QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. — When the water truck, tractors and pack trucks hit the racing surface before a dirt-track feature, sometimes the race’s polesitter might get a little concerned whether a freshly-prepared surface might throw him a curveball.
Not Ricky Weiss. Not at FK Rod Ends Arizona Speedway. Not in his quest for his second Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout victory in eight days. The Headingley, Manitoba, driver said he wasn’t worried at all.
“No. Not one bit,” Weiss said about about the Sweet-Bloomquist Race Car that carried him to a caution-free, $5,000 victory. “This thing works in the mud, it works in the slick, it works in the rubber, it works everywhere.”
The No. 7 Late Model worked clearly better than any of the other 23 starters in the fifth-round race as he raced unchallenged, stretching his lead to nearly six seconds while staying in position for a $10,000 bonus that’s part of title sponsor Keyser Mfg.’s lucrative program.
Weiss and fellow WISSOTA champion Don Shaw of Ham Lake, Minn., also a two-race winner, are in line for the extra $10,000 if either can capture Sunday’s $13,000-to-win finale.
Weiss is eager to climb into a car that’s carried him to two victories and led another race before he wrecked with Bobby Pierce while battling up front.
“It makes it so much more fun when you can drive something like this,” Weiss said, making sure to thank Scott Bloomquist, Randy Sweet, crew members, family members and his girlfriend in victory lane. “They build an awesome piece. I honestly think anyone could drive it. It just drives itself.”
Eighth-starting Cade Dillard of Robeline, La., reached the second spot just past halfway, when he was 3.1 seconds behind Weiss, who nearly doubled that lead the rest of the way.
Ryan Gustin of Marshalltown, Iowa advanced seven positions to finish third while Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., and Shaw rounded out the top five in front of a record-setting Wild West Shootout crowd.
Miniseries points leader Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., was running third when contact with Sheppard sent him on an infield excursion on the backstretch with 10 laps remaining. Marlar immediately fell back to 11th but clawed back to finish eighth and unofficially maintain the points lead.
Dillard, starting his first full season of Late Model racing, scored his first top-five finish of the miniseries. He, like Weiss, wrecked while leading in a previous event.
“We’ve had a really good car all week. I’m glad to get a decent finish to show for it. We’ve just had a lot of bad luck,” said Dillard, who said he didn’t know he finished second until he was notified at the infield scales. “That’s better than I expected. We had a really good car. We just started a decent ways back … I can’t thank (MB Customs chassis builder) Jimmy Mars and A.J. (Diemel) enough.”
Assistance from the Bloomquist shop in Mooresburg, Tenn., keeps Weiss on the right track, the 29-year-old driver said.
“The little changes (we make), Cody (Mallory) calls us last minute and tells us to do, Shawn (Gage) does ‘em, and I know Scott’s blessing is there and everybody’s talking and everybody’s watching,” Weiss said, adding that the car has “just been awesome.”
Weiss, who missed the midweek feature when he slapped the backstretch guardrail in qualifying after setting fast time, turns his attention to trying to win the richest race of the miniseries and a five-figure bonus. Can he do it?
“The car can get it done, it’s just whether I can get a little luck … hopefully we got rid of all that bad luck Wednesday night and we’ve regrouped and we’ve shown that I think we’re the fastest car here. It doesn’t matter what the track throws at us, we’ll be good.”
Notes: The miniseries drew its biggest-ever crowd in the 12-year history. … Officials took 40 minutes before the main event to rework the racing surface, which didn’t have the high-side cushion typically present during previous miniseries events. … Rodney Sanders won the Pro Power Dash for non-qualifiers and opted to collect the $1,000 dash purse instead of tagging the tail of the main event.
