- World of Outlaws by Sam Holbrooks


2011 World of Outlaws Late Model Series


Richards Picks Up $100,000 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Title For Second Straight Year

CONCORD, N.C. - Nov. 8. Josh Richards experienced a very rewarding case of déjà vu on Sunday night.

As the 22-year-old sensation from Shinnston, W.V.accepted the $100,000 World of Outlaws Late Model Series championship check, trophy and keepsake ring for the second consecutive season during the tour's "Night of Champions"’awards banquet at the Great Wolf Lodge, he had to remind himself that the calendar had changed.

Josh Richards and family

WoO LMS champion Josh Richards poses in front of the Great Wolf Lodge with his car and father Mark, mother Tina and sister Morgan. (JMS PRophoto)

"If feels like we were just here last year,"”Richards said when he began his address to the attendees of the evening's gala. "It's pretty cool to get to come up here again (so quickly)".”

Richards stood before the gathering as the first driver to win two titles in the seven-year modern era of the WoO LMS, which was restarted after a 15-year-old layoff in 2004 under the World Racing Group banner. He clinched the prestigious crown 24 hours earlier just one mile away at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, where his fourth-place finish in the season-ending 50-lap A-Main during the Lowes Foods World of Outlaws World Finals Presented by Bimbo Bakeries and Tom’s Snacks gave him a scant four-point margin over 2008 series champion Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky.

Austin Hubbard - Rookie of the Year

WoO LMS Rookie of the Year Austin Hubbard poses with his car owner Dale Beitler and series director Tim Christman. (JMS Prophoto)

Over $400,000 in points-fund cash and special awards was handed out during Sunday's affair, which for the second year in a row was held immediately after the Lowes Foods "World Finals. Richards collected the lion’s share of the evening's payouts, pushing his total earnings on the 2010 WoO LMS to just under $300,000. He won a series-leading eight A-Mains and recorded 26 top-five and 37 top 10 finishes in 44 events en route to his second straight championship - an achievement he was almost at a loss to describe.

"Last year was a feat in itself to win (the title) after a tight points battle with (Steve) Francis,"”said Richards, who debuted on the WoO LMS as a 16-year-old in 2004 before winning the 2005 Rookie of the Year award in his first full touring season. "But to do it two years in a row with Lanigan putting up one heck of a fight. It's an incredible feeling, an incredible accomplishment."

Richards hailed his long list of supporters, including his father Mark, who joined his son on stage to receive the champion car owner trophy, mother Tina and younger sister Morgan; Rocket Chassis co-owner Steve Baker and his wife Sherri; crewmen Matt Barnes, Jimmy Frye and Joey Pinkleton and the staff at Rocket Chassis; and sponsors Seubert Calf Ranches, Kentucky Fuel Corporation, the Will Kinzer Foundation, Cornett Racing Engines, ACE Metal Works, Ernie D’s Enterprises, Petroff Towing, Tony Stewart Racing, Ron Slavic, Sunoco Race Fuels, Hoosier Racing Tire and Integra Racing Shocks.

In addition, Richards gave special recognition to Lanigan, the 40-year-old WoO LMS veteran who engaged Richards in a dramatic battle for the championship that wasn’t decided until the season’s final checkered flag. Lanigan finished third in Saturday night's Lowes Foods World Finals finale, falling two positions shy of matching Richards' points total.

"You guys put up one hell of a fight,"”Richards said as he directed his gaze toward Lanigan's table. "You definitely made us work harder for it, and you definitely deserve to be standing up here as much as we do."”

Lanigan, who, like Francis, has served as one of Richards' racing mentors, made a gallant bid to claim the title during the Lowes Foods World Finals. He cut Richards' edge from 22 to six points with a fourth-place finish in Saturday afternoon's postponed 40-lap A-Main and charged forward from the 21st starting spot to place third in the nightcap.

"We were just a little short,"”said Lanigan, who would have captured the championship if had been able to win Saturday's A-Main, with Richards finishing third or worse. "We got all we could get and Josh did all he needed to do."

"It's hard to believe that you run the whole year and come up two cars short. It's hard to take, but that's how it ended up. We work close together (with Richards) and both our cars were good all year, but they just had a little bit better luck.”

Lanigan received a check worth $60,000 for his runner-up finish in the points standings, putting his 2010 earnings over $260,000. It was his third straight top-three finish on the WoO LMS, following his runaway championship season in 2008 and a third-place result in 2009.

Lanigan's mechanical right-hand man, Randall Edwards, made his own appearance on stage as the winner of the 2010 WoO LMS Crew Chief of the Year award. Edwards, 36, earned the honor for the first time by vote of his fellow series crew chiefs and WoO LMS officials.

Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who returned as a WoO LMS regular this season for the first time since his championship season in 2006, collected $40,000 for finishing third in the standings. He led the points race early in the season and battled with Richards and Lanigan throughout the summer before falling out of a serious contention late in the campaign.

Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., received $35,000 for finishing fourth in the points standings while Rick Eckert of York, Pa., pocketed $30,000 for his second consecutive fifth-place finish.

Rounding out the top 10 in the 2010 points standings was Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga. ($25,000); Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del. ($24,000); Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y. ($23,000); Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga. ($22,000); and Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa. ($21,000).

Hubbard added $10,000 to his banquet take-home pay for winning the 2010 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year award. The fast-rising 18-year-old star drove car owner Dale Beitler's No. 19 to two A-Main victories on his way to easily outdistancing Jill George of Cedar Falls, Iowa, in the rookie standings, which were determined using drivers' best 30 finishes on the tour.

"I gotta' thank the whole Beitler family for being behind me all year,"”said Hubbard, who came to the banquet dressed in a rented all-white suit with a light-blue vest and tie (Beitler's familiar colors). "They gave me a chance and it was a blast. I can't thank them enough.

"I'm just happy to be up here getting awards and money for what I love to do."”

George, the first female driver to attempt following the challenging WoO LMS as a regular, was also called to the stage to receive a $5,000 check for finishing second in the Rookie of the Year standings. She entered 37 of the season,s 44 events and finished 12th in the overall points race.

Russell King of Bristolville, Ohio, who finished 11th in the points standings, was the only driver who had perfect attendance on the 2010 tour, but did not attend the awards banquet.

Rocket Chassis was recognized as the winner of the 2010 WoO LMS Chassis Builders Challenge - the seventh straight year that the company has earned the nod. Ten drivers won WoO LMS A-Mains using Rocket cars this season, giving the manufacturer 32 victories in 44 events.

Cornett Racing Engines in Somerset, Ky., was announced as the winner of the 2010 WoO LMS Engine Builders Challenge. It was the third consecutive honor for company owner Jack Cornett, whose engines were under the hood of the cars driven by Richards, Lanigan, and Hubbard.

WRG President Tom Deery announced that the 2010 WoO LMS Promoter of the Year award was earned by Virginia Motor Speedway's Bill Sawyer, whose top-notch facility has hosted a WoO LMS event annually since 2004 and this year stepped up by inaugurating the $25,000-to-win Commonwealth 100. The plaque was accepted by VMS announcer/marketing representative Dave Seay, who noted that the second annual Commonwealth 100 will return to the WoO LMS schedule on April 15-16, 2011.



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