July 5th, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
Dukes Flexes Muscle in Michigan to Capture Back to Backs
Brooklyn, MI - The gently rolling Irish hills of southeastern Michigan is a green, serene setting. One that gets interrupted a few times every year when NASCAR rolls into the Michigan International Speedway. The roar of the engines, the energy of the crowd, and excitement was in no short supply on Thursday night. The sweeping corners and wide surface produced fantastic 2 and sometimes 3 wide racing. The lead changes came in bunches, but in the end it was Aaron Dukes' name etched in the trophy, winning back to back races and pilfering the championship lead.
If there's little surprise in the race winner, then the starts of the races are becoming quite commonplace as well. Pacey Wigent for the 2nd time this year nabbed the pole position. Wigent started off strong, leading the first handful of laps before the lead would hot potato around between he, Aaron Dukes, and Dylan Morando. Much of the pack stayed 2 wide with every position up in the air coming into the closing laps of the stage. Coming through the final turn Dylan Morando was able to stave off strong runs from every direction and pick up his first stage win, as Morando, Wigent, Dukes and Richard McGinnis went nearly 4 wide to the finish.
Stage 2 picked up where Stage 1 left off, almost immediately plunging the field into wild 2 and 3 wide racing. Eventually something was to give, and it did with the races first caution coming out nearly halfway into the stage. Pit strategy throughout the field saw a major shake up in the restart order with Jennifer Goode starting out front. Electing the outside lane for restart, it was a great restart by the inside line of McGinnis and Dukes that kept them even with the 21 Chevy, and with the advantage into turn 1. It didn't take long for the fierce battle for the lead to resume. Dukes and McGinnis would trade for several laps as Morando also put his name in the mix. New challengers J.J. Spires and Skyylor Karnes would also mingle amongst the leaders. As the laps counted down, it was Dukes and Morando finding themselves door to door for the final 2 laps. Morando put himself in prime position pulling to the inside of Dukes out of the final corner, but it was a slight bump from the 9 of Wigent that kept up Dukes' momentum just long enough to win his 4th stage of the year by mere inches.
With the first 2 stages producing mental finishes, the final stage would infuse some drama into the blend while dialing up an equal amount of excitement. From the onset a handful of cars fancied staying out on just a few laps of fuel from the previous stage. With several contenders in jeopardy of having their races' ruined, the last caution of the night flew just 2 laps into the final stage. Resetting the final restart for a one stop run to the checkers, the drivers embarked on yet another round lead changes. Aside from the main front runners, Larry Stevens immersed himself into the front pack, leading a handful of laps. Wigent would begin the green flag pit stop cycle, with the rest of the front runners pitting just laps later. The pit sequence saw Dukes have an excellent pit time overall, setting himself a second and a half over Wigent and Spires, while also putting three and a half seconds between himself and the duo of McGinnis and Morando. With just 12 laps remaining, Dukes found himself with a solid cushion, but zero help. As the run commenced, Dukes began to distance himself from the second place car of Wigent. However with Larry Stevens joining McGinnis and Morando, the 3 car pack slowly began reeling in the 24 Toyota. With every passing lap, was another tenth ticking off Dukes' lead. Ultimately Wigent fell into the clutches of the 3 car pack, increasing their numbers furthermore, and supplementing the closing rate on the top spot. Now it was another lap, another 3 or 4 tenths erased. What was a three second gap, closed to two and half, and then two. As Dukes crossed the line for two laps to go, the lead was a mere second and evaporating rapidly. Doing everything he could to break the draft, with one final lap left, Dukes was left with a scant 4 tenth of a second lead as he and McGinnis danced along the front stretch, trying to sniff any snippet of draft he could. Dukes held his line low out of turn 2, still trying to break any link between himself and the 1 car of McGinnis holding his lead at a lowly 5 car lenghts. As the line of cars thundered through the final turn, using the momentum of the draft, McGinnis sprung out from behind the 24 Toyota. Alas, Dukes carried just enough speed off of turn 4 to hold off the hard charging number one Chevy to claim the victory by a minuscule 0.057 of a second over McGinnis. In a race that featured frenzied finishes and heart pumping action, Michigan showcased the type of racing that is capable in this series. With Dukes picking up his second win in as many weeks, he stakes claim to the championship lead, with Pacey Wigent stalking just 3 points behind. McGinnis with another strong finish has settled into the number 3 spot just 17 points back. While Ryan Heckathorn and JJ Spires engage in a tie for 4th, 28 points in back of the lead. Next week features a schedule change as voted on by the drivers, as the series travels to the place where everything is bigger, and with a stroke of luck even better, at the Texas Motor Speedway.
July 3rd, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
Dukes Back Atop Throne After Dominant 2nd Half
New Weston, OH - The dirt was flying and the fenders wrinkling as short track racing was on full display in the evenings Independence eve event. Racing was close at times, and the excitement levels had their spikes. Yet, in the end the checkers flew once again over the Ferrari red 76 Toyota as Aaron Dukes claimed his 3rd trophy of the season in an impressive fashion.
