FF: Irwindale report 2005-04-02

TIM KENNEDY'S RACE REPORT IRWINDALE SPEEDWAY - APRIL 2, 2005 IRWINDALE, CA., Apr. 2 - Todd Southwell, the third quickest qualifier, became another first time feature winner on Irwindale Speedway's half-mile Saturday before almost 4,000 fans. The...

TIM KENNEDY'S RACE REPORT
IRWINDALE SPEEDWAY - APRIL 2, 2005

IRWINDALE, CA., Apr. 2 - Todd Southwell, the third quickest qualifier, became another first time feature winner on Irwindale Speedway's half-mile Saturday before almost 4,000 fans. The Lucas Oil Super Late Model Chevy Monte Carlo driver led 72 laps from his pole starting spot and lost the lead for the next two laps. Then he executed a spectacular outside pass to regain the point from turn four to the finish line on the 75th (final) lap. His dazzling winning pass was reminiscent of the side-by-side winning pass two weeks ago by Carl Edwards to beat Jimmie Johnson in the Nextel Cup Atlanta 500.

Following his memorable victory, elated Southwell told the crowd, "This is what we've been working for-track records, wins and the championship. I have to thank Mike Price (the runner-up in a Ford Taurus and the IS 2004 SLM rookie-of-the year). He could've taken me out. I've never had more fun in a race-car. I'm out of breath." His official winning margin was 0.113 seconds, about a foot. The two drivers posed for a photo at the checkered finish line stripe and extended their feet to show the winning margin. Southwell, a 39-year old San Marcos resident, is a veteran of stock car road racing at Willow Springs Raceway and in the SCCA factory stocks series. He began racing in the Irwindale's SLM series five years ago on a part-time basis. "I've never run a full season here. Last year I finished 12th in points and missed seven of 18 races."

Rod Johnson, Irwindale's 1999 SLM champion, drove his Chevy Monte Carlo to third place, despite flapping right side body-work for the final 30 laps that allowed engine exhaust fumes to enter the cockpit. Johnson, 44, felt nauseous, but later joined the first two drivers to speak to the media. Rounding out the top ten were SLM rookie Andrew Phipps, Russell White, Las Vegas driver Chris Clyne, 20-year old University of Arizona student/USAC Midget racer/SLM rookie Van Knill, Dan O'Donnell, Las Vegan Charlie Wahl and Scott Conaway. Twenty-three of 31 starters finished and 19 drivers completed all 75 laps.

The other feature victory on the half-mile went to 2004 Jasper Engines West Coast Pro Truck champion Chris Johnson in a Ford F-150 sponsored by the State of California Used Oil Recycling Program. The second fastest qualifier led the final 41 laps of a 50-lap event. Fastest qualifier Mike Young, who is paralyzed from the waist down and drives using hand controls for acceleration and braking, led the first nine laps. Inside-running Johnson raced Young evenly until Young's engine began smoking. He slowed and pulled into the infield and parked next to the fire truck where the crew extinguished a small engine fire. Johnson completed the caution-free race in 17:21.042 and won by 9.220 seconds, almost half a lap over Jeff Williams. Multi-time motocross champion Buddy Antunez made his truck debut and raced from 17th starting to seventh position, down a lap.

Alex Harris, 27, won his second consecutive USAC Ford Focus Midget California paved track series 35-lap main event on the third-mile. As fastest qualifier he started sixth in his own TCR chassis and chased pole starter Chris Veach, 19, for five laps before executing his winning pass on the inside through the third and fourth turns. Harris collected another $500 winner's check. Chase Barber, a 17-year old second year FF Midget driver, started third and dueled Harris within two lengths from laps 20-31, when he faded with worn tires and trailed by 15-yards (0.994 seconds) at the finish. Fifteen of the 16 starters finished and 12 drivers ran all 35 laps. One brief caution flew on lap 15 for a solo spin.

Point leader Audra Sasselli started second as fifth quickest qualifier in a 16-car field. She spun in the first turn on the initial lap after contact. The blonde Fresno driver restarted at the back row and raced through the field rapidly with inside and outside passes. She was tenth on lap four, eighth on lap 15, fifth at lap 20 and fourth on lap 23. Sasselli, driving Dave Zoriki's Beast chassis, then chased down third place Benny Moon, a FF Midget rookie and karting veteran. She passed his Stealth on the inside entering the first turn on the final lap and finished 4.056 seconds behind the winner. Moon was fourth, 4.278 seconds back. Sasselli extended her point lead to 28 after three races with the next race April 9 at Stockton Speedway.

The AMF Bowling Pure Stocks Open Division ran a 35-lap main season opener on the third-mile. IS 2004 champion Jimmy Rouse led every lap but the all-important last lap. Holding a ten-yard advantage entering the third turn during the final lap, Rouse's 1972 Chevy Nova collided with the lapped car of rookie George Capitanis. Rouse spun out and restarted after losing seven positions. He finished an angry eighth in front of his wife Michelle. Bill Bartleson ('72 Chevy Nova) ran second from lap 25 to the final lap, when he avoided the spinning Rouse and received the waiting checkered flag 30 yards in front of his father Bob's 1972 Ford LTD. Mark Whitson ('73 Chevy Laguna) finished third in a 19-car field. Fourth finisher John Mattie came from 18th grid position to finish fourth after setting a new track record of 17.865 during 4:00 p.m time trials. The old mark, set by Rouse last May 1, was 18.427 (65.122 mph). Six drivers beat the old record.

