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Gafforini to make Bullring history

Scott Gafforini will become the first Super Late Models driver to win three track championships when he competes Saturday night on the season-ending short track card at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Bullring.

Unlike his first two journeys to the titles, his only challenge this time will be getting to the race.

After close victories in 2006 and 2008, Gafforini, 44, has a 54-point lead over Robert Ewing and needs only to start Saturday’s final NASCAR Super Late Models race in the NASCAR All-American Series.

“Did everyone do the math right?” Gafforini asked jokingly. “It’s never been like this going into our last (regular-season) race. The other two years we won it, we either had a major mechanical problem or a crash the week before. This time we haven’t had to work on the car.”

In 2008, Gafforini had to finish 13th or better and survived a multicar pileup on the first lap in the finale to finish seventh and win the title. Two years before, he had a two-point lead over Justin Johnson entering the final race and won the championship by finishing second.

Gafforini will have few worries Saturday once he arrives in the pits after winning a series-best six times this year. Only Ewing (two wins) and part-time racers Alex Haase (three) and Dylan Kwasniewski (two) have won more than once this season.

While Gafforini nearly has locked up the championship, a dramatic battle will be in the Chargers division, where two-time winner James Wingard will start his race 14 points ahead of Don Sargent.

In Bombers, Pete Meyer leads Bret Empey by 39 points.

Racing begins at 7 p.m.

■ DRAG RACING — Las Vegas resident Jon Capps had the most memorable weekend of his part-time Nitro Funny Car career Sunday when he qualified third and advanced to the semifinals in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series at Texas Motorplex near Dallas.

Capps, 41, also couldn’t have picked a more ideal person to lose to — his older brother. Capps was eliminated by 32-time winner Ron Capps, 46, in their first career race meeting.

Jon Capps is working to secure sponsorship to compete in the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals at the speedway Oct. 27 to 30. …

More than 500 racers representing 13 dragstrips will vie for NHRA Division 7 team and individual titles in the E.T. Finals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend. Tracks, including LVMS, can enter up to 68 competitors in the $34,000 event.

Race of Champions winners will be determined Saturday, and team competition will conclude Sunday. Time trials begin at 8 a.m. today, and racing starts at noon Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday.

For information: (702) 644-4444 or NHRAdiv7.com.

■ RACERS ON STRIP — The IndyCar and NASCAR series have announced plans to put their premier race cars on the Strip.

Festivities for the Oct. 16 IZOD IndyCar World Championships at LVMS will kick off Oct. 13 with a 7 p.m. parade lap for all of its racers driving on Las Vegas Boulevard South, between the Monte Carlo and Flamingo. For information: IndyCarWorldChampionships.com.

NASCAR again will hold its annual Victory Lap parade Dec. 1 on the Strip with its top 10 drivers participating in NASCAR Champion’s Week in Las Vegas for the third year.

Also, tickets go on sale Monday for the exclusive “After the Lap” question-and-answer session for fans at the Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel. Admission is $20, with proceeds benefiting The NASCAR Foundation. For information: NASCARafterthelap.com.

Jeff Wolf is a freelance reporter. He can be reached at (702) 406-8165 or nitrorodeo@gmail.com.

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