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Josh Richards Earns Historic WoOLMS Championship in Dramatic Season Finale


(CONCORD, NC) Josh Richards' tearful celebration in Victory Lane at The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway illustrated the dedication, hard work and perseverance that champions embody. With only six seasons of competition under his belt, the 21 year-old West Virginian beat many of best competitors in professional dirt late model racing and earned the prestigious World of Outlaws Late Model Series' championship title after a season-long battle with 2007 titleholder Steve Francis.

Richards, driving his father's No. 1 Rocket Chassis house car, replaced Francis as the driver for that team four years ago after years of shadowing his 43 year-old mentor. Thus, it seems only fitting that the duo continually challenged one another to top the championship standings for a title that wasn't declared until the checkered flag dropped at Saturday's "World Finals" capstone event.

"I remember growing up and watching my dad work with Steve (Francis) and (2008 WoOLMS' champion) Darrell Lanigan so it is a dream come true to now have my name in the history books alongside of theirs," said an awestruck Richards. "It was only six years ago that I first got behind the wheel of a late model and Francis was there and encouraged me the entire way. I think in order to be the best, you have to be able to learn from them and I am really grateful for his belief in me back then and support over these last few years."

Richards trailed Francis by a scant four points going into Wednesday's postponed "Hungry Man Showdown" and was victorious in that prelude event but earned no points for the victory as only show points were awarded. Everything came down to the two-part "World Finals" and both drivers would start within four positions of one another each night. Josh's fifth place run on Friday gave him the advantage over Francis in the standings by four points. On Saturday, Francis started 10th while Richards would set off from 14th but as Francis suffered from handling issues, Richards steadily advanced to 7th and finished five spots ahead of his mentor.

The 2005 World of Outlaws' Rookie of the Year was now to be crowned the series' 2009 Champion. Richards, in his typical fashion, also made history as the youngest dirt late model competitor to win a nationally touring championship title.

"I would have never dreamed this," an emotional Richards declared as he celebrated with family and his Rocket Chassis crew. "It's been an awesome ride. We've been in some tight battles all year and to come out of it as a champion is a dream come true. I've always watched these WoOLMS' guys run and I know how good they are so it still hasn't sunk in that I won the championship. I just want to thank everyone at Rocket Chassis, my parents, the staff of the World of Outlaws, and the fans for their support. I am lucky to be able to do what I do thanks to all of them and a super group of sponsors like Seubert Calf Ranches, Cornett Racing Engines, ACE Metal Works, Ernie D's Enterprises, Petroff Towing, MCB Motorsports, Tony Stewart Racing, Sunoco Race Fuels, Hoosier Racing Tire, Integra Shocks, just so many that make this all possible. I also want to congratulate Jimmy Owens on his win and apologize for stealing his thunder - he drove a great race."

With the 2009 World of Outlaws Late Model Series' a wrap, competitors and their guests will celebrate their accomplishments and award nearly $400,000 in points fund monies on Sunday evening at the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, NC. For more information on Josh Richards, log on to

Josh Richards' No. 1 team carries support from Rocket Chassis, Cornett Racing Engines, Seubert Calf Ranches, Ernie D's Enterprises, ACE Metal Works, MCB Motorsports, Petroff Towing, Tony Stewart Racing, Sunoco Race Fuels, Hoosier Racing Tires, Integra Shocks, Slavic Custom Decals, Valvoline, AEM, AFCO, ATL Fuel Cells, Aurora Bearing Company, Autolite, Banshee Graphics, Barnes Systems, Beyea Performance, Brinn Transmissions, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Braswell Carburetion, Butlerbuilt Seat Systems, CV Products, Dohm Cycles, Dyer's Top Rods, Fram Filters, Frankland Rearends, Howe Racing, Kwik Change Product, LSI, Mason Racin', MSD Ignition, Outerwears, Performance Bodies, Performance Friction Brakes, Performance Rod & Custom, Ringers Gloves, Scott Performance Wire, Simpson Race Products, Sweet Manufacturing, Tel Tech, TWM Racing Products, Trick Carbon Fiber Driveshafts, TurboStart Racing Batteries, US Brake, Weld Racing Wheels, Wehr's Machine, Wilwood and Wrisco Aluminum.

WINS: 8 (19%)
TOP-5s: 23 (53%)
TOP-10s: 34 (79%)
&bull Most wins during 2009 tour
&bull 2nd in WoOLMS' All-Time Wins
&bull Most time atop 2009 points standings
&bull Most "Fast Qualifier" awards in 2009 season
&bull Only competitor to win multiple WoOLMS' events in Canada
&bull Won WoOLMS' Season Opener at "Alltel DIRTcar Nationals" for three consecutive years
&bull Youngest champion in series' history

Michelle Petroff
Josh Richards Racing
(618) 406-6842