SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. – The conclusion of the 13th annual Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts atop the third-mile FK Rod Ends Arizona Speedway played out in the most unpredictable of fashions.
Manitoba’s Ricky Weiss ultimately cashed in a $14,000 payday in Sunday night’s Shaw Trucking 50-lap super late model finale.
Perhaps with a lucky horseshoe aboard the No. 7 entry, Weiss assumed the point for a green-white-checkered restart after Scott Bloomquist crashed into a stopped car less than a half-lap away from the checkered flag.
Earlier in the race, Bloomquist had taken command when Bobby Pierce surrendered the point with rear end failure.
“I hate to see that,” Weiss said of Bloomquist’s last-lap misfortune. “He was checked out, he was gone.”
Pierce once again battled into the lead on the opening round and was gunning to bump his Keyser Quarter Million Challenge bonus from $10,000 to $25,000 with a fourth win of the week.
For much of the race, it appeared that the Illinois racer would do just that.
But for the second night in a row, Pierce slowed near the midway point to bring out a caution. This time, it came after 27 laps with race-ending rear end woes that handed the lead off to Bloomquist.
Closing in on his first career Wild West Shootout win, Bloomquist held nearly a half-straightaway lead as he took the white flag only to have disaster strike when he tagged the car of R.C. Whitwell that was backed into the turn three wall.
Weiss, who had worked his way towards the front from 11th, found himself out front on the restart and raced on to his second victory of the week.
“Our speed is because of them,” Weiss said of the Bloomquist team. “We’ve been working together as a team.”
Brandon Overton chased Weiss to the line in second, with Brandon Sheppard, Chase Junghans and Jimmy Mars rounding out the top five.
Sheppard’s sixth top-five run in as many events was enough to net him the Wild West Shootout championship.
“We stayed in the top five all week,” Sheppard noted. “We had a lot of bad luck all week that nobody ever saw. My hat’s off to all of my crew.”
While Weiss topped the late model finale, Ricky Thornton Jr., bested the modifieds and Cole Searing added his fourth win of the six-race mini series in X-modified competition, with Darrell Nelson topping the makeup modified main event from the previous night.
Nelson captured modified title honors and Searing scored X-modified championship honors for the second year in a row.
Ricky Weiss, Brandon Overton, Brandon Sheppard, Chase Junghans, Jimmy Mars, Earl Pearson Jr., Hudson O’Neal, Garrett Alberson, Cade Dillard, Kyle Beard, Jason Papich, Don Shaw, Scott Bloomquist, Pat Doar, Tony Toste, R.C. Whitwell, Joey Tanner, Cole Schill, Joey Moriarty, Billy Franklin, Cody Laney, Bobby Pierce, Chris Simpson, Terry Phillips, Stormy Scott.