Rilat Scores With 20-Year-Old Car

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Travis Rilat (Pole Position photo)
Travis Rilat (Pole Position photo)

MESQUITE, Texas — Winning by a nose in a last-lap drag race, Travis Rilat wheeled his MDS Boring and Drilling/BDS Motorsports No. 29 to victory over the Sage Fruit Co. No. 52 of Blake Hahn at the Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Tuesday night with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series Presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network.

Rilat’s 28th career National Tour triumph came in a car that was built 20-years ago for the late Ronald Laney.

“I’m not going to say these guys had an advantage over us, but we’ve got a 20-year old race car here,” Rilat explained. “It’s not a raised-rail car, so every time I’d go through the corner and hit a rut, the car was dragging the ground and slowing me down, but this was one of Ronald Laney’s last cars. We drug it out about four years ago, went through it, and ran it a couple of times but it’s just been sitting in the shop so we decided to get it out and give a go. Mark [Laney] always talked about how fast this thing is, and it was.”

Ronald Laney was killed in a 2002 crash at Florida’s East Bay Raceway.

Asked what it meant to see a car built for his son win with Travis behind the wheel, Mark Laney replied, “I can’t hardly explain it. This just brings tears to my eyes.”

Getting the lead from Blake Hahn on lap 16 when the No. 52 bicycled multiple times through the first and second turns, Rilat rolled into traffic with Sam Hafertepe Jr. glued to his back bumper. Pulling next to Rilat numerous times, the driver of the No. 29 was able to fend off the charge of the three-time series champion

Tip-toeing through traffic as the race progressed into the final five laps, Rilat and Hafertepe were quickly joined by Hahn. Rebounding with a furious run after falling to fifth, Hahn made it a three-car fight for the lead on lap 22. Scrambling around a slower machine into the first turn, the battle was put on hold as Matt Covington went for a ride off the third turn following hard contact with an infield tractor tire.

Into second on the restart, Hahn checked top and bottom for room to make the pass. Building a run to the final lap, Hahn hit the low side the final two turns as a misstep by Rilat off the fourth turn kicked the ShopTheBoss.com No. 29 sideways.

Wheel to wheel to the front straightaway, Rilat barely edged ahead of Hahn for the win. Hafertepe finished third and took the point lead by two markers over Hahn.

Harli White crossed fourth with John Carney II emerging as the night’s Hard Charger with a run from 14th to fifth in the Mesilla Valley Transportation No. J2.

The finish:

Feature (25 Laps): 1. 29-Travis Rilat, [2]; 2. 52-Blake Hahn, [3]; 3. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr, [4]; 4. 17W-Harli White, [5]; 5. J2-John Carney II, [14]; 6. 2C-Wayne Johnson, [9]; 7. 28-Scott Bogucki, [1]; 8. 74B-Jake Bubak, [8]; 9. 5J-Jamie Ball, [10]; 10. 21P-Robbie Price, [15]; 11. 14-Jordon Mallett, [17]; 12. 2X-Tucker Doughty, [20]; 13. 92-Jordan Weaver, [22]; 14. 77X-Alex Hill, [18]; 15. 95-Matt Covington, [6]; 16. 45-Martin Edwards, [13]; 17. 12H-Tony Bruce Jr, [12]; 18. 79V-Kevin Ramey, [19]; 19. 33C-Casey Carter, [23]; 20. 11-Roger Crockett, [21]; 21. 12W-Dale Wester, [16]; 22. 71W-Weston Gorham, [7]; 23. 03-Joe Wood Jr, [11]