It was a historic night at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday. Las Vegas’ Aaron McMorran clinched his second track championship of the year in the NASCAR Bombers division despite finishing three laps down in the final race of the season on Championship Night at the LVMS short track (Photo credit: Jeff Speer).
McMorran, who won the NASCAR Grand American Modifieds crown on Sept. 9, became the first driver in Bullring history to win titles in two different classes in the same season.
The victory was bittersweet for the 26-time Bullring race winner, who had a heavy heart after a diabolically difficult week.
“I wish we were able to celebrate, but I was born and raised here and seeing what happened Sunday broke my heart,” said McMorran, who unofficially won the title by 18 points over Saturday’s race winner Kyle Jacks. “My parents’ house burned down last night, and we’re just trying to get through it. All my guys know how much I love them, and thanks everybody.”
Not even being forced to go to his backup car kept Justin Johnson from winning his second consecutive NASCAR Super Late Models season championship. Johnson’s primary car broke down during practice, and he battled through a flat tire and other issues to finish 11th in the final feature of the season and edge Peyton Saxton for the Bullring crown.
Johnson finished 10 laps down, but still edged Saxton 274-270 in the unofficial final points standings to repeat as the track champion. Six-time track champion Scott Gafforini won the 50-lap feature to extend his Bullring record to 66 career wins.
Johnson was elated after going back-to-back at the LVMS short track.
“We fought a lot harder this year than we did last year, so it’s really good,” Johnson said. “I really appreciate Dennis Rock and the guys behind me for giving me a good car and my wife for letting me come out of the house to do this. It’s been great.”
Court Connell put an exclamation point on his 2017 season by winning the final NASCAR Super Stocks feature of the year to earn his first career track title. Connell was emotional in the Winner’s Circle after the triumph.
“Vegas Strong – that small phrase means a lot,” Connell said. “I’ve got a friend of mine who’s in the Stockyard whose wife was shot in the back (at the Route 91 Harvest Festival) and she has a bullet in her spine right now that they won’t take out unless it gets infected. I thank God that she made it to the Stockyard tonight.”
Tyler Fabozzi’s fifth USLCI Legends feature win of the year propelled him to his first Bullring championship. The talented driver, who also competed in the NASCAR Super Late Models race, was appreciative of adding his name to the list of track champions.
“This was the most fun race we had all year,” Fabozzi said. “We were swapping positions every single lap, and I can’t thank those guys enough. It was just a perfect race.
“I’ve got to thank my crew, T.J. Clark and my dad. This car finished every single race this year, and that on its own is crazy to do for an entire season.”
Ron Reed capped a dominant USLCI Thunder Cars season with his ninth victory of the season on Championship Night and is this year’s Bullring season champion. He had several people to thank during his speech in the Winner’s Circle after clinching his first career title.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that,” Reed said of being called a track champion. “I’ve had a lot of help this year with my car, and it’s been a long year, but we hung in there. I want to say thank you to my son and all my helpers, and I’m just very happy.”
A fifth-place finish in the Skid Plate Cars feature helped James Brazzeal claim the season points title, and he was riding high during his Winner’s Circle speech.
“It’s going to look good in my garage,” Brazzeal said of his Bullring season championship trophy. “Racing against all these awesome guys is the best thing about this class.”
The USLCI Bandolero Outlaws season points title went to Camden Larsen, who finished second to Jaron Giannini in the final 15-lap feature of the season. It is Larsen’s first Bullring championship.
“This is insane,” Larsen said. “Racing everybody here has been great, and I love these kids to death. They’re all awesome. I want to say thank you to my family and everyone who came out.”
Braden Connor won his first career Bullring season title after finishing third in the USLCI Bandolero Bandits feature, which was won by Cody Kiemele. Connor was all smiles after claiming the championship.
“I didn’t expect to win this,” Connor said. “This is my first year racing this car at The Bullring. I want to thank my dad for getting my car running fast and thank the Smothermans for helping.”
Payton Garofalo won the 25-lap USLCI Legends Young Lions/Semi-Pro race two weeks after claiming his first career Bullring victory. Garofalo is performing well heading into next weekend’s US Legends Asphalt Nationals at the LVMS short track.
NEXT RACE: Some of the best Legend car drivers will be at The Bullring for the US Legends Asphalt Nationals Oct. 13-14. The event will kick off the short track’s postseason lineup, which will include The Senator’s Cup Fall Classic Oct. 20-21 and the West Coast Short Track Championships on Nov. 19.
