LAS VEGAS (November 16, 2013) – No brag, just fact. That's the expression that came to mind Saturday night after Matthew Hicks won the final race of the season for the Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by LoanMart.


The 75-lap Lucas Oil West Coast Short Track Championship presented by General Tire was run in fits and starts because of numerous incidents that caused nine yellow flags and one brief red flag stoppage.

Hicks said he never was concerned about being able to protect his lead, though.

"I had the best car. I didn't have anything to worry about," the Lakeside, California, resident said after leading the final 65 laps, finishing 0.428 seconds ahead of former California state champion Scott Winters of Tracy, California, and taking home $2,600.

It sounded boastful. It wasn't.

The weekend got under way with 50 drivers from nine states on hand and 46 of them made qualifying attempts Saturday afternoon. Hicks spent one practice session working on running consistent lap times in his Lyle Hunter Tax Service Lefthander Chevrolet. He showed he had the speed by taking the Budweiser Fast Time award with a lap of the 3/8-mile oval at 15.271 seconds, and after Hicks got the race lead from pole-sitter Doug Hamm of Las Vegas on lap 11 he never was seriously threatened.

Winters ran in the top five all night, but Las Vegas driver Joe DeGuevera spun and went to the rear of the 26-car field after an early incident, then charged back to finish third, with Shelby Stroebel of Meridian, Idaho, fourth and hometown driver Aaron McMorran fifth.

Chris Gerchman didn't challenge for the win, as anticipated, but he did prove prophetic. The series all-time leader in victories and prize money needed only to start the race to claim his first series championship. Early in the day he said he wasn't taking that for granted, though, because "they haven't waved the green flag and strange things happen (to him) here."

Gerchman qualified third and took the green flag. Then he immediately slowed down and drove around the track at little more than an idle until losing power on lap 4 and being pushed to the pits. Gerchman said the transmission in his Peggy's Sunrise Cafe/GnG Auto STR Chevrolet "jumped into neutral and the crew had to put it in gear manually." He came back to the track on lap 13 and eventually finished 21st, 7 laps down. But the 26-year-old Spring Branch, Texas, resident now has a title to cap his list of accomplishments after finishing third three times and second last season.

Hicks was the fifth different winner of the season.


At The Bullring (3/8-mile oval) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Saturday, November 16, 2013

MAIN EVENT (75 laps) – 1. Matthew Hicks, Lakeside, California; 2. Scott Winters, Tracy, California; 3. Joe DeGuevera, Las Vegas; 4. Shelby Stroebel, Meridian, Idaho; 5. Aaron McMorran, Las Vegas; 6. Tripp Gaylord, Golden, Colorado; 7. Rich Lindgren, Rio Liinda, California; 8. Doug Carpenter, La Mesa, California; 9. Mark Ith Jr., Magna, Utah; 10. Doug Hamm, Las Vegas;

11. Mike Salm, Fallbrook, California; 12. Jim Mardis, Yucaipa, California; 13. Michael Hale, Salt Lake City, Utah; 14. Brad Tilton, Cheyenne, Wyoming; 15. Tim Morse, Burbank, California; 16. Dave Arce, Santee, California; 17. Nik Romano, Menlo Park, California; 18. David Crouch, Manteca, California; 19. Jay Linstroth, Citrus Heights, California; 20. Roger brown, Corona, California;

21. Chris Gerchman, Spring Branch, Texas; 22. Jason Patison, Corona; 23. JA Junior, Las Vegas; 24. Chase Catania, El Cajon, California; 25. Jason Bamberg, Loomis, California; 26. Jessica Clark, Ventura, California.

Margin of victory – 0.428 seconds. Average speed – 29.354 mph. Budweiser Fast Time – Hicks, 15.271 seconds/88.403 mph; BILSTEIN Trophy Dash winner – Stroebel.

First B main (20 laps) – 1. Ith Jr., 2. Hale; 3. Jimmy Waters, Salt Lake City; 4. Brian Collins, Camino, California; 5. Lynn Hardy, Salt Lake City; 6. Elliott Stjerne, Madera, California; 7. Daniel Williams, Glendale, California; 8. Danny Gay, Lakeside, California; 9. Zach Webster, Salt Lake City; 10. Jerry Toporek, Venice, California; 11. Jim Wulfenstein, Pahrump, Nevada; 12. Hayden Smith, San Diego.

Margin of victory – 1.474 seconds. Average speed – 50.322 mph.

Second B main (20 laps) – 1. Salm; 2. Tilton; 3. Scot Alves, Placerville, California; 4. Jeff Hunter, Henderson, Colorado; 5. Michael Mitchell, Loomis, California; 6. Pat Petrie, Henderson, Nevada; 7. Dan Alamaa, Colorado Springs, Colorado; 8. Dustin Tilbury, Albuquerque, New Mexico; 9. Dean Olson, Canyon City, Colorado; 10. Eddie Wilcox, River Bank, California; 11. Kyle Gottula, Modesto, California.

Margin of victory – 0.550 seconds. Average speed – 36.097 mph.