Father and son raise the competitive fire at ODS


For the Potomac News

& Manassas Journal Messenger

The father and son team of Rick and Ricky Losh have helped raise the competition level in Legends at Old Dominion Speedway the past two seasons.

In 2002, 19-year-old Ricky picked up a fifth in points while his father, Rick, grabbed a seventh-place finish. In 2001, Ricky came in sixth while his dad pulled a seventh.

Ricky said that new equipment and getting advice from Kevin Yeatts helped him and his dad this past season. “I got more experience and we changed the cars because we learned a lot more about them,” said Ricky, who started racing Legends at age 16. “I also learned how to run my lines better around the track.”

Ricky and his dad have a bit of a rivalry on the track. In one of their first races against each other at Mountaineer Speedway in West Virginia in 2001, they ran nose-to-tail the whole race, and Ricky passed his dad with two to go. They also bump each other on the track sometimes. Once at Wall Stadium in New Jersey, Rick almost spun out his son.

“We joked about it when it was over,” said Rick, who won a go-kart championship at Hunterstown, Pa. in 1981. “We’re father and son but we’re both pretty competitive on the race track. He’ll tease me and I’ll tease him about our finishes. In 2001, he got me most of the year. Last year, I beat him most of the time. I enjoy racing my son.”

Rick had two top five finishes in 2002 at ODS — a fifth and a fourth — while Ricky had a fifth-place finish, with only one DNF because of a steering problem. Rick had more bad luck with three DNFs, with a broken oil line and getting collected twice in wrecks.

“Ricky’s a better driver,” Rick said. “He sees farther ahead than I do. I look too close in front of me. He’s better than I am there. He can see something happening and avoid it. When I see it, it’s too late.”

The Loshes race at Wall Stadium as well as ODS. Rick won a race in Jersey last year and Ricky grabbed a second-place finish. Both Rick and Ricky say that ODS is the most competitive track around in Legends and that it’s difficult to finish in the top five, let alone win.

“You want to do better down south [ODS] for some reason,” said Rick, a resident of Joppa, Md., north of Baltimore. “They have stronger front runners down there. In New Jersey, I’m usually in the top five all the time.”

Rick ran up front in the final race of the year at ODS in 2002, finishing fourth. “I could not believe how fast it was up front,” he said. “It was so intense. In mid-pack, it’s not so intense. Up front, you’re up on the steering wheel. But I enjoyed it. If you can see the leaders, it gets your blood pumping.”

Ricky said that ODS drivers have much better setups on their cars, which he and his dad are still figuring out on their cars.

“And they seem to be doing the turns a lot better than I do,” said Ricky, who won two junior stock go-kart championships in ’98, one at Sandy Hook, Md., and another at Chestertown, Md. “I’ve got to learn exactly what to do in the turns. And the front runners have the track down perfectly and I’m still working on that.”

For the upcoming season at ODS, Ricky wants to win a race or at least finish second or third. He won four races in a row at Mountaineer Speedway before it closed. He thinks he has a better chance to win in New Jersey this season.

“I just want to win a race or run competitively this year,” he said. “I don’t have to win, but as long as I’m racing, that would be pretty cool.”

Rick plans on being more patient and trying for more consistency this year. “I just want to bide my time and not try to get to first place in the first couple of laps,” he said, with a laugh. “I want to stay in the top five and I want to win a race at ODS.”

Both father and son know racing can be tough, though. Ricky had two big crashes last year. In one, he destroyed the front clip of the car. In the other, his steering broke and he slammed hard into the turn-three wall at ODS.

“That one stunned me because of the way the car hit the wall,” said Ricky, who might have wound up fourth in points, except for the DNF he received because of the crash.

One of Rick’s DNFs came when Ed Cove spun out in front of him early in the season in a spectacular crash. Cove’s tires hit Rick’s windshield before Cove bounced into the wall. Rick had to park because his toe-in was knocked off.

Rick said that racing with Ricky keeps them both sharp. It’s also an advantage because they can copy each other’s setups when they’re good.

“It’s fun racing together,” Rick said. “And it keeps us both going fast.”

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