The challengers showed themselves early, as Dylan Morando picked up his first pole of the season, with Pacey Wigent starting alongside. The racing was intense off the start as Wigent stole the lead away before the end of the first lap, but it was the 3 wide racing behind him that drew the spectators attention. Morando fought to keep his 2nd place spot, but stayed under attack through the first handful of laps. Aaron Proehl, Daniel Williamson, and Aaron Dukes fought tooth and nail for whatever track position they could muster with the pack bunched together. Early contact from 3 wide racing sent the 76 of Dukes into the outside retaining wall, dropping him to fighting for 7th. Eventually Dukes was able to methodically work his way back through the field, however contact between Williamson and Morando sent the 24 Chevy outside the top 5. While all this battling took place, 2 drivers had sprung from the chaos. Wigent had amassed a 2 second lead, with Skyylor Karnes fighting to keep the 2nd position. Dukes would eventually run down the 98, but it was Pacey Wigent setting the pace, and capturing his 2nd Stage win of the season.
Dukes would adopt a differing pit strategy allowing him to begin the stage from the top spot. Early on Dukes would pull away as battles between Morando and Wigent ensued. As the laps dwindled down, the heat began to rise. Wigent would get to the bumper of Dukes and the 2 would spend 7 laps fighting it out for the lead. Trading both the lead and paint, Dukes would slide back around Wigent with 3 laps remaining. Whilst fighting for the lead the lap truck of Michael Scimia nearly nixed the stage for Dukes who pushed the 66 across the line as the green checkers flew, and held on to pick up his 5th Stage win of the year by a nose over Wigent.
By the start of the final stage, panels had been bent, and fenders dented. Patience was broiling to a new low, and drivers realizing the time to get ahead was upon them. Wigent would risk adjustments, sending him to start the last stage a dismal 10th, but wouldn't stay there for long. Scratching and scraping for every inch, Wigent took no time at all cutting through the field, finding himself back in 3rd only 2 seconds in back of the leader Dukes. As lap cars gradually became a factor, Dukes lost bits of time to the trailing Morando and Wigent, nearly allowing the 24 to reach his back bumper. Dukes used every ounce of fortitude he could muster up to exponentially extend his lead over Morando, even through contact with J.J. Spires and Matt Liptrap as the two battled for 10th. Nonetheless, it was the 76 of Dukes pulling away to a full second lead over Morando and securing his Third win of the year. Dylan Morando continued his consistency with yet another good finish, pulling in with the runner up spot. Daniel Williamson, and Skyylor Karnes impressed tonight as well with a 3rd and 4th place finish respectively. Pacey Wigent would round out the Top 5 as late contact knocked him from the Top 3. Williamson would post the nights fastest lap with a 19.539, as Dukes would once again garner the most laps lead with 46. The points didn't waver much from last week as Dukes extended his ever growing points lead into a solid 35 point advantage. Wigent and Morando stay close but do gap themselves slightly from Richard McGinnis in 4th. We do however have a newcomer to the top 5 as Skyylor Karnes picked up 4 spots to 5th, but has his work cut out for him to catch the top 4. Next week the Outlaw Racing Truck Series crosses a couple state lines to the Sunflower State and the Kansas Speedway.
July 11th, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
Dukes Survives Kansas to Claim Second Back to Back of Season
Kansas City, KS - Gatti and Ward, Leonard and Hearns, Ali and Frazier, tonight was shaping up to be a pound for pound classic. Dukes and McGinnis were trading the lead like bubblegum baseball cards, and from the drop of the green flag midway through stage 1 until 5 laps prior to checkers, it was a brawl between the 76 and the 18 Toyota's all evening long. Though the fight wouldn't go all 12 rounds, it was still a spectacle to behold.
The night began on the right foot for Richard McGinnis, who has suffered through a string of disappointing finishes, as he claimed his first pole of the season. Jeff Spires, subbing in for an under the weather J.J Spires, would start beside him on the front row. However when the green flag waved McGinnis shot out quickly to a two second lead, as most of the pack toiled for 2nd place. It wasn't long until contact between Pacey Wigent and Dylan Morando, and shortly thereafter Jennifer Goode and Aaron Dukes would bring out the races only caution a mere 7 laps into the event. With many of the championship contenders muddled in the back and the first pit stops coming up to make adjustments, this was the time to come out swinging and try to land a shot. Sure enough it would be Brandon Phillips and Aaron Dukes throwing out the first barrage, only taking 2 tires, and setting themselves up on the front row for the restart. Even with Phillips being the control car, he would have to yield the lead to Dukes and McGinnis. Thus setting off what would be a vicious struggle between the two. McGinnis would apply pressure and pick at Dukes' defenses but Dukes would hold on to steal the Stage from McGinnis for his 6th Stage win of the year.
The second stage of the race would continue this trend. McGinnis was able to get ahead of Dukes off the restart, but the 76 would quickly fight back and recapture the top spot a lap later. McGinnis was more apt to follow the 76 through a majority of the stage though, only peaking out of line on occasion. By doing so, the two amassed a solid 3 second lead over Skylorr Karnes and Brandon Phillips. It wasn't until 3 laps left, did McGinnis start looking for a way past the 76 Toyota. Though the two would have a lap or so side by side, Dukes was able to once again hold off the tough challenges from a tenacious McGinnis, and put a pin in his 7th stage victory.
Follow the leader was all but thrown out the window as the final stage begun. Out of the gate, Dukes and McGinnis went door to door for the 4 laps before McGinnis was able to garner the run off the topside. Dukes though would not settle for following suit, and numerous times looked to the inside of the 18. Ultimately on a run into turn 3, Dukes would pull back even with McGinnis but as the two shot back down into turn 1, slight contact between them would send Dukes sideways, as McGinnis and now front-runner Wigent would power around on the outside. Dukes, after collecting his truck, would only fall back to 4th. Albeit only momentarily, being able to fight back past the truck of Skylorr Karnes for 3rd. McGinnis and Wigent would remain nose to tail for a number of laps, stretching their lead to a little under a second and a half over Dukes in 3rd. Until once again late race woes would affect Wigents' chance at a win. As he and the 18 were pushing out of turn 2, a slight difference in bumper position sent the number 8 Chevy careening into the outside wall, only dropping him to 3rd but seemingly out of contention for the victory. Dukes would resume the number 2 spot, as Karnes and Daniel Williamson would continue battling for the 4th position. With 23 laps remaining, Green flag pit cycles commenced. Dukes and Williamson would be the last 2 trucks off pit road only staying out an extra lap after the leaders. The 76 crew with a phenomenal stop was able erase McGinnis' one and a half second lead, and cycled Dukes out just behind the race leader. Dukes and McGinnis would go on to slug it out for the next 15 laps. Constantly slide jobbing each other, passing the lead amongst themselves for several laps. Even while battling, they had secured a 4 second advantage over the 8 of Wigent. As the duo had one more exchange through turns 3 & 4, Battery issues plagued the 18 of McGinnis. While McGinnis was cycling power, and switching to his secondary battery, he would fall from the Top 5, giving Wigent the number 2 spot. With only 5 laps and clean racetrack ahead, Dukes would cruise to the checkers, and lock up his second round of back to back wins. Wigent would hold steadfast to secure P2 as the ever consistent Daniel Williamson would come home in third for the 2nd week in a row. Jeff Spires would collect J.J Spires first Top 5 of the year in an impressive substitution run. While McGinnis would recover from his power issues to nab his 3rd Top 5. Tonights race would do much to shake up the standings from 3rd on down. Dukes would increase his championship edge over Wigent to 47 points. McGinnis even through adversity, whipped together a relatively strong night to capture 3rd. Morando after having been involved in several wrecks this evening would fall to 4th. Williamson, even through missing a start, has rebounded at a resounding rate to now climb into the Top 5 in the standings. Next week we rumble in the concrete jungle, as we head toward the Great Smokey Mountains and the half mile Bristol Motor Speedway.
July 13th, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
Fuel Strategy Bigger in Texas as Morando Stuns Field in Huge Win
Fort Worth, TX - When teams take the time to calculate fuel mileage, its a meticulous venture. Off at any variance could result in disaster. This was not the case tonight as Dylan Morando played the fuel mileage brilliantly, stretching an extra 4 laps out of his number 7 Chevy, and claiming his first win of the season and inserting himself directly into the championship hunt.
Richard McGinnis made it clear from the onset he would be a force to be reckoned with. After coming up less than a car length short in last weeks mental finish, McGinnis kept his momentum in stride by locking up the pole, and leading nearly two thirds of the first stage. As the opening stage wound down it was obvious fuel mileage would play a major factor in the outcome of the race as half the field pit for fuel and the other half did not. The battle for the stage win became a cat and mouse struggle, trying to balance fighting for the win and saving fuel. Dylan Mornado proved his uncanny ability to do just that in the races initial stage. Able to work his way past the 1 of McGinnis, Morando would reserve enough in the tank to claim is second stage win of the year.
The second stage is when the action ramped up as well as the nerves. The stage would feature 2 of the races 5 cautions. With contact sending championship contenders J.J Spires and Aaron Dukes down pit road, and trapping them off the lead lap. The time was ripe to pick up points wherever possible. McGinnis and Morando continued to prove to be the class of the field with newcomer A.J Johnson also poking his nose into the lead. The 2 cautions of the stage allowed Spires and Dukes to get back on the lead lap with Spires quickly making his way back to the Top 5. The stages last restart with 9 laps to go set of a fury of passes. McGinnis quickly worked his way around the 00 of Johnson to reclaim the lead. Spires would work himself into second after contact with Morando. Dukes would comeback from restarting the 12th car back, to work through the traffic and insert himself into 3rd. Yet, it was McGinnis who would cruise well ahead and claim his 2nd Stage win of this season.
