WS: Race report

Irwindale Race Report -- Saturday July 31, 2004 -- A triple-header racing event on the Irwindale Speedway half-mile Saturday attracted an estimated 5,500 spectators on Southern California Pipe Trades Night. The attractions were a NASCAR touring ...

Irwindale Race Report -- Saturday July 31, 2004 -- A triple-header racing event on the Irwindale Speedway half-mile Saturday attracted an estimated 5,500 spectators on Southern California Pipe Trades Night. The attractions were a NASCAR touring division Grand National-West 150-lap feature, Auto Club of Southern California NASCAR Late Models and NAPA Super Trucks. (See NASCAR story for complete GNW results.)

The HDTV Network televised the Grand National-West race, which provided eight lead changes among five drivers and a controversial conclusion. Johnny Borneman, the 17th fastest qualifier in his Taurus, had led laps 101-147 and with red-hot brakes was withholding the passing attempts of fastest qualifier/polesitter Mike Duncan's Monte Carlo. On lap 148 Duncan's right front fender contacted Borneman's left rear fender and both drivers spun simultaneously leaving the fourth turn. Austin Cameron's NAPA Chevy, Tim Woods III Ford and Scott Gaylord's Chevy passed the spinning duo and took the top three positions. Duncan and Borneman recovered and crossed the line fourth and fifth respectively.

A green, white, checkered flag for the final two laps followed. Cameron, a 27-year old non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cancer survivor who will continue undergoing chemotherapy another seven months, won his third consecutive GNW feature this year. He earned $6,750.

Irwindale Super Late Model veteran Woods earned $5,050 for his series best finish, 1.033 seconds back. Gaylord, Duncan and Borneman completed the top five. Brandon Miller and IS newcomer Kerry Earnhardt, oldest son of the late Dale Earnhardt, followed. Eleven drivers ran every lap as 23 of 26 starters finished the one hour, three minute race, which had a 20-minute intermission after 75 laps.

A scheduled 50-lap Auto Club of SoCal Late Model main event concluded racing. Officials cut the race to 40-laps at 10:10 p.m because of time constraints following several yellow flags. Second fastest qualifier Scott Youngren led all the way in his No. 45 Stone Truss Co/Youngren Construction Monte Carlo after starting outside in the front row. It was his first main event victory since September 27, 2003. His 50 first place points moved the Fallbrook driver from fifth to fourth place in points after 12 of 16 scheduled events.

Youngren has earned a third and three fourth positions this season. "This is a huge win. No one ever gave up on us this year. Thanks to our car builder Race Car Factory," the happy winner told the crowd during his winners' interview.

Fastest qualifier Tim Huddleston started third in his Ladco/High Point Distributing Pontiac Grand Prix, took second from pole starter Andrew Myers on lap two, and chased Youngren to the checkered flag. Myers led the initial lap that officials aborted. Huddleston, second in points entering the race, cut into the 50-point advantage of Doug McComb and now trails him by 12 points (502-490). McComb started 11th in his Dodge Intrepid and advanced to ninth position before a pair of flat tires on laps 21 and 28 cost him six laps. He finished 21st in the 25-car field.

Ben Walker started tenth in Eugene Dewberry's Prolong Monte Carlo. He shot past five cars on the outside from the fourth turn to the starting line to move into fifth during a ninth lap restart. He used the same daring move on a lap 17 restart and jumped from fifth to third.

With cars racing four-wide on the backstretch on lap 17 third and fourth place Myers and Deryk Ward bumped and spun out, as did seventh place Mike Johnson. Rookie and former truck racer Andrew Lewis, a 17-year old senior at Savanna High School in Corona, started and finished fourth. It was his series-best finish, beating an earlier seventh place in the former Mike Price Monte Carlo. He now ranks tenth of 42 drivers with L/M points. Colby Bankston was fifth, as 21-drivers finished and 18 drivers ran all 40 circuits. Dennis Schlarbaum came from 24th grid position to 13th place and earned hard charger honors.

The first race of the night was a scheduled 40-lap NAPA Super Truck 24-truck race that started at 7:00. Third-ranked Billy Helgeson started on the pole and led all the way for his first feature triumph this season in his Chevy S-10. Two yellow flags for a one-truck spin on lap four and an eight-truck crash on lap 10 in the second turn slowed action. Then a lap 20 two-truck hard crash into a protective concrete K-rail near turn one involved Paul Brennan and fastest qualifier Louis Mammolito. Neither driver was injured. K-rails, brought in to provide protection for the GNW infield pits, damaged both trucks heavily and they left on the business end of trucks from Haddick's Towing. A seven-minute red flag followed.

Following track cleanup, officials terminated the race at 7:27 after 23 laps because the HDTV Network went on-air from the track live at 7:30. GNW driver introductions from the front straight and interviews preceded the 8:00 start of the GNW race. Rich Geisler, rookie Eric Hardin, Dave Scarcella (in his career-best effort), and Mark Holeman rounded out the top five truck finishers. Seventeen of the 24 starters finished and 14 were on the lead lap.

Super Truck point leader Ron Peterson was in fourth place on lap four when his Dodge Dakota contacted the crash-wall in the east turn and stopped. He became the first retiree. His 64-point lead was reduced to 26 points over Holeman, with ten of 16 scheduled series events now in the track record book.

