August 7th, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
Wire to Wire, McGinnis Dominates Canadian Tire for First Truck Win
Durham, ON - After 10 weeks we finally have our third different winner in the ORS Truck Series. It wasn't done on fuel strategy, leaders wrecking or lucking into a win. Nothing was handed to the man who pulled this one out. From lap 1 of the race until the checkered flag flew, Richard McGinnis proved to the league this track is his own. Firmly planting his flag and claiming Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in the name of McGinnis, and in the name of victory.
Though McGinnis wasn't able to snatch the pole, he did exactly that to the lead within the first lap. Pacey Wigent who led the field to the green was unable to hold off the hard charging 18 Toyota and McGinnis easily set the pace for the race to come. Leading all 9 laps of the races' first stage, McGinnis grabbed his 4th stage win, leading Wigent and Aaron Dukes back to the line.
Stage 2 stirred up the controversy as contact between Dukes and Wigent sent Dukes off track after the restart as the two went down into turn 3. Dukes would fall back to 6th, and half a lap later issue for Wigent would send him back behind Dukes into 6th himself. With McGinnis free and clear to ride out front with no challengers, he would set the cruise control en route to his 5th stage win, while Dukes and Wigent would work back through Steven Peplinski and Brandon Phillips to finish 2nd and third respectively.
No one seemed poised to give McGinnis a run for his money. Being very technical and precise, McGinnis held on thing over the competition, consistency. Clean mistake free racing. However most of the race had been with a sizeable gap, no real threats. The final stage of he race presented him with on. Aaron Dukes didn't let the 18 truck just mosey out to a comfortable lead. Staying within striking distance for most of the first few laps. But I feel we must go back to that singular word for McGinnis. Consistency. Never wavering in the face of extreme pressure, McGinnis just raced his race, and with each tiny mistake from the 76 truck, a couple truck lengths the lead would grow. From a small handful up to a second and a half. In the end, no matter the challenge, McGinnis was too tough on this day. Overcoming pressure from the championship leader, whilst leading nearly every lap of this race, McGinnis captured his first win of the season in dominant fashion. Closing the gap to the 76 ever so slightly. Dukes would come home a close 2nd while Wigent would stride in with a 3rd. Steven Peplinski keeps racking in the top 5's with 4th, and to round out the top 5, Daniel Williamson with top 5 number 5. The championship standings didn't change much, Wigent stayed 41 back while McGinnis with his win improved to 57 points back. Dylan Mornando still sits in 4th and Williamson holding strong in 5th. With 4 races to go in the season, we head back to states and the Iowa Raceway.
August 9th, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
Dukes Shines in Hollywood, Claiming Auto Club for 4th Win
Fontana, CA - Being just down the road from Los Angeles and the iconic Hollywood, tonight's race had the makings of a silver screen adaptation brought to life. The drama, the action, conflicts and resolutions, climax and deposition, and even some grade A talent. Then seemingly put these ingredients in the hands of a Michael Bay esque director and lit fire to the set. For every great moment of top notch racing, was a moment of sheer disaster on the track. Setting a season high for cautions with 10. Yet circumventing the chaos, Aaron Dukes somehow found his way to be just above what seemed to plague most every driver in the field and clamored to the top of the podium
for win number 4, and sole possession of the championship lead.
If you were to have panned down unto Auto Club at the start of the event, the first face you would've seen is that of Richard McGinnis. With 2 wins in as many races within the league, the momentum he carried into California had pushed him into the Pole position for the race. His 2nd such honor of the year. Even though he had Dukes alongside to the drop of the green, McGinnis would be the one to start us off. Leading the first handful of laps, Dukes would soon challenge for that lead but would not be alone. Ryan Heckathorn would also insert himself into the battle. Even through 2 cautions that nagged the first stage, these 3 were the main contenders until the final laps. Dukes after the cautions found himself up front, with McGinnis battling hard to take the top spot away. While the 2 battled both pushed too hard out of turn 2 getting into the wall allowing Charles Gilbert to snake through for the lead and lead the field to the white flag. Dukes however wouldn't be denied. Charging back through one and two retaking first and holding on for his 7th stage win of the year.
