NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series: Las Vegas Final

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NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Series

Las Vegas Final

words and photos by Kirk Walton

For the last NHRA Lucas Oil Divisional/Regional race of the year was held in Las Vegas in November 1-4th, 2018. Not only was the Pacific (D7) division championship up for grabs, the Northwest (D6) division was as well.

Friday, November 2nd saw some great weather for the first round of qualifying based of reaction times. Weather was great with just a slight breeze and temps in the 70’s.

Usually this race is the highest attended LODRS of the year but this year only 16 bikes showed up from three different divisions (5, 6 and 7).

Local Las Vegas rider, Leo Shaver led off the first round in the #1 spot with a .004. Summit ET D7 champ Rick Newport, Bluffdale, UT was second with a .008 and Anthony Vanetti, Elk Grove, CA, with a .021. That would be the only run on Friday.

Saturday, November 3rd would still be in the 70’s but with a strong head/cross wind, gusting up to 25mph. It didn’t slow down the reaction times though. Shaver held the #1 spot with the .004 but Bruce Sampson, Forest Lake, MN also got a .004 to move him into second spot. Tom Medlin, La Mirada, CA, moved up to third with a .005. For the final qualifying run on Saturday, everyone went for the #1 spot.

Dave “Wheels” Wheeler, Murray, UT, started off the chase with a .003 to move to #1 for a moment. Miles Hauer, Camano Island, WA, matched it with a .003. But it would get better. Bruce Sampson, Forest Lake, MN, then got a perfect light (.000) to steal away the #1 spot. Rick Newport tried his best and moved into the #2 spot with a nice .001.
Final order for the 16:

  1. 5167 Bruce Sampson, Forest Lake MN, ’99 GSXR 0.000
  2. 71 Rick Newport, Bluffdale UT, ’95 GSXR0.001
  3. 772 David Wheeler, Murray UT, ’06 ZX14 0.003
  4. 692 Miles Hauer, Camano Island WA, ’04 Suzuki 0.003
  5. 775 Leo Shaver, Las Vegas NV, ’87 Kawasaki 0.004
  6. 771 Tom Medlin, La Mirada CA, ’93 GSXR 0.005
  7. 77 Larry Mota, Orem UT, ’15 Kawasaki ZX-14R 0.008
  8. 7115 Gary Oaks, Las Vegas NV, ’78 Kawasaki 0.011
  9. 73 Ron Alves, Colusa CA, ’80 Kawasaki 0.014
  10. 330 Anthony Jay Vanetti, Elk Grove CA, ’00 GS 0.021
  11. 7530 Kahea Woods, Las Vegas NV, ’95 GSXR 0.042
  12. 76 Kirk Walton, Salt Lake City UT, ’12 ZX14 0.054
  13. 753 Reggie Mackay, Lemon Grove CA, ’95 Buell 0.057
  14. 72 Eric Jaquith, Queen Creek AZ, ’06 Hayabusa 0.060
  15. 747F Gary Stoffer, Garderville NV, ’83 GS 0.242
  16. 758 Eddie Sharron, Pahrump NV, ’91 ZX11 No Time

First Round:

Sunday, November 4th, saw the wind die down, temperature at 72degF, humidity at 22%, with the altitude adjusted to 3,553ft and track temp at 87F.

Leo Shaver took on Reggie MacKay, Lemon Grove, CA and had a big reaction time advantage (.077 vs .298) but couldn’t run his number. Reggie didn’t look back to see Leo’s trouble and that forced McKay to break out. 11.079@111.77mph on the 11.10 dial. Leo slowed to 9.456@145.83mph on the 8.90.

The next pair was a double breakout. Kahea Woods was closer to his dial and beat Dave Wheeler. Kahea had the reaction time advantage (.040 vs .071). Wheels ran 9.294@138.96mph on the 9.35 to Woods 8.718@151.71mph on the 8.72 dial.

Two Las Vegas riders went against each other with Gary Oaks winning when Eddie Sharron redlighed (-.067). Gary ran it out to 8.81@152.42mph (8.73). Eddie ran 9.139@155.61mph on the 8.70.

Miles Hauer (near lane) lost this battle with Gary Oaks but won the NHRA Northwest Division championship with this 2nd round appearance.

