Regional series back on track after COVID-19 hiatus
LAS VEGAS – Part-time NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Matt Jaskol took the checkered flag as the Late Model Truck Series returned to action for the first time in nearly 17 months at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
The 36-year-old Agoura Hills, California, native and longtime Las Vegas resident edged two-time series champion Mark Allison by less than three truck-lengths at the 3/8-mile paved oval after passing him for the lead with five to go. Jaskol – a racing veteran and professional sky diver who won the 2007 ASA Speed Truck Championship – outlasted seven other trucks in the 30-lap feature under the lights.
“I honestly didn’t think I had anything for Mark Allison, and I even told my spotter, Aaron McMorran, I thought we were going to finish second,” said Jaskol, a Bullring regular in the 2000s who finished 28th at the Cook Out 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Martinsville Speedway on April 11. “It was really tight throughout the race, and if there had been a yellow, it would have been an awesome finish. Life’s taken me on quite a journey in recent years, so to be back behind the wheel racing again was great.”
It was the first LMTS race since Nov. 23, 2019, after the 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was so great to be back on the track again after so long, and Gary Wyatt and I couldn’t be happier with the great racing the series was able to provide fans at our home track,” series co-manager Mike Riefler said. “Matt and Mark put on a show, and we are excited for the rest of 2021 as we get back to racing.”
Las Vegas native, Bullring regular and NASCAR Xfinity Series veteran Stan Mullis finished third after battling at the front down the stretch, while Tim Richter – the former Bullring track director for LVMS – took fourth in his first LMTS race. Allison and Michael Egurola also earned six-lap heat race wins prior to the feature at the season-opener.
The LMTS will return to action at The Bullring on May 8, and Riefler says the series has a number of tentative race dates he and Wyatt are working to finalize for the upcoming weeks and months. The series ran seven events in 2019 and four in 2018, with Allison taking both season points titles.
The region’s truck racing lineage dates back to the Speed Truck Series that originated in 1997 under the American Speed Association (ASA). MechanixWear gloves and Go Fast! energy drinks sponsored the class throughout the years, and the trucks raced at up to 10 different tracks in California, Arizona and Nevada before the ASA disbanded in 2013.
The series trucks feature a full-tube chassis, a 330-horsepower sealed V-8 spec engine and two-speed direct-drive transmission, with a clutch pedal dump valve, coupled to an aluminum quick-change rear end. The trucks sport replica fiberglass bodies of the Chevrolet S-10, Chevrolet Colorado, Dodge Dakota, Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma.