KT Triumphs in Friday Richard Griffin Classic Prelim

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November 6, 2015  |  by Lonnie Wheatley

Kevin Thomas, Jr., broke a victory drought in impressive fashion by racing to victory lane in a wild 25-lapper that put the wraps on Friday night’s Inaugural Richard Griffin Classic preliminary action at Southern New Mexico Speedway.

“KT” took advantage of an Aaron Reutzel miscue on the second lap and led the rest of the way aboard the RW Motorsports No. 17rw to post the victory atop the 5/16-mile clay oval.

“It’s been a while, I don’t think we have won anything since July so it definitely feels good to get this one and get locked into the big money show tomorrow night,” Thomas, Jr., commented.

After Reutzel led the opening lap from the front row outside, fourth-starter Thomas, Jr., took advantage of a lap two restart when Reutzel slipped off the edge of turn two.

Once out front, Thomas, Jr., waded through a red flag after five laps for a wild Blake Hahn tumble off of turn two and then several more cautions along the way atop a slick surface that was conducive to mega-slidejobs.

“It was so slick, you had to really be careful and not blast the cushion,” Thomas, Jr., explained. “I felt like the cautions really fell about right for me, it kept me out of traffic and I could keep a rhythm out front.”

In his wake, Thursday night winner Ryan Bernal moved into second and stayed there throughout aboard the Phulps No. 56 to lock into Saturday’s $10,000-to-win finale as well.

While the lead duo were safely out front, the action behind them was wild throughout the pack in battles for position.

John Carney II ultimately rounded out the podium in third after charging from the 18th starting position.

Reutzel crossed the stripe fourth but was disqualified for not meeting minimum weight with Brady Bacon assuming the fourth position with C.J. Leary rounding out the top five after a mid-race scruffle with Reutzel.

Dave Darland, Mike Martin and Thomas, Jr., won Friday night’s heat races with R.J. Johnson, Tye Mihocko and Harli White winning the Qualifiers.

Along with Thomas, Jr., and Bernal, others locking into Saturday’s Richard Griffin Classic finale include R.J. Johnson, C.J. Leary, Shon Deskins and Brady Bacon.

Inaugural Richard Griffin Classic Friday Night Results
Southern New Mexico Speedway:

Heat Races:

First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 16d-Dave Darland, 2. 56-Ryan Bernal, 3. 52-Blake Hahn, 4. 22b-Chris Windom, 5. 32b-Brian Hosford, 6. 55-David Dykes, 7. 26-Randy Smith, 8. 21az-Stevie Sussex.

Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 16-Mike Martin, 2. 20-Shon Deskins, 3. 50-Charles Davis, Jr., 4. 5-Tye Mihocko, 5. 38-Casey Shuman, 6. 17w-Harli White, 7. 7-Jesse Baker, 8. 74b-John Carney II.

Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 17rw-Kevin Thomas, Jr., 2. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 3. 73x-Brady Bacon, 4. 30-C.J. Leary, 5. 13-Dennis Gile, 6. 77m-R.J. Johnson, 7. 56w-Spencer Hill, 8. 9-Robert Herrera.

Qualifying Races – Combined Passing/Finishing Points Sets “A” Feature Lineup:

First Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 77m-R.J. Johnson, 2. 30-C.J. Leary, 3. 17rw-Kevin Thomas, Jr., 4. 16d-Dave Darland, 5. 16-Mike Martin, 6. 55-David Dykes, 7. 7-Jesse Baker, 8. 26-Randy Smith.

Second Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 5-Tye Mihocko, 2. 32b-Brian Hosford, 3. 73x-Brady Bacon, 4. 22b-Chris Windom, 5. 56-Ryan Bernal, 6. 20-Shon Deskins, 7. 56w-Spencer Hill. DNS: 21az-Stevie Sussex.

Third Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 17w-Harli White, 2. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 3. 38-Casey Shuman, 4. 50-Charles Davis, Jr., 5. 52-Blake Hahn, 6. 74b-John Carney II, 7. 9-Robert Herrera, 8. 13-Dennis Gile.

“A” Feature

A Feature (25 Laps – Starting position in parentheses): 1. 17rw-Kevin Thomas, Jr. (4), 2. 56 Ryan Bernal (6), 3. 74b-John Carney II (18), 4. 73x-Brady Bacon (11), 5. 30-C.J. Leary (5), 6. 22b-Chris Windom (9), 7. 77m-R.J. Johnson (12), 8. 17w-Harli White (15), 9. 38-Casey Shuman (14), 10. 5-Tye Mihocko (7), 11. 50-Charles Davis, Jr. (3), 12. 20-Shon Deskins (13), 13. 16d-Dave Darland (1), 14. 32b-Brian Hosford (16), 15. 16-Mike Martin (8), 16. 56w-Spencer Hill (19), 17. 7-Jesse Baker (20), 18. 26-Randy Smith (21), 19. 55-David Dykes (17), 20. 9-Robert Herrera (22), 21. 52-Blake Hahn (10), 22. 87-Aaron Reutzel (2) – Disqualified for being under the minimum weight of 1,475. DNS: 13-Dennis Gile, 21az-Stevie Sussex.

Lap Leaders: Aaron Reutzel 1, Kevin Thomas, Jr. 2-25.

Total Points after Thursday & Friday preliminaries (Top Six in Thursday & Friday Preliminary Events lock into Saturday Feature, balance lined straight up according to points in Saturday night heat races):

1. 56-Ryan Bernal 236
2. 17rw-Kevin Thomas, Jr. 225
3. 77m-R.J. Johnson 209
4. 30-C.J. Leary 205
5. 20-Shon Deskins 204
6. 73x-Brady Bacon 198
7. 16-Mike Martin 195
8. 74b-John Carney II 192
9. 50-Charles Davis, Jr. 191
10. 16d-Dave Darland 182
11. 17w-Harli White 178
12. 38-Casey Shuman 176
13. 22b-Chris Windom 174
14. 5-Tye Mihocko 165
15. 32b-Brian Hosford 155
16. 7-Jesse Baker 148
17. 26-Randy Smith 147
18. 56w-Spencer Hill 146
19. 55-David Dykes 141
20. 52-Blake Hahn 137
21. 87-Aaron Reutzel 134
22. 13-Dennis Gile 119
23. 21az-Stevie Sussex 106
24. 9-Robert Herrera 62
25. 73-Nick Rael 57