Irwindale, CA., Aug. 9 - Fastest qualifier Rip Michels started second and fourth and dominated both twin-50-lap NASCAR Jani-King Super Late Model features Saturday before 4,898 on the Irwindale Speedway half-mile. The Chevrolet Monte Carlo driver...
Irwindale, CA., Aug. 9 - Fastest qualifier Rip Michels started second and fourth and dominated both twin-50-lap NASCAR Jani-King Super Late Model features Saturday before 4,898 on the Irwindale Speedway half-mile. The Chevrolet Monte Carlo driver extended his series-leading points advantage from 48 to 64 after 15 of 19 scheduled races. The second 50 replaced a May 3 race canceled by rain.
Michels' double-header dominance also moved him into the lead as the driver with the most main event victories in five years of racing at IS. The double dip by Michels gave him 35 main event victory trophies to 34 for 2002 Late Model champion Todd Burns, who won all his mains in the L/M division. Michels, a Grand American Modified and SLM champion at IS, won 17 of his features in the GAM class and 18 in the SLM division. He won his first SLM main in 2001, had nine triumphs in 2002 and eight so far this year.
Four other divisions saw action Saturday. Jim McGill started seventh and won an exciting 32-truck Ultra Wheels Super Trucks 50-lap feature for his first victory this season. He was part of a six-truck lead pack that exchanged positions frequently throughout the race in three-abreast action. McGill became the third and final leader six laps from the finish with an outside pass in the fourth turn.
Lee Ladd led all the way in his Camaro in a Vista Paint 40-lap main in the third feature on the half-mile. Officials cut the race to 25-laps because a blown engine oiled the track, causing a red flag for track cleanup. Ladd, 65, told spectators, "This win is for every senior out there." He increased his point lead from 48 to 90 after 11 of 13 scheduled races in his quest for his first Irwindale S/S track championship. He defeated T. K. Karvasek, the fastest qualifier and third starter, by 0.587 seconds. Ladd told spectators, "T.K is the best there ever was in this division. I love racing him. He races you clean."
Two mains on the third-mile went to first-time winners. David Ross, 14, took his replica 1940 Ford coupe from seventh starting spot into the King Taco Legend Cars lead on lap six and again from lap 14 to the lap 35 checkers. He was the third race leader. Austin Grabowski, another 14-year old newcomer, started third and led the first five laps and finished a "career best" third. Tom Landreth started ninth and paced lap seven-13 before contact in turn four from a lapped car caused him to spin. Landreth charged from the back to finish fifth.
Legends point leader Brent Jones finished second after starting 26th and increased his point lead from 24 to 30 points over Landreth. Jones' fifth fastest qualifying time earned him sixth starting position in a nine-car inversion. However, he missed the pre-race drivers meeting and officials sent him to the back of the 26-car field as a penalty. He made his dramatic charge through the field aided by two cautions on laps 14 and 22. Jones was seventh on lap 26 and moved by Grabowski for second on lap 33. He trailed Ross by 0.446 seconds (about five yards) at the finish. Ross went from ninth to sixth in track points. Grabowski moved from tenth to eighth as the next generation of talented racers makes their presence known to fans and competitors.
Eric Reed, the other first-time winner on the third-mile, came from tenth starting position in the 23-car Mini Stock 30-lap main. The son of past M/S track champion Bob Reed sub-drove Ron Cooper's No. 6 Ford Pinto because his own No. 97 Pinto was out of action. "I've been running five years and this is my first win," he told the crowd. The winner advanced from tenth to seventh in points, 82 behind the leader, after seven of 11 races. Tony Lawler trailed Reed by 1.182 seconds.
The 24-car SLM twin-50s had inversions of two and four. The top four finishers in both races were identical-Michels, Rod Johnson, Tony Bruncati and Dan Moore. They started both races in the first three rows. Brandon Loverock came from tenth to earn fifth in the first 50 despite pre-used Goodyear tires that blistered at the edges. The all-green flag race took 15:38.203 to complete, with 19 drivers racing at the end and nine on the lead lap.
The second SLM 50 had pole starter Bruncati pace the first three laps before Michels made an inside pass in turn four. Michels won by 2.251 seconds (about 35 yards) despite one caution flag on lap five for a crash that cost Andy Coyle the right side of his Taurus and made it naturally air conditioned. Sixteen cars finished and 12 ran all 50 circuits. Nathan Wulff raced from 22nd starting spot to finish fifth in the second 50.
