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Richards Dominates WoO Craftsman Late Model Opener at DIRTcar Nationals February 18, 2016

Richards Dominates WoO Craftsman Late Model Opener at DIRTcar Nationals

BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 18, 2016 – Josh Richards controlled the top position in his Valvoline/Rocket Chassis house car No. 1 Thursday night as he dominated the 50-lap feature event at Volusia Speedway Park and scored the $10,000-to-win opening night of World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series action at the 45th Annual DIRTcar Nationals.

Richards, who captured a victory on Monday night during the DIRTcar Late Models portion of the DIRTcar Nationals, showed his speed early on Thursday night as he paced his qualifying group with the fast time. Richards fell just short of claiming the overall quick time which went to Brian Shirley in the second qualifying group.

The Shinnston, W.Va. native carried his speed to the heat race, as he easily rocketed his way to victory, placing himself in the redraw for the top six starting positions. Richards utilized speed early in the night, then received some luck as he drew the pole position for the feature event.

Dale McDowell, who finished third Wednesday night, drew the second starting position for his Bad Boy Off Road /UNOH No. 17M. McDowell tried to rattle Richards early in the race, but Richards escaped the challenge from the second place starter and stretched out to a sizeable lead.

Scott Bloomquist, a winner already at the 2016 edition of DIRTcar Nationals, started in the fifth position but quickly made his way into the top three in his Reec Monument/Crop Production Services No. 0. Bloomquist looked to have the speed to catch Richards early in the feature, but was challenged by Jonathan Davenport, who finished second and third on the two previous nights.

Davenport and Bloomquist battled side-by-side for the fourth position, at one point even splitting third place starter Austin Smith. As the battle continued, 2006 World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series champion Tim McCreadie fought his way from a ninth starting position to join the battle for third, eventually passing both drivers for the position.

McCreadie’s top three run was short lived as Bloomquist made his way back around the driver of the No. 39 Sweetner’s Plus machine, just a lap before McCreadie suffered a flat tire, sending him to the tail-end of the field.

At the front of the field, Richards spent most of his night leading the charge through lapped traffic as 29 drivers started the feature event that was slowed by only four cautions. The final caution fell with nine laps to go, bringing McDowell and third placed Davenport, who had finally completed the pass on Bloomquist, to Richards’ rear bumper.

McDowell and Davenport stayed glued to the leader once the green flag fell, but Richards proved to be too strong for his adversaries as he lead flag-to-flag for his first World of Outlaws victory of the season.

“It has been a lot of fun,” Richards said. “We gambled a little bit on tires, so I was kind of nervous and didn’t know how it was going to hold up. We got stuck in lapped traffic and actually moved up [the race track] and gained speed.

“The guys have been giving me great cars every night, it’s been a dream to drive them, and it has been a fun speed weeks...I have had an awesome career, it’s been a lot of fun to race and have a car to compete for wins with.”

McDowell improved on his Wednesday night performance by one position on Thursday, but could never get close enough to steal the Gator trophy from the eventual winner.

“We got better in qualifying tonight then struggled in the heat races,” the 49-year-old veteran said. “Starting position is everything, and we have been fortunate enough to start up front. Our car has been good, so we will keep working at it and hopefully get a win before the end of the weekend.”

Davenport rounded out the top three as he battled all night from the fourth position to maintain his solid performance at DIRTcar Nationals.

“I really want to take one of those Gator trophies home with me,” the Blairsville, Ga. native said. “We’re just missing it by a little bit. Tonight I was a too free going down the back straightaway.

“Congratulations to Josh [Richards], they picked the right tire. I thought me, Dale [McDowell] and Scott [Bloomquist] had the right tire on to get down the back straightaway, but it didn’t seem to matter.”

For more news visit www.woolms.com 

Sheppard Wins DIRTcar Nationals Barn Burner February 18, 2016

Sheppard Wins DIRTcar Nationals Barn Burner

BARBERVILLE, Fla. - Feb. 18, 2016 - Thursday night's 30-lap Modified DIRTcar Nationals main-event at Volusia Speedway Park came down to a battle between two of the best Super DIRTcar Series drivers in the Northeast. Matt Sheppard and Larry Wight duked it out for the final 10 laps of the feature race with Sheppard coming out on top at the checkered flag.

