Harder wins North American Big Rig Racing feature at The Bullring
Isaac Harder's adrenaline rush took him all the way to the Winner's Circle at The Bullring on Saturday night.
Harder won the 40-lap North American Big Racing feature on Big Rigs Night by 1.295 seconds ahead of Cory Riplinger to secure his second Bullring win in three years. He headlined a group of 11 Canadians who brought their 3,000-horsepower rigs to Las Vegas Motor Speedway's 3/8-mile paved oval for the third consecutive year.
"This is the biggest adrenaline rush you've ever had, times two," Harder said about the excitement of driving a semi-truck at the short track. "It's great when you get out front here, because it's such a nice smooth track. It is such a fun place to race at, it's awesome."
The night's nine-race schedule followed the inaugural Las Vegas Semi Truck Show in The Bullring's parking lot, a festival-type atmosphere that included vendors, raffles and a judged competition. The show's winners took a parade lap after opening ceremonies to help kick the night off.
Aaron McMorran may have begun the NASCAR Bombers 25-lap feature from the back of the pack, but he quickly powered his No. 22 car to his fourth consecutive divisional feature win in style. The 2015 Bombers track champion passed Jason Merlino midway through the race to remain perfect in the division on the 2017 season.
"They made me work for it tonight," McMorran said. "The whole track was good, and I think I passed half the field on the outside. I got to race against my stepdad (Carl Scherkenbach), who was in a race car for the first time in 25 years, so that was a unique experience.
"I've got to say congratulations to the No. 6 car of Jason Merlino. He's been trying for years to get quick, and he killed everybody in qualifying. When you really like people, you really want them to win, but then your competitive drive takes over and makes it tough."
Later in the night, McMorran passed Cameron Morga midway through the 35-lap NASCAR Grand American Modifieds feature and raced to his 20th career Saturday night win at The Bullring. McMorran, who doubled down with two Bombers wins on April 8, is now 20th on the short track's all-time wins list.
"We built this nice car and almost won a few times in it, and I finally got one tonight, so I'm pretty stoked," McMorran said of his first Grand American Modifieds win since 2014. "I just won the Bombers race and only had about 10 minutes to do a couple things (to the car), and honestly, it couldn't have been better. It's a hot rod, I'm excited!"
Kaden Honeycutt of Bridge City, Texas, completed a weekend sweep in the US Legends "Showdown," going 4-for-4 Thursday through Saturday in his Pro division race car. Honeycutt finished 4.036 seconds ahead of Pro driver Robbie Czub in the 25-lapper for Pros and Masters to make his way to the Winner's Circle.
"This is one of the best weeks I've had since Winternationals a few months ago," Honeycutt said of his Showdown sweep. "I've just got to thank my crew chief, Michael Harper. He's done such an amazing job, and I couldn't do anything without him. Just being 13 and going 4-for-4 is great, and what I'm doing is my dream."
Las Vegas' Michael Todd Glazier was the top Masters finisher in the Pro/Masters race, taking ninth overall.
US Legends-Young Lions driver Sam Mayer won the 25-lap feature race for Young Lions and Semi-Pros, crossing the line 1.388 seconds ahead of Semi-Pro winner Darrell Stewart. Stewart was the only Semi-Pro driver to finish in the top six.
"I was the only Semi-Pro up front, so I had to kind of let these guys race it out for the win," Stewart said. "It was fun racing with them the past couple of days, and it was a really competitive race. I hope to see them again at nationals."
Veteran racer Ron Reed won for the second time this season, taking the 15-lap USLCI Thunder Cars feature ahead of Darin Callaway. The Las Vegas driver was ecstatic after earning Bullring career victory No. 2.
"I just wanted to be consistent, and (the key to pulling away) was having a lot of consistency," Reed said. "I want to thank my crew and my son for helping me put this thing together. (This trophy) is going right on my desk."
Cody Kiemele of Perris, Calif., earned his second USLCI Bandolero Bandits win in three races, while Camden Larsen followed his first career Bullring win on April 8 with a USLCI Bandolero Outlaws victory to make it two in a row. Robert Smotherman's streak of eight consecutive Skid Plate Car victories came to an end, as James Brazzeal crossed the line 2.242 seconds ahead in the class' 15-lap race.
NEXT RACE: Racing returns to The Bullring on Saturday, May 6, for Gaming Industry Night. All area hotel and casino staff with a valid ID will gain free admission to the LVMS short track on the special night.
Big Rig Racing at The Bullring
USLCI Bandolero Bandits 12-lap feature
1. Cody Kiemele; 2. Amilleo Thomson (-2.148 seconds); 3. Braden Connor (-6.122); 4. Sabastian Lafia (-8.245); 5. Landon Gresser (-12.435); 6. Eliana Danko (-2 laps); 7. Branch Danko (-8 laps).
USLCI Bandolero Outlaws 12-lap feature
1. Camden Larsen; 2. R.J. Smotherman (-.568 of a second); 3. Jaron Giannini (-4.682); 4. Kaden Crouch (-5.390); 5. Cody Brown (-6.072); 6. Tia Guy (-1 lap).
USLCI Thunder Cars 15-lap feature
1. Ron Reed; 2. Darin Callaway (-1.421 seconds); 3. Doug Germano (-3.680).
US Legends Semi-Pro/Young Lions 25-lap feature
1. Sam Mayer (Young Lion); 2. Darrell Stewart (Semi-Pro, -1.388 seconds); 3. Cody Dempster (YL, -1.650); 4. D.J. Canipe (YL, -1.692); 5. Payton Garofalo (YL, -2.010); 6. Jace Jones (YL, 6.225); 7. Brian Williams (SP, -9.451); 8. Ben Vanhelden (SP, -9.784); 9. Eddie Garone (SP, -11.766); 10. Dylan Fabozzi (SP, -1 lap); 11. Chris Semler (SP, -1 lap); 12. Daniel Whitley (YL, -16 laps).
NASCAR Bombers 25-lap feature
1. Aaron McMorran; 2. Jason Merlino (-.507 of a second); 3. Adam Simon (-1.537); 4. Martin Sullins (-6.496); 5. Kyle Jacks (-7.069); 6. Nick Nuccitelli (-7.440); 7. Jim Merlino (-9.205); 8. Mark Skinner (-9.841); 9. Anthony Mann (-14.195); 10. Kirk Hance (-15.870); 11. Carl Scherkenbach (-16.604); 12. Steve Danko (-19.761); 13. Zachery Nicholls (-1 lap); 14. Bradley Thompson (-1 lap); 15. James Menasco (-17 laps); 16. J.J. Nunn (-25 laps).
Skid Plate Cars 15-lap feature
1. James Brazzeal; 2. Robert Smotherman (-2.242 seconds); 3. Billy Paddack Jr. (-8.872); 4. Cindy Clark (-2 laps); 5. Scott Stockwell (-2 laps); 6. Jeff Bargerhuff (-2 laps); 7. Billy Paddack Sr. (-4 laps); 8. Don Williams (-9 laps).
US Legends Pro/Masters 25-lap feature
1. Kaden Honeycutt (Pro); 2. Robbie Czub (Pro, -4.036 seconds); 3. Noah Korner (Pro, -4.200); 4. Gus Dean (Pro, -4.894); 5. Brady Fox-Rhode (Pro, -5.099); 6. Tyler Fabozzi (Pro, -5.220); 7. Cody Winchel (Pro, -6.829); 8. Michael Dabney (Pro, -6.992); 9. Michael Todd Glazier (Masters, -7.715); 10. Gary Scheurell (Masters, -11.488); 11. Randy Beddow (Masters, -11.987); 12. Bruce Silver (Masters, -15.005); 13. Gary Wegener Jr. (Masters, -15.400); 14. Andy Hulcy (Masters, -15.584); 15. John Copeland (Masters, -16.632); 16. Matthew Cunningham (Masters, -16.817); 17. Michael Sauer (Masters, -1 lap); 18. Jeremy Doss (Pro, -15 laps).
NASCAR Grand American Modifieds 35-lap feature
1, Aaron McMorran; 2. Cameron Morga (-1.545 seconds); 3. Doug Hamm (-3.451); 4. Scott Osborne (-4.683); 5. Brian Reed (-9.638); 6. Pat Petrie (-1 lap); 7. Tom Pfundstein (-1 lap).
North American Big Rig Racing 40-lap feature
1. Isaac Harder; 2. Cory Riplinger (-1.295 seconds); 3. Lonnie Grzech (-3.220); 4. Ron Singer (-5.501); 5. Cole Wiesner (-5.556); 6. Jaeger Berdahl (-6.136); 7. Ashley Creed (-1 lap); 8. Gino Howe (-2 laps); 9. Colton Berdahl (-5 laps); 10. Jacob Berdahl (-21 laps).