Richards Takes Topless Showdown

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Josh Richards accepts the checkered flag after his victory at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., Thursday night. (HHP/Sam Cranston Photo)

Josh Richards accepts the checkered flag after his victory at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., Thursday night. (HHP/Sam Cranston Photo)

CONCORD, N.C. — Josh Richards took home the trophy for his eighth victory of the 2009 season in the World of Outlaws Late Model Showdown presented by Hungry-Man Thursday night at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Richards started from the second position and cruised to a full straightaway lead by the time the race reached the halfway mark.

"This year has been a dream come true to win as many races, to be in contention for the championship with (Steve) Francis," said Richards in victory lane. "I think Francis and I are in the same heat tomorrow and I don’t know about Saturday night, but it’s definitely been close all year. Steve’s an awesome guy to race with."

It was Richards’ second win at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway. His first win at the four-tenths-mile clay oval came last year in the World of Outlaws World Finals.

The Showdown ran caution free until lap 47 when Austin Hubbard slowed on the backstretch and came to a stop at the exit to the pits.

On the restart, Scott Bloomquist put up a fight for the lead, but the yellow flag waived again less than a lap later as Eric Jacobsen spun on the frontstretch. When the race restarted again with two laps to go, Richards pulled away from Bloomquist to lead the final laps.

Richards, who is locked in a tight battle for the World of Outlaws Late Model Series championship with Steve Francis, passed Francis on the outside to take the lead on lap 12. The rest of the field was unable to catch Richards, but there was three-wide racing and fierce battles throughout.

Bloomquist was able to hold on to second place over Francis. Chris Madden and Earl Pearson Jr. rounded out the top-five finishers.

Originally scheduled for Oct. 14, the Showdown was postponed due to weather until Wednesday. Several incidents during heat races then forced officials to postpone the feature event until after qualifying rounds for the World of Outlaws World Finals Thursday.