McMorran claims NASCAR Grand American Modifieds season championship on College Night at The Bullring
Aaron McMorran is going to need to make room in his trophy case.
The Las Vegas driver won the 25-lap NASCAR Grand American Modifieds feature on College Night at The Bullring on Saturday to clinch his third career season championship at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway short track. McMorran beat 47-time Bullring winner Doug Hamm for the season title, his second Modifieds triumph to go along with a NASCAR Bombers championship from 2015.
"If you ever beat Doug Hamm here, you're doing something right," said McMorran, a 26-time race winner at The Bullring. "That guy's won more races than I even know and more championships than I have and is one of the best drivers to ever race here. I've been all over the West Coast racing this year, and it gets tough trying to balance the family life and everything, but I think I'm doing a pretty good job."
McMorran also leads this season's NASCAR Bombers points standings and is looking to become the first driver in track history to win championships in two divisions. The Bombers class and the track's other seven divisions will crown their 2017 champions on Championship Night on Oct. 7.
In the evening's night cap, Las Vegas native and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie Noah Gragson passed points leader Justin Johnson on a re-start with nine laps remaining in the 50-lap NASCAR Super Late Models race and held on for the checkered flag. Gragson climbed the fence at The Bullring after earning his 14th career win at the 3/8-mile track.
"I guess we just out-restarted him, and it feels pretty darn good because it's my first win of the year," Gragson said. "To do it in front of all of my friends and family and all of these fans is great. I'm worn out after that one, because I had something break on the right front at about lap 10, but I just never gave up and stayed positive. I came home with the trophy, so I'm pretty pumped up."
Gragson will return to LVMS to compete in the Las Vegas 350 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday, Sept. 30. He's excited to race at the 1.5-mile speedway for the first time.
"Growing up here, looking past the back straightaway here at The Bullring and seeing that mile-and-a-half superspeedway, it's always been a dream of mine to race there," Gragson said. "It's going to become a reality, and I'm just very thankful for it and looking forward to it."
Sam Jacks picked up Bullring career win No. 11 after edging McMorran in the evening's NASCAR Bombers race, which featured a 20-second breakout format. Any race leader clocking a lap faster than 20 seconds would have been hit with a stop-and-go penalty, but they all avoided breaking that barrier in the 25-lap race.
"(The breakout race) is a lot of fun and is a lot more strategy than just straight-up racing," said Jacks, who nipped McMorran by just .233 of a second. "I had my marks laid out for where I needed to be hitting the brakes and the gas for a 20-second lap, and I just tried to do that."
Mason Sargent recovered from a wreck in practice to win his second consecutive NASCAR Super Stocks feature by finishing more than three seconds ahead of season points leader Court Connell. It was Sargent's third win of 2017.
"Tonight, we just kept the momentum going from the last race, and I was a lot more confident coming in," Sargent said. "The car was amazing, and I'm always thankful for the competitors and racing against them. I'd like to thank my dad and my uncle for always working on this car, especially this morning since I got into an accident in practice."
Tyler Fabozzi fought his way through the field to earn his fourth USLCI Legends feature win of the season. The division's points leader crossed the line 1.440 seconds ahead of teammate T.J. Clark to earn the victory.
"A big thank you to T.J. Clark and my dad, because this thing's been perfect every time I get in it," said Fabozzi, who finished third in the NASCAR Super Late Models race. "It's definitely hard to make it through the pack like that."
Ron Reed won his seventh USLCI Thunder Cars feature of the season to continue his dominance in that division. Reed is in the driver's seat to earn his first track championship heading into the final two events of the year.
James Brazzeal added to his points lead in the Skid Plate Cars division after winning his second feature of the season. The St. George, Utah, driver had a blast driving the specially designed car, which has two metal plates instead of rear tires.
"It's like drifting for poor people," Brazzeal said of skid plate racing. "Not spinning out in circles is very important, and that's the key. It's a blast!"
In the USLCI Bandolero classes, Cody Kiemele won his fifth Bandits race of the year, while Jaron Giannini picked up his first win in the Outlaws division. The night also included a 25-lap Jr. Late Models exhibition, which was won by Kyle Keller by 1.099 seconds over Anthony Guaimano.
NEXT RACE: The Bullring returns on Saturday, Sept. 23, for the Keith Danser Kids Candy Grab, and the track will host its final pre-race autograph session on the track. The NASCAR Super Late Models and NASCAR Super Stocks divisions will have a pair of features as part of the racing schedule.
