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Race 12 - Las Vegas Motor Speedway
10. 11. 12. 13.
Pole: Zach Gandee ( 30.977 )
Stage 1 Winner: Mike Montgomery
Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Lewis
Race Winner: Mike Montgomery ( 58:23.739 )
Fastest Lap: Dennis Boggess ( 30.977 )
Number of Cautions: 2
Biggest Movers - Mike Montgomery ( 4th - 1st )
Sam Wade ( 8th - 2nd )
Biggest Losers - Ryan Lewis ( 3rd - 7th )
Zach Gandee ( 1st - 3rd )
Laps Lead - Mike Montgomery - 55
Outlaw Racing News
Montgomery Stamps Season Finale with Victory, Gandee Celebrates Bigger Prize
Las Vegas, NV - One final race to ring in the end of the year and the season. Much like the entire 2nd half of the season it had a little something for everyone. Once again Mike Montgomery and Ryan Lewis would duke it out for much of the race. Zach Gandee would snake from the front to the back, and back to the front again. Late incidents would drop potential great showings into forgotten runs, and of course Lewis would have his run of bad luck drop a potential winner to a back marker. After another fantastic season of ORS racing, the season has concluded its 6th full iteration. Dethroned is Aaron Dukes after seasons of success, Zach Gandee is crowned as the new champion of Outlaw Racing Series.
The race in and of itself was a fairly normal race with great racing with a few cautions sprinkled in. Zach Gandee picked up his 5th pole of the season. Yet even early on the two contenders looked to be that of Montgomery and Lewis. The duo even going as far as splitting the opening two stages. Montgomery saw his two tire strategy come to fruition as Lewis would blow a tire, while Lewis would just outrun his competition in stage 2 just beating out Montgomery down the stretch. In fact for the first time all season every driver who lined up for the green received a bonus point to their name. Dennis Boggess was the only driver not to notch a stage point, but his fastest lap by races end did grant him a single point on the night in another first for ORS matching Gandee's pole time of a 30.977.
In the races final stage, much like stage 2, a caution changed the strategic game after a long run of 23 laps resulted in a three car wreck on the backstretch. Which of course setup a final 30 lap run to the checkers. Like how much of the race had unfolded, Montgomery and Lewis quickly went to work on each other. Swapping positions on several occasions, but this time a third contender entered the fray. Sam Wade found his speed late, staying right with the leaders coming to the final round of pit stops. Within this cycle would see the downfall of Ryan Lewis. The number 9 Chevy not only damaged his chances by blowing his right front coming to pit road but would also be turned on pit exit by the 63 of Boggess. With Lewis relegated for yet another week to the back, Montgomery looked to go untouched over the final 10 laps. Wade would keep the 14 Ford within a second but would never truly challenge for the top spot as Montgomery would cruise for the final 10 laps for his second win of the season to close out the year. Wades' impressive showing saw the 00 take 2nd, as Gandee rallied for another podium finish this season to put the final touches on a championship run. Richard McGinnis quietly finished 4th as Aaron Dukes put together another top 5 finish.
A Season in Reflection:
1st - Zach Gandee - Head and shoulders above the competition in both consistency and speed this season. Though the finished weren't always there, the 48 was a perennial contender. To go along with his series-leading 3 wins, Gandee notched the 3rd most stage wins with 4, the 2nd most top 5 finishes with 8, the series-lead in poles with whopping 5, while also garnering the most bonus of any other driver with a resounding 80 bonus points. Much improved after last seasons 5th place performance in the stansings. This was a season to remember for the 48 team, and hopes to repeat come the series 7th iteration.
2nd - Mike Montgomery - After only competing in a partial season a series ago and this being his first full time league experience in years, Mike Montgomery showed up and showed out. Proving week after week, especially as the season wore on, that the 14 Ford was a force to be reckoned with. Even though the latter half of the season wasn't as kind, it is where Montgomery struck pay dirt twice in the final 4 races. His two wins on the season was enough to throw him into a tie for 2nd most, while also tying for the most stage wins with 7. Combined with the backing of 7 top 5's (tied for 3rd most) and a pole, Montgomery certainly earned his runner up championship status.
