‘Kid Rocket’ Ends Busy Stretch With Strong Performances At The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
March 12, 2007 - Break? What break? Teenage sensation Josh Richards hasn’t sat idle during a one-month lull in action for the 360 OTC World of Outlaws Late Model Series. He’s actually been busier than ever.
The 18-year-old from Shinnston, W.Va., closed out his frenetic early-season stretch last weekend, traveling across the country to compete in a pair of 30-lap Western All-Stars Late Model Series events at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He was a major contender both nights, finishing third in the Thursday (March 8) A-Main and running second in the Friday (March 9) headliner until a blown right-rear tire ended his bid just a couple laps shy of the checkered flag.
Driving a Cornett Chevy-powered Rocket Chassis car from the 07 Motorsports stable of Colorado dirt Late Model standout Kelly Boen, Josh fell short of capturing a feature but certainly enjoyed his first-ever appearance at the immaculate half-mile oval.
“We didn’t quite get the results we wanted, but it was a fun trip,” said the popular youngster known as ‘Kid Rocket.’ “I had only driven by The Dirt Track one time before this weekend, so it was exciting to get a chance to race there. It’s such a nice facility, and having the (NASCAR) Nextel Cup race in town (at the adjoining superspeedway) gave the weekend a real good atmosphere.”
Still riding high from his victory in the 360 OTC WoO LMS season opener on Feb. 17 at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla., Josh was hopeful of carrying his momentum to Vegas. He did that during the first night of the Western All-Stars meet, charging from the 13th starting spot to finish third in the 30-lap A-Main – despite unwittingly running the entire program with a suspension problem.
“We found out later that the right-rear shock was bound up all night,” said Josh, who crossed the finish line behind winner Jimmy Mars and Boen. “That made the car real loose.”
With the problem corrected and additional changes made to get Josh more comfortable in the car, the Mountaineer State racer had his eyes focused on winning Friday night’s feature. He stamped himself as a favorite by topping the fifth qualifying heat, then finished third (from the sixth starting spot) in the dash to earn an inside second-row start for the feature.
Josh quickly surged into second place behind Wisconsin’s Mars when the A-Main commenced, but improving one more spot was easier said than done. He made repeated attempts to overtake Mars before his car’s right-rear tire finally blew out with a couple laps remaining, dropping him to 21st in the final rundown as Mars rolled to a sweep of the weekend’s competition.
“I felt like I was as good as Mars was, but it was so hard to pass because the track took rubber and got one-lane,” said Josh. “I got up to his quarter-panel a couple times, but he had the line.
“I ran the car a little harder than I probably should have because I was trying to make something happen, and that wore out the right-rear and it blew out with two to go.”
Josh and his father Mark had no time to see the sights of Sin City during their trip (aside from the ‘Paris Las Vegas’ hotel in which they stayed), but they were able to visit the 1.5 mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday. They made the rounds of the garage area, watched Nextel Cup practice and witnessed the early stages of the Busch Series event before heading to the airport to catch a red-eye flight back to the East Coast.
When Josh finally walked through his family’s front door in West Virginia around noon on Sunday, he wasn’t merely tired from jet lag. He was also at the end of a whirlwind 40-day stretch that saw him constantly on the road. Since heading south at the beginning of February for two straight weeks of racing in Florida, “I think I’ve been home for four days,” said Josh.
In between the end of Florida racing and the Las Vegas events, Josh stayed active doing several radio/internet and television interviews – and in a couple other unique ways.
First, during the weekend of Feb. 23-25, Josh flew to Denver, Col., to be a special guest speaker at the fifth annual Roadrunner Fabrications Racewise Seminar, which was produced by Kelly Boen. The trip also gave Josh an opportunity to visit Boen’s shop and set up the brand-new Rocket car he drove last weekend at Las Vegas.
After a quick day at the race shop, Josh drove to Charlotte on Feb. 27 to work on NASCAR veteran Kenny Schrader’s pair of Rocket Chassis dirt Late Models in advance of the March 2-3 Pro-Cuts Texas World Dirt Track Championship Weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track in Fort Worth. Schrader personally asked Josh to help prepare his cars for the two days of O’Reilly Southern United Professional Racing (SUPR) Series action at the four-tenths-mile oval.
Josh flew to Texas and hot-lapped Schrader’s No. 99 Late Model during an open practice session at the speedway on March 1. He then spent the next two days as a crewman for Schrader, who registered finishes of fourth and eighth in the SUPR events.