NAPA SUPER TRUCKS:
Fast Time: Louis Mammolito # 99, 19.620.
Main: Billy Helgeson, Rich Geisler, Eric Hardin, Dave Scarcella, Mark Holeman, Reggie Church, Pat Mintey, Jr, Randy Colling, Mel VonBulow, John Sereika, Michael Mantel, Jere Robbins, Joe Anderson, Paul Galli, Ken Bryan, Jon Thwaits, Jim Madrid, Paul Brennan, Mammolito, Darren Sigwing, Ken Maler, Jeb Bailey, Bob Barker, Ron Peterson.

AUTO CLUB of SO. CALIF. LATE MODELS:
Fast Time: Tim Huddleston #50, 18.936.
Main: Scott Youngren, Huddleston, Ben Walker, Andrew Lewis, Colby Bankston, Brian Kelley, Ron Daniel, Ron Schartau, George Ruark, Todd Conrad, Richie Altman, Andy Bargaehr, Dennis Schlarbaum, Dan DiGiacomo, P. J. Baker, Robert Rice, Mike Mulhall, Mike Johnson, Danny Renko, Deryk Ward, Doug McComb, Andrew Myers, Brian Jones, Tim Harris, Candace Muzny.-DNS John Ahrendt.

3 Wins In A Row For Cameron

Austin Cameron keeps finding ways to win. He notched his third consecutive victory in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series with a win in the NAPA Auto Parts 150 at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway on July 31.

Cameron's first victory this year had come on the tight quarter-mile oval in Stockton, Calif., where he used lapped traffic to gain the lead late in the event. His second win came in Monroe, Wash., when he made an early pit stop and then held off a tough challenge in the final laps. His Irwindale victory, meanwhile, was a matter of being in the right place at the right time - as several other top contenders encountered trouble.

Series rookie David Gilliland flexed his muscle early - setting the pace through the first 40 laps. His hopes for a win vanished just after a restart, however, due to a flat tire. Mike Duncan, who had won the Bud Pole Award with a lap of 98.034 mph in his Lucas Oil/Ron's Rear Ends Chevrolet, paced the field for the next 60 laps, swapping the top spot with defending series champion Scott Lynch.

Meanwhile, Cameron and Johnny Borneman were charging through the field to the front of the pack. Both were relegated to the back of the 26-car field after missing the drivers' introductions. Borneman put his Borneman's Plastering/Red Line Oil Ford out front on lap 101 and quickly built up a sizeable lead. Duncan reeled him back in during the closing stages, however. As Duncan made a move to the inside of Borneman coming through turn four on lap 148, the pair touched and both spun down the front stretch.

Cameron, who was third at the time, inherited the lead. He held on in the final two green-flag laps, as the race was extended to 157 laps for a green-white-checkered finish. He crossed the finish line with a margin of victory of 1.033 seconds, at an average speed of 74.861 mph, to win $6,750 in prize money and posted awards. "It was a tough one, Cameron said afterward. "I shouldn't have won, but we did. The sun shined on us today."

The 26-year-old El Cajon, Calif., competitor admitted that the charge from the back took its toll. "I guess I used my stuff up," he said. "We had a good run for a while. The last 15 laps I just didn't have much left in the tires. I kept dialing brakes into it, so I could use the brakes to help me turn."

Tim Woods III of Chino Hills, Calif., scored a career-best second-place finish in the Chino Hills Ford Ford - followed by series veteran Scott Gaylord of Lakewood, Colo., in the Oliver Gravity Separators/Denver Seminary Chevrolet. Duncan of Bakersfield, Calif., and Borneman of Ramona, Calif., recovered for fourth and fifth - respectively. Rounding out the top 10 were Brandon Miller, Kerry Earnhardt, Nick DeFazio, Mike David and Tony Bruncati.

The race featured eight lead changes among five drivers - Duncan, Borneman, Gilliland, Lynch and Cameron. The pace of the event was slowed by five cautions for 27 laps.

With his win, the 11th of his career, Cameron narrowed Duncan's lead in the championship standings to just 15 points - 986 to 971. Gaylord edged into third with 889 points, just ahead of Gilliland with 888. David moved to fifth with 841 points. Completing the top 10 are Lynch at 806, Tim Woods at 762, Daryl Harr at 762, Carl Harr at 752 and Jose Luis Ramirez at 720.

Despite his 20th-place finish, Gilliland maintained his lead in the chase for the Auto Meter Rookie of the Year Award. He tops the list with 55 points. The competition behind him is closely bunched, with Carl Harr at 44; Daryl Harr and DeFazio at 43 each; Ramirez at 41; Tavo C.T. Hellmund with 27; Brian Richardson with 15; Alfredo Tame with 3 and Takuma Koga with 2.

The next event on the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series schedule will be the Stockton 99 Speedway/Dodge Country, Havoline NAPA Auto Parts 200 on Aug. 14.

-is-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Kerry Earnhardt , Andrew Lewis , Tim Woods , Scott Gaylord , Brandon Miller , Scott Lynch , Daryl Harr , Carl Harr , Mike Johnson , David Gilliland , Ben Walker , Austin Cameron , Andrew Myers , Michael Mantel , Scott Young , Brian Jones