28 January 2023
Bootleg Racing League | Season 21 | Round 4
Late Model Series | Martinsville Speedway
Photograph by: Michael Goodman
Justin Morton with Total Downforce Racing claimed his 2nd win in a row tonight in the Bootleg Racing League Late Model Series at Martinsville Speedway ahead of J R Shepherd and Mathew Thunhorst. “I kind of knew going into the race, noticed in practice that we were going to be pretty short [on fuel]”, Morton commented at the end of the night, “I don’t know if I was going 100 percent there, but I was definitely trying to keep the rhythm and just keep both ends consistent and driving how I needed to drive the car.”
J R Shepherd continues to top the timing and scoring boards in qualifying with a 4-lap average time set at 20.217 tonight starting the feature from 10th with the Bootleg Racing League invert placing Bruce Pearson on the pole. Pearson led the 22-car field around to take the green flag with Joe Segalla to his outside as the action kicked off with Pearson quickly clearing out ahead going into the first corner. Much of the field went single file on the first lap with passing on the outside being especially difficult at Martinsville.
Lowell Jewell got his nose under Segalla with Kenny Kibbey following him under pushing Segalla back to 4th in a gap that formed ahead of a battle between Joseph Snyder and Matt Shinoski. Jewell soon found himself stuck on the outside when Kibbey got to his inside. Jewell tried to battle back but was forced to concede and fall back to 4th as Jason Menda was also able to get around him into 3rd. With the first 20 laps behind them, the familiar names started to rise to the front of the field with Kibbey, Menda, Justin Morton, Mathew Thunhorst, and Shepherd all running inside of the top 10.
Kibbey took a chance and went to the outside of Pearson for the lead with Menda and Thunhorst quickly closing the inside line. It was starting to go in Pearson’s favor when a miscommunication with the drivers behind him led to contact sending Pearson and Menda around on track and moving Kibbey, Morton, Thunhorst, and Shepherd all running up front when the caution came out. Racing resumed going into lap 28 with Kibbey getting a good jump as Morton slotted in 2nd ahead of Thunhorst.
Unusual for a Bootleg Racing League event, it became known that fuel was going to be an issue as the 4 leaders pulled away from the field. Morton, Thunhorst, and Shepherd had come down pit road earlier in the night for a splash to get them to the end, but Kibbey stayed out. Morton quickly took control of the lead soon after going back to green as Kibbey seemed to be running conservatively to stretch his fuel milage out a far as he could dropping back to 4th behind Shepherd but still staying with the pack.
Going into the 2nd half of the night, Morton continued to hold the lead as Shepherd was able to take advantage of a restart getting under Thunhorst to take away 2nd place after a fierce side by side battle for several laps. Kibbey followed suit diving under Thunhorst to challenge for 3rd securing the position with 40 laps remaining. Austin Boelke was struggling tonight staying within the top 10 but unable to move up through the field. With the laps quickly counting down, Morton was extending his lead out to almost 1 second ahead of Shepherd while Thunhorst patiently searched for a way around Kibbey for 3rd.
Going into the final 25 laps, it became clear that the event was not going to be completed within the allotted time to further complicate things for the drivers. Kibbey’s fuel situation was getting more and more dire while still holding onto 3rd place ahead of Thunhorst. Morton was still outpacing the rest of the leading pack going into the final moments as, in a somewhat unsurprising upset, Kibbey’s Nocturnal Gaming machine ran out of fuel, and he was forced to pull down pit road with 3 minutes to go. Going into lap 96 out of 100, the race was called on time and Justin Morton came around one more time to take the checkered flag with J R Shepherd, Mathew Thunhorst, Jeffrey Hardin, and Donny Moore rounding out the top 5 tonight at Martinsville Speedway.
J R Shepherd continues to lead in the point standings with 192 points. Kenny Kibbey holds onto 2nd place with 160 points. Mathew Thunhorst sits in 3rd with 151 points with Jason Menda holds 4th with 143 points. Lowell Jewell rounds out the top 5 in the point standings with 138 points going into the next round of the season. The Bootleg Racing League now heads over to North Wilkesboro Speedway for the next round of Season 21 on February 4th with all of the intense racing action brought to you live at 9PM ET exclusively on the Virtual Grip Network!
