Las Vegas, NV – All season it had been a case of close but no cigar for Taylor Miinch while he finished fifth in the standings for the Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by LoanMart.
Saturday night, at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the 21-year-old from Blossom Valley, California, finally got the brass ring by winning the 75-lap Lucas Oil Race of Champions presented by MAVTV.
Miinch took the lead from pole-sitter Jim Mardis on a caution-flag restart on lap 52 and motored away from what remained of the 30-car field that had started the race on the 3/8 -mile oval to win by 0.828 seconds over Mardis, a three-time winner at The Bullring.
Fast qualifier Ryan Partridge was third in his Modified debut and was followed across the finish line by Kyle Tellstrom, Matthew Hicks, Austin Barnes and Dylan Cappello.
It was the first Modified victory for Miinch, who was second to Barnes at Irwindale, California, in late June and in the top 5 in six of the series’ 10 points races, and even though it had nothing to do with the series standings it netted the married father of a 2-year-old son $4,000 to spend on Christmas presents.
This one was all about the Benjamins. The second of two non-point special events included on the Lucas Oil Modified Series schedule offered $4,000 to win and $300 to start and that was enough to attract 38 cars and drivers from eight states, including two young women and a trio of racers who were the first from the Midwest (Indiana and Michigan) to make an appearance in the popular Southwest touring series.
The gremlins that seem to bedevil the series whenever it races on the North Las Vegas track about 10 miles from the famed Las Vegas Strip were present again this time. The result was nine caution flags that kept the race from having any rhythm in the first 50 laps and then an uninterrupted run to the checkered flag.
Miinch qualified fifth and started fourth after Partridge pulled an 8 for the inversion. He moved into third behind Mardis and Scott Winters on lap 5, got second for good after he and Mardis bumped on lap 42 and triggered a moment of chaos that left Winters’ car badly damaged and several others nursing injuries, then powered past Mardis on the restart after the final caution on lap 47.
Mardis, in turn, maintained a comfortable gap between himself and Partridge, who had aborted his planned debut at Irwindale earlier in the year because he wasn’t satisfied with his car. He definitely felt better Saturday after settiing a track record with a 14.993-second, 90.042-mph effort on his first lap of qualifying and finishing strong.
The race brought the Lucas Oil Modified Series 10th Anniversary season to a close. The 2016 campaign is scheduled to open with the Winter Showdown at Kern County Raceway in Bakersfield, California, on February 27.
LUCAS OIL RACE OF CHAMPIONSHIP
Lucas Oil Modifieds
The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
3/8-mile banked, paved oval
Saturday, November 21, 2015
MAIN EVENT (75 laps) – 1. Taylor Miinch (4T), Blossom Valley, California; 2. Jim Mardis (12), Yucaipa, California; 3. Ryan Partridge (9), Rancho Cucamonga, California; 4. Kyle Tellstrom (5K), Ukiah, California; 5. Matthew Hicks (28), Lakeside, California; 6. Austin Barnes (51A), Escondido, California; 7. Dylan Cappello (11C), Peoria, Arizona; 8. Jeff Connors (3X), Las Vegas; 9. Eddie Wilcox (1A), River Bank, California; 10. Brian Nestor (11N), Hamilton, Indiana;
11. Linny White (99), Colton, California; 12. Aaron McMorran (22), Las Vegas; 13. Greg Fullerton (05), Howell, Michigan; 14. Trevor Huddleston (55), Agoura Hills, California; 15. Shelby Stroebel (24), Meridian, Idaho; 16. Scott Osborn (0Z), Las Vegas; 17. Darrin Knight (20), Kelseyville, California; 18. Jerry Toporek (40), Venice, California; 19. Doug Hamm (4X), North Las Vegas; 20. Lynn Hardy (4L), Salt Lake City, Utah;
21. Rich Lindgren (27), Rio Linda, California; 22. Eric Holmes (21H), Escalon, California; 23. Eddie Secord (84S), Oak Hills, California; 24. Scott Winters (24A), Tracy, California; 25. Peyton Saxton (57), Las Vegas; 26. Steven Durbin (15), Las Vegas; 27. Mark Ith Jr. (84I), Magna, Utah; 28. Dave Arce (5), Santee, California; 29. Pat Petrie (1), Henderson, Nevada; 30. William Guevara (17), Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
Margin of victory – 0.828 seconds. Average speed – 35.676 mph. Lead changes – 1 among 2 drivers. Caution flags – 9 for 26 laps. Fast qualifier – Partridge, 14.993 seconds/90.042 mph (track record)
B MAIN (40 laps) – 1. Jimmy Waters (29w), West Jordan, Utah; 2. Tim Burkett (14), Hamilton, Indiana; 3. Kayli Baker (34), North Las Vegas; 4. Sal Lopez, Sacramento, California; 5. Rosalee Weller (56), Caldwell, Idaho; 6. Ith Jr.; 7. Osborn; 8. Fullerton; 9. Durbin; 10. Marty Deluca (86), Las Vegas; 11. Jeff Longman, Lehi, Utah. (Ith Jr., Osborn, Fullerton and Durbin were the top 4 after 20 laps and advanced to the main event.)
Detailed information on the series is available at www.LucasOilModifieds.com.
Story By: LOM PR