Last year Josh Richards came into the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series season as the defending champion. He then went on to capture the first two series races at Golden Isles Speedway near Brunswick, GA and looked to be on his way to another title. However, the Best Performance Motorsports team then went winless until the very end of the campaign when the No. 1 machine took the checkered flag in the $100,000 Dirt Track World Championship.
In 2019, Richards will enter Georgia-Florida SpeedWeeks with a new car owner and a new team. And on paper, it certainly appears that the Shinnston, West Virginia native has landed in an opportune spot.
After two years together that resulted in a Lucas Oil title and two DTWC wins, Richards and Best Performance parted ways at the end of 2018. The 30-year-old star will now be in the driver’s seat of the Clint Bowyer Racing No. 14 Rocket Chassis car. The team plans to compete on the LOLMDS during the 2019 campaign.
While it certainly will not be a determining factor in a season that will stretch from early February to late October, getting off to a good start in the early races would set a good tone for this operation going into the grind that is the Dirt Late Model racing season. A positive vibe early on with a new combination of driver and team never hurts.
And consider that their new pilot is not the only change for the organization owned by NASCAR star Clint Bowyer. After pairing with Darrell Lanigan in 2016, CBR campaigned with that driver’s Club 29 Race Cars. Now Richards brings his father’s Rockets to the fold. And more, also consider that the four-time World of Outlaws Late Model Series champion is not the only superstar driver to sit in the driver’s seat for Bowyer.
While 2014 LOLMDS title winner Don O’Neal has been a constant for CBR over the past several seasons, drivers such as Lanigan, Jonathan Davenport and Steve Francis have also steered the team’s rides with varying degrees of success.
Scoring wins and solid finishes at Golden Isles, East Bay Raceway Park, and Bubba Raceway Park would immediately establish that Richards and CBR are every bit of a potent combination in reality as they are on paper. A good start wouldn’t necessarily guarantee season-long success just like a poor start would not guarantee season-long failure but the No. 14 winning early would set a better tone.
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