The 150-lap Senator’s Cup Fall Classic came down to a final five-lap shootout between Derek Thorn and Jeremy Doss Saturday night at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In the end, it was Thorn holding the $15,000 winner’s check in victory lane.
Thorn and Doss were the fastest cars in practice all weekend long, they qualified first and second plus they combined to lead the most laps, so why wouldn’t the race for the win come down to a paint-swapping, tire-rubbing battle between the two?
It only took six laps before Thorn would take the lead for the first time on Saturday night in the desert after he passed polesitter Jay Beasley. Thorn would hold the lead until Doss pressured to get by him and take it over on lap 66.
The two drivers would battle throughout the night but Doss would pull to a 15-car lead late in the race before a caution came out with just five laps to go. The caution would erase the lead to create the first and only single-file restart of the race.
“I don’t know what Doss was thinking the first part of that race, he was using me up when he didn’t need to, “Thorn told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “It’s one of those things that you put in the back of your mind. He was better than us for most of the race, but for those last five laps, I wasn’t going to take it easy on him. I gave him everything he gave me earlier in the race and it just paid out in our favor.”
Doss led 80 laps on the night and finished second but has a different take on how the finish played out.
“I’m just disappointed, I thought that we had the best car. We should have won but that late caution came out,” Doss claimed. “I feel like he drove me pretty (expletive), excuse my language, and he drove me like that the whole race. I felt like I got by him the way that I should have. I guess it’s racing but it’s tough.”
As the final five laps ticked away, Doss and Thorn exchanged the lead four times with contact between the two. Third-place driver and Doss’s JD Motorsports teammate Jeff Bischofberger was right behind the action. Bischofberger looked for an opportunity if he could take one.
“We had really good cars in the JD Motorsports stable this weekend. Our car was great; we might have needed a little more tweaking but in the end, it came down to mostly driver,” Bischofberger said. “At the end, we had a chance to get past Jeremy (Doss) if I had to because of how Thorn was racing him. I didn’t feel like racing my teammate for second when we’re here to win.”
After the checkered flags flew the excitement continued on the track as Doss parked in front of Thorn in turn four. The two drivers then proceeded to victory lane where Doss pulled up next to Thorn before burning out and exiting the track.
After the victory lane celebration, some chaos occurred in the pits. Speed51.com received reports of both teams involved in a fight in the tech area.
The battle between the two drivers might not be over as both could be back in Vegas for the SRL Southwest Tour Championship on November 18.
“It feels good to get the win and our Vegas program is really good right now. I can only think Doss is going to be a little bitter and I’m sure he is going to be looking for payback,” said Thorn. “We’re taking it one race at a time; we’re here to win races and championships. This is an amazing team and I couldn’t be prouder to drive for Campbell Motorsports.”
Race fans can find on-demand coverage of the Senator’s Cup Fall Classic from Las Vegas Motor Speedways Bullring on Speed51.com Trackside Now.
-By Jeremy Anders, Speed51.com West Coast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Matt Bolt / LVMS
Pos # Driver
1 43 Derek Thorn
2 75 Jeremy Doss
3 66b Jeff Bischofberger
4 20 Gracin Raz
5 8 Noah Gragson
6 50 Trevor Huddleston
7 11 Austin Herzog
8 09 Kayla Eshleman
9 52 Brittney Zamora
10 8b Bryan Grandin
11 34 Kayli Barker
12 38 Scott Gafforini
13 1k Mitch Kleyn
14 14 Chris Clyne
15 27 Jay Beasley
16 10 Rod Johnson Jr
17 83 Braeden Havens
18 99 Linny White
19 12 Brad Kossow
20 17 Justin Johnson
21 49 Warren Knipper
22 27m John Moore
23 48v Ryan Vargas
24 19 Brendon White