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LUCAS OIL MODIFIED RACING SERIES LIGHTs UP LAS VEGAS Bull Ring
GERCHMAN AND BARNES CREATES A CHAMPIONSHIP WOW FACTOR IN LAS VEGAS
BY DAVE GRAYSON
The Lucas Oil Modified Racing Series, presented by 1 800 Loan Mart, brought their high flying, open wheel, brand of excitement to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway's Bullring for the August 18th running of the Lucas Oil Products 75. One of the major focal points of this race was the battle for the series championship between Austin Barnes and Chris Gerchman. They arrived in Las Vegas tied for first in the standings. Pending official confirmation by the series' scoring team, they left Las Vegas separated by a mere two points after Gerchman scored his third win of the season at the Bullring.
The Lucas Oil Products 75 was the typical competitive event that one expects from this series anytime they take the green flag at the Bullring's three-eighths of a mile oval. During the course of the evening there were a reported seven caution flags with the majority of them for single car situations. There was, however, one multi car on track incident that required a red flag for track clean up.
But the moment, during the Lucas Oil Products 75, that brought the Las Vegas racing fans to their feet came during the final ten laps of the race. At this point Gerchman was the race leader and had a rear view mirror filled by a series visitor. That visitor was Las Vegas driver Dylan Kwasniewski who had the night off from his outstanding season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
While Gerchman was fending off the challenge from the visitor, Kwasniewski had his rear view mirror filled with the presence of Austin Barnes. A three car shoot out was now on much to the delight of everyone witnessing this display of open wheel driving talent.
With 70 laps of the race in the books, Barnes made his move on Kwasniewski to take second and then aimed his sights at race leader Gerchman. He progressively moved closer and closer, but it just a case of time and laps running out. Gerchman sailed under the checkers, for his third win of the season, while three time series winner Barnes followed him across the line a mere 0.749 seconds behind him. Kwasniewski, Tim Morse and Taylor Miinch completed the top five. Miinch, by the way, ran the fastest lap of the Lucas Oil Products 75 by clocking in a speed of 86.207 MPH on the second lap of the event.
After parking his Peggy's Sunrise Cafe/G&G Automotive modified in the Sunoco Fuels victory lane, Gerchman collected the $1,500 winner's share of the race purse. He also received the good news that he was now the new series points leader by a mere two markers. Gerchman earned 50 base points for winning the race plus two additional points, awarded to the race winner, from the E3 Spark Plugs Bonus Points Program for a total of 52.
Barnes earned 48 base points for his second place finish at Las Vegas. He also earned two E3 Spark Plugs bonus points for setting the Budweiser fast time, which also comes with a $100 bonus, for a total of 50 points.
During qualifying, held earlier in the evening, Barnes blistered the Las Vegas Bullring with a lap of 15.268 seconds clocking in at 88.420 MPH. Barnes literally owns the Budweiser Fast Time Award. Dating back to the 2011 season, he has won the honor 12 consecutive times. Also during the Las Vegas race, Barnes was awarded the GEICO Clean Pass Award which also comes with a $100 bonus.
In other post race bonus awards, Las Vegas favorite Doug Hamm was awarded the Optima Batteries Hard Charger Award and received a $100 bonus plus two championship bonus points. Series veteran Doug Carpenter won the MAV TV-American Real six lap trophy dash which comes with a $200 bonus.
The Lucas Oil Modified Racing Series, presented by 1 800 Loan Mart, returns to action on September 29th with the running of the 1 800 Loan Mart Topless 100 to be held at the Lucas Oil I 10 Speedway in Blythe-California. On this night the modified teams will remove the roofs of their cars. This unique topless concept will afford racing fans a good look at what it takes for the drivers to manhandle their high powered machines while negotiating the I 10 Speedway's tightly wound quarter mile paved oval.
The Lucas Oil Modified Racing Series, presented by 1 800 Loan Mart, is powered by a highly potent marketing concept known as "Team Lucas." Team members include: Lucas Oil Products Inc, E 3 Spark Plugs, General Tire, GEICO, CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods, MAV TV, SpeedCo Truck Lube and Tires/Firestone and Optima Batteries.
The series is also strongly supported by a group of associate sponsors featuring: Eibach Springs, Hoosier Tire West, Budweiser, Blue Water Resort and Casino, Sunoco Race Fuels, Frank's Radio, Racing Plus, Go Pro Cameras and the series' title sponsor 1 800 Loan Mart.
RESULTS: LUCAS OIL PRODUCTS 75, AUGUST 18TH, LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY BULLRING.
1. Chris Gerchman 2. Austin Barnes 3. Dylan Kwasniewski 4. Tim Morse 5. Taylor Miinch 6. Jim Mardis 7. Doug Hamm 8. David Lord 9. Larry Gerchman 10. Roger Brown 11. Scott Osborn 12. Joe Deguevera 13. Elliott StJerne 14. Daniel Williams 15. Chris Cook