TAMPA, FL (February 6, 2009) – Josh Richards of Shinnston, WV picked up his second ever win with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, in a little over 14 hours as the 20-year-old racer won the event on Friday Afternoon at East Bay Raceway Park. Richards, who was the dominant driver on Thursday Night, took the lead on lap two from Rick Eckert of York, PA and then had to withstand two late charges by Eckert in the closing lap, holding on for the $5,000 victory. Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpenterville, IL placed third followed by Billy Moyer of Batesville, AR and 19th place finisher, Steve Francis. The event was the make-up show for the rain-out on Monday Night.
Moyer, who came into the race leading the DART Winternationals points fund for the week, started on the pole with Eckert alongside. Eckert jumped to the lead winning the initial battle for track position as Moyer fell to fifth almost immediately. Richards, who started fourth on the grid continued his red-hot performance as the driver of the Ernie Davis #25 bolted to the lead on lap two passing Eckert for the top spot.
Tennessee driver Tommy Kerr started off the race well, running as high as third in the early goings, but Kerr would see Dan Stone pass him on lap three. Moyer would regroup from a rough start to get back into third place on what was turning out to be a very racy track under the bright Florida sunshine.
Richards was up to a five-car length lead over Eckert, who was looking for his first win in a Bloomquist Chassis, as the veteran driver held a solid line in second as a torrid battle was underway for third between Moyer, Kerr, Stone and now Dennis Erb Jr. Eckert was gaining ground on Richards closing to within two car lengths as Richards had a scary moment, he made a daring move through three cars on lap 13.
With 13 laps completed, the first caution of the race appeared for Oklahoman Tommy Weder, who was making his first ever East Bay start as he spun in turn two. On the restart, Richards would be out in front his lonesome as Eckert and Moyer were lined up side-by-side on the Delaware double-file restart.
Richards continued to advance his lead over Eckert, Moyer, Stone and Erb all running nose to tail in positions three through five. With less than ten laps to go, Weder again brought out the caution as he stopped in turn number two. Richards again led the field at the restart with the green flag coming out with eight laps to go.
Erb made a nice pass on Moyer for third with seven laps to go to take the third spot. The race for the lead was starting to heat up as Eckert’s car started to work better than Richards’ off the corners; he would close to Richards’ bumper on several occasions in the waning laps.
Eckert took two shots at Richards for the lead, twice coming alongside of him coming off of turn number two, but Eckert could never completely clear Richards heading into turn three; Richards denied him twice as he headed to the finish line for his second Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win, just over 14 hours after his first.
In Lucas Oil Victory Lane, Richards commented on his victory, “We didn’t get much sleep last night, Tim McCreadie was over there with us, but we worked on the car enough […] we didn’t change a whole lot from last night, the track was bumpy in turn two, which nearly cost us a couple of times, but I want to thank Ernie and Connie Davis and everyone with the team, they did a great job out there today. “
“The last time he [Eckert] pulled up alongside me, I knew if I got a good run off of the turn, I was going to be alright and now we’ll get ready for tonight and hope we can do it again. I’d also like to thank Robbie Allen and everyone at Integra Shocks, Sunoco Race Fuels, Rocket Chassis and Cornett Engines for their help and the fans for coming out today, it’s nice that it’s finally warmed up some.”
Finishing second was Eckert in the Raye Vest owned, Raye Vest Excavating, Bloomquist Race Cars Cadillac with Erb in his Thomason Express, Rhyne Competition, C.J. Rayburn Impala SS having another strong run with a third place finish with Moyer in his Watters Auto Land, Clements Engines, Moyer Victory Circle M1 Chassis Monte Carlo SS placing fourth and Francis, who put his Thursday struggles behind charged from his 19th starting spot to finish fifth in the Dale Beitler, Reliable Painting, Rocket GTO.
Completing the top ten were Brady Smith, Dan Stone, and 23rd starting Ray Cook, who earned the PBM/Erson Cams Hard Charger of the Race, Scott James and Tim Fuller.
In preliminary action, Dan Schlieper set a new East Bay Raceway Park Late Model track record with a lap time of 14.136 seconds. The previous Late Model record was held by Ohio’s Jason Montgomery at 14.151 set back in 2003. Heat race winners were Billy Moyer, Tommy Kerr, Rick Eckert and Josh Richards. The consy winners were Chris Wall and Tim Fuller.
