Jordan Dean gave himself a birthday present he will never forget at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
The Henderson, Nev., driver celebrated his 17th birthday in style by claiming his first 2015 victory in the USLCI Legends class, crossing the line first after 30 laps of tight racing. Cameron Morga of Albuquerque, N.M., was leading and pulling away on lap 16, but fell victim to a blown motor.
That opened the door for Dean to chase down the checkered flag. He dedicated the win to 2012 USLCI Legends season champion Joshua Jackson, who was severely injured in a wreck in Las Cruces, N.M., on Aug. 8.
"I'd like to give this night to Joshua Jackson, and this is for him," Dean said. "I've been getting help from Peyton Saxton all season long, and he's had that car on rails all season long."
The full night of racing effectively kicked off the 2015 season's stretch run after a seven-week break to avoid the summer heat. The ninth installment of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series schedule also followed the inaugural LVMS Show & Shine car show.
More than 500 spectators stopped by the 3/8-mile track to check out more than 125 impressive vehicles and help raise money for the Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities.
Ryan Vargas of La Mirada, Calif., held off Joe DeGuevara and Jason Kiser on two late re-starts to earn his first career NASCAR Super Stocks victory. Vargas lost a heartbreaker to Matt Larsen by a nose on the Night of Fire on July 3 and was emotional in Victory Lane after the 25-lap triumph.
"This is the greatest day of my life," said Vargas, who won by .441 of a second. "Those were the most stressful few laps of my life, and I'm speechless. I've learned so much, and those little cars (in the other classes) are a lot of fun, but this is a whole different ballgame."
David Anderson survived a number of cautions and a wild final lap to win his first NASCAR Super Late Models feature since last August. Anderson was leading the race when second-place Chris Trickle spun him out in turn four on the final lap, and even though Trickle crossed the line first, the final race order reverted back to the 39th lap and Anderson's win was confirmed.
The North Las Vegas driver was happy to find Victory Lane and credited a car setup change for the victory.
"To be perfectly honest, we went back to what we had last season," Anderson said. "Obviously, it works."
Court Connell battled NASCAR Bombers points leader Aaron McMorran for nearly all of the 30 laps of the division's feature and held McMorran off down the stretch by .237 of a second to seemingly earn his second win in a row and third triumph of 2015. But Connell, McMorran and third-place Pete Meyer were all disqualified after post-race tech inspection for parts violations.
That moved fourth-place¬†John Keller into the top spot for his first career Bullring victory.
Las Vegas' Ian Anderson made it 6-for-6 on the season in the USLCI Thunder Cars division after winning the class' 20-lap feature. He made some adjustments to his car during the seven-week summer break that helped him on Saturday night.
"What we found when we went to Laguna Seca (Calif.) was that the brakes we were using were way too small for this car," said Anderson, who won by 6.343 seconds. "I won that race by about 15 seconds."
R.J. Smotherman of Pahrump, Nev., continued his 2015 dominance in the USLCI O'Hanley's Bandolero Bandits division by notching his track-leading eighth victory of the season. McKenzie Eshleman of Twin Peaks, Calif., followed a class track record of 19.033 seconds from qualifying with a 12-lap feature victory in the USLCI O'Hanley's Bandolero Outlaws division in her first race at The Bullring.
NEXT RACE - Saturday, Sept. 5 - The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series continues with the first of back-to-back race nights at The Bullring over Labor Day weekend. There will be a full slate of racing on both Saturday and Sunday nights, and fans can see virtually every class of car that races at LVMS' short track, including NASCAR Super Late Models, USLCI Legends cars, USAC HPD Midget Series cars and even Southwest Tour Trucks.
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.
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Race No. 9
USLCI O'Hanley's Bandolero Bandits 12-lap feature
1. R.J. Smotherman; 2. Ethan DeGuevara (-3.374 seconds); 3. Kyle Keller (-3.465); 4. Austin Edwards (-3.692); 5. Brodey Warren (-7.021); 6. Jaron Giannini (-7.183); 7. Matthew Cunningham (-9.641); 8. Dezel West (-10.330); 9. Amilleo Thomson (-13.519).
USLCI O'Hanley's Bandolero Outlaws 12-lap feature
1. McKenzie Eshleman; 2. Kyle Jacks (-2.941 seconds); 3. Philip Root (-3.134); Mason Sargent (-1 lap).
USLCI Thunder Cars 20-lap feature
1. Ian Anderson; 2. Ron Reed (-6.343 seconds); 3. Travis Boyle (-7.886); 4. Chris Trickle (-9.328); 5. Chris Bosley (-9.947); 6. Mark Anderson (-10.829); 7. Doug Germano (-1 lap); 8. Joe Reeve (-1 lap); 9. Darin Callaway (-1 lap).
NASCAR Bombers 30-lap feature
1. John Keller; 2. Martin Sullins (-.228); 3. Michael Greve (-.856); 4. Jason Merlino (-1.785); 5. Sam Jacks (-2.641); 6. Justin Griffiths (-3.049); 7. Gary Wyatt (-3.899); 8. Scott Bradbury (-1 lap); 9. J.J. Nunn (-1 lap); 10. Arlie Daniel Jr. (-1 lap); 11. Steven Scalzo (-1 lap); 12. Billy Hern (DNF); 13. Jim Merlino (DNF); 14. Nick Nuccitelli (DNF); 15. Court Connell, Aaron McMorran and Pete Meyer (DQ-parts violations).
USLCI Legends 25-lap feature
1. Jordan Dean; 2. Ricky Lewis (-1.125 seconds); 3. Michael Todd Glazier (-1.442); 4. Randy Beddow (-1.697); 5. Devin Lane (-2.023); 6. Brian Williams (-3.245); 7. Dezel West (-4.752); 8. Ricky De LeRee (-7.978); 9. Brian Lane (-12.862); 10. Gina Tillman (-17.218); 11. Cameron Morga (DNF); 12. Ian Anderson (DNF); 13. Caden Carlin (DNF).
NASCAR Super Stocks 25-lap feature
1. Ryan Vargas; 2. Joe DeGuevara (-.441 seconds); 3. Jason Kiser (-.509); 4. Matt Larsen (-1.459); 5. John Spilotro (-3.043); 6. Robert Negrete (-18.003).
NASCAR Super Late Models 40-lap feature
1. David Anderson; 2. Chris Trickle (-.302 seconds); 3. Stan Mullis (-.926); 4. Kayli Barker (-1.299); 5. Dennis Rock Jr. (-2.335); 6. Jeff Connors (-2.342); 7. Michael Todd Glazier (-3.226); 8. David Brandon (-1 lap); 9. Scott Gafforini (DNF); 10. Dee Cable (DNF).