LAS VEGAS – Not even an eight-month layoff could keep Jimmy Parker Jr. from the Winner’s Circle at The Bullring on Saturday night.
The reigning NASCAR Super Late Models track champion made a triumphant return to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway short track by taking the Spirit of ’76 race ahead of 2019 points leader Chris Clyne in front of a packed house at the 19th annual Night of Fire. Parker Jr. edged Clyne by .712 of a second for his 14th career Bullring win and first Night of Fire title.
“This just solidifies everything we did last year,” Parker Jr. said. “We were track champions last year, but haven’t been here since October. This is how you come back baby!
“I’m crying like a little baby down here. I’d like to thank everyone who’s helped me with this sick passion, this is badass.”
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Parker Jr.’s triumph helped highlight a special evening in which fans were treated to giveaways, raffle prizes, interactive games, a Figure 8 demolition trailer race and one of the city’s best fireworks shows.
Points leader and five-time track champion Doug Hamm passed Ron Reed with six laps remaining and held off a charging Peyton Saxton to win the NASCAR 602 Modifieds feature. Hamm earned his 55th career Bullring win by .272 of a second ahead of Saxton, with Reed taking third, less than a second off the pace.
“Wow, what a race,” Hamm said. “This is awesome, and I drove my big tail off tonight. (This car) is just an old hound dog. She sits back and waits to go hunting, and I turned her loose.”
Reigning NASCAR Bombers track champ and 2019 points leader Vinny Raucci Jr. was dominant in the division’s 25-lap race, crossing the line 4.061 seconds ahead of teammate Michael Miller for his 17th career Bullring victory. Raucci Jr. was all smiles after his fourth trip to Victory Lane this season.
“On any given day at any given time, the other guys will always be there, so you’ve just got to keep your A Game going,” Raucci Jr. said. “I just wanted to keep it in one piece and get around (the lapped traffic). I’d like to thank everyone who’s helped me, and it’s just awesome to keep winning.”
Camden Larsen out-dueled his friend Sam Jacks for the checkered flag in the NASCAR Super Stocks 25-lap race, ending Jacks’ eight-race winning streak after crossing the line .676 of a second ahead of the season points leader. It was Larsen’s ninth career Bullring victory, but first in the NASCAR Super Stocks division.
“Oh, it feels amazing, and I want to cry, I really do,” Larsen said. “I really thought we had the best car all night, and I’m blown away. (The points race is) going to be close all the way to the end of the season with the car we have now.”
In the USLCI Legends race, reigning track champ Jaron Giannini fended off a furious attack from 16-time Bullring winner Jonathan Mawhinney, edging the cagy veteran by .117 of a second to claim his sixth career triumph at the LVMS short track. It was Giannini’s third win of the season.
“You have to be really fast every single weekend, and we’ve finished top three every weekend so far this year,” Giannini said. “We just need to keep doing that, and we’ll win the championship. It was really good and had some action at the end, and I just had to set (Mawhinney) up at the end to get in front of him.”
Ashton Leonard picked up his first career Bullring win in the USLCI Bandolero Bandits 12-lap feature, while Brendan Tracy joined him as a first-time winner after taking the Bandolero Outlaws feature. The mysterious Racer X won the Skid Plate Cars race and treated fans to free t-shirts launched from a t-shirt gun, while Kyle Jacks won the Figure 8 Trailer Race, Andrew Carmean won Best Decorated trailer and Adam Simon was the Master of Disaster for causing the most damage.
NEXT RACE: The Bullring at LVMS will take its customary seven-week break to avoid the summer swelter, and racing action returns at Back to School Night on Saturday, Aug. 24. All area students, staff and faculty with valid school IDs will be granted free admission, and kids 12 and under get in free with a ticketed adult.