On a night complete with crashes, jumped starts and a disqualified winner, veteran Jim Mardis took the evening’s concluding feature at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday (Pictured: Jim Mardis earned his first win at The Bullring since 2011 after taking the NASCAR Grand American Modified 40-lap feature on Sunday night – Photo credit: LVMS/Instant Images).
Mardis drove Tom Pfundstein’s No. 12 NASCAR Grand American Modified to victory in the 40-lap feature that capped a wild night at the 3/8-mile paved oval. Mardis finished .690 of a second ahead of Doug Hamm to earn his first Bullring win since 2011.
“We changed a gear before the race,” Mardis, who improved on a runner-up finish from Saturday night, said of the key to victory. “I can’t say enough for Tom and all of the H Town guys, and I’m just the lucky guy who got to come up here and drive it. Thanks for everybody coming out, and hopefully we put on a good show for you.”
U.S. Legends Cars national points leader Peyton Saxton appeared to have completed a heck of a feat by winning in a backup car in the USLCI Legends 25-lap feature, but was disqualified because of a car weight violation. Saxton’s prized No. 10 car broke during the warmup laps, and the Las Vegas high schooler took over the No. 1M car that his crew chief, Mark Nahrstedt, was going to race.
He crossed the finish line first in the backup car despite starting from the back of the field, but was disqualified because the car did not meet minimum weight requirements. After the driver switch, the car did not weigh enough because Saxton weighs less than Nahrstedt, for whom the car was originally set up.
The race was a national qualifier for the INEX season-ending U.S. Legend Cars International Asphalt Nationals, Nov. 12-14, in Anderson, S.C., and Saxton’s teammate, Cameron Morga, will take that automatic berth after being deemed the race winner.
Ian Anderson took the lead on the 11th lap of the USLCI Thunder Cars 20-lap feature and never looked back, securing his 26th career win at The Bullring. Anderson is now eighth on the track’s all-time Saturday night wins list and has won all eight Thunder Car races of 2015.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Anderson, who passed Kyle Busch and Dave Green on the wins list. “It’s cool (to pass Busch), but I’m not going up to NASCAR, so I can’t really compare myself to him.”
Ryan Vargas of La Mirada, Calif., followed his first career NASCAR Super Stocks victory at the Bullring victory from Aug. 22 with another win in the evening’s 35-lap feature. Vargas held off defending class champion Jason Kiser by .736 of a second to make it two in a row.
“I can’t believe I did two in a row – what the heck,” Vargas said. “I just had to keep hitting my marks. I knew Jason Kiser was right on my butt and Joe (Deguevara) was right behind him, so I just had to stay smooth and give them any advantages.”
Aaron McMorran won the NASCAR Bombers 25-lap “breakout” feature, a special race that penalizes any leader who runs a lap faster than 20 seconds with a stop-and-go penalty. The format keeps the pack tight throughout the race and causes drivers to watch their speed while battling other drivers.
McMorran, the season points leader, crossed the line .073 of a second ahead of top rival Court Connell and was relieved after taking the checkered flag.
“It probably looks easy, but it’s kind of a nightmare,” McMorran said of the breakout race. “Every lap, you’re tying to keep track of who was leading the lap before, and you can’t go too fast. It’s madness.
“I appreciate how Court races me. We’ve raced all year super clean, and we’re the two fastest cars out here. I saw a lot of guys get driven through in my (rear-view) mirror, but you can race clean and not crash each other.”
Zack St. Onge swept the Southwest Tour Trucks Labor Day weekend races, crossing the line 5.393 seconds ahead of Ed Cutler on Sunday. The 13-year-old is second in the series’ season points standings and will likely take home 2015 rookie of the year honors.
“I did not expect this,” St. Onge said of his weekend sweep. “Ed (Cutler) and the 27 and 14 are always really fast at every track we go to, and I’ve just got to thank those guys for racing clean. It’s an awesome night, and I’ve got to thank all of the fans for coming out.”
Dezel West earned his first USAC HPD Midgets win of the year in the night’s 30-lap feature after battling and bumping Dylan Nobile down the stretch. West, of Henderson, Nev., was thrilled to claim the victory.
“I was catching him in the corners and kept bumping him, and he got loose on me,” he said of his back-and-forth with Nobile. “I hope I didn’t hit him. It’s my first win in the Midgets, so wooh!”
USLCI O’Hanley’s Bandolero Bandits driver Brodey Warren gave himself a great 11th birthday present by winning the night’s first race. Only a second-lap crash could keep season points leader R.J. Smotherman from his 10th win of the season, and Warren used the opening as a chance to pick up his first career victory at The Bullring.
Kyle Jacks won his second 12-lap USLCI O’Hanley’s Bandolero Bandits feature of the weekend and fifth race of the year after finishing .593 of a second ahead of Zack St. Onge. Jacks is the season points leader and is closing in on his first track championship with just two race nights remaining.
