LAS VEGAS -- The second race of the 2007 season at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was held the night before Easter and was filled with thrills and excitement. Jimmy Parker held off repeated challenges to win the 40-lap Super Late Model feature and capture the points lead. Chris Buscher won his second Legends Cars feature of the year and Doug Hamm did likewise in the Late Model division. Mike Heck of Utah won the Charger feature and Charlie Wahl claimed the Thunder Roadster main event. Damon Blakeman won the Bandolero feature. Don Sargent won the seven-lap Bomber “Mystery Feature” by finishing second.
The 40-lap Super Late Model feature was anything but an Easter parade. Bullring veteran Mike Ray started on the pole, flanked by Justin Johnson. Ray led the first six laps until Johnson pulled up side-by-side and took the lead on the following lap. The race leaders began to pull away from the rest of the field by lap 13, with Jimmy Parker Jr. moving into the top three. Parker Jr. passed 2006 Bullring champion Scott Gafforini for second place on lap 18 and set his sites on race leader Johnson. On lap 23, Parker Jr. drove under Johnson in Turn 4 and made what would be the winning pass as the pair raced down the backstretch.
The fourth caution flag of the race flew on lap 26 for a crash involving Dennis Rock Jr. and second-generation Super Late Model racer David Anderson. Parker Jr. maintained the lead on the restart as last week’s winner, Tom Lovelady, moved up to fourth.
The ninth caution flag of the 40-lap race flew on lap 30 when Gafforini and Lovelady spun while racing for third place. Next came the greatest challenge to Parker Jr.’s lead. On the restart, Johnson and third-place runner Alex Haase caught Parker and the trio raced three-wide across the finish line. Parker Jr. beat his challengers to Turn 1 and was able to maintain the lead. Parker Jr. went on to win the race and (unofficially) assume the Super Late Model points lead, followed by Johnson, Haase, Dustin Ash and Richard Bridges. Lovelady raced his way from the rear of the field back up to 10th.
“My dad and all the guys at the shop gave it (the winning car) to me,” said a jubilant Parker Jr. in victory lane. “I got the easy part – driving. Rick Keller gave me a motor when I needed a motor. Gary and Matt Jaskol have helped me a lot. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be standing here right now. Steve Rzesnowiecky has helped me a lot too. I haven’t been here (victory lane) in a while so I forgot what’s it’s like.”
Eight-lap Super Late Model heats were won by Taylor Barton and Ray Hooper Jr. Mike Ray won the six-lap Budweiser Fast Dash.
RACE NOTES: Doug Hamm is completely undefeated in the Late Model division, having led every lap of – and winning – the two features held this year. The Budweiser late Model Fast dash was won by Robert Ewing, who finished second in the feature.
Mike Heck started on the pole and won the 25-lap Charger feature. Charger qualifying heats were won by Mike Heck and Drew Dixon (in a three-wide finish by a margin of just .006 sec.). Charlie Wahl took the lead on the second lap and went on to win the 15-lap Thunder Roadster feature.
Chris Buescher also is undefeated in his class, having won his second consecutive Legends Cars feature Saturday. Johnny Morrissey won the Last-Chance Legends Cars race. Damon Blakemon started the Bandolero feature from the pole position and won the event.
40-lap Super Late Model feature (unofficial): 1. Jimmy Parker Jr., 2. Justin Johnson, 3. Alex Haase, 4 Dustin Ash, 5. Richard Bridges, 6. Steve Anderson, 7. Matt Jaskol, 8. Travis Swalwell, 9. Dave Quartero, 10. Tom Lovelady, 11. Derek Frolich, 12. Scott Gafforini, 13. Greg Hanneman, 14. Fabian Bray, 15. Eric Sweetman, 16. Charlie Young, 17. Bob Barker, 18. Mike Ray, 19. Ray Hooper Jr., 20. Rich Attisani, 21. Aaron McMoran, 22. Dennis Rock Jr., 23. David Anderson, 24. Jim Petrie, 25. Taylor Barton, 26. Jeff Conners.
Next Saturday night’s short-track stock car racing program – Little League Night – will include: Super Late Models, IMCA Modifieds, Legends Cars, Thunder Roadsters, Chargers, the USAC Ford Focus Midget Series (featuring NHRA stars Ron Capps and Gary Scelzi) and free 2006 track champion collector cards. All youth sports participants (in uniform) will receive free admission.
The Bullring also offers a guaranteed fan favorite: $1 hot dogs and $1 beer every Saturday night.
Spectator gates will open at 5 p.m. Qualifying is set for 5:05 p.m. with racing at 7 p.m. General admission is $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens and military personnel with ID and $5 for children ages 6-12. Children five and under are free. A Family Four Pack may be purchased for $26. For more information, please call LVMS at (702) 644-4444 or visit www.LVMS.com.