Goleta's James Weston came to Irwindale Speedway with a 14-point lead over Oak Hills' Tony Green in the NASCAR Late Model Division on Saturday night. In the end Weston walked away with 50 more first-place points and Tony Green left the track...
Goleta's James Weston came to Irwindale Speedway with a 14-point lead over Oak Hills' Tony Green in the NASCAR Late Model Division on Saturday night. In the end Weston walked away with 50 more first-place points and Tony Green left the track with a broken car and hopefully not too many aches and pains after having his right hub fail and his tire and wheel part company with him going into the first turn on the second lap. Tony found the wall and James found victory circle (again).
After a red flag for Green's nasty looking single car stuff it was Deryk Ward, who goes by the colorful name of "The X-Man" who took his car to the front. Ward, who hails from Palm Springs was the enthusiastic winner of the Late Model Trophy Dash earlier in the evening. His Palm Desert neighbor Nick Conti decided that it would be fun to play at the front of the pack and the pair dueled for a couple of laps with Simi Valley's Steve Nicolai in hot pursuit. Now, rear-view mirrors are prohibited in NASCAR classes at Irwindale (the better not to block you with m'dear), but if those guys would have had them they would have seen Weston getting spooled up and shooting for the number one slot. By lap 10 of the scheduled 50 Weston took the lead never to relinquish it and only to be harried first by Ward and at the end by yet another desert-dweller Guy Goldstein of Cathedral City.
Weston withstood all challenges and put his fifth consecutive haul of 50 big ones in the bank of Irwindale while Goldstein grabbed a great second place followed by the X-Man, Nickolai, and Conti for the top five. Once again the Late Model show at Irwindale was a heavy duty crowd-pleaser. Their next scheduled appearance at "The 'Dale": On July 1 … Fireworks? You ask? You bet we say! Both in the sky and on the track!
NASCAR Super Stock races at Irwindale have lately been largely two-man shows. Division leader T.K. Karvasek and Jeff Green have been going around (and around) together on the track that rumors about them picking out furniture have started to make their way through the paddock. (ATTENTION: JUST KIDDING!) This week the Canyon Country points leader and the Long Beach points challenger only ran together for a few seconds during the pace laps and one more time late in the affair when Green lapped the helpless Karvasek.
T.K. had "engine trouble" right off the trailer, only getting a few laps of practice, and qualifying an uncharacteristically slow seventh putting him out of the Trophy Dash in who knows how long. In the race, the colorfully-tattooed driving star lost position after position right from the opening lap, but stayed on the course and politely out of everyone's way while soldiering on to salvage 21st place points in the night's 40-lapper.
The NASCAR Mini-Stock 25-lap main saw Bob Reed of Riverside add to his legend at Irwindale Speedway (the only M-Stock driver to win a main event so far this year … All four of 'em.) In winning on Saturday night Reed even beat the "Jim Short Jinx". Short, the motorsports writer for the Riverside Press-Enterprise had written a feature article about Riverside resident Todd Burns' remarkable string of NASCAR Late Model wins, after which Burns promptly failed to even score a single point in his next main event. Riverside's Reed dodged that bullet as well as the repeated attacks of his neighbor to the North, Linny White of Colton.
White was right there for much of the race but Reed was not to be denied, living up to his pre-race boast of "See ya in the Winner's Circle!" See ya, indeed! "B-Main Bob" is no more. "Racer Robert" is more the moniker.
The American Race Trucks put on a most competitive show with Jim Long of Barstow being awarded the winner's laurels OFF the track when the ON track winner Robbie Brand (also of Barstow) refused to submit his truck for post-race technical inspection resulting in his automatic disqualification. Everyone happily moved up one spot on the final results sheet with Terry Young of Fallbrook reclassified to second, Michael Thomas from Las Vegas getting third, San Marcos' Deyon Young fourth, and David Lyon picking up the fifth place points.
Val Cummings of West Covina handily lead the race (at times by a good long way) for 42 of the scheduled 50 laps only to break with a scant 8 laps to go.
Red Flags threatened to shorten the Mechanix Wear Speed Trucks race but it went its allotted 50 almost in spite of itself. 1999 Speed Truck Champ Ron Petersen from San Bernardino, was the class of the show with Phoenix, Arizona's Darren Young doing some heavy breathing down Pertersen's neck on virtually every lap.
Meanwhile, two hard hits causing two red flag conditions and bunched-up restarts were not enough to dislodge RP's grip on first place. An improving-every-race Richard Franz from Glendale got a good third with Orange's Jim Vangordon and Torrance's Richard Gautreau fourth and fifth respectively in the all-one-chassis and one-engine class.
In qualifying Young had lowered the track record for Speed Trucks to 19.131. The record's previous holder didn't seem to mind though, as it was Darren himself who had posted the previous fastest tour of the Irwindale ½-Mile back in November of 1999 at 19.133. The track's sophisticated AMB timing system allows such close timing.
The festive family crowd of 5,758 got exactly what they came for: 215 laps of ultra-close main event racing contested, by five different divisions of racing cars, on a balmy evening, at a great main event facility. Next Week: NASCAR Winston West and Food 4 Less Super Late Models, a 250 lap race (with pit stops) for the touring pros and a chance for the track's local heroes to put on a great support show
- In the immortal words of many great racetrack announcers before: BE THERE! -DS