Irwindale opening night preview

100-lapper for Jani-King Super Late Models opens Irwindale's 2003 Oval Track season. Advantage Ford presents opening night: year five. Irwindale, Calif. - - Seems like only yesterday that Irwindale Speedway opened with the SC marching band, ...

100-lapper for Jani-King Super Late Models opens Irwindale's 2003 Oval Track season.
Advantage Ford presents opening night: year five.

Irwindale, Calif. - - Seems like only yesterday that Irwindale Speedway opened with the SC marching band, convertibles chocked-full of movie stars and racing legends, fireworks; and lap after lap of some of the closest, most exciting short track racing seen in the southland in a long time. "LA's Half-Mile Super Speedway" Irwindale Speedway, the dream, the aspiration, the investment, the reality, earned its nickname on its first night of operation leaving fans, competitors, and the news media all more than impressed with the new star-quality short track. That was March 27, 1999, five years ago.

On Saturday, March 29, 2003 Irwindale will open its season with a 100-lap race for the track's Dodge weekly racing series' premier division, the NASCAR Jani-King Super Late Models right out of the box. Backing that card-topper up are races for the Auto Club Late Models, the Vista Paint Super Stocks, and the Ultra Wheel Super Trucks. Four-count 'em-Four top divisions all absolutely, positively guaranteed to keep fans totally entertained and on the edge of their seats all evening long.

NASCAR fans who've been waiting and watching stock car racing on television all winter long know that they've got a real treat coming at Irwindale. Close-up action, no distracting commercials, hot stock cars that they can relate to, and fresh new racing personalities that are more than accessible.

Champions Rip Michels (Mission Hills), Todd Burns (Riverside), Darren Cheek (Phelan), and Carson Woods (Yucca Valley) are all expected back to "defend" their 2002 titles in the above divisions. Winning a championship ONCE at Irwindale is tough (ask Todd Burns the winningest driver ever at IS and repeating is more than double-tough. Everyone wants the championship and everybody wants the guy wearing the "number one" panel from the year before.

The evening will start early with Irwindale's (now) traditional King Taco On Track Autograph Session. Get a program, bring a pen, and get the top drivers' personal autographs, meet their crews and get a good close look at their race cars. The spectator gates open at 4PM and the on track session is at 6PM.

This year the fireworks will fly again to announce the new season, but they'll also scorch the sky in support of our troops. "Our fans, NASCAR fans, are some of the most patriotic people there are," said Bob DeFazio. "We'll try to give them a voice and some great racing entertainment on Saturday night. Our fighting men and women are never far from our thoughts and we're looking forward to hosting many of them right here at Irwindale when they return home from this mission."

A unit from the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol will serve as the military color guard in Saturday night's opening ceremony. Squadron 20 from nearby Chino, California will present the colors to the crowd at 7PM and stand at attention during the singing of the "Star Spangled Banner".

Irwindale Speedway is located right on the 605 Freeway at Live Oak Avenue. From the south, take the Live Oak West off-ramp and drive west one half mile to the main gates at Speedway Drive. From the North, take the Arrow Highway off-ramp turning right on Arrow, continue two lights to Live Oak, turn left and enter the facility at Speedway Drive.

-is-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Rip Michels