21 January 2023
Bootleg Racing League | Season 21 | Round 3
Late Model Series | USA Speedway
Photograph by: Michael Goodman
Justin Morton with Total Downforce Racing claimed his first win of the season tonight in the Bootleg Racing League Late Model Series at USA Speedway ahead of Mathew Thunhorst and Jason Menda. “I was cruising up front dreading a caution coming”, Morton shared with us as the night came to a close, “It did eventually come but I was kind of just trying to prepare myself for when it did happen, just trying to take care of the tires and I think that’s what gave me the edge over [Thunhorst] there at the end.”
J R Shepherd with Different Path Motorsports held the top spot in qualifying over Kenny Kibbey by 0.002 with his 4-lap average time set at 21.862 starting the feature event in 10th place with the Bootleg Racing League invert. Lowell Jewell of Thunder Ridge Racing led the 23-car field around to take the green flag with his teammate, Donny Moore, to his outside. Jewell had a strong launch off the start as Justin Morton was able to clear around Moore into 2nd before Moore could slot in line holding onto 3rd.
Kibbey was quietly pushing up through the field running in 7th as Shepherd seemed to struggle in the early stages holding around 10th with Thunhorst quickly pushing up to 16th from starting in the rear of the field. Going into lap 10, Morton had overtaken Jewell for the lead and was starting to break away from the field. Kibbey continued his charge to the front up to 4th and closing on the rear bumper of Jewell with Moore holding onto 2nd place. Kibbey tried to use the outside land to take away 3rd but wasn’t able to beat Jewell out of the corners and found himself stuck on the outside with Jason Menda and Thunhorst getting to his inside.
With 30 laps behind them, the top 8 drivers broke away from the rest as the field started to spread out around the track. Morton was cautiously extending his lead out to 1 second ahead of Moore with 2nd place through 6th all packed tightly together. Thunhorst got a nose under Menda for 4th and Kibbey took notice and quickly tried to follow him under. Kibbey and Menda made door to door contact sending Menda high up the track and falling back to 8th as he recovered and continued running.
Going into the 2nd half of the night, Moore was under pressure from Thunhorst while Morton further extended out his lead to over 2.5 seconds. Thunhorst was able to clear around Moore for 2nd place with Kibbey following him again up into 3rd as contact between Jewell and Moore ended Moore’s night early and sent Jewell back to 16th. Shepherd was still struggling to move up through the field running in 7th behind Menda with while Kibbey and Thunhorst looking to challenge for the lead.
The laps continued to count down as the majority of drivers were running single file waiting for opportunities to present themselves. Thunhorst had caught Morton while Kibbey seemed to be struggling and was falling back with reach of Todd Liston and Menda. Shepherd was also struggling unable to close the gap to Menda ahead with time running out. Thunhorst was started pressuring Morton to make a mistake, but Morton held his line well and was able to hold Thunhorst off.
Menda overtook Liston for 4th and was quickly closing on Kibbey. Going into lap 85, Menda got his nose to the inside and quickly cleared into 3rd place with Shepherd up to 5th. Morton continued to lead, and Thunhorst was starting to fall off the pace going into the final laps. As the checkered flag came out, Justin Morton came home with his first win of the season with Mathew Thunhorst, Jason Menda, Kenny Kibbey, and J R Shepherd rounding out the top 5 tonight at USA Speedway.
J R Shepherd continues to lead in the point standings with 143 points. Kenny Kibbey holds onto 2nd place with 133 points. Mathew Thunhorst sits in 3rd with 113 points with Jason Menda moving up into 4th only 1 point behind. Michael Goodman rounds out the top 5 in the point standings with 108 points going into the next round of the season. The Bootleg Racing League now heads over to Martinsville Speedway for the next round of Season 21 on January 28th with all of the intense racing action brought to you live at 9PM ET exclusively on the Virtual Grip Network!
14 January 2023
Bootleg Racing League | Season 21 | Round 2
Late Model Series | Myrtle Beach Speedway
Photograph by: Michael Goodman
Kenny Kibbey with Nocturnal Gaming claimed his 2nd series win in a row tonight in the Bootleg Racing League Late Model Series presented by Gargamel’s Kitchen at Myrtle Beach Speedway ahead of J R Shepherd and Mathew Thunhorst. “This one was a little less luck and a lot more of just hard work. I mean, that was a gritty race”, Kibbey was able to comment at the end of the night, “It’s tough making passes in these cars and we just had to not make any mistakes and take any advantage we could and just work for it.”
