QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. — When calamity befell two leaders — one on the final lap — Ricky Weiss unexpectedly found himself in FK Rod Ends Arizona Speedway victory lane with a $14,000 victory in the Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout’s Sunday finale.
The 11th-starting Weiss led the final two laps of the Shaw Trucking 50 after his mentor and chassis builder Scott Bloomquist was collected in a last-lap wreck in turn three and after three-race winner Bobby Pierce exited with rear-end problems while leading just past halfway.
The week’s second victory for the driver from Headingley, Manitoba, proved to be a wild ending to the Wild West week, leaving the Canadian with mixed emotions in victory lane.
“I hate to see that for Scott. He was checked out. He was gone,” Weiss said. “I mean, I just can’t thank those guys enough … I feel heartbroken for him and (Bloomquist crew chief) Cody (Mallory) and they’d been working hard and had so much bad luck this week, and our speed is thanks to them.
“We’ve been working as a team and I can’t thank (crew chief) Shawn (Gage) enough, he’s been working his butt off. Like I said earlier, he built this car from scratch. It’s just kind of surreal. You never see a caution on the white-flag lap, nevermind a pileup like that. It just sucks for him.”
Restarting out front after Bloomquist’s demise, Weiss won the two-lap shootout over runner-up Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., by 1.109 seconds to record his fourth career miniseries victory, all during the past two seasons.
Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., rallied from 15th to third to wrest the $3,000 miniseries title from Pierce while Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan., and Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., rounded out the top five at the third-mile desert oval.
What was shaping up to be a Pierce-Bloomquist showdown through the first half of the race evaporated when the pole-starting Pierce suddenly slowed on the frontstretch after leading 26 of the first 27 laps, dropping to the infield with fluid coming from the rear end.
Pierce, who won the first three miniseries races, had the most to lose while chasing a $25,000 bonus from the Keyser Quarter-Million Challenge with a fourth victory. His departure left Pierce to settle for the $10,000 bonus he’ll receive for winning half the races.
With Pierce out of the race, Bloomquist took control with Weiss giving chase, and Bloomquist stretched his lead to 3.5 seconds in the race’s waning laps as he cruised far ahead of the field.
But after taking the white flag, Bloomquist found disaster in turn three when R.C. Whitwell’s spun car sat against the wall, leaving Bloomquist nowhere to go. His car suffered heavy right-side damage as he spun to a stop in the middle of the track with Pat Doar’s car sliding into the fray.
Bloomquist said the “the dark wall, the dark car, the circumstances” prevented him from being able to avoid striking Whitwell’s machine.
“I had gotten almost to the corner, but I had too much speed,” said Bloomquist, who thought he heard race director Kelley Carlton call for a caution about 50 feet before making contact. “When you’re trying to maneuver and you’re counting on that cushion to catch you, shen you gotta try to maneuver to be underneath it in the black (streak in the surface), there’s really not a lot to catch you. I still did try to get on the cushion and turn down, but we were carrying too much speed.”
With Bloomquist’s damaged machine restarting on the tail of the lead lap, Weiss held off Overton and Sheppard for his second miniseries victory in as many days. He was wary of the final restart.
“I seen Overton come on the outside there, I knew he’d whale that cushion," Weiss said. "It was a little treacherous up there. Later in the race actually, when Scott was kind of pulling away, I was just kind of moving around and feeling it out, and I seemed to get better as I could kind of cut down that corner.
“I knew that wouldn’t hold the lead. I whaled it in there and it started bouncing a little bit, and got it under control, and it was just great to see the checkered come out.”
Overton’s runner-up finish marked his third top-five of the tour and gave him a third-place finish in miniseries points behind Sheppard and Pierce.
“I’m looking forward to getting back home and going to some places we’re familiar with,” said Overton, who in Arizona made his debut for Joey Coulter’s Rum Runner Racing team. “This tire (rule) kind of kicked our butt over here this weekend, but it ain’t no big deal. We’ll work on it and come back next year and see what we’ve got.”
Sheppard, who never finished no worse than fifth in six races, felt his car was as good as it was all week in advancing a dozen positions to secure third and the miniseries title.
“We stayed in the top-five all week and that’s pretty cool," Sheppard said. "Obviously we’d like to get a win, but we had a lot of bad luck this week that nobody seen. On the test day we broke a lift bar and tore everything up, and we had to change a (transmission) today, and it was just one thing after another. Hat’s off to my crew.
“It was a fun night. We had a really good race car tonight. I changed everything but the steering wheel today during the day, just messing around, having a little bit of fun. It worked out for us.”