College Night at The Bullring
Jr. Late Models 25-lap exhibition
1. Kyle Keller; 2. Anthony Guaimano (-1.099 seconds); 3. Adam Lemke (-2.285); 4. R.J. Smotherman (-3.771); 5. Lilly Mead (-4.045); 6. Payton Garofalo (-11.860); 7. Jesse Love (-5 laps); 8. Tanner Reif (-7 laps).
USLCI Bandolero Bandits 12-lap feature
1. Cody Kiemele; 2. Amilleo Thomson (-2.466 seconds); 3. Braden Connor (-10.774); 4. Landon Gresser (-11.007); 5. Aaron McMorran II (-16.591); 6. Owen Romzek (-1 lap).
USLCI Bandolero Outlaws 15-lap feature
1. Jaron Giannini; 2. Jesse Love (-4.326 seconds); 3. R.J. Smotherman (-4.472); 4. Cody Brown (-4.815); 5. Kaden Crouch (-7.736); 6. Ethan Deguevara (-7.947); 7. Tia Guy (-11.545); 8. Matthew Cunningham (-1 lap); 9. Chloe Lynch (-1 lap); 10. Camden Larsen (-11 laps); 11. Adam Lemke (-11 laps).
USLCI Thunder Cars 15-lap feature
1. Ron Reed; 2. Ed Hohman (-.597 of a second); 3. Darin Callaway (-6.922); 4. Matt Cunningham (-10.436); 5. Doug Germano (-12.256).
NASCAR Super Stocks 25-lap feature
1. Mason Sargent; 2. Court Connell (-3.034 seconds); 3. Johnny Spilotro (-3.660); 4. Don Sargent (-4.000); 5. Matt Larsen (-13.647); 6. Dylin Smotherman (-14.405); 7. Vince Bianchi (-1 lap).
NASCAR Grand American Modifieds 25-lap feature
1. Aaron McMorran*; 2. Doug Hamm (-1.299 seconds); 3. Brian Reed (-7.355); 4. Pat Petrie (-11.451); 5. Justin Miller (-1 lap); 6. Tom Pfundstein (-1 lap); 7. Peyton Saxton (-22 laps). *Clinched 2017 season points championship.
NASCAR Bombers 25-lap "Breakout" feature
1. Sam Jacks; 2. Aaron McMorran (-.233 of a second); 3. Vinny Raucci Jr. (-.378); 4. Kyle Jacks (-.663); 5. Anthony Mann (-.823); 6. Zachery Nicholls (-5.150); 7. Bob Rynda (-5.688); 8. Anthony Riegert (-11.347); 9. Carl Duryee (-14.859); 10. Mark Skinner (-5 laps); 11. Jim Merlino (-7 laps); 12. Bobby Schumacher (-12 laps).
Skid Plate Cars 12-lap feature
1. James Brazzeal; 2. Cindy Clark (-7.936); 3. William Good (-15.884); 4. Billy Paddock Sr. (-44.638); 5. Scott Stockwell (-1 lap); 6. Jeff Bargerhuff (-1 lap); 7. Ben Williams (-2 laps); 8. Matt Esposito (-3 laps); 9. Billy Paddock Jr. (-9 laps); 10. Racer X (-10 laps).
USLCI Legends 25-lap feature
1. Tyler Fabozzi; 2. T.J. Clark (-1.440 seconds); 3. Michael Todd Glazier (-1.819); 4. Sammy Smith (-2.428); 5. Kole Raz (-5.342); 6. Brian Williams (-6.291); 7. Gary Scheurell (-8.572); 8. Jace Jones (-13.823); 9. Jesse Love (-14.871); 10. Doug Sheldon (-15.216); 11. Jaron Giannini (-15.830); 12. Bruce Silver (-1 lap); 13. Jordan Holloway (-1 lap); 14. Ray Hoffman (-2 laps); 15. Gary Wegener Jr. (-17 laps); 16. Jeff King (-17 laps); 17. Dylan Fabozzi (-18 laps); 18. Lewis Hykes (-18 laps).
NASCAR Super Late Models 50-lap feature
1. Noah Gragson; 2. Justin Johnson (-.560 of a second); 3. Tyler Fabozzi (-3.658); 4. Peyton Saxton (-4.376); 5. Dezel West (-5.740); 6. Scott Gafforini (-7.735); 7. David Anderson (-8.646); 8. Gary Clift (-1 lap); 9. Kayli Barker (-1 lap); 10. Charlie Pike (-2 laps); 11. Stan Mullis (-23 laps).