We’ve all heard of children inheriting the family business.
But for Mark Richards and his son, three-time World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series Champion Josh Richards, keeping it in the family means something is a little bit different. Especially when it comes to Father’s Day.
“That’s the thing with this life,” said Mark. “As far as being home with the family, you miss a lot of holidays. Our family has become a racetrack family.”
For Mark and Josh, being a “racetrack family” is a way of life—and it’s a life they wouldn’t have any other way.
There have been plenty of father-son duos in racing. There’s Bobby Allison and his boys, Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jr., Billy Moyer and Billy Moyer Jr., but when it comes to today’s dirt-track circuit, the Richards men are blazing a new trail.
Mark used to race a bit in his day, but ever since just after Josh was born, they’ve been committed to different sides of the dirt track: Mark builds and maintains the vehicles and Josh pushes them across the finish line.
“Building the cars and trying to figure out how to make them go fast, that’s always been his niche,” said Josh. “And then mine has been the driving. Working together off and on for the last 12-13 years has been special.”
For Josh, those 12-13 years have been quite a ride.
Not only was Josh the 2004 World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series Rookie of the Year, he was also the youngest driver ever to do so at just 16 years old. Then five years later, he decided to best himself by becoming the youngest series champion ever, adding two more championships in 2010 and 2013 for good measure.
Josh has notched more than 100 Dirt Late Model wins while racing in multiple series, and seeing as he’s only 28, he’s got plenty of races ahead of him to keep that number growing.
But his success didn’t begin in 2004. It began with Mark.
“Growing up around it, and having my father introduce the passion, that’s what got me started,” said Josh. “To the average person, what we do is so different. Other fathers and sons have it with sports or whatever it may be, but for us it’s racing.”
This year, Father’s Day falls before a pair of races—the Fingerlakes 40 two days later at the Weedsport Speedway, then the Firecracker 100 at Lernerville Speedway the following weekend—so it’s not a stretch to think that this year will be another holiday at the track for Mark and Josh.
Such is the life for a racetrack family. A family with quite a few trophies on their shelf.
“The biggest thing is that we’re together,” said Mark. “That’s what’s most important to me on Father’s Day.”