After three weeks off following the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park, the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series made its way to Tennessee for a double-header of action at Duck River Raceway Park in Wheel and Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville.
On Friday night it was Josh Richards who took the checkered flag away from Duck River and claimed the winner’s check valued at $10,000.
Ashton Winger proved to be the fastest in Group A qualifying and overall when he turned a lap of 11.994 seconds around the quarter-mile clay oval. That effort beat out Chase Junghans, Dennis Erb Jr., Josh Richards, Mason Zeigler and Riley Hickman.
It was Chris Madden who posted the quickest time in Group B time-trials with a lap of 12.135 seconds to beat out Brandon Overton, Cade Dillard, Brandon Sheppard, Josh Putnam and Ricky Weiss.
Dennis Erb Jr. won the first heat race of the night over Scott Bloomquist, Mason Zeigler and Scott Cook while Josh Richards took the second preliminary ahead of Chase Junghans, Tanner English and Kody Evans.
Chris Madden scored the win in the third heat by beating out Cade Dillard, Josh Putnam and Tyler Millwood then Brandon Overton bested Brandon Sheppard, Ricky Weiss and David Brannon in the night’s fourth and final heat race.
Ashton Winger and Eric Hickerson won the two Last Chance Showdown races.
The WoO Late Models redraw placed Dennis Erb Jr. on the pole position for the main event with Josh Richards, Brandon Overton, Chris Madden, Cade Dillard, Chase Junghans, Scott Bloomquist and Brandon Sheppard lining up in order on the starting grid.
At the start of the 50-lap feature it would be Richards taking the lead ahead of Erb, Madden, Overton and Junghans. Erb went to work right away as he passed by Richards for the race lead on the third circuit.
The top-4 of Erb, Richards, Madden and Overton tan in tight formation on lap 5 as Dillard slipped by Junghans for fifth. However, Erb and Richards began to separate themselves from the pack on lap 10.
However, a caution for Boom Briggs on lap 13 would bunch the field back up.
Two laps after the restart Richards would sweep by Erb on the outside for the race lead. At the same time, defending WoO Late Models champion Sheppard broke into the top-5 and began working on Overton for the fourth position.
At lap 20 Richards began slipping away from the competition as Overton broke away from his fight with Sheppard and moved in to challenge Madden for third.
A caution for Brent Larson slowed the pace on lap 22. On the following restart, Overton moved by Erb to claim the runner-up spot. Further back, Dillard passed by Sheppard and Madden to move all the way up to fourth. Back at the front Erb closed back in on Richards to offer a challenge on the bottom as Richards held onto the top side of the track.
Following a lap 31 restart Overton took second but would not hold it for long as Erb took the spot back three laps later.
With less than ten laps remaining Erb made a bid to wrest the lead away from Richards by using the low groove while Richards continued to run high but the attempt would come up short.
Richards would maintain his advantage over the closing laps while Overton tracked Erb down to take second away on the last lap.
Richards scored the 77th World of Outlaws Late Model Series win of his career. He is the all-time leader in victories on that series.
Feature Finish: 1. Josh Richards, 2. Brandon Overton, 3. Dennis Erb Jr, 4. Brandon Sheppard, 5. Cade Dillard, 6. Mason Zeigler, 7. Josh Putnam, 8. Ricky Weiss, 9. Chris Madden, 10. Chase Junghans, 11. Riley Hickman, 12. Christian Hanger, 13. Scott Bloomquist, 14. Kody Evans, 15. Pearson Lee Williams, 16. Matt Cosner, 17. Boom Briggs, 18. Blake Spencer, 19. Eric Hickerson, 20. Tyler Millwood, 21. Tanner English, 22. Ashton Winger, 23. Scott Cook, 24. Caleb Ashby, 25. Brent Larson, 26. David Brannon, 27. Darrell Lanigan