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SPOTLIGHT ON SPEED: Jake Richards

SPOTLIGHT ON SPEED: Jake Richards

It's crowded at the top in the B Mod division of Heartland Park Topeka's Saturday Showdown dirt track series, with four drivers within 23 points of the points lead.
And even though Edwardsville racer Jake Richards is holding down the top spot in the standings heading into this week's race, he's a bit uneasy at the top.
Richards holds a 19-point lead over Topekan Dustin Thulin, with Tecumseh's David Samuels another two points back and Bonner Springs' Ethan Isaacs, the defending track champ, two points behind Samuels.
"The funny part is, I'm in the same thing at Lakeside (in Kansas City, Kan.) on Friday night,'' Richards said. "There's a three-way battle for the lead going on right now at Lakeside on Friday night. So that makes double trouble.
"I'm high strung, stressed and my girlfriend hates that right now.''
On the other hand, the point battles serve to keep Richards on top of his game.
"It's what fuels your fire,'' he said. "It's what makes you keep doing it. The guys that help you, they can see on paper where all their hard work is paying off.
"I've won three track championships already, so I know what it takes. It's stressful, it's nerve-wracking and at any point in time it can all slip away.''
Richards, who has won two Street Stock titles at Lakeside and a Modified championship at Grain Valley, Mo., is trying to win the B Mod championship at HPT while also doubling up in the Modified class.
The double duty keeps him hopping, but he thinks it's a benefit.
"I love running both,'' Richards said. "I think that the A Mod makes me better in my B Mod because it's faster. When I'm in the B Mod it doesn't really seem fast, so maybe I'm up on the steering wheel and a little more aggressive than everybody else because I don't have that sense of speed like they've got.''
With a big chunk of the season remaining Richards said that the key the rest of the way will be consistency.
"You've got to try to run top five every week,'' he said. "In all honesty, all you can do is just try to be consistent and position yourself towards the last three nights. Usually every year it seems to boil down to where it's a three-man race.
"If you get down to where there's three weeks to go, really all you can try to do is out-run those other two guys. You don't care if you've got to win because they're running second or you've got to run 11th because they're running 12th, just as long as you're finishing in front of them.''
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HPT.com will be featuring drivers throughout the 2013 season. If you have a driver you would like to see spotlighted, send details and contact information to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Rick can also be reached on Twitter @peterson_rick