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Dave Richards Ready to Take on Full Schedule in Versatran / Bluebird Funny Car

After racing part-time for 10 years, Dave Richards and Paul Richards Racing will, for the first time, be running the full 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season driving the Versatran/BlueBird Funny Car.

Versatran, a division of Metalcraft of Mayville, the parent company of SCAG Power Equipment, joined Richards and brother Paul Richards during the 2023 NHRA Drag Racing Series season. The team competed in 11 races, qualified in the top 16 eight times and made it to the quarterfinals twice ultimately finishing the season 16th in the points standings. In 2024, Versatran will be joined by Metalcraft of Mayville’s newly acquired company, BlueBird Turf, an iconic brand in the outdoor power equipment rental market for over sixty years.

“It’s a struggle to race at this level, but Paul and I kept doing it because we love this stuff. Our program over the years had been up and down, but we got hooked up with Randy Gloede and Versatran and things are looking positive,” Richards said. “We’re building the program, building the car, getting ready to put our best foot forward. We don’t want to go out there and just be happy to be there, we want to be competitive, we want to win.”

Richards made his professional debut at the 2013 NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H., where he qualified 16th and had a first-round matchup with legend John Force. Since then, Richards has competed in a total of 52 events, qualified for 43 race days and had a total of six quarterfinal appearances.

“This is our opportunity to make a big jump. We have been working hard for years, everyone says things happen for a reason and Versatran, and now Bluebird, have given us the chance to go out there and surprise everyone,” Richards said. “We’ve always been the underdogs, but I think running this full season, we’ll learn a lot and quickly, and that will show on the racetrack.”

Richards will begin the 2024 racing season with testing at Bradenton Motorsports Park before competing in the SCAG Power Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout February 8-10. The 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series will kick-off March 8-10 with the NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.

This story was originally published on January 25, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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