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Lucas Oil Mod racers talk about last year’s crazy “slideways” finish on AFCU Super Oval

By Jim Short
Lucas Oil Modified Series

CORONA, California – Dylan Cappello said the final lap of last year’s Lucas Oil Modified Series event at Rocky Mountain Raceways produced “the closest finish I’ve ever had or ever will have, probably,” and he won’t get any argument from anyone who was there.

Dylan Cappello and Austin Barnes spin out and cross the finish line at the end of the 2015 Lucas Oil Modified stop at Rocky Mountain Raceways.

Dylan Cappello and Austin Barnes spin out and cross the finish line at the end of the 2015 Lucas Oil Modified stop at Rocky Mountain Raceways.

The final three laps of that 75-lap race featured eventual series champion Austin Barnes trying to catch and pass 2014 champion Cappello. Their two cars touched several times, including twice on the final lap, and they were essentially locked together when they slid across the finish line at about a 30-degree angle.

A few minutes after the checkered flag had waved and series officials had compared notes and looked at television replays Cappello was named the winner. Then the two men shook hands and congratulated each other on a race well run.

“It was insane,” said Cappello, who with Barnes will be among the 30-plus drivers returning to the West Valley City, Utah, track July 23 for the 4 Wheel Parts 75 presented by Geico.

“It was two guys just doing whatever they could to get a win. I didn’t know who won it until they called it. A finish like that, it’s pretty well understood that it’s just luck at that point. It was a good finish for the fans, that’s for sure.”

Dylan Cappello talks with a reporter and camera man from MAV-TV after winning the 2015 Lucas Oil Modified stop at Rocky Mountain Raceways.

Dylan Cappello talks with a reporter and camera man from MAV-TV after winning the 2015 Lucas Oil Modified stop at Rocky Mountain Raceways.

Cappello said the first bump from Barnes on the final lap, to his rear quarterpanel as they came off Turn 2, “got me crossed up pretty bad. I had to get the car gathered up again so I had to slow down a little. Then going into Turn 3 I hit the bump stop (with the front suspension) and bottomed out. That’s why I washed up off Turn 4 and opened the door for him.”

It was an opening Barnes hadn’t expected to get. He said that “on a long run I thought I had a better car,” but he had been frustrated by seven yellow flags and two red flags and was mentally preparing for a second-place finish.

“All of a sudden I realized I was catching him,” Barnes said. “I was sitting right there (in second) coming to the white flag and I thought I could get there. Coming out of (Turn) 2 he held his car down farther than I expected and we hit.

“He got out of shape and I was afraid he was going to lose it and I was gonna get sent to the back. He managed to hang onto it, he definitely made the best save I’ve ever seen in my life. Going into 4 he drove in a little too deep and that shot him up the track. When we both came out of there I went up (from the bottom of the track) and he went down and that got us into a slide and made a heck of a finish out of it.

Austin Barnes' No. 51 Lucas Oil Modified spins across the AFCU Super Oval infield.

Austin Barnes’ No. 51 Lucas Oil Modified spins across the AFCU Super Oval infield.

Dylan Cappelo's No. 11 Lucas Oil Modified sit on the infield of the AFCU Super Oval.

Dylan Cappelo’s No. 11 Lucas Oil Modified sit on the infield of the AFCU Super Oval.

“It was such an awesome moment. When we were sitting there in the infield we could hear all the fans losing their minds in the stands. It was really cool. That was about as good a race as you’re ever going to get. From first through 20th there was racing all the way through the field.”

Barnes felt there was one thing wrong with the evening, though.

“To this day I think I won the race,” said Barnes, who is sixth in the Hoosier Tire West point standings but without a win as the series opens the second half of its 10-race season.

Cappello said he thinks he may have won because “I was more sideways” at the finish line and he wouldn’t mind a repeat. The Peoria, Arizona, driver is 12th in the point standings and also winless and feels like he’s a victim of all the bad luck he avoided his first two seasons.

“I’m hoping to win it and lead all the laps and not have to worry about it,” he said. “But if it comes down to it I’ll slide across the finish again, there’s no doubt about it.”

