Second-place finish behind Keach secures season title for veteran driver
For the third time in five years, Mark Allison can call himself the Late Model Truck Series points champion.
The veteran driver from Las Vegas finished second to Lee Keach in the season-ending 35-lap feature at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday night to wrap up the 2022 LMTS title, the third of his career. Allison – who also won the series championship in 2018 and 2019 – finished .844 of a second behind Keach to clinch the points crown over series co-manager Gary Wyatt by a 423-390 margin.
“Championships always feel great to win,” said Allison, a five-time LMTS race winner. “It takes some hard work and dedication to win a championship, and Mike [Riefler] and Gary [Wyatt] have helped me out a lot, so I really appreciate everything they do. Gary was right there, and he’s been chomping at my heels every year I’ve run.
“We had a run of bad luck with transmissions in the last few races, and we broke in Irwindale without a spare, but Mike was nice enough to let me drive his truck so we could stay in the points [race]. Gary didn’t want to win the championship because I missed a race, so I give him the utmost respect as a competitor.”
Keach was able to outduel Allison and claim his fourth career LMTS victory, and all of his trips to victory lane in the truck series have come at the Las Vegas 3/8-mile paved oval. He ranks second to Allison in career LMTS wins and got a boost from his buddy Allison before Friday’s race.
“Lee and I are really, really good friends, and his battery went dead after the heat race, and I had a spare battery in the trailer to loan him,” Allison said. “They’ve got the setup dialed in on that track, and I’ve probably finished second to him in three of the four races he’s won there. What makes it fun is the mutual respect and camaraderie, and they’re all fun guys to hang out with and joke around with at the races.
“I just want to thank Gary and Mike for putting on the series and all the competitors who raced in it. It makes it a good series.”
Stan Mullis – the 2021 series champion – finished third with 345 points, with Arlie Daniel (333) taking fourth and series co-manager Mike Riefler (296) rounding out the top five. Bill Black (287) was sixth, while Chloe Lynch finished seventh with 271 to take home the crown of LMTS Rookie of the Year after a solid season behind the wheel.
“Gary Wyatt and I would like to congratulate Mark Allison for his third Late Model Truck Series championship and Chloe Lynch for winning Rookie of the Year,” Riefler said. “We had another great season of racing with seven awesome races, and it was one of our closest points battles, top to bottom. We’ve had a great run since bringing the series back in 2018, and we are excited for what 2023 will hold for us as we continue to build on this solid foundation.”
Friday’s 35-lap feature was part of the Star Nursery 150 ARCA Menards Series West & Local Championship Night, which kicked off Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s fall NASCAR race weekend. Bill Black, Fred Kiser Jr. and Wyatt rounded out the top five at The Bullring, with Allison and Black winning the heat races prior to the feature.
Allison was highly optimistic when talking about the series’ 2022 season and momentum heading into next year.
“The series is steadily getting stronger, and very rarely does somebody just run away with a race,” Allison said.
The region’s truck racing lineage dates 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.
Final 2022 Late Model Truck Series points standings
1. Mark Allison 423 points; 2. Gary Wyatt 390; 3. Stan Mullis 345; 4. Arlie Daniel 333; 5. Michael Riefler 296; 6. Bill Black 287; 7. Chloe Lynch 271; 8. (tie) David Levitt and Lee Keach 126; 10. Michael Egurola 116; 11. Curtis Burns 101; 12. Fred Kiser Jr. 94; 13. Gary Cheeks 89; 14. (tie) Mike Young and Matt Jaskol 44.
Oct. 14 feature results
35 laps, The Bullring at LVMS
1. Lee Keach; 2. Mark Allison (-.844 of a second); 3. Bill Black (-3.638); 4. Fred Kiser Jr. (-5.916); 5. Gary Wyatt (-6.420); 6. Stan Mullis (-6.670); 7. Chloe Lynch (-7.193); 8. Arlie Daniel (-2 laps); 9. Mike Riefler (-29 laps).