MIDDLEBOURNE, W. Va. — Josh Richards found a truly memorable way to capture his first dirt late model victory in his home state.
The 25-year-old superstar from Shinnston, W.Va., pulled off one of the most dramatic triumphs of his career on Saturday night, passing Tim Fuller on the final circuit of the 30-lap World of Outlaws Late Model Series A-Main that kicked off the Jackpot 100 Presented by NAPA Auto Parts weekend at Tyler County Speedway.
Richards beat Fuller to the finish line by a mere 0.154 of a second for a win worth $6,150. It was the third WoO LMS victory of the season for the tour’s two-time champion and current points leader, who happily tasted success in his native Mountaineer State for the first time in his 10 years as a dirt Late Model driver.
“It’s cool to finally get one in front of the home crowd,” said Richards, whose appearances at tracks in West Virginia have been limited during a career focused on national touring. “It’s been pretty hard to do. I think we counted up in 10 years we only raced in the state seven or eight times.”
Fuller, 45, was a disappointed runner-up after starting from the outside pole position and leading laps 14-29. It was his best finish of the 2013 WoO LMS campaign, but his winless streak on the tour reached 113 races since he last reached victory lane on June 17, 2010, at Merrittville Speedway in Thorold, Ont.
Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., battled forward from the 10th starting spot to finish within striking distance of the leaders in third place. Rick Eckert started and finished fourth and Shane Clanton salvaged his night with a hard-fought advance from the 2 nd starting spot to fifth place.
Richards, who started eighth after picking the worst pill in the A-Main redraw, caught some breaks on his way to the checkered flag. Most notably, he gained valuable track position when Tim McCreadie, who started from the pole and authoritatively led the race’s first 13 laps, relinquished the top spot during a lap-13 caution period due to a flat right-front tire and, during another caution two circuits later, Steve Casebolt Jr. gave up second place because his car’s driveshaft broke.
“I know McCreadie had a flat and Casebolt broke,” said Richards, who recorded his 42nd career win on the WoO LMS. “We lucked into a few spots. I don’t know if we could’ve got by them.”