Irwindale "Home Stretch"

"HOME STRETCH" OF IRWINDALE SPEEDWAY's FIRST SEASON A VERY EXCITING, VERY BUSY ONE. Irwindale, Calif. - - The final seven "Super Saturday" events of Irwindale Speedway's inaugural season are primed to present some of the most action-packed and...


Irwindale, Calif. - - The final seven "Super Saturday" events of Irwindale Speedway's inaugural season are primed to present some of the most action-packed and intense racing of the year. We thought that a quick rundown of those upcoming evenings might be in order … Here they are:

o Saturday, October 16: "THUNDER at IRWINDALE" … The first-ever Los Angeles area appearance of USAC's legendary "Silver Crown" Cars. Known now as the "Coors Silver Bullet Series", this national championship race will attract the best of the best of open wheel drivers from across the United States to compete in what the seasoned fans simply call: "…The big cars". Drivers are likely to include: Jason Leffler, Jack Hewitt, Dave Darland, Jimmy Sills, Wally Pankratz, Tracy Hines, Dave Steel, Tony Elliott, and more. Also on the bill that night are the Western States Sprint Cars (…will Bud Kaeding keep his 5-and-oh "perfect season" at Irwindale string alive?), and the mighty MCI WorldCom Midgets (we expect 30 cars minimum for this division!).

ESPN2's cameras will add to the excitement by capturing all three events for a special MONDAY NIGHT THUNDER to be seen on October 18! (5 - 8 pm west coast). Many fans are planning on being there in person and then getting home early on Monday night to watch themselves (and the races too!) on the tube.

o Saturday, October 23: "HARLEY's ON THE HALF-MILE" … With some 500 to 1,000 gleaming motorcycles in attendance and on display (at Irwindale for the food-fun-and-race-watching end of a charity ride sponsored by Laidlaw Harley-Davidson for the benefit of A Special Wish Foundation) NASCAR stock car racing fans are going to be treated to a 75-lap Late Model open competition race which will see many stars from the length and breath of the state heading toward IS after there own local season has been completed. This time it won't be for track points, it'll be for money, prestige, and just plain old racing glory.

A 50-lapper for Super Stocks, a special edition of the Mechanix Wear Speed Truck Challenge race series with all-time AMA SuperCross champion Jeremy McGrath in a "race within a race" as he challenges his boss Chapparral Motorsports team owner Dave Damron in identical Evernham Hawley Speed Trucks, and the Mini-Stocks will make for a great night of race-viewing.

o Saturday, October 30: "NASCAR +" … A great night of NASCAR stock car racing is on the card for the 30th. Leading off with the Super Late Models, following with the Grand American Modifieds, Ultra Wheel Spec Trucks, and Mini-Stockars.

These are some of the classes that your next Southwest Tour or Winston West drivers are going to be coming from. Close racing, family race teams. This is the final 1999 bow for four divisions that have been fan favorites.

o Saturday, November 6th: "OPEN WHEEL SPECTACULAR" … This is the combination that kicked off the Speedway's inaugural season way back in late March: Mighty USAC Midgets, screaming USAC Sprint Cars, and those wild and woolly WSMRA Super Modifieds. As anyone who saw 'em run on opening night will tell you, these machines are awesome. In the capable hands of IRL/Indy driver Davey Hamilton, a Super Modified on a fast, banked ½-mile like Irwindale is a thing of raw power and breathtaking beauty.

Hamilton ("I love this place!") set the ultimate track record on opening night (15.655 seconds) on a decidedly "green" track. What kind of number he'll put into the record book on November 6 may be well worth the price of admission alone to witness. Also "for the record" is the fact that November 6 has been designated "DIE CAST MODEL SPRINT CAR NIGHT". All in attendance will receive a collector's edition '99 season Irwindale Speedway Sprint Car model.

o Saturday, November 13th: AMERICAN RACE TRUCKS NATIONAL FINALS … They'll be heading for Irwindale from all over the United States to crown a National Champion in what has become one of the most popular racing classes in the country America Race Trucks. Combining a rugged stock frame with strong roll cage, a crate motor, and low-tech (but highly competitive and very equal) components, these machines are driven to wins by people who have to have more raw skill than hard cash.

None other than Arie Luyendyk Junior will be there at Irwindale to drive an American Race Truck. His father, two-time Indy 500 winner Arie Senior is planning to be at Irwindale to cheer his oldest son on. The Mechanix Wear Speed Trucks and the MSRA Pro4 Modifieds will fill out the bill on the 13th. Fans who like to watch for the "Stars of the Future" should be at Irwindale Speedway on that night for a bit of scouting … There'll be plenty of new talent on hand.

o Saturday, November 20th: FAN APPRECIATION NIGHT … The Ultra Wheels Spec Trucks close out their 14-race Southern California Series with a final race at Irwindale on the track's first-ever Fan Appreciation Night. For starters, all Kids get in free when accompanied by a parent on that night, not just the regular "under 6" crowd. Showers of "IS"-branded hats, T-shirts will descend on the crowd during lulls in the racing action, and special discounts on all Inaugural Year collectibles will be available at the facility's two souvenir shops.

On-track racing action will feature the season's final appearance of the MSRA Pro-4 cars, hot 4-cylinder powered modified stock cars that turn the Irwindale oval at an average speed of just under 100 mph. A special exhibition race event is also scheduled for November 20. The brand new ARCA Truck class will make its West coast debut. The 4-cylinder powered, spec-class, pickup-style machines; which have already been making big waves back East, should prove to be an interesting addition to the Western racing scene.

o Thursday Night, November 25th: THE 59TH RUNNING of the "TURKEY NIGHT GRAND PRIX" for USAC MIDGETS …Historic, Classic, Celebrated, Renowned, Illustrious, Legendary, (add your choice of adjectives here). It might be said that Irwindale Speedway saved the best for last (except for the fact that the whole season has been marked with spectacularly competitive racing) with closing night's presentation of Turkey Night. This is USAC Midget racing's own version of the Indy 500. Win this one and you step onto the podium with some of open wheel racing's immortals the likes of, A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Ronnie Shuman, Bill Vukovich, Tony & Gary Bettenhausen, Stan Fox, Brent Kaeding, Chuck Gurney, Johnnie Parsons, and Norman "Bubby" Jones.

With its roots deep in the soul of Southern California racing tradition, this event, which began at the fabled Gilmore Stadium in 1934 is one of the oldest and most revered of them all. 100 laps, 50 miles to racing glory on Thanksgiving Night … History and hot competition will mix to make November 25 truly a night to remember. Expect names like Pankratz, Steele, Hines, Sills, Kaeding, and many, many more to appear on the card for this one. Expect all 6,500 seats at Irwindale and every hotel within a ten-mile radius to be booked … Expect a(nother) classic.

FOR TICKETS TO ANY OF THE ABOVE EVENTS: (626) 358-1100 (for schedules, prices, and even a personalized map to Irwindale)

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About this article
Series NASCAR , Stock car , USAC
Drivers Jason Leffler , Davey Hamilton , Arie Luyendyk , Parnelli Jones , Tracy Hines , Jack Hewitt , Bud Kaeding , Bill Vukovich , Wally Pankratz , Jimmy Sills , A.J. Foyt