Overcoming adversity became a theme during the three-day Chilly Willy 150 weekend in the desert of Tucson, Arizona. Making the trip from Wyoming, Michael Scott overcame some adversity of his own and piloted a new Five Star Gen 6 body to a $10,000 victory at Tucson Speedway.
Despite starting on the pole and leading much of the 150-lap race, the weekend wasn’t picture-perfect for Scott. Early on in Friday’s opening practice session, the No. 82 made contact with the outside wall in turn four, damaging the front of the car just hours before qualifying. The team quickly made the repairs necessary and made the car fast enough to grab the number-one qualifying spot and lead most of the race.
"It actually made us better," Smith said. "We put a combination together on here that we didn't think would ever work in our wildest dreams and came out here and found something new that just seems to work great. It feels amazing. I couldn't be more excited."
Dane Nissen, who made the trip from California, was able to bring home a second-place finish after starting outside the top 10. Nissen showed a lot of speed late in the race as he made his charge to the front.
Nissen was able to quickly work his way quickly up into the top five and battled Jace Hansen and Logan Jewell most of the race.
Coming all the way from Prince George, British Columbia, Logan Jewell completed the podium after having one of the fastest cars all weekend, posting fast time in four of the five practice sessions.
Being able to conserve tires over 150 laps played a role in preventing Jewell from a $10,000 pay day.
“We were using full throttle down the straightaway and maybe abused the tires too hard, and towards the end we would fall off more than what we needed,” Jewell said.
Rounding out the top five were two more out-of-state drivers. Finishing fourth was the No. 08 of Jace Hansen from Denver, Colorado, who battled up from most of the race, and completing the top five was the 12 of Brad Kossow from Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
Kossow had by far the most challenging start to the weekend after backing his car into the turn one wall 10 minutes into the first practice Thursday afternoon. Kossow and his team were able to fix the car and battle his way into the top five after holding off a hard-charging Gracin Raz.
The Raz brothers made some noise this weekend as well in the Tucson desert, with younger brother Kole winning the first 50-lap Friday night qualifier. This being Kole’s third time in a Super Late Model, running his first at the Bullring in Vegas last fall, as well as one time at Tucson Speedway prior to this weekend. Kole Raz would ultimately finish 12th in Saturday evening’s feature.
Paul Banghart was the highest finishing Arizona based driver, with Tucson Speedway being his home track. Banghart would come home eighth, with reigning track champion Brandon Farrington finishing 20th.
A strong favorite entering the race was Kody Vanderwal, a NASCAR K&N Pro West Series driver out of LaSalle, Colorado. Vanderwal entered Saturday with moment from a Thursday night feature win as well as sweeping the K&N racing in Tucson last year, but would battle a clutch and ignition issue throughout the race.
Race fans can find updates and photos from the Chilly Willy 150 by visiting Speed51.com’s Race Day Now coverage.
-Story by Kyler Hope, Speed51.com Northwest Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / Kyler Hope