IRWINDALE, CA., Oct. 16 - Darren Young, from Gilbert, AZ, "pulled victory from the jaws of defeat" on lap 99 of the 100-lap ASA Speed Truck Challenge feature Saturday on the Irwindale Speedway half-mile. Riding second, 30-yards behind leader Kevin...
IRWINDALE, CA., Oct. 16 - Darren Young, from Gilbert, AZ, "pulled victory from the jaws of defeat" on lap 99 of the 100-lap ASA Speed Truck Challenge feature Saturday on the Irwindale Speedway half-mile. Riding second, 30-yards behind leader Kevin Fedderson after lap 98, Young received the break he needed when a yellow flag flew on lap 99.
With the field bunched for a green, white, checkered flag two-lap dash, Young's Ford Ranger started lap-99 right behind Fedderson's Dodge Dakota. Young made a determined inside pass as the two leaders entered the first turn. Fedderson fought back evenly during the final two laps, but he fell one-length short of victory.
Officials of the touring truck series split the 26-truck race into two 50-lap segments with a 90-minute break between segments. Fastest qualifier Young started fourth and led laps two-50. Sixth-quickest qualifier Fedderson reached second position on lap 41 and trailed Young by five-yards at the half-time break. The two drivers waged a close battle from laps 51-75 with Young on the outside and Fedderson on the inside. Fedderson led initially on lap 75 with an inside pass leaving the fourth turn. Young made an outside pass at the starting line and led lap 76. Fedderson reclaimed the point on lap 77 and stretched his advantage to 30-yards over Young by lap 90. Then the caution flag two laps from the finish altered his trip to victory lane.
Scott Dodd and Las Vegas residents Terry Young and Spencer Clark rounded out the top five. Only two trucks did not finish; 14 drivers completed all 100-laps. Matt Daly spun into the third turn wall as the checkered flag flew. Series point leader Lee Hatch, winner of 12 of the 15 main events this year, fell one position short of clinching the ASA Speed Truck 2004 championship with two races remaining. The driver from Upland finished seventh and will have to wait until series races next week in Las Vegas or at the closer during November in Blythe, CA.
The $7,200+ 50-lap "Western World Figure-8 Pro Championship" attracted competitors from four states. Two drivers from Indiana towed their Indianapolis Speedrome Figure 8 specials and set the two fastest qualifying times by a second. Four drivers from Washington and one from Nevada competed along with 12 Irwindale Figure 8 regulars. As the final event of the night, the race through the infield started just as a heavy drizzle began, wetting the track and causing cars to slip and slide.
Indiana drivers Fred Bear, Jr, winner of this Figure 8 race at IS last year, and Curtis McMurtrey started in the front row and dominated the field despite the wet track. McMurtrey led the first two laps and Bear led the final 48 circuits. A red flag flew on lap 12 for a two-car collision between Harry Kuenninger and Ron Chaney at the X. Bear lapped second place on lap 25 and lapped the field twice. Eleven drivers finished the 36-minute event. Rain stopped falling during the red flag delay and did not return until after the race concluded.
Bear earned $3,000 for his second Figure 8 triumph at Irwindale. McMurtrey took home $1,000 as runner-up. He was the only driver with 48 laps. Third place John Carlson, from Snohomish, WA, ran 47-laps and collected $600 in the Indy Speedrome Figure 8 car he purchased recently.
IS regular Rusty Stewart received $450 for placing fourth. He ran 45 laps, as did fifth and sixth finishers Greg Scott, from Sedro Wooley, WA, and long-time California Figure 8 driver Earl Cox. They received $350 and $250 respectively. Don Rogers, Las Vegan Chuck DeGuevara, Robbie Stutzel and Dan Burns rounded out the top ten. Everett, WA driver Don Eslick and Doug Wilkinson were the first two retirees and received $100 each, as did all other finishers outside the top ten.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Thinking that "--it don't rain in Indianapolis", after the races I casually said something like "You must have run plenty of these deals in the rain back home, eh? To which wide-eyed Figure-8 Western World winner Bear shot back, "Heck, no -- NEVER!" Yet another first for Irwindale (and for our friends from out of town)!
Two other divisions competed on the half-mile and produced new track champions. Robin Bourgeois, of Costa Mesa, started his Camaro seventh in a 24-car Vista Paint Super Stock field. He battled two-time champion Lee Ladd closely from laps five-32 before he made an inside turn four pass and took the lead on lap 33. Bourgeois won the first main event of his two and a half years racing career in the final point race of 2004. He finished fourth in final points.
