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The Week That Was: Impressive Performances in Nevada, Virginia, and More

by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via Best in the Desert (1); Pro Motocross (2); Venturini Motorsports (3)

It didn’t matter where you were in America this weekend—chances are, action motorsports came to you, or at least within a few hours of you.

East Coasters had the Verizon IndyCar Series in Pennsylvania, IMSA in Virginia, and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross in Maryland to look forward to. If you’re out in the midwest, the Illinois State Fair played host to ARCA, while the NHRA made its lone visit to Minnesota of the season. And of course, those of us who live on Pacific time had 530 miles of Best in the Desert action in the Nevada desert to follow along with on Friday.

It should be no surprise, then, that a weekend that diverse in terms of competition would be just as diverse in who its winners were. Here’s a look at some of the racers who impressed the most across America:

Best in the Desert: Johnny Angal/Jesse Jones

After purchasing Jones’ former Trick Truck, experienced UTV racer Angal teamed up with his ride’s former owner to earn the victory in Friday’s General Tire Vegas to Reno presented by FOX, a 530-mile trek through the Nevada desert that serves as the longest off-road race in the United States. With a time of 8:18:31.651, the duo ended four-time Best in the Desert champion Jason Voss’ bid for five Vegas to Reno victories in six years by a margin of just under a minute.

NHRA: Billy Torrence

We’re used to seeing the name Torrence in the winner’s circle alongside a Capco Contractors-backed dragster, but for the first time, it was Billy, not Steve, taking home the Wally on Sunday. The elder half of the father-son duo beat Antron Brown in the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway to take home the Top Fuel victory. It marked the sixth victory of the season for the team, and it came after Billy took his first career pole in qualifying on Saturday.

Lucas Oil Pro Motocross: Aaron Plessinger

The first of two Pro Motocross championships is in the books for 2018, as Plessinger clinched the 250 title after the first moto at Budds Creek. Owing to his massive 78-point advantage coming into the event, he only needed to finish within three points of Alex Martin to lock it up. But playing defense wasn’t on Plessinger’s mind, as he grabbed the holeshot while Martin suffered a subpar start; the Yamaha rider would hang on for his ninth moto victory of the season to etch his name into the history books.

IMSA: Connor De Phillippi/Alexander Sims

Going into this weekend’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round at VIRginia International Raceway, BMW Team RLL was the only GT Le Mans squad yet to take a victory this IMSA season. But De Phillippi and Sims ended all that, giving the BMW M8 GTE its first win in global sports car competition. To do it, they held off Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen, who were also in search of their first victory of 2018, by just 1.323 seconds after 88 laps of racing.

ARCA: Christian Eckes

On the first of two dirt ovals of the 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season, Venturini Motorsports’ Eckes scored his second win of the year. He held off points leader Sheldon Creed, and USAC midget standout and dirt racing expert Logan Seavey, in a green-white-checkered finish. Eckes, who tweeted before the race that he was “still pretty lost” on dirt, looked anything but as he charged from the eighth starting spot to lead a majority of the race on his General Tires.

Verizon IndyCar Series: Sebastien Bourdais

While Robert Wickens’ health was at the forefront of most people’s minds after a terrifying early incident at Pocono Raceway, the IndyCar field pressed on regardless after an extended delay for catchfence repairs on Sunday. Kudos to Bourdais, who missed much of last year due to injuries suffered in his own high-speed crash at Indianapolis, for two things: initially refusing to get in the car and rejoin the race until his safety concerns were addressed, and then coming home with a fourth place finish anyway.

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