The final stage seemed to have a caution anytime green flag stops were right around the corner. However it was after the final restart with 23 laps to go that the drama exponentially picked up. Throughout the last stage Dukes had showed his speed, leading over 20 laps over the course of the run. Pacey Wigent had also had moved through the field and into the lead pack. McGinnis and Morando had maintained their speed and were still amongst the leaders. The 4 horseman of this story quickly found themselves separated from the pack by several seconds. Dukes continued to lead until green flag pit stops cycled around. With most of the field a number of laps short on fuel, Dukes and most the lead pack elected to pit with 8 laps to go. McGinnis and Wigent got off pit road ahead of Dukes who took two tires vs. their fuel only stop. This strategy gave Wigent and McGinnis a solid 3 second cushion over the 24 Toyota, who they were battling for the proverbial win. Morando and AJ Johnson had yet to pit, seeing this as a last ditch effort, slowed their pace immensely. Putting all their chips on red, the gamble was on. As laps slowly wound down, the final five laps would prove to be the longest ones for Morando. A decent gap between him and Johnson softened his worry with 2nd, but it was the cars of Wigent and McGinnis that were reeling his in fast even if almost a full lap behind him. Albeit it didn't take long for the 2 tires to prove useful for the 24 of Dukes. In a race where tire wear had been important, he relied on his much fresher rights to overcome the extra few seconds in the pits. With 4 to go, Dukes rocketed around McGinnis, and a lap later dove under Wigent into turn 1 to secure 3rd. Anxiety was setting in among the top 2, what was 20 seconds soon became 15 and then 10 in a matter of a few corners. As the white flag flew Morando was running laps in the 40 second bracket, just holding on to any ounce of fuel remaining. A master of his craft, coming out of turn 4 Morandos' car finally exhausted its supply, but it didn't matter. Dukes was a third of the track back, no one could touch the 7 on this day. Morando would score his first win of the year in dramatic fashion. In the end Johnson would run out mid way through 3 & 4 and Dukes would only just catch him as the 2 reached the first dogleg of the tri-oval. Dukes would storm by to pick up a hard fought second place finish. Johnson would go on to salvage third in a brilliant run in his first race with ORS. Wigent and McGinnis would come home 4th and 5th respectively to round out the Top 5. Dukes' performance would allow him to marginally extend his lead over Wigent. Morandos' victory propelled him into 4th in the championship standings, while a solid points night for Spires would have him holding steadfast in 5th. Next week, the ORS crew ship off to the finger lakes of southern New York, and the Watkins Glen International race track.
July 17th, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
Disaster for Dukes Equals Win for Wigent
Bristol, TN - Under the lights at Bristol was much calmer than anticipated. In a race that featured zero cautions, the drama wasn't underrated. Though through much of the race one could've mistaken that fact. Dukes once again flashed his dominance throughout most of tonight's event, yet in the end fuel intake issues saw the win get snatched out from underneath him, and crowning Pacey Wigent the nights champion.
Aaron Dukes is a name by this point in the season most are tired of hearing. So seeing misfortune for the 76 truck brought jubilation to most in the finishing order. Though it didn't surpirse anyone that the night for Dukes started out so strong. Capturing his first pole of the season Dukes started the night out front. The opening 26 laps of the first stage did nothing but discourage most of the field in how the evening might just turn out, as Dukes would lead all 26 laps of stage 1 for his 8th stage win of the year. Not far off his bumper was the 18 of Richard McGinnis who was well within a few truck lengths most of the run.
Stage 2 ran much like Stage 1 did with a different twist. Instead it was the trucks of Skyylor Karnes and Pacey Wigent stepping up to the plate to take a crack at the 76. McGinnis would stay close for the first handful of laps until a challenge from Wigent widened the gap between them and Dukes, and Dukes never looked back. Picking up his 9th Stage win, Dukes cruised to the green checkers leading all of Stage 2.