Row 1: Ricky Weiss (7), Don Shaw (42s)
Row 2: Brandon Sheppard (B5), Mike Marlar (157)
Row 3: Mike Maresca (7mm), Scott Ward (37)
Row 4: David Breazeale (54), Cade Dillard (97)
Row 5: Clay Daly (32B), Ryan Gustin (2T)
Row 6: R.C. Whitwell (96), Lance Matthees (90)
Row 7: Billy Franklin (17), Austin Siebert (16)
Row 8: Bobby Pierce (32), Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt)
Row 9: Kyle Beard (86), Chris Simpson (32)
Row 10: Chase Junghans (18), Rob Mayea (37)
Row 11: Terry Phillips (75), Garrett Alberson (01)
Row 12: Rob Sanders (10N), Justin Kay (15k)
(12 laps; four transfer)
First consolation: Kyle Beard, Chase Junghans, Terry Phillips, Rob Sanders, Nick Bartels, Clint Smith, Jason Rauen, Tony Toste, Lyndon Bolt, Kolby Vandenbergh, Cody Barnett, Thomas Hunziker, Justin Duty, Ed Peters. Scratched: Dave Deetz.
Second consolation: Chris Simpson, Rob Mayea, Garrett Alberson, Justin Kay, Rodney Sanders, Austin Theiss, Mike Spatola, Bud Grossenbacher, Eric Mass, Tanner Kellick, John Cornell, Casey Skyberg, John Brinkley. Scratched: Terry Carter, Jon Ortega.
(12 laps; four transfer)
Row 1: Kyle Beard, Nick Bartels
Row 2: Chase Junghans, Kolby Vandenbergh
Row 3: Terry Phillips, Tony Toste
Row 4: Rob Sanders, Thomas Hunziker
Row 5: Clint Smith, Justin Duty
Row 6: Jason Rauen, Cody Barnett
Row 7: Lyndon Bolt, Ed Peters
Row 8: Dave Deetz
Row 1: Chris Simpson, Rob Mayea
Row 2: Rodney Sanders, Tanner Kellick
Row 3: Garrett Alberson, John Cornell
Row 4: Justin Kay, Terry Carter
Row 5: Eric Mass, John Brinkley
Row 6: Austin Theiss, Mike Spatola
Row 7: Casey Skyberg, Jon Ortega
Row 8: Bud Grossenbacher
(Eight laps; top four transfer)
First heat: Brandon Sheppard, Mike Maresca, Clay Daly, Billy Franklin, Kyle Beard, Chase Junghans, Terry Phillips, Rob Sanders, Clint Smith, Jason Rauen, Lyndon Bolt, Dave Deetz.
Second heat: Don Shaw, Scott Ward, Ryan Gustin, Austin Siebert, Nick Bartels, Kolby Vandenbergh, Tony Toste, Thomas Hunziker, Justin Duty, Cody Barnett, Ed Peters.
Third heat: RIcky Weiss, David Breazeale, R.C. Whitwell, Bobby Pierce, Chris Simpson, Rodney Sanders, Garrett Alberson, Justin Kay, Eric Mass, Austin Theiss, Casey Skyberg.
Fourth heat: Mike Marlar, Cade Dillard, Lance Matthees, Ricky Thornton Jr., Rob Mayea, Tanner Kellick, John Cornell, Mike Spatola, Terry Carter, John Brinkley, Jon Ortega, Bud Grossenbacher.
The 12th Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout hits the home stretch Saturday with the fifth of six events during the winter miniseries at FK Rod Ends Arizona Speedway.
Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., solidified his miniseries points lead with a Friday victory and is one of three drivers who still have a shot at picking up extra cash from title sponsor Keyser Mfg.’s lucrative bonus program
Marlar and Ricky Weiss of Headingley, Manitoba, can pick up an extra $10,000 if they can sweep Saturday and Sunday action, while two-race winner Don Shaw of Ham Lake, Minn., still has a shot at $25,000 if he can add two more victories Saturday and Sunday (a third victory would also pay him $10,000).
Saturday’s program is expected to see the Late Model field split into four groups for combined hot laps/time trials followed by four heat races. Four drivers from each heat transfer to the main event with heat winners drawing for the first two rows. Four drivers from each of two consolation races join the field along with, potentially, the winner of the Pro Power Dash for non-qualifiers, who gets the option at $1,000 for a feature starting spot.
USRA-sanctioned modifieds and X-mods are in action for Saturday’s program, which will be followed by Sunday’s finale with a $13,000 payday on the line for Super Late Models.