Stage 2 probably featured the best racing of the day. with only one caution splitting the stage up. The final 5 laps are what make racing great. After incident sent Dukes back to 6th early in the stage. McGinnis had stepped up to reclaim what was his. Leading most of the stage, nearly its entirety. With Dylan Morando, Larry Stevens, and Daniel Williamson all among the top 4 fighting for position, Dukes had hooked up with an old pal who had been working his way through the field. Pacey Wigent who up to this point hadn't had much success in the race, locked himself to the bumper of Dukes and the 2 weaseled their way in the closing laps, back inside the top 5. With 3 laps to go, we had 6 car battle for the lead. Morando took a huge swipe at the lead coming to 2 to go, but washed high allowing Dukes, McGinnis and Wigent to sneak back past. As the group came back through 1 and 2, McGinnis went back to the lead, with Dukes and Wigent close in tow. Wigent would move underneath Dukes into turn 3 but couldn't hold the bottom and the momentum on exit was with the 24. As McGinnis and Dukes went down into turn 1 with 1 lap to go, The two went nearly door to door through the corner and off corner exit. While these 2 battled Wigent seeing an opportunity charged off of 2 and took it 3 wide down the back. Before getting to 3, McGinnis backed out of the tussle, while Wigent slid high through 3 and 4 making slight contact with Dukes coming out of 4. But Dukes with the high side took the run and the stage would come with it. Making it now 8 stage wins on the year.
After that exciting stage finish, you could be forgiven for thinking the finale could be equally spectacular. Instead, after only 3 cautions through the first 2 stages, the time for patience had expired. No one giving any quarter, we would have 7 more cautions before race end. The racing was still eventful, but the execution at time lacked. Claiming the likes of anyone, no one could be considered safe and they weren't. Wigent would be involved in several before his car was retired. Morando found himself front to back and vice versa throughout the final stage. All 16 cars in the field had been involved in some sort of incident by race end. Turning what could have been a summer blockbuster into a summer bust. Everyone gets some blame in some way for what the race transpired into. But alas, even this race had to end, and nearly overcame all the controversy to produce a great finish. The final restart came with 4 to go. Dukes leading the field, with Morando, Gilbert and Steven Peplinski close in tow. Morando tried several times over the closing laps to challenge Dukes for the lead, but using the high line, Dukes was able to defend each attack. After the white flag, Peplinski would follow Dukes on the high side pulling alongside Morando for 2nd as they came off turn 2 and down the back. Slight contact between the two allowed Charles Gilbert to make a run at a top spot. Charging hard into turn 3, Gilbert closed 3 car lengths to the back bumper of Dukes, bumping him as they came off turn 4. That contact would force Gilbert down the track just a bit getting into Peplinski. Nearly turning the 60, this sent him almost to the grass but into Morando who went for a wild ride through the infield. Dukes would hang on to win for the fourth time this season. Charles Gilbert gave a fantastic performance claiming the runner up spot while Peplinski claimed another top 5 with a podium finish. Morando would cross the line in 4th, backwards, spinning through the grass, and Ryan Heackathorn rounded out the Top 5. Nothing major changed hands at the top of the standings, as Dukes retook sole possession of the top spot. Wigents' disappointing result dropped him to 23 points back. McGinnis also claimed by wrecks had a tough week dropping to 45 back. Maybe Auto Club will be a wake call to some drivers, and help produce a much better product as we go back to where ORS first began. Atlanta Motor Speedway.
August 16th, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
Wigent Outlasts Field and Fuel to Capture Win Number 2
Hampton, GA - Pacey Wigent did just what his first name implies tonight at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, pacing the field for not just the races fastest lap, nor yet another pole for the young man, but for victory number 2 on the season. Recovering quickly from a tumultuous time at Auto Club, he gained back some lost points to close to just 16 off the championship lead. He held the right cards at the right time, and used what could have ended his championship bid, to pull a victory out of the jaws of defeat.
