September 12th, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
Aaron Dukes Claims Both Inaugural Truck and Xfinity Titles in Series 1
Millsboro, DE - On the heels of two great series finales at ISM Raceway, Aaron Dukes has cliched both series titles to end the inaugural season of ORS. The truck title never seemed in question in the closing races, but the Xfinity title was a white knuckle rumble all the way down to the finale, with Dukes taking the final race to clinch the championship by 20 points over Pacey Wigent.
Starting in the Trucks, it became apparent early on it as a 2 man race for the series title. Aaron Dukes and Pacey Wigent traded races and plenty of paint over the 14 race season. The duo would take 12 of those 14 races, while only landing outside the top 10 just twice over the course of the season. Dukes however just had an overwhelming season. Though Wigent had a fantastic season, it's difficult to overcome the 7 win, 14 stage win, 12 top 5, and one pole season that Dukes put together en route to a 52 point win over the young gun. Wigent did however have an almost equally impressive run, collecting 5 wins, 5 stage wins, 12 top 5's, and 6 poles. In 3rd, Richard McGinnis was left to fend for scraps, some 83 points back. McGinnis did earn a pair of wins, 7 stage wins, 10 top 5's and a pole, while seemingly being the only competition for the top 2 week in and week out. Dylan Morando finished the season 4th with 2 stage wins, 6 top 5's and 3 poles. Daniel Williamson came in 5th behind 6 top 5's and a pole.
The championship fight on the Xfinity side boilded all the way down to the series finale at ISM. The points lead never grew to more than 16 points over the 2nd half of the season. Needing the final race of the season to decide it, but Wigent was never able to put the race together finishing 7th in the finale, and dropping the championship to Dukes by 20 points. Dukes had a rough start with a misfire at Las Vegas, but put together a fantastic rest of the season, winning nearly half of the remaining race, with 5, collecting 10 stage wins, 10 top 5's, and a pole to complete the championship sweep. Wigent had a strong season himself, consistently good all season behind 2 wins, 7 stage wins, 10 top 5's and 4 poles. Nipping on the heels of this battle was Richard McGinnis, a conteder all season, just coming up short after a rough second half of the season. McGinnis notched himself a pair of wins, 4 stages, 8 top 5's and 3 poles in a solid season performance. J.J. Spires looked like the best of the rest after his season opening win, and 4 top 5's in a 4th place effort. Ryan Heckathorn was a staple of consistency all season, with a stage win, a pole and 6 top 5's, ending the season 5th in the standings.
September 18th, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
Richard McGinnis Swipes Season Opener in Tight Finish
Talladega, AL - A new look, a new game, a new feel, same old great racing. ORS got the ball rolling in a good way with their 2nd season opener in Talladega. With drama ramped up with some well timed cautions, the race came down to a 5 lap shootout where no one could get enough of a run to claw past the number 2 Chevy of Richard McGinnis. McGinnis gets the season started off in the right direction, adding the season opener to his resume' while leading the final 31 laps of the race.
Starting off the nights festivities was the Matt Liptrap special, surprising the field and grabbing the seasons first pole by just a few hundredths of a second over Aaron Dukes. With pole in hand, as the green flag dropped, Liptrap would maintain that advantage for the first leg of the races opening stage until the first caution of the day brought the pack back together after 6 laps. Under this first caution, everyone came down pit road to get their first crack at adjustments. Leading the field off pit road would not be the 88 of Liptrap, Daniel Williamson and his crew gets the number 4 truck out front for the restart and his first taste of the lead this year. Off the restart, Williamson would lead the procession for another 5 laps until the ultimate situation arose for Dukes. As contact between Pacey Wigent and Steven Peplinski, who were 3rd and 2nd, ruffled up the line behind Williamson, Dukes at that moment had stepped out of line with a huge run off of turn 4. 6th in line at the time, Dukes would bypass everyone lifting for the slight enough check up between the 8 and 51, even getting alongside Williamson as the pair went off into turn 1. Side by side through turns 1 & 2, Dukes would use the run off the high side down the back to claim the lead for the first time today, and the caution flew for its second time. Dukes would be the only one electing not to pit under the caution, and when the race resumed, maintained the top spot. Going caution free for the final 11 laps Dukes would hold off a hard charging Richard McGinnis and Wigent in the final laps to claim the first stage win of the year.
