Even though he’d been there more than anyone else, six-time track champion Scott Gafforini was still emotional in the Winner’s Circle at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday night (Photo credit: Jeff Speer).
Gafforini, of Las Vegas, passed 10-time race winner Chris Clyne on lap 43 of the 50-lap NASCAR Super Late Models feature to extend his all-time Saturday night feature wins record to 62 at the beloved 3/8-mile paved oval. The veteran racer was all smiles after yet another victory at the short track.
“With Chris Clyne, Chris Trickle and all these guys, we may have a limited field, but it’s still the best of the best on the West Coast as far as I’m concerned,” said Gafforini, who started from the eighth position. “We are just going to try and get as many (wins) as we can (this year) and try to make all the fans happy.”
Peyton Saxton’s transition from USLCI Legends cars to NASCAR Grand American Modifieds went swimmingly, as he cruised to victory in the night’s 35-lap feature. Saxton, the two-time and reigning USLCI Legends-Pro track champion, enjoyed the ride in his black No. 10 as he finished 4.302 seconds ahead of Shane Skaggs for the win.
“These cars are a lot different than the Legends cars, but still just as much fun,” said Saxton, who now has 14 career Saturday night wins at The Bullring. “I’ve just got to thank Chris Bray for the opportunity to drive this car. Hopefully, we can be in this modified a little bit more, run some Lucas Oil Series races and pick up a couple more wins.”
Sam Jacks, 15, won his first NASCAR Bombers race since 2014 by taking the 25-lap feature ahead of Michael Greve. Jacks – whose brother, Kyle, and grandfather, Wayne, have also won Bullring features in the past – crossed the line 2.547 seconds ahead of Greve after using some lap traffic to separate the close-running cars.
“Big thanks to my dad and Court (Connell), because they were up the last three or four days all day and all night working on that car making it ready,” said Sam Jacks, who started the race from the No. 8 spot. “There was a lot of close racing, and the lap traffic at the end made for a lot of close racing with Michael. He got caught up in it, and I was able to get through it.”
Joe DeGuevara was another first-time winner during the evening’s festivities, crossing the finish line first in the 25-lap race. DeGuevara was thrilled to join his Bandolero-driving son, Ethan, as a feature winner at the short track.
“I’m used to driving modifieds and super lates, so with these things, you’ve got to get back on the gas a lot sooner,” Joe DeGuevara said. “It takes a little while to get up to speed, because they’re different than what I’m used to. The big motor’s going to be in (the car for) the next race, so we’ve got something to look forward to.”
Cameron Morga, the reigning USLCI Legends Young Lions champion, won the 25-lap USLCI Legends feature after finishing 2.198 seconds ahead of Darren Amidan. Morga has now won three of the last four Saturday night Legends features at The Bullring.
“Now that I’m in the Pro (division), people just push you harder, and it’s fun racing with a new group of people,” Morga said. “When you go down into the corners, they won’t let you in, and they’ll push you down in the corners. So, it’s fun.”
Travis Boyle of Las Vegas added to his four-race sweep from The Showdown U.S. Legends event March 17-19 with a 20-lap Thunder Car feature victory. Boyle capitalized on a late-race re-start and finished 1.952 seconds ahead of Roger Hocking to earn his spot in the Winner’s Circle.
“It’s been at least four years since I’ve won a points race out here, so it’s pretty awesome,” Boyle said. “We had a lot of problems with the brakes on this car, so my guy Bryce and I put all new brakes on the front end right before the race. We were a little unsure, and it stinks to get out to a little bit of a lead and have to re-start, but I think we did all right.”
R.J. Smotherman won for the 12th time in the last 14 USLCI Bandolero Bandits races in the evening’s first feature, finishing 3.198 seconds ahead of Ethan DeGuevara.
“We made a few adjustments, and this car just suits the track so well,” Smotherman said. “The car handled great and was absolutely fine.”
Kayla Eshleman joined her sister, McKenzie, as a race winner at The Bullring by taking the 12-lap USLCI Bandolero Outlaws feature. She finished a dominant 13.167 seconds ahead of Camden Larsen to earn her first win at the short track.
“You’ve just got to know what you’re doing, have a good line and have a fast car,” Eshleman said. “I’m looking forward to a lot of victories, and it’s nice to get my first victory here at this track.”
