picture of 2021 Wild West Shootout

Completed, Jan 9 - 17

The Wild West Shootout is a six-race miniseries at Arizona Speedway that kicks off the Super Late Model season along with the Modifieds and X-Mods upon the 3/8-mile oval located just outside of Phoenix.

  1. Slick Moves Carry Erb Past Thornton In Arizona

    Slick Moves Carry Erb Past Thornton In Arizona

    Jan 17, 2021

    QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. (Jan. 15) — Tyler Erb was standing behind his Best Performance Motorsports car, rehashing his stirring victory in Friday night’s 30-lap Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout feature at FK Rod Ends Arizona Speedway, when his crew chief, Randall Edwards, suddenly appeared to ask a question.

  2. Wild West Shootout Finale Notes

    Wild West Shootout Finale Notes

    Jan 17, 2021

    QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. (Jan. 16) — During a Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout in which three national touring series drivers have effectively controlled the headlines, Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., is a big name who has found it difficult to break into the limelight.

  3. More Take Than Give Triggers Arizona Pileup

    More Take Than Give Triggers Arizona Pileup

    Jan 14, 2021

    QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. (Jan. 13) — Brian Shirley saw the situation one way. Ricky Thornton Jr. viewed it another.In the first controversial moment of the 15th annual Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout at FK Rod Ends Arizona Speedway, there was simply no middle ground reached between the two drivers who saw their hopes for victory in Wednesday night’s 30-lap Super Late Model feature dashed by an early-race tangle.The pair of top contenders — Thornton logged finishes of first and second in the miniseries’s opening-weekend events while Shirley was just a bit behind with runs of third and fourth — were battling for third place on lap seven of the A-main when their evenings went awry. Shirley dived low entering turn one and slid up the track in front of Thornton, but Thornton clipped the left side of Shirley’s car and both drivers’ machines collected fifth-place Stormy Scott of Las Cruces, N.M.After Thornton retired for a 22nd-place finish and Shirley soldiered on to place 17th in a race captured by Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., they stood in the pit area — separated by just a few stalls, in fact — looking back on the incident with differing opinions.“He saw his opportunity and took it,” Thornton said of Shirley, “and it pretty much didn’t work out.”“He could’ve hit the brakes, you know?” countered Shirley, pointedly questioning Thornton. “I don’t know what he’s thinking. I’m not saying it was all his fault because I did get in there hot, but it was because I wasn’t gonna hit him.”Shirley, 39, of Chatham, Ill., felt that he had cut his rival for position a break on the frontstretch and should have received the same treatment in return between turns one and two. The two drivers were charging hard in pursuit of second-place Jason Papich of Nipomo, Calif., with Shirley running high through turns three and four and Chandler, Ariz.’s Thornton sucked low until Thornton drifted toward the outside guardrail approaching the starter’s stand, prompting Shirley to abruptly cross over Thornton under the flagman and attempt a slider into the first and second corners.“Just coming off of four there, he was on the bottom and went straight to the wall, and I braked for him,” Shirley detailed. “Then I come down, cleared him like a mile, and he just come in there and doored us. They can watch the video. I never touched him.“I can hit the brakes, he can hit the brakes. I’m more disappointed because I braked for him and he couldn’t brake for me. It’s a two-way street.”From Shirley’s standpoint, his aggressive bid on Thornton was merely him reacting to the opening he was presented.“I made a move because when we were coming out of four, he pushed up,” Shirley said. “I was running the high side and he was running the bottom. He would’ve hit me if I wouldn’t have hit the brakes, so I moved down because I had the momentum to slide him. Instead of him turning back down to try and cross me back over he just ran into the left side of the door.“I don’t know what to say,” he continued. “I don’t know what I would’ve done any different. We wouldn’t have even been in the situation if he wouldn’t have pushed up out of four where I was already there. If he would’ve stayed on the bottom I would’ve went right by him without an issue, but he pushed out so then I had to figure out an exit plan.”Thornton, 30, certainly didn’t agree with the tactics Shirley decided to employ.“So I ran the bottom in three and four,” Thornton began. “I didn’t have all my speed down the front straightaway, and I kind of figured someone was gonna slide me. But then we entered and I thought we were good, and then he slid me, like, kind of late in the corner almost.“Watching the in-car (camera footage from his car), it looked like (Shirley) spun out, but, I think because he carried so much speed in the corner, he knew he was gonna destroy the wall so he tried to turn it sideways. When he did, he pretty much parked it (on the cushion), so then I had nowhere to go. At that point I was already back on the throttle. At that point there was no turning down or anything.”When Thornton contacted Shirley’s car, the right-rear deck and quarter-panel of Thornton’s SSI Motorsports Longhorn mount was pulled astray, leading him to limp into the infield with the sheet metal flopping along the track. Shirley’s Bob Cullen-owned XR1 Rocket was shoved into the outside wall before Scott slid into the back of both cars, eliminating him as well. Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., also slapped Shirley’s car as he passed by but was able to continue racing to a fifth-place finish.Thornton felt fortunate that his 3-race-old car escaped the crash with mostly cosmetic damage, but he was well aware that he lost an opportunity to move a step closer to the Keyser Manufacturing bonus dollars posted for winning three or more races.“It just ripped the whole right side off,” said Thornton, who, with three races remaining in the miniseries, remains alive for the bonuses of $10,000 (three wins) and $25,000 (four victories). “It got the body, left-rear shock, couple left-rear parts just from Stormy getting in the left rear.“It kind of sucks for that to happen, especially on lap six of the race or whatever it was,” he added. “I had a really good car. I took off and I was running hard, but not so hard that I was gonna kill my stuff.”While there was no love lost between the two drivers after the incident — a Thornton team member even expressed his displeasure by tossing a signal stick at Shirley’s passing car in the infield (the stick bounced off Shirley’s car and nearly struck a photographer standing nearby) — they were ready to move on to the concluding weekend of WWS action.“It is what it is,” Thornton said, “and we’ll get it fixed up and try again on Friday.”“Luckily it just looks like a lot of bodywork, but it still ruins your night,” Shirley commented. “We started 11th and was passing him for third so it wasn’t like we sucked. We’ve been trying different things, little bitty things every race we’re in. In the heat race I felt like we were horrible, and then, I hate to say, we just put the thing back to where it was when I won them races last year (three WWS features) and that’s how I went.“We’ll put it back together and hopefully next time circumstances might come out a little different.”

