LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Linny White, who said Saturday afternoon that he had struggled more adapting to a Lucas Oil Modified than he had at anything else in his racing career, made the whole thing look deceptively simple Saturday night.
White, who set fast time in qualifying and started fourth in a 29-car field, found an opening high on the 3/8-mile oval at The Bullring, sped by leader Kyle Tellstrom and second-place Austin Barnes to take the lead on lap 44 and drove away for a 3.841-second victory in the Sunoco Fuel 75 presented by Carlyle Tools.
“The car was just coming to me,” White said of his Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse/Reeves Auto Center Phil’s Phabrication Chevrolet. “I had a lot of confidence in it so I was gambling. I was going to go for it.”
The gamble was in going high on what most drivers say is a one-lane track. The move enabled White to cross the start-finish line for lap 44 side-by-side with Tellstrom, who had started on the pole, and stay side-by-side down the back straightaway. But once White slid down in front of Tellstrom in Turns 3 and 4 to take the lead the gamble was over and the runaway was on.
White led by 2.117 seconds on lap 60, while Tellstrom and Barnes continued their race-long battle. That lead was erased by the sixth and final yellow flag of the night on lap 61, but he was 1.1 seconds up on lap 65, 2.47 up on lap 70 and 3.99 to the good when he took the white flag.
It was the second win in four races for White, who also won the championship season opener at Lake Havasu City, Arizona, March 19.
Tellstrom had been fast throughout practice on Friday night and Saturday and showed that speed after qualifying fourth and getting the pole on the invert for the start. The Boise State University student controlled the first half of the race while under constant pressure from Barnes, who has three wins at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway short track.
Neither Tellstrom nor Barnes had anything for White over the final 30 laps, but they did continue their entertaining and clean competition in which Barnes drove as many laps as possible with the nose of his car as close as possible to the rear of Tellstrom’s, trying to pressure Tellstrom into a mistake but not exerting any force to make that happen.
Las Vegas driver Aaron McMorran saluted friend and former Bullring star Spencer Clark by finishing fourth while using Clark’s car number and graphics scheme on the 10th anniversary of his death in a transporter accident at 19 and Idaho tourist Shelby Stroebel was fifth.
Points leader Matthew Hicks faded after contending early but finished 10th to keep alive his streak of not finishing out of the top 10 since last June. He’ll also remain the points leader going into the fifth of the 10 championship races, at Madera, California, June 11.
-Lucas Oil Modified Series Press Release. Photo credit: Jeff Speer
SUNOCO FUEL 75
The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
3/8-mile banked oval
May 21, 2016
MAIN EVENT (75 laps) – 1. Linny White (99), Colton, Ca.; 2. Kyle Tellstrom (89), Boise, Idaho; 3. Austin Barnes (51A), Escondido, Ca.; 4. Aaron McMorran (23), Las Vegas; 5. Shelby Stroebel (24), Meridian, Idaho; 6. Taylor Miinch (4T), Blossom Valley, Ca.; 7. Scott Winters (24A), Tracy, Ca.; 8. Larry Gerchman (25), Lake Havasu City, Az.; 9. Eric Hamilton (11H), Hanford, Ca.; 10. Matthew Hicks (28), Lakeside, Ca.; 11. Travis Thirkettle (5T), Newhall, Ca.; 12. Eddie Secord (35), Oak Hills, Ca.; 13. Michael Mitchell (77), Loomis, Ca.; 14. Charlie Collins (69), Clear Lake, Ca.; 15. Peyton Saxton (10), Las Vegas; 16. Blake Rogers (4B), Yuma, Az.; 17. Garrett Reinoso (4X), Kingman, Az,; 18. William Guevara (55), Lake Havasu City; 19. Kyle Cline (98), Hesperia, Ca.; 20. Kayli Barker (12), North Las Vegas; 21. Dave Arce (5), Santee, Ca.; 22. Sal Lopez (02), Sacramento, Ca.; 23. Jerry Toporek (40), Venice, Ca.; 24. Dustin Tilbury (17D), Edgewood, N.M.; 25. Shane Skaggs (28X), Albuquerque, N.M.; 26. Wes Miller (87), Turlock, Ca.; 27. John Zaretzke (15), Snohomish, Wa.; 28. Michael Womack (3), Troutman, N.C.; 29. Dylan Cappello (11), Peoria, Az.
Margin of victory – 3.841 seconds. Average speed – 38.041 mph. Lead changes – 1 among 2 drivers. Caution flags – 6. Fast qualifier – White, 15.051 seconds/89.695 mph. Trophy Dash winner – Hicks.
The Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by LoanMart is supported by a potent marketing concept known as “Team Lucas” whose members include General Tire, GEICO, E3 Spark Plugs, Optima Batteries, Carlyle Tools-NAPA, BILSTEIN Shocks, Super Clean, 4-Wheel Parts and LoanMart.
Additional sponsorship is provided by Lucas Oil Products, Protect the Harvest, MAVTV Motorsports Network, Lucas Oil Racing TV, Hoosier Tire West, Sunoco Race Fuels, Aero Racing Wheels, ASI Racewear, Five Star Race Car Bodies, Frank’s Radios, Racing Plus-Parker Pumper, EFI University, Joe’s Racing Products, Scribner Plastics, Fast EZ-EFI System-COMP and DJ Safety.
Detailed information on the series is available at www.LucasOilModifieds.com.