When the final stage began, one could be forgiven for thinking that the last 46 laps were a formality. Dukes quickly jumped out to a solid lead when Karnes and Wigent began battling for 2nd, and would slowly increase than lead as the run ran on. At one point garnering a 3 plus second lead. It was when the race reached its final 20 laps that the 76 team noticed something was amiss. The team calculated that something may have interrupted the fuel intake on the pit stop at the end of the previous stage. With this message relayed to Dukes that he was roughly 3 laps short, the mood of the race changed dramatically. What was a forgone conclusion was now a high stakes gamble to save enough fuel, and maintain a now shrinking lead. Dukes slowing his pace immensely allowed Wigent and Karnes to close that 3 second gap quite quickly. The final 10 laps now became a cat and mouse game. Wigent would look several times to the inside of Dukes, but each time Dukes would fight off the challenge. Karnes would take that opportunity to try and steal the 2nd spot from Wigent, but much like the 76, Wigent held off each contest. With the Top 3 essentially under a blanket something had to give and eventually it did. Wigent with one final push to now the outside of Dukes, coming out of turn 4 the 76 would pull off the racing surface as his truck began losing power. In the final 2 laps Wigent would inherit the lead, holding off a strong challenge from Karnes and pull out his 3rd win of the season. Karnes would come home a very close 2nd, with McGinnis lurking around and finishing 3rd. Daniel Williamson would fight hard for another Top 5 with a 4th place finish, and Matt Liptrap would round out the Top 5 with his first Top 5 of the year. Dukes would all but the final 3 laps en route to a race high 96 laps lead. Pacey Wigents' win helps him close up to Dukes my 7 points but still 40 back, McGinnis holds strong with a 3rd and Mornados' provisional allows him to maintain 4th. However Skyylor Karnes' performances of late have allowed him to hop into the Top 5 in the Championship race, 96 points in back of the top spot. Next week, we'll see who takes some gambles to produce their own luck as the ORS crew goes west to the Mojave Desert and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
July 19th, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
Late Mayhem Engulfs McGinnis to Open Door for 3rd Dukes Win
Watkins Glen, NY - In all the fervor the opening road course race of the year can bring, there was no expense spared in the unexpected and the trepidation that the late race provides. Every race this season has wrought twists of fate, essentially a proverbial wild card in the final 10 laps where no one is safe no matter how assumed the finish may be. Be it Richard McGinnis at Las Vegas, Pacey Wigent at Richmond, Aaron Dukes and McGinnis at Texas, there's not a race where the lead has been safe. Today's reversal of fortune fell once again upon the unfortunate shoulders of Richard McGinnis. Caught up in a late race incident saw him jumped from the podium, paving the way for Dukes, whose luck has all but turned around since Vegas, to capture his 3rd win this year. Once again being in the right place at the right time.
To no ones astonishment, Pacey Wigent found his speed in the qualifying, stepping up yet again to lay down his 3rd Pole of the year. Another front row start gave him the early advantage and leading the first handful of laps from the drop of the green flag. Yet from the start there was no clear cut pace setter. Dukes hung within several car lengths while Richard McGinnis stalked from a little over a second back. Lap 4 saw a changing of the guard, as Dukes was able to work his way around the 9 of Wigent. Wigent however refused to fade after a series of small mistakes put him nearly a second back. Working his way back up to Dukes, Wigent would challenge for the lead through the esses clearing the 24 as they worked down the backstraight. Using a run, and a push from McGinnis who had inserted him self into the fight, Dukes was able to regain the lead rather quickly with McGinnis in close pursuit. The two would remain in close proximity as the laps wound down. McGinnis though was not done fighting just yet, with a brilliant run into the carousel and Dukes running slightly wide, they were door to door as they exited the outer loop and down into the final 2 turns. As the duo drove off turn 11, it was McGinnis exercising his momentum, to pick up his third stage win of the year as Dukes would have to settle for 2nd.
The Second Stage didn't offer up much in terms of excitement. McGinnis would use the stage pit stop to input his adjustments and would drive off from the field. Wigent would nose his way back into the Top 3 after falling to 4th in the previous stage following an off course excursion. Steven Peplinski established himself as a solid Top 5 car, while Skyylor Karnes would find some speed to pick up some points from the stage finish. McGinnis would lead all 7 laps and dominate the stage to tie Dukes in stage wins for the year with 4.
For the final stage, the belts were certainly pulled a bit tighter with time in the event running out. Wigent would take advantage early in the stage to take the top spot from McGinnis, as McGinnis and Dukes would get together on the exit on Turn 1. Impatience slowly seeped into the mid field as the race was coming to 16 to go. We saw the races first and only caution. Seeing this as an opportunity to get off sequence, Dukes and J.J Spires would be the only 2 cars to pit under the caution. Seeing one of the races top performers restarting 9th, the time was ripe for a new face to leverage their way into the top 5. However restarts can breed chaos, and chaos erupted upon entering the restart zone. Dylan Morando who after a tough day finally found himself up into the top 5 restarting behind the 1 of McGinnis. Contact between the 7 and the 1, sent McGinnis left just enough to get into the 9 of Wigent. Wigent would find himself off track and into the grass as the field approached the braking zone for turn 1. The uncertainty of where Wigent would end up sent the field into disarray. With everyone jumping out of line to gain any track position they could, there were several instances of 3 wide into the sharp 9o degree right-hander of turn 1. Through all the pandemonium McGinnis would