Sheppard's win came behind the wheel of his self-owned No. 9s Bicknell. The Waterloo, N.Y., driver split with Heinke-Baldwin Racing over the winter after a successful 2015 that saw him win the series title. This forced Sheppard to go in a different direction this year. Sheppard chose to start his own team and it quickly paid dividends as he marched to his seventh career DIRTcar Nationals triumph.

"This is unreal," said Sheppard. "It was such a crazy off-season for us; building this team in such a short period of time. We can say I'm going out on my own but not really. I got a ton of great people that have stepped up to help out. Everything really came together. The crew has been busting their butt all night on this car. We had trouble in qualifying, we had trouble in the heat race and they never gave up. Man two races in and we are sitting in Victory Lane already that is awesome."

Wight redrew the pole and was flanked for the start by opening night winner Tim Fuller. Wight surged to the lead at the start before caution slowed the pace after only one lap. Billy VanInwegen caught the inner guardrail and shot up the bank collecting several cars in turns three and four. Everyone was able to continue except VanInwegen as his night came to an end with front end damage.

The field restarted with Wight at the point but he quickly lost two positions as both Labauch and Fuller shot by in turns one and two. Laubach raced to the lead with Fuller looking to his outside as they battled down the backstretch. Laubach would come out on top as the race leader.

Laubach set a torrid pace from this point as Fuller did everything in his power to remain in the thick of things at the front of the field. Laubach continued to distance himself with Fuller searching around as the high-line that propelled him to victory wasn't as strong as it was on Wednesday night.

Action began picking up as the race reached the halfway point. Laubach caught the tail of the field which impeded his progress as he had to work through traffic. The rest of the field took advantage and closed the gap. Laubach led with Fuller second while Wight and Sheppard swapped the third position lap after lap.

With just eight circuits left, Sheppard and Wight pounced on Laubach and Fuller. Fuller faded while Laubach got boxed in by a slower car on the bottom allowing Sheppard to roll the middle and Wight to use the extreme outside. The three drivers waged a fierce battle for the lead until Sheppard finally edged in front on lap 24.

"He (Laubach) got jammed up and I was able to roll around the outside of him there," he said. "The key thing was I was able to go around the lapped car into one and then I got it turned fast enough to get down to the bottom to get that good run off of one and down the backstretch. That's what sealed the deal for us."

Even though Sheppard was able to wrestle the lead from Laubach he still had to hold off Wight. Wight began slamming the cushion in his LJL Racing Teo Pro Car. This allowed him to stay within striking distance of Sheppard. Sheppard altered his line just slightly to find the bite off of turn two. This alteration provided him the opportunity to gain some breathing room as he worked through traffic quickly.

"It got pretty hectic out there," Sheppard said. "I was pretty good on the bottom. I ran out of tear offs with about five or six to go. That was a little nerve wracking. I'm just so thankful to be able to hang on to win this for everybody."

Sheppard scored the win over Wight by 1.2 seconds. Wight wheeled his No. 99L around the cushion but it wasn't enough to pull off the upset victory in the closing laps.

"We've been doing a lot of testing down here," Wight said. "We are trying to use it for all we can. I think tonight we had a really good car. It took me a little too long to find the top of one and two. We were in the middle of three and four. Right there at the end traffic got the best of me. Matt (Sheppard) was able to get down to the bottom and run away from me."

Wight was hoping to add a Small Gator trophy to the Big Gator trophy he won at the conclusion of 2015. A second DIRTcar Nationals title is a possibility now that he has two top five finishes on the week. He'll continue to search for a win in the final two nights of competition.

"This Gypsum Wholesalers car has been phenomenal," Wight said. "To come down here and try and pick it up twice would be great. I can't thank the crew enough."

Laubach, a Modified standout in his own right from Hellertown, Pa., was able to hang on to the final spot on the podium. He was disappointed with how the race played out. He said he felt like the slower car may have cost him an opportunity for a DIRTcar Nationals win for the second year in a row.

