Sheri Goldstrom thrills crowd, pit area with Factory Stock win; Bullring action wild on "April Fool's Night” sees 1st time winners
The tears flowed down Sheri Goldstrom’s face as the veteran racer stood onto of her winning machine in victory lane Saturday night after capturing her first Nostalgia Street Rods NASCAR Outlaw Factory Stock main event at the 3/8-mile paved oval of the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the “April Fool’s Night” program. Saturday’s program was rescheduled from a rainout on Feb. 25.
The popular driver and co-owner of the Las Vegas-based Nostalgia Street Rods shop drove her No. 14 stock car to the front on lap 27 and defeated Jacob Quartaro by 0.481 seconds in the wild 30-lap feature race that had the crowd on their feet at the checkered flag.
The winner of the 2022 “Sportsmanship Award” came back to action last week after suffering a hard crash in the March 11 Star Nursey Series round at the Bullring, but the personable racer fought her way back to the front in some tough wheel-to-wheel action Saturday.
Goldstrom’s victory lane celebration saw racers and crew members joined in the wild scene as Sheri thanked Chris Clyne for helping her the past three years and many others in the pit area plus the fans in the grandstands for their support.
“I am stunned to finally win here at the Bullring,” said Goldstrom. “Being a 57-year-old woman racing against the guys and taking the win is a great thrill. I have so many people to thank for their support and guidance including Chris (Clyne) who has been a tremendous help. This win shows that women can come out here and race hard for the victory. We love coming to the Bullring and seeing the friends in the pit area and the grandstands. And this win means anything is possible. Thanks so much.”
Goldstrom had been close to winning before with several runner-up finishes in the slam-bang action of the Outlaw Factory Stocks. And with five remaining, Sheri was in fifth position. But a number of incidents went Goldstrom’s way before she took the lead.
It looked like an easy win for defending track champion Michael Miller when at lap 27 when the red flag came out as Brad Thompson’s machine caught fire in the front straight. But Miller’s No. 21 machine couldn’t restart and was forced to the pit area.
With three laps remaining, leaders Pete Meyer and Matt Frady Jr., seeking his third 2023 win, got together in turn four and spun. This left Goldstrom with the top spot and a chance for her first win.
For the final two laps, Quartaro tried to apply the pressure to Sheri’s white No. 14 but Jacob came up short at the checkered flag. The finish was Goldstrom, Quartaro and Nick Lautenbach followed by Meyer, Frady Jr. and Derrick Utley, all on the lead lap.
In addition to Goldstrom’s popular win, several drivers also made their Bullring feature winning performances Saturday with Parker Heffel in the M&H Building Specialists/JBM Underground Legends Cars, Bryson Brown in the Jr. Late Models and Brenden Ruzbarsky in the NASCAR 602 Modifieds.
Heffel, a crew chief for Third Gen Race Cars, put in a spectacular run Saturday with his No. 3 Legends car in only 13th race driving in the Legends class. The former dirt bicycle racer won his eight-lap heat race earlier in the evening and started on the front row with track champion and U.S. Legends Pro national champion Jordan Holloway.
At the drop of the green flag in the 30-lapper, reigning U.S. National race champion Branden Giannini jumped to the point and held the lead for the first eight circuits before Holloway took the advantage. Holloway looked to open a small margin over Giannini, Heffel, Nathan Quella, Cody Brown and T.J. Roberts. On lap 18, Heffel moved to second and attempted to close on Holloway the next few laps.
Traffic posed a problem for Holloway and Heffel slid by Jordan in turn one on lap 25. But the defending national titleholder was about to give Parker the win, as the Henderson, NV, racer stayed on Heffel’s car’s rear bumper. Despite the pressure, Heffel showed no panic by Holloway’s changes and took the checkered flag by a half car length. Third went to California’s Quella followed by Las Vegas’ Brown and Brendan Tracy.
“Wow, that was a great race,” said Heffel in his initial Bullring victory lane appearance. “I’ve been working on these cars for a long time and just started to race them last year. The competition is extremely tough here and racing against guys like Jordan, Branden, Cody and others is some fierce racing. It feels great to win in just my 13th race ever.”
Brown, a former Legends racer, moved to the Junior Late Model and Pro Late Model divisions in 2023 and scored his first Junior Late Model main event with an impressive drive Saturday at the Bullring.
Bryson took the lead from Ashton Leonard on lap 17 in the 20-lap feature and won by 0.709 seconds over Leonard followed by Colby Copeland, Alex Eskandari, Caden Cordova and Brody Manning.