inherit the lead, with Mornado close in tow. Dukes would weasel his way among the 3 wide action to come out of the debacle in 4th. Peplinski and Dukes would grind away at Morando who would shuffle back to 5th as the field worked passed the restart. Peplinski and Dukes would battle nose to tail for several laps until roughly 9 to go, and green flag pit stops ensued. Most of the field would pit during this round of stops with 9 to go with only Dukes and Edward Morris Jr staying out. Using the extra buffer of fuel Dukes gained through pitting under the previous caution, and the clean race track provided him, the 24 would stay out for a couple extra laps and cycle out in 3rd just ahead of Peplinski. With the pit cycle concluded, McGinnis found himself 4 seconds ahead of Dukes, but not in the lead. Morris jr rolled the dice on strategy, with a fuel only stop propelling him to the lead. On the older tires his defense of the spot would be shaky at best. Coming to 6 to go, he would succumb to the barrage of attacks from McGinnis and surrender the lead into turn 1. Dukes would slowly close the gap on the leaders, but within a lap and a half, Morris Jr came under fire from Dukes who wasted no time getting by the 88 also going into turn 1. With a clean track ahead, Dukes would slowly reel in the 1 of McGinnis, closing the lead to under 3 seconds. Until fortune ran out for the 1. As he approached the bus stop of turns 5 - 8, Ryan Heckathorn and Jeff Spires were fighting for the 9th spot. As the two went door to door into the chicane, contact forced them wide, nearly onto the run off area. McGinnis seeing a hole to the left of the battling cars tried to shoot the gap, but as the 2 and 41 made further contact Heckathorn would be forced into the 1 of McGinnis sending both drivers off the racing surface. Being a victim of circumstance, McGinnis' fall from grace would be rapid, rejoining the racing in the 5th position with all but 3 laps to go. Dukes would wiggle his way through the carnage to assume the lead, and with a 2 second edge over Peplinski, the 24 team would mosey thier way through the final laps and secure his 3rd xfinity win of the season. Peplinski in his first ORS start came home in number 2 spot after a strong performance. Wigent would rebound after near disaster from the restart to finish 3rd. Edward Morris Jr would see his gamble pay off coming in 4th in his first ORS start as well. McGinnis would salvage a Top 5 from the late race fiasco, not where he expected to end his day after leading a race high 24 laps. Even through all the insanity, the points were not shaken nor stirred as everyone among the top 11 held their position. Dukes did stretch his lead atop the standings to now 16 points over Wigent. McGinnis even with his misfortune closed up to Wigent only 2 points in back of 2nd and 18 points in back of Dukes. Morando through a tough showing has fallen back into the clutches of J.J. Spires as 4th and 5th are now only separated by 4 points. Next week we trade in our road races and ovals for a rectangle and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
July 24th, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
From Pole to Victory Lane, Wigent Snatches Back to Back for 4th Win
Las Vegas, NV - With the glitz and glam of the Vegas Strip only 15 miles away, the site of the Week 8 race had plenty of late gambles trying to nail the jackpot. Shades of the Xfinity season opener, fuel strategy was out in full force yet again, jumbling the finishing order, but not crowning a new race champion. Tonight saw Pacey Wigent catching the winning strategy on the river and taking home the ultimate pot, win number 4.
Aside from yet another Pacey Wigent pole, marking the mans' third of this truck season, he was joined by Dylan Mornado alongside for a Chevy front row. As the green flag wove, Wigent maintained the early lead for a few laps. However it didn't take long for Richard McGinnis, who started the night just behind the 8 truck of Wigent, to inherit the lead and pick up where he left off in the Xfinity Vegas race. While McGinnis led, Wigent remained glued to his back bumper while the field jockeyed for the third spot. Before long Aaron Dukes slid into 3rd, probing Wigent for the 2nd position. As the laps wound down Dukes was continuously looking to the inside of the 8, but with McGinnis' draft, Wigent was able to keep the 76 at bay, Until coming to 4 laps to go in the stage, coming through turns 3 & 4, Dukes stuck himself to the door of Wigent all the way through the corner, and then sliding himself in front of the 8 out of turn 2. Wigent attempted to fight back coming to 3 to go, but Dukes now with the high side momentum, kept the number 2 spot with an eye on McGinnis. As the field took 2 laps to go, Dukes was to the bumper of McGinnis, and began probing the 18 much as he did the 8. The two were nose to tail as they crossed the line for the white flag, but McGinnis gave Dukes much ado about nothing through the first set of turns. With the last 2 turns left, Dukes drove it in deep on McGinnis pulling alongside, but alas but the nose of a truck, McGinnis fought off the challenge to claim his 3rd stage win of the year.
With stage 1 in the books, it was onto stage 2 and the ruckus that started the stage off. Bradley Stratton gambled with not pitting under the stage caution, restarting with much older tires. Dukes who had restarted behind him, stayed tight to the 4 truck and they dove down into turn 1. Midway through the turn Stratton had drifted a little more than a lane up from the bottom, and Dukes saw daylight. With Dukes now underneath the 4, Stratton realizing the door he'd left open, tried to turn around and shut it but the move was too late. The 76 and 4 would make contact send the 76 out of control and the 4 back up into the field collecting a few others, and bringing out the races first caution and handing the lead over to Pacey Wigent. A lead he would not hold onto for long as McGinnis would claim the lead after yellow flag pit stops with a quick 2 tire stop. Which he would hold onto from the restart, up until 4 laps left in the stage when Wigent would work his way past and reclaim the top spot and this time would not relinquish it to anyone else, picking up the green checkers and his 3rd stage win. Dukes would rally from last on the restart to salvage 4th place points for the stage.
