Saturday night the Las Vegas Motor Speedway played host to the national championship races for the U.S. Legend Car series. It was a battle in every race, from the Young Lion division through the final main event featuring the pro racers, and when it was all said and done, there were plenty of cars being towed off of the Bullring track much the worse for wear. Every race saw multiple cautions, and some tempers flared as the cars hit the wall, each other, and their own upper limits resulting in the end of some drivers’ chances at the championship trophy. The assembled Las Vegas crowd got a show in every feature race.
The Bullring at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway has been hosting an entire season of racing, with not just the Legend Car series, but a range from Bandoleros to Late Models which has drawn a faithful crowd of local and out-of-state fans. Saturday’s event featured races for the Bandoleros and Thunder Cars, but the day was primarily all about the Legend Car Asphalt Nationals. Teams from across the country came to compete and see who would finally bring home the title of National Champion. Las Vegas is a destination venue for racing, and provided an ideal backdrop for the competition. The pits were full of trailers that had come from as far away as North Carolina and Maine to display their prowess in the national spotlight of the championship races. The event was even broadcast online on Speedshift TV.
The evening’s races all had one thing in common, and that was a continued attrition among the competition as cars were pushed to their limits. There was not a race that did not see multiple cars leave the track early in much worse shape than when they arrived. There was a virtual cloud of drying agent in the air, as race after race was stopped multiple times to make the track safe from fluid spills resulting from the blown motors and crashed cars. The event left a wake of destruction, but made for a great show for the crowd.
Local Las Vegas driver T.J. Clark took the Masters division race, which was the most destructive one of the night. That was in part due to Clark’s teammate, Michael Todd Glazier, who was involved with multiple wrecks before being sent off of the track. This includes one altercation with Clark himself, which happened while under yellow. There were mixed reactions from the crowd to seeing so much of the field go down in what some would call needless wrecks. Clark spoke of his victory afterwards, emotionally saying that his late son, Spencer, was riding along with him. Spencer was an up-and-coming NASCAR racer who was killed in an accident in 2006. He is well known to the Las Vegas crowds and had a great deal of support on the night.
In the Semi=Pro race, Tim Mangin took the checkered flag. While there were plenty of wreckage left behind after this event, there was little actual drama at the front of the field. Mangin took the lead early on and faced only a couple of challenges to that lead for the entire race. Most of the battles were between the cars trying to catch up to his lead for the 40 laps.
Though the championship was essentially decided on points prior to the race, the Pro event was still filled with excitement for the fans. The field was far more competitive, with lead changes and challenges throughout. Once again leaving a host of casualties among the vehicles, this feature went down to the end. It was Jason Irwin of Albuquerque, NM who wound up with the championship as expected, but well worth watching him prove on the track that he deserved the title. He has driven the Las Vegas Bullring track many times this season, and left no doubt that he knew exactly how to handle the venue. He took the lead with 12 laps to go from local Las Vegas driver Peyton Saxton, and held on for his victory against all comers. The crowd had no problem waiting through the multiple cautions all night to hold on until the last lap was run and the Legend Cars Asphalt Nationals title decided.
Commentary By Jim Malone