Championship Night at The Bullring
USLCI Bandolero Bandits 12-lap feature
1. Cody Kiemele; 2. Amilleo Thomson (-2.799 seconds); 3. Braden Connor (-11.098); 4. Owen Romzek (-12.587); 5. Tuscan Nuccitelli (-13.719); 6. Sabastian Lafia (-14.857); 7. Aaron McMorran II (-15.189); 8. Landon Gresser (-29.063); 9. Levi Johnson (-1 lap); 10. Eliana Danko (-2 laps); 11. Alexis Bjork (-2 laps); 12. Branch Danko (-2 laps).
Season champion: Braden Connor
USLCI Bandolero Outlaws 15-lap feature
1. Jaron Giannini; 2. Camden Larsen (-.597 of a second); 3. Ethan Deguevara (-5.902); 4. Cody Brown (-6.226); 5. Chloe Lynch (-7.038); 6. Matthew Cunningham (-9.159); 7. Kaden Crouch (-9.402); 8. Tia Guy (-14.469).
Season champion: Camden Larsen
USLCI Thunder Cars 20-lap feature
1. Ron Reed; 2. Ed Hohman (-2.571 seconds); 3. Doug Germano (-1 lap).
Season champion: Ron Reed
USLCI Legends Young Lions/Semi-Pro 25-lap feature
1. Payton Garofalo; 2. Jak Crawford (-2.503 seconds); 3. Brian Williams (-7.044); 4. Eric Olsen (-10.351); 5. Dylan Fabozzi (-11.299); 6. Jaron Giannini (-11.701); 7. Jordan Holloway (-1 lap); 8. Kyle Cottrell (-1 lap); 9. Jace Jones (-10 laps).
NASCAR Super Stocks 30-lap feature
1. Court Connell; 2. Chuck Deguevara (-.948 of a second); 3. Matt Larsen (-1.294); 4. Matt Cunningham (-1.611); 5. Mason Sargent (-2.703); 6. Chad Mattos (-2 laps); 7. Dylin Smotherman (-4 laps); 8. Johnny Spilotro (-10 laps).
Season champion: Court Connell
Skid Plate Cars 12-lap feature
1. Billy Paddack Jr.; 2. William Good (-18.414 seconds); 3. Racer X (-23.445); 4. James Brazzeal (-35.816); 5. Jeff Bargerhuff (-1 lap); 6. Cindy Clark (-1 lap); 7. Matt Esposito (-1 lap); 8. Ben Williams (-1 lap); 9. Billy Paddack Sr. (-2 laps); 10. Scott Stockwell (-2 laps); 11. Nick Nuccitelli (-4 laps); 12. Robert Leany (-11 laps).
Season champion: James Brazzeal
NASCAR Bombers 30-lap feature
1. Kyle Jacks; 2. Sam Jacks (-1.631 seconds); 3. Jim Merlino (-3.428); 4. Pete Meyer (-9.932); 5. Mark Skinner (-10.042); 6. Anthony Mann (-12.686); 7. Zachery Nicholls (-12.980); 8. Bob Rynda (-13.260); 9. Aaron McMorran (-3 laps); 10. Robert Schumacher (-9 laps); 11. Jason Merlino (-10 laps); 12. Steve Danko (-10 laps); 13. Carl Duryee (-16 laps); 14. Gary Griffiths Jr. (-20 laps).
Season champion: Aaron McMorran
USLCI Legends Pro/Masters 25-lap feature
1. Tyler Fabozzi; 2. T.J. Clark (-.364 of a second); 3. Devin Lane (-1.190); 4. Michael Todd Glazier (-4.992); 5. Doug Sheldon (-5.648); 6. Robert Gayton (-5.906); 7. Bryan Barber (-6.698); 8. Andy Hulcy (-15.169); 9. Bruce Silver (-16.775); 10. Terry Sykes (-17.907); 11. Michael Dabney Jr. (-1 lap); 12. Ray Hoffman (-3 laps); 13. Peyton Saxton (-15 laps).
Season champion: Tyler Fabozzi
NASCAR Super Late Models 50-lap feature
1. Scott Gafforini; 2. Peyton Saxton (-.783 of a second); 3. Kayla Eshleman (-2.257); 4. Jay Beasley (-4.109); 5. Kayli Barker (-4.114); 6. Gary Clift (-8.161); 7. David Anderson (-8.162); 8. Stan Mullis (-8.322); 9. Steve Anderson (-8.865); 10. Chuck Trickle (-2 laps); 11. Justin Johnson (-10 laps); 12. Dezel West (-18 laps); 13. Tyler Fabozzi (-25 laps); 14. Billy Mitchell (-34 laps).
Season champion: Justin Johnson