Richards cruised alone out front for most of the race, which was slowed by just a single caution flag on lap nine for a turn-four tangle involving John Blankenship and Don Angellichio. Clanton, 36, drew close only when Richards began nearing slower cars.
“We got a little closer there at the end because I think Josh didn’t want to get in lapped traffic,” said Clanton, who remained second in the WoO LMS points standings, 28 points behind Richards. “With a rubbered-up (afternoon) racetrack it’s kind of hard to deal with lapped traffic, so he just done his job. He got out there to the lead and didn’t make any mistakes.
“We’re pretty good, but we got some work to do to catch the ‘1’ car.”
Richards is confident entering tonight’s $30,000-to-win Firecracker 100. He will start the first heat race from the pole position.
“Overall we really didn’t make any changes to the car from Thursday night,” said Richards, who outdueled Steve Shaver to win the first preliminary A-Main. “I know the track was different today, but I still feel like it had a pretty good balance to it. I know the racetrack is gonna be 180-degrees different tonight, but I feel pretty good about our chances.”
Fifty-nine cars were signed in for Saturday afternoon’s racing program.
Ohlins Shocks Time Trials were split into ‘A’ and ‘B’ groups, with the first half competing for starting positions in heats one and two and the second half racing against the clock to align heats three and four. Andrew Reaume of Blenheim, Ont., was one of the first drivers on the track in Group ‘A’ and clicked off a lap of 16.260 seconds that was the fastest overall of the night.
Reaume’s first-ever WoO LMS fast-time honor made him just the second Canadian to achieve the milestone. He joined Ricky Weiss of Winnipeg, Manitoba, who was the quickest qualifier in 2008 at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D.
Heat winners were Clanton, Rick Eckert of York, Pa., Hubbard, Satterlee, Richards and Landers. The B-Mains were captured Blankenship, Morgan Bagley of Longview, Texas, and Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss.