Local stars Keller, K. Jacks hold off out of town racers to capture Bullring's 'Star Nursery Classic' Saturday
Las Vegas racers Kyle Keller and Kyle Jacks fought off some tough out of town drivers Saturday afternoon to capture the coveted “Star Nursery Classic” features at the 3/8-mile paved Bullring oval at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway under beautiful weather in the Bullring 2023 season finale.
Keller, the 18-year-old driver in the No. 12 Star Nursery/KKR stock car, continues his winning ways at his hometown in the 100-lap Pro Late Model main event but it was not easy for Kyle late in the event. Keller, who also competes in the ARCA Menards West series, held a good margin at the halfway point over California competitors Donny St. Ours and Ricky Gutierrez before the young Gutierrez, the teenager from Garden Grove, CA, began to apply pressure.
Gutierrez, who also competes in the dirt with the Lucas Oil Off-Road short course series, piloted his No. 78 G Brothers stock car away from St. Ours and closed in on the leader Keller by just three lengths with 15 laps remaining in 100-lapper. By lap 90, “Ricky G” was within a car length and looked to the quickest car on the track, and he and Keller nose-to-tail by lap 92. Gutierrez was poised to make a move for the lead on lap 93 when the yellow flag flew for a spin by Kylie Ith in turn two.
On the restart, it was Keller pulling out to a five-length lead over St. Ours and Gutierrez, while Ricky G made the maneuver past St. Ours for second but had to settle for the runner-up spot after a great drive. The Upland, CA racer St. Ours finished third in the No. 54 Sigma Performance Services machine followed by Jaron Giannini and young Gavin Ray.
Rounding out the top ten finishes were Washington’s Haeden Lybon, Danica Dart, Ethan Myers, Brayden Allen and former track champion Scott Gafforini.
“This is a great way to finish up the season at my home track, The Bullring,” said Keller. “I started in Bandos (Bandoleros) when I was eight years old, and we had strong performances here this year despite not running all of the races. And it’s great to win the ‘Star Nursery Classic’ in the Star Nursery car. I knew Ricky was closing. He had a very fast car. On the late restart, I just wanted to get a jump and run my lines. It’s always fun to win at your home track and in front of family and friends. Thanks to the fans who came out today too.”
In the 75-lap 602 Pro Modifieds main event, K. Jacks led wire-to-wire in his No. 41 Battleborn Racing car, but, like Keller, it was not an easy one.
The contingent of No. 24 cars – Shelby Stroebel (last year’s ‘Star Nursery Classic” winner), Scott Winters and Nathan Gasser – pestered Jacks for the majority of the race, as they hung only a few car lengths back with each circuit. Stroebel gave Jacks plenty of pressure in the first 30 laps before the yellow flag came out for a turn four spin by Colorado’s Scotty Smith. On the restart, it was Winters’ turn to run a close second to the Las Vegas runner as they moved into traffic at the 50th lap. By lap 55, Jacks opened his advantage a few car lengths, as Winters and Stroebel put on a delightful scrabble for second.
On lap 60, Stroebel bumped Winters in turn one as the Idaho racer looked for second, but Winters was not to be disturbed for the runner-up position. Unfortunately for the Tracy, CA, racer’s machine had a fire under the right rear side of his mount. A yellow flag flew as Winters pulled his car to the infield and the Bullring Safety crew made quick work of distinguishing the small blaze. With four laps remaining, Jacks continued his margin and took the checkered flag over Stroebel, Eric Rhead of West Bountiful, UT, Las Vegas’ Giannini, Bullring Modified Track Champion Sam Jacks and Gasser.
“What a great way to finish up the season with a big ‘Star Nursery Classic’ win,” said Kyle Jacks. “It was a super season for us at the Bullring. My brother, Sam, won the Modifieds points championship and I won a bunch of races and the finale. I can’t say enough about our Battleborn Motorsports crew this year. Our 41 car was really quick today, and this final race is tough with all of the out-of-town competitors. I wanted to thank T.J. Clark and his Bullring crew for a tremendous season.”
Speaking of out-of-town racers, John Newhouse of Twin Falls, ID, survived a hard-fought 100-lap Super Late Model main event with his No. 90 car to take the $5,000 top prize from Star Nursery. Newhouse chased pole winner Jonaton Gomez of Kimberly, ID, for much of the event, and the veteran Gomez looked to be on his way to the winner’s circle when his No. 22 machine led since the drop of the green flag.
Gomez slowed on lap 91 with a flat tire and Newhouse took the lead and raced to the checkered flag. Gomez did return to action on lap 97 but had to settle for fourth. Second went to Ryan Phipps of Heyburn, ID, with third going to Dennis Rock Jr. of Las Vegas.
“It is always great to come down to Las Vegas late in the season,” said Newhouse. “Heck, it’s 20 degrees back home in Idaho right now and we thrilled to get out of that weather. Jonathon had a fast race car today and I wasn’t going to catch him. But he had a flat tire, and we took advantage of that mishap today for the win. We really like coming to the Bullring at season’s end and it is a great little track to race. Thanks to the staff here and the fans for coming out in this awesome weather.”
In the 40-lap Junior Late Model division event, Madera’s Joey Kennealy took the lead from the pole position and never looked back in his No. 1K stock car. The race for second was a good one in the middle of the contest with former Legend driver Gavin Ray and Bullring Bandoleros champion Austin Leonard. Both battled back and forth before Ray was able to secure the runner-up spot and Leonard in the third spot on the winner’s podium.
