TUCSON, Ariz. (January 13) – Terry Phillips came into night number three of the 4th annual Wild West Shootout at USA Raceway with two top five finishes to his credit. Those efforts came from starting spots deep in the field, have combined to pass 19 drivers in those events. Given that Phillips had one of the fastest cars on the property, it only seemed logical that if he could improve his starting position a win (or multiple wins) would be inevitable. It all came together on Wednesday night.
After starting fourth, Phillips maneuvered his Andy’s Frozen Custard / Don Babb Motorsports / New Vision Graphics / Integra Shocks / Sunoco Race Fuels / Hatfield Race Engines / GRT by Phillips to the lead on lap 16, lost the top spots to Sunday winner Billy Moyer on lap 28, and re-took it with a last lap turn three slide job that left the USA Raceway patrons in a state of stunned excitement.
Chris Shannon earned the pole position for the night’s 30-lap main event and took the lead off the initial green which was scrubbed when Will Vaught spun his Warrior chassis in turn two. On the restart Shannon again jumped to the point as Phillips gained two to run second followed by Jack Sullivan, outside pole sitter Rylan Long and Mike Balcaen in Dean Moore’s 14m.
Position swapping was fast and furious early as Moyer went from seventh to fourth, John Lowry skipped from ninth to sixth, and Jimmy Mars launched from thirteenth to ninth all before the completion of lap three. The races second yellow appeared for a five car melee in turn one between Vaught, Brad Looney, Mark Carroll, Bo Gordon and Paul Mueller. All five drivers retired from the event as did Don Shaw who was running 10th.
On the Delaware double file restart Shannon again lead away at the green with Phillips second and Moyer getting around Sullivan for third. Sullivan would quickly lose fourth to Lowry as Frank Heckenast, Jr ran sixth, Long now seventh, Mars eighth, 15th starting Randy Korte was ninth and Balcaen rounded out the top ten.
Sullivan would return the favor to Lowry on lap five as both Long and Mars moved past Heckenast, Jr. Long and Mars then would both move past Lowry as well on lap six, with Mars also getting around Long while Korte jumped two spots to eighth as each position was in a constant state of flux all around the USA Raceway.
With ten laps in Shannon continued to lead chased by Phillips, Moyer, Sullivan and Mars. Sixth thought tenth were currently occupied by Long, Lowry, Korte, Balcaen and Heckenast, Jr.
Steve Drake and Jeremy Payne would get past Heckenast, Jr on lap 16 as Shannon continued his great run around the bottom of the racetrack and closed on the rear of the field. While the positions mid-pack began to settle in, the battle for the lead began to heat up. Phillips began putting the pressure on Shannon as the leader tried to negotiate thought the slower lapped traffic. Shannon would slip off the bottom in turn one on lap 16, opening the door for not only Phillips to take over the top spot but for Moyer to sneak through to second.
Phillips was working the lapped traffic like a master opening up a sizable advantage over Moyer as the field clicked past 20 complete. Mars took advantage of the traffic to move past Sullivan and Shannon on lap 22 to take over third. Moyer began to work the high side slowly dwindled his disadvantage until he was all over the leader rear deck as Phillips worked traffic low with just five to go.
Moyer and Phillips would race side by side for the lead on lap 27 as Moyer would use the top side momentum to grab the lead off of turn two on lap 28. Phillips mounted a return assault as the two were again side by side with the white flag in the air.
The two front runners would race wheel to wheel into turn one as Moyer nosed ahead in turn two. Phillips got a great drive off the bottom of two and raced even with Moyer down the backstretch as the pair approached turn three. Phillips drove his GRT deep into three and pulled the classic slide job as he drove past Moyer in the middle of three and four to steal the last lap, last turn win.
For Phillips, it was his ninth career Wild West Shootout win, extending his advantage as the series all time winningest driver, and denying Moyer his third career win. For Moyer, it was the second time in series history he was passed for the lead on the last lap; the first was by Jeff Taylor back in 2003.
1 4 75 Terry Phillips Springfield, MO $3,000
2 7 21 Billy Moyer Batesville, AR 1,500
3 13 28 Jimmy Mars Menomonie, WI 800
4 1 32S Chris Shannon Merced, CA 600
5 3 1X Jack Sullivan Greenbriar, AR 550
6 2 18 Rylan Long Greenfield, MO 500
7 15 00 Randy Korte Highland, IL 450
8 9 8L John Lowrey Bakersfield, CA 400
9 5 14M Mike Balcaen Winnipeg, MB 350
10 11 11X Steve Drake San Luis Obispo, CA 300
11 16 2 John Anderson Omaha, NE 300
12 10 90 Lance Matthees Winona, MN 300
13 18 74 Jeremy Payne Springfield, MO 300
14 12 10N Robert Sanders Bakersfield, CA 300
15 6 99JR Frank Heckenast Jr Orlan Park, IL 300
16 17 11 Pat Doar New Richmond, Wi 300
17 14 32B Clay Daly Bakersfield, CA 300
18 20 07 Kelly Boen Henderson, CO 300
19 8 12S Don Shaw Ham Lake, MN 300
20 24 11M Paul Mueller Bismarck, ND 300
21 22 14 Brad Looney Republic, MO 300
22 21 26C Mark Carrell Redmond, OR 300
23 19 1 Will Vaught Crane, MO 300
24 23 34 Bo Gordon Shaw, MS 300
A-Main: Terry Phillips, Billy Moyer, Jimmy Mars, Chris Shannon, Jack Sullivan, Rylan Long, Randy Korte, John Lowry, Mike Balcaen, Steve Drake, John Anderson, Lance Matthees, Rob Sanders, Frank Heckenast, Jr, Jeremy Payne, Clay Daly, Pat Doar, Kelly Boen, Don Shaw, Paul Mueller, Brad Looney, Mark Carroll, Will Vaught, Bo Gordon
B-1: Pat Doar, Will Vaught, Mar Carroll, Bo Gordon, Eric Turner, Adam Crippen, Greg Walters, Jeff Biffle, Andres McKay, Matt Aukland, Joey Moriarty, David Vennard, Jamie Throckmorton, Paul Gugleilmoni – scratch, Ronnie Rihn – scratch
B-2: Jeremy Payne, Kelly Boen, Brad Looney, Paul Mueller, Rob Mayea, Blaine Doppler, Dan Henrickson, Tommy Hussek, Marty Hussek, Scott Johnson, Mike Meger, Tyler Reddick, James Chavez, Grant Junghans – scratch, Logan Drake – scratch
Heat 1: Balcaen, Drake, Anderson, Payne, Henrickson, Junghans, Chavez, Walters, Turner
Heat 2: Shaw, Moyer, Mars, Matthees, Aukland, S. Johnson, T. Hussek, Vennard, Meger
Heat 3: Phillips, Shannon, Crippen, Doar, Moriarty, Boen, Vaught, Throckmorton, L. Drake
Heat 4: Lowry, Sanders, Sullivan, Carroll, Korte, Looney, McKay, Mueller, Mayea
Heat 5: Heckenast, Long, Gordon, Daly, Doppler, Gugleilmoni, Biffle, M. Hussek, Rihn, Reddick – scratch