NEXT RACE – Sunday, Sept. 12 – The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series continues with the second-to-last race night of the 2015 season at The Bullring with the Keith Danser Kids Candy Toss Night on Sept. 12. There will be a full slate of racing on tap as drivers scramble for crucial points for the season-long points races.
Championship Night follows on Sept. 26, which will be Zero Teen Fatalities presents Clark County School District Night, when season track championships will be decided.
The Bullring’s concession stand offers $2 hot dogs, $2 Coca-Cola products and $3 Budweiser beer on each NASCAR Whelen All-American Series race night. For more information on all events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, please visit www.LVMS.com and follow LVMS on Facebook and Twitter.
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Race No. 11 – Complete results
USLCI O’Hanley’s Bandolero Bandits 12-lap feature
1. Brodey Warren; 2. Jake Pike (-2.995 seconds); 3. Matthew Cunningham (-3.671); 4. Madison Gay (-4.708); 5. Kyle Keller (-14.984); 6. R.J. Smotherman (-2 laps); 7. Amilleo Thomson (-2 laps); 8. Austin Edwards (-5 laps); 9. Ethan Deguevara (DNF).
USLCI O’Hanley’s Bandolero Outlaws 12-lap feature
1. Kyle Jacks; 2. Zack St. Onge (-.593 seconds); 3. Philip Root (-.727); 4. Mason Sargent (-2.786); 5. Allison Gay (DNF).
USLCI Thunder Cars 20-lap feature
1. Ian Anderson; 2. Chris Bosley (-3.009 seconds); 3. Travis Boyle (-3.909); 4. Mark Anderson (-4.248); 5. Chris Trickle (-5.003); 6. Brian Reed (-5.133); 7. Doug Germano (-15.688); 8. Darin Callaway (-16.217); 9. Ron Reed (-1 lap).
Southwest Tour Trucks 30-lap feature
1. Zack St. Onge; 2. Ed Cutler (-5.393 seconds); 3. Eric Darensburg (-12.446); 4. Roger Harder (-1 lap).
USAC HPD Midgets 30-lap feature
1. Dezel West; 2. Toni Bredinger (-.193 of a second); 3. Michael Fanelli (-1.698); 4. Ashley Hazelton (-2.086); 5. Annie Bredinger (-2.981); 6. Thomas Patterson (-34.448); 7. Cody Jessop (-47.364); 8. Dylan Nobile (-1:16.522); 9. Jeff Kelley (DNF); 10. Jesse Love (DNF).
NASCAR Super Stocks 35-lap feature
1. Ryan Vargas; 2. Jason Kiser (-.736 of a second); 3. Joe Deguevara (-1.610); 4. Matt Larsen (-10.440); 5. John Spilotro (-13.771); 6. Robert Negrete (-1 lap); 7. Chad Mattos (-2 laps).
USLCI Legends 25-lap feature – National qualifier
1. Cameron Morga*; 2. Robert Gayton (-1.187); 3. Matthew Barnard (-1.909); 4. Devin Lane (-2.485); 5. T.J. Clark (-3.650); 6. Randy Beddow (-3.971); 7. Dezel West (-4.475); 8. Michael Todd Glazier (-4.754); 9. Brian Williams (-6.342); 10. Justin Spencer (-11.873); 11. Ricky De LeRee (-13.342); 12. Gina Tillman (-1 lap); 13. Ricky Lewis (DNF); 14. Gary Wegener (DNF); 15. Shawn Morga (DNF); 16. David Saxton (DNF); 17. Caden Carlin (DNF); 18. Peyton Saxton (DQ).
*Qualifies for U.S. Legend Cars International Asphalt Nationals Nov. 12-14 in Anderson, S.C.
NASCAR Bombers 25-lap breakout race
1. Aaron McMorran; 2. Court Connell (-.073 of a second); 3. Michael Greve (-.131); 4. Martin Sullins (-.213); 5. Jason Merlino (-.461); 6. Arlie Daniel Jr. (-.850); 7. Justin Griffiths (-2.668); 8. J.J. Nunn (-5.311); 9. Billy Hern (-5.933); 10. Anthony Scalzo (DNF); 11. Seth Ingram (DNF); 12. John Keller (-8 laps); 13. Jeff Bargerhuff (DNF).
NASCAR Grand American Modifieds 40-lap feature
1. Jim Mardis; 2. Doug Hamm (-.690 of a second); 3. Jason Irwin (-2.582); 4. Vinny Raucci Jr. (-8.664); 5. Shane Skaggs (-8.898); 6. Taylor Barton (-15.141); 7. Pat Petrie (-1 lap); 8. Marty DeLuca (-1 lap); 9. Steven Durbin (-2 laps); 10. Jason Kenzevich (-2 laps).