Pole Position Pacey once again did what his name entails. Claiming his 4th pole of the season, and starting off the day right despite last weeks ugly result. Looking to reclaim some lost confidence, Wigent would lead the races first 5 laps. Richard McGinnis who also is coming off a tough week in Hollywood, would not let Wigents' day in the sun go without a little shade. McGinnis would get by Wigent for the top spot, leaving him to fight a hard nosed Jeff Spires for 2nd. The top 3 howeverwere in break away form. After a stack up forced the rest of the field to check up early in the stage, you have to venture back nearly 2 seconds before coming across the second group of cars in AJ Johnson, Aaron Dukes, and Larry Stevens. The front 3 would lead nose to tail through most of the opening stage, until the last lap of the stage. As the group emerged from turn 2 on the white flag lap, Wigent would finally step out as he and McGinnis would go side by side into the final turn. Looking to the green checkered would be Wigent, clearing McGinnis out of turn 4, snatching away the stage win for number 2 on the year.
It wouldn't take long for things to get shaken up in stage 2, with Wigent doing the stirring. As the field came into turn 1 from the restart, the loose adjustments for Wigent got him to overturn the car into turn 1, catching the apron and spinning in front of the pack. Collecting several drivers, we would see the races first and only caution only 1 lap into stage 2. Most the field would elect to pit, to put the finishing touches on their adjustments, setting up for the end of the race. 2 drivers however wouldn't feel the need for the extra adjustments, Aaron Dukes and Robbie Richards. Those two would inherit the top spots, with Dukes lining up as the number 1. From the get go, the 24 looked strong. Quickly amassing a full second lead over the battle for second. Given only a few laps to work some magic, 3 of the front 5 from the first stage, Wigent, McGinnis, and Stevens would squeak ahead and begin the chase down of the 24. As the stage reached its conclusion, McGinnis and company dwindled Dukes lead down to nothing as they came off turn 4 coming to the white flag. Using their momentum down the front stretch, McGinnis would pull to the right rear corner of Dukes as the 4 car pack rumbled to turn 1. Unable to keep the run up high, and to help defend his number 2 spot, McGinnis glued himself to the back bumper of the 24 through the first series of corners. Off turn 2, Wigent looked to the outside of McGinnis forcing him in the low lane down the back. As Dukes angled in for turn 3, McGinnis took the daylight to inside of the 24. looking for the lead through the final 2 turns. Door to door as they exited turn 4, Dukes kept up just enough momentum for stage win number 9 by half a car over 1 of McGinnis.
After the excitement of the conclusion of stage 2, things quickly settled for much of the final stage. At least until the pit stop that would essentially split the final stage, and where it was near disaster for Wigent. As Dukes led coming to green flag pit stops, the front 4 were all primed to pit together. Wigent however couldn't get his number 9 Chevy whoaed up as they came off the banking, and went sailing off into the infield grass. Having to go around an extra lap close to fumes, cost Wigent precious track position, but did inherit him a diamond in the rough. While most everyone else were 2 laps short on fuel, Wigent would only be 1. By this point it was almost a near remake of the Iowa truck race, with most everyone conserving for those precious few drops of Sunoco fuel. McGinnis got caught out, with a fuel intake issue forcing him back down pit road to fill up for the end. Dukes however, was one of the few going for broke. Turning as quick a laps as he could, putting as much distance between him and anyone saving. Eventually putting as far as 5th a lap down, before conceding to pit road. A quick 3 second stop and go splash of gas, and Dukes was back in the action. Coming out battling for 4th with Jeff Spires who would concede the spot right back, as he was still saving fuel. Wigent reassumed the race lead nearly 20 seconds over Dukes, and Richards while conserving as well, found himself in the mix running 2nd. Wigent, much like Dylan Morando at Texas, found a way. Cashing in that diamond in the rough, overcoming what could have been crippling to his championship chances, and beating the fuel mileage odds. Pacey Wigent crossed the stripe with no fuel left, engine sputtering for life, but it no longer matters when the checkers wash over you. Laying claim to his second win of the season. Richards would end up running out off of turn 2 on the final lap, falling as far back as 7th before crossing the line. Dukes pushed hard and reclaimed second amid the sight of cars saving any ounce of gas they could. Jeff Spires would have a big points day, carrying just enough speed off of turn 4, to beat McGinnis to the line for 3rd. McGinnis would bounce back for a 4th place finish, as Johnson rounded out the top 5. The fight in the midpack of the standings has 9th through 14th separated by just 5 points. Wigent closed the gap to Dukes, down to now 16 points as we go into the final 3 races. Next week the excitement ramps up, as the gang heads to thunder valley and the Bristol Motor Speedway.
