When you’re in Las Vegas and you’re gambling for the win, it’s always about the “odds.” Jeremy Doss was the odds-on favorite heading into Saturday's Senator’s Cup Fall Classic at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Bullring. Doss lived up to the winning odds as he walked away $15,000 richer after a last-lap pass on Gracin Raz, in almost the exact same fashion that Doss lost the race to Derek Thorn the year prior.
The race kicked off with NASCAR Truck Series driver Noah Gragson leading the way and Chris Clyne on his outside. It took Raz just one lap before he took the lead away from Gragson, his former Jefferson Pitts Racing teammate. While Raz was in control of the race lead early on, Doss was slowly coming through the field but conserving tires along the way.
Doss started the race in seventh and by the time it was the halfway break, he was up to fourth. Doss didn’t wait long on the restart after the break as he followed Trevor Cristiani and moved by Raz to take over the second position. Doss held strong in second behind Cristiani until a caution on Lap 95 came out and set up a restart.
Doss used the restart to set up a run on Cristiani and begin to pull away. At that point, it appeared as though Doss was going to take the money to the bank (or casino) without a fight, until a late-race caution on Lap 132.
The restart set up a three-way battle with Doss in the lead, Cristiani to his outside and Raz in third. Doss used a good run to take the lead and brought Raz with him on the inside lane. It started to look like Doss was pulling away with the win again but with just four laps to go, Raz started running him down.
With two laps to go, Raz got a big run to the inside of Doss for the lead. As they came to the white flag, Doss made slight contact with Raz and got back underneath him off turn two. Raz drove hard into turn three on the outside to get it back but slid up the track while Austin Herzog made his way to the inside. Doss took the checkered flag with both Raz and Herzog right on his bumper.
With the chaos taking place during the closing laps, Doss admitted that he sensed a little bit of déjà vu.
“All I could think about was last year, and I couldn’t let that happen again. I’m just so happy that we’re able to pull off the win. It means so much to us at the JDR Motorsports crew to come back and get redemption like that,” Doss told Speed51.com.
Although the $15,000 winner’s check provided plenty of motivation for both drivers, Raz had something else giving him the extra push he needed in those final laps.
“I was hungry. I’ve never won a Super Late Model race before. Been hungry for a really long time, I just found another level those final laps,” Raz told Speed51.com. “I was upset, I had a lapped car run into me when I was running third and I just turned on a whole new level for those final laps to track him down. I should’ve maybe raced on that level the whole second half. I don’t think I touched him when I passed him the first time, maybe a little bump. I feel like he maybe lifted my tires up a little too hard but it’s $15,000 to win and short track racing; it’s the product of the environment. This was probably the best race car that I’ve ever driven.”
Herzog finished second across the line after an impressive weekend that included setting fast time. However, his car was later disqualified during post-race technical inspection after the car weighed in too heavy on left side weight.
That handed Raz a second-place finish. Two-time race winner Linny White finished third, followed by Gragson in fourth and young Dezel West in fifth.
Doss’ win Saturday night may seal the deal that drivers must go through him to get to victory lane at The Bullring.
“This is my favorite track,” he admitted. “The last three times here we’ve come out with the win. We just always have really good race cars and the track fits my driving style. We play our cards right in Vegas.”
Race fans can find on-demand coverage of Saturday’s race – including lap-by-lap updates, photos and more – by visiting Speed51.com’s Trackside Now.
-Story by: Jeremy Anders, Speed51.com West Coast Editor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / Michele Martin
Senator’s Cup Fall Classic Unofficial Results
Pos # Driver
1 75 Jeremy Doss
2 27r Gracin Raz
3 99 Linny White
4 8 Noah Gragson
5 21 Dezel West
6 7 Kole Raz
7 90t Trevor Cristiani
8 6 Tyler Fabozzi
9 38 Scott Gafforini
10 92 Jimmy Parker Jr.
11 52 Brittney Zamora
12 70s Trent Seidel
13 71 Kyle Neveau
14 14 Chris Clyne
15 92j Logan Jewell
16 1 Mitch kleyn
17 34 Kayli Barker
18 02 Charlie Pike
19 19 Brandon White
20 z1 Billy Mitchell
21 42 Mark Neff
22 90 Toni McCray
23 20w Andy Sole
24 70 Chris Trickle
DQ’d 11 Austin Herzog