his eighth at East Bay Raceway Park. Brandon Overton crossed the finish line a little over a second behind the winner, in second. Hudson O’Neal finished third followed by Brian Shirley and Devin Moran.
Whitener was looking for the biggest win of his super late model career and bolted to the lead at the start on the second main event of the night. Richards quickly went to the front and was second by the fourth circuit. Richards made his move on Whitener, grabbing the lead with seven laps scored.
Overton moved to second on lap nine while Whitener remained in the top three until he suffered a flat tire with five laps to go. A caution with one lap to go set up a dash to the finish, with Richards holding off Overton for the victory.
Richards went to Lucas Oil Victory Lane piloting a brand new race car.
“I was really frustrated in that first race,” Richards said of the first race on Thursday. “I felt like we had a really good car, but we had to take a provisional and we moved up a little and then we just ended up destroying our primary car in a wreck. I can’t thank the Mason Zeigler crew enough for all of their help in getting this thing ready for the second feature. I felt like in then first few laps it was going to be critical to get to the front and it paid off.”
Overton is the current series point leader heading into the final two nights of racing this week at East Bay.
“I tried to not make any mistakes and then had to hope we still had enough air in the tires to make it to the end,” said Overton. “I was worried about my left rear tire, we went soft on it, but it held up. I was scared to death I was going to get a flat. So, I just eased up on the restarts to try and save them.”
O’Neal earned his second podium finish for Double Down Motorsports so far this week after winning the Winternationals opener.
“I was very concerned about my tires,” O’Neal admitted. “You try to drive it straight and keep my tires underneath of me for a good part of the race. We didn’t have a very good first feature tonight, but we rebounded nicely in the second round.”
Josh Richards, Brandon Overton, Hudson O’Neal, Brian Shirley, Devin Moran, Ricky Thornton Jr., Frank Heckenast Jr., Kyle Bronson, Brandon Sheppard, Jimmy Owens, Rick Eckert, Dennis Erb Jr., Tyler Erb, Billy Moyer Jr., Tim McCreadie, John Baker, Earl Pearson Jr., Tanner English, Chase Junghans, Mark Whitener, Kyle Strickler, Bobby Pierce, Jonathan Davenport, Boom Briggs, Tony Jackson Jr., Wil Herrington, Mike Marlar, Blair Nothdurft.