Two-time NASCAR Cup champion Kyle Busch returned to the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Thursday night and won the Star Nursery 100 Super Late Model race at the track he began his racing career.
Busch took the lead for good on Lap 65, passing Derek Thorn.
Christian McGhee finished second. Thorn was third.
“Always enjoy battling with Derek Thorn — he’s the guy to beat out here on the West Coast, and I knew that if we were going to win tonight it was going to be him that we were battling,” Busch said after the win. “Hopefully we put on a good show for my hometown fans.”
Sammy Smith, driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports, finished fifth.
Stephen Nasse DQ’d, Travis Braden declared Snowball Derby winner
What was the greatest day of Stephen Nasse’s late model racing career turned into the biggest nightmare just over two hours later.
After roaring through the field from a next-to-last starting position (36th in the 37-driver field) to win the 52nd Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, Nasse and his car were disqualified due to an illegal equipment violation found in post-race inspection.
As a result, original race runner-up Travis Braden was ruled the winner, while 14-year-old Jake Garcia, making his first career Snowball Derby start, moved up from third-place to runner-up.
This marks the third time since 2013 that the Snowball Derby winner has been disqualified for violations: Chase Elliott was DQ’d in 2013, giving the win to Erik Jones; and then in 2015, Christopher Bell was DQ’d, giving the win to Elliott.
Nasse was DQ’d for a titanium violation in the brake system of his car, apparently the first time such equipment has been found in Derby cars. Here’s an interview with chief technical inspector Ricky Brooks, courtesy of AutoWeek.com’s Matt Weaver, explaining Nasse’s disqualification:
Braden, a West Virginia native, told Speed51.com about his victory, “It feels very special. But I know it’s going to feel more special with a little bit of time. It stinks we couldn’t have won the race outright, but I know these guys won the Snowball Derby. We brought a car here capable of winning this race outright.”
Nasse’s car was the only one to fail post-race inspection.
Had Garcia won, he would have been the youngest winner in Derby history (Chase Elliott holds that record at 16 years, 6 days old, in 2011).
Rounding out the top five were Canadian native Cole Butcher in third, Jesse Dutilly in fourth and Preston Peltier in fifth. The race was originally scheduled to be run Sunday, but persistent rain pushed the event to Monday afternoon/evening.
Braden adds his name to a long list of Derby winners including Kyle Busch (2009, 2017), Erik Jones (2012, 2013), John Hunter Nemecheck (2014), Chase Elliott (2011, 2015), Christian Eckes (2016) and Noah Gragson (2018).
Several other notables and their finishing positions included veteran Cup driver David Gilliland (27th), JR Motorsports driver Josh Berry (29th), and NASCAR Cup driver Corey LaJoie, who suffered early problems and finished 31st. Former Roush Fenway Racing Xfinity Series driver Ty Majeski finished 13th, and ARCA Menards Pro Series West (formerly K&N Pro Series West) driver Derek Kraus finished 18th.
Majeski appeared headed to the win with less than two laps to go when he was involved in a multi-car wreck on Lap 317, bringing out a red flag race stoppage.
That opened the door for Nasse, Braden and Garcia — before Nasse was disqualified.
As a result, instead of earning what would have been the 100th late model win of his career, the 25-year-old Majeski, a native of Seymour, Wisconsin, was left with a wrecked race car and finished 13th.
“I’m just extremely frustrated,” Majeski told Speed51.com. “We had a real good car, a car plenty capable of winning. This is a tough one. Man, it sucks.”
On Saturday night at a .250-mile track in Meridian, Idaho, Deegan knocked down the oldest of those barriers.
But she had to knock a teammate out of the way to do it.
It came on the last lap of the NAPA Auto Parts Idaho 208 (airing at 1 p.m. ET on Friday on NBCSN), in Deegan’s 12th career start.
In her way was Cole Rouse, a 21-year-old driver also seeking his first win.
In Deegan’s ear for the final 13 laps was a cacophony of voices.
“I couldn’t even tell who was on the radio,” Deegan recalls. “I got (owner) Bill McAnally on the radio, my crew chief (Kevin Reed Jr.), got my spotter and maybe my dad (action sports star Brian Deegan), I don’t even know.”
The final 13 laps went by so fast, on Monday she thought it had just been five.
Right before the white flag, Reed told her “Do whatever you got to do to win.”
“And I knew what I had to do,” Deegan says.