J R Shepherd took claimed the bonus points going into the evening by setting the fastest time at a 19.675 4-lap average in qualifying starting the feature event from 10th place with the Bootleg Racing League grid invert. Bryan Dehn qualified 10th and started on the pole to lead the 18-car field around to take the green flag with Joseph Snyder to his outside. Dehn quickly cleared out ahead as Tim Shinoski dove under Snyder for 2nd. Several other drivers saw the opportunity and Snyder found himself stranded on the outside and falling back fast.
With 5 laps completed, familiar names were slowly working their way toward the front with Austin Boelke leading Kenny Kibbey and Shepherd through traffic. Dehn continued to hold the lead ahead of Shinoski with most of the field going single file for the moment to put some laps behind them. 25 laps into the run, Dehn was extending his lead over Shinoski out to over 0.7 as Lowell Jewell started to pressure Donny Moore for 3rd. Kibbey and Shepherd felt it was time to go and went around to the outside of Boelke clearing around into 5th and 6th respectively.
Kibbey got his nose under Jewell with Shepherd still in tow and started challenging for 4th as Jewell battled back holding them off for several laps before conceding back in line from 7th ahead of Boelke. Mathew Thunhorst had quietly climbed up through the field and was running in 6th behind Shepherd as the train of cars still led by Kibbey cleared around Moore into 3rd. Dehn was maintaining his gap ahead of Shinoski with Kibbey, Shepherd, and Thunhorst closing the distance quickly.
The caution flag came out on lap 45 from contact between Rubin Altice and Joe Segalla restacking the field and placing Kibbey, Shepherd, and Thunhorst all within reach of the lead going into the 2nd half of the night. Off the jump, Shinoski was quickly being overtaken falling back 5th while Dehn defended the lead from Kibbey. After looking to the inside several times, Kibbey went wide and got around to the outside of Dehn and was able to get a nose ahead with Thunhorst slotting in behind him.
With 35 laps remaining, Kibbey, Thunhorst, and Shepherd were all clear of Dehn and battling amongst themselves for the lead. As Boelke tried to clear under Dehn the two drivers came together in the middle of the corner and fought to catch his car from a slide before coming to a stop sideway on the track bringing out another caution. Kibbey led the field around to take the green flag with Thunhorst to his outside and Shepherd directly behind him in 3rd. Off the jump, Shepherd got under Thunhorst, and they ran side by side for a brief moment before another caution came out on the track.
Kibbey again took the green flag going into lap 76 and Shepherd was again able to get under Thunhorst to challenge for 2nd place. Lap after lap, Thunhorst and Shepherd continued to run side by side with Lowell Jewell stuck behind them waiting for an opening as the caution came out again to restack the field to resume racing going into lap 84. Again, Shepherd dove under Thunhorst off the start and their battle continued as before. With the laps quickly counting down, Kibbey was able to extend out his lead of the battle for 2nd until a late race caution came out with 10 laps remaining.
With 4 laps remaining, Kibbey took the green flag for the final time with the battle for 2nd again raging between Shepherd and Thunhorst without either driver having a clear advantage when a caution came out on lap 99 ending the race under caution. Kenny Kibbey took the checkered flag with J R Shepherd taking 2nd place over Mathew Thunhorst by inches when the caution came out, with Lowell Jewell and Jason Menda rounding out the top 5 tonight at Myrtle Beach Speedway.
J R Shepherd continues to lead in the point standings with 97 points. Kenny Kibbey moved up to 2nd place with 88 points. Mathew Thunhorst jumped up to 3rd with 74 points with Lowell Jewell in 4th only 2 points behind. Michael Goodman rounds out the top 5 in the point standings with 70 points going into the 3rd round of the season. The Bootleg Racing League now heads over to USA Speedway for the next round of Season 21 on January 21st with all of the intense racing action brought to you live at 9PM ET exclusively on the Virtual Grip Network!