“I learned it’s not as much as driving,” Josh joked about his stint turning wrenches with Schrader, “but it was a great experience. Schrader is so knowledgeable, and I saw a different side being on the crew and hearing what he wanted as a driver.”
Now Josh will actually take a slight breather before diving head-long into the 360 OTC WoO LMS schedule, which resumes March 23-25 with the ‘World of Outlaws March Through Dixie’ weekend. The tour will visit Baton Rouge Raceway in Baker, La., on Fri., March 23; Columbus (Miss.) Speedway on Sat., March 24; and North Alabama Speedway in Tuscumbia, Ala., on Sun., March 25.
“We’re taking this weekend off to get ready for the Outlaw shows,” said Josh, the current 360 OTC WoO LMS points leader. “Our plan is to run the car that I flipped at (Pa.’s ) Lernerville (Speedway) last August in all three (‘March Through Dixie’) shows. I haven’t run that car since I flipped it, and we have a little more work to do on it.”
For more information on Josh Richards, visit www.joshrichards.com.
Spectacular Week For ‘Kid Rocket’ Ends With Victory In 360 OTC World of Outlaws Late Model Series Season Opener At Volusia
Shinnston, WV. – February 20, 2007 - Josh Richards wasn’t kidding when he said he was confident heading into the 2007 season for the 360 OTC World of Outlaws Late Model Series.
Pumped up for the campaign after running so well during the second half of the tour’s 2006 schedule, Richards continued his rise as a WoO contender on Saturday night by winning the series’s season-opening Florida DIRTcar Nationals 50 at Volusia Speedway Park.
The $10,000 victory also culminated a spectacular week of action for the 18-year-old Josh, who was awarded the UMP DIRTcar Racing Late Model points championship of the 36th annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals. He scored progressively better finishes of seventh (Mon., Feb. 12), fifth (Wed., Feb. 14) and second (Fri., Feb. 16) in the week’s three UMP Late Model features before closing the deal in Saturday’s 360 OTC WoO LMS event, which offered points toward the week-long UMP title because the UMP Hoosier 20/40 tire rule was in effect for the event.
“This is pretty awesome,” Shinnston, W.Va.’s Josh said after receiving a pair of distinctive eagle-shaped trophies in Victory Lane following Saturday night’s feature. “To come down here and win during Speedweek is pretty cool, especially since it’s only my third time here.
“The first year I was here we ran well, but last year we struggled a little bit so it feels great to go good here and win a race against so much great competition.”
Already the youngest feature winner in the history of the 360 OTC WoO LMS thanks to his first career triumph on Aug. 15, 2005, at Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y., when he was 17 years, four months and 24 days old, Josh is now also the tour’s youngest points leader ever after scoring his third career series win.
“To actually be the World of Outlaws points leader is pretty awesome,” said Josh, who was the 2005 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year and finished ninth in the 2006 series standings. “There’s still a long season ahead of us, but we’re off to a great start.”
Josh demonstrated a veteran’s poise en route to registering a flag-to-flag win in Saturday’s A-Main. Starting from the pole position in his Mark Richards Racing-owned Seubert Calf Ranches/Ace Metal Works/TSR-Tony Stewart Racing/Petroff Towing/MCB Motorsports Rocket Chassis No. 1, he turned back an early challenge from Wisconsin superstar Dan Schlieper and mastered lapped traffic to reach the finish line first.
On Josh’s mind throughout the distance was his disappointing loss in the previous night’s 40-lap UMP Late Model feature. In that race he slipped high in turn four while working lapped traffic on lap 18, allowing fellow 360 OTC WoO LMS regular Darrell Lanigan to slip by for the lead and eventual win.
“Oh, yeah, I learned my lesson last night,” said Josh, who settled for a runner-up finish to Lanigan. “I knew I was starting on the pole tonight and we had a good car, so I was like, ‘If we get in the lead, I don’t want to screw this up.’”
Josh felt the pressure from Schlieper, but he didn’t wilt under it.
“I tried not to let that bother me and just run my own pace, and it paid off,” said Josh. “If this was a year or two ago, that (Schlieper’s challenge) probably would’ve startled me, and I might have tried to go to the top or change what I was doing. But I just stayed on the bottom and ran my own race.”
The win topped off a week that saw Josh steadily improve each time he drove his Cornett-powered car on the half-mile oval. He won his heat race all four nights (Tuesday’s UMP Late Model show and Thursday’s scheduled 360 OTC WoO LMS event were rained out), and he scored a better feature finish each evening.