Fastest qualifier/tenth starter Johnny White, from Phoenix, took second place on lap 34 in his Camaro and saw his final lap bid for his fourth IS victory fall 0.430 seconds short. White's inside move on the 40th and final lap got him even with the leader, but his car got loose and he trailed by five yards at the checker. Victor Wu, a major S/S most improved driver contender, took third place on lap 34. Lyle Spangler and Larry Sampson followed. Ladd, the laps three-32 leader, faded to sixth at the finish because his tires faded. Nevertheless, Ladd took second spot by 12-points over 12th finisher Chris Houwen, who dropped to third in final points.
New S/S champion Craig Rayburn, from Simi Valley, started his Camaro eighth and finished seventh to earn his first Irwindale championship by 39-points. Rayburn, the 1990 S/S champion at the now closed Saugus Speedway, was one of the eight drivers with heavily damaged cars after a second turn crash last week. "I put in 50-hours from Monday through Friday to repair my car and did the work after my regular day job as a claims cost accuracy examiner for Allstate. It cost $550 and I received parts from my sponsor Memory Lane," the new IS champion told the media.
A NAPA Auto Parts Super Truck scheduled 50-lap race started 20 trucks and produced a crash-fest during a 33-minute contest with three caution flags for multi-truck crashes. A lap 49 three-truck collision exiting the fourth turn involved the fourth and fifth place trucks and resulted in officials displaying the checkered flag two laps early. Billy Helgeson started fifth as the second quickest qualifier, took the lead on lap seven and beat laps one-six leader/pole starter Pat Mintry, Jr by five yards.
Former open-wheel driver Pete Ciulla finished third. Ron Peterson, from Riverside, was involved in the final incident while running third. Peterson, a 46-year old 21-year racing veteran, placed ninth and earned his first IS championship in his Dodge Dakota. Race winner Helgeson finished second in final IS points, 14-points from first. Peterson said he races for fun and is considering moving up to the IS Late Model Series next year.
Hard charger honorees were Bryan Harrell (S/S) and Pete Ciulla (Super Trucks). Pick-Your-Part sponsor Tony Martinez presented a special appreciation plaque after the S/S race to his driver Greg Benner, a vocational shop and math school-teacher. Benner, a 16-year racing veteran, has raced at IS all six-years of its existence. He is selling his No. 26 Camaro and is stepping away from racing at this time.
VISTA PAINT SUPER STOCKS 50 LAPS:
Fast Time: Johnny White, 21.768.
Main: Robin Bourgeois, White, Victor Wu, Lyle Spangler, Larry Sampson, Lee Ladd, Craig Rayburn, Bryan Harrell, Dean Cato, Greg Crutcher, Greg Benner, Chris Houwen, Ed Dazzo, Mike Gilmore, Charles DeGuevara, Steve Gilmore, Tim Gardner, Eric Sunness, Dan Rodgers, Brent Cusick, Keith Wood, Richard Hanson, Roy Moore.
NAPA AUTO PARTS SUPER TRUCKS 50 LAPS:
Fast Time: John Sereika, 19.428.
Main: Billy Helgeson, Pat Mintey, Jr, Pete Ciulla, Paul Barker, Dave Scarcella, Darrin Walts, Eric Sigwing, Danny Mathus, Ron Peterson, Mike Fortier, Rod Hicks, Rich Geisler, Sereika, Eric Hardin, Bob Barker, Ken Maler, Josh Barker, Louis Mammolito, Derek DiSarro, Jim Kondziela.
ASA SPEED TRUCK CHALLENGE 50+50=100 LAPS:
Fast Time: Darren Young, 19.709.
Main: Young, Kevin Fedderson, Scott Dodd, Terry Young, Spencer Clark, Dan DiGiacomo, Lee Hatch, Kenny Smith, Brandon Arciero, George Antill, Scott Franchimone, Joe Farre, Bob Sanders, J. D. Gardner, Alan Sanchez, Bobby Sayers, Joey Mogar, Marcus Smith, Gary Bryant, Rob McDonald, Steve Guccione, Robert Kroeker, Matt Daly, Bud Budavari, Patrick Britain, Ronnie Harper.
PICK YOUR PART FIGURE 8 WESTERN WORLD PRO CHAMPIONSHIP 50 LAPS:
Fast Time: Fred Bear, Jr, 18.3380.
Main: Bear, Curtis McMurtrey, John Carlson, Rusty Stewart, Greg Scott, Earl Cox, Don Rogers, Chuck DeGuevara, Robbie Stutzel, Dan Burns, Jeff Marguet, Steve Cook, Billy Ziemann, Harry Kuenniger, Rod Proctor, Ron Chaney, Tony Curtis, Don Eslick, Doug Wilkinson