Morse, on the other hand, was the first of the survivors after holding off race-long pressure and frequent love taps from Bilstein Trophy Dash winner Roger Brown. It was a similar story in the battle for fifth between Aaron McMorran, who got the position, and Chris Gerchman, who badly wanted it, and on throughout the field. The tight racing resulted in five yellow flags and one brief red flag that stopped everyone while a five-car incident on lap two was cleaned up.
“This was the tightest field we have ever had,” series promoter Greg Scheidecker said. “It caused a few tempers to flare. But when you’ve got third through 17th pushing each other (for position), what can you say?”
“Blythe is the ultimate bullring,” series race director Bill Rozhon said. “It’s a single-groove race track (with no real straightaway). I think our drivers showed a lot of respect for each other. There were a lot of bent bumpers, but everyone was racing very clean.”
Mardis, who had been a provisional starter in the season opener at Havasu 95 Speedway in early March, claimed his first Budweiser Fast Time award in more than a year with a 14.325 to Arce’s 14.328. Mardis started third behind Vanessa Robinson and Arce, spent the first 12 laps battling Morse for third, swept into the lead early on lap 17 only to have that pass erased by a yellow caution flag, then did it again on lap 21 and never looked back.
“This was a pretty big win for us,” Mardis said. “It definitely gets us into a good position going into Las Vegas (May 11).”