Time trials (unofficial)
(Heats start straightup by time)
Brandon Sheppard (B5), New Berlin, Ill., 14.967
Clay Daly (32B), Watsonville, Calif., 15.016
Mike Maresca (7mm), Potsdam, N.Y., 15.046
Rob Sanders (10N), Bakersfield, Calif., 15.169
Terry Phillips (75), Springfield, Mo., 15.254
Jason Rauen (98), Farley, Iowa, 15.272
Billy Franklin (17), Calera, Ala., 15.383
Kyle Beard (86), Trumann, Ark., 15.393
Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., 15.468
Clint Smith (44), Senoia, Ga., 15.676
Lyndon Bolt (3x), Rapid City, S.D., 16.379
Dave Deetz (R5), Las Cruces, N.M., 16.711
Don Shaw (42s), Ham Lake, Minn., 15.086
Justin Duty (15), Mulino, Ore., 15.241
Scott Ward (37), Watertown S.D., 15.250
Austin Siebert (16), Grandview, Mo., 15.268
Ryan Gustin (2T), Marshalltown, Iowa, 15.369
Tony Toste (91T), Pismo Beach, Calif., 15.382
Nick Bartels (12), El Segundo, Calif., 15.772
Cody Barnett (18), Hesperia, Calif., 15.917
Kolby Vandenbergh (15), Ashland, Ill., 16.236
Thomas Hunziker (38), Bend, Ore., 16.706
Ed Peters (78), Eugene, Ore., 17.762
David Breazeale (54), Four Corners, Miss., 14.895
Ricky Weiss (7), Headingley, Manitoba, 14.924
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 14.926
Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 15.235
Garrett Alberson (01), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.352
Rodney Sanders (20), Happy, Texas, 15.399
R.C. Whitwell (96), Tucson, Ariz., 15.462
Justin Kay (15K), Wheatland, Iowa, 15.514
Eric Mass (45), Rapid City, S.D., 15.832
Casey Skyberg (6), Rapid City, S.D., 16.285
Austin Theiss (7D), Hockley, Texas, 16.459
Cade Dillard (97), Robeline, La., 15.110
Lance Matthees (90), Winona, Minn., 15.187
Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 15.243
Terry Carter (6T), Edmonton, Alberta, 15.294
Mike Spatola (89), Manhattan, Ill., 15.371
Rob Mayea (37), Bend, Ore., 15.549
John Cornell (28), Phoenix, Ariz., 15.691
Ricky Thornton Jr. (20RT), Chandler, Ariz., 15.917
Jon Ortega (22), Las Cruces, N.M., 16.128
Tanner Kellick (3k), Mer Rouge, La., 16.305
Bud Grossenbacher (81B), Tucson, Ariz., 16.806
John Brinkley (26), Prescott, Ariz., 16.840
Wild West Shootout points
(Through four of six races)
1. Mike Marlar - 266
2. Bobby Pierce - 229
3. Brandon Sheppard - 221
4. Don Shaw - 221
5. Chris Simpson - 210
6. Ricky Weiss - 164
7. Garrett Alberson - 164
8. Mike Spatola - 142
9. Cade Dillard - 131
10. Scott Ward- 130
11. Chase Junghans - 130
12. Terry Phillips - 118
13. Austin Siebert - 109
14. David Braeazale - 109
15. Kyle Beard - 107
16. Rodney Sanders - 102
17. Ryan Gustin - 102
18. R.C. Whitwell - 79
19. Clay Daly - 78
20. Clint Smith - 67
(All times Mountain)
2:30 p.m. - Drivers’ meeting
3:30 p.m - Hot laps
Late Models (combo hot laps/time trials)
4:50 p.m. - National anthem
4:55 p.m. - Heat races
Modifieds (8 laps)
X-mods (8 laps)
Late Models (8 laps)
Modifieds (12 laps)
X-mods (10 laps)
Late Models (12 laps)
Modifieds (25 laps)
Pro Power Dash (eight Late Model non-qualifiers; 10 laps)
X-mods (20 laps)
Late Models (40 laps)