Johnny “The Jet” Saathoff wins $7,777.77 Duel in the Desert

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Johnny “The Jet” Saathoff of Beatrice, Nebraska, won the 12th annual Duel in the Desert tonight at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Saathoff, who also won the event in 2004, collected the $7,777.77 winner’s check on a chilly, breezy desert evening.

Ricky Alvarado took the lead on lap 2 when polesitter Chris Abelson slid high in Turn 2. At the halfway point (lap 20), it was Alvarado in first place, closely followed by Johnny “The Jet” Saathoff and Terry Phillips.

The first caution flag of the race flew on lap 21 when Kellen Chadwick’s car came to a stop in Turn 4. On the restart, Alvarado and Saathoff pulled away from the field. Their battle cooled off temporarily as the second caution flag appeared on lap 27 when three cars spun in Turn 2. The green flag flew for the restart and immediately was replaced by the yellow as five cars crashed in Turn 1. No one was injured and the car of Zane DeVilbiss took the worst of the damage.

The second restart with just 13 laps remaining saw Alvarado lead Saathoff and Phillips into Turn 1. Disaster struck in Turn 3 for Alvarado in Turn 3 as he slid high on the track and allowed Saathoff to slip past and grab the lead. Phillips also took advantage of the opportunity and took second place.
Saathoff immediately set sail and left the competition in his wake, leaving Phillips and Alvarado to fight for second place.

Saathoff, who started eighth, went on to win the event, followed by Phillips and Alvarado.

“We won a race here (2004) on a rubbered-up set-up,” said Saathoff. “We’ve been dealing with this thing all week and it (the track) rubbered-up and we went right back to where we were a couple of weeks ago (a set-up used at another track with similar conditions). I was saving the right-rear. There was a little bit of mud out there in Turn 3 and the front end skated. Ricky’s took off and mine took off and I held mine down and she was good. I wanted to get him (Alvarado) to wear his right-rear tire out. I wanted him to know he couldn’t coast – he needed to go a little faster. I just kept bangin’ on him.”

Saathoff was quizzed about his $7,777.77 payday – the biggest of the 2009 IMCA season.

“You know, business is slow, so this is really gonna help,” Saathoff explained.

Twelve 15-lap Last-Chance Races were run at the beginning of the evening. Only the winner advanced to the A-Feature and competition for the lone qualifying position was fierce. Last-Chance Races were won by: Derek Klima, Justen Yeager, Dylan Smith, Zane DeVilbiss, Kellen Chadwick, Jeremy Payne, Shane Stutzman, Grant Younghans, Jay Noteboom, Brad Pounds, Brandon Carley and Sonny Wahl.

Ricky Alvarado won the IMCA Modified Pole Dash and Wild West Modified Tor Shootout.

The 2009 edition of the Duel in the Desert boasted a record IMCA Modified entry list of 264 cars (from 24 states and four Canadian provinces). The previous record for entries – 219 – was set in 2008.
LVMS officials announced a contract has been signed with IMCA to continue the Duel in the Desert to 2013 and next year’s A-Feature will pay $777 to start (up from $500 this year).

Bryan Gerald won the 20-lap Bomber feature.

Trent Murphy of Jefferson, Iowa, took the lead from Kevin Opheim in Turn 4 on the final lap to claim the 20-lap IMCA Stock Car feature.

The Legends Cars exhibition race was won by Jeremiah Wagner.

O’Hanley’s 9″ Rear Ends donated $100 for the Hard Charger Awards (for the driver who passes the most cars) for the IMCA Modified and IMCA Stock Car features.

Tori Bozanich sang the Canadian and American national anthems.

40-lap, $7,777-to-win Duel in the Desert A-Feature:
Results, indicating finish, starting position, car number, driver, hometown:
1 8 96J Johnny Saathoff (Beatrice, Nebr.)
2 3 75T Terry Phillips (Springfield, Mo.)
3 2 Ww1 Ricky Alvarado (Colo.)
4 5 6U Dominic Ursetta (Arvada, Colo.)
5 12 12D Scott Drake (Webb City, Mo.)
6 9 3E Eddie Belec (Lakewood, Colo.)
7 10 2 Bobby Hogge (Salinas, Calif.)
8 14 10M Jeremy Mills (Garner, Iowa)
9 6 66P Paul Stone (Winton, Calif.)
10 1 1xx Chris Abelson (Sioux City, Iowa)
11 4 15W Will Brack (Mead, Colo.)
12 23 22s Shane Stutzman (Milford, Nebr.)
13 17 2K Derek Klima Belleville, Kans.)
14 15 64 Vern Jackson (Waterloo, Iowa)
15 13 21B Jason Brees (Strasburg, Colo.)
16 27 71C Brandon Carley (Farmington, New Mex.)
17 7 48 Bobby Moore (Sioux City, Iowa)
18 16 44a Steve Arpin (Ontario, Canada)
19 26 15B Brad Pounds (Bakersfield, Calif.)
20 19 95 Dylan Smith (Oceola, Nebr.)
21 20 18Z Zane DeVilbiss (Farmington, New Mex.)
22 28 98w Sonny Wahl (Mohave Valley, Ariz.)
23 22 96P Jeremy Payne (Springfield, Mo.)
24 11 12jay Jay Stefens (North Platte, Nebr.)
25 24 2G Grant Junghans (Manhattan, Kans.)
26 21 83 Kellen Chadwick (Oakley, Calif.)
27 18 33Y Justen Yeager (Green River, Wyo.)
28 25 7N Jay Noteboom (Hinton, Iowa)

Saturday’s winners:
First Modified Last-Chance Race: Derek Klima. (After leader Matt Brack made contact with a lapped car.)
Second Modified Last-Chance Race: Justin Yeager. (After Nate Caruth made his move for the lead in Turn 4 on the final lap and spun out).
Third Modified Last Chance Race: Dylan Smith. (After winner John Flory’s car was disqualified.)
Fourth Modified Last-Chance Race: Zane DeVilbiss.
Fifth Modified Last-Chance Race: Kellen Chadwick.
Sixth Modified Last-Chance Race: Jeremy Payne. (Race ended due to time limit.)
Seventh Modified Last-Chance Race: Shane Stutzman. (Beat Randy Hall to the stripe by a nose.)
Eighth Modified Last-Chance Race: Grant Younghans. (Passed R.C. Whitwell on the final lap.)
Ninth Modified Last-Chance Race: Jay Noteboom.
10th Modified Last-Chance Race: Brad Pounds. (David Murray Jr. finished third and the two-time Duel in the Desert winner did not advance to the A-Feature.)
11th Modified Last-Chance Race: Brandon Carley.
12th Modified Last-Chance Race: Sonny Wahl.
Wild West Modified Tour Shootout: Ricky Alvarado.
IMCA Modified Pole Dash: Ricky Alvarado.

Legends Cars exhibition race: Jeremiah Wagner.

20-lap Bomber feature: Bryan Gerald.

IMCA Stock Car Dash: Robbie Roselli.
20-lap IMCA Stock Car feature: Trent Murphy (Jefferson, Iowa).

Friday, Nov. 13, 2009

Friday results for the Duel in the Desert at the Dirt Track at LVMS:
Friday the 13th lucky for Alvarado, Stone and Roselli

LAS VEGAS: Friday the 13th was anything but unlucky for race fans as they witnessed 430 laps of green-flag racing as the Duel in the Desert at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway concluded its second of three race nights with a record-breaking entry list of 264 IMCA Modifieds.

Ricky Alvarado and Will Brack ran off and hid from the rest of the field during the first IMCA Modified A-Feature, only to see their tremendous advantage erased by a six-car accident in Turn 1 at the halfway point. The caution period placed hard-chargers Steve Arpin and Johnny Saathoff squarely on their doorstep. Arpin grabbed second place with eight laps remaining but Alvarado checked out once again and Saathoff was held up by a lapped car for a handful of laps. At the finish line, it was Alvarado, Arpin and Saathoff.

Bobby Hogge built up a huge lead in the second 25-lap IMCA Modified A-Feature, pacing the second-and-third-place cars of Paul Stone and Jeremy Mills by a full straightaway. Hogge had to battle ferociously with heavy lapped traffic with 10 laps remaining, coming perilously close to disaster on several occasions. Brad Pounds spun in Turn 1 and brought out the caution flag and Hogge’s advantage evaporated. On the restart, Hogge slid high in Turn 2 and allowed Stone and Mills to pass on the inside. Stone went on to win, followed by Mills and Hogge.

