Irwindale preview 2001-07-7

Irwindale, Calif. - - Its their once-a-year appearance on the fast half-mile oval at Irwindale. Looking for all the world like Indy-type cars on the mile, the Star Formula Mazdas will invade Irwindale on Saturday night July 7 as part of a ...

Irwindale, Calif. - - Its their once-a-year appearance on the fast half-mile oval at Irwindale. Looking for all the world like Indy-type cars on the mile, the Star Formula Mazdas will invade Irwindale on Saturday night July 7 as part of a five-division night of racing that will have "something for everyone" from NASCAR Stockers, to Trucks, to Open Wheelers. Truly a night when the $15.00 regular adult admission (kids only $5.00) must be considered one of the best bargains in all of top quality sports entertainment.

USAC Midget champ Wally Pankratz, of Orange, California will make his Star Formula Mazda debut aboard the number 48 DARE/HASA - entered car. "I've driven these cars many times in practice, helping to coach drivers on oval driving techniques, but this will be my first time in a race, it should be fun," said the Irwindale Race Training Center chief instructor. "I've got to put all the theory to work and try to beat some of the drivers that I've trained, I just hope that they'll show some respect for their teacher."

Also signed-on for the unique formula car race is another driving school instructor, Jim Hall II. Hall's Karting School in Ventura has trained over 30,000 students since it opened in 1982. Hall, the son of the legendary Chaparral designer/builder/driver Jim Hall, comes into Irwindale second in points to one of his former employees Moses Smith.

"Moses was a very good instructor at our school, and a tough competitor out there on the track. I think that we're in for a great race at the Irwindale half-mile," concluded the driver who has been on the podium in the last six Mazda races and who expects the top step for this one. (Hall was one of the original drivers who ran in tests at Irwindale just after it opened to determine its suitability for holding a Star Formula Mazda event.)

And, just to prove the "best bargains" statement from paragraph one, we'll list other the four divisions that are racing at Irwindale on the first Saturday in July: Food 4 Less Super Late Models, they've got a 75-lapper that will count both in the season points and toward the Miller Lite Big 10 Challenge. that's additional big bucks ($15,000) at season's end for this top division of NASCAR Weekly Racing here at IS.

Former Winston West Champ, Sean Woodside from Saugus, Brent Reynolds of Escondido, Nathan Wulff of Oceanside, and David Gilliland of Chino are right up there in the points, while last year's champion, Greg Voigt of Goleta soldiers though a tough season just staying in the top ten. We've had new winners at almost every race this year. who's lucky F4LSLM number will it be on July 7?

Dean Kuhn will head a six-for-six race record into the NASCAR Grand American Modifieds go-round this Saturday night, the Oceanside-based driver got a second last time and then was elevated to first when the winner was disqualified for using illegal equipment on his car. Winning, at Irwindale takes driving skill and a legal car.

Terry Limberopoulos from Bellflower leads the NASCAR Modified 4's into battle on Irwindale's wickedly LOW-banked third-mile. The Mods put on their own kind of show, bustling budget racing that's taken every bit as seriously as anything in the big time. There's never a question about a competitive race when the "Minis" take to the track.

Completing the night's action at Irwindale will be the ultra-competitive Ultra Wheel Super Trucks, almost thirty exactly equal machines that place driver (driving) and crew skills (set-up) paramount over an unlimited budget.

Saturday, July 7 will also kick off Irwindale Speedway's annual participation in the Los Angeles County Fire Department's "Spark of Love" toy drive. Because Irwindale Speedway is dark during the month leading up to the Christmas holiday, it was decided that the Speedway would stage "Christmas in July" to help the cause. Toys collected at the Speedway and at Fire Stations across a five-county area are distributed to less fortunate youngsters during the holiday season through Children's Services of Los Angeles County.

At every race in July, firefighters will be on hand at the main gates of the Speedway to collect new, unwrapped toys from fans and competitors. Each toy will get the donor a $5.00 discount on admission for that night of racing. ABC7 in Los Angeles is the participating media partner and will be publicizing the track's involvement in the program.

Last year the track collected over 2,000 toys many of them racing-related. "This year our goal is 2,500," said track VP/COO Bob DeFazio. "It was a great feeling to see how generously our fans responded, especially in the month of July, when most people aren't really thinking about Christmas very much. It looks like this is becoming a nice annual tradition for Irwindale Speedway fans."

Tickets for July 7 are on sale now at the Irwindale Speedway box office (626) 358-1100 or on-line at www.irwindalespeedway.com.

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Series CHARITY , NASCAR , PRO-MAZDA