Besides the late caution for Bloomquist’s wreck, the 50-lapper was slowed by three yellow flags, first on the ninth lap when Joey Moriarty’s car got hung up on the turn-one wall at the track exit, again on the 12th lap when Stormy Scott got into the turn-three concrete and finally when Pierce slowed on lap 27.
Notes: Officials announced at the drivers’ meeting that 2020’s miniseries race dates were Jan. 11-12, 15 and 17-19 with a Jan. 10 practice. Next season’s finale will pay a miniseries-high $15,000-to-win for Super Late Models. … Jason Papich of Nipomo, Calif., and Blair Nothdurft of Sioux City, S.D., finished in the top two spots in the Pro Power Dash for non-qualifiers; Papich elected to start the 50-lapper while Nothdurft took the $1,000 in earnings. … Justin Duty of Mulino, Ore., who skipped Saturday night’s event to make an engine swap, got into the backstretch wall during time trials and scratched for the night. … Ricky Thornton Jr. captured the USRA modified finale to become the division’s only repeat winner; Darrell Nelson won the division’s points title. … Cole Searing won the caution-free X-mod main event, wrapping up the division’s miniseries points title with his fourth victory.
Pro Power Dash (non-qualifiers)
Finish: Jason Papich, Blair Nothdurft, Rece Vaught, Xavier Ortega, Rob Mayea, Steve Stultz.
Late Model feature lineup
Row 1: Bobby Pierce (32), Brandon Overton (2)
Row 2: Jimmy Mars (28), Chase Junghans (18)
Row 3: Cade Dillard (97), Scott Bloomquist (0)
Row 4: Pat Doar (11), R.C. Whitwell (71)
Row 5: Cody Laney (32B), Earl Pearson Jr. (1)
Row 6: Ricky Weiss (7), Chris Simpson (32)
Row 7: Hudson O’Neal (71), Kyle Beard (86)
Row 8: Brandon Sheppard (B5), Garrett Alberson (1G)
Row 9: Stormy Scott (2s), Joey Moriarty (51)
Row 10: Don Shaw (42s), Tony Toste (91)
Row 11: Terry Phillips (75), Billy Franklin (17)
Row 12: Joey Tanner (38), Cole Schill (44)
Row 13: Jason Papich (91P)
Late Model consolation results
First consolation (top four transfer): Stormy Scott, Don Shaw, Terry Phillips, Joey Tanner, Jason Papich, John Cornell, Blair Nothdurft, Brad Williams, Xavier Ortega, Richard Wallace, Dennis Souza, Rob Sanders.
Second consolation (top four transfer): Joey Moriarty, Tony Toste, Billy Franklin, Cole Schill, Rece Vaught, Rob Mayea, Steve Stultz, Terry Carter. Scratched: Justin Duty, Kolby Vandenbergh, Steve Isenberg.
Late Model consolation lineups
(12 laps; top four transfer)
Row 1: Jason Papich, Stormy Scott
Row 2: Don Shaw, Terry Phillips
Row 3: Joey Tanner, Blair Nothdurft
Row 4: Rob Sanders, John Cornell
Row 5: Richard Wallace, Brad Williams
Row 6: Dennis Souza, Xavier Ortega
Row 1: Joey Moriarty, Billy Franklin
Row 2: Tony Toste, Rece Vaught
Row 3: Cole Schill, Steve Isenberg
Row 4: Rob Mayea, Terry Carter
Row 5: Steve Stultz, Kolby Vandenbergh
Row 6: Justin Duty
Jimmy Mars led all the way from the pole while R.C. Whitwell wrested the second spot away from Chris Simpson early in the eight-lapper. Simpson settled for third while Garrett Alberson won a tight battle with Billy Franklin for the final transfer spot. Franklin spun in turn two on the first attempted start after getting in too hot under Alberson.
Finish (top four transfer): Jimmy Mars, R.C. Whitwell, Chris Simpson, Garrett Alberson, Billy Franklin, Rece Vaught, Steve Isenberg, Terry Carter.
Chase Junghans raced to victory from outside the front row, taking the checkers ahead of polesitter Pat Doar. Ricky Weiss moved up to second early before Doar's second-lap slide job dropped him back to third, and he transferred along with fourth-finishing Brandon Sheppard. Stormy Scott inched ahead of Sheppard on the second lap but settled for fifth and heads for a consolation race.
Finish (top four transfer): Chase Junghans, Pat Doar, Ricky Weiss, Brandon Sheppard, Stormy Scott, Terry Phillips, Blair Nothdurft, John Cornell, Brad Williams, Xavier Ortega.
In a battle royale of a Scott Bloomquist-Bobby Pierce front row, Pierce got the jump on the outside and raced to victory. Bloomquist nearly lost the second spot to Earl Pearson Jr., before settling into second while Pearson and Kyle Beard got the other transfer spots. The race went caution-free as Pierce moved a step closer to a possible $25,000 bonus for four miniseries feature victories.
