By admin | April 6, 2010
By Richard Allen
Back in January at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony of the National Motorsports Press Association, Jack Roush stated that the Roush Yates Engines partnership of he and Doug Yates would expand into other forms of racing in order to prevent having to lay workers off in these slow economic times. One of the areas in which the partnership would expand was into the realm of dirt late model racing.
Well, it has not taken long for the NASCAR powerhouse to have an impact in their new endeavor. This past Saturday night, Josh Richards won the feature super late model race at the Hagerstown Speedway in Maryland using a Roush Yates power plant. It was the first time Richards had used the engine.
“The track was awesome!” said Richards. “You could race anywhere you wanted. I had fun there racing with Frankie (Plessinger) for the lead. A win is a great way to start this new relationship with Roush Yates Engines. I had a lot of fun tonight and appreciate Jeff Clark and Mike Kasch being here with us.”
The pairing of Roush Yates with Richards is significant in a couple of ways.
First, ‘Kid Rocket’ as Richards is called, was the World of Outlaws Dirt Late Model Series champion last year. To lure a championship driver to a new engine package gives the Roush Yates Engines program a certain degree of legitimacy in an area of racing sometimes skeptical of NASCAR involvement.
Second, not only is Richards a championship driver but his regular ride is the #1 house car of the Rocket Chassis organization. On Saturday he was driving the #25 car for Ernie Davis Motorsports. Rocket Chassis is owned by Richards’ father, Mark Richards. Teaming with one of the more powerful forces in dirt late model chassis building adds even more credibility to the new engine company.
Engine builder Jay Dickens has been brought in to head up the Roush Yates Engines short track program. Dickens has long been highly respected in the field. He is most noted for his Jay Dickens Racing Engines company.
Dirt racing super stars Scott Bloomquist and Don O’Neal have each won races this year with Jay Dickens Racing Engines power.
Aside from the Richards win, longtime racer and former NASCAR star Ken Schrader took a victory in the super late model class on Saturday night in Paducah, Kentucky. This past March, Roush Yates announced a partnership with Schrader to power his dirt late model program.
Roush Yates Engines is off to a good start in this new endeavor.
Follow @RacingWithRich on twitter.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
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