WHEATLAND, Mo. — Terry Richards held off Kyle Clark on two late-race restarts to earn the opening-night preliminary feature for the POWRi Lucas Oil WAR Sprints during the Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial at Lucas Oil Speedway.
Mario Clouser finished third with Tyler Thomas in fourth as half the entrants took part in night one action. The remaining POWRi cars will be in action on Friday.
“Every time you have a restart with just a couple to go, you feel the pressure,” Richards said of the tense finish. “They’re all back on you. You lost the lead that you had and you lost your rhythm.”
Richards got the jump from his front-row starting position and led the first 10 laps. But Thomas Meseraull, who started seventh, worked his way into second and was putting the pressure on the lead.
Meseraull made a pass at the start-finish line to take the lead to complete lap 11 and the two battled side by side for much of the next three laps. That’s when Richards, using a crossover move in turns three and four, regained the lead.
“If Thomas hadn’t showed me to move up, he’d have drove around me,” Richards said. “Once I started picking up the pace and moved up into the rubber … I didn’t quite realize there was rubber there. A great job by him, he raced me clean. Everybody raced me clean.”
A caution flag on lap 16 bunched things up and Kyle Clark quickly moved into second after the restart and gave chase to Richards with Meseraull third. Another caution three laps from the finish set up a three-car race to the finish.
Richards and Clark were battling it out for the lead taking the white flag when the cars of Ryan Kitchen, Brandon Mattox and Casey Wills tangled on the front stretch to bring out the red flag. Mattox got upside down, but all three drivers climbed out of their cars under their own power.
On the green-white-checkered restart, Meseraull spun in turn one while challenging Clark for second. That sent the California driver from third to the back of the pack, not only costing him a chance at a victory but points toward Saturday night’s feature lineup.
Terry Richards, Kyle Clark, Mario Clauser, Landon Simon, Tyler Thomas, Chris Phillips, Ty Hulsey, Chris Parkinson, Slater Helt, Clinton Boyles, Korey Weyant, Wesley Smith, Casey Baker, Katlynn Leer, Dylan Kadous, Thomas Meseraull, Ryan Kent, Casey Wills, Brandon Mattox, Ryan Kitchen.