Irwindale, Calif. -- With only three points-paying races left to go in 2001, the Automobile Club of Southern California Late Model championship could well be on the line on Saturday night August 25 with Palm Springs' Deryk "X-Man" Ward hanging on...
Irwindale, Calif. -- With only three points-paying races left to go in 2001, the Automobile Club of Southern California Late Model championship could well be on the line on Saturday night August 25 with Palm Springs' Deryk "X-Man" Ward hanging on to a slender 14-point lead (560 to 546) over Canyon Country's Dave Hessing. But the 10 car and the 1 car better not take the time to look in their rear view mirrors. Right on their rear bumpers, and closing fast, there's "Quiet" Brian Kelley from Arleta, with 534 points. Brian K. has been running hard and finishing right up there all season long but has yet to win a race in 2001. Old pro Kelley may well be due and could prove to be the spoiler in the two-way battle at the top.
And then there's the guy on the super-hot streak, one Mister Todd Burns from Riverside. Irwindale Speedway's winningest driver, and the winner of five Automobile Club of Southern California main events so far this season. On a roll, Burns' presence has been heavily felt in the ranks as he makes a strong late-season charge for an elusive championship from fourth place with 518 points. His August 11 performance was a dominating one, with big wins in each of the "twin 40" races offered that night for the Auto Club-sponsored division.
Irwindale's Late Models have become one of the most competitive and best turned out of all the track's NASCAR Weekly Racing divisions. The level of preparation seems to escalate with each passing race as does the intensity of the driving. Saturday night's show will be no different, it will also be the very best opportunity for fans to see the kind of racing that NASCAR stands for and that Irwindale Speedway has made possible. Close, two and three-up racing on every corner, every lap with "photo" finishes usually the order of the day.
The NASCAR Grand American Modifieds, Modified 4's, King Taco Legend Cars, and the Mechanix Wear Speed Trucks are all on Saturday night's five-division card as well. Tickets are on sale now at the track box office (13300 E. Live Oak Avenue just off the 605 freeway), by phone (626-358-1100) an over the internet at www.irwindalespeedway.com.
Gates always open early at Irwindale (4:00 pm) and fans are encouraged to arrive early to enjoy a live band, face painting for the kids, and an "insider's" look at the race cars as they practice and then qualify for the night's action. Pre-race festivities start at 6:30 pm and the busy pit area, normally off-limits during racing, is open to one and all right after the last race of the evening offering fans a close-up and personal contact with the drivers and the machines that they race.