Irwindale race report 2004-03-20

The near sell-out crowd on hand for Irwindale Speedway's NASCAR opening night, saw plenty of on-track racing action and every flag in the starter's stand utilized vigorously all night long. Twin 50 races in the Lucas Oil Products Super Late Models...

The near sell-out crowd on hand for Irwindale Speedway's NASCAR opening night, saw plenty of on-track racing action and every flag in the starter's stand utilized vigorously all night long. Twin 50 races in the Lucas Oil Products Super Late Models netted two different winners, Greg Pursley and Rod Johnson. Both had to work hard for the victories and Tim Woods III (who had a second and third) ended up with the points lead after 2 of 18 races in the Supers.

There were numerous missteps and a bunch of hard wrecks that would have to be chalked-up to opening night jitters. Thankfully no one "took the ride" (went to the hospital) in all the carnage, but the ego and wallet damage could only be assessed as "substantial". At one time the infield looked like a bunch of derelict cars awaiting a monster truck's arrival for a mashing contest.

Greg Tucker won the Mini Stock 20-lapper, while veteran driver Craig Rayburn bagged his first-ever Vista Paint Super Stock victory in five years of trying at Irwindale. Unfortunatley his car failed post-race tech inspection. Lee Ladd was posted then as the official winner. Carson Woods won the NAPA Auto Parts Super Truck race and Tim Huddleston got the gold in the Auto Club Late Models. With six scintillating races covering five racing divisions, Irwindale opened for business (NASCAR style) in a big way on Saturday night with many more to come!

The racing ran long, but the fans refused to leave until the last lap of the last feature and then they proceeded to the pits en masse to take part in that great American short track tradition the after race gathering, celebration, gripe session, parts party, debrief, technical inspection, and general extemporaneous fan-fest that lasted (on this particular opening night) until well past the witching hour.

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Series NASCAR