Hess Grabs First WoO LMS Triumph
ORRVILLE, Ohio — Dave Hess Jr. ran the race of his life on Friday night at NAPA Auto Parts Wayne County Speedway.
The 28-year-old driver from Waterford, Pa., grabbed the lead on lap two and never looked back en route to capturing the World of Outlaws Late Model Series Buckeye 50 Presented by Southeast Equipment — his coveted first triumph on the national tour.
Not even a lap-36 caution flag could derail Hess, who pulled away from three former WoO LMS champions — Josh Richards, Darrell Lanigan and Rick Eckert during the race’s late stages to pocket $10,550.
Hess’s victory came in the 58th WoO LMS event he’s entered and 38th A-Main he’s started since 2004. His previous best finish was a second on Aug. 31, 2008, at Tri-City Speedway in Franklin, Pa.
“We’ve been trying a long time to win one of these World of Outlaws shows,” said Hess, who has driven family-owned equipment throughout his career. “We’ve come close before, and I knew the way the car’s been (in recent years) it was just a matter of time (that a win would come) if we got some luck.
“But I didn’t think (the win) would be here,” he added. “I thought it would be at one of my better tracks. We haven’t even been here in a couple years, but the car was great.”
Richards, 25, advanced from the seventh starting spot to run second from lap 11 to the finish, but he only managed to briefly duck underneath Hess twice late in the distance. The two-time WoO LMS champion crossed the finish line 1.262 seconds behind Hess.
Lanigan, who started sixth but lost two spots on the race’s first lap when he bounced through a rut in turn one, recovered to finish third. He turned back the late-race challenges of the eighth-starting Eckert, who settled for fourth. Chub Frank completed the top five after climbing forward from the 12th starting spot to match his top finish of the season.