Not even starting from the back of the pack could stop Chris Clyne from a sweet sweep at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
The Las Vegas native and son of LVMS founder Richie Clyne went from last to first on the opening lap of the second NASCAR Super Late Models race at Hometown Heroes Night and never looked back, winning the nightcap by .887 of a second to complete a two-race sweep on the special evening. Clyne’s double-down effort came in front of his parents, Richie and Karen, and just two days after his 37th birthday.
The Speedway Children’s Charities Board member held off six-time track champion Scott Gafforini for the win and now has won five of the last six NASCAR Super Late Models races at The Bullring. His sweep came on a night when LVMS paid tribute to area first responders for their service and dedication to the community.
“I want to thank everyone for coming out tonight, because if it wasn’t for you guys, we wouldn’t be racing,” said Clyne, who now has 16 career Saturday night victories at the LVMS short track. “I’m a huge fan of firefighters and police, and thank you to all the local heroes. It means the world to us that all of you are here.”
Clyne kicked things off with a checkered flag in the night’s first NASCAR Super Late Models race, 2.296 seconds ahead of Gafforini. Clyne, who turned 37 on Thursday, accomplished the feat despite a major challenge before the feature races even began.
“We came in after first practice, and we’d had a huge rock go through our radiator,” Clyne said. “I thought we were done, and I was freaking out. My guys worked their tails off, and if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be standing right here.”
Defending NASCAR Super Stocks Champion Sam Jacks dominated the division’s 25-lap race early before Matt Larsen challenged him on Lap 18. Larsen got loose going for the lead and settled for a third-place finish, while Jacks won for the fourth straight time after leading all 25 laps.
Jacks has won six of the last seven Super Stocks races and tied Dylan Kwasniewski for 23rd place on The Bullring’s all-time wins list with 19 thanks to Saturday’s victory.
“The car has been absolutely amazing, and I couldn’t ask for anything better,” Sam Jacks said. “We’ve had quite a few problems, but we’ve managed to get most of them sorted out. I’d like to thank everyone for coming out and all of the hometown heroes.”
After multiple lead swaps among Kirk Hance, Michael Miller and Kyle Jacks, reigning NASCAR Bombers Champion Vinny Raucci Jr. pulled away down the stretch to earn his 14th career Bullring victory. It was his first win of 2019, and Raucci took the checkered flag 1.904 seconds ahead of Miller.
Kyle Jacks – who lowered his own track record from earlier in the year to 18.816 seconds during qualifying – was sent to the back of the field after spinning Raucci out on Lap 16 of the 25-lap race. Jacks battled back to a third-place finish, 2.819 seconds off the pace.
“Starting in the back, I knew all we had to do was get to the front and that’s where we needed to run,” Raucci said after his spin-and-win experience. “I’ve been working all week on this thing trying to figure out the gas and handling problems, and I’ve got to thank the crew for non-stop working on it. I’ve just got to thank everyone who helped me get to this point.”
Doug Hamm out-dueled Brian and Ron Reed in the NASCAR 602 Modifieds feature, earning career Bullring win No. 53 by just .390 of a second ahead of Brian Reed. Hamm and Ron Reed exchanged the lead during the close race, but it was Hamm who triumphed in the end.
“I get lucky every now and then,” said Hamm, who tied Justin Johnson for fourth place on The Bullring’s all-time wins list with the victory. “(The Reeds) are tough to beat, and we just got lucky tonight. I’ve got to thank my family for coming out and always supporting me and everyone for coming out tonight.”
Peyton Saxton returned to Victory Lane at The Bullring after a strong performance in the USLCI Legends feature. He took the checkered flag 2.163 seconds ahead of Dylan Fabozzi for his 21st career win at the 3/8-mile paved oval, his first victory since May 2017.
“I don’t think I was the fastest car tonight,” Saxton said. “I think the 25, Jaron Giannini, was faster, but I think I was just the smarter racer tonight. I just schooled them on the restarts, and I’m happy to say that because I work with them and am trying to make them better.”
The Jr. Late Models division featured a tense back-and-forth battle between young guns R.J. Smotherman and Jaden Walbridge in its 30-lap feature. Smotherman was sent to the rear of the field for spinning Walbridge out on Lap 16, but battled back to take the lead after one of several late restarts.
Smotherman survived a bump-and-run attempt by Walbridge on the final lap and won by 0.062 of a second as the two sprinted side by side to the line. It was Smotherman’s first Jr. Late Models win at The Bullring and first trip back to Victory Lane since September 2016.
“I’m just ecstatic,” said Smotherman, 14. “That was kind of a jerk move when I hit him and spun him out, and I was expecting one back. He did it kind of hard, but I still got him.”
Tuscan Nuccitelli of Ivins, Utah, was dominant in earning his first career Saturday night victory in the USLCI Bandolero Bandits division, leading from start to finish and crossing the line ahead of James Starcher by 10.732 seconds. He joined his father, Nick, a police officer in Ivins, as a Saturday night race winner at The Bullring.
