That wasn’t always an easy task. Richards built a lead of as much as a straightaway over McCreadie, who moved from the seventh starting spot to second by lap three, but the gap shrunk when Richards’s Valvoline-sponsored Rocket Chassis house car became enveloped by slower cars.
On lap 37 McCreadie caught Richards, ducking inside the leader on the backstretch. McCreadie pulled alongside Richards again the following, but Richards fought off the threat by aggressively slipping between the lapped cars driven by Eric Wells and John Mason racing down the homestretch on lap 39.
“It was a little hairy in lapped traffic,” said Richards, who registered his 46th career win on the WoO LMS. “They would dirty the track a little bit and take all the air off your car, so any little hole you got, you gotta take it. I didn’t know McCreadie was there, but I knew that he was pretty close as slow as we were going there.”
McCreadie, 39, was unable to stick with Richards over the final laps, but the former WoO LMS champion was more than satisfied with his bridesmaid finish in his Sweeteners Plus Warrior.
“We ran the same tires in the feature we ran in the heat – and we were horrible in the heat,” said McCreadie, who won the Wild West Tour opener on July 5 at Asmoil Speedway in Superior, Wis. “The track just looked like it kept peeling open and getting softer, and (before the feature) I told the guys (on his crew), ‘Well, what do you think?’ They came up with a combination, and I thank them because I was stumped all night.
“I’m just happy to come home second. Traffic helped us catch Josh. We both got clean (on the track) there and he was a little bit better.”
Lanigan, 43, authored the night’s most stirring drive, tearing through the field after his opening-lap misfortune. His car’s left-rear tire was cut in the jam-up that occurred when the polesitting Wells got out of shape between turns one and two.
“We went down in there and the 18 got a little sideways and I checked for him and the guy behind me got me,” said Lanigan, who reached third place on lap 43 but was too far behind McCreadie to bid for another position. “It really wasn’t his fault. We were all checking up – just a racing incident.
“We just got another tire and put the hammer down. The car was awesome. One caution and I think we would’ve been right there. But we didn’t get a caution and wound up third.”
Richards topped the 26-car field in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials, turning a lap of 18.043 seconds to earn his series-leading fifth fast-time honor of 2013.
Josh Richards, Tim McCreadie, Darrell Lanigan, Brady Smith, Chub Frank, Shane Clanton, Clint Smith, Ricky Weiss, Tim Fuller, Rick Eckert, Eric Wells, Pat Doar, Morgan Bagley, Shane Edginton, Jimmy Mars, Bub McCool, John Mason, Bill Mooney, Brad Seng, Scott Greer, Steve Anderson, Ward Imrie, Mike Balcaen, Steffen Snare.