Iowa’s Robbie Roselli won the 15-lap IMCA Stock Car feature.

Friday’s winners:
First heat: Jim Graves.
Second heat: Monte Bolton.
Third heat: Will Brack.
Fourth heat: Johnny Saathoff.
Fifth heat: Randy Brown. (Eight cars eliminated in a nine-car accident on the front straightaway on the opening lap.)
Sixth heat: Ricky Alvarado.
Seventh heat: Dennis Durman.
Eighth heat: Benji LaCrosse.
Ninth heat: Christy Georges. (Inherited first place after leader spun out in Turn 4 on final lap.)
10th heat: Jeff Conner.
11th heat: Brian Burnes.
12th heat: Justin O’Brien.
13th heat: Paul Drake.
14th heat: Jeff Taylor.
15th heat: Bobby Hogge.
16th heat: Paul Stone.
17th heat: Jimmy Mills.
18th heat: Randy Hall. (In a photo finish over Las Vegas’ Dan Fitzgerald.)
19th heat: Nate Caruth. (16-year-old Caruth raced from ninth to first on the first lap.)
20th heat: Jordan Grabowski.
First B-Feature: Cody Gerhart.
Second B-Feature: Dylan Smith.
Third B-Feature: Jason Snyder.
Fourth B-Feature: Travis Metz.
Fifth B-Feature: Terry Belcher Jr.
Sixth B-Feature: Brad Pounds.
Seventh B-Feature: Ryan Cottrell (Las Vegas)
Eighth B-Feature: Anthony Madrid.
Ninth B-Feature: Eddie Kershaw.
10th B-Feature: Sean Nolan.
IMCA Modified Dash: Chris Abelson.
IMCA Modified Wild West Shootout heats: Ricky Alvarado, Paul Stone.
First 25-lap IMCA Modified A-Feature: Ricky Alvardado.
Second 25-lap IMCA Modified A-Feature: Paul Stone.

First IMCA Stock Car heat: Trent Murphy.
Second IMCA Stock Car heat: Kevin Opheim.
15-lap IMCA Stock Car feature: Robbie Roselli. (Took the lead from Opheim on the final lap.)

Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009
Thursday results: Duel in the Desert at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

LAS VEGAS – The annual Duel in the Desert for IMCA Modifieds began tonight at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The opening-night schedule was expanded to 20 heat races thanks to a record entry list of 264 cars (from 24 states and four Canadian provinces). The previous record for entries – 219 – was set in 2008.

Thursday’s winners:
First heat: Jay Noteboom.
Second heat: Derek Klima.
Third heat: Ryan McDaniel.
Fourth heat: Bobby Hogge.
Fifth heat: Grant Younghans.
Sixth heat: “Nitro Nate” Caruth.
Seventh heat: Chris Abelson.
Eighth heat: Jason Breese.
Ninth heat: Scott Drake.
10th heat: Bobby Moore.
11th heat: Vern Jackson.
12th heat: Jason Snyder.
13th heat: Randy Hall.
14th heat: Dominic Ursetta.
15th heat: John Flory.
16th heat: David Murray Jr. (2003 and 2008 Duel in the Desert winner).
17th heat: Jay Steffens.
18th heat: Jordan Grabowski.
19th heat: Jeremy Payne (2005 and 2006 Duel in the Desert winner).
20th heat: Johnny “The Jet” Saathoff (2004 Duel in the desert winner).
First B-Feature: Larry Hood.
Second B-Feature: Monte Bolton.
Third B-Feature: Will Brack.
Fourth B-Feature: Christy Georges.
Fifth B-Feature: Sherman Barnett.
Sixth B-Feature: Zane Devilbliss.
Seventh B-Feature: Tim Czarneski.
Eighth B-Feature: Kellen Chadwick.
Ninth B-Feature: Jeff Taylor (started at the rear of the 22-car field and took the lead in 10 laps, then made contact with a lapped car and ran the last five laps with sheetmetal rubbing heavily on his smoking right-rear tire).
10th B-Feature: Anthony Madrid.
First 20-lap A-Feature: Chris Abelson (Sioux City, Iowa) led wire-to-wire.
Second 20-lap A-Feature: Dominic Ursetta (Arvada, Colo.).