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Haase sets pace on Night of Fire, lightning at LVMS

The annual Night of Fire stock car race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway promoted post-race fireworks.

Skies near the speedway’s Bullring, however, provided a preview to the pyrotechnics after the national anthem when lightning in the area forced track officials to empty the aluminum grandstand of about 4,000 at around 7:20 p.m.

Fans were called back to their seats about an hour later and racing resumed about 10 minutes after that for the NASCAR All-American Series and special holiday show.

As pleasing as the postrace colorful firebursts were to fans, the highlight of the night for Alex Haase was a dominating win in the 76-lap Super Late Models feature.

Haase started 10th and worked his way through the field before taking the lead on the 36th lap and never being challenged.

He finished 1.26 seconds ahead of Jay Beasley. Bear Rzesnowiecky was third, Steve Anderson fourth and Scott Gafforini fifth.

When the race was stopped for a multicar crash on the third lap, it didn’t seem like all 76 laps would be completed within a 40-minute time limit. But the race was slowed by only one yellow flag over the last 50 laps and Haase set a blistering pace.

Haase, who won his first Super Late Models race on May 28, was the fastest qualifier but the Bullring inverted the order of the top 10 qualifiers to start the race.

“We were a little nervous after the inversion,” he said of the random draw for 10 cars.

“We worked (Friday night) in practice to get the car good on long runs and that paid off for us.”

Persistence paid off for Gafforini, the 2006 and 2008 track champion. He was one of the cars involved in the early melee, but he was able to recover and battle back for a solid finish that enabled him to maintain his points lead in the division.

Other winners Sunday were: Jason Kiser (Bombers), Chris Bray (Chargers), Michael Abbate (Legends Cars), Matt Emery (Bandoleros Bandits) and Kayli Barker (Bandolero Outlaws).

The series will be off for six weeks and resume on Aug. 20.

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

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