Landon Gresser, who had an undefeated season in the Bandits division last year, picked up his first USLCI Bandolero Outlaws win after holding off Chloe Lynch by .552 of a second in the 12-lap race. Scott Stockwell emerged victorious in the 15-lap Skid Plate Cars feature, which was run backwards on the track after a fan vote.
NEXT RACE: Racing returns to The Bullring on Saturday, April 20, with the third NASCAR Whelen All-American Series event of the year. All four NASCAR classes will be in action, along with divisions like the Late Model Truck Series and Jr. Late Models, and kids 12 and under get in free with a ticketed adult.
Hometown Heroes Night at The Bullring – Complete results
NASCAR Super Late Models 30-lap feature No. 1
1. Chris Clyne; 2. Scott Gafforini (-2.296 seconds); 3. Johnny Spilotro (-3.204); 4. David Anderson (-7.177); 5. Matt Frady (-8.148); 6. Steve Anderson (-11.153); 7. Charlie Pike (-12.989); 8. Darin Callaway (-2 laps); 9. Kayli Barker (-17 laps); 10. Tyler Fabozzi (-18 laps); 11. Donna Gunther (-23 laps).
USLCI Bandolero Bandits 12-lap feature
1. Tuscan Nuccitelli; 2. James Starcher (-10.732 seconds); 3. Logan Gresser (-11.378); 4. Sabastian Lafia (-6 laps); 5. Alexis Bjork (-7 laps); 6. Max Romzek (-9 laps); 7. Ashton Leonard (-10 laps); 8. Kyle Crouch (-10 laps); 9. A.J. Blackwill (-10 laps).
USLCI Bandolero Outlaws 12-lap feature
1. Landon Gresser; 2. Chloe Lynch (-.552 of a second); 3. Owen Romzek (-1.879); 4. Brendan Tracy (-2.254); 5. Haylee Morris (-4.895); 6. Katie Crouch (-2 laps).
Jr. Late Models 30-lap feature
1. R.J. Smotherman; 2. Jaden Walbridge (-0.062 of a second); 3. Jaron Giannini (-1.505); 4. Braden Connor (-3.550); 5. Olivia Manke (-4.560); 6. Aiden Murphy (-1 lap); 7. Hailey Liles (-2 laps).
Skid Plate Cars 15-lap feature
1. Scott Stockwell; 2. Cindy Clark (-4.564 seconds); 3. Ben Williams (-6.160); 4. Dennis Dowell (-13.708); 5. Robert Leany (-1 lap); 6. Larry Dowell (-1 lap); 7. Tyler Christensen (-4 laps); 8. T.J. Cotter (-6 laps); 9. John Whitaker (-9 laps); 10. John Petsco (-15 laps); 11. Fred Droegemueller (-15 laps).
NASCAR Super Stocks 25-lap feature
1. Sam Jacks; 2. Ethan DeGuevara (-1.250 seconds); 3. Matt Larsen (-3.681); 4. Camden Larsen (-8.248); 5. Jim Merlino (-11.404).
USLCI Legends 25-lap feature
1. Peyton Saxton; 2. Dylan Fabozzi (-2.163 seconds); 3. Jaron Giannini (-2.280); 4. Dezel West (-2.716); 5. John Hans (-3.724); 6. Branden Giannini (-3.959); 7. Jordan Holloway (-5.225); 8. Brian Williams (-5.430); 9. Jonathan Mawhinney (-5.967); 10. Cody Brown (-6.958); 11. Tyler Reif (-7.822); 12. Bradley Ericson (-7.941); 13. Tanner Reif (-8 laps); 14. Amilleo Thomson (-19 laps).
NASCAR Bombers 25-lap feature (unofficial)
1. Vinny Raucci Jr; 2. Michael Miller (-1.904 seconds); 3. Kyle Jacks (-2.819); 4. Tim Masering (-3.518); 5. Kirk Hance (-4.017); 6. Steve Durbin (-5.163); 7. Adam Simon (-5.968); 8. Jacob Quartaro (-6.426); 9. Anthony Mann (-10.966); 10. Tia Guy (-11.332); 11. Carl Duryee (-15.271); 12. Matthew Cunningham (-15 laps).
NASCAR 602 Modifieds 35-lap feature
1. Doug Hamm; 2. Brian Reed (-.390 of a second); 3. Ron Reed (-1.721); 4. Mark Allison (-2.711); 5. Kyle Keller (-3.835); 6. Jason Kiser (-4.195); 7. Zachery Nicholls (-4.558); 8. Court Connell (-5.154); 9. Dan Root Jr. (-8.250); 10. Tom Pfundstein (-8.612); 11. Jimmy Petrie (-1 lap); 12. Pat Petrie (-7 laps); 13. Mason Sargent (-26 laps).
NASCAR Super Late Models 30-lap feature No. 2
1. Chris Clyne; 2. Scott Gafforini (-0.887 of a second); 3. David Anderson (-4.597); 4. Johnny Spilotro (-4.761); 5. Steve Anderson (-5.929); 6. Matt Frady (-6.213); 7. Darin Callaway (-10 laps).