FF: Jake Gomes Las Vegas summary

Manteca's Jake Gomes Strikes Gold in Vegas! May 3, 2008 Las Vegas, NV - Las Vegas Motor Speedway's Bull Ring has a new Baby Grand Master after this weekend. 15-year-old Jacob Gomes piloted the PumkinMaze/Gomes Motorsports Baby...

Manteca's Jake Gomes Strikes Gold in Vegas!

May 3, 2008 Las Vegas, NV - Las Vegas Motor Speedway's Bull Ring has a new Baby Grand Master after this weekend. 15-year-old Jacob Gomes piloted the PumkinMaze/Gomes Motorsports Baby Grand to a track record and clean sweep of the events for the night at Saturday's USAC Focus/WWW600.COM/West Coast Baby Grand 2 day event.

Friday proved to be a long day and night for the 3 car Gomes Motorsports Team starting with the early morning flight to Las Vegas. Going straight to the track, the drivers Jacob Gomes and Joshua Gomes joined the team who arrived the day before. The first practice of the afternoon prove exciting as Jake drove the Land & Sea Organics Chevy Monte Carlo to a new track record over the hard charging competition of Baby Grands from California and Canada.

As the second practice session got under way, disaster struck as the Western Farm Service Monte Carlos' engine exploded in turn 3 depositing burning engine parts throughout turn 4. The Gomes Motorsports threat continued with younger brother Josh Gomes now leading the field with lap times near equal to his brother's efforts, only to be edged by the Canadian #22 car of Mike Kipp. It had been Kipp's constant lap times driving the competition to the breaking point even during the practice sessions. The Gomes Motorsports crew rallied to the call and replaced the hand grenaded engine firing it just before midnight in preparation for Saturday's event.

The Baby Grand Qualifying fielded top teams from California and Canada bringing each leader to do battle on the famous 3/8-mile paved oval known as The Bull Ring of Las Vegas Motor Speedway. At the final flag it was Jake Gomes the fastest of the fastest by only five 1000th's (.005) of a second over Canada's Mike Kipp. The Gomes luck held as the pea draw resulted in a straight up lineup for the night's events. This placed the Mid Cal John Deere Tractor Monte Carlo on the pole for the 10 lap Heat Race and the 25 Lap Main MMRA Regional Points Main Event.

At the 10 lap Heat Race green flag, Gomes' #16 Monte Carlo edged a slim lead on the inside line over Canada's #22 Kipp who found the high line to his liking grabbing the lead on lap 3. Door to door racing for the next 3 laps brought the Las Vegas fans to their feet as they got their first look at the nationally sanctioned Baby Grand cars. On lap 7, Gomes's patience and study of the #22 car paid off as Kipp allowed an opportunity for a low inside pass by Gomes. It was the #16 Gomes Motorsports Monte Carlo at the line for the checkered flag win on the back up motor installed the night before. Heat Race finishing placed Jake Gomes in1st, Kipp 2nd, Mike Sandoval (Gomes Motorsports affiliated 3rd Team Car) 3rd, California's Justin Wall #83 in 4th and Gomes Motorsports Josh Gomes #18 in 5th. California based Baby Grands (WSRA and MMRA Associated cars) totaled 7 for the event with 4 finishing in the Heat Race top 5 spots.

With Legends, Roadsters, USAC Focus cars, and Bandoleros on the bill for the night, the Baby Grand Division got a short break to catch their breath and enjoy some racing, Las Vegas style, before their 25 lap Main Event.

Lineup for the Baby Grand Main placed #16 Jake Gomes on the pole with Canada's #22 Mike Kipp outside of him due to the straight up qualifying grid. At the green flag, Kipp exploded to the lead with Jake Gomes in close pursuit. With Gomes filling his mirror, Kipp held his high line racing and maximized any opportunity to maintain his lead of the ever threatening Monte Carlo of Gomes. Lap 15 raised the crowd to their feet and loud voiced fears from the pits as Justin Wall's #83 Baby Grand exploded in flames due to a failed engine. As the car coasted towards the infield, Wall kept his head fighting off the fumes and burning heat and exited the still moving car to safety.

Thanks to the professionalism of the Bull Ring's Safety Crew and the advanced safety features of the Baby Grand Race Car construction, Wall suffered only minor injury to his foot and was able to continue to watch the race from the pits.

On the restart with 10 laps to go, Kipp once again edged the lead out of turn 2 but this time Gomes put the #16 squarely in the 20 year old Kipp's mirror letting him know that this race was far from over. With 8 laps to go on lap 17, Gomes made an outstanding move to free up the low line and he breezed the Todd Girabaldi Ins./Wrapped Graphics Monte Carlo to the lead and bored down for the remaining laps. As brother Jake took the lead, Josh Gomes played his trump card and came from the 6th spot finding new ways and means around the field to put the Seimering Farms Monte Carlos in the 3rd spot at the line for the finish.

" I knew I could run with the Canada car but I really had to watch his style of driving and make my move when the time was right. The Crew gave me the best car I could have especially after blowing the motor in practice. I knew we had a big job ahead of us and we had to get it done. The whole Team won and I want to thanks them for being part of Gomes Motorsports" quipped the 15 years old, 2-time West Coast National Past Champion of Municup fame.

Coming off a 3 day MMRA National Baby Grand Pro winning event in Florida, Jake Gomes and Team prepare for the next WSRA events at Roseville and Madera speedways in California. For 2008 this makes the fourth First Place finish in as many races in California, Florida and now Nevada. This season's schedule includes Montana and other locations yet to be announced. Driver Development Programs are being entertained for the 2008 and 2009 seasons.

-credit: gm

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Series USAC