Irwindale preview 2001-07-14

Irwindale, Calif. - - Lead by the driver who labels himself "The X-man", the Automobile Club of Southern California Late Models are back at Irwindale Speedway for another go-around of what has quickly become one of the favorite divisions of NASCAR...

Irwindale, Calif. - - Lead by the driver who labels himself "The X-man", the Automobile Club of Southern California Late Models are back at Irwindale Speedway for another go-around of what has quickly become one of the favorite divisions of NASCAR stock car racing in the Southland. The evening's festivities will presented by the Speedway's official bank, Foothill Independent Bank, which serves the San Gabriel Valley and the Inland Empire from its twelve convenient offices in Irwindale, Chino, Claremont, Corona, Covina, Glendale, Glendora (home office), Monrovia, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, and its latest location in Temecula.

Points leader Deryk "X-Man" Ward's first win in the Auto Club-backed Late Models came on June 30 at Irwindale when the Palm Springs resident grabbed the handle on handling and got a great race out of his "X-Mobile" Chevy. Ward's consistent driving through the first eight races of the season (never out of the top five with two second places and two thirds) has also put him at the top of the national NASCAR CSI points standings for his division as well. His "X-Man" persona is a popular one with the youngsters, and his first-ever victory at Irwindale was a cause for some late-night celebrating for everyone involved with his friendly racing crew.

Mike Price, Irwindale's first Super Stock champion, Todd Burns, David Hessing and Brian Kelly, with 286, 284, 274, and 274 points respectively, are all on Ward's trail but his 362 points put him in almost two outright race wins away from any of the contenders at this half-way point in the 2001 season. Just for the record, Price is from San Pedro, Burns hails from Riverside, Hessing from Canyon Country, and Kelley is from the mini-metropolis of Arleta.

By the way, Saturday night's race for the Auto Club cars is two races, a "Twin 40" affair with two complete races each offering a full 50 points toward the series crown. Feast or famine is the name of the game on "Twin" nights. Don't wreck or blow in the first one 'cause you'll loose points in two races. Do well in both races and accelerate up the points list smartly. Stay tuned for the "Twin 40's".

Figure 8 Racing, that wild and wacky combination of racing skill, blind luck and a cross-traffic intersection is back at Irwindale Speedway on Saturday night July 14, with the first of a five race championship challenge series of events sponsored by Pick Your Part. "The fans love this kind of rowdy racing action. It's fun to watch. Each lap produces situations where driving skill and just plain old nerve have to mix

You don't have to understand motors, set-up, or suspension to get a kick out of this kind of show," said Pick Your Part spokesperson Tony Martinez. The other Pick Your Part Figure 8 Challenge Series races are scheduled for: August 11, September 22, October 6, and October 20 with a Demolition Derby (Irwindale Speedway's first ever) also on the docket for October 20 date.

And, as if "all of the above" weren't enough: Saturday night's super show at Irwindale Speedway will also feature the sagacious NASCAR Super Stocks, the awesome American Race Trucks, and the keen King Taco Legend Cars. All in all, a prime power-packed Summer evening of racing excitement and entertainment if ever there was one. Tickets are on sale now for this sure-fire stadium-filler. A call to (626) 358-1100 will secure fans seats for the show as will a click on www.irwindalespeedway.com or a visit to the track's onsite ticket office. Gates open at 4 pm with practice, qualifying, autographs, live band, and other pre-race attractions on tap and racing starts at 7pm. After the races the racing pits are open to fans of all ages for up-close and personal encounters with the heroes of the event and their mighty steeds.

Fans should be reminded that Saturday, July 14 is the second Saturday of the track's annual "Christmas in July" participation in the Los Angeles County Fire Department and ABC7's "Spark of Love" toy drive. Toys collected at the Speedway and at Fire Stations across a five-county area are distributed to less fortunate youngsters during the holiday season through Children's Services of Los Angeles County.

At every race in July, firefighters will be on hand at the main gates of the Speedway to collect new, unwrapped toys from fans and competitors. Each toy will get the donor a $5.00 discount on admission for that night of racing. ABC7 in Los Angeles is the participating media partner and will be publicizing the track's involvement in the program. Last year the track collected over 2,000 toys during the month-long promotion, many of them racing-related.

-IS

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Series NASCAR