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Barton rules race after Busch bolts

Taylor Barton was the biggest winner and NASCAR star Kyle Busch the biggest loser in the Fall Classic on Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Bullring.

The 22-year-old Las Vegas natives showed varying degrees of patience in the season’s final event.

Barton waited until the last lap to make his move to first place and earned $5,000 for winning the 140-lap Super Late Models feature.

By then, Busch was already on a helicopter bound for McCarran International Airport to catch a flight to Phoenix after bolting with about 40 laps to go because of his dissatisfaction with a ruling by a track official.

Busch started at the rear of the 26-car field because he was unable to participate in qualifying due to his NASCAR commitments. He practiced Tuesday and Wednesday at the Bullring before winning the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race Friday and the Busch Series race Saturday afternoon at Phoenix International Raceway.

He rushed to Las Vegas after the Busch Series race on a jet borrowed from Cup driver Denny Hamlin.

Busch, who was not paid to race at the Bullring, received a “promoter’s option” seed into the race, and after 70 laps he moved into second place after battling Shelby Thompson of Spokane, Wash.

But Thompson appeared to cause Busch to spin in the first turn with 42 laps left. Bullring rules dictate that cars involved in causing a caution are sent to the rear of the pack.

Thompson and Busch were ordered to the back, but Busch refused, telling a track official he should get back his second-place spot because he was “dumped” by Thompson.

The race was stopped and Busch was told to fall back or leave the track. He gunned his engine and nearly clipped an on-track official before speeding off the track. Soon after he was headed back to Phoenix.

Las Vegan Tom Lovelady, who had led since the second lap, was warned by officials about lagging behind the pace car on restarts and when he appeared to do that on the last restart it gave Barton the opening he needed.

“(Lovelady) brake-checked me a little and I slammed on my brakes but got into him a little,” Barton said. “That helped me get around him.”

Barton gave credit to new crew chief Billy Mitchell for getting him to become more patient.

“As a young guy it’s very hard to hold back,” Barton said. “But you can’t win until the last lap.”

In other races, Nick Joanides of Woodland Hills, Calif., won the 100-lap Late Models feature that paid $2,500; Phil Goodwin won in Chargers; and Zach Zimmerly of West Linn, Ore., won the 40-lap combined Legends Cars race.

On Friday , Utah’s Michael Hale won the 50-lap IMCA Modified race to earn $2,500 and Larry Dittman of Las Vegas finished first in the 50-lap Bombers feature.

Contact reporter Jeff Wolf at jwolf@reviewjournal.com or (702) 383-0247.

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