Scott Gafforini of Las Vegas won tonight’s 50-lap NASCAR Super Late Model feature on opening night of the 2012 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Dennis Rock Jr. started the 50-lap finale on the pole but the caution flag flew for a spin by Mark Kroeger in Turn 4, which necessitated a complete restart. The ensuing restart was less than successful as the cars of Rock and defending champion Scott Gafforini came together in Turn 2. The third attempt to start the 50-lap feature saw Joe Deguevara on the pole, flanked by Chris Birdsong. Birdsong took command from Deguevara on lap 2 as cars spun on the back chute to once again bring out the caution flag. Birdsong led the field on the restart, followed by Chris Clyne and Glen Burke. The race had settled down to a steady pace when the engine on Burke’s car expired in a fireball on lap 17. Birdsong again set the pace as Gafforini and Clyne battled for second place. Gafforini caught Birdsong, who was the night’s fastest qualifier, on lap 20 and took the lead in Turn 4.
Gafforini, the Bullring’s defending Super Late Model champion, was cruising at a comfortable pace when the caution flag flew on lap 44 when Eric Sweetman spun in Turn 2, then the restart was negated as Chris Birdsong and Chris Clyne spun in Turn 1. Gafforini went on to win, followed by Clyne, Sweetman, Birdsong and John Thompson.
“I cut my teammate (Rock) off going into (Turn 1) and I feel really bad,” said Gafforini, referring to the incident on lap 1. “I don’t know what I was thinking, if I turned too fast, I don’t know. I got into him going into (Turn) 1. I should have known better, but it’s totally my fault.
“I’d like to thank everyone who helped – Dennis (Rock), my dad, Eric, Vince, Rich, John Spilotro, little Johnny. We built two cars (Gafforini’s and Rock’s) over the winter. We had a good time building these cars but we don’t have any sponsors, so we’re in the market.”
SUPER STOCKS: Chuck Burgess led the 30-lap NASCAR Super Stock feature from the opening green flag and held the top position for the first 10 laps. Defending Bullring champion James Wingard took the lead on lap 11 as Patrick O’Hanley charged through the field after spinning early in the race and restarting the feature in the rear. O’Hanley was challenging Wingard for the lead on lap 26 when the pair made contact and O’Hanley’s Camaro spun on the front straightaway and hit the wall. The pair was sent to the rear of the lead lap and Chuck Burgess once again found himself in the lead. Burgess posted the fastest lap times of the race and went on to victory as Kolleen Dresser finished a solid second. Rich DeLonge of Santa Clarita, Calif. was third and O’Hanley and Wingard completed the top five. Eight-lap Super Stock qualifying heats were won by Wingard and O’Hanley.
BOMBERS: The combatants in the 30-lap Bomber feature charged four-wide into the first turn on the opening lap with Michael Takami wrestling the lead to record the first circuit. Takami’s lead had a short life as Jason Kiser, Dallas Simonette, Don Sargent and Pete Meyer powered past him. The race turned into a three-car battle over the final laps. Race leader Jason Kiser felt the pressure from Dallas Simonette and Pete Meyer as they lapped the field. The race went from green flag to checkered without a caution period as Kiser held off his challengers in heavy lapped traffic to take the win. Simonette finished second and Meyer was third. Eight-lap Bomber qualifying heats were won by Simonette and Meyer.
The 25-lap American Band Legend Cars feature was won by C.J. Hulsey. Tye Mihocko was second and Michael Abbate was third.The 15-lap Silver Star Plumbing Bandolero Outlaw feature was won by Austin “A.J.” Toddy. Vincent Raucci finished second and Noel Gragson was third. Taylor Hooper and Cami Burke completed the top five.
Chris Trickle won the 15-lap Silver Star Plumbing Bandolero Bandit feature by little more than a nose over Caden Carlin. Gianna Marretti was third, followed by T.J. Ferrari and Gino Marretti.
15-lap Silver Star Plumbing Bandolero Outlaw feature: 1. Austin “A.J.” Toddy, 2. Vincent Raucci Jr., 3. Noel Gragson, 4. Taylor Hooper, 5. Cami Burke, 6. Erika Thigpen, 7. Reagan Harwood, 8. Darren Penniman.
15-lap Silver Star Plumbing Bandolero Bandit feature: 1. Chris Trickle, 2. Caden Carlin, 3. Gianna Marretti, 4. T.J. Ferrari, 5. Gino Marretti, 6. Kyle Jacks, 7. Megan Ferrari, 8. Sam Jacks, 9. Tommy Trickle, 10. Mason Sargent.
25-lap American Band Legend Cars: 1. C.J. Hulsey, 2. Tye Mihocko, 3. Michael Abbate, 4. Jason Irwin, 5. Justin Irwin, 6. Dylan Cappelo, 7. Christian Warren, 8. Tom Lovelady, 9. Nick Thigpen, 10. Nikky Saxon, 11. Andrew Muscannell, 12. Blake Olsen, 13. Peyton Saxton, 14. Joshua Jackson, 15. Robby Guevara, 16. Michael Todd Glazier, 17. Cheyanne Schindler, 18. Devin Mack, 19. Donna Gunther, 20. Jim Galza, 21. Ian Anderson, 22. Fletch Hammond.
30-lap NASCAR Bomber feature: 1. Jason Kiser, 2. Dallas Simonette, 3. Pete Meyer, 4. Michael Takami, 5. Josh Morgan, 6. Nathan Boss, 7. Bret Empey, 8. Martin Sullins, 9. Cayla Bronston, 10. Wade Pearson, 11. Shannon Aikau, 12. Judy Rowe, 13. Don Sargent, 14. Matt Vargas.
30-lap NASCAR Super Stock feature: 1. Chuck Burgess, 2. Kolleen Dresser, 3. Rich DeLonge III, 4. Patrick O’Hanley, 5. James Wingard, 6. Brian Holley, 7. Danny Guernsey, 8. Barbara Borkowski, 9. James Lauk, 10. Kayli Barker, 11. Wyatt Harwood.
50-lap NASCAR Super Late Model feature: 1. Scott Gafforini, 2. Chris Clyne, 3. Eric Sweetman, 4. Chris Birdsong, 5. John Thompson, 6. Houston Simonette, 7. Joe Deguevara, 8. Glen Burke, 9. Dennis Rock Jr., 10. Mark Kroeger, 11. Stan Mullis.
Next race: Saturday, April 28 – second race of the 2012 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Spectator gates will open at 5 p.m. For more information, please call LVMS at (702) 644-4444 or visit www.LVMS.com. Follow LVMS on Facebook and Twitter.