August 14th, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
Dukes Late Race Pass Secures Win Number 6 in Trucks
Newton, IA - In what could be considered a fuel mileage ending at the Iowa Raceway in Newton, helped produce yet another fantastic finish as the year winds down. Dukes and McGinnis were at it again, nose to tail, door to door, and being the class of the field for most of the 100 lap event. However it was the longest green flag run of the night that setup one of the wildest finishes of the year. Tires worn down to nothing and running on fumes, it would be Dukes getting the best of McGinnis on this night, with a pair of trucks whose handling was all but gone.
If Dukes winning yet again was a surprise to no one, neither was the man who stood once again on the front row. Mr. Pole Award himself Pacey Wigent racked up a season high 5th pole position, once again setting himself up in a prime spot he has been quite accustom to sitting in. Stage 1 in all its glory featured one of the closest ever finishes be it a stage of race finish this season. After contact between Wigent and fellow front row starter Steven Peplinski, opened the door for Dukes and McGinnis to acquire the top 2 spots. The duo ran nose to tail for most of the first stage, with Dukes leading. That is until the final 5 laps of the stage, McGinnis built up the pressure on the 76 truck, getting ever closer to the rear bumper of Dukes. Forcing the 76 to defend every corner, with eventually making a slip on the white flag lap. Sliding high out of turn 2, McGinnis pulled underneath Dukes as the two barreled off into turn 3 & 4. Door to door as they emerged from the final corner, Dukes held on for Stage win number 11 by 0.001 of a second over McGinnis.
Stage 2 saw McGinnis step into the spotlight as Dukes and Wigent would spin themselves off the apron. While the 8 and 76 were marching back through the field, McGinnis took advantage of their misfortune to the tune of a 4 and half second lead by the time Dukes reassumed 2nd place. Albeit with 13 laps remaining in the stage, and the counter already at 2, a wreck in the back half of the field brought out the races only caution whilst opening the door for pit strategy and an opportunity for 4 fresh ones. Most of the pack elected to accept some fresh rubber, all but 2. Dukes and the gambler Brandon Phillips. Taking the green with 11 laps to go, and Dukes restarting on the outside lane, he opened up an early one second advantage over McGinnis and company. Much like Michigan, Dukes could do nothing but watch his lead evaporate with laps winding down. But with a little skill and a whole lot of luck, it would be stage win number 12 for Dukes as McGinnis would be left barking at the back door.