Following his second victory, Michels told the crowd, "This good a year doesn't happen that often. I'm a bit in awe right now, this car is so awesome. Thanks to Ladco, Jackson Race Cars, Pick-Your-Part, my crew and my wife." When asked about his racing goals, "the Ripper" replied, "I'd like to go to a NASCAR touring series if sponsorship makes it possible."
The UWST race had pole-sitter/point leader Dave Blankenship leading the first 25 laps in a pack with Ron Peterson, Carson Woods, Joe Herold, Ryan Arciero and McGill. Quickest qualifier/fifth starter Arciero took second on lap 19 and then passed Blankenship for the lead on the inside at turn two during lap 26. Four cautions and three lead changes marked the event. Leader Arciero didn't resume speed promptly at the lap 44 green and dropped to sixth by lap 46. He retired his truck after 48 laps. Only 17 of the 32 trucks finished and 16 completed all 50 laps.
Hard charger award winners selected by officials were (SLM)--Loverock, tenth to fifth in the first 50, and Russell White, 21st to 11th in the second 50; (ULST)-Jim Kondziela, 21st to tenth and (Legends)-runner-up Jones for his 26th to second run. Mini Stock winner Reed, for his dash from tenth to first, collected the hard charger prize in addition to his first trophy.
KING TACO LEGEND CARS:
Fast Time: Bill Everett, 17.179.
Main: David Ross, Brent Jones, Austin Grabowski, Everett, Tom Landreth, Steve Twilligear, Jeremy Wood, Dave Green, Larry Meredith, Bob Landreth, Mark Gaiser, Brian Vandehey, Ryan Partridge, Micah Nourse, Cory Miles, Ryan Schug, Warren Merrifield, Jason Alsop, Mark Iungerich, John Barnett, Chad Schug, Bill Bonney, Dennis Rock, Evin Powell, James Kalawaia, Larry Alsop.
Fast Time: Kevin Bernhardt, 17.660.
Main: Eric Reed, Tony Lawler, Fred Adams, Steve Rogers, James McNear, Jr, Bernhardt, Robert Miller, Richard Boker, Richard Garver, Robert Lovas, Ed Lavender, Amee Blue, Randy Colling, Mike Morales, Brenda Pugh, R. C. Zimmerman, Dennis Croasmun, Tom Dye, Tim Ross, Mike Yanker, Dustin Morgan, Carl Farless, James Lavender.
ULTRA WHEELS SUPER TRUCKS:
Fast Time: Ryan Arciero, 19.496.
Main: Jim McGill, Dave Blankenship, Joe Herold, Carson Woods, Cody Brown, Ron Peterson, Rich Geisler, Frank Steiner, Greg Adler, Jim Kondziela, Dan Moore, Kyle Evans, Bill Helgeson, Jeb Bailey, Tony Edwards, Kevin O'Connell, Chad Weber, Brian Harris, Arciero, Reggie Church, Darren Sigwing, Jim Madrid, Derek DiSarro, Mark Holeman, Louis Mammolito, Eric Humphries, Ed Ragains, Eric Hardin, Zeke DeRose, Pat Mintey, Tom Stanton, Larry Hinderman.
VISTA PAINT SUPER STOCKS:
Fast Time: T. K. Karvasek, 21.965.
Main: Lee Ladd, Karvasek, Larry Sampson, Chris Houwen, Steve Gilmore, Greg Crutcher, Ed Dazzo, Danny Renko, Henry Miles, Ken Brown, Robin Bourgeois, Paul Howard, Brian Harrell, Kenny White, Jose Martinez, Brian Tully, John Arlotti, Dave Vergini, Eric Sunness, Mike Gilmore, Niles Strever, Greg Benner, Curtis White, Victor Wu.
JANI-KING SUPER LATE MODELS:
(1st Main) Rip Michels, 18.199.
(2nd Main) Michels, 18.241.
1st Main: Michels, Rod Johnson, Tony Bruncati, Dan Moore, Brandon Loverock, Russell White, Kevin O'Neil, Greg Pursley, Nathan Wulff, Todd Southwell, Stephan Sadler, Ed Hoffman, Chris Oddo, Michael May, Tony Gomez, Gary Jenkins, Andy Coyle, Tim Buckley, Tony Jackson, Taka Mizuki, Scott Conaway, Todd Burns, David Gilliland. DNS-Bob Lyons.
2nd Main: Michels, Johnson, Bruncati, Moore, Wulff, O'Neil, Buckley, Loverock, Southwell, Oddo, White, Pursley, Sadler, May, Jackson, Jenkins, Mizuki, Conaway, Coyle, Gomez. DNS- Burns, Gillialnd, Lyons.