“This is very exciting to win in the Late Model in my first season,” said Brown. “The car felt good throughout the race, and I was able to close in on Ashton. I saw an opening in turn one and slid inside for the lead. I always want to win at the Bullring and now I did it.”
Ruzbarsky is another of the rising young drivers coming from the Legends ranks and scored his first NASCAR 602 Modifieds finale with a strong run against the Jacks brother, Kyle and Sam. Kyle Jacks had won three straight Modified mains including a 20-lapper to opening Saturday night’s racing.
But it was the young Ruzbarsky who took the lead from Tom Pfundstein on lap 13 with a nice inside pass in turn one. Starting on the last row, Kyle Jacks made a late race charge but couldn’t catch Ruzbarsky at the checkered flag. It was Ruzbarsky by 0.406 second over K. Jacks, S. Jacks, Brian Williams, Pfundstein and Kayli Peterson.
In the first Modified main event Saturday, K. Jacks took an easy 2.130-second victory over his brother with Brian Williams third followed by Ruzbarsky, Peterson and Pfundstein.
“Yes, it is a big jump from the Legends to a beast like the big Modified car,” said Ruzbarsky. “But this car felt so good tonight. I got used to it in the first main and the car was outstanding in the second main. I knew Kyle was there at the end, but we had enough to get to victory lane. This win feels great.”
While the victory lane newcomers were prevalent Saturday night, a familiar face reached the winner’s circle again with veteran Justin Johnson claiming the top honors in the 35-lap Sigma Performance Services Pro Late Model main event.
Johnson, who sat out last week’s event and saw Dustin Ash win in the No. 17 All Budd-owned stock car, was back in the driver’s seat this weekend at the Bullring and he jumped to the lead immediately from his second starting spot.
Justin opened his lead to several seconds midway in the finale and was in command until a late-race caution flag bunched up the field on lap 31. On the restart, Johnson vaulted to the lead again and held off any challenges from Jaron Giannini and Jeff Peterson to the checkered flag. Fourth went to young Amilleo Thomson with California’s Monty Tipton.
“It always feels good to get back to the Bullring Winner’s Circle,” said Johnson. “Last year we won a lot in the Super Stock and the Modified classes and this year, we are running in the Pro Late Model which is very competitive. So, it’s great to win over these guys. I knew Jaron and Jeff were close at the end, but our crew did a great job with this No. 17 car. Thanks to them and the fans tonight.”
In the popular 12-lap Skid Plate contest, former series champion Ben Williams weaved his way through a bunch of spinning cars and wild action to capture another feature win. Starting from turn four due to his past victories, Williams kept his No. 6 machine at a steady pace and dodged some of the carnage that always makes up a Skid Plate event.
At the checkered flag, Williams won by 23.203 seconds over Ken Coombs, Berenice Hernandez, driving a new car, Jeff Bargerhuff and Robert Leany.
Another former track champion, Ashton Leonard, scored another M&H Building Specialists/JBM Underground Bandolero main win Saturday with his No. 17. He held a good margin early before Amelia Suell made the high groove and closed at the checkered flag. But Leonard took the 0.416-second triumph followed by A. Suell, Keaton Harbison, Joseph Montoya, James Trimmer and Piper Suell.
In the popular and entertaining “Battle of the Badges” featuring First Responders from local police and fire departments, John Smaistra of Henderson, NV, who trains policemen in driving pursuit, came home the winner in the four-car Skid Plate night opener. Smaistra took an 8.470-second win over Alex Ceavas followed by Andrew Molitor and Matt Van Burskirk.
In the earlier heat race action, Thomson and Johnson took the 10-lap Pro Late Model events, while Rob Pfaffly and Miller won the 8-lap Outlaw Factory Stocks races. Holloway and Heffel won the 8-lap Legends heats with Amelia Suell scoring the 5-lap Bandolero heat race.
NEXT RACE: The 2023 Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway presented by Star Nursery race schedule continues on Saturday, April 8, with “Military and Veteran Appreciation Night,” the fifth round of the 10-race Star Nursery Series. Theme nights like Military and Veterans Appreciation Night, Hometown Heroes Night and the wildly popular Fourth of July celebration, the Night of Fire, add extra allure to the popular racetrack throughout the year. Adult general admission for the majority of the Star Nursery Series events is $8.00 with children 12 & under free at all Bullring events. 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.
