Irwindale preview 2001-09-22

Irwindale, Calif. - - After a race night that was unlike any other at Irwindale the fans (and drivers) are ready to get back to what they do best at the Speedway ^Ã… Cheering for some great driving. This week the San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group...

Irwindale, Calif. - - After a race night that was unlike any other at Irwindale the fans (and drivers) are ready to get back to what they do best at the Speedway ^Å Cheering for some great driving. This week the San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group (The Pasadena Star News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, and The Whittier Daily News) will celebrate "Back To School Night" with kids 12 and under gaining free admission to the show when accompanied by an adult ticket buyer.

The season points championship is on the line in the NASCAR Super Stocks, this final race for this great group of racers will give Irwindale its second champion of the season. Long Beach's Jeff Green, last year's only champ who is has a chance of repeating, has lead the points chase all season long, but only by the skin of his teeth. Consistent finishes rather than outright wins have been his forte in 2001.

Will Cottrell, from Palmdale, with one win, an early DQ, and many top finishes is second in SS points with Andrew Phipps (Simi Valley) in third despite registering more first places (6) than Green and Cottrell combined. Phipps missed the first two races of the season but has put in a valiant effort ever since. Going into the race the points are: Green 512, Cottrell 468, and Phipps 454. With 50 points for the victor, only Cottrell has a chance to overtake Green and even that would require Green to DNF or finish well down in the order. We'll see on Saturday night.

Saturday will be the second-to-last points race for what has become one of Irwindale's favorite divisions, the Automobile Club of Southern California Late Models (AKA "Auto Club Late Models"). The division has be a scrappy one from the start with many memorable races and a slug of serious contenders all season long. The "X-Man" Deryk Ward, from Palm Springs has been hot all year and leads with 646 points. However Canyon Country's Dave Hessing and Arleta's Brian Kelley are, in the vernacular, "right on his donkey" with 638 and 630 points respectively. 1999 Super Stock champ Mike Price (San Pedro) has 584, and Riverside's hard-charging Todd Burns has 582. Gentlemen, Start Your Calculators!

The always-entertaining American Race Trucks will make their fourth appearance in a row at Irwindale on Saturday night, and, if past performances are any indication, Saturday's show will be a good one with plenty of passing and one of their patented tight finishes. Deyon Young, leads the points with Aaron Staudinger, Jeff Williams, first-time winner (last week) Josh Hulsebosch, and Michael May rounding out the top five in the Southwestern Region points chase.

The NASCAR Modified 4's will also scramble for points at Irwindale on Saturday night with two races left on their schedule after this one. Guy Tripp (Saugus) leads this one with 324 points in the bank. Tim Ross (Riverside) and 1999 division champ Lee Ladd (Thousand Oaks) trail him with 286 and 260. Terry Limberopoulos (Bellflower) and Steve Rodgers (Pedley) are still in the hunt with 254 and 250, but the battle is bound to get tighter with this race.

And then we come to the Pick Your Part Figure 8's ^Å What more can we say. The last time they did battle at Irwindale many knowledgeable race-watchers declared the event one of the best that they had ever witnessed. Can they do even better this time? Will the near-missed be even closer? This show-stopper is the one that always has everyone in the stands on their feet, some of them cover their eyes at times (the fans that is) but it's all in good fun when the Figure 8's run as IS.

Tickets for this event are on sale at the track box office, by phone at (626) 358-1100, or on the track's website at: Gates open at 4:00 pm, with opening ceremonies at 6:30 pm. After the races all fans are encouraged to visit the pits to meet the drivers and hard-working crews and to get a closer look at their racing cars. Fans are also encouraged to bring a camera along to get some close-ups in the pits.

Once again, thank you to the thousands of fans, the drivers, the crews, the track officials, and workers who opened their hearts and their pocketbooks on saturday night, september 15. we all stood together as one in answer to the awful events of that week - let us never forget that night nor the spirit that we all felt. God Bless America


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About this article
Series NASCAR , Stock car
Drivers Jeff Green , Michael May , Jeff Williams
Teams Williams