take him long to realize he just might be able to
still pull off a victory.
"I drove a little hard in the heat and fell back to third, so I was a little disappointed in myself for that," said
Richards. "But I was like, 'You know what? Just get out there and race, do what you always do.' I put the heat out
of my head and just started fresh in the feature.
"The way the car felt, after a few laps I knew we were gonna be good," he continued. "The car was just phenomenal.
We started passing cars, but I had no idea what position we were in. Then I looked up (at the scoreboard), saw
Brady (Smith) was fifth and he was right there in front of us, and I was like, 'We're up there and have a pretty
good shot of running top-three.'
"After I got the lead I just tried to stay patient. Those last few laps I just about stopped going around there,
and I guess going slower actually made me faster. The car was just phenomenal."
The drivers Richards vanquished certainly agreed with his assessment.
"(Richards) was extremely good tonight," said Pearson, who started third but moved up one row after polesitter Dale
McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., spun between turns one and two at the initial green flag. "He could roll right
through that middle or wherever he needed to go. We were a little bit too tight and had to stay down there on the
bottom. I don't even know where he started, but he blew by me and that's all I saw of him."
Smith, meanwhile, stood in awe of Richards's opening-night superiority but was very satisfied with his outing. He
didn't even qualify for last year's opener at Volusia, putting him in a points hole for the start of his first
campaign as a WoO LMS regular.
"I don't know what it is about the opener here, but Josh has something figured out," said Smith, who started sixth.
"We got tight and couldn't run the way he could, but we're very happy with third. This is a lot better start than
Four caution flags slowed the event, but there were no serious incidents. After McDowell's opening-lap spin, the
other cautions flew for stopped cars -- Jared Landers of Batesville, Ark., on lap 15; Shannon Babb of Moweaqua,
Ill., on lap 19; and Brad Neat of Dunnville, Ky., on lap 37.
Finishing in positions 6-10 was McDowell, who rallied from the rear after his disappointing miscue; Moyer;
21st-starter Tim Dohm of Cross Lanes, W.Va., who earned the $500 WoO LMS 'Bonus Bucks' cash for being the highest-finishing driver
who hasn't won a tour A-Main; Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill.; and WoO LMS rookie Austin Hubbard of
A banner field of 68 cars was signed in for the event.
Landers, who won the DIRTcar UMP Modified 'Gator Championship' on Monday night, blistered the track in 15.961
seconds during qualifying to earn the Ohlins Shocks Pole Award. It was his first-ever fast-time honor on the WoO
Heat winners were Moyer, McCreadie, Brady Smith, Babb, McDowell and Pearson. The B-Mains were captured by Francis,
Greg Johnson of Bedford, Ind., and Dohm.
Results of WoO Late Model Series
(Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. Josh Richards, 2. Earl Pearson Jr./, 3. Brady Smith, 4. Tim McCreadie, 5. Steve Francis, 6. Dale McDowell, 7.
Billy Moyer, 8. Tim Dohm, 9. Dennis Erb Jr., 10. Austin Hubbard, 11. Darrell Lanigan, 12. Eddie Carrier Jr., 13.
Rick Eckert, 14. Tim Fuller, 15. Eric Jacobsen, 16. Jack Sullivan, 17. Shannon Babb, 18. Chub Frank, 19. Clint
Smith, 20. Brandon Kinzer, 21. Jimmy Owens, 22. John Blankenship, 23. Brad Neat, 24. Russell King, 25. Chris
Madden, 26. Jason Feger, 27. Jared Landers, 28. Greg Johnson, 29. Shane Clanton/0 $525
Provisional Starters: Fuller, C. Smith, Clanton, King (WoO); Feger (UMP)