Dustin Ash didn’t expect to be celebrating a NASCAR All-American Series championship when this racing season started six months ago.
He competed in Late Models last year, where he won once, and is completing his first full-time season in the premier Super Late Models division.
Now, only a major mechanical problem or crash early in Saturday’s 40-lap feature at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Bullring can keep the 19-year-old Las Vegan from becoming the track’s youngest Super Late Models champion.
Ash has won eight of the last 11 feature races on the three-eighths-mile oval, driving a car owned by Dick Cobb, a former Bullring and regional champion.
Justin Johnson trails Ash by 32 points and must finish 17 spots ahead of him Saturday to pass him for the title. Finishing 16 positions ahead of Ash will create a deadlock after 19 races, but the tiebreaker would go to Ash with eight race victories to Johnson’s five.
Racing begins at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The only other close points battle is in the Legends Cars Pro category, where Bear Rzesnowiecky leads Nick Parmelee by 14. Parmelee, who must finish eight spots in front of Rzesnowiecky on Saturday, got a break when Rzesnowiecky, 15, missed last weekend’s race. Rzesnowiecky opted to compete in the ASA Speed Truck Challenge in Blythe, Calif., where the series’ top rookie finished fourth.
Division championships have been clinched or virtually locked up by Mario Opipari (Chargers), Doug Hamm (Late Models), Bobby Ruppert (Legends Masters), Jeremiah Wagner (Legends Semi-Pro), Brianna Holley (Bandolero Young Guns) and Jonathan Eakin (Bandolero Bandits).
• MEIER TOP ROOKIE — Las Vegan Jace Meier, 18, finished the NASCAR weekly series season at Irwindale Speedway near Los Angeles as the top rookie in the Late Models division and second in points. Meier flew back for the race from Charlotte, N.C., where he is a freshman at Belmont Abbey College.
• FLAT-TRACK BIKES — The final round of the 2007 AMA Flat Track Championship will be contested Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s half-mile dirt track.
Harley-Davidson factory rider Ken Coolbeth of Morris, Conn., clinched the AMA Twins championship last weekend in Tucson, Ariz., but will be gunning for his seventh motorcycle title of the year.
• DRAG RACING — This weekend’s event at Virginia Motorsports Park near Richmond, Va., is the last chance for drivers in the NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series’ pro categories to keep their season title hopes alive.
Only the top four in points after Sunday’s round of eliminations will be eligible to contend for championships over the year’s last two events, including the Oct. 26-28 ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals at LVMS and a week later at the finale in Pomona, Calif.
Funny Car legend John Force, injured Sept. 23 in a crash in Ennis, Texas, hopes to attend the Las Vegas event, although he will not be driving. …
Las Vegas Motor Speedway incorrectly named Scott Horsley as the Pro division champion in its Jerry’s Nugget Drag Racing Series. After an audit of the season points, it was determined Bob Moudree won the title.
Other champions are Scott Parsons (Sportsman), Leo Shaver (Motorcycle), Justin Lamb (Super Quick), Jon Irving (High School), Tristan Craig (Jr. Dragster Lightning), Jacob Evans (Jr. Dragster Thunder) and Cody Webber (Jr. Dragster Novice).
Contact reporter Jeff Wolf at email@example.com or (702) 383-0247.Auto
Racing in Las VegasMore
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP
THE RACE: UAW-Ford 500, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, 188 laps of 2.66-mile tri-oval
WHEN/TV/RADIO: 11 a.m. Sunday, ABC (Channel 13), KKLZ-FM (96.3)
MORE TV: Qualifying, 10 a.m. Saturday, Speed (Digital 329)
FAST FACTS: Car of Tomorrow will be used on a track longer than 1.33 miles for the first time.
LAST WINNER: Greg Biffle
2006 WINNER: Brian Vickers
NEXT RACE: Oct. 13, Concord, N.C.
No racing this weekend
NEXT RACE: Oct. 12, Concord, N.C.
THE RACE: Mountain Dew 250, Talladega, Ala., 94 laps
WHEN/TV: 1 p.m. Saturday, Speed (Digital 329)
MORE TV: Qualifying, 10 a.m. today, SpeedLAST WINNER: Travis Kvapil
2006 WINNER: Mark Martin
NEXT RACE: Oct. 20, Martinsville, Va.
NHRA DRAG RACING
THE RACE: Torco Fuels Nationals, Virginia Motorsports Park, Richmond, Va.
WHEN: Today through SundayWHEN/TV: Qualifying, 4 p.m. Saturday, ESPN2 (Cable 31), tape; eliminations, 4 p.m. Sunday, ESPN2, tape
NEXT RACE: After Richmond, only four drivers in each pro category will remain in contention for respective season championships.
LAST WINNERS: Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Tony Pedregon (Funny Car), Dave Connolly (Pro Stock), Peggy Llewellyn (Pro Stock Motorcycle)
2006 WINNERS: J.R. Todd (TF), Phil Burkart (FC), Greg Anderson (PS), Karen Stoffer (Pro Stock Motorcycle)
NEXT RACE: Oct. 26-29, Las Vegas
INDY RACING LEAGUE
2007 CHAMPION: Dario Franchitti
CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES
No racing this weekend
NEXT RACE: Oct. 21, Surfers Paradise, Australia
THE RACE: Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai International Circuit, 56 laps of 3.387-mile road course with 16 turns
WHEN/TV: 11 p.m. Saturday, Speed (Digital 329)
MORE TV: Qualifying, 11 p.m. today, SpeedFAST FACT: Lewis Hamilton has a 12-point lead over reigning series champion and McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso in the series point standings.
LAST WINNER: Hamilton2006 WINNER: Michael Schumacher
NEXT RACE: Oct. 21, Sao Paulo, Brazil
SATURDAY: Rockabilly Rod Reunion (1965 and older drag racing, car show, parts swap meet), 9 a.m., Las Vegas Motor Speedway dragstrip
NASCAR All-American Series (Super Late Models, IMCA Modifieds, Late Models, Legends Cars, Chargers, Thunder Roadsters, Bandoleros), 7 p.m., LVMS Bullring
AMA Flat Track Championship (dirt-track motorcycle racing), 7:30 p.m., LVMS dirt track
SUNDAY: VW Bug-o-Rama (All Volkswagen drag racing, car show, swap meet), 7 a.m., LVMS dragstrip
INFO: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS.com, 644-4444), LVMS Bullring (632-8422), LVMS dragstrip (632-8459)
TIMES AND EVENTS SUBJECT TO CHANGE