The number 18 Toyota would not take being second well. After Dukes led the opening salvo of laps, McGinnis would again run down the 76. This time not letting him slip through the ropes, and flexing his almighty muscle, as he powered around the 76 while opening a quick half second lead. Its then the word fuel strategy began to float across most teams minds. Knowing most of the field had to be short by some laps, several drivers began backing off the pace, to pick up those precious few laps. As the laps counted down, so did the tires. With the first two stages only being 25 and 27 laps, no one had been to the edge of the pit window to this point. The lack of grip began to show amongst the leaders whose pace hadn't yet slowed. Both Dukes and McGinnis slowly but surely felt the handling slipping away, and as we reached 10 laps to go, the 18 could feel his lead slipping as well. What the 18 had stretched out into a solid 1 second lead, Dukes had assuredly began dipping into the said lead a lap at a time. Conserving just a bit more rubber than his peer, and with some lap traffic slowing both drivers down, the lead was only a half second with 6 laps to go. Another lap, another tenth off the board. Until with 3 laps to go, Dukes got to the back bumper of McGinnis and took a run to the inside of the 18 as they approached turn 1. McGinnis would not give up the lead so easily. Fighting back with a run off the top side, as they thundered down the back. Both drivers still door to door, nothing but the grip would give, as the two went sliding into turn 3. As they came to 2 to go, Dukes had the momentum off turn 4, nearly clearing the 18 as they went still side by side into turn 1. Eventually enough gave on the 18 truck, getting loose out of turn 2, and costing just enough speed for Dukes to complete the pass down the back straightaway. Unfortunately for McGinnis the truck wouldn't have enough fight left for him. Nearly catching the wall out of turn 2 on the final lap, as Dukes would snag his 6th win of the year. McGinnis would hold on to his uncooperative truck for the runner up spot. Wigent would come home in the third spot after another strong performance. Skyylor Karnes who also ran strong most of the race, finished 4th as Steven Peplinski would round out the Top 5. No changes happened among the top 9 in the championship standings, as McGinnis led a race high 45 laps. With only 3 races remaining in the season, we stay in America's Heartland going just a couple hundred miles south to St.Louis, and the egg shaped Gateway Motorsports Park.
August 21st, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
McGinnis Eclipses Field in Dominating Fashion for Win Number 2
Madison, IL - While few challenged for victory in tonight's contest, there was only one name that stood out amongst the rest. Richard McGinnis not only found ways to sweep the evenings stages, but to overcome competitors pit strategy and ever mounting pressure from behind to secure the race win, to notch victory number 2 late in the season. With a race high 38 laps led to match the muscle McGinnis flexed tonight, he closed in on the championship lead, and to within 6 points of 2nd place pacey Wigent.
Another new face topped the speed charts in qualifying this week in Steven Peplinski, the 8th different pole setter this year. Peplinski would continue to show that speed early on, as the green flag dropped. The 29 Ford would lead the first handful of laps, until running wide out of turn 2, opening the door for Pacey Wigent to overtake the top spot. Wigent would prove to have one of the stronger trucks on the night, leading the next 5 laps until the man of the hour arrived at the front. Richard McGinnis after fighting from his 4th place starting spot, easily claimed the lead for himself with 11 laps to go in the stage. While Wigent would mount a valiant counter-attack, McGinnis would hold the cards for the remainder of the stage to secure stage win number 6 on the season.
After stage 2 was back underway, it was apparent whose truck held the most pace. McGinnis and the 18 Toyota, would go flag to flag for all 15 laps of the stage. Even with Wigent never being more than spitting distance from McGinnis, no serious challenges were made, giving way to McGinnis' 7th stage win on the year.
Wigent would not let the dominance of McGinnis go with out challenge. In the races final stage, Wigent would find his way around the 18 of McGinnis early in the run, leading until green flag pit stops would commence. Before this point however, the battle for the number 3 spot was quite viscous, Steven Peplinski the races' pole setter, Brandon Phillips and Aaron Dukes found themselves in constant contact, quite literally. Dukes would back out of the fight early on, falling as far back as 7th. Peplinski over the course of the final stages first 12 laps would eventually overcome Phillips to hold onto 3rd. Though before getting around to green flag pit stops, Dukes worked his way from early troubles to get past the 29 of Peplinski to regain the number 3 spot just before he and Phillips kicked off the green flag pit stops. The round of pitting would reveal several different pit strategy's. With Wigent and McGinnis having a nearly 6 second advantage over 3rd and 4th. Dukes and Peplinski would elect for only 2 tires. The leaders and Phillips played safe with 4. The strategy would play out for Dukes in the short term. Coming out of the pits with a second and a half advantage over McGinnis and Wigent as the 2 battled for position. As pit stops cycled through Dukes would inherit the lead for the first time tonight, but even as the battle for 2nd heated up, the island Dukes found himself upon would slowly wash away. As McGinnis would eventually triumph over Wigent. The two would slowly work down Dukes' lead. Combing it down to nothing with 8 laps remaining. Even with a lap car trying to play spoiler to the lead battle, McGinnis would emerge as the leader, with Wigent close in tow. Dukes would fall to third, and watch as the top 2 pulled away. With tires going away as well, McGinnis would maintain a solid half second lead over Wigent, over the closing laps and held on to take the checkers for his second win of the season. WIgent would have to settle for 2nd on the night, while Dukes pit strategy netted him a close 3rd place finish. Bradley Stratton would go on to earn a hard fought 4th place finish, while Phillips would round out the races Top 5. With McGinnis' win tonight, he closed to 57 points off the championship lead. While that may be a surmountable gap, he also would close to within 6 points of 2nd place contendor Pacey Wigent. With only 2 races remaining in the ORS truck season, the stakes, the tension, and most importantly the pressure all ramp up, even moreso as we head to a place where all of it will feel just a bit bigger, the Texas Motor Speedway.
