LAS VEGAS, NV — The Rauccis will have to make more room in the family trophy case after Saturday night’s developments at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Vinny Raucci Jr. matched his father, Vinny, with career win No. 6 at the 3/8-mile short track after taking the NASCAR Grand American Modifieds 30-lap feature on Gaming Industry Night. The victory was the first for Raucci Jr. since 2014 and left him grinning wide in the Winner’s Circle.
“It means a lot, because I grew up with him racing and helping him, so if I can match what he’s done, that means a lot to me,” Raucci Jr. said of matching his father’s win mark. “We fought a loose car all weekend, made adjustments and made it tight. I didn’t like it, so we put it back, the track cooled down and we got a lot of grip.”
Six-time NASCAR Super Late Models track champion Scott Gafforini overcame a cut left front tire and suspension issues from the first feature to win the division’s second 35-lapper of the evening. Gafforini extended his Bullring victory record to 63 Saturday night wins after holding off a hard-charging Noah Gragson, who won the first Super Late Models race of the night.
“That was very fierce competition out there,” Gafforini said. “I’ve got to thank my crew. They put a whole right front suspension on here while we were on the break, so my hat’s off to them.”
Gragson earned his 12th career triumph at the short track after taking the checkered flag 1.759 seconds ahead of 2013 track champion Jay Beasley.
“We’ve been real fast here the last couple weekends, and I’d like to thank the guys (in my pits),” Gragson said. “These guys gave me a rocket ship, so I’m pretty pumped up.”
Sam Jacks picked up NASCAR Bombers win No. 3 of the year after crossing the line 1.356 seconds ahead of Justin Griffiths in the class’ 25-lap 20-second breakout feature. Any race leader running a lap quicker than 20 seconds was subject to a stop-and-go penalty, but neither Jacks or any of the other race leaders broke that barrier during the course of the race.
“I was trying to figure out how to get past a guy who was stopped at the bottom of the race track and get past (lap) traffic,” Jacks said. “It was hard to do that.”
Chris Bosley won his third USLCI Legends race of the season after pulling away from the field, finishing more than six seconds ahead of two-time 2016 race winner Travis Boyle. Bosley’s win will extend his points lead in the division.
“The last couple years, I’ve just been working on my line and my timing and trying to keep the same setup in the car,” Bosley said. “I’m just trying to put on a good race and have fun. That’s what this whole thing is all about.”
The first 25-lap USLCI Legends feature of the night went to Bryan Grandin, who made his way to the Winner’s Circle for the first time at The Bullring. He edged Tyler Fabozzi by just .104 of a second in a battle of drivers gunning for their maiden wins at the short track.
“I was just trying to carry the momentum, stay ahead and not look in the mirrors,” Grandin said. “Occasionally, yes, (I was looking in the mirrors) just to make sure I could make that block if I had to.”
Fabozzi didn’t have to wait long to taste victory, breaking through in the second Legends feature of the night by finishing 2.513 seconds ahead of his team owner, T.J. Clark.
“It feels very good, and I’ve been waiting on this for a long time now,” Fabozzi said. “I’m just trying to be as consistent as I can, and T.J. Clark always builds a perfect car.”
R.J. Smotherman kept rolling in the USLCI Bandolero Bandits class, improving to 5-for-5 on the year with a 12-lap feature win. Smotherman now has 16 career Saturday night victories at The Bullring.
“I just had to keep my line going past the lap cars, and I’m proud of them because they held their lines,” Smotherman said. “The drivers are getting better, and the cars are speeding up. I like the competition, because it helps me drive in traffic more.”
His father, Robert, also remained undefeated this season by winning his third skid plate car feature of the year. He finished two laps ahead of the field in his No. 24 front-wheel drive car.
“Go as fast as you can go,” Robert Smotherman said of his key to mastering the two-wheel racers. “The slower you go, the more you’re going to spin it, and if you come off that corner and are not on the throttle picking up speed, you’re going to spin out.”
Dezel West earned his seventh career Bullring victory by taking the 12-lap USLCI Bandolero Outlaws feature. He finished .668 of a second ahead of Camden Larsen for the hardfought win.
“I think (driving) the Bandoleros have helped me drive in all the other classes,” West said. “It’s fun.”
NEXT RACE: The Bullring will host Military & Veterans Appreciation Night Presented by Lucas Oil on Saturday, May 21, and all active duty and retired military personnel will gain free admission to the track with a valid ID. NASCAR Super Late Models and Super Stocks, the Lucas Oil Modified Series, USAC HPD Midgets and USLCI Legends, Bandoleros and Thunder Cars will be in action on the special evening.
-Las Vegas Motor Speedway Press Release
-Photo Credit: Las Vegas Motor Speedway