Irwindale preview 2002-05-18

Irwindale, Calif. - - Another grand night of up-close and personal, live short track racing action is in store for NASCAR fans on Saturday night, May 18, as the Jani-King Super Late Models, the Automobile Club of Southern California Late Models,...

Irwindale, Calif. - - Another grand night of up-close and personal, live short track racing action is in store for NASCAR fans on Saturday night, May 18, as the Jani-King Super Late Models, the Automobile Club of Southern California Late Models, the Modified 4's and two (not one) divisions of "spec" racing trucks take to the asphalt to put on a super-value, five (count 'em FIVE) main event racing show at Irwindale Speedway.

Adding to the action in the Super Late Model event is the fact that it will be taped for showing on Irwindale's every-Thursday-night FOX SPORTS NET WEST 2 show and that it is the third round in the race-within-a-race series for the Miller Lite Big 10 Challenge. On TV, and a nice check for five grand to get the 2003 season started right -- Ok, let's see who wants to play?

Newly-wed Tony Green (Oak Hills) and the Green Team lead the points by a good chunk (246 -- 188) over Ben Walker (North Hills) coming in to this one, Walker missed the first race of the season but has been on hand in the press box for the post race top three interviews at every one of the rest of the races. Norwalk's Brandon Loverock has not had as good a start to his season as he would have likes, but his ability to put points on the board every time the Late Models run has him in third place overall.

The Miller Lite Big 10 points chase (after two races) shows Walker and Green tied at 98 points and Chatsworth's Keith Spangler (currently only 12th overall in annual points) third with 86 clicks after his name.

In the hot Auto Club Late Models we've got another tie, only this one is for the divisional points lead. It's been the "Todd and Tim Show" (Burns and Huddleston) in the Club Cars lately and no one is surprised that the Riversider and the Agoura Hillsian have their horns locked at 240 points each (of a possible 250) after the first five races. 2001 Champ Dave Hessing (Canyon Country) is steadily picking up points and has 212 in the bank at the beginning of Saturday's soiree.

Only two points separate the Modified 4's top two with Greg Tucker of Long Beach hold that slim margin over his neighbor to the north, Terry Limberopoulous of Bellflower. Every Mod4 race has been a crowd-pleaser this year with plenty of thrills and spills (-- and they walked away) in the mix every time that they take to the 1/3-Mile.

Trucks? You want racing trucks? We've got 'em! American Race Trucks' Val Cummings, from nearby West Covina has the lead in the full-size pic'em'ups at Irwindale on Saturday with Dale Cromwell (Ridgecrest) and Michael May (Huntington Beach) right on his tailgate (178, 160, and 146). May has two wins, a fourth, and a 2-point night to his credit, and both Cummings and Cromwell have yet to win a feature -- Points is points, and there's another 50 up for grabs on Saturday night, we'll see who pack them into their truck's load bed then.

Saturday night will mark the first Irwindale 2002 season appearance of the Mechanix Wear Speed Trucks -- These spec-motored steeds always put on a good show for the fans in the stands. Local Lee Hatch is the story here, the many-time Karting Champion comes into his "home track" after a win two weeks ago at Las Vegas, leading the Rookie points chase and in third place in overall points with a strong 236 to leader Randy Brown's 288. Hey, let's not forget Irwindale regular Darren Young sporting a strong second place in the standings at 262.

Fans are particularly suggested to join in the new Irwindale tradition of on-track autograph sessions starting at about 6 pm-- this opportunity to go right down on the racing surface to meet all of the night's racers is something that increases the Irwindale experience at least five-fold.

As many as 100 race cars on the 6-degree bank front straightaway, all the drivers, many of the crew members, personal autographs in programs, photos, a sit behind the wheel of a real race car for a wide-eyed kid, and more -- The on-track autograph session is a treat that makes coming to Irwindale for an evening's entertainment just that much more of a family value -- it's truly worth the effort to get out to the track early.

Gates open at 4PM on race day, and "neat stuff" like a live band, practice and qualifying, Mimi the face-painting clown (check out her new hairdo), and the pre-race autograph session. For more information or to purchase advance tickets (for any Speedway event) call (626) 358-1100 or type in on your browser.

Season Club Seats are still available for individuals and companies who want guaranteed seating at every event. (Each special seat has the individual's or company name on it and the section is situated right on "The Fifty-Yard Line" overlooking Start-Finish.)

Opening ceremonies are at 6:30PM including the ever-popular "Know Your NASCAR Game" for fun and prizes, and racing begins on the dot at 7 o'clock. Week 10 at IS -- Just a great place to be on a Saturday night!


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About this article
Series NASCAR , Stock car
Drivers Michael May , Darren Young