Thirty-six nights of outstanding automobile racing action at Irwindale Speedway culminated with the 60th running of the legendary Turkey Night Grand Prix on Thursday, November 23. Fan favorite Tony Stewart won the 100-lap race for USAC midgets before a capacity crowd and a national TV audience on ESPN2.
For the track known far and wide as "LA's ½-Mile Super Speedway", its second season was a most successful one. We feel that it further advanced the facility's reputation as one of the most fan-friendly and most competitive short tracks in the nation.
This year at Irwindale, more people saw more green flag laps of racing, more autographs were signed by more drivers, more free T-Shirts were launched into the crowd by track mascot "Lug Nut Jr.", and more new fans found out about the excitement of live, close-up, in person racing at a clean, well-lit, nearby venue.
The track crowned five of its own NASCAR Weekly Racing Series champions, Greg Voigt, James Weston, Rip Michaels, Jeff Green, and Bob Reed. Driving in the Super Late, Late Model, Grand American Modified, Super Stock, and Mini-Stock divisions respectively these five drivers exemplified the competitive nature of all the drivers who took part at Irwindale Speedway in the 2000 season. Hundreds of competitors and crews, from the newest tyros to the most seasoned pros, took part in racing events at Irwindale Speedway. Some races went for as many as 300 laps and some (like the Food 4 Less Fast 4 Shootouts) went for as few as 4 laps. Whatever the length of the race, every one of them was a hard-fought and exciting affair.
Three NASCAR Southwest Featherlite Tour events and three (televised) NASCAR Winston West races anchored the weekly series, with additional races from touring divisions such as the United States Auto Club (Silver Crown Cars, Sprint Cars, Midgets, and TQ Midgets), Supermodified Racing League, Modified Stock Racing Association (Pro4's), Legends Cars, Mini-Stockars, Mechanix Wear Speed Trucks, UltraWheels Spec Trucks, American Race Trucks, Star Formula Mazdas as well as a number of exhibition classes.
Along the way some thirty-five car clubs put on special displays in the Chalet Village area of the race track featuring every kind of wheeled vehicle imaginable from street rods to stretch limos. As one of the highlights of their visit, each club toured the Irwindale track in a victory lap of honor before the night's races.
Movie stars, next-door neighbors, and local church choral groups each took a turn at singing the Star Spangled Banner, and captains of industry as well as ordinary citizens got to wave the green flag to start races at Irwindale.
On Thanksgiving night, our great automotive sponsor, Advantage Ford Lincoln-Mercury gave away the hot Mustang GT convertible that faithfully paced hundreds of races at Irwindale.
Many civic groups visited the Speedway as guests during the 2000 season, and (in the middle of a hot spell) the track hosted "Christmas in July" with the LA County Firefighters and ABC7 as fans brought in over 3,000 new toys to contribute to the annual Holiday drive.
Over 500 different track workers, office staff, volunteers, food service and track personnel worked the 36 racing events which were attended by over 150,000 people over the year.
But at the bottom line, it was the fans who made the show what it was ...People who came back week after week to watch some of the best racing in short track ... Fans who wrote, phoned, e-mailed, and told us in person what they loved, what they liked, and what they would like to see changed about Irwindale Speedway ... We salute them and we bid them watch for news of our 2001 schedule coming very soon.
One more: To all of the sponsors who supported, the newspaper, TV, newsletter, radio, photo, and e-news people who reported, and to the local authorities who worked so well and so closely with the facility management ... THANK YOU!
Thanks to everyone who took part in our 2000 season ... We'll see you in 2001!