Robert Smotherman maneuvered his skid plate car – front-wheel drive cars with metal skid plates in the place of rear wheels – to victory in a 15-lap feature that concluded the night’s racing. Smotherman lapped the field in the entertaining race.
“You have to be on the gas and the brake at the same time,” Robert Smotherman said about the key to driving a two-wheel car. “I want to thank all of my sponsors.”
NEXT RACE: The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series continues on Saturday, April 9, with another full night of racing. SRL Spears Southwest Tour Series, NASCAR Super Stocks and Bombers (Twin 25s), USLCI Legends, Thunder Cars and Bandoleros will be in action.
Skid plate cars 15-lap feature
1. Robert Smotherman; 2. Court Connell (-2 laps); 3. Bryce Wolfe (-2 laps); 4. Wyatt Harwood (-3 laps).
NASCAR Super Late Models 50-lap feature
1. Scott Gafforini; 2. Chris Clyne (-1.971 seconds); 3. David Anderson (-3.459); 4. Warren Knipper (-4.366); 5. Justin Johnson (-5.474); 6. Chris Trickle (-10.764); 7. Kayli Barker (-13.624); 8. Stan Mullis (-10.863); 9. Steve Anderson (-15.135); 10. Ryan Vargas (-16.429); 11. Gary Clift (-2 laps); 12. Matthew Frady (-48 laps).
NASCAR Grand American Modifieds 35-lap feature
1. Peyton Saxton; 2. Shane Skaggs (-4.302 seconds); 3. Vinny Raucci Jr. (-14.902); 4. Pat Petrie (-1 lap); 5. Brian Reed (-1 lap); 6. Nick Nuccitelli (-2 laps).
NASCAR Bombers 25-lap feature
1. Sam Jacks; 2. Michael Greve (-2.547 seconds); 3. Billy Hern (-9.194); 4. Nick Nuccitelli (-9.428); 5. Kirk Hance (-10.068); 6. Bob Rynda (-14.103); 7. Mark Skinner (-15.045); 8. Jim Merlino (-15.477); 9. Gary Wyatt (-15.813); 10. Jason Merlino (-16.217); 11. Kyle Jacks (-16.624); 12. Bobby Schumacher (-27.077); 13. Scott Bradbury (-1 lap); 14. Justin Griffiths (-1 lap); 15. Michael Riefler (-1 lap); 16. Scott Crane (-2 laps); 17. Martin Sullins (-16 laps); 18. Gary Griffiths (-23 laps).
NASCAR Super Stocks 25-lap feature
1. Joe DeGuevara; 2. Matt Larsen; 3. Don Sargent; 4. Johnny Spilatro; 5. Kevin James; 6. Tom Pfundstein; 7. Chad Mattos; 8. Dave Lowenstein; 9. Robert Negrete; 10. Dylin Smotherman.
USLCI Legends 25-lap feature
1. Cameron Morga; 2. Darren Amidan (-2.198 seconds); 3. Parker Steele (-3.602); 4. Bryan Grandin (-3.673); 5. Tyler Fabozzi (-3.995); 6. Matthew Barnard (-7.208); 7. Michael Todd Glazier (-8.442); 8. T.J. Clark (-13.499); 9. Dezel West (-13.746); 10. Devin Lane (-16.783); 11. Kole Raz (-16.922); 12. Caden Carlin (-19.801); 13. Justin Spencer (-1 lap); 14. Brian Williams (-1 lap); 15. Hailie Deegan (-1 lap); 16. Ryan Schartau (-1 lap).
USLCI Thunder Cars 20-lap feature
1. Travis Boyle; 2. Roger Hocking (-1.952 seconds); 3. Chris Bosley (-2.706); 4. Ron Reed (-2.953); 5. Nick D’Egidio (-13.204); 6. Doug Germano (-20.021); 7. Darin Callaway (-1 lap).
USLCI Bandolero Outlaws 12-lap feature
1. Kayla Eshleman; 2. Camden Larsen (-13.167 seconds); 3. Matthew Cunningham (-1 lap); 4. Cameron Guy (-3 laps).
USLCI Bandolero Bandits 12-lap feature
1. R.J. Smotherman; 2. Ethan DeGuevara (-3.198 seconds); 3. Amilleo Thomson (-3.752); 4. Jaron Giannini (-9.262); 5. Sebastian Lafia (-2 laps); 6. Tuscan Nuccitelli (-3 laps).