The Wizard is back. Six-time Bullring track champion Scott Gafforini ended a nearly year-long winless draught by taking the second of two 35-lap NASCAR Super Late Model features at the Chris Trickle Classic on Saturday night (Photo credit: Jeff Speer).
Gafforini joined David Anderson – who won the first NASCAR Super Late Model race of the evening – in the Winner’s Circle 364 days after his last victory at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway short track.
Gafforini dominated the night cap, finishing 3.220 seconds ahead of reigning division champion Justin Johnson to notch career Bullring win No. 65.
“I’d like to thank J&S Automotive for giving us such a great power plant,” Gafforini said. “With all that power and the weight that needs to go in the car, Howe Racing sent us a nice care package this week and the crew put it all on. We’ve all been working on it, so (it’s special) that everybody’s here.”
Anderson kicked off the night’s action with his second win in three events, .355 of a second ahead of the track’s all-time winningest female driver, Kayli Barker. Anderson was joined in the Winner’s Circle by his father, Steve, who finished fifth, and dedicated the win to the mother of a friend who passed away earlier in the day.
“There have been a lot of technological advances, and we’ve worked really hard on the car,” Anderson said. “This chassis is about half my age, so to get this to run like this against these guys that were behind me is just something amazing. I didn’t look behind me, I just focused forward and let my spotter tell me if they got close.”
Aaron McMorran remained perfect in the NASCAR Bombers class this season, winning his seventh consecutive feature after holding off the Jacks brothers. Defending Bombers division champion Sam Jacks finished .306 of a second behind, while Kyle was third, 1.126 seconds off the pace.
“You just do your best every time you get in the car, and you’re either going to win them or you’re not,” said McMorran, who is now tied for 12th on The Bullring’s all-time wins list with 24. “You still get to drive race cars on the weekends, so it’s a good day either way. The Trickles have a special place in my heart, and I know this is a special night for them and I’m glad (Chuck) got to race with us.”
Former track champion Chuck Trickle – the father of the late Chris Trickle for which the night is named – drove Pete Meyer’s car in the 25-lap race and finished 10th. He joined McMorran in the Winner’s Circle to offer his congratulations.
“I’ve been out of (the driver’s seat) for a long time, and there’s cars going here and there and your mind’s going crazy,” Trickle said. “(McMorran) caught me on the second lap, so I must have really been driving slow. Pete Meyer let me drive his car after mine broke, and this was fun.”
NASCAR Super Stocks driver Court Connell delivered on his promise to LVMS staff that he would win the night’s 25-lap feature. Connell, a former NASCAR Bombers driver, guided his Joker-themed purple No. 11 to his first victory of 2017 after crossing the line .654 of a second ahead of UNLV student Johnny Spilotro.
“I made the change (to Super Stocks), because the car was a good price,” Connell said. “I decided to come out and race it this season, and the Joker theme was my boy’s idea. Thank you to all my family and friends who came out to see me, and to Matt Larsen, sorry for all of the bumping.”
Four-time track champion Doug Hamm added to his Bullring legacy with career victory No. 46 by taking the 30-lap NASCAR Grand American Modifieds feature. Hamm turned fast laps and finished 2.599 seconds ahead of Cameron Morga to win his second race of 2017.
“We knew we had a good car, and it’s got a good long-run setup on it,” Hamm said. “This win is for my mom; she hasn’t been feeling too well lately. I love you mama!”
Tyler Fabozzi earned his second win of the season after claiming the 25-lap USLCI Legends feature by .848 of a second ahead of teammate Michael Todd Glazier. Fabozzi grabbed the lead early and never looked back.
“It definitely makes it a lot easier,” Fabozzi said of taking the lead early. “Any time I felt like I got a good lead, I’d come up on a lapped traffic car and see the guy behind me reel it back in. T.J. Clark and my dad gave me a perfect Legend car, and it went the way we needed it to.”
Ron Reed cruised to his fifth USLCI Thunder Car win in six races, crossing the line 9.376 seconds clear of Doug Germano. Reed was happy to return to the Winner’s Circle on the special night after the 20-lap feature.
“I got a lot of help from my crew setting the car up right, and it’s easy to drive once it’s done right,” Reed said. “I’d like to say thank you to my family, and I’d like to say thank you to Mr. Trickle. Chuck’s been a great guy all these years, and my first late model was built in Chuck’s garage even though he didn’t really know me. I’d like to say thank you to Chuck and his family, with all they’ve been through and for all he’s done for this sport.”
In the USLCI Bandoleros Bandits division, Amilleo Thomson appeared to be headed to his third victory of the season before his car broke down on the final lap. Thomson limped to a fourth-place finish in the 12-lap race, while Braden Conner raced by for his second win of 2017.