August 23rd, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
Dukes Tacks Together Fantastic 2nd Half Performance in 5th Win
Bristol, TN - Redemption would be a good way describe the feeling of Aaron Dukes after pulling out a tough win in Thunder Valley. However unlike the Truck Series event, Dukes by no means dominated the race. Pacey Wigent for most of the first half of the race seemed poised for glory. Keeping the pesky 24 Camry behind him, and actually leading a race high 56 laps. In the end though, Dukes utilized a late restart to snatch away the lead, and the eventual win.
No one could foresee what qualifying would bring. It wasn't the One Lap Wonder, Pacey Wigent, nor was it any of the other normal contenders vying for the top spot. The fact the number 7 Chevy was on the front row wasn't a surprise to anyone, Dylan Morando had done it before. Yet Mornado wasn't the one behind the wheel. Morandos' substitute driver who only goes by the name Oz, pulled a bit of wizardry from his belt to overcome everyone for the pole position. Though he wouldn't hold that top spot for long. Steven Peplinski jumped out to the lead essentially off the start of the race. Keeping said lead even through the races' only caution. The number 60 Ford looked good out front for the races' opening 40 plus laps, holding off adversary's in Pacey Wigent and Aaron Dukes. As the run wore on, Wigent found his speed. Running down the 60 of Peplinski, Wigent would work his way by for the lead with 15 laps to go, and would not relinquish the lead for the remainder of the stage. Picking up stage win number 3 on the year.
Stage 2 was more of the same, as Wigent would lead off the jump, clearing Dukes who started alongside off the restart. Yet Dukes would stay locked to the bumper of Wigent through most of the stage. But for every attack Dukes led, Wigent had a parry. Never quite able to get the drive off that Wigent could from the outside line, Dukes would have to settle for following the number 9 Chevy for the entire stage, never falling more than 6 car lengths off the lead. The true battle would be for the number 3 spot. Peplinski and Richard McGinnis would fight the entire stage for the number 3 spot. In the end, Wigent would go on to lead the entire stage capturing stage win number 4 on the season.