NEXT RACE: The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will host the largest open-wheel pavement event of the 2023 season on Dec. 1-2 with the inaugural “Open Wheel Showdown,” paying $50,000 to Winged Sprint Car race winner. The Open Wheel Showdown is the Modern Era Copper World Classic with Winged Sprint Cars and Midgets. The Open Wheel Showdown, with one of the highest-paying pavement Winged Sprint Car races, was formed by Davey Hamilton Jr. with his passion of pavement short track racing. The goal is to present a prestigious event once a year bringing competitors from all over the country. A two-day adult ticket is $39 each with Friday-only at $20 in advance, $25 on day of the event. Saturday only tickets will be $25 in advance, $30 on day of the event. Children under 12 free, with a ticketed adult. Senior and Military discount is $5. RV camping price is $250 for all three days includes four grandstand tickets. For more information, please contact the LVMS ticket office at 800-644-4444 or online at LVMS.com. For stockyard passes, please call 800-644-4444, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. PST.
“Star Nursery Classic”
Saturday, October 28, 2023 (Starting position in [ ])
PRO LATE MODELS
NASCAR Pro Late Models Feature 1 (100 Laps): 1. 12-Kyle Keller; 2. 78-Ricky Gutierrez; 3. 76-Donny St Ours; 4. 25-Jaron Giannini; 5. 18-Gavin Ray; 6. 57-Haeden Plybon; 7. 11-Danica Dart; 8. 21-Ethan Myers; 9. 52-Brayden Allen; 10. 38-Scott Gafforini; 11. 24-TJ Roberts; 12. 19-Kylie Ith; 13. (DNF) 14X-Amilleo Thomson; 14. (DNF) 17-Ashton Leonard; 15. (DNF) 55-Kevin Terrell; 16. (DNS) 42-Eric Martin
NASCAR Pro Late Models Hot Laps 1: 1. 19-Kylie Ith, 00:15.740; 2. 14X-Amilleo Thomson, 00:15.756; 3. 78-Ricky Gutierrez, 00:15.761; 4. 76-Donny St Ours, 00:15.773; 5. 24-TJ Roberts, 00:15.801; 6. 25-Jaron Giannini, 00:15.832; 7. 12-Kyle Keller, 00:15.834; 8. 38-Scott Gafforini, 00:15.857; 9. 57-Haeden Plybon, 00:15.907; 10. 52-Brayden Allen, 00:15.942; 11. 11-Danica Dart, 00:16.033; 12. 55-Kevin Terrell, 00:16.675; 13. 42-Eric Martin, 00:17.242; 14. (DNS) 17-Ashton Leonard; 15. (DNS) 21-Ethan Myers
NASCAR 602 Modifieds Feature 1 (75 Laps): 1. 41-Kyle Jacks; 2. 24S-Shelby Stroebel; 3. 66-Eric Rhead; 4. 25-Jaron Giannini; 5. 29-Sam Jacks; 6. 24-Nathan Gasser; 7. 10-Kevin Vossen; 8. 56-Rosalee Weller; 9. 6-Scotty Scott; 10. 48-Calvin Hegje; 11. 3-Jeremiah Hill; 12. 2-Steve Rodenbaugh; 13. 24A-Scott Winters; 14. 1-Jimmy Petrie; 15. 114-Jordan Smith
NASCAR 602 Modifieds Hot Laps 1: 1. 41-Kyle Jacks, 00:15.151; 2. 24-Nathan Gasser, 00:15.228; 3. 25-Jaron Giannini, 00:15.260; 4. 29-Sam Jacks, 00:15.286; 5. 24S-Shelby Stroebel, 00:15.319; 6. 24A-Scott Winters, 00:15.412; 7. 6-Scotty Scott, 00:15.433; 8. 10-Kevin Vossen, 00:15.483; 9. 1-Jimmy Petrie, 00:15.509; 10. 66-Eric Rhead, 00:15.527; 11. 56-Rosalee Weller, 00:15.642; 12. 114-Jordan Smith, 00:15.653; 13. 48-Calvin Hegje, 00:15.690; 14. 2-Steve Rodenbaugh, 00:15.907; 15. 3-Jeremiah Hill, 00:16.121
SUPER LATE MODELS
Super Lates Feature 1 (100 Laps): 1. 90-John Newhouse; 2. 22P-Ryan Phipps; 3. 61-Dennis Rock Jr; 4. (DNF) 22G-Jonathon Gomez; 5. (DNF) 22-Andy Allen; 6. (DNF) 54-Donny St Ours; 7. (DNF) 14-Chris Clyne; 8. (DNF) 12-Jim Wulfenstein; 9. (DNF) 14T-Amilleo Thomson; 10. (DNF) 55-Kevin Terrell; 11. (DNF) 57-Haeden Plybon; 12. (DNF) 21-Ethan Myers
Super Lates Hot Laps 1: 1. 14-Chris Clyne, 00:14.460; 2. 61-Dennis Rock Jr, 00:14.664; 3. 54-Donny St Ours, 00:14.690; 4. 22-Andy Allen, 00:14.697; 5. 22P-Ryan Phipps, 00:14.720; 6. 22G-Jonathon Gomez, 00:14.722; 7. 12-Jim Wulfenstein, 00:14.915; 8. (DNS) 90-John Newhouse; 9. (DNS) 55-Kevin Terrell; 10. (DNS) 14T-Amilleo Thomson
JR LATE MODELS
Bullring Jr Late Models A Feature 1 (40 Laps): 1. 1K-Joey Kennealy; 2. 18-Gavin Ray; 3. 17-Ashton Leonard; 4. 11-Danica Dart; 5. 71-Colton Ray
Bullring Jr Late Models Hot Laps 1: 1. 17-Ashton Leonard, 00:16.067; 2. 18-Gavin Ray, 00:16.102; 3. 1K-Joey Kennealy, 00:16.203; 4. 11-Danica Dart, 00:16.386; 5. 71-Colton Ray, 00:16.752