07 January 2023
Bootleg Racing League | Season 21 | Round 1
Late Model Series | New Smyrna Speedway
Kenny Kibbey with Nocturnal Gaming took the checkered flag tonight in the first round of the Bootleg Racing League Late Model Series at New Smyrna Speedway ahead of Mark Hertzog and J R Shepherd. “It was tough, these cars are really hard to pass in… it’s hard to makes runs”, Kibbey commented as the night came to a close, “Hoose made that mistake, and I was able to take advantage and from then on I just had to kind of manage the gap.”
J R Shepherd with Different Path Motorsports came into the evening strong jumping to the top of the timing and scoring boards with a 4-lap average time of 18.705 in qualifying starting in 10th for the feature event with Matt Hoose of Thunder Ridge Racing starting on the pole due to the Bootleg Racing League qualifying invert. Matt Thunhorst, a highly skilled driver and previous season winner, surprisingly opted to not qualify and lined up in 21st as the green flag came out.
Hoose had a good launch off the start and quickly cleared ahead of Kenny Kibbey going into the first corner while the 26-car field shuffled for early positions before going single file to get settled in to put some laps behind them. Kibbey stayed tight against the rear bumper of Hoose waiting patiently for an opportunity to take advantage of for the lead. Shepherd was quietly moving up through the field running in 9th and trailing a side-by-side battle between Jason Menda and Justin Morton for 7th ahead of him.
With the first 15 laps behind them, Hoose and Kibbey had started to build up a gap ahead of Donny Moore in 3rd over 1 second behind them. Shepherd cleared around Morton as Menda cleared into 7th momentarily before Shepherd quickly put Menda behind him as well with Tim Shinoski following him up into 8th. Only 1/4 of the way through the night, Hoose had reached the first signs of lap traffic with Kibbey still close behind. Mark Hertzog had climbed up 2 spots into 4th and was slowly reeling Moore in.
Thunhorst was struggling further back in the field up 9 spots into 12th but not pushing through the field as quickly as he had been earlier in the night. Shepherd had caught Lowell Jewell and quickly dove under to take 5th place with over 1 second between himself and Hertzog. With over a 2 second gap between the leaders and the rest of the field, Kibbey started experimenting looking to the inside of Hoose but seemed unable to challenge for the lead at that point as the caution came out as Hertzog and Moore came together. Moore recovered quickly from the resulting spin but dropped back to 11th for the restart.
Hoose led the field around to take the green flag going into the 2nd half of the night with Kibbey to his outside. Hoose and Kibbey quickly went single file, but Shepherd saw an opportunity and stayed to the outside Hertzog going after 3rd place. As they battled, Hertzog and Shepherd made contact sending Shepherd into the outside wall dropping back to 6th as the caution came out again. Further back in the field, Stephen Spies and Snyder made contact forcing Spies up the track putting Todd Liston hard into the outside wall and collected several other drivers down the front stretch.
Racing resumed with 41 laps remaining with Kibbey in control of the field ahead of Hoose. Hertzog dove under Hoose and was able to clear into 2nd after several laps battling side-by-side allowing Kibbey to pull away from the field. Shepherd was back up to 4th as Thunhorst broke into the top 10 and was continuing his climb running in 8th. With 30 laps to go, Shepherd saw his chance and cleared around under Hoose securing 3rd place. Lap 75 brought another caution with contact between Mike Allen and Joe Segalla resulted with Allen going around in turn two collecting Kurt Smith.
Kibbey took the green flag with a great jump in the final 21 laps of the night. Shepherd looked to the inside of Hertzog but had to concede back in 3rd while Hoose was able to hold of Shinoski for 4th. As the laps counted down, a late race caution came out from contact between Rubin Altice and Michael Smith further back in the field blocking the back stretch and ended the night as Kenny Kibbey took the checkered flag under caution flag condition with Mark Hertzog, J R Shepherd, Matt Hoose, and Mathew Thunhorst rounding out the top 5 tonight at New Smyrna Speedway.
J R Shepherd secured the points lead after the first round with 48 points. Tim Shinoski holds 2nd place 5 points behind Shepherd. Mark Hertzog sits in 3rd with 41 points and Kenny Kibbey, tonight’s race winner, in 4th with 40 points. Matt Hoose rounds out the top 5 in the point standings with 37 points starting off the new season. The Bootleg Racing League now heads over to Myrtle Beach Speedway for the next round of Season 21 on January 14th with all of the intense racing action brought to you live at 9PM ET exclusively on the Virtual Grip Network!