With stage 1 in the books, the second leg of the race was underway with Dukes leading the field to green. In a procession that produced some of the fastest times of the race for everyone, Dukes would never relinquish the top spot in the 17 lap stage. Although his defense had to be on point. Unchallenged through the first 15 laps, a mistake from Peplinski who had been running second, created quite the gap between Dukes and the now second place McGinnis by about 6 tenths of a second. Being the sitting duck out front with no help, and McGinnis with a litany of trucks behind him, Dukes played his defense to a tee. Running several lanes higher through the first set of corners, allowed him the better straightaway speed to defend the lead when McGinnis and company eventually caught him coming to the white flag. As they came back to turn 1, McGinnis would back off of Dukes again to garner a run down the back but Dukes would again use the high side to close the gap between himself and McGinnis, and give himself the extra speed for the superstraight. With the run still, McGinnis would look to the outside of Dukes but would fall back in line quickly before turn 3. McGinnis would try one more time out of turn 4 but in the end Dukes had enough horsepower to stay ahead of McGinnis and snatch stage 2 for his second stage win of the night.
Going for the clean sweep, Dukes looked to grab the final stage as well, and after the opening 20 laps of the final stage all seemed to be in hand until the races 3rd caution struck. with everyone electing to pit as the fuel window was closing in, McGinnis and several other would choose some well timed pit strategy to grab the top few spots, giving the lead to the newly appointed McGinnis. Even over the next few cautions and even green flag pit stops, no one would uproot McGinnis from the number one spot. All looked to be a formality until the races final caution came out with just 7 laps to go, setting up a wild sprint to the finish. As the green flag flew for the last time, the field shuffled quickly to single file. However as the field was coming off turn 4 coming to 4 to go, contact between the front few cars relegated Dukes from 4th, back to the rear of the pack in 10th. With moves taking place in the latter part of the pack, no one dared step out of line among the top 5. With 2 to go, contact on the back straight sent Peplinski sliding solo through the infield, knocking him from the top 10. Through the chaos however, Dukes was able to take advantage and slip himself into 5th and the field roared toward the white flag. Williamson would take a look to the outside of McGinnis through the tri oval but would fall back in line as the field went back to turn 1. Off of turn 2, the only one to step out of line would be Liptrap from 4th, but no one would follow moving Dukes to 4th and Robbie Richards to 5th. As Willaimson and Wigent would try to set up a run out of turn 4, McGinnis would have enough motor to keep the battle behind him, and take the checkered flag to claim the season opener in Talladega. Daniel Williamson who had a strong day, would take the runner up spot, as Wigent would have to settle for 3rd. Dukes who led a race high 50 laps, would comeback after near disaster in the final restart to pick up 4th. As Robbie Richards would overcome late contact to round out the top 5. As ORS again starts the season off with an exciting truck opener, the crew will head to Hot'Lanta in a weeks time to tame the Atlanta Motor Speedway for week 2 of the 13 race season.
September 20th, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
Lee Petty Puts Up Strong Showing in Xfinity Opener to Stake Contender Status
Talladega, AL - A new season of ORS Xfinity Series racing presented by JR Motorsports is now among us, and with it a fresh breeze and new beginnings for many drivers. Riding in on that breathe of fresh air was a fresh face for the series' second season. Lee Petty, no relation, was among a host of new drivers looking to make their mark in the season opener. Guys like James Tate in the number 16, or Jacob Hunter, Eric Scora, Lukas Brendemihl, and Dawson Kemp all embarking on their own rookie campaigns. Yet it would be Petty besting all of them including the series vets in an interesting but exciting Talladega opener.
Beginning the night would be Matt Liptrap, showing early season speeds on the superspeedways, nabbing his first pole in the Xfinity series. On the drop of the green flag however, trouble brewed quickly with a handful of cars wrecking and bringing out the races first caution on the races opening lap. Coming back to line to take the caution wouldn't be Liptrap heading the pack, Petty who utilized great pushing on the first lap, was able to snag the lead away as the caution brought the field together. Through early pit strategy, as everyone elected to get some adjustments in early, Brandon Phillips would inherit the lead. Again though, Petty and a host of other cars off the restart, would lead a 5 car train around the outside of Phillips, shuffling the 89 back into 4th before most of the field filed in single file. The stage would remain this way through the remainder of the laps, and Petty would capture the Green checkers for the first stage win of the year.
