ROSSBURG – Three-time World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series Champion Josh Richards hopes his successful start to the 2016 season will help propel him to a victory this weekend in the Dirt Late Model Dream at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg.
To say Richards has accomplished a lot during his illustrious and relatively short career is an understatement. At just 28 years old, the West Virginia native has amassed more than 100 dirt late model victories and has claimed three national championships among many other accolades. Even with that success, Richards has yet to win one of the sport’s crown jewels, the famed Dirt Late Model Dream. That is something Richards hopes to change this weekend.
“I’ve been fortunate to win a lot of big races,” Richards said. “The Dream has always seemed to allude me. It’s one of the sport’s most prestigious races and the race with the biggest purse of the year. To be able to add my name on the list of drivers who have won a crown jewel at Eldora Speedway would be a huge accomplishment. Winning the Dream is definitely something I’d like to check off my bucket list.”
Adding to his confidence, Richards is off to a red-hot start this year with 11 wins and 22 top-five finishes. Impressively, Richards has posted a top-10 finish in every race this season and the young driver is hoping that momentum can help secure him the biggest race win of his career on Saturday night.
“We’ve had a phenomenal year so far,” Richards said. “We have a new car design with our XR1 Rocket Chassis, and it’s really picked up our program. My crew has been working hard and we have been on the same page all year. I feel very comfortable in the car. It took a while to get caught back up after having to take 2014 off. I just feel really blessed to have had such a great start to the season, and I’m hoping that success carries into this weekend.”
Though Richards has had some consistent runs in the Dirt Late Model Dream, bringing home three top-10 finishes in six career starts, he has also been plagued by heartbreak and bad luck.
“We’ve had some good runs in the past at Eldora,” Richards said. “We’ve always qualified well, but the heat inverts have not always worked in our favor. Last year, I got caught up in a wreck during one of the B-Mains and our car was destroyed. In 2013, I won a preliminary Feature but had to take a fast-time provisional for the Dream. That said, I have really high hopes of turning our luck around and contending for a win in Saturday night’s finale.”
With seven of his 11 wins this year coming during Florida/Georgia Speedweeks where Richards competed against the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series regulars as well as his fellow World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series competitors, he is eager to get back in action with the likes of Scott Bloomquist and Jonathan Davenport on what is arguably the sport’s biggest stage.
“I’m excited to race with the best of the best this weekend,” Richards said. “There will be a lot of great competitors, and I’m going to do my best to come out on top. We raced with those guys earlier this season, and I was able to get some wins, so I’m hoping to do the same at the Dream. It would be awesome to be able to hold up that $100,000 check in Victory Lane.”