There’s little doubt that Dustin Ash will remember Saturday’s win for quite some time. The longtime Bullring racer got the better of Bob Santa Maria in an epic duel that included more than a dozen lead changes, winning the Late Model Truck Series’ 35-lap feature by a razor-thin margin of .037 of a second.
Ash’s victory tied him with Phil Goodwin for second on The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s all-time wins list at 58.
“(Santa Maria) had way more horsepower than I did, and all I could do was try to get through the corners the best I could,” Ash said. “Bob (Santa Maria), man, he races hard – very, very, very hard. I gave it everything I could.
“Any time you visit Victory Lane is awesome, but just to be able to drive one of these trucks that we build in-house is pretty special.”
The race was “Richmond Gear Weekend Warrior Night” for the regional series and part of Pack the Track Night presented by K&N Air Filters at The Bullring. Ash is excited about the Late Model Truck Series going forward.
“This is the first time I’ve gotten to drive one of these trucks,” Ash said. “What an awesome class, and I’m just grateful to run it. Kole Raz – the kid who runs this truck all the time – couldn’t make it so they asked me to do it, and I’m glad I did. I’d love to see this class grow.”
Ash used a pass on lap five to win one of the two six-lap heat races at the end of qualifying to warm up for the main event, with Eric Reschke taking the checkered in the other heat race.
Series organizer Michael Riefler was thrilled by what he saw at the 3/8-mile paved oval.
“Dustin and Bob put on one heck of a show,” said Riefler, a longtime Bullring competitor. “That was some of the best racing I’ve seen at The Bullring in a long time, and the crowd got a great look at what these trucks can do. This was a big shot in the arm for our series, and we can’t wait for our next event in California.”
Ash and Santa Maria received $200 Richmond Gear product bonuses in addition to their payouts, and the top five finishers took home The Racer’s Rewards Contingency Connection coupon books with up to $3,000 in race product coupons. Next, the series moves on to The Speedway at Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, Calif., on Oct. 13, and then travels to Havasu 95 Speedway in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., on Nov. 10.
The region’s truck racing lineage dates back to the Speed Truck Series that originated in 1997 under the American Speed Association (ASA). MechanixWear gloves and Go Fast! energy drinks sponsored the class throughout the years, and the trucks raced at up to 10 different tracks in California, Arizona and Nevada before the ASA disbanded in 2013.
The series trucks feature a full-tube chassis, a 330-horsepower sealed V-8 spec engine and two-speed direct-drive transmission, with a clutch pedal dump valve, coupled to an aluminum quick-change rear end. The trucks sport replica fiberglass bodies of the Chevrolet S-10, Chevrolet Colorado, Dodge Dakota, Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma.
Pack the Track Night results The Bullring at LVMS
Late Model Truck Series 35-lap feature
1. Dustin Ash; 2. Bob Santa Maria (-.037 of a second); 3. Gary Wyatt (-3.971); 4. Mike Riefler (-1 lap); 5. Mark Allison (-11 laps); 6. Eric Reschke (-16 laps); 7. Arlie Daniel (-32 laps).
Remaining 2018 Late Model Truck Series schedule
Date Track City
Oct. 13 The Speedway at Willow Springs Rosamond, Calif.
Nov. 10 Havasu 95 Speedway Lake Havasu City, Ariz.