Teenagers lead the way in qualifying at Bullring
Teenagers Dylan Zampa and Tyler Reif led the field in Friday qualifications at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the $10,000-to-win Sigma Performance Services Pro Late Model division in the annual West Coast Short Track Championships at the fast 3/8-mile paved oval.
Zampa, the 17-year-old high school senior from Napa, Calif., made an impressive debut at the Las Vegas short track in his No. 92Z Zampa Motorsports stock car with the fastest lap in the two-lap qualifying round Friday with a time of 15.451 second for an average speed of 87.373 miles per hour.
Zampa, second in the coveted national Kuwicki Driver Development series points, was anxious to make his debut in Las Vegas after scoring multiple main event victories at California short tracks including winning this year’s Sigma “Young Guns” title. Zampa will start from the pole position in Saturday’s 123-lap SPS Pro Late Model feature at the Bullring.
“This is my first time at the Bullring, and it is a fast track,” said Zampa, a former national quarter-midget champion. “You carry a lot of speed into the corners. Anything can happen on Saturday night in the main event. I have raced against most of these guys throughout the West Coast.
“I had faith in my dad being my crew chief in this first Las Vegas event. We had a good game plan coming into the weekend. I’m proud of the whole Zampa Motorsports crew to get the car going well tonight. We had power steering issues and some carburetor changes we needed to make for the car to run better here. And we got it all dialed in before qualifying. The car was good on long runs in practice too.”
Starting next to Zampa in the Sigma Performance Services Pro Late Model finale Saturday night will be 14-year-old Tyler Reif of Henderson, a Bullring regular who clocked a close 15.458-second lap (87.333 m.p.h.).
The Foothill High School freshman has teamed with his 16-year-old brother Tanner, the Bullring Pro Late Model season point champion, in 2021 after Tyler suffered a broken leg in the summer in a home accident. But Reif returned to competition late this year to finish second in USLCI Legends Car points and runner-up in a Pro Late Model feature at the Bullring.
“I had the pole for a little bit, but I made a slight mistake on one lap and just missed out,” said Reif, who competed against Zampa at age eight in the national quarter-midget championships. “I thought I could get into the 15.3 bracket, but it wasn’t there. We were very good in practice, so I feel good about my changes on Saturday night. The transition from the Legends Cars to the Pro Late Models in much different, but I’m really liking the Pro Late Model class. It suits my driving style.”
Starting third in the 123-lap SPS Pro Late Model feature Saturday will be veteran Jeffrey Peterson of Grand Terrace, Calif., following by Spears SRL series champion Jeremy Doss of Upper Lake, Calif., Las Vegas’ Dustin Ash, 16-year-old Jadan Walbright of Portland, Ore., and 16-year-old Tanner Reif.
Leading the $5,000-to-win SPS Modified category Friday night was veteran Kyle Tellstrom of Boise, Idaho, with a strong 15.033 seconds (89.802 m.p.h.) over Las Vegas favorite Sam Jacks at 15.039 seconds (89.767 m.p.h.) followed by Jaron Giannini of Henderson, at 15.044 (89.737 m.p.h.), Doss at 15.093 (89.445 m.p.h.) and veteran Shelby Stroebel of Boise at 15.117 (89.303 m.p.h.).
“This year has been good for me and the team with five feature wins in seven races,” said Tellstrom, the Boise State grad who is a motorsports rep for PFC Brakes during the week. “And we have been quick time seven of the eight races this year and it’s great to start on the pole for Saturday here in Las Vegas. I work in motorsports full time with the day job and then preparing and racing cars the other hours.
“At 26, I’m a little older than some of the kids racing here, but I came to the Bullring for the first time when I was 19. So, I know what they are going through. I have run the Lucas Oil Modified Series fulltime in 2015 and 2016. And we were the young kids then. The Modified is a driver’s car. I’m looking forward to the feature Saturday night now.”
Former Bullring Super Late Model champion Jimmy Parker Jr. of Las Vegas posted the quickest time in the $5,000-to-win SPS Super Late Model division Friday night in his No. 92 machine with a 14.361 second timing (94.005 m.p.h.) followed by local competitors Chris Clyne of Las Vegas and 16-year-old Kyle Keller also of Las Vegas. Clyne recorded a 14.448 (93.439 m.p.h.) with Keller at 14.458 (93.374 m.p.h.). Rounding out the top five were two-time Mesa Marin champion “Hollywood” Dan Holtz and Nick Cooper.
In the USLCI Legends Car qualifying, 14-year-old Jake Bollman of Huntington Beach, Calif., posted the quickest time with 16.983 seconds (79.491 m.p.h.) with several top teenagers right on his heels with second to Jordon Holloway at 16.997 (79.426 m.p.h.), Enzo Lalama at 17.043 (79.211 m.p.h.) and Tyler Reif at 17.066 (79.105 m.p.h.). The 23-lap feature will kickoff Saturday’s events at 5 p.m.
The popular Late Model Truck Series will also be competition Saturday night at the Bullring with a 35-lap main event on the main event bill.
The three Sigma Performance Services main events will be 123 laps each with the Modified, Pro Late Model and Super Late Model wrapping up the evening’s activities.