Johnson clean sweeps Labor Day Fling

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September 3, 2017  |  by Ruben Mireles

R.J. Johnson won the Sands Chevrolet USAC/NMMRA Sprint Car feature.
R.J. Johnson won the Sands Chevrolet USAC/NMMRA Sprint Car feature.
Fans filed in on a beautiful Sunday night edition at the Southern New Mexico Speedway for night two of the Labor Day Fling. The Sands Chevrolet USAC/NMMRA Sprint Cars, Claimers, Mini- Sprints, Jack Key Auto Group USRA X-Mods, Casa Nissan Legends of the Southwest and Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars gave the fans a good night of racing to end the Labor Day Weekend.

Eighteen Claimers checked in for battle as Susana Bonesteel lead the first lap of the fifteen lap feature until Scott Sullivan took it on lap two. A caution would fly for Robert Eddy in turn two. On the restart Sullivan would take off to lead two more laps until another caution flew on lap four for Peter Smith who is only running his second main event at the age of 13. On the restart Sullivan would shave some laps off while Dawson Manicki challenged Jared Lathem for second. Manicki would win the battle. A caution would fly on lap eight for Bonesteel in turn four. On the restart Sullivan would shave off a lap until a red flag would fly for George Ross as he launched off of turn two flying into the piles of dirt in the pits! Ross would be okay, but the officials would cut laps to make it a green-white-checkered finish. At the restart Sullivan would run away to win the main event.

The Jack Key Auto Group USRA X-Mods got rained out two weeks ago due to mother nature pouring down on the race track making it unable to race. The same line up would stand and it was two weeks ago. John Carney Sr would share the front row with Israel Ortega. At the green John Carney Sr. would lead the main with a caution flying on lap five. On the restart Carney would lead it until Fito Gallardo challenged for the lead! Gallardo would run away by a half-track to win the make-up feature.

Fifteen laps for the six Mini-Sprints that checked in and it was a wild start! Spencer Hill and Derek Ortega went side by side until Ortega would kill Hill's momentum in turn two causing Hill to get loose and Melissa Gorham checking up fast as Hill spun with Don Kruse reacting late and flipping in turn two! Kruse would be okay. At the green Gorham would run away and dominate the 15 laps of tonight's main event.

Race track conditions started to go away as it was a top line race track for the Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars. Jacob Gallardo started on the pole with Jaime Torres on the outside. Gallardo would take off not being touched while Jimmy Ray and Jaime Torres battled for runner-up position. Donovan Flores started last and would find himself fourth, but the leaders were far gone. A caution would fly on lap 11. On the restart Flores would get to third battling Ray. Gallardo would just run away though as he picks up the main event.

Twenty laps for the Casa Nissan Legends of the Southwest started with three-wide racing as Tyler Beiter lead the way until a caution flew on lap four. Dusty Riggs started eighth and took the lead on the restart. Dylan Harris challenged Riggs for the lead but couldn't get it done. Josh Jackson then challenged for the lead, but couldn't get it done either. Riggs was really smooth holding off the pack through four cautions to win the main event.

The fans of Southern New Mexico were ready for the wingless warriors as the Sands Chevrolet USAC/NMMRA Sprint Cars took the track for their 30-lap feature. Shon Deskins established the front row with Don Grable. At the start, Deskins is money when it comes to running the top. Deskins would lead the opening six laps approaching lapped traffic until a caution flew. On the restart Deskins led another lap with a caution following. On the lap seven restart Deskins had a handful of R.J. Johnson. Johnson was strong on the top trying to show Deskins a nose here and there, but couldn't get around him. On lap 12 Deskins' right rear tire slipped off the back straight-away, forcing him to fly off of turns three and four. Johnson would capitalize and snatch the lead. Deskins would get right back on the hammer and secure second. A caution would fly on lap 20. On the restart Johnson had no trouble taking control from there. Another caution flew on lap 24, but again on the restart Johnson would run away. Nick Aiuto, who started 13th, would find himself third! Rick Ziehl also came from 10th to fifth. One more caution flew making it a green-white-checkered finish. Aiuto showed Deskins some nose wanting second which forced Deskins to pressure Johnson, but laps would run out as Johnson picks up his 15th win of the 2017 season, clean sweeps the Border Tour for the second time in his career and gets his eighth Border Tour win as he's 15 of 32 in 2017. Johnson plans on going for four straight wins at the Perris Auto Speedway next weekend to break history as only one driver has ever won four straight at the track.

The Jack Key Auto Group USRA X-Mods ended the night with the topless $1,000-to-win main event. Mike Rosales and Jacob Gallardo started on the front row and at the green it was Gallardo taking off with it. Fito Gallardo would jump to second followed by Josh Cain. Things would single file as the track started to rubber down. Jacob Gallardo broke into a big lead until lapped traffic came into play on lap 10. Fito Gallardo closed in on him, but Jacob Gallardo didn't waste any time as he lapped 11 cars until a caution flew on lap 17. On the restart Bumper Jones, who was driving Rick Hall's No. X15 machine, managed his way to second after starting 20th! Jacob Gallardo and Jones were just equal in speed, and with no cautions Jacob Gallardo would end up leading it from flag to flag to win the main event!