The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series descended on Portsmouth(OH) Raceway Park for its season finale and one of Dirt Late Model racing’s crown jewel events in the Dirt Track World Championship. The race was intended to be run on Saturday night but Mother Nature had other ideas as a rain shower just before the scheduled start shifted the main event to Sunday afternoon. One of the top purses in the sport would be on the line as drivers competed for a first place prize of $100,000.
Josh Richards would earned his second consecutive win in this race and the third straight victory for the crew chief Randall Edwards and the Best Performance Motorsports team at the southern Ohio facility. It was the first win for the defending Lucas Oil champion since the opening pair of races at Golden Isles Speedway in February.
Jonathan Davenport came into this race having already locked up the LOLMDS season championship.
A passing points format was used in the preliminary action to set the majority of the starting lineup. As a result of those heat races, Brian Shirley and Davenport would begin the day from the front row with Ricky Thornton, Jr., Dennis Erb, Jr., Josh Richards, Gregg Satterlee, Mike Marlar, Eddie Carrier, Jr., Jared Hawkins, Don O’Neal, Brandon Overton, Jason Covert, Boom Briggs, Brandon Sheppard, Tim McCreadie and Shannon Thornsberry completing the first eight rows of the feature starting grid.
Bobby Pierce and Dale McDowell won the two consolation races to set the remainder of the field.
Shirley shot to the early lead when the green flag waved over the field to start the 100-lap feature with Davenport, Richards, Thornton and Satterlee trailing. Richards went to the high side to take the runner-up spot from Davenport on lap 7 while Scott Bloomquist moved all the way from his 20th starting position to 11th by lap 10.
Richards tracked Shirley down as the leaders worked their way through slower traffic on lap 15. Davenport joined the fray by lap 18 but a caution for the slowing car of Covert slowed the action.
Bobby Pierce, who had won the last two LOLMDS races conducted in daytime conditions, and Bloomquist hit the hot pit area during the lap 18 caution period to change tires.
Bloomquist suffered damage on lap 20 when he and Covert were involved in a mishap at the exit of turn 4.
Richards took the lead with Sheppard moving into second shortly after the lap 20 restart with Shirley being relegated back to third. Shirley went back on the charge on lap 33 as he moved under Sheppard for second as both drivers closed on Richards as the leaders negotiated slower traffic.
A caution flag waved once again on lap 38 when the damaged car of Bloomquist slowed just after being lapped by Richards. Third running Shirley pulled off the track under that same yellow flag period and retired his car from competition with fluid seeping from underneath.
Davenport and Sheppard commenced a battle for second once the green waved again while World 100 winner McCreadie made his way into the top-5 and Jimmy Owens moved into the top-10 from his 24th starting position but a caution for Satterlee broke that fight up as attrition began to increase.
Richards built a sizable lead at the halfway mark as Davenport, Sheppard, McCreadie and Marlar ran in tight formation to fill out the remainder of the top-5. As his pursuers began to close in on Richards after the leader began to encounter slower traffic a caution for the slowing car of Pierce bunched the lead machines.
Overton burst into the top-5 following a lap 61 restart as he took to the high side to pass by Marlar and then Sheppard to assume the 4th spot. Trouble with the right rear shock ended the day of top-5 running McCreadie on lap 66.
Richards continued to lead with 25 laps to go as Davenport, Overton, Sheppard, and Zack Dohm engaged in a fight for positions 2-5. But that lead for the No. 1 Best Motorsports car diminished as the waning laps played out when slower traffic again came into play.
However, no one would catch Richards as he sailed under the checkered flag for the lucrative victory.
Feature Finish: 1. Josh Richards, 2. Jonathan Davenport, 3. Brandon Overton, 4. Brandon Sheppard, 5. Zack Dohm, 6. Mike Marlar, 7. Don O’Neal, 8. Earl Pearson, Jr., 9. Jimmy Owens, 10. Chase Junghans, 11. Dale McDowell, 12. Bobby Pierce, 13. Chris Ferguson, 14. Jared Hawkins, 15. Ricky Thornton, Jr., 16. Eddie Carrier, Jr., 17. R.J. Conley, 18. Dennis Erb, Jr., 19. Scott Bloomquist, 20. Tim McCreadie, 21. Boom Briggs, 22. Brandon Fouts, 23. Kyle Bronson, 24. Gregg Satterlee, 25. Brian Shirley, 26. Shannon Thornsberry, 27. Jason Covert, 28. Darrell Lanigan