The NEO Racing News Legends League made their first ever trip to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Monday night for their Vegas Cup double header at the track. The Legends would hit the infield for a 15 lap road course race, before heading back onto the front stretch for a 75 lap race on the legends oval.
First up was the road course event, where Bill Martin would start things off by picking up the pole in open qualifying with a lap time of 55.951 seconds. He would lead the field to the green flag and down the long front straightaway before the field took the sharp left hand turn into the rest of the road course. Martin led the field through the first couple of turns, but Travis Warling and Ryan Borges were right there behind him. Battling for top 5 spots, Matt Rolfe, Jeff Hoggard, and Parker Traves were all looking for room, before Hoggard would slide off course, allowing Rolfe to move into 4th, and Traves up into 5th.
As the field came around for lap 1, Martin crossed the line as the leader, but Warling had the run on him down the straightaway. Martin would give room to Warling, and before they got into turn 1, Warling was clear in the lead. And from there on out, he would set sail and began to pull away out front. Martin would try to settle back into the 2nd spot, but Borges was right there putting the pressure on him, looking to get by. Borges was able to stay close to Martin for a few laps, before slipping back a little and losing ground to Martin.
Rolfe continued to run in the 4th spot, but had fallen back quite a bit from the top 3. Behind him, Jared Fountain had moved into the top 5, and began to close on Rolfe as the race neared the halfway mark, but he too would slip back from Rolfe as he pulled away in 4th.
Warling continued to set the pace up front, and with just a couple laps to go, he had built his lead to 6.5 seconds over Martin. The top 4 remained the same, but there was still a fight for the 5th spot. Fountain had fallen back, which allowed Clay Snider to catch him to battle it out for the spot. Snider remained within a few tenths of a second for a couple of laps, but wasn’t able to find the room to get by. While these two were battling, it opened up the door for Mike Rhyno who was charging from the back of the field and he would get by both drivers, and took the 5th spot with just 2 laps to go.
Warling would go on to dominate the race, and pick up his 5th victory of the season. The win would be his 4th road course win of the season, and his 11th career SARA victory. Martin would finish in the 2nd spot, ahead of Borges in 3rd, Rolfe in 4th, and the charging Rhyno who rounded out the top 5.
For the second race of the night, the Legends would switch over to run on the legends oval for a 75 lap feature. This time it was Fountain who would pick up his first career SARA pole with a lap of 17.4 seconds.
Fountain would lead the field to the green flag, with Warling starting to his outside. Warling would drop back though on the outside as Martin was able to slide up into 2nd. Fountain began to pull out to a small lead, but Warling was able to get by Martin for the 2nd spot, and began to chase down the leader. Fountain’s car would begin to get loose which allowed Warling to close in and battle for the top spot. He would peak a nose in a couple of times, but Fountain would close the door to hang onto the lead through lap 10.
But things would change on lap 11 when Fountain got loose once again, but this time he couldn’t save it, and would collect Warling as well which took out both of the leaders.
This allowed Martin to take over the lead, with Rolfe restarting on his outside. Once again the inside was the lane to be in as Martin jumped into the lead, and Rolfe fell back. Borges would take advantage of the restart to move into 2nd, and would set his sights on the leader. Martin had pulled out to a half-second lead, before Borges closed the gap and pulled up to his bumper, which Martin then let him go by and fell back into 2nd. But just a lap later after Borges took over, the caution would fly once again on lap 27.
On the lap 32 restart, the field would begin the green flag run that would lead them all the way to the finish for the final 43 laps. Martin took the green and pulled out into the lead, where Rolfe was able to follow him up the inside to move Borges back to 3rd. But it only took a few laps for Borges to settle in and take that spot right back from Rolfe into 2nd on lap 40. By that time, Martin’s lead was already 1.5 seconds, however Borges would begin to hunt him down over the next 10 laps. While the chase was on up front, Warling was working his way back towards the front, and would take the 3rd spot on lap 46, moving Rolfe back to 4th, with Stan Bragg back in the 5th spot.
On lap 50, Borges had chased down the leader, and Martin would give up the bottom groove to let him go by. But the move would cost Martin, as the race stayed green allowing Borges to pull away out front. Just a few laps after giving up the lead, Martin then slipped up and was able to save it, but by the time he gathered his car back up, Warling had already gone by for the 2nd spot, and Rolfe was right there pressuring for the 3rd position. Martin would let his tires cool back down, and would pull away to hang onto that top 3 spot.
The race would go green the rest of the way, and Borges would end up catching lapped traffic, which allowed Warling to close the gap to just under a second. But he wouldn’t get any closer than that as Borges would dominate the final 25 laps of the race and would go on to victory. The win would be Borges’ first career SARA victory after picking up 5 runner-up finishes before it and many other top 5’s. Warling would round out his night with a 2nd place finish after winning the first event, and Martin would finish 3rd. Rolfe finished in the 4th spot, with Bragg rounding out the top 5.
The entire league has an off week next week, with the Legends returning the following week for a double header event at Oxford and the NHMS road course.
With just 3 races remaining in the Legends season, and after picking up a win and a second place finish, Warling would extend his points lead out to 34 points at the top of the standings. For full results and points, click HERE.