Backup Car Carries Blaine Rocha To Bullring Victory


LAS VEGAS – Wrecking his No. 1 car in practice may have been a blessing in disguise for Blaine Rocha on Saturday at The Bullring at Las Vegas.

The Oakdale, Calif., driver climbed behind the wheel of a dominant backup car and led nearly all 150 laps in the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series feature at the West Coast Short Track Championships at The Bullring at Las Vegas on Saturday night.

Rocha guided his No. 21 car to the front early, led at the midway pit stop and took the checkered flag 3.778 seconds ahead of Brandon White.

“This race car was really good the whole race, but it was a little nerve-racking leading the whole thing,” said Rocha, who earned $10,000 for the victory. “I knew that, as long as I could stay out front after the re-starts, I’d have a good chance of staying there. It’s really exciting, and I’m really happy.”

Christian McGhee, the 2016 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series rookie of the year, was third, nearly five seconds back. Derek Thorn, who broke his own track record from 2014 with a 14.165-second lap in qualifying, finished fourth and secured his third career season points championship.

“We hoped to be there in the points at the end, and it’s a big testament to this team and how hard they’ve worked,” Thorn said. “There’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears that goes into this, and I’m honored to be behind the wheel for this team.”

Ryan Partridge won the Lucas Oil Modified Series race.

Robby Hornsby won the 30-lap Race Car Factory Spec Late Models feature after a strong run at the three-eighths-mile paved oval. He finished 1.301 seconds ahead of Dylan Garner to earn the hardware.

“The car was just great all weekend,” Hornsby said. “This was my first time racing at The Bullring, and I’ve got to say this is a track that’s a lot of fun to race on. It was awesome, and I can’t thank everyone enough who helped me.”

Todd Conrad won the Race Car Factory Spec Late Models series season title just by starting the race and finished fourth.

The finish:

Blaine Rocha, Brandon White, Christian McGhee, Derek Thorn, Bobby Hodges, Donny St. Ours, John Nesmith, Eric Richardson, Ryan Cansdale, Eric Schmidt, Linny White, Matthew Meech, Keith Spangler, Carlos Vieira, Justin Simonson, Andre Prescott, Dan Holtz, Jason Gilbert, Trevor Huddleston, Luke Hall, Cale Kanke, Craig Raudman, Ricky Schlick, Lance Wilson, Bob Lyon, Stan Mullis, Dennis Furden, Jacob Gomes, Toni McCray, Jeremy Doss.