It all adds up to another boost in confidence for ‘Kid Rocket,’ who began coming of age last year by accumulating more points than any other driver during the second half of the 360 OTC WoO LMS season.
“After the way we ended last year, I was pretty confident,” said Josh, who participated in a press conference at Volusia on Wednesday afternoon that announced the ’07 360 OTC WoO LMS regulars. “But this takes it up a notch. We’ve come out and run real well.
“If I would’ve run fifth tonight, I would’ve been more than happy for the first points night. But winning this just builds the momentum that much more. It builds the confidence of the whole team – they wanna be there and help that much more. It just helps everything out.”
Josh now has a month off from 360 OTC WoO LMS competition. The tour’s next action is the ‘World of Outlaws March Through Dixie’ that will visit Baton Rouge Raceway in Baker, La., on Fri., March 23; Columbus (Miss.) Speedway on Sat., March 24; and North Alabama Speedway in Tuscumbia, Ala., on Sun., March 25.
But that doesn’t mean Josh will sit idle.
After spending a few days at home and in the Rocket shop this week, Josh will fly west to be a special guest speaker at the fifth annual Roadrunner Fabrications Racewise Seminar in Denver, Colo. The seminar is produced by Colorado dirt Late Model star Kelly Boen, who will also field a Late Model for Josh to drive in the March 8-9 Western All-Stars Series portion of the inaugural ‘Las Vegas Dirt Classic’ at The Dirt Track @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
KID-ROCKET FIRES AT BLOOMQUISTS RANKINGS LEAD IN LATEMODELRACER.COM POINTS
By: Steve Hixson
"Black Sunshine" collected a fifth place finish Saturday enabling the East Tenness based racer to stay a top of the NCC rankings for week # 3 of the 2007 racing season. With Thursday's $10,000 scheduled WoOLMS event, rained-out, a pair of $10,000., to win (Friday: UMP DirtCar series sanctioned) races closed out the Florida Speedweeks events. Bloomquists black # 0 "Miller Brothers Coal, All-Star Performance, Hawkeye Trucking" sponsored Bloomquist chassis, Vic Hill Racing Engines, Chevrolet Monte Carlo failed to make the top five Friday and holds now a slim five point advantage over Richards, due to a fifth place finish on Saturday. Dan Schlieper who'se had an awesome 2007 opener, in the # 9 "Miller Brothers Coal, Hawkeye Trucking" sponsored Rayburn chassis, Pro Power Racing Engines, Ford Fusion racecar is now 20 points behind the NCC points leader, despite earning a runners up finish in the VSP finale.
Lanigan in the # 29 "Performance, Rod & Custom, Lanigan Autosports, Accu-tex" sponsored Rocket Chassis, Cornett Racing Engines, Ford Fusion racecar and West Virginia's Steve Shaver, piloting the # 30 "Cosgrove Racing, Ludicrous Hardcore Energy Drink, Waco Oil and Gas Company, Drywall Systems, Inc, United-West Virginia's Bank" sponsored Rocket chassis, Malcuit Racing Engines, Pontiac GTO racecar, are tied for fourth in the NCC points rankings system. Estimationz & Expectationz have Bloomquist at a advantage heading into the BAMA BASH at Gadsden, AL's, newly refurbished Green Valley Speedway. Expect some hgh finishes from some of Tennessee and Georgia's top dirt racers, such as defending and back to back race champion "CAT-DADDY" Clint Smith as well as the return of Chattanooga's Ronnie Johnson.
1. Scott Bloomquist (# 0) of Tennessee.....105 PTS.
Josh “Kid Rocket” Richards to compete in Las Vegas Dirt Classic at LVMS
LAS VEGAS – Feb. 14, 2007 - Josh “Kid Rocket” Richards will blast into Las Vegas for the Las Vegas Dirt Classic at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway March 8 and 9 in conjunction with NASCAR Weekend.
The 18-year-old from Shinnston, W.Va., will be driving a car for dirt Late Model star Kelly Boen and the 07 Motorsports Team in the Western All-Stars portion of the event. The USAC/CRA Sprint Cars will join the dirt Late Models.
This will be the first time Richards and Boen will take on an event as a team but Richards is looking forward to it. Boen won the dirt Late Model event at LVMS’ dirt track last March.
“I have raced against Kelly at Eldora Speedway (Ohio) but this is the first time I will be driving one of his cars,” said Richards. “Kelly is a great racer and has had success in Las Vegas before. I am sure we are going to be competitive.”
This will be Richard’s first time racing at LVMS’ dirt track.
