The twin 35-lap NASCAR Super Late Model features certainly lived up to their billing as showcase bookends at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
Five-time and defending NASCAR Super Late Model season champion Scott Gafforini took the first of the division's features in his new No. 38 car after a tough battle with Barry Karr of Calimesa, Calif. Karr pushed his No. 4 car hard and eventually pulled away from a horde of tightly packed and strong cars to win the nightcap.
The two dueled for most of the opening race before Gafforini used a late-race restart to pull away and eventually finish .674 seconds ahead of Karr. Karr led most of the second 35-lapper, holding off charges from second-place Noah Gragson and Gafforini, who finished third.
"What a race," an emotional Gafforini said after his opening-race victory. "I'd like to thank Barry Karr in the No. 4 car for a great race. That guy can drive!"
Karr had one of the best cars of the night on the 3/8-mile paved oval.
"Competition is what we want, and we all want hard races," said Karr, who finished .457 seconds ahead of the 16-year-old Gragson. "I had a tough break in the first one, but hey, that's good racing on Scott's part, and everybody did real well in the second race. It's a lot of fun."
Peyton Saxton was one of three drivers to make it 2-for-2 on the 2015 Bullring season, claiming his second consecutive USLCI Legends race after finishing 1.108 seconds ahead of friend Cameron Morga. The 16-year-old Saxton out-dueled 19 other cars in the crowded 25-lap feature.
"It was a great race," Saxton said. "I've got to congratulate the 54 car of Cameron Morga. We've been working together since the first race two weeks ago, and he just gets better and better each weekend."
"I really like the kid, and he's like a little brother to me now."
Albuquerque's Jason Irwin led for the majority of the NASCAR Grand American Modifieds 35-lap feature in his 9x car, holding off Vinny Raucci Jr. by .779 seconds to take his second consecutive race victory. Irwin, who won the division's season title last year, gave the credit to his car after being asked about the key to holding off Raucci Jr.
"Obviously, it takes a good car, and that's thanks to Chris Bray and Phil's Fabrication," said Irwin, who also edged Raucci Jr. on opening night on March 21. "They did an awesome job on it."
Aaron McMorran of Henderson, Nev., gave his son a great 6th birthday present after improving on his second-place finish from opening night with a victory in the NASCAR Bombers 25-lap feature. Martin Sullins Jr. led early before fading to fifth, with Michael Greve of Las Vegas taking second behind McMorran.
"I actually got really lucky," McMorran said. "That No. 11 car (Court Connell) had a good battle with me in the heat race and was probably just as fast as I was, but something happened in the beginning and he went to the back and gave me a lot of open race track. Running bombers - it's a blast."
Jason Kiser and Phil Goodwin flip-flopped positions from opening night in the NASCAR Super Stock division, with Kiser winning Saturday night's 25-lap feature ahead of Goodwin.
"We finished second to Phil last weekend, and it was fun," said Kiser, of Las Vegas. "But after last weekend, I said, 'All right, we've got to do something.' We worked on the car and got it back to where I liked it last season, and it was a rocket ship."
R.J. Smotherman of Pahrump, Nev., made it two USLCI O'Hanley's Bandolero Bandits feature wins in a row after pulling away from the field during the 12-lap race. Smotherman finished 2.505 seconds ahead of Ethan Deguevara of Las Vegas in his No. 24 car.
Philip Root of Las Vegas controlled the front of the USLCI O'Hanley's Bandolero Outlaws 12-lap feature, winning with a cushion of .640 seconds ahead of Aiden Green. Root, who hopes to move up to NASCAR Super Stocks next year, won with a No. 14x car that is currently for sale.
NEXT RACE - Saturday, April 18 - NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing and North American Big Rig Racing Season Opener. NASCAR Super Stocks, Bombers, Grand American Modifieds and USLCI Legend Cars, Thunder Cars and Bandoleros will all race in addition to the Big Rigs.
The Bullring's concession stand offers $2 hot dogs, $2 Coca-Cola products and $3 Budweiser beer on each NASCAR Whelen All-American Series race night. For more information on all events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, please visit www.LVMS.com and follow LVMS on Facebook and Twitter.
Saturday night's NASCAR Whelen All-American Series feature-event results
from The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
NASCAR Super Late Model 35-lap feature #1
USLCI O'Hanley's Bandolero Bandits 12-lap feature
USLCI O'Hanley's Bandolero Outlaws 12-lap feature
NASCAR Grand American Modifieds 35-lap feature
NASCAR Bomber 25-lap feature
USLCI Legends 25-lap feature
NASCAR Super Stock 25-lap feature
NASCAR Super Late Model 35-lap feature #2