Weedsport, NY — April 17, 2008 – By Tom Skibinski, Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series PR Director
Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series star Brett Hearn and World of Outlaws Late Model Series standout Josh Richards have joined forces to pose a double threat when the 2nd Annual Paul Sawyer Memorial arrives at Virginia Motor Speedway May 1.
With a first-place prize of $10,000 on the line, Richards won’t just be riding around in Hearn’s back-up Madsen Motorsports no. 20 Wentworth Custom Homes-Kruger-WLR/TEO Pro entry. The Shinnston, West Virginia chauffeur plans to be a solid contender despite making his first-ever appearance in a mighty Big-Block Modified.
“I never just ride around, that’s not racing,” stated Richards, 20, who will also be steering Ernie Davis’ no. 25 super late model when the 2008 Advance Auto Parts Series for Big-Blocks opens Thursday in the Old Dominion State. “I never really knew what the Modifieds were all about until a couple of years ago but with this kind of money at stake I hope I can learn fast. I’ll be going at it pretty hard regardless.”
Hearn and Richards headline the pre-race list of more than 40 teams already signed up for the Advance Series showdown, with the return to the Sawyer Family facility attracting the premier Big-Block drivers from throughout the entire Northeast. These short-term teammates are among the best in the business with the ‘Jet’ a record six-time and defending overall Mr. DIRTcar Modified Champion while ’05 WoO LM Rookie of the Year Richards currently ranks second in Outlaws points.
“I just got the call (Monday) to confirm Josh’s travel plans as he has to fly out right away to make a Saturday show in Missouri,” said Hearn, 49, who qualified Richards’ back-up mount at Lebanon Valley Speedway —finished 23rd following an early tangle— in his only late model attempt during the 2005 season; ironically the same August night that ‘Kid Rocket’ captured his first career WoO A-Main. “Still don’t have all the details worked out yet but I do know the top-two spots pay pretty good in the feature.”
“I’ve always been friends with Mark (Richards, father), even before Josh could drive, but there aren’t too many times Big-Blocks have shared the same card with late models. We’ve kept in touch ever since I raced their car at Lebanon and now Josh finally gets his chance to try out one of ours. Late models are just a whole different deal, you really have to commit some time to get used to,” Hearn added.
The feeling is mutual from Richards as he prepared for his maiden voyage in the more upright Big-Block mount provided by the Sussex, New Jersey speedster.
“Brett spent most of the time just getting comfortable at Lebanon Valley,” recalled Richards, who finished third in the most recent WoO LM race staged at VMS on April 11, with Big-Block Modified notables Vic Coffey (7th), Tim Fuller (9th), Billy Decker (15th), Joe Isabell (19th) and Danny Johnson (23rd) also qualifying for the ‘Rumble on the River IV’ full-fender finale. All are expected back on May 1 with Johnson winning last season’s inaugural Advance Series Thursday Thunder.
“In the Modified you sit up higher and in the middle right over the driveshaft but with the late model its like getting down low in a recliner and you’re buckled in on the left. Guys like Fuller and (Tim) McCreadie have told me how hard you can run the Big-Blocks. I’m looking forward to finally getting the chance in Virginia. I’ve only run there a handful of times but every race the conditions have been different,” Richards noted.
Race teams can call DIRTcar NE Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning Cory Reed at the DIRTcar NE Office (315/834-6606) for questions regarding race rules or contact NorthEast PR Director Tom Skibinski at DIRTcar NE headquarters (x28), e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to register. Log into www.superdirtcarseries.com anytime to obtain the most updated Advance Series news and information.
Virginia Motor Speedway www.vamotorspeedway.com (804/758-1867) is located on U.S. Route 17, eight miles north of Saluda and 25 miles south of Tappahannock in Jamaica, Va. The speedway is just a short drive from Richmond, Fredericksburg, Southern Maryland and the Hampton Roads areas.
Headquartered in Roanoke, Va., Advance Auto Parts is the second-largest retailer of automotive aftermarket parts, accessories, batteries, and maintenance items in the United States, based on store count and sales. As of October 6, 2007, the company operated 3,228 stores in 40 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The company serves both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets.
The Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series for Big-Block Modifieds is brought to fans across the Northeast by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Advance Auto Parts and Hoosier Racing Tire. Rite Aid Corporation is a promotional partner and the contingency sponsors are Bars Leaks, Bert Transmission, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Crane Cams, Dig Safely New York, Holley HP Carburetors, Integra Shocks, Intercomp, KSE Racing Products, Motorsports Safety Systems, Penske Shocks, Rislone Oil Stabilizer and Wrisco Industries.