LAS VEGAS – A decade’s worth of experience racing on the 3/8-mile paved oval at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway proved to be just what Justin Johnson needed to win the 76-lap NASCAR Super Late Model main event during the annual “Night of Fire” Whelen All-American Series card on Thursday night.
Johnson, 28, started second in the feature race driving the No. 70 car provided by Chuck Trickle and moved to the lead on the third lap. He stayed out front for all but one of the remaining laps – surrendering the top spot briefly after a restart on lap 54.
“The car was really dialed in but the whole time, the car felt like every five laps it was giving up more and more grip,” Johnson said. “Managing the tires is a huge thing in a 76-lap race. When you’re used to doing 40 (laps), you’re used a sprint race. In a 76-lap race, you’ve got to back your corners up a lot and you’ve got to use a lot less brake just to keep the tires cool.
“Trickle Racing gave me a good car and thanks to Star Nursery and Western Mailing – they are the ones who put all the money into it for me to go do this.”
Dennis Rock Jr. finished second and David Anderson was third. Super Late Model points leader Scott Gafforini and Stan Mullis rounded out the top five.
Johnson, who figures he has close to 100 feature-event wins at The Bullring throughout his racing career, made four starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2011, with one top-10 finish.
“I had my opportunity in 2011 to do the Truck Series and I still dream of getting back into that,” Johnson said. “I’ve had a few phone calls to run the trucks again but I just don’t want to jump at the first thing; I really want to get in good equipment and I’d really like to bring a fair amount of money to be able to run well.”
In the meantime, Johnson said he will help mentor Chris Trickle, who will move up from the Legend Cars into the No. 70 Super Late Model when racing resumes at The Bullring on Labor Day weekend.
In addition to his victory in the Super Late Model feature, Johnson also posted a win Thursday night in the 20-lap Thunder Car main. After starting last, Johnson drove to the lead on lap 16 and stayed out front to the checkered flag.
Johnson wasn’t the only double winner on Thursday. Jason Irwin of Albuquerque, N.M., led the final 15 laps of the 25-lap Legend Car feature after winning the 30-lap NASCAR Grand American Modified main. Irwin has won all four Modified features at The Bullring this season and has four victories in the Legends.
“It’s pretty hard because the cars are a lot different,” Irwin said of pulling double duty. “Once I get in the car, I get into a zone. I got in this (Legend) car and I was kind of tired tonight but we made it work.”
Martin Sullins was declared the winner of the 25-lap NASCAR Bomber feature after Don Sargent, who took the checkered flag, was disqualified for refusing the post-race technical inspection. Jason Merlino was second and Rich Ham took fourth.
Phil Goodwin scored his fourth NASCAR Super Stock feature win of the season, Ryan Vargas earned his fourth Bandolero Outlaws feature win and Dezel West was credited with his fifth Bandolero Bandits win after Mason Sargent’s win was disallowed when his car failed the post-race tech inspection.
NEXT RACE – The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will take its annual summer break until the Labor Day Weekend Special Aug. 30-31. When racing resumes, The Bullring’s concession stand will continue to offer $1 hot dogs, $1 Coca-Cola products and $2 Budweiser beer on each NASCAR Whelen All-American Series race night.
For more information on all events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, please visit www.LVMS.com and follow LVMS on Facebook and Twitter.
Thursday night’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series feature-event results from
The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
76-lap NASCAR Super Late Model feature: 1. Justin Johnson, 2. Dennis Rock Jr., 3. David Anderson, 4. Scott Gafforini, 5. Stan Mullis, 6. Kayli Barker, 7. Wayne Jacks, 8. Earl West, 9. Andre Prescott, 10. Warren Knipper, 11. Steve Anderson, 12. Buddy Sheppard, 13. Robert Roth, 14. Eric Martin, 15. John Thomson, 16. Brandon Schilling.
25-lap Legend Car feature: 1. Jason Irwin, 2. Peyton Saxton, 3. TJ Clark, 4. Chris Trickle, 5. Bryan Grandin, 6. Riley Herbst, 7. Devin Lane, 8. Brian Williams, 9. Michael Todd Glazier, 10. Jeffrey King, 11. Gina Tillman, 12. Noah Gragson, 13. Jordan Dean, 14. Randy Irwin, 15. Brian Lane.
25-lap NASCAR Bomber feature: 1. Martin Sullins, 2. Jason Merlino, 3. Rich Ham, 4. Adam Simon, 5. Wade Pearson, 6. Jason Sullins, 7. Cayla Bronston, 8. Sam Jacks, 9. Gerri Pearson, 10. Billy Hern, 11. Jeff Bargerhuff, 12. Michael Greve, 13. Scott Bradbury.
30-lap NASCAR Grand American Modified feature: 1. Jason Irwin, 2. Scott Osborne, 3. Pat Petrie, 4. Steve Durbin, 5. Tom Pfundstein, 6. Joe DeGuevara, 7. Michael Takami, 8. Jimmy Parker Jr., 9. Marty Deluca, 10. Jim Rogel.
25-lap NASCAR Super Stock feature: 1. Phil Goodwin, 2. Robert Negrete Jr., 3. John Spilotro, 4. Jeff Johnson, 5. Jason Kiser, 6. Vinny Raucci Jr., 7. Vinny Raucci.
20-lap Thunder Car feature: 1. Justin Johnson, 2. JA Junior, 3. Ian Anderson, 4. Brian Reed, 5. Clint Armstrong, 6. David Brandon Jr., 7. Chris Bosley, 8. Travis Boyle, 9. Jacob Quartaro, 10. John Keller, 11. Nick D’Egidio, 12. Loren Armstrong, 13. Doug Germano, 14. Josh Quartaro.
12-lap IAPMO/Silver Star Plumbing/LasVegasTool.com Bandolero Bandits feature: 1. Dezel West, 2. Ethan DeGuevara, 3. Gino Marretti, 4. Gianna Marretti, 5. Kyle Keller, 6. RJ Smotherman, 7. Tye O’Hanley, 8. Brodey Warren, 9. Madison Gray.
12-lap IAPMO/Silver Star Plumbing/LasVegasTool.com Bandolero Outlaws feature: 1. Ryan Vargas, 2. Caden Carlin, 3. Philip Root, 4. Joey Paonessa, 5. Dylin Smotherman, 6. Aiden Green, 7. Kyle Jacks, 8. Alison Gay, 9. Brian Taylor.
Team PR – Jeff Speer Photo