The next pair would have season points ramifications. Anthony Vanetti, who came into the race in second place in D7, would take on the third place rider, Rick Newport. The winner would still have a chance to catch points leader Larry Mota. It was over when Anthony left early. He ran it out to 8.299@161.36mph on the 8.15. Rick ran a great run with a perfect light, 8.010@157.83mph on the 8.00 dial. With the win Newport moved into second place.

Eric Jaquith, Queen Creek, AZ, moved on when Tom Medlin redlighted (-.009). Eric ran it out to 9.567@136.46mph on his 9.52. Tom also ran it out to a 8.340@158.15mph on the 8.22.

Points leader Larry Mota, Orem, UT, took on Gary Stoffer. Gary redlighted by -.022 giving Mota a free run. Mota ran 9.196@143.47mph on a 9.22, Stoffer ran 9.794@141.33mph on the 9.73.

Miles Hauer, needed to win to keep his 2018 NHRA Northwest title hopes alive. Kirk Walton, Salt Lake City, UT, helped him out with a -.025 redlight. Miles ran right on his dial anyway with a 8.059@158.37mph (8.05). Walton ran 10.440@141.19mph on a 10.21.

Ron Alves, Colusa, CA, was having issues all weekend getting his turbo Kawasaki down the track all weekend. So he dialed it back to a 9.57 against Bruce Sampson who dialed 8.28. Alves had a great .010 reaction to Sampson’s .234. In Sampson’s defense, he had to turn off crosstalk in eliminations since it doesn’t work on the split tree D7 (and D6) use. Bruce ended up winning when Alves couldn’t run the number, 9.870@129.48mph to Bruce’s 8.293@148.44mph.


The first pair up in the quarterfinals was Larry Mota vs. Kahea Woods. Woods used a great reaction time of .006 vs .030 to force Mota to break out. 9.178@140.42mph on the 9.20, Woods ran 8.767@150.51mph on the 8.72. Mota would have to wait to see how Newport would do for the season points race.

Leo Shaver forced Bruce Sampson into a break out. Shaver ran .053 reaction, 9.036@129.89mph on the 8.97 vs .223 reaction, 8.247@158.39mph on the 8.28 dial in.

Eric Jaquith beat Rick Newport to give Larry Mota the 2018 season championship. Eric got the reaction time advantage (.059 vs .121) and then Rick missed a shift to give him the win. Jaquith ran 9.533@138.94mph, almost breaking out on the 9.53. Newport ran 9.464@133.61mph on the 7.98.

Miles Hauer had a .009 reaction time and was late! Gary Oaks had a .002 reaction time on him and ran 8.753@149.08mph on the 8.74. Hauer broke out on the 8.06 dial with a 8.039@157.80mph. So initially we thought Miles was tied with D6 rider Don DePeel and lost the tiebreaker and the championship.


Three of the four semifinalists were local Nevada racers.

Semifinal with two Las Vegas riders. Leo Shaver (near lane) lost to Kahea Woods.

Leo Shaver had to take on Kahea Woods. Kahea got the reaction time advantage (.032 vs .051) and got around with a 8.830@139.91mph on the 8.75. Leo ran 9.036@138.00mph on the 8.93.

Eric Jaquith advanced to the final when Gary Oaks redlighted by just -.002. Jaquith ran it out with a 9.540@140.37mph on the 9.52. Oaks ran 8.755@152.64mph on the 8.74.

Semifinal with Queen Creek, AZ rider Eric Jaquith (near lane) winning by a redlight (-.002) against Las Vegas rider Gary Oaks.


In the final, Kahea Woods got the starting line jump with a .021 vs Eric Jaquith’s .070. He needed all of it when Jaquith ran right on his dial of 9.53 with a 9.538@140.50mph. Kahea took the win running a 8.771@143.46mph on the 8.75.

Kahea added, “Glory to God, Newport/Woods Mota-Sports had a challenging weekend to start out.

Our focus was getting Ricks bike sorted out after our clutch issues at the ET Finals. After the first hit our problems was still with us. We made a huge change and the bike came around and went 7.97 @ 166mph.

Final with Eric Jaquith vs Kahea Woods

With that being us it was time to focus on the Division 7 title. Rick, Anthony And Larry where in a battle for the title. Rick has Anthony 1st round and got it done. Both Larry and Rick went out in round 2 and that makes Larry Mota your 2018 Division 7 Sportsman Motorcycle Champion. Good job buddy.

