Bobby East Almost Wins the Big Money, After Winning the First Feature, Then Going From Last to 2nd in Final 25-Lap Feature Race IRWINDALE, CA -With just one car in front of him, Lewis Racing's Bobby East was denied the ARP $50,000 bonus offered...
Bobby East Almost Wins the Big Money, After Winning the First Feature, Then Going From Last to 2nd in Final 25-Lap Feature Race
IRWINDALE, CA -With just one car in front of him, Lewis Racing's Bobby East was denied the ARP $50,000 bonus offered to the winner of both 25-lap feature races of the Mopar Twin 25's USAC Midget race at Irwindale Speedway, Saturday night, March 27. Winning the second 25-lap feature of the night was Thomas Meseraull.
The 2nd Annual Mopar Twin 25's Presented by Mission Foods played to a crowd of 5,500. Many came early to view the legendary race cars and quarter-midget action that was all part of Eibach Springs Presents the Festival of Speed, then stayed on to watch the exciting twin 25-lap feature races.
East won the first 25-lapper after pole-sitter and perhaps the strongest competitor in the field, Dave Steele, crashed on lap 9. Steele won the $50,000 bonus in the very first Twin 25's at Indianapolis Raceway Park in September 2002. Steele had been viewed by many as a possible repeat winner up until the moment he lost his left rear wheel and hit the front straight wall.
Finishing second in the first race was Lewis Racing teammate Dave Darland. Rounding out the top five was Mopar's Tracy Hines, Tom Hessert III and Brad Kuhn.
Per the unique format of the Mopar Twin 25's, East started dead last in the 2nd 25-lap feature race. He would have to pass 21 cars in 25 laps to collect the ARP $50,000 bonus prize (2 cars from the first feature race were not in the second feature race due to a crash or mechanical failure).
Meseraull started on the pole in the second 25-lap feature, based on the Mopar Twin 25's inverted line-up.
In the first lap, East passed eight cars, and was up to 4th by lap 7. On lap 21, he was in 2nd place, but that was as far as he would go. His challenge to the front had exhausted his tires, and despite looming traffic, Meseraull had taken a strong lead. But East tried valiantly, and said he "needed a caution" that never came.
"I knew Bobby was coming, but we really needed this win," said Meseraull.
"Just one place, I know," East added. "It was still a really great race."
"This was a truly great day-and evening-of racing activities," said Steve Lewis of Premier Racing Entertainment, producers of the race and owner of Lewis Racing. "We really wanted to plan a whole day of celebrating racing, from the future stars of the sport in quarter midget racing to the veterans who have given us so much over the years, to the drivers of today who give it their all. It's all designed to give something special to all the fans, whether they're regulars or first-timers to Irwindale Speedway."
Associate sponsors for the race included Racer Magazine, Calico Coatings, MSD Ignition, Turbines, Inc., Probe Industries, Vital Express, Corteco, Gigante and Guerrero Tortillas.
A Focus Midget race was held as a supporting event to the Mopar Twin 25's. Featured among the regular Focus entrants were Champ Car World Series regulars Patrick Carpentier and Michel Jourdain, Jr. Carpentier qualified well, taking fourth, while Jourdain, having flown all night from his Champ Car test session in Sebring, Florida, was placed 19th.
Josh Lakatos took the win, followed by Ryan Pace, Matt Triplett, Bobby Owens and Carpentier in fifth. Unfortunately for Jourdain, his car took the green, but then immediately failed. He was unable to continue. Both drivers in post-race interviews agreed it was a "fun style of racing," and wanted another chance at a later date.
Also, an exhibition of Drifting, the latest motorsports craze from Japan to invade these shores, was a huge hit with the Irwindale Speedway open wheel fans. Five cars performed in the exhibition, organized by Slipstream Global Marketing.