BAKERSFIELD, California -- Eric Richardson, and his Rick Pak Motorsports team, likes to use the popular phrase "get 'er done." That's exactly what they did after winning the NASCAR Late Model 50 lap main event, April 16th, at Bakersfield's Mesa Marin Raceway. In three outings so far this year the popular Bakersfield driver has two wins and a second and remains a strong favorite for a season championship.
Josh Horn led the first lap before the first, of five, caution flags appeared when Cody Pruitt and Michael Burrow got together in turn two. The restart did not make a full lap before another yellow flag came out due to Jim Compton's spin of the front straightaway.
Horn managed to lead three more green flag laps before he got caught up in his own racing deal. After completing lap 12, Horn and Ray Robinson were racing hard for the lead. The two cars made contact, coming off of turn two, and Horn's Chevrolet wound up hitting the backstretch wall with a shower of sparks flying in the air due to the hard crash. Robinson barely managed to slip by Horn's crash. Richardson, in third at the time, did a brilliant job of defensive driving by diving to the low side of the track and passed both cars. That act of defensive driving, completed a mere matter of seconds before the yellow flag came out, gave him the race lead.
On the restart Richardson, Roy Degeer and Robinson pulled away from the field and staged their own three car race. But that all ended on lap 30 when Degeer spun out in turn four to bring out another caution flag. When that yellow flag became green again, Richardson staged a flawless restart and, by the time he reached the start-finish line, had a five car length lead over Robinson.
The final caution flag of the race appeared on lap 39 following a turn three spin by Greg Puskarich. Once again Richardson pulled off a flawless restart and made quick work of running out the final eight laps with Robinson's Chevrolet four car lengths behind him. The Ford of Chris Smith was third while Roy Degeer, also in a Ford, did a nice job of recovering from his earlier spin to salvage a fourth place finish.
After pulling his Richland Chevrolet-Green Frog Markets Chevrolet Monte Carlo into Mesa Marin's victory lane, Richardson commented on his lap 12 winning move and said " they, (Horn and Robinson), were kind of dicing back and forth. I saw them get together and I figured they were going to be able to gather it up so I pulled down low. In the corner of my eye I saw them turning so I kept it to the bottom. My spotter told me they just about got into me. We puckered up a little but we got through it."
Commenting on the two perfect restarts, when he really needed them, Richardson said "Mike Keane really had this car dialed in tonight and, man, this is a lot of fun when you've got a good race car."