The third and final stage began with a sense of urgency that saw action throughout the pack. Upon the drop of the green, the top 5 of 6 were side by side for for the better part of the first 6 laps, with Dukes leading the charge on the outside, working his way around Wigent and McGinnis bringing Morando right with him. Until 6 laps in, when Dukes worked a bit too wide and caught the turn 2 wall, slowing him back into Morando whose contact sent Dukes down the inside and across the nose of Wigent. The wreck would bring out the caution and sent two top competitors to the rear of the field. Fighting through the wreck Morando was able to keep enough momentum to take the lead heading into the caution. With everyone hitting pit road, it became a one stop race for everyone. Opening the door for a potential strategy filled finale. As the race was back under way, Contact and the rear of the field between Jennifer Goode and Skyylor Karnes, sent Karnes down into Dukes taking both out of the front pack, and contention for the win as no other cautions would come out. Morando would set sail until green flag pit stops came calling, even through the occasional challenge from Wigent. The pit cycle shuffled the field and dealt almost everyone a new hand. McGinnis who had issues that set him back to 7th before pit stops, plucked a solid hand to reclaim the number 2 spot. Bradley Stratton sat on pocket aces lifting him up into the podium, and applying pressure on McGinnis for 2nd late in the race. Morando found himself off suit nearly outside the top 5 before using his 4 tires to get back to fourth. Albeit, it was a turning of the river card that put Wigent at the head of the pack. Splash and go saw him out front, and would maintain that lead for the final 7 laps to secure back to back wins, and tying the league lead in wins with his 4th. McGinnis would begin sputtering out of turn 4, but held onto second. Stratton came back tonight in fantastic form, grabbing a podium with a 3rd place finish. Salving 4th would be Morando would had one of the faster trucks of the race, but the team strategy letting him down. Rounding out the Top 5 is Steven Peplinski, filling in for injured driver Andy Feldman. The standing saw no major shake up, with Wigent closing up to 28 points back of Dukes who finish the night 7th, and Daniel Williamson finds himself in the Top 5 in points overtaking Skyylor Karnes. Next week will pack racing in a whole new meaning, as the ORS Truck Series goes back to the southeast and the high speed Talladega Superspeedway.
July 26th, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
McGinnis Establishes Championship Intentions with Huge Brickyard Win
Indianapolis, IN - Heartache. That one word can simplify the season that has been for Richard McGinnis and his 1 team. Be it late race ruckus at Las Vegas, running out of time in the Irish Hills, a fuel forced stop in Texas, or ludicrous lap traffic crisis at the Glen. Every race this year was an opportunity seemingly snatched from his grasp. Through all that adversity, he was able to turn tonight's race at the Brickyard into a tourniquet and stop the bleeding. Notching a resounding win, and announcing to the league the presence of legitimate challenger for the championship.
Even knowing the conclusion, one could be forgiven for thinking the painting of this fantastic race was going with similar strokes. Aaron Dukes made his intentions clear, picking up his first pole of the year, and leading the first 5 laps before his first challenge would come. McGinnis had fought from his 4th place starting spot to move into position behind Dukes making a move down the frontstretch into turn 1. With such a strong run he was able to clear the 24 out of the 2nd turn. For a fleeting moment McGinnis held the lead until overrunning turn 3 and smacking the outside wall, dropping him back to 3rd. Now it was Pacey Wigents turn at Dukes, making several runs to the inside of the 24. Holding back each attack Dukes would lead all of stage 1, and for the 5th time this year, capturing the stage.
Stage 2 turned into more of the same with Dukes refusing to relinquish the lead. Not without conflict albeit with Dylan Morando joining the fight at the front. Even with the races' first caution taking place, there wasn't enough of a shake up to shake Dukes from the lead. McGinnis and Wigent would get back to 2nd and 3rd but it wouldn't be enough as Dukes leads all of stage 2 as well, and the league high 6 stage wins.