"You want to win one," said Labuach. "I didn't think I was going to get the lead from those guys. Then I started pulling away from them and I was comfortable before I got caught up in the lapped traffic. That guy wouldn't get out of my way. If I could have just got by him I think I could have held them off. That is part of it, I just wasn't good enough to get by him so it is what it is."


Stewart Friesen rallied late from his 10th starting spot to finish in fourth while Erick Rudolph came from seventh to complete the top five.

For more news visit www.superdirtcarseries.com 

Fuller Flies High in DIRTcar Nationals Opener for Big-Block Modifieds February 17, 2016

Fuller Flies High in DIRTcar Nationals Opener for Big-Block Modifieds

By Mike Mallett

BARBERVILLE, Fla. - Feb. 17, 2016 - For the first time since 2007, Tim Fuller parked his Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified on the front stretch at the Volusia Speedway Park as a feature winner. The Edwards, N.Y., driver drove his familiar No. 19 to the win in the opening 30-lap feature for the Modifieds as part of the 45th Annual DIRTcar Nationals.

Fuller started on the inside of the second row and wasted little time in moving to the front. Fuller grabbed second early before using a restart in the first third of the race to drive around opening lap leader Tyler Dippel. From there, Fuller survived numerous restarts and challenges from long-time friend Billy Dunn to earn his sixth career win at the speedway.

"It's been a lot of years since I've been here," Fuller said in victory lane. "First and foremost I have to thank my car owners (Rauschers). To be able to come down here and to be able to do this for four days in the dead of winter is unbelievable. I dragged a crew man down from Scranton, Pa., Brett Tonkin, because I had no one coming down with me and this is all for them."

Tyler Siri and Dippel shared the front row of the start of the 2016 Big-Block Modified season with Dippel charging by Siri for the lead at the exit of turn two on the bottom of the opening circuit. Siri looked for a way back by the Wallkill, N.Y., teenager but as he looked for an advantage Fuller found the fast line and drove into the runner-up spot.

Once he got to second, Fuller moved up to the top groove with his Enders powered Bicknell while Dippel continued to try and make laps on the bottom. This allowed Fuller to work his way by Dippel for the lead on lap six. Before another lap could be completed, Siri brought out the first caution of the night as he slowed with a flat tire.

"I went to the top and started winging it," Fuller said about his move for the lead. "If you can get to that top and your car is good enough that you don't push it is the predominant groove here."

Fuller elected to use the outside of the front row for the restart and he blasted into the cushion to hold off Dippel. Dippel meanwhile had his hands full with Dunn. Dunn drove by Dippel on the top, securing the second spot as they came off of turn four.

As Fuller paced the field, the action behind him and Dunn picked up with Dippel, Billy Pauch and Larry Wight all battling for the third position. Pauch was able to fend them off each time to hold onto third.

By the time the race reached the midway point, Fuller had extended his lead over Dunn and began to work slower traffic. He stayed on the upper portion of the speedway with Dunn in tow. Pauch remained third with Dippel and Wight getting together. This caused Dippel to catch the wall off of turn two. Dippel stopped with a damaged race car necessitating a second caution.

Dunn gave Fuller all he could handle on the restart as he looked down low and slid up the speedway to pull alongside of Fuller as they exited the second turn. They remained that way all the way down the backstretch before Fuller barley cleared him on the top of turn three with Dunn trying to keep pace off of four.

"Billy Dunn got up inside me and it really scared me," Fuller said. "I started to turn it up a little bit. If you watched Race-Monitor I probably picked it up two or three tenths because I started trying a little bit harder. I was just out there in cruise mode and when he blasted up there inside of me on that restart I picked it up and was determined not to lose it."

Fuller pulled away from that point. He blasted the cushion harder and harder each lap increasing his lead over the Dunn. That lead was negated one final time on lap 23 as Eldon Payne's car blew a right rear tire which caused him to slow in turn three.

Dunn and everyone else had one more shot at Fuller on the restart. Fuller made sure that he wasn't going to be denied as he drove into one and caught the cushion perfectly running away from the rest of the competition. Dunn remained in second by himself while Pauch and Wight renewed their battle for the final spot on the podium.

