BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Josh Richards rallied from a 14th place starting position to outduel Jonathan Davenport in thrilling fashion, capturing the lead with less than five laps to go, then holding off a bonsaiing Davenport on the final lap to capture the victory on the second night of World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series action at the 45th Annual DIRTcar Nationals.
Richards, who dominated Thursday night’s 50-lap feature and won Tuesday night during DIRTcar Late Model action, did not show the speed early like he did the previous night. Richards placed eighth in the first qualifying group which was led by Gregg Satterlee, who scored the overall fast time for the night driving the Rocket Chassis number 22s Satterlee Petroleum/Keyser Manufacturing Co. machine.
Satterlee continued to showcase his speed, easily capturing his heat race, making his way into the redraw before the feature event. Unfortunately for Satterlee, he drew the sixth starting position which is the worst possible outcome in the redraw.
Drawing pole position was Chalk Hill, Pa.-native Mason Zeigler piloting the Ohiopyle Vacation Rentals/Insurance Services number 25z, with Jonathan Davenport starting to his outside.
No stranger to the front of the field, Davenport has placed his Baird Transport/Elite Concrete No. 6 on the podium each night he’s competed in the 45th Annual DIRTcar Nationals, as he captured two third place finishes and a second thus far.
When the green flag fell on the field of 31 cars, Davenport made quick work of the pole sitter, shooting around Zeigler exiting turn two on the opening lap. Zeigler found trouble early as he shot up the race track in turn one on lap 11, allowing most of the field to make their way around him.
Shortly after Zeigler’s issues, a six car pile-up that involved 2015 World of Outlaws champion Shane Clanton and 2015 Rookie of the Year Brandon Overton, slowed on track action.
The wreck, which took 10 minutes to attend to, settled the field down as the race was only slowed by one more caution, which took place five laps later on lap 16.
By this point in the feature, Richards, battling from his 14th starting position had managed to crack the top three, passing Tim McCreadie in the No. 39 Sweetner’s Plus machine for the position.
Davenport had a firm lead on the field but was slowed as he fought through lapped traffic near the halfway point in the race. With Davenport bottled up, second place Satterlee and third place Richards made their way to the leader’s rear bumper, setting up an epic duel for the Gator trophy.
Richards made his way around Satterlee for second, bringing Ivedent Lloyd Jr. with him, as the two put the leader in their crosshairs. Davenport maintained the lead, fending off challenges from Richards and Lloyd, as each took a shot at muscling their way to the front.
With less than 15 laps remaining, things heated up as the three began swapping the lead back and forth, with Davenport utilizing the bottom and lapped traffic to hold onto to the top spot.
Richards kept steady pressure on Davenport, finally making his move around the leaders outside as lapped traffic plagued the leader’s favorable inside line. Richards completed the pass but the race was not over.
Davenport tried everything he could to work his way back around Richards for the lead, as he drove deeper into turns trying to throw the leader off his line. With less than three laps remaining the two were battling side-by-side for the victory, with third place Lloyd not far behind.
In the end it was Richards who prevailed after fighting off every challenge from the second place driver and winning his 60th career World of Outlaws race in an epic showdown with only one night remaining in the DIRTcar Nationals.
“This was unbelievable,” the three-time series champion said. “We got behind early, then I ran out of tear-offs and I ran the last four laps with my [helmet] shield up.”
“I knew we had a good car. I didn’t know how traffic was going to pan out, I just tried to keep my speed up and get up through there. This track has just been awesome and I have to thank the fans for coming out, this has been an amazing speed weeks.”
Davenport settled for a second place finish, improving on his finish of third the night before, but still coming up short of capturing the elusive Gator.
“I can’t believe somebody didn’t pass us earlier than that,” the Blairsville, Ga. native said. “That’s the worst our car has been in three years. I was making more mistakes than I was making turns.
“But we came back with a second place run. Congratulations to Josh [Richards], I knew he would be coming, and congratulations to Ivedent [Lloyd], that’s two Longhorn [Chassis] up here, wish we could’ve been one and two, but Josh was a little better tonight.”
Rounding out the top three was Lloyd who captured his highest finishing position of the DIRTcar Nationals after starting the feature in the eighth position.
“We struggled earlier in the week with some brake problems and we have that figured out now,” the local Ocala, Fla.-native said. “The car was really good tonight, I just had to stay on the bottom.
“It was really fun racing those guys. I told Jonathan [Davenport] to check to make sure I passed him at least one time. We’re going to work on it and get better tomorrow.”
The World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series wrap up the 45th Annual DIRTcar Nationals on Saturday night with the big Gator trophy being awarded to the week’s overall points champion.
Great seats remain for DIRTcar Nationals and are available by calling 844-DIRT-TIX (347-8849), or by visitinghttp://www.DIRTcarNationals.com. Infield parking will be available on a first come, first served basis to all fans with a pit pass. The cost of the infield parking pass is $10 and is available at the pit gate off of turn four.
Visit http://www.DIRTcarNationals.com for the latest news and information from the event. Follow DIRTcar Nationals on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/DIRTcarNats and on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DIRTcarNationals.
-DIRTcar Nationals Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com/Bruce Nuttleman
DIRTcar Nationals Statistical Report; Feb. 19, 2016; Volusia Speedway Park; Barberville, Fla.
A-Main (50-laps): 1. 1-Josh Richards  [$10,350], 2. 6-Jonathan Davenport  [$5,150], 3. 21-Ivedent Lloyd Jr.  [$3,500], 4. 39-Tim McCreadie  [$2,650], 5. C9-Steve Casebolt  [$2,050], 6. 3s-Brian Shirley  [$1,700}, 7. 0-Scott Bloomquist  [$1,500], 8. 17M-Dale McDowell  [$1,300], 9. 1*-Chub Frank  [$1,500], 10. 21J-Billy Moyer Jr.  [$1,400], 11. 22s-Gregg Satterlee  [$1,100], 12. 5-Don O’Neal  [$1,050], 13. 7-Rick Eckert  [$1,300], 14. 99j-Frank Heckenast Jr.  [$400], 15. 40B-Kyle Bronson  [$850], 16. 20-Jimmy Owens  [$800], 17. 38s-Kenny Pettyjohn  [$820], 18. 14M-Morgan Bagley  [$950], 19. 18c-Chase Junghans  [$160], 20. 2F-Dennis Franklin  [$700], 21. 16-Justin Rattliff  [$700], 22. 76-Brandon Overton  [$110], 23. 5w-Mark Whitener  [$700], 24. 77-Jordan Yaggy  [$125], 25. 25z-Mason Zeigler  [$700], 26. 15s-Donny Schatz  [$700], 27. 99B-Boom Briggs  [$160], 28. 18-Eric Wells  [$750], 29. 25-Shane Clanton  [$800], 30. 72-Mike Norris  [$700], 31. 777-Jared Landers  [$700].