Camden Larsen executed a late-race pass to get clear of Jesse Love en route to his fourth USLCI Bandolero Outlaws win of the season. Larsen finished .240 of a second ahead of Love, who won the last race on May 20, in the 12-lap feature.
NEXT RACE: The highly popular Night of Fire ends the track’s month-long break on Monday, July 3, with a full night of racing, The Bullring’s first-ever Figure 8 Trailer Race and one of the city’s best fireworks show highlighting the evening. There will be great concessions prices and affordable tickets available, and children 12 and under will be admitted free with a ticketed adult.
Chris Trickle Classic – Complete results
NASCAR Super Late Models 35-lap feature No. 1
1. David Anderson; 2. Kayli Barker (-.355 of a second) 3. Justin Johnson (-.662); 4. Stan Mullis (-.965); 5. Steve Anderson (-3.220); 6. Scott Gafforini (-4.243); 7. Dennis Rock Jr. (-6.001); 8. Charlie Pike (-1 lap); 9. Tyler Fabozzi (-5 laps); 10. Peyton Saxton (-18 laps); 11. Dezel West (-30 laps).
USLCI Thunder Cars 20-lap feature
1. Ron Reed; 2. Doug Germano (-9.376 seconds); 3. Darin Callaway (-9.629); 4. Ed Hohman (-11 laps).
NASCAR Super Stocks 25-lap feature
1. Court Connell; 2. Johnny Spilotro (-.654 of a second); 3. Matt Larsen (-1.634 seconds); 4. Dylin Smotherman (-2.457); 5. Vince Bianchi (-4.750); 6. Robert Negrete (-10 laps); 7. Mason Sargent (-14 laps).
USLCI Bandolero Bandits 12-lap feature
1. Braden Conner; 2. Landon Gresser; 3. Sabastian Lafia (-.329 of a second); 4. Amilleo Thomson (-2.301); 5. Tuscan Nuccitelli (-7.817); 6. Owen Romzek (-17.297); 7. Levi Johnson (-2 laps).
USLCI Bandolero Outlaws 12-lap feature
1. Camden Larsen; 2. Jesse Love (-.240 of a second); 3. Matthew Cunningham (-1.142); 4. Brodey Warren (-1.532); 5. Kaden Crouch (-2.716); 6. Jaron Giannini (-3.236); 7. Tia Guy (-3.726); 8. Cameron Guy (-3.970); 9. R.J. Smotherman (-3 laps).
NASCAR Grand American Modifieds 30-lap feature
1. Doug Hamm; 2. Cameron Morga (-2.599 seconds); 3. Aaron McMorran (-8.148); 4. Pat Petrie (-15.720); 5. Tom Pfundstein (-1 lap).
NASCAR Bombers 25-lap feature (unofficial)
1. Aaron McMorran; 2. Sam Jacks (-.306 of a second); 3. Kyle Jacks (-1.126); 4. Jason Merlino (-6.210); 5. Mark Skinner (-14.518); 6. Jim Merlino (-16.587); 7. Kirk Hance (-1 lap); 8. Robert Schumacher (-1 lap); 9. Anthony Mann (-1 lap); 10. Chuck Trickle (-1 lap); 11. Gary Griffiths Jr. (-1 lap); 12. Carl Duryee (-1 lap); 13. Zachery Nicholls (-1 lap); 14. Arlie Daniel (-1 lap); 15. James Menasco (-2 laps).
USLCI Legends 25-lap feature
1. Tyler Fabozzi; 2. Michael Todd Glazier (-.848 of a second); 3. T.J. Clark (-.938); 4. Payton Garafalo (-3.100); 5. Jesse Love (-6.000); 6. Dylan Fabozzi (-8.334); 7. Brian Williams (-8.735); 8. Jace Jones (-13.560); 9. Matthew Cunningham (-1 lap); 10. Nick Nuccitelli (-2 laps); 11. Ray Hoffman (-2 laps); 12. Lewis Hykes (-3 laps).
NASCAR Super Late Models 35-lap feature No. 2
1. Scott Gafforini; 2. Justin Johnson (-3.220 seconds); 3. Stan Mullis (-4.423); 4. David Anderson (-7.659); 5. Steve Anderson (-8.529); 6. Peyton Saxton (-8.558); 7. Dezel West (-9.122); 8. Kayli Barker (-9.456); 9. Warren Knipper; 10. Tyler Fabozzi (-1 lap); 11. Dennis Rock Jr. (-1 lap); 12. Charlie Pike (-2 laps).