Fuller took the checkered flag nearly three seconds in front of Dunn. For Dunn, of Watertown, N.Y., it was a good night considering he had never turned a lap at the track prior to Tuesday night's practice session.

"This is a new track and a new car," Dunn said about his Bicknell. "Bob Slack and I tried some strange stuff on the car and it's got a lot of promise but it needs a lot of work. It just got too tight there the last 10 laps. The harder I drove it the worse I was."

Dunn had one chance where he could have thrown the slide job on Fuller and it may have been possible for him to take the lead and keep it. He did not pull it off forcing him to settle in for second.

"I got a good run on the bottom on the one restart and if I could have slid up in front him I probably could have held him off, but the best car won tonight," he said. "We are close we just need to do a little bit of work."

Pauch, of Frenchtown, N.J., finished in the third positon after starting the main from the outside of the second row. Pauch tried to get in the mix early for the lead but settled in to the third position as the race became a battle for the preferred line on the cushion. It was his ninth career third place finish at Volusia.

"It's nice to make the podium and come up here," Pauch said. "I have to congratulate Tim Fuller. He deserves a win down here. He runs hard. I was trying to beat him to the front there and I thought I had him before he got me back. It was wild there when we were running three-wide."

Wight, the 2015 DIRTcar Nationals Big-Block Modified champion, finished in the fourth position while defending Super DIRTcar Series champion Matt Sheppard completed the top five.

For more news visit www.dirtcarnationals.com

Photo courtesy of www.dirttrackdigest.com 

Richards Rockets to Victory at DIRTcar Nationals February 16, 2016

Richards Rockets to Victory at DIRTcar Nationals

BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 16, 2016 – Three-time World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series champion Josh Richards continued his hot streak Tuesday night, starting from the front row en route to scoring the checkered flag on night two of DIRTcar Late Models week at the 45th Annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.

Driving the Valvoline, Rocket Chassis house car, Richards showed his speed early in the night, winning his heat race then drawing the pole position in the re-draw. Gregg Satterlee, piloting the Satterlee Petroleum No. 22, started on the outside of row one.

A native of Indiana, Penn., Satterlee challenged Richards on the initial start but fell back as Richards muscled his way to an early lead. With Richards out front, the action took place behind the leader. Drivers from third to 24th battled side-by-side, and even three-wide for much of the race.

Drivers such as World of Outlaws regular Rick Eckert and Billy Moyer Jr. charged their way to the front utilizing a track that allowed for multiple lanes of racing. Eckert navigated his No. 7 Monumental Paving and Excavating, Longhorn Chassis from the tail-end of the field to a fifth placed finish.

At the front of the field, Richards set a blistering pace, but a red-hot Jonathan Davenport and 2006 World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series champion Tim McCreadie lurked behind the leader after they both maneuvered around a fading Satterlee to crack the top three. Davenport, running the top line had chances on multiple restarts to slingshot around Richards for the lead, but could never complete the pass.

Richards eventually pulled away from Davenport on a restart with three laps to go, leaving Davenport to battle with McCreadie for the runner-up position. McCreadie eventually overtook Davenport for second, but never had a shot at the leader who dominated his way to another victory in the young 2016 season, his first DIRTcar Nationals win of the week.

“It sure wasn’t pretty but we will take it,” Richards said. “I saw [Davenport] in second and knew I had to give it all I had.

“It was touchy out there. There was a lot of traction in spots. If you could get through it smoothly, which was hard to do, then you could gain some speed. You don’t really know when you’re leading who’s behind you and how fast they’re going. It was a handful but we will take it, we have a long week to go.”

McCreadie started at the front of the field and maintained a top-five run the entire race, finishing only behind Richards.

“We’re digging all the time, I just don’t know where I need to be most nights,” the Watertown, N.Y.-native said. “It was fun. The track was rough – it had some character, but you could at least pass when guys made mistakes.

“We’re just working every day to get this Longhorn [Chassis] better. It’s not easy but we are working our tails off. For the time we have in the car it’s amazing the strides we have made to be able to run with Richards and Davenport and be competitive.”

