No one at the Bullring wanted to see fireworks head skyward late Thursday night more than 16-year-old Bear Rzesnowiecky.
He was dominating the 76-lap Super Late Models feature at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with nine laps left before being challenged by three restarts.
He handled the first two but seemed to miss a shift on the last one with five laps to go, and Las Vegan Matt Jaskol passed him and won the Night of Fire’s featured event.
It was Jaskol’s first Super Late title in the NASCAR All-American Series, but he was disappointed that he couldn’t have the best seat to see Rzesnowiecky win the biggest race of his young career.
“I coached Bear in go-karts when he was 5 years old, and I’ve been close with the family since then,” Jaskol said. “This is the first time we’ve been able to race against each other that hard. That was cool, but I hated to see that happen to him.”
The crowd estimated at about 5,000 was down by around 1,000 from a year ago when Sprint Cup star Kyle Busch returned to his hometown to compete in the Super Late Models race.
For most of the last 40 laps, it looked as if Jaskol would help Rzesnowiecky get the win by battling former track champion Scott Gafforini for second place.
When Rzesnowiecky had his problem, he quickly fell to sixth before rallying to finish third behind Gafforini.
Earlier in the night, Jeremiah Wagner took the lead with seven of 20 laps left in the combined Legends Cars race to win for the sixth straight time this year and extend his points lead in the Pro division.
Brecken Snow, the overall runner-up to Wagner, was the best finisher in Super Pro, and Dustin Ash, fourth overall, was best in the Masters division of the Legends Cars.
Brenden Newberry of Bakersfield, Calif., won the USAC Ford Focus Midgets race.
Doug Hamm won for the third straight time in Modifieds. Larry Dittman (Bombers), Amanda Gubler (Bandolero Young Guns) and Christian Warren (Bandolero Bandits) also won.