The restart for the final stage would prove to be the most important. With Wigent restarting on the inside and Dukes on the outside, Dukes on the drop of the green would send it, into turn 1 and 2 holding just enough speed to clear Wigent off of turn 2 and down the back. Proving to be one of, if not the most important, move of the race. Dukes would use the next 20 laps to stretch the lead over Wigent to nearly a full second. Wigent however would feel no pressure from behind, as Peplinski and McGinnis would pick up where they left off in stage 2. Battling hard for the number 3 position, and falling well behind Dukes and Wigent in the process. As laps wound down, green flag pit stops would soon be around the corner. Larry Stevens and Peplinski would kick off the cycle, as most of the lead lap cars would soon join the scuffle to pit road. Dukes and Wigent would come down at the same time, with Dukes earning an extra half second over the 9 of Wigent. However the lead would not cycle back around to Dukes. J.J. Spires and Matt Liptrap would become the races new leaders, as the two were exacting a strategy of their own. In a valiant attempt to conserve enough fuel to make it to the end, both drivers ran well off the pace, trying to go a full 60 plus laps on a tank of fuel. Spires and Liptrap did their best to fend off Dukes and Wigent as they approached to get back on the lead lap, but with having to conserve the defense would eventually fall. Spires would be the first to relent to green flag pit stops with 14 laps to go. Giving the lead up to Liptrap, who now held a rapidly decreasing 15 second lead over Dukes. Liptrap would give ultimate effort, but too would have to give way to fuel, pitting with a mere 6 laps to go. As Liptrap was hitting pit road, Dukes would inherit the lead, with a 1.2 second advantage over now 2nd place Wigent. Wigent would push hard over the final 5 laps closing to within 8 tenths of a second, but with the comfortable lead, Dukes set his cruise control for the final 5 circuts, going on to capture his 5th race win of the year. Pacey Wigent gave a solid performance for a runner up finish. Steven Peplinski saw his 2 tire stop come to fruition with a podium result. Larry Stevens short pitting got him up to 4th in the end as Ryan Heckathorn put together a hard fought 5th place finish. Dukes extened his championship advantage over Wigent by 3 point for a total of 19 heading into the final 2 races. Next week we head northwest to America's Dairyland and the quiet town of Elkhart Lake, to visit America's National Park of Speed and the winding 4 mile road course of Road America.
August 28th, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
Wigent Escapes Texas with Number 5 After Controversial Final Corner
Fort Worth, TX - The saying goes everything is bigger in Texas, and with this being the next to last race of the season, the lights shone a little brighter and the intensity ratcheted up. With action consuming most of the nights action, and featuring a season high in lead changes, Pacey Wigent was able to overcome challenge after challenge in the final laps to secure win number 5 on the season, and lock down the runner up spot in the championship standings.
After several weeks away from the track, Dylan Morando was back in his 24 truck tonight. Coming back with a vengeance, he would go on to snag the pole amid a new qualifying program being tested for next season. With the pole position, Morando would lead a majority of the opening stage. Until Pacey Wigent would eventually get a run on Morando with 7 laps to go to snag the lead away. Wigent would lead for the remainder of stage to pick up stage win number 4 on the season.
Stage 2 went by quietly, as Richard McGinnis would elect not to pit under the stage caution. He would lead the second stages opening lap, but soon after Aaron Dukes would work his way around the outside of McGinnis in turn 1 to take his first taste of the lead of the night. Dukes would maintain a half second lead over the field for the next 17 laps to claim stage win number 13 for the year.
The final stage was where the action picked up. Nearly as soon as the stage began the yellow was back out. Dukes would maintain his lead through to the next restart. Morando would follow for only a few laps until pulling out and reclaiming the top spot. Until the races second caution would come out on lap 53. Strategy would begin to play itself out as Morando would surrender the lead to pit, relinquishing the lead to Matt Liptrap who up to this point had run inside the Top 5 most of the evening. As the green flag flew Liptrap would hold off the field for 5 laps until the races third and final caution would come out on lap 59. With all of the field coming down as fuel would make it to the end from this point, Skylorr Karnes' 98 team would get him out first, on a quick 2 tire stop. Karnes would maintain the lead off the jump, as the field clamored for position. Morando would be the first to challenge Karnes, taking the lead 5 laps after the restart. Soon after Morando had taken the lead, Wigent who had been silent through most of the races final two stages, came back to retake the race lead with 13 laps to go. As the laps wound down the challengers became scarce. Contact had sent Morando from the lead group of Wigent, Dukes, Daniel Williamson, and Liptrap. Liptrap wouldn't be able to maintain the pace of the front few, as the top 3 pulled away. Williamson would try to challenge several times in the closing laps but after running wide out of turn 2, Dukes would take the number 2 spot. As the final lap came to fruition, Dukes would set Wigent up with a run down the back. The number 8 truck would pull to the inside lane to protect the preferred line into turn 3, leaving a wide open outside line. Dukes would pounce, pulling even down the back with a nose ahead into three. However a late entry by the 8 truck induced contact with Dukes in the 76, sending Dukes nearly into the wall. Dukes would hold on to keep the run out of turn 4 to hold onto second ahead of Williamson. It would be Wigent keeping the lead through the contact and off the final turn, to claim win number 5 on the season. Dukes and Willamson would finish 2nd and 3rd respectively. Morando would hold onto 4th, and Liptrap would round out the top 5. Dukes with only 1 race remaining has all but claimed the championship going into Phoenix.