3rd - Aaron Dukes - In a not so normal place we find Dukes, 3rd in the standings, but after an awful start to the season it became more about rallying than fighting for a championship, and rally he did. After being stuck right around 5th in the standings much of the season a 2nd half turn around saw the 99 jump several spots on his climb out of the midfield. In fact Iowa in week 5 was the last time the 99 posted outside the top 5. He would grab 2 wins, to tie Montgomery for 2nd most, along with 3 stage wins, a series-leading 9 top 5's for the second straight season, and a pole. Even though it wasn't pretty most of the year grit and determination with a seasoning of high consistency see's a fair reward for the 99's season.
4th - Ryan Lewis - You could be excused for thinking this man be cursed. After a roaring start, one that rivaled Zach Gandee, staying neck and neck among the top of the standings. The bottom essentially fell out. It wasn't for a lack of speed and certainly not for a lack of effort. There just was seemingly something always working against the number 9 team. Lewis would only post one top 5 in the final 6 races. Even with that working against him, Lewis still posted one race win, tied Montgomery for most stage wins with 7, 5 top 5's and 2nd most poles with 3. Nevertheless, Lewis would be unable to improve on his standings position from last season with another 4th place showing.
5th - Shad Swatsworth - In what should've been a hard fought fight for 2nd in the standings, we see Swatsworth drop to 5th by seasons end after missing the final 3 races. Instead of recounting what could've been, let's review what was. Swatworths' best season on record by far witnessing a pair of wins for the 46 team to include himself in the tie for 2nd, a pair of stage wins, and 6 top 5's even with missing the said races. He remained in the championship hunt well into the season, even when his blip vanished from the radar. Swatsworth made a name for himself this season, marking himself a competent adversary week in and week out.
6th - Pacey Wigent - Quite the disappointing year for the lad, not finding victory lane until a controversial ending at Dover finally saw the 0 team celebrating. After finishing no worse than 4th in any of the previous 8 championships, Wigent fought within the midfield much of the season, not making a push for 6th until the final races. Yet a few silver linings do exist for the team that had high hopes entering the season. He didn't go win-less picking up his one win in week 11, while also notching his one stage win the week before. 6 top 5's and 2 poles also go to his name.
7th - Sam Wade - A tumultuous season for the young man. Peaks and valleys galore, but much along the same vein as last season a 7th place showing in the standings. That's not to say the 00 team had a disappointing season, just some unfortunate races. Comparatively Wade had a fantastic season, wading just outside the top 5 in the standings through much of it. Sacking the season opener by out strategizing the perfectionist himself in Aaron Dukes. He would also tie for 3rd most top 5's this season with 7, more than twice as many the season prior. Wade may take the next leap forward next season, becoming a weekly contender at the front.
8th - Richard McGinnis - In his first season back in several seasons, one of the original founders came back to a league even more competitive then when he left it. Being a midfield driver for most of the season, McGinnis did find himself challenging for the race win more than a few times this year. On the back of 5 top 5's McGinnis had a solid season in his comeback year, hoping to improve next season.
9th - Dennis Boggess - Improving from last season, Boggess was a contenders a couple times this season. Yet his propensity for testing strategies mid race found the 63 off the lead lap quite a bit. Compared to last season, this season was a step in the right direction in terms of speed but matched his numbers from last season with 2 top 5's yet again.
10th - Kurtis Swatsworth - Much in the same vein of Boggess, Swatsworth was moving in the right direction in comparison to the season before. Speed was much improved as well as race craft. Though not yet contending for wins, Swatsworth is contending for top 5's but luck fell against him more times than not keeping the 51 team from notching one this season.
I do want to thank all of our drivers for another successful season of ORS racing. I appreciate you all more than I could ever express for sticking with us season after season. Enjoy the holidays and time away from racing, and look to come back next season refreshed and raring to go!