10-1-11 By Lynn Hensley
Fito Gallardo of Las Cruces, N.M. moved up from a 3rd row start to take the win in the 35 lap feature at Aztec Speedway Saturday night. The race was scheduled for 40 laps but was shortened by 5 laps due to several caution periods and one red flag. The race was shaping up for some heavy action up front as the 2011 track champion, Porter Smith, flew by on the cushion to claim the front spot. Along with Smith came the G17 of Gallardo. Smith lead for the next 15 laps with Gallardo glued to his bumper. Gallardo’s chance to pass Smith came on the front stretch as the two started lapping the field. Smith slid up into Robert Ortega on the front stretch and broke an a-arm in the process. Smith lost the lead but kept his foot in it. As he entered turn 3, the car turned a sharp right and went head-on into the wall. Smith was ok but the car was done. When racing resumed Gallardo had glimpses of momentary challenges from Garrett Higgins and Danny Bradford. As the laps wound down Zane Devilbiss started working his Pink Panther #18z closer to the front. Devilbiss moved past Bradford and Higgins and was about 4 car lengths behind Gallardo as the white flag came out. Devilbiss went low into 3 to get side by side with Gallardo but the momentum wouldn’t hold on the bottom line and Fito Gallardo came out of turn 4 in front and won by a car length. In a post race chat, Devilbiss expressed his disgust with the decision to shorten the race by 5 laps. He had set up for a 40 lapper and it appeared that his game plan was coming to fruition until the race was shortened. Gallardo was quite happy with the win as that makes his record at Aztec Speedway perfect….three times here and three wins.