A 15-lap Pure Stock Women-only League race used the same cars used by Open Division drivers and eight drivers competed. Michelle Rouse started third and chased pole starter Kelly Bartleson-Young for ten laps before making her winning pass on the inside in turn four during lap 11. Rouse won by 0.859 seconds over Bartleson-Young. Ginger Bryk finished third, 1.858 seconds back. Melissa Watson and Izzy Lewis followed.

A 15-car, $2,000 Pick-Your-Part Demolition Derby provided fender, radiator, hood and back end smashing on a soapy, water-soaked infield as the final event of the night. A four-minute red flag halted action after a 1986 Dodge driven by Bryan Hendry climbed a car and rolled onto its side and stopped. Hendry emerged unhurt and tossed his helmet in disgust. When the 17-minute event received the checkered flag at 9:46, past winner John Zimmerman's 1975 Cadillac was awarded the $1,000 first place prize. Varick Pimenta ('63 Caddy) earned $500 for second place. Only the top five participated in the purse payoff. Al Rocha ('68 Caddy) won $250 for third. Tyrone Klingbeil ('75 Olds) won $150 for fourth, and Milton Eisehhower ('78 Chrysler) received $100 for fifth.

PICK-YOUR-PART DEMOLITION DERBY: (15 cars)
Finish: John Zimmerman,Varick Pimenta, Al Rocha, Tyrone Klingbeil, Milton Eisenhower. Others: Harry Kuenniger, Bill Conway, Kenny Hall, Joel Mumford, Dan Sonto, Justin Stress, Chuck Gillock, Bryan Hayden, Bryan Hendry. Mike Duran.

AMF BOWLING PURE STOCKS OPEN DIVISION; (19 cars)
Fast Time: John Mattie, 17.865 - NTR (old TR 18.427 by Jimmy Rouse on 5-1-04).

Main: Bill Bartleson, Bob Bartleson, Mark Whitson, Mattie, Jeff Elder, Peter Bryk, Jimmy Rouse, Michelle Rouse, Harry Michaelian, Justin Good, Nick Nuccitelli, Paul Vitale, Dave Foster, Ryan Partridge, Brandon Mulvihill, George Capitanis, Izzy Lewis, Tyler Guith, Vince Allevato.

PURE STOCKS WOMEN'S LEAGUE: (8 cars)
Main: Michelle Rouse, Kelly Bartleson-Young, Ginger Bryk, Melissa Watson, Izzy Lewis, Kim Unruh, Erica Nacita, Amee Blue. Time: 4:44.525.

USAC FORD FOCUS MIDGETS: (16 cars)
Fast Time: Alex Harris, 14.538.

Main: Harris, Chase Barber, Audra Sasselli, Benny Moon, Darrell Herzog, Robbie Whitchurch, Steve Davis, Jeff Sakowicz, J. R. Williams, Lindsay Nicole Kernohan, Chris Veach, Jace Meier, Scott Nogrady, Nick Carlson, Jon Santibanes, Cameron. Veach.

JASPER ENGINES WEST COAST PRO TRUCKS: (21 trucks)
Fast Time: Mike Young, 20.085.

Main: Chris Johnson, Jeff Williams, Neil Conrad, Don Helgeson, Ryan Black, Richard Black, Buddy Antunez, Robert Leininger, Barry Kalperis, Kurt Knostman, Cecil Phelps, Jim Satterfield, Roger Harder, Tim McMillin, Ron Mongenel, David Timewell, Michael May, Rick Wall, Mike Young, Todd Cameron, DNS-Colby McMillan. Time-17:21.042.

LUCAS OIL SUPER LATE MODELS: (34 cars)
Fast Time: Andrew Phipps, 17.885.

Main: Todd Southwell, Mike Price, Rod Johnson, Phipps, Russell White, Chris Clyne, Van Knill, Dan O'Donnell, Charlie Wahl, Scott Conaway, Ed Hoffman, Doug McComb, Tony Jackson, Brian Ickler, Andy Coyle, Scott Calvin, Dave Lyon, Nathan Wulff, Jobe Spyres, Ron Esau, Danny Gay, Robby Sawyer, Kevin O'Connell, Mark Perry, Chris Oddo, David Ross, Gary Jenkins, Jim McGill, Dan Moore, Brandon Loverock, Dennis Arena. DNS-Dean Cato, Brian Yeager, Jason Patison.

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About this article
Series NASCAR , Stock car , USAC
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , Dave Foster , Buddy Antunez , Michael May , Jeff Williams , Kevin O'Connell , Jason Patison , Brian Ickler , Robbie Whitchurch
Teams Williams