The deciding move in the headliner — the first WoO LMS event at WVMS since the three-decade-old track was reconfigured in 2012 from a sprawling five-eighths-mile oval to a shorter four-tenths-mile layout – came when Richards seized an opportunity to slide underneath McCreadie through turns three and four as the race’s early pacesetter was hampered by a slower machine on lap 14.
“I was confident we could get by him. I just didn’t know when or where,” said Richards, who drove his father Mark’s familiar Valvoline-sponsored Rocket Chassis house car. “I would’ve rather have done it in a race condition, but I guess that’s part of racing. Lapped traffic got real hairy for awhile there.”
The only driver who appeared capable of threatening Richards was Eckert, who passed McCreadie for second on lap 17 and drew within a car length of Richards before a caution flag flew on lap 22 for a slowing Lanigan. Eckert’s bid ended before it could gain any steam, however, when he pulled up lame in turn two on the ensuing restart and was pushed to the pit area.
Richards easily handled three more restarts – on laps 28, 34 and 44 — en route to a comfortable 2.732-second triumph over Shaver’s Rumley Motorsports Longhorn car.
“After I moved around at the end of the race I felt like we got better,” said Richards, who exceeded the $200,000 mark in season earnings with his victory. “I knew the tire wear was probably an issue, so I’d try to run a hard lap and then ride awhile. I tried to find a comfort zone and it worked out.”
Shaver, 49, advanced from the sixth starting spot to finish in the runner-up spot. He grabbed second place from Johnson on the lap-34 restart and turned back Johnson’s late-race challenges to preserve the position.
The bridesmaid finish was Shaver’s second to Richards on the 2013 WoO LMS, duplicating his effort in the June 27 Firecracker 100 preliminary A-Main at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa.
“He could turn better and keep his momentum up better,” Shaver said. “I was kind of tight and had to scoot it and just couldn’t keep my speed up.
“I’ll take second. Earlier in the race I felt like we were struggling a little bit, but it just kept coming to me. I just feel fortunate to be able to win last night and finish second tonight with these guys.”
Josh Richards, Steve Shaver, Davey Johnson, Darrell Lanigan, Scott Bloomquist, Tim McCreadie, Clint Smith, Shane Clanton, Rod Conley, Morgan Bagley, Bub McCool, Chub Frank, Sonny Conley, Eric Wells, Chuck Harper, Bryan Casey, Tom Hendrix, Rick Eckert, Jared Hawkins, Steve Lucas, Chris Garnes, Tim Fuller, Corey Conley.