August 30th, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
Peplinski Spoils Wigents' Winning Plans with Fuel Strategy Brilliance
Elkhart Lake, WI - As the Championship battle comes down to the wire, Pacey Wigent was looking to nab a win against the road course ringer in Richard McGinnis. As the race at Road America went on, it looked more and more like a good ole fashioned duel to the checkers between the two. One small wrench was thrown into those plans that not even the race winner saw coming. Steven Peplinski was able to stretch 5 laps into 6 in terms of fuel, and pull off the ultimate heist in Elkhart Lake to notch win number one in his belt.
As mentioned this race was always known to be between 2 true contenders. Richard McGinnis who would grab the pole, and Pacey Wigent who would start alongside. Although early on, the favor slowly switched to the driver of the 9. McGinnis, out of character at these types of places, made mistake after mistake in stage 1. Falling as far back as 5th before fighting his way back into 4th before the stage end. Wigent ran on an island by himself for all of stage 1 to notch Wigents' 5th stage win of the year.
Stage 2 would prove to be more of the same. McGinnis who looked strong early in the stage, caught the grass going into turn 2, and ran off track. Wigent, however, wouldn't run away to that island so easily this time. Aaron Dukes maintained good pace falling only as far back as 2 seconds, before reeling back into less than a second and a half before the green checkers fell. Alas Wigent would again lead all of the stage to continue looking strong into the races' second half, wrapping up his 6th stage win.
The final stage started all the same. Wigent quickly ran out to an early lead, while McGinnis methodically moved himself into the runner up spot. The two would run within several car lengths as the run wore on, with Dukes the only one within several seconds behind them. That is until the races only caution came out after several drivers piled into turn 2, enough for a full course yellow. With this series of pit stops potentially just out of the fuel window to make it. Most of the field would elect to pit. Only two would chance staying out, Wigent, and Jennifer Goode. Dukes would follow in third with Steven Peplinski to his left. The final restart saw Wigent jump out ahead with Dukes close in tow, and McGinnis quickly work his way into third. Less than a lap was needed for McGinnis to make quick work of Dukes, and set his sights on Wigent. McGinnis and Wigent would be back at each others throats again with Dukes close behind. With 4 laps to go, Wigent and McGinnis would make their pit stops for fuel. Leaving Dukes to inherit the lead, trying to conserve enough fuel to maybe take it all. As 4 to go, became 3 and then 2, the 24 team felt the math just wasn't there. Dukes would pit for a splash and go as the white flag flew. As Dukes dove for the pits, Peplinski would be the one taking the white flag, attempting to go the extra miles where Dukes couldn't. Meanwhile behind the gambling, Wigent and McGinnis fought tooth and nail knowing whoever took ahold the number spot was more than likely in the cat bird seat for the race win. Peplinski would use every bit of the 20 plus second lead he held going into the final lap, as the 9 and 1 would get together through pretty serious contact giving Peplinski more precious time to save fuel. In the end, the gamble would pay off. Peplinski would save enough fuel to make the final 106 foot hill climb to the checkers, to complete what would be a memorable first win for the 60 team. Pacey Wigent would hold onto the number 2 spot, while McGinnis held on to 3rd. Dukes after the late pit stop fell back to 4th, as Ryan Heckathorn positioned himself for his 5th top 5 of the season. Wigents' great performance allowed him to pick up some points on the championship lead, moving within 14 points of Dukes. While Peplinskis' win would jump him to 7th and within an earshot of a top 5 championship finish. The season ends in a week with both series traveling to Phoenix, to see who wins it all.