CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – Central Arizona Speedway’s sixth annual Desert Thunder Nationals came down to the final lap with Jeff Taylor denying R.C. Whitwell a sweep of the weekend by winning Sunday afternoon’s 30-lap IMCA Modified main event.
While Taylor denied Whitwell’s perfect weekend, Cody Thompson completed his three-race sweep of IMCA Sport Modified action and Jack Lacy bested Sunday’s round of Bomber competition.
Taylor jumped into the lead at the outset of the IMCA Modified feature and led throughout, fending off a late challenge from Whitwell.
“We got a little more balance in the car today,” Taylor said afterward. “We held on, the car was pretty good so we’re happy with that.”
While Taylor set the pace ahead of Alex Stanford, Whitwell was working his forward from 16th in his quest to sweep the weekend. Reaching the fourth position by the time a caution flew after 19 laps, he made quick work of Jason Noll and Stanford on the restart to take command of second and set his sights on Taylor for the lead.
A final caution with five laps remaining put Whitwell on Taylor’s rear bumper, but Taylor was up to the task and fought off Whitwell’s last gasp bid for the lead.
“It’s different racing here in the day. You can see the shadow off of two,” Taylor explained. “I knew if he ever got beside me and I saw his shadow that I would be in trouble. But I couldn’t run down there so there wasn’t anything I could do about it so if he passed me, then more power to him.”
Taylor held on though ahead of Whitwell with Stanford rounding out the podium in third. Starting deep in the field, Chaz Baca Jr., worked his way from 20th to fourth with Noll rounding out the top five.
While Whitwell fell one position short of a weekend sweep, Cody Thompson completed it with a third consecutive triumph in the 20-lap IMCA Sport Modified feature.
Working his way forward from four rows deep, Thompson slid past Cody Carver on a lap eight restart and held the point the rest of the way.
“This was an awesome track all weekend,” Thompson said. “I could feel it latching down in three and four so I was trying to save my tires. Then when we got that caution, I knew it was go time.”
Thompson rolled on to the checkered flag ahead of Carver with Andy Clower, Cory Hemphill and Gerry Glenn rounding out the top five.
Hometown shoe Jack Lacy rounded out the weekend of Bomber competition by racing from ninth to take the checkered flag ahead of pole starter Aaron Collier and Pete Clubb.