Richards Wins Opening Night of Lucas Oil Knoxville Late Model Nationals
Story By: Jeremy Shields/LOLMDS
Photos By: Heath Lawson/LOLMDS
KNOXVILLE, IOWA (September 14, 2017)- Current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series point leader, Josh Richards took the lead on lap 16 from Jared Landers and then held off Landers to take the opening night of the 14th Annual Lucas Oil Knoxville Late Model Nationals at Knoxville Raceway. Richards started ninth on the grid and darted around leader Jimmy Owens, who pulled out of the race while leading.
Landers – who missed the events at Knoxville Raceway last year due to health issues – finished second in the Larry Moring Motorsports, Black Diamond. Jonathan Davenport finished third in the G.R. Smith, Rocket Chassis. Brandon Sheppard finished in fourth, and Don O’Neal completed the top five.
The 25-lap race saw four different leaders with Kyle Bronson, Landers, Owens, and Richards each holding the top spot during the race. The 29-year-old Richards who has four second-place finishes in the $40,000 finale on Saturday night is seeking his first career win in the crown jewel event.
“We had a really good car,” said the winner in Lucas Oil Victory Lane. “I hate it for Jimmy. He had a good car as well. I am not sure whether an oil line came off or what. Our car felt good on the bottom. We need to work on it some for Saturday’s big one. That cushion up against the wall was a little too treacherous for me. It feels good to get a win tonight. ”
“The car was really fast. This track is tricky. We have never won the big one here at Knoxville so this would be a good weekend to get it done. To get a big night under our belts like tonight means a lot. We will work on it tomorrow and hopefully be even better tomorrow night. ”
The Eric and Kelly Brock-owned, Best Performance Motorsports, Rocket Chassis is powered by a Durham Racing Engine and sponsored by Bulk Material Lift, Valvoline, Corey Frazier-State Farm, Keyser, Riggs Motorsports, Integra, Sunoco, Alexander Lawn and Landscaping, and Ultimate Firepit.
Landers charged hard at the end, but couldn’t catch Richards even in traffic. “Thanks to all the crew guys for their help. This is a brand-new car – the first-time we have been on the track with it. I am happy right now. We had a good shot to win tonight.”
Davenport took the third spot after starting seventh. “I finally found a line I liked out there. It was tricky through one and two there. We will take some good notes from tonight and be ready for tomorrow night.”
Completing the top ten were Jimmy Mars, Dale McDowell, Bobby Pierce, Shannon Babb, and Chase Junghans.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Thursday, September 14th, 2017
Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals
Knoxville Raceway – Knoxville, IA
Miller Welders Fast Time Group A: Jonathan Davenport / 17.258 seconds
Miller Welders Fast Time Group B: Scott Bloomquist / 17.218 seconds
Eibach Springs Heat Race #1 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): Jonathan Davenport, Jason Feger, Chase Junghans, Tyler Bruening, Ryan Gustin, Rodney Sanders, Chris Spieker, Joey Moriarty, Mike Fryer, Earl Pearson, Jr.
FK Rod Ends Heat Race #2 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): Don O’Neal, Matt Furman, Jesse Stovall, Jeremiah Hurst, Brian Shirley, Tim McCreadie, Joel Callahan, Kent Robinson, Scott James
Simpson Performance Products Heat Race #3 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): Josh Richards, Jimmy Owens, Jared Landers, Brent Larson, Jay Johnson, Jordan Yaggy, Colton Flinner, Jake O’Neil, Jason Rauen
QA1 Heat Race #4 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): Spencer Diercks, Timothy Culp, Shannon Babb, Scott Bloomquist, Chad Simpson, Dennis Erb, Jr., Tyler Erb, Billy Moyer, Boom Briggs, Justin Duty
DirtOnDirt.com Heat Race #5 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): Steve Francis, Hudson O’Neal, Kyle Bronson, John Anderson, Gregg Satterlee, Billy Moyer, Jr., Darrell Lanigan, Randy Timms, Tim Lance
ASi Racewear Heat Race #6 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): Mike Marlar, Jimmy Mars, Dale McDowell, Brandon Sheppard, Chris Simpson, Bobby Pierce, Jonathan Brauns, Dave Eckrich, Bob King
Penske Racing Shocks C-Main Finish (12 Laps, Top 4 Transfer to Back of B-Main): Darrell Lanigan, Earl Pearson, Jr., Tyler Erb, Boom Briggs, Kent Robinson, Jonathan Brauns, Tim Lance, Joey Moriarty, Dave Eckrich, Randy Timms, Billy Moyer, Chris Spieker, Joel Callahan, Justin Duty, Mike Fryer, Jake O’Neil, , Colton Flinner, Jason Rauen-DNS, Scott James-DNS, Bob King-DNS
Fast Shafts B-Main Finish (15 Laps, Top 6 Transfer to Back of A-Main): Scott Bloomquist, Gregg Satterlee, Brian Shirley, Brandon Sheppard, Chad Simpson, Bobby Pierce, Chris Simpson, Tim McCreadie, Earl Pearson, Jr., Dennis Erb, Jr., Jeremiah Hurst, Brent Larson, Billy Moyer, Jr., Jordan Yaggy, Boom Briggs, Ryan Gustin, Jay Johnson, John Anderson, Rodney Sanders, Tyler Bruening, Darrell Lanigan, Tyler Erb
Feature Finish (25 Laps):
New Berlin, IL
Mt. Vernon, IA
Bowling Green, KY
Rochester Mills, PA
Lap Leaders: Kyle Bronson (Lap 1); Jared Landers (Laps 2 – 13); Jimmy Owens (Laps 14 – 15); Josh Richards (Laps 16 – 25)
Cautions: Steve Francis (Lap 4); Hudson O’Neal (Lap 10)
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: n/a
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Emergency Provisionals: n/a
Wrisco Feature Winner: Josh Richards
Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race: Brandon Sheppard (Started: 22nd; Finished: 4th; Advanced 18 Positions)
Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: Josh Richards
Allstar Performance Power Move of the Race: Brandon Sheppard
Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Josh Richards
Hot Rod Processing Rookie of the Race: Hudson O’Neal
COMP Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Durham Racing Engines
Ohlins Shocks Chassis Builder of the Race: Rocket Chassis
Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race: Randall Edwards (Josh Richards)
Fastest Lap of the Race: Kyle Bronson (Lap #1 – 18.8090 seconds)
Safecraft Most Laps Led: Jared Landers (11 Laps)
PFC Brakes Pole Award: Jared Landers
Time of Race: 16 minutes 28 seconds