Finish (top four transfer): Bobby Pierce, Scott Bloomquist, Earl Pearson Jr., Kyle Beard, Joey Moriarty, Tony Toste, Cole Schill, Rob Mayea, Steve Stultz. Scratched: Justin Duty.
Polesitter Cade Dillard washed up in turn two on an early restart, giving up the lead to Brandon Overton, who raced to an eight-lap victory. Dillard settled for second while Cody Laney was third after front-row starter Hudson O'Neal also struggled on the early restart. Dennis Souza spun for a second-lap caution.
Finish (top four transfer): Brandon Overton, Cade Dillard, Cody Laney, Hudson O'Neal, Jason Papich, Don Shaw, Joey Tanner, Rob Sanders, Richard Wallace, Dennis Souza.
The Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout wraps up Sunday with a 50-lap Super Late Model finale paying $14,000-to-win at the third-mile FK Rod Ends Arizona Speedway oval.
Not only the is event’s richest purse on the line — every starter earns at least $1,000 — but Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., can earn a $25,000 bonus from the Keyser Quarter-Million Challenge if he can capture his fourth miniseries victory.
Pierce won the first three miniseries races while Ricky Weiss of Headingley, Manitoba, and Cade Dillard of Robeline, La., split Saturday’s doubleheader with $5,000 victories.
Sunday’s hot laps are scheduled for 3 p.m. (moved up a half-hour to make room for Saturday's postponed USRA modified feature). Modifieds and X-mods are on the undercard of the Super Late Model program.
Late Model entries will be split into four groups for time trials with officials employing combination hot-lap/time trials to set the lineups for four heat races. Drivers start straightup by time.
The top four finishers in each of four heat races transfer to the $1,000-to-start main event with the winners redrawing for the first two rows of the feature lineup. Two consolation races will transfer four drivers apiece to the 24-car field for the main event.
Time trials (unofficial)
(Heats start straightup by time)
Driver (car no.), hometown
Cade Dillard (97), Robeline, La., 15.589
Brandon Overton (2), Evans, Ga., 15.617
Cody Laney (32B), Torrance, Calif., 15.683
Hudson O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 15.771
Jason Papich (91P), Nipomo, Calif., 15.882
Joey Tanner (38), Portland, Ore., 15.943
Rob Sanders (10N), Bakersfield, Calif., 16.648
Richard Wallace (7m), Gold Coast, Ore., 16.859
Dennis Souza (83), Pescadero, Calif., 17.144
Don Shaw (42S), Ham Lake, Minn., no time
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 15.154
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 15.336
Kyle Beard (86), Trumann, Ark., 15.442
Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., 15.491
Tony Toste (91T), Pismo Beach, Calif., 15.497
Joey Moriarty (51), Phoenix, Ariz., 15.523
Justin Duty (15), Mulino, Ore., 15.745
Cole Schill (44), Horace, N.D., 16.012
Steve Stultz (78s), Peoria, Ariz., 16.241
Rob Mayea (37), Bend, Ore., 16.760
Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., 15.426
Pat Doar (11), New Richmond, Wis., 15.452
Ricky Weiss (7W), Headingley, Manitoba, 15.498
Brandon Sheppard (B5), New Berlin, Ill., 15.499
Stormy Scott (2), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.641
Terry Phillips (75), Springfield, Mo., 15.955
John Cornell (28), Phoenix, Ariz., 16.005
Blair Nothdurft (76), Sioux Falls, S.D., 16.111
Brad Williams (23), Tucson, Ariz., 16.319
Xavier Ortega (24), Las Cruces, N.M., 16.925
Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., 15.175
Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 15.481
Billy Franklin (17), Calera, Ala., 15.522
R.C. Whitwell (71), Tucson, Ariz., 15.578
Garrett Alberson (1), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.630
Rece Vaught (20v), Aurora, Neb., 15.753
Kolby Vandenbergh (15), Ashland, Ill., 15.895
Terry Carter (6T), Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, 16.575
Steve Isenberg (942), Marshfield, Wis., 16.678
Lyndon Bolt (3x), Rapid City, S.D., no time
(All times Mountain)
2:30 p.m. - Drivers' meeting
3 p.m - Hot laps
Late Models (combo hot laps/time trials)
Modified makeup feature (25 laps; rained out Saturday night)
X-mods (8 laps)
Modifieds (8 laps)
Late Models (8 laps)
X-mods (10 laps)
Modifieds (12 laps)
Late Models (12 laps)
X-mods (25 laps)
Pro Power Dash (10 laps; Late Model non-qualifiers)
Modifieds (25 laps)
Late Models (50 laps)