Even though Davenport faded in the final laps, he still ran top three much of the night, showing how strong he has been so far in 2016.

“We didn’t have anything for Josh [Richards],” Davenport, who started in the 12th position, said. “I gave it all I had that last restart, but we did good getting to where we finished. That’s the best I have ever finished – I had a third here one time.

“This place is just a little different. I need to watch the videos and see what I’m doing right and wrong and get it tuned in here for tomorrow.”

For more news visit www.dirtcarnationals.com 

Clanton Claims Thriller on Opening Night of Winter Freeze VI February 12, 2016

Clanton Claims Thriller on Opening Night of Winter Freeze VI

SYLVANIA, G.A. – Feb. 12, 2016 – Defending World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series champion Shane Clanton rocketed around both Josh Richards and Jason Covert in one pass as he claimed the season opener at Screven Motor Speedway’s Winter Freeze VI on Friday.

Clanton started from the sixth position but made quick work powering his way into the top three. Richards, who is in the midst of a hot streak, drew the pole-positon after winning his heat race earlier in the night.

Richards led just two laps before second place starter Covert battled past. Covert controlled the field for the first half of the race but could never pull away from Richards and eventually a hard-charging Clanton.

Clanton saw an opening in turn four on lap 15 when Richards pulled even with Covert for the lead. Clanton rocketed his car to the outside of the leaders, creating a three-wide drag race for the lead as they approached lapped traffic.

Clanton, a native of Zebulon, Ga., completed the pass in turn one on the following lap, with Richards settling into second. Richards stayed glued to Clanton’s back bumper, taking shots at the leader on multiple occasions but Clanton held on to the lead and dominated the remaining laps, winning the opening night of Winter Freeze VI at Screven Motor Speedway.

“It was a phenomenal race,” Clanton said. “Sometimes it sucks being the leader and catching that many lapped cars going two and three-wide. Covert didn’t know to run the top [line] because he has never been here before, but you can lean on that top.

“The experience being around this place as much as I have really helps out. It boosts our confidence to come in here and win and beat the hottest guy in the pit area. Josh [Richards] hasn’t finished outside the top three yet this year, but to be able to beat him and outrun him on the first night we have raced against him this year, that feels pretty good.”

Richards settled for second after challenging for the lead all night, which is an improvement on his results from this race last year in which he finished fourth.

“We had a great car, we definitely had a car good enough to win,” the Shinnston, W.Va. native said. “We were following Covert there and got jammed up in lapped traffic and got stuck on the bottom.

“Clanton got a good run and got around us, then after that it was going to be hard to get back in front of him. I feel like at the end of the race we were better than him, but the way the lapped traffic played out it was hard to get back up there.”

For more news visit www.woolms.com

Photo courtesy of www.woolms.com

Gustin Grabs Win at Shady Oaks February 12, 2016

Gustin Grabs Win at Shady Oaks

GOLIAD, Texas—Ryan Gustin led all 35 laps Friday night at the Shady Oaks Speedway to score his 72nd career United States Modified Touring Series victory.

The 2011-2012 USMTS national champion beat Joe Duvall to the first corner at the start of the race and never relinquished the top spot en route to collecting $3,000 for his effort. Duvall stayed close to Gustin for the first ten laps before yielding the second position to Jesse Sobbing on lap 11 following a caution flag.

Sobbing hunted Gustin the rest of the distance but was never able to mount a serious challenge to ‘The Reaper’ and had to settle for the runner-up finish ahead of Cade Dillard, Duvall and Zack VanderBeek, who came from the 14th starting spot and earned the KSE Hard Charger Award.

Jason Hughes was sixth, Casey Arneson finished seventh, Cody Leonard earned and eighth-place paycheck, Philip Houston claimed the ninth position and Scott Drake completed the top ten.

After two rounds, Dillard emerged as the points leader in the Production Jars Southern Region presented by Day Motor Sports. Hughes, Duvall, Sobbing and VanderBeek fill the next four slots.

For more news visit www.usmts.com

Photo courtesy of www.usmts.com