The 4 Wheel Parts 75 will be the series’ fourth race on the 3/8-mile oval at Rocky Mountain Raceways. Chris Gerchman won the inaugural over Jim Mardis and Doug Hamm in 2013 en route to the championship; Shelby Stroebel beat Jason Irwin and Cappello in 2014 and last season Irwin nipped hometown favorite Lynn Hardy for third behind Cappello and Barnes.

The Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by LoanMart is supported by a potent marketing concept known as “Team Lucas” whose members include General Tire, GEICO, E3 Spark Plugs, Optima Batteries, Carlyle Tools-NAPA, BILSTEIN Shocks, Super Clean, 4-Wheel Parts and LoanMart.

Hot racing action planned this weekend at Rocky Mountain Raceways

As the month of July heats up in and around the Salt Lake valley, Rocky Mountain Raceways continues its efforts to heat up its three racing venues.

With a week still remaining before Horsepower Heaven fires up, RMR hasn’t cooled off. There is a strong schedule in place for July 15 and 16.

Summit ET drag racing is set for Friday, July 15.

Summit ET drag racing is set for Friday, July 15 on the Young Kia Drag Strip.

The spotlighted event will take place on Saturday, when the America First Credit Union Super Oval rumbles to life with RMR Oval Racing Series action. The racing that day will feature Shoq Wave Late Models as well as the University Federal Credit Union Sprint Cars, Midgets, Sommers Auto Wrecking Hornets and the Brandon Park Roofing Figure-8 Trains.

Gates open at 4 PM., qualifying starts at 5, heat races will go off at 6 and the features will get going at approximately 7:30.

On Friday, the Young Kia Drag Strip will be the site for Summit ET racing, with the added attraction of Fastlane Machine Top Sportsman and Performance Place Top Dragsters.

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The Shoq Wave Late Models will be in Action on the America First Credit Union Super Oval this Saturday, July 16.

There will also be an open practice on the MX track and Quarter Midget racing on the oval scheduled for Friday night. Jr. Dragster Racing Series action will get underway Saturday morning beginning at 9 AM

Looking ahead, one of RMR’s biggest events of the season, Horsepower Heaven, will take place on July 23. The event will feature racing on both the AFCU Super Oval and the Young Kia Drag Strip, plus post-race fireworks.

Daughter tops daddy in Pro Race Trucks family affair on AFCU Super Oval

WEST VALLEY CITY ‒ Hannah Newhouse probably wasn’t grounded for what she did Saturday night at Rocky Mountain Raceways, but the record will show that she did, in fact, run away from him.

Hannah, a Boise State University sophomore, won the 75-lap Pro Race Trucks competition on RMR’s America First Credit Union Super Oval, edging her father, John, in a hotly contested race.

Hannah Newhouse's No. 46 Boise State Pro Race Truck during Saturday's practice.

Hannah Newhouse’s No. 46 Boise State Pro Race Truck during Saturday’s practice.

Starting in the No. 8 position, Hannah Newhouse jumped three spots on the first lap. By the fourth lap she was already in third place. She briefly moved into second, but fell out. She climbed back into the No. 2 spot on lap 19, trailing only her father.

The two stayed that way for the next 17 laps until Hannah made a nifty move to get around her father on lap 36. And for a time, the Newhouse family dominated the top three spots. Hanna led the way, John was right behind her and brother, Mason, was in third.

The Newhouses went 1-2-3 for the next 44 laps until Mason went to the pits with motor issues.

Although her father was applying pressure in the final laps, Hannah held him off for her second consecutive victory.

John Newhouse finished second and Drew Reitsma took third.

Earlier in the season, the Newhouses finished 2-3-4 in a Pro Race Truck event on the AFCU Super Oval.

In other action on Saturday, Shawn Price won the 40-lap Maverik Modifieds race, besting Michael Haddenham and Nick Parker.

Skylar Sevey outlasted Donny Sevey and Kevin Neff in the 20-lap Mini Cups competition. Blaze Tucker won the 20-lap Jr. Stingers race, besting Chaz Groat and Karnee McCoy.

And in the Tucker Towing Double Decker race, All Powelled up took the checkered flag ahead of Jimmy John Freaky Fast and Hit N Run.

Up next at RMR, there will be Summit ET Series drag racing on July 15 and another Oval Racing Series competition on July 16.