  4. Hustle For 2021 Debut Pays Off For Jonathan Davenport In Southwest

    Hustle For 2021 Debut Pays Off For Jonathan Davenport In Southwest

    Jan 10, 2021

    QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. (Jan. 9) - The flip of the calendar to Jan. 1 isn’t merely symbolic. It’s downright cathartic for some.

  5. Alberson Hopes To Come 'Full Circle' At Arizona's Wild West Shootout

    Alberson Hopes To Come 'Full Circle' At Arizona's Wild West Shootout

    Jan 9, 2021

    Garrett Alberson has come a long way in the 11 years since he failed to qualify for a single main event while making his Dirt Late Model debut at the 2010 Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout. But even though the Las Cruces, N.M., native who now races out of Dubuque, Iowa, has returned to the popular winter miniseries each year since that inauspicious start, a victory at the event has always eluded him.

  6. Recent Arizona Statistical Leaders

    Recent Arizona Statistical Leaders

    Jan 8, 2021

    Which Late Model drivers have had the most Arizona success in recent seasons? Examine statistical leaders entering the 2021 Wild West Shootout from 66 completed January events in the desert since 2010:

  7. Schlenk All Business In Making Wild West Shootout Debut

    Schlenk All Business In Making Wild West Shootout Debut

    Jan 5, 2021

    Like many Midwestern racers, the idea of escaping the harsh winter weather for a week of racing in Arizona in January has always been a tempting proposition for Rusty Schlenk. But the expense of a cross-country haul hasn't feasible for the 34-year-old budget racer to join the annual Dirt Late Model migration to the desert for the Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout.

  8. Fast Facts: Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout

    Fast Facts: Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout

    Jan 5, 2021

    Dates: ($5,000-to-win features, along with heats and consolations on Jan. 9, 10, 13, 15 and 16 and $25,000-to-win feature, along with heats and consolations on Jan. 17).

  9. Wild West Shootout History, Winners & Tidbits

    Wild West Shootout History, Winners & Tidbits

    Jan 5, 2021

    Ahead of Jan. 9-17's miniseries action at Arizona Speedway in Queen Creek, Ariz., catch up on Wild West Shootout results, champions and winners, plus enjoy 10 driver tidbits looking to 2021.

  10. Jason Feger Hopes To Continue Illini Success At Wild West Shootout

    Jason Feger Hopes To Continue Illini Success At Wild West Shootout

    Jan 4, 2021

    With Illinois drivers Bobby Pierce, Brandon Sheppard and Brian Shirley combining to capture nine of its most recent 12 features, the Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts has proven to be a lucrative draw for drivers from the Land of Lincoln over the past two years. In making his miniseries debut during the 2021 version of the unsanctioned miniseries Jan. 9-17, Jason Feger hopes to become the latest Illinois driver to find success with an early-season trip to the desert.