Since she was a kid, Deegan has watched many videos of her racing and losing battles for position.
“It’s cool to see me excel on those (videos) and kind of get better,” says Deegan, who thought, “‘Ok, I’ve practiced, I’ve worked on my little bump-and-run things at the kart track for hours and hours. I am able to do them.'”
As Rouse dove into Turn 1, his No. 99 Toyota went high.
Deegan went low. She was so focused, she didn’t even notice the No. 77 of Andrew Koens sitting backwards on the apron.
Halfway through the turn and even with Rouse’s left-rear fender, Deegan gave him “a little budge.”
“We ran after that,” Deegan says.
NASCAR’s newest winner called her historic night in Idaho “probably the most fun I’ve had in America.”
As her 12 minute interview window winds down, Deegan says she knows more eyes will be watching and waiting for to win again.
There are two races left in the K&N West season and Deegan is fifth in the standings, 67 points back from Derek Thorn.
“Honestly, it just motivates me,” Deegan says. “It makes me feel like I’m privileged to be bombarded with media and have these opportunities, ’cause not many drivers get to have these opportunities and that’s what these drivers dream about having and that’s what makes their careers. I think being able to have all this going on is a blessing. … I think that right now it makes me feel like I just want to keep pushing even harder so I can keep kind of checking off my goals.”
Kyle Busch entered into SRL Winter Showdown Super Late Model race
Busch and his competitors will be trying to claim the $30,000 prize for winning the race. Kyle Busch Motorsports had a presence in last year’s Showdown when Todd Gilliland competed for the team.
“They have a pretty strong field lined up again this year with Bubba Pollard coming back and trying to make it three-in-a-row. And then you add in some of the West Coast guys like Derek Thorn, David Mayhew and Noah Gragson, who will be running one of my trucks full-time this season, and it has a lot of great drivers,” Busch told Speed51.com. “One of the things that is going to be really cool is that this will be the first time that Erik Jones and I get to race against each other in the supers since he beat me in the Snowball Derby back in 2013.”
Busch is quite successful in his Super Late Model career, having won the Snowball Derby, CRA SpeedFest, the Oxford 250, the Winchester 400 and the Battle at Berlin in recent years.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Christopher Bell’s victory in the 48th annual Snowball Derby in Pensacola, Fla., lasted less than 30 minutes.
After taking the checkered flag, Bell, 21, was disqualified after post-race technical inspection at Five Flags Speedway found his Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota over the limit of left-side weight.
As a result, runner-up Chase Elliott – who will replace Jeff Gordon in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2016 – was awarded the victory in the 300-lap Super Late Model race on the half-mile asphalt track. It was Elliott’s second Snowball triumph, having also won there in 2011.
Zane Smith finished second, followed by Ty Majewski, Dalton Sargeant and Bubba Pollard.
According to Speed51.com, the left-side weight ratio is capped at 58 percent. The left-side weight ratio of Bell’s car was measured at 58.3 percent.
“I have no idea, I really don’t,” Bell told Speed51.com. “KBM built a great race car and it was fast. I crossed the finish line first.”
I feel for @CBellRacing21, I've been there. Would much rather be the first one across the line, but I'm happy to take it home this time!
It was the second disqualification of the weekend for Bell, who competed in seven Truck races for Kyle Busch Motorsports this past season, including winning at Eldora Speedway.
Bell, 21, had his top qualifying effort on Friday disqualified in inspection afterward. He had to start Saturday’s 50-lap “last-chance” qualifying race to regain a spot in the Derby, and did it in convincing fashion. Starting from the back of the 27-car pack, he won to move on to Sunday’s main event.
Bell led an event-high 91 laps, taking the lead the first time on Lap 201 and regained it from defending Snowball Derby champ John Hunter Nemechek on Lap 283, holding on for the final 17 laps to take the checkered flag.
Nemechek, who captured Saturday night’s Snowflake 100, had a good chance to repeat in Sunday’s event. But with 25 laps to go, Nemechek’s Chevrolet began to show smoke from what appeared to be a tire rub that led to a flat right front.
He brought his car to pit road with five laps remaining – spinning in the process – only to see his car erupt into flames. Nemechek scrambled from the burning ride and was uninjured. Nemechek finished 21st in the 37-car field.
OFFICIAL Snowball Derby Results Presented by Racecar Engineering (courtesy of Speed51.com and TheThirdTurn.com)