Bullring Season Opener, Round 2 for the Star Nursery Series
Saturday, April 1, 2023
M&H Building Specialists/JBM Underground USLCI Bandoleros 10-lap feature
1.Ashton Leonard; 2. Amelia Suell (-0.416 seconds); 3.Keaton Harbison (-3.940) 4.Joseph Montoya (-4.265); 5. James Trimmer (5.556) 6.Piper Suell (-1 lap); 7. Leila Trimmer (-1 lap); 8.Aspen Leonard (-1 lap); 9.Siena Nuccitelli (DNS).
Skid Plate Cars 12-lap feature
1.Ben Williams; 2. Ken Coombs (-23.203 seconds); 3. Berenice Hernandez (-24.554); 4. Jeff Bargerhuff (-26.722); 5.Robert Leany (-29.274); 6.Don Leonard (-1 lap); 7.Christina Harper (-1 lap); 8.John Smaistra (-1 lap); 9.Greg Lee (-1 lap); 10.Greg Matta (-2 laps). 4.); 11.Andrew Molitor (-2 laps); 12.Matt Van Burskirk (-3 laps); 13.Alex Cuevas (-3 laps); 14.Jeff Dailey (-3 laps); 15.Austin Leonard (-3 laps); 16. Chris Birdsong (DNS).
NASCAR Nostalgia Street Rods Outlaw Factory Stocks 30-lap feature
1.Sheri Goldstrom; 2.Jacob Quartaro (-0.481 seconds); 3. Nick Lautenbach (-1.272); 4.Pete Meyer (-2.408); 5.Matt Frady Jr. (-2.615); 6.Derrick Utley (-4.518); 7.Stephen Irvine (-1 lap); 8.Rob Pfaffly (-2 laps); 9.Michael Miller (-5 laps); 10.Brad Thompson (-5 laps); 11.Dallas Simonette (-12 laps); 12.Bobby Schumacher (-23 laps); 13.Tuscan Nuccitelli (-23 laps); 14.Sabastian Lafia (-25 laps).
NASCAR 602 Modifieds 20-lap feature Race 1
1.Kyle Jacks; 2.Sam Jacks (-2.130 seconds); 3.Brian Williams (-2.954); 4.Brenden Ruzbarsky (-3.465); 5.Kayli Peterson (-3.947); 6.Tom Pfundstein (-6.415); 7.Jimmy Petrie (-8.350); 8.Ben Williams (-1 lap).
NASCAR 602 Modifieds 20-lap feature Race 2
1.Brenden Ruzbarsky; 2.Kyle Jacks (-0.406 seconds); 3.Sam Jacks (-1.151); 4.Brian Williams (-2.543); 5.Tom Pfundstein (-3.625); 6.Kayli Peterson (-5.115); 7.Jimmy Petrie (-7.310); 8.Ben Williams (-12.647).
NASCAR Junior Late Model 20-lap feature
1.Bryson Brown; 2.Ashton Leonard (-0.709 seconds); 3.Colby Copeland (-2.293); 4.Alex Eskandari (-4.029); 5.Caden Cordova (-4.199); 6.Brody Manning (-5.748).
NASCAR Sigma Performance Services Pro Late Models 35-lap feature
1.Justin Johnson; 2.Jaron Giannini (-0.205 seconds); 3.Jeff Peterson (-0.482 seconds); 4.Amilleo Thomson; 5.Monty Tipton (-3.389); 6.Aaron McMorran (-3.690); 7.Scott Gafforini (-4.306); 8.Enzo Lalama (-4.4); 9.Bryson Brown (-4.977); 10.Ricky Gutierrez (-5.424); 11.T.J. Roberts (-5.642); 12.Alex Eskandari (-5.854); 13.Cody Brown (-6.100); 14.Kylie Ith (-6.500); 15. Johnny Spilotro (-34 laps).
USLCI M&H Building Specialists/JBM Underground Legends 35-lap feature
1.Parker Heffel; 2.Jordan Holloway; 3.Nathan Quella; 4.Branden Giannini; 5.Cody Brown; 6.Brendan Tracy; 7. Keller Meechudhone; 8.Gavin Ray; 9.Bruce Silver; 10.Jeff Regier; 11.Colton Ray; 12.Alex Roe; 13.Scott Harbison; 14. Rick Chelberg; 15.Julian Brizzi; 16.Sarah Chelberg; 17.T.J. Roberts.
Battle of the Badges (Police vs. Fire) 4-lap feature
1.John Smaistra; 2.Alex Cuevas (-8.470 seconds); 3.Andrew Molitor (-14.856); 4.Matt Van Burskirk (-16.972).