One of this year's most compelling points races at the 3/8-mile Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway could evolve into a battle between an established veteran and a budding star.
Defending Super Late Model champion Scott Gafforini may have to fend off up-and-coming Chris Trickle, the 14-year-old wunderkind who announced his presence by claiming the 2014 regular season's final race on Oct. 5. Gafforini, of Las Vegas, is the established veteran with five track championships on his resume, while Trickle took his first checkered flag in just his third NASCAR Whelen All-American Series start.
This season kicks off on Saturday night with eight classes taking to the famed paved oval. The Super Late Models will headline opening night with several drivers chasing Gafforini.
In addition to Trickle - the nephew of former NASCAR legend Dick Trickle - the father-son tandem of Steve and David Anderson, Stan Mullis and Las Vegas-area high school student Kayli Barker are also expected to be contenders. Jay Beasley, the Super Late Model division's 2013 champion, will also race this weekend as he takes a break from his full-time schedule with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
Jason Kiser is back to defend his Super Stock championship and is expected to get challenges from Phil Goodwin and Matt Larsen, while reigning Bomber division champ Martin Sullins will be keeping a close watch on the Merlino brothers, Jim and Jason. Another class that could see a compelling points battle begin on Saturday is the Grand American Modifieds, where defending champion Jason Irwin will have to contend with Vinny Raucci Jr. and Marty DeLuca, among others.
Saturday night's event, which has been named O'Hanley Memorial Opening Night, will be run in memory of long-time Bandolero team owner Jim O'Hanley, who died during the offseason. The evening also features US Legend Cars, Thunder Cars and USAC HPD Midgets.
One of the most affordable entertainment options in Las Vegas, the Bullring's annual series will feature family friendly concession prices that include $2 hot dogs and Coca-Cola products and $3 Budweiser beer. Spectators can also save money by purchasing admission tickets in advance by visiting or calling the LVMS ticket office at 702.644.4444 or online at LVMS.com.
Gates open for spectators at 5 p.m. Saturday, opening ceremonies are set for 6:50 and racing begins at 7.