Rzesnowiecky scores twice at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

To paraphrase baseball legend Yogi Berra, “It was déjà vu all over again.” Sixteen-year-old Bear Rzesnowiecky won the first 33-lap MetroPCS Super Late Model/Late Model Combo class feature Saturday night at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Chris Bray shared victory lane with him as the first Late Model driver across the finish line. One hour later, they repeated the feat in the second 33-lap finale.

The first 33-lap MetroPCS Super Late Model/Late Model Combo feature exacted a heavy toll from points leader Scott Gafforini. The former champion, 57 markers ahead of Jeff Connors, crashed on lap 2 and his car exited the track on the back of a tow truck. Bear Rzesnowiecky took the lead on lap 8 and paced the field to earn his second feature victory of the 2008 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series campaign. Dennis Rock Jr. finished the wild feature in second place, followed by Robert Ewing, Connors and Steve Anderson. Despite ignition woes, Chris Bray finished sixth and was the first Late Model across the finish line.

Steve Anderson started the second 33-lap MetroPCS Super Late Model/Late Model Combo feature from the pole and led the first five laps. Bear Rzesnowiecky passed Anderson for the lead on lap 6, only to see the caution flag fly for an accident. Rzesnowiecky had built a comfortable lead at the halfway point, charging through lapped traffic as Jeff Connors kept him in sight. Rzesnowiecky went on to win his second feature of the night, followed by Connors and Chris Bray (again the first Late Model driver across the finish line). Gafforini started the second feature in a car borrowed from Dennis Rock. Jr. and began at the rear of the field. He finished sixth and managed to maintain the points lead on Connors as the 2008 points season comes to a close on Sept. 13.

Polesitter Fred Harding led the early laps of the exciting 12-car Bomber feature. Larry “The Torch” Dittman and Harding ran side-by-side for four laps until Dittman powered his 1978 Chevrolet Impala station wagon past Harding on lap 9. (Dittman was part of a four-wide charge down the back straightaway as the cars scrambled for position on the opening lap.) Dittman won the race but later was disqualified when his car failed to pass post-race technical inspection and Harding was declared the winner. Bryan Gerald, who finished third, also was disqualified when his car failed to pass post-race technical inspection. Officially, Dan Nelson finished second and Wade Pearson was awarded third place.

Billy Bob Grasser won the demolition derby.
The 25-lap Modified feature was claimed by Doug Hamm – his fifth consecutive victory, and seventh overall – of the year. Early leader Don Sargent saw his comfortable lead erased by an accident on lap 13, which put the field squarely on his rear bumper. Sargent’s rear-view mirror was filled with the image of “Hound Dog” Hamm on the restart. Hamm wedged his nose under Sargent’s car on the back straightaway and took the lead. Chris Clyne finished second and Scott Osborn won the spirited battle for third place.

Phil Goodwin led 24 circuits of the 25-lap Charger feature to score his 10th win of the season. Mario Opipari finished second and Matt Johnson was third.

Justin Johnson won the 20-lap Thunder Roadster feature. Josh Gross and Jared Carpenter finished second and third, respectively.

The 20-lap Legends Cars feature was won by Dylan Kwasniewski. Jeremiah Wagner finished second and Brecken Snow was third. In his final race at the Bullring, visiting Australian driver Bronson Butcher finished 15th.

Preliminaries: Qualifying heat races were won by Justin Johnson (Thunder Roadsters), Mario Opipari (Chargers), Pat Petrie and Doug “Hound Dog” Hamm (Modifieds), Jim Sherard and Fred Harding (Bombers). The Budweiser Super Late Model/Late Model Combo Dash was won by Bear Rzesnowiecky. Jeremiah Wagner won the Budweiser Legends Cars Dash.

NEXT RACE: Season Championship and American Heroes Night on Saturday, Sept. 13, featuring: MetroPCS Super Late Model/Late Model Combo class, Legends Cars, Modifieds, Bombers, Chargers, Thunder Roadsters, Bandoleers. The Bullring’s concession stand features a family-friendly dollar menu, including $1 hot dogs, $1 soda and $1 beer. Adult admission is $10 and $8 for senior citizens. Kids ages 5-12 are $5 and children under 5 are free. All active-duty military personnel, police and firefighters with ID will be admitted free of charge. For more information, please call the Bullring’s office at (702) 632-8213 or visit www.LVMS.com.

All results are unofficial until Monday morning.
First 33-lap MetroPCS Super Late Model/Late Model feature: 1. Bear Rzesnowiecky, 2. Dennis Rock Jr., 3. Robert Ewing, 4. Jeff Connors, 5. Steve Anderson, 6. Chris Bray, 7. Jim Petrie, 8. Eric Martin, 9. Bob Barker, 10. Brandon Giannini, 11. Fabian Bray, 12. Doug “Hound Dog” Hamm, 13. Stan Mullis, 14. Dave Quartero, 15. Matt Williams, 16. Mike McKearn, 17. Jeff Bargerhuff, 18. Greg Hanneman, 19. Scott Gafforini, 20. John Spilotro, 21. Jason Secor.

Second 33-lap MetroPCS Super Late Model/Late Model feature: 1. Bear Rzesnowiecky, Jeff Connors, 3. Chris Bray, 4. Steve Anderson, 5. Bob Barker, 6. Dennis Rock Jr., 7. Scott Gafforini, 8. Robert Ewing, 9. Fabian Bray, 10. Jim Petrie, 11. Stan Mullis, 12. Eric Martin, 13. Branden Giannini, 14. Greg Hanneman, 15. Jeff Bargerhuff, 16. Doug “Hound Dog” Hamm, 17. Mike McKearn.

25-lap Modified feature: 1. Doug “Hound Dog” Hamm, 2. Chris Clyne, 3. Don Sargent, 4. Scott Osborn, 5. Steve Simon, 6. Pat Petrie, 7. Dow Woerner, 8. Dennis Lovelady, 9. Mark Hodges, 10. Tim Richter.

25-lap Charger feature: 1. Phil Goodwin, 2. Mario Opipari, 3. Matt Johnson, 4. Vinny Raucci, 5. Matt Cunningham, 6. Chuck Burgess, 7. Jerry Gentry, 8. James Lauk, 9. Chad Mattos.

25-lap Bomber feature: 1. Fred Harding, 2. Dan Nelson, 3. Wade Pearson, 4. Jesse Day, 5. Harold Sherard, 6. Jennifer Cunningham, 7. Billy Bob Grasser, 8. “Hoodless J.J.” Nunn, 9. Barbara West, 10. Roland Pelletier, 11. “N.Y. Bob” Carvella, 12. Ben Sherard, 13. Larry “The Torch” Dittman (disqualified), 14. Bryan Gerald (disqualified).

20-lap Legends Cars feature: 1. Dylan Kwasniewski, 2. Jeremiah Wagner, 3. Brecken Snow, 4. Karl Forman, 5. Brandon Snow, 6. Jack Madrid, 7. Jay Beasley, 8. Nick Halen, 9. Wayne Morris, 10. Robert D’Ambra, 11. Frank McCourt, 12. Jacob Bishop, 13. Jim Galza, 14. Brianna Holley, 15. Bronson Butcher, 16. John Davis, 17. Tyler Fabozzi, 18. Cheyanne Schindler.

20-lap Thunder Roadster feature: 1. Justin Johnson, 2. Josh Gross, 3. Jared Carpenter, 4. Damon Blakemon, 5. Tony Gugliuzza, 6. Roger Hocking, 7. Ron McIntyre, 8. Bob Dresser.