We ended up winning the race with my bike, so a great weekend all in all.

Thank you Jeff Foster and Mike Rice and Crew for a flawless event. You guys rock.

Thank you to our sponsors, we could not do this without your support”
Torco USAs
Robinson Industries
Worldwide Bearings
Grothus Dragbikes
Primo Customs
BPM Racing Engines
Web Camshafts
And Bob Johnson for your awesome photos

With the final race in the books, Larry Mota wins the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Pacific Division championship. Congratulations to Larry, his wife and crew chief Tiffany Mota.

Larry had this to say:
“WOW! Newport Woods Mota-sports did it. . . My 1st ever division 7 championship. I still don’t know how, and can’t believe it happened but I am so excited for it. If I’m being honest, I’m glad it’s finally over. The last race and the month leading up to it have been nerve racking.

I want to thank all of those of you that have taken time to congratulate me via texts, calls, social media, and in person. You all help make this that much more of a memorable event. THANK YOU ALL!

There are also several people that I owe a ton of thanks, praise, gratitude, and love to. Please forgive me if I miss you in this post.

First and foremost thank you God for keeping me safe throughout the entire season, both on the track and off, and while traveling to and from events.

Thank you to the most important person of the team Tiffany Donaldson Mota (Poptart). You have been there through thick and thin, good times and bad, taken blame for losses that weren’t your fault, been my biggest cheerleader and supporter, and taken losses harder than I have. You dial the bike, keep me calm and focused when I need it most and motivate and encourage me at the right times. Thank you for everything and I love you Rick Newport, you took me under you wing this year, showed me the ropes, got me to and from several races safely driving for hour upon hour through the night, gave me advise, helped me with my setup, and gave me hope when I thought all was lost. You have carried the number 71 several times, and for good reason. You may not have won the championship this year, but you will always be a champion to me and your season isn’t over yet. . . You’re going to go down to Pomona and kick butt and be WORLD CHAMPION!!!

A good couple of races and all smiles for the Newport/Woods/Mota crew. Larry Mota (left) won the 2018 NHRA Lucas Oil Division championship, finished 2nd in the Summit ET race. Kahea Woods (center) won the final Lucas Oil D7 race of the year. Rick Newport (right) won the Summit ET D7 championship, finished 2nd in the Lucas Oil standings.Kahea Woods, congratulations on your win. You are a stud and nobody can deny that. You are selfless and always willing to help anybody, anywhere, at any time. You truly are a man of God and I love you buddy.

Anthony Vanetti, you are a great competitor and friend. You had a great season and I’m sure you will come back next year with more experience and stronger than ever. Congrats on a podium finish.

A few other people I want to mention for helping or encouraging me in one way or another.
Aaron Pine, Glenn Merchant, Tommy Walsh, Tom Bogner, Lucas Oil Products, NJK Leathers, Kelcey Gordon, Route21, Imtiaz Mukhtar, all of Utah RMR racing family, and all of my LVMS racing family, John Evans, Justin Bukovinsky, Mike Cragun, Morgan Rider, Ryan & Shalee Kruger and just to make sure he read the whole post even though it probably took an hour, Jeff Durfey.”

Miles Hauer ended up winning the Northwest division (D6) by one point over Don DePeel. He received the official phone call on the way home to Washington. With only 16 bikes entered, everyone got 31 points for showing up first round instead of the usual 30. So with that, he ended up winning the championship. Congratulations to Miles and wife/crew chief Amy for winning it all in 2018. Miles would like to thank, his wife [Amy] “is my greatest supporter, and I get my motor parts from Fast by Gast.”

The top ten in 2018 D7 are:

01 Larry Mota 317 7
02 Rick Newport 295 7
03 Anthony Vanetti 285 7
04 Ron Alves 219 8
05 Jason Clampitt 187 6
06 Eric Jaquith 169 4
07 Cameron Belisle 155 5
08 Kirk Walton 145 4
09 David Wheeler 113 3
10 Donald Martin Jr

Next year’s tentative schedule is out for 2019 already – Click here 

Mike Rice, NHRA D7 director, Kahea Woods, winner, Rick Newport NHRA D7 Summit ET champ and teammate, Larry Mota, 2018 NHRA D7 Sportsman Motorcycle champion

Thanks again to everyone for a great 2018 and look forward to 2019!