The finale was as spectacular as it should have been. Dukes was able to get out front quickly as Matt Liptrap gambled on strategy to put him out in the lead. McGinnis took a couple laps to get through traffic and found himself again challenging for the lead. This time able to complete the pass, and take the top spot. Dukes was left to the top side and as Skyylor Karnes tried to follow the 1 through, him and Dukes made contact putting the 24 into the wall and dropping him back to 11th 5 and a half seconds back. Laps just ticked off from here, the field had essentially split into 3 groups. The front group ran mostly nose to tail, as the 2nd and 3rd groups had some brilliant battles, but the story came in the form of Dukes. From 11th he fought his way through the pack, and while closing on the second pack J.J Spires and Skyylor Karnes got together bringing out a caution with 11 to go. Dukes was back among the Top 5 while McGinnis who led since he took the lead from Dukes, maintained his lead after pit stops. With everyone full up to go to the end, no fuel strategy was going to play its part in the finish today. Off the jump, McGinnis, Wigent and Dukes took off, looking to not leave much to the imagination as the 3 laid blistering laps. That is until the caution waved for the final time, setting up a 5 lap shootout to decide it all. The trio of the 1, 9, and 24 quickly pulled from the field. With 2 to go, Duke finally worked his way around McGinnis' teammate in Wigent, setting his sights on McGinnis himself. As the two came off turn 4 coming to the white, Dukes was able to pull alongside as they went 2 by 2 into turn one. McGinnis cleared Dukes off of 2 but pulled back alongside down the back. Again door to door into turn number 3, Dukes struggled to match McGinnis on the outside and went for a slide job off of 3 but couldn't carry the momentum. As they came off turn 4 it was obvious, McGinnis held off Dukes down the front, and went on to his first ORS win. Dukes and Wigent were an unsurprising 2nd and 3rd, while Steven Peplinski and J.J Spires rounded out the Top 5 respectively. With McGinnis' win and race high 23 laps led, he moves up into 2nd in point dropping Wigent to 3rd. Also the Top 5 for Spires trumped Morandos' engine failure, pulling Spires up into 4th in the standings. Next week we stay in the Midwest for some short track racing at the Iowa Raceway
July 31st, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
Dukes Conjures Up Magic to Pull Out Win at Talladega for Number 5
Talladega, AL - Not your typical restrictor plate race, with much of the event single file. that doesn't mean its ending is ever ensured. Yet through all the chaos the last handful of laps provided, it was the steadfast hand and intuitive driving of Aaron Dukes that allowed him to protect his late lead and capture win number 5 on the year, extending his points lead, and recapturing the league lead in wins.
Talladega is a race that anyone can potentially step up and win. Dylan Morando tried to put those dancing shoes on early. By not only taking pole, but using that advantage to keep himself out front for the entirety of Stage 1. No one ever really challenged for the lead until 500 feet from the line when all hell tried to break loose. With a late run from Pacey Wigent making it 3 wide to the line, even with the move being as daring as it was it did nothing to shake the top 3, as Morando crossed the line 1st for his 2nd stage win. On the coattails of Stage 1, stage 2 was more of the same in terms of racing. Most of the stage ran single file with several trying to make runs on the high side. The momentum just wasn't there. After a shake up from pit stops inbetween the stages Dukes assumed the lead after the race resumed and much like Morando never surrendered the lead in the stage. Leading all 9 laps and winning his league high 10th stage for the season.
From the racing in the first two stages giving insight into how the last stage would go, it certainly started off quite the same. The 10 truck field at this point ran much of the first 5 laps nose to tail, until a group of trucks saw an opportunity to shake up the strategy for the end race. Richard McGinnis, Pacey Wigent, Daniel Williamson and much of the field came this time to get the one pit stop needed to make to the end out of the way. Leaving the likes of Dukes, Morando, Steven Peplinski, and Matt Liptrap to run the top 4. The early pit strategy ended up not paying off as intended after issues with the trucks coming down pit road separated the field and the subsequent pack that was supposed to have formed afterward. With the lack of draft numbers they 1st group of pitters would lose tons of time, and unfortunately their chance at the top spot. Then came time for the leaders to make their stops. With 7 laps to go, the top 4 came in. Dukes received quite the bump coming into pit road from the 29 of Peplinski that propelled him forward enough to get the 76 out of pit road several seconds ahead of the other 3. Morando, Peplinski and Liptrap came out essentially nose to tail and begun running down the leader. Just like shades of Michigan, Dukes could do nothing but watch his lead dissipate as the rest of the top 4 barreled toward him. With 2 to go, Dukes began setting himself up to break the draft and keep up any momentum he could to hold off the hard charging pack. After settling himself at the head of the table through turns 3 and 4, he held a slim margin coming to the white flag. Having the numbers, Liptrap stepped out of line bringing Peplinski and Morando with him as the 3 lined up against the 1 coming off turn 2. Slowly working themselves around the 76 down the backstretch, Peplinski saw his opportunity. With Dukes attempting to side draft Liptrap, Peplinski made a sharp move to the yellow line to try to make it three wide for the lead. However Dukes expected this move, easily moving down tot the yellow line as well, to block the move and using the momentum from the 29 to easily fight off the 19 as the pack raced off into turn 3. From that point no one would be able to make another run at the 76 as Dukes held on to win for the 5th time this year, while also leading a race high 33 laps. Peplinski was able to come home 2nd for his 2nd top 5 of the year as Liptrap also picked up his 2nd top 5 with his 3rd. Dylan Morando held on to finish 4th amid fuel concerns late in the race. Richard McGinnis would salvage a 5th place finish after the pit strategy call early in the final stage resulted in him being caught out by over 10 seconds. While there were no shake ups in the top 5 in points, a disastrous result for Pacey Wigent saw him drop to 41 points from atop the championship standings. Next week we head out of the country and up to the Great White North, and the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park