Tonight will be a complete $10,000 to win Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series starting with hot laps at 5:00 pm and heat race action will get underway at 7:00PM. The racing action from the 33rd Annual DART Winternationals at East Bay Raceway can be head live via internet beginning at 7:00 PM Eastern Time at www.dirtnation.net.
To find out more about the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, log on to www.lucasdirt.com or call the series office at (951) 532-2503.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Friday Afternoon, February 6, 2009
East Bay Raceway Park – Gibsonton, FL
PRC Fast Time: Dan Schlieper/14.136 seconds (NTR)
Hawk Brake First Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Billy Moyer, Dan Stone, Tim Dohm, Brad Neat, Chris Wall, Davey Johnson, Chad Mahder, Wayne Chinn, Shon Flanary, Danny Mitchell, Scott Slay, Travis Varnadore, Chuck Hummer, Eddie Carrier Jr., Steve Shaver
Hawk Brake Second Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Tommy Kerr, Brady Smith, Don O’Neal, Tim Isenberg, Justin Rattliff, Jeep VanWormer, Mike Collins, Terry English, Steve Francis, Ray Cook, Chris Shannon, Donnie Moran, Bob Geiger, Earl Pearson Jr.
AFCO Racing Products Third Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Rick Eckert, Dennis Erb Jr., Jeremy Faircloth, Dan Schlieper, Scott James, Eric Jacobsen, Victor Lee, Joe Loudin, Eric Wells, Adam Ferri, Brandon Thirlby, Brad Eitniear, Jordan Bland, Ricky Arms, Russ Adams – DNS
Tiger Rear Ends Fourth Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Josh Richards, Matt Miller, Tommy Weder, Dale McDowell, Tim Fuller, Tyler Ivey, Dillan White, Tyler Bruening, Jason McBride, Mark Pettyjohn, Butch Strait, AJ Kirkpatrick, Clint Smith, Russ King – DNS
Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock Dyno First B-Main (12 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Chris Wall, Steve Francis, Jeep VanWormer, Ray Cook, Terry English, Justin Rattliff, Eddie Carrier Jr., Travis Varnadore, Shon Flanary, Chad Mahder, Chuck Hummer, Donnie Moran, Scott Slay, Chris Shannon, Mike Collins, Steve Shaver, Danny Mitchell, Wayne Chinn, Bob Geiger, Davey Johnson, Earl Pearson Jr. – DNS
Wiles Drive Shafts Second B-Main (12 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Tim Fuller, Scott James, Eric Wells, Eric Jacobsen, Victor Lee, Clint Smith, Tyler Bruening, Jason McBride, Mark Pettyjohn, Dillan White, Adam Ferri, Brad Eitniear, Brandon Thirlby, Tyler Ivey, Butch Strait, Joe Loudin – DNS, AJ Kirkpatrick – DNS, Jordan Bland – DNS, Ricky Arms – DNS, Russ Adams – DNS, Russ King – DNS
33rd Annual Dart Winternationals Night 4 Feature Finish (30 Laps): Josh Richards, Rick Eckert, Dennis Erb Jr., Billy Moyer, Steve Francis, Brady Smith, Dan Stone, Ray Cook, Scott James, Tim Fuller, Donnie Moran, Tommy Kerr, Matt Miller, Chris Wall, Tim Dohm, Eric Jacobsen, Tim Isenberg, Don O’Neal, Tommy Weder, Eric Wells, Brad Neat, Dale McDowell, Jeremy Faircloth, Dan Schlieper, Jeep VanWormer
Caution Flags: 2
Lap Leaders: Rick Eckert 1, Josh Richards 2-30
PRC Strawberry Dash Provisional: Donnie Moran
PBM/Erson Cams Hard Charger of the Race: Ray Cook (Started 23rd and finished 8th – advanced 15 positions)
Allstar Performance Performer of the Race: Rick Eckert
K&N Filters Clean Pass of the Race: Josh Richards
Quarter Master Rookie of the Race: Jeep VanWormer
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race: Kevin Miller (Steve Francis)
Comp Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Cornett Racing Engines
Time of the Race: 14 minutes
33rd Annual Dart Winternationals Points Standings
1. Billy Moyer 920
2. Josh Richards 850
3. Rick Eckert 820
4. Matt Miller 795
5. Dennis Erb Jr. 730
6. Steve Francis 720
7. Brady Smith 715
8. Dan Schlieper 655
9. Tim Dohm 645
10. Donnie Moran 605