Stage 2 looked to be much of the same, as Petty led a litany of cars through the first 8 laps of the stage. Looking strong and in the driver seat for the second stage win, Petty would not be untouchable, as a fuel intake issue during the stage caution didn't get the number 21 full of fuel, and forced Petty to the pits coming to 3 to go. This would shift the lead over to Eric Scora who had been a front runner most of the evening, with Liptrap, Aaron Dukes, and Lukas Brendemihl among the front group. Wasting no time, Liptrap would play his hand coming to 2 laps to go. With Dukes in tow, Liptrap and Dukes would look for the run around the outside off of turn 4, coming to the white flag. Holding the high line through turns 1 & 2, the run put them alongside Scora for the lead, as Brendemihl looked to make it 3 wide down the back but would back off to trying to help Scora through 3 and 4. The momentum of the high side would prove too much out of the final corner, Liptrap and Dukes would clear the 9 of Scora, and Liptrap would go on the claim his first stage win of the year.
The beginning of stage 3, saw Petty back out front, not losing a lap after pitting the stage before, the fresh tires and nearly full tank allowed him to take 2 tires under the caution, and put himself back in the top spot. Much like the opening stage, most elected to follow the leader for much of the stage. Contact between Scora and Dukes would remove the 40 from the lead pack, reducing the front bunch to just 7. Soon after Jennifer Goode would see her Top 5 hopes dashed as she too would lose the draft, curtailing the pack even further to 6 before green flag pit stops began for the first time. Issues getting onto pit road would dramatically spread out the front group. Leaving Petty out front, with Pacey Wigent and Eric Scora trailing. This round of stops would still leave most of the drivers short of making it to the end on fuel. With much of the Top 10 sprinkled around the race track, the excitement was at a low point. The drivers were just logging laps until the final pit stop for a splash and go. Petty would be the first to cycle onto pit road, short stopping the final pit stop. Liptrap and Daniel Williamson would be the next two to drop onto pit road, and within few laps, everyone was making the left turn into the pits. All but one. Phillips was attempting to forego the final stop, Doing everything possible to save the fuel needed to make it to the end. His gamble would nearly pay off. On the final lap, Petty and Wigent would thunder by as Phillips would run out coming out of turn 4. Petty however would be able to hold off the hard charging Wigent to be the first to the checkers, and lay claim to the opening win of the season. To go along with the race win, Petty would also lead a race high 28 laps. Wigent would have to settle for second and Phillips, who ran most of the day outside the front group, brilliantly snagged the final podium spot. Eric Scora had a strong day all race long, clocked out with a 4th, while the races pole setter Matt Liptrap rounded out the Top 5. The Xfinity crew will stay in the south, albeit a bit northeast, and ride into the home for many race teams, the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
September 25th, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
Zach Gandee Captures First Win in First Race, Holds Off Late Charge
Hampton, GA - As the truck series returns to place where it all started, it gave us a show much on par with year 1. With an ORS record 18 entries on the starting grid, Atlanta again provided top level racing and excitement. Several drivers seemed to stand out amongst the many as front runners, with Zach Gandee, Aaron Dukes, and Richard McGinnis combined for leading for more than 90 of the races 130 laps. In the end, Gandee held the winning hand, making a late race pass for victory in the seasons second week.
With Gandee being a winner in his first race, Chase Coats started off his ORS season on the right foot as well, capturing the pole position in his first start. From the drop of the green flag, the top spot was under fire constantly. Coats would lead for the opening handful of laps, as Gandee would soon make his way to the front. Gandee would then have to make way for Dennis Boggess, also in his first start, as the number 54 truck would work his way by. Pacey Wigent would as well work his way into the top 3 and into the lead. For much of the first 26 laps these 4 would battle amongst each other with only several others able to follow suit. Until Dukes would begin the green flag parade of pit stops with 23 laps remaining in the stage. This would prove to be the right call as over the course of the next 10 laps, trucks would slowly make their way onto pit road, with the leaders pitting with 16 to go. As pit stops cycled through, Dukes would emerge 3 seconds ahead of Wigent, and would maintain that lead over the final 15 laps of stage 1, to steal the stage and claim his third stage win of the year.
Stage 2 wouldn't see as many lead changes as in stage 1, as Dukes and Gandee would lead the majority of the stage, as McGinnis would also stake claim to leading a couple laps. Again however, the stage would come down to green flag pit stops being the determining factor. Down inside the final 10 laps of the stage, the leaders would give way to fuel and being the pit cycle. 3 drivers albeit would make the fuel saving attempt. Inheriting the lead would be Jeff Spires, followed by Kyle Kolbe and Will Oltz, all trying to save precious laps of fuel to finish the stage. Spires would have to give in with 3 laps to go, giving the lead to Kolbe. Oltz would run out on the final lap, giving way for Gandee and Dukes.The 24 Chevy of Kolbe would wind up with just enough, to steal the stage for his first stage win of the year.