Richards was featured in the 2006 documentary “CNN Presents: Dirt Track Warriors” that focused on his professional and personal life throughout his 2005 dirt late model season.
Richards will run a full schedule in the 360 OTC World of Outlaws Late Model Series in 2007 and will participate in special dirt Late Model events throughout the year.
‘Kid Rocket’ Races All Week At East Bay
By Doc Lehman
Shinnston, WV - February 11, 2007 - Josh ‘Kid Rocket’ Richards, 18, of Shinnston, WV spent this past week competing at East Bay Raceway Park near Tampa, FL in their 31st Annual Winternationals. Kid Rocket competed in his Mark Richards Racing owned Seubert Calf Ranches, Ace Metal Works, TSR-Tony Stewart Racing, Petroff Towing, MCB Motorsports, Cornett Lightning, Rocket Chassis, #1 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
On Monday night Kid Rocket won his heat race before finishing fourth in the opening night festivities at East Bay. On Tuesday night Kid Rocket finished third in his heat race and won the B Main and finished eighth in the main event. On Wednesday night Kid Rocket won his heat race and finished 19th in the feature event.
On Thursday Kid Rocket finished fourth in his heat race and fifth in the B Main. Friday night action saw Kid Rocket finish third in his heat, won his B Main race and then rocketed to the front of the A Main where he made a valiant last lap effort to overhaul Steve Shaver, but fell one car length short at the finish. During the finale on Saturday Kid Rocket ran sixth in his heat and finished fourth in his B Main.
This coming week Kid Rocket will head to the Atlantic coast for the 36th Annual DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Mopar Speedshop at Volusia Raceway Park in Barberville, FL that will be held from February 6-17. The 360 OTC World of Outlaws Late Model Series kicks off an ambitious 2007 season with events on February 15 and 17 as part of the 36th annual DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Mopar Speedshop. Kid Rocket will also compete in UMP DIRTcar Racing Late Models series action on February 12, 13, 14 & 16 at Volusia.
After his trip to Florida Kid Rocket will head to Denver, CO where he will be a special guest speaker at the 5th Annual Roadrunner Fabrications Racewise Seminar. The seminar, produced by fellow dirt Late Model star Kelly Boen, will be held February 23 – 25. Information on this seminar can be found at: http://www.racewise.net or http://www.07motorsports.com
From there Kid Rocket will head for Las Vegas where he will be driving a car out of the stables of the 07 Motorsports Team headed by famed dirt Late Model star Kelly Boen in the Western All-Stars Late Model Series portion of the inaugural Las Vegas Dirt Classic at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track.
The event, which will also feature the USAC/CRA Sprint Cars, will include two complete programs of racing on Thursday March 8 and Friday March 9 in conjunction with the annual NASCAR Weekend at LVMS. For additional event information and tickets visit www.lvms.com
Kid Rocket will compete in a 07 Motorsports Rocket Chassis powered by a Jay Dickens Racing Engine sponsored by Roadrunner Fabrication, Rocket Chassis, Peterson Fluid Systems, AFCO, Jay Dickens Racing Engines, Braswell Carburetion prepared by Boen.
Kid Rocket will be competing full time on the 360 OTC World of Outlaws Late Model Series in 2007 in addition to a full slate of other special dirt Late Model events.
Forty-eight confirmed events make up the busy ’07 World of Outlaws Late Models schedule, which commences with $10,000-to-win 50-lap A-Mains on Feb. 15 and 17 during the DIRTcar Nationals Presented By Mopar Speed Shop at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, FL.
For more information on Josh ‘Kid Rocket’ Richards visit his website at: www.joshrichards.com
JOSH ‘KID ROCKET’ RICHARDS would like to acknowledge the support of his many fine sponsors for the 2007 racing season:
Seubert Calf Ranches, Ace Metal Works, Petroff Towing, MCB Motorsports, Cornett Lightning, Rocket Chassis, TSR-Tony Stewart Racing, Hoosier, Brodix, Braswell, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazel Oil, Ohlins Shocks, Fram/Autolite, Valvoline, Simpson, Dohm Cycles, MSD, Woodward, Trick, Farr Motorsports, US Brake, Scott, Butlerbuilt, CV Products, Frankland, Weld, TWM, Dyer Rods, Port City Racing, Brinn Transmissions, Slavic Group, Performance Bodies, Outerwears, Banshee Graphics, AFCO, Ringer Gloves, Aurora
-Prepared by Lehman Motorsports Services
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