Most of stage 3, would look much like stage 2. Dukes and Gandee would again lead more than half the stage as they and McGinnis would share the lead among themselves for much of the opening half of the stage. Until cautions would split the stage. Lap 87 would give us our first caution of the stage, giving people a chance to pit early and try out some strategy. McGinnis who had been relegated to back after contact elected two tires to regain lost track position. After retaking the green, we would see another stint of nearly 20 laps as another caution hit on lap 106. This time we would see Dukes resort to a two tire strategy to regain lost track position after contact sent him through much of the infield grass. The races' last caution would come out with 11 laps to go. Giving many drivers the caution laps needed to make it to the end on fuel. With a shootout to end it, the three who had been dominant most of the race, quickly amassed a one second advantage over 4th on back. McGinnis would work his way into the lead with 5 to go as Gandee and Dukes would battle for second. Gandee would soon secure 2nd with Dukes on the older tires in 3rd. As the leaders came into turn number 1 after taking two to go, McGinnis would get loose in turns 1 & 2 allowing for Gandee to get the run down the back, as the two would be side by side to line line to take the white flag. Gandee would clear McGinnis off of turn 2, opening the door for Dukes to slide under McGinnis. Through 3 and 4, Gandee would slide up half a lane but shut the door before Dukes would be able to pounce and sprint to the checkered flag to lay claim to his first win of the season. Dukes would have to settle for second as McGinnis would fall back to third. Steven Peplinski would come home 4th as Kyle Kolbe the second stage winner would round out the top 5. Consistency would prove vital as Dukes would claim the points lead with McGinnis close in tow. Wigent would maintain 3rd, Gandee would move up to fourth, with 5th belonging to Peplinski. Next week will be down to the new ISM layout in sunny Phoenix, Arizona
September 27th, 2018
Outlaw Racing News
Gandee Holds Out to Claim Rain Shortened Event for First Win
Concord, NC - A series of unfortunate events played out in this weeks Xfinity race, with Zach Gandee and Lee Petty proving to be immune to the elements. Between the 2 trading stages, they spent most of the evening running inside the top 3, even as the rains came. With just under 20 laps to go, cloud bursts let loose a surprise downpour, taking out several contenders in the late race mess. Zach Gandee however, found himself in the right place at the right time in the end, as the caution with 14 laps remaining would switch to checkers rather quickly as race control would call the race official giving Gandee his teams first win in the Xfinity series season.
From the onset, even with Steven Peplinski claiming the pole. Three drivers quickly staked their claim as contenders for the win in Charlotte. Zach Gandee, Aaron Dukes, and Lee Petty showed their speed early and often. However the first stage didn't come down to speed as fuel strategy reared its head as it has often in this series. Dukes and Gandee would succumb to pit road, but Petty would turn out to save enough. With his 2nd stage win of the year in hand, Petty looked just as strong in the races 2nd stage. This time however Gandee and Dukes would be close in tow. The front three would trade the lead amongst themselves for much of the mid stage, yet again in the end Petty overcame the strength of the other front runners to snatch his 3rd stage win of the season.
Exerting dominance over the first two stages, Petty found himself watching for much of the 3rd and final stage. Leading for bits and pieces, Petty would watch as Dukes and Gandee would lead most of the final stage with that final advantage to Gandee. As the race approached its conclusion, Gandee and Dukes found themselves off strategy from Petty who was now behind the 8 ball fuel wise compared to the other two. Weather decided to play the ultimate hand in the events finish. A cloud burst surprised the field, drenching the track before drivers knew what was happening. the rain would claim several strong contenders as a handful of cars found themselves spun and wrecked as the conditions turned treacherous. Lukas Brendemihl, Robbie Richards, Steven Peplinski, J.J. Spires, who was a top 5 car most of the night, and front runner Aaron Dukes all found themselves relegated to less than desirable finishes, as the rain overtook the track, and race control would declare the race as official. Zach Gandee would win the first ever rain shortened ORS race, picking up his first win in the series as well. Lee Petty would finish off his strong night with 2nd, while Dennis Bogges in his first ORS Xfinity race would claim third. Eric Scora would salvage 4th out of a seemingly tough race for the driver as Jeff Spires driving for Ryan Heckathorn would round out the top 5. After two strong weeks, Petty sits atop the points standings with a commanding 18 point advantage over Eric Scora in 2nd. As Heckathorn, Dukes, and Wigent sit 25 or more points behind in the top 5. Next week the Xfinity roster will attempt to triumph over the Monster Mile as the crew heads to the First State.