Irwindale race report 11-03-01

Fry Cooks Up A 200-Lap Victory In So Cal Pipe Trades 200 Irwindale Speedway Race Report -- November 3, 2001 Tommy Fry made his fourth NASCAR Food 4 Less Super Late Model feature victory of the year Saturday his crown jewel during a non-point...

Fry Cooks Up A 200-Lap Victory In So Cal Pipe Trades 200 Irwindale Speedway Race Report -- November 3, 2001

Tommy Fry made his fourth NASCAR Food 4 Less Super Late Model feature victory of the year Saturday his crown jewel during a non-point event at Irwindale Speedway. The owner/driver from Chatsworth drove his Chevy Monte Carlo to a $5,000 triumph in the $20,000 Southern California Pipe Trades 200 season-closer for the track's premier stock car class before a crowd of 5,612. It was the longest and richest non-touring race in track history.

Fry started 16th in the 31-car field with the older of his two Chevy Monte Carlos (the 1999 Irwindale track championship car driven for CMC, Inc. by Rod Johnson). Fry, the third ranked driver in final 2001 Irwindale championship points, was involved in a crash at Mesa Marin Raceway a week earlier that heavily damaged his newer Monte Carlo.

The happy winner used the lower part of the banked half-mile to race from fourth position on lap 181 into first on lap 183. He passed two drivers on the inside during lap 182 to take second place. He won the one hour and 23 second race by 1.038 seconds in the event that had a 20-minute time-out for refueling and minor adjustments after 100 laps. Fry was in ninth place, 6.781 seconds (about a third of a lap) behind the race leader at the half-time break.

Tony Green started second in his Chevy and collected $2,000 for equaling his career best result at the track. The rookie super late model driver and veteran of late model and truck racing at the San Gabriel Valley track led laps 168 through 182. Mike Duncan, the NASCAR Winston West 2000 Rookie-of-the-Year from Bakersfield, started fifth and finished third in his Chevy to collect $1,500. He had raced only three times this season because of shoulder surgery.

Rounding out the top ten finishers (with earnings in parenthesis) were Greg Voigt ($1,000), James Roland ($850), Nathan Wulff ($750), A. J. DiMarzo ($650), Shawn Calderwood ($600), Rod Johnson ($550), and John Tyczki ($500). Sixteen drivers were still racing at the finish and nine drivers completed 200 laps.

In a preliminary main event for Ultra Wheel Speed Trucks, Reggie Church started on the pole and led all the way in a 100-lap contest. It was the longest race of the year for the truck series. Church, the second-ranked rookie in 2001 UW Speed Truck Southern Region final points, earned his first main event victory and his third top ten finish in 14 outings. His winning margin was 0.546 seconds.

Jim McGill (from third starting spot), Jim Kondziela (from seventh), Jon Campbell (from tenth) and Sonny Shelly (from 12th) completed the top five. Fourteen of the 18 starters reached the checkered flag and ten drivers ran all 100 laps. The truck feature had three caution periods and took 41:04.949 minutes from green to checker. UW Southern Region 2001 Champion Dave Blankenship finished ninth. Angelo Gullotti ran in second place from laps 19-83 but he pitted on lap 85 after sparks appeared from the undercarriage of his truck from lap 73 until his retirement.

The initial race of the evening-a six-lap trophy dash for $250 by the six fastest super late model qualifiers-produced a major crash. As the leaders exited turn four for the waving checkered flag, David Gilliland tried to pass leader Rip Michels and contacted Michels' mount. Both cars hit the outer wall and careened across the finish line with heavy damage which sidelined both cars for the night. Third place Dan Holtz glanced off Gilliland's Chevy, slammed into the inside barrier and also stopped in the first turn. Holtz made frantic repairs and was able to start last in the feature, but he retired after 27 laps and finished 30th.

The SLM 200-lap race had five race leaders and seven lead changes. Green led the opening circuit. Fourth starter Tyczki paced laps two-13. Then 11th starter Tony Bruncati, who was fourth on lap 10, took his Sunrise Ford Taurus to the point with an inside pass of Tyczki in turns three and four. The first five drivers ran in nose-to-tail formation at that stage.

Brandon Loverock ran second in his Altadena Dairy Chevy from laps 15-84, but he parked behind the infield temporary concrete barrier pit stall on lap 85 with a broken hub seal and burned right front wheel bearing. There were 21 cars on the track at the intermission following lap 100 and 17 were still on the lead lap. The running order at the break was Bruncati, SLM rookie Nick DeFazio, Voigt, Roland, Green, Russell White, Duncan, Tyczki, Fry and Wulff.

Bruncati, who was trying to win his career first SLM main event, continued to lead by two car lengths over DeFazio for the next 40 laps. At lap 149, the lead trio again ran in nose-to-tail formation. Voigt then shot from third to first on lap 150 with inside inside passes in the third and fourth turns. DeFazio took second from Bruncati a lap later.

On lap 153, DeFazio and Voigt made contact coming out of turn four. The force carried DeFazio into the temporary concrete barrier between the half and third mile tracks. Voigt continued non-stop in second place behind Bruncati, but track officials sent Voigt to the back of the pack with DeFazio during a five-lap caution period. Bruncati led through lap 167, but he got out of shape leaving turn four on lap 168 and slipped to second behind the alert Green. Duncan took second on lap 169 and said later Bruncati's car was dropping fluid. Third place Bruncati spun out on his own exiting turn two during lap 176. In the ensuing melee and smoke Terry Limberopoulos spun into Bruncati's car. Wreckers removed both cars.

Fry's winning move came on lap 183. He quickly opened a 35-yard advantage by lap 195. Green and Duncan also used the inside groove discovered by Fry and reduced Fry's winning margin to 25 yards at the finish. Duncan pressed Green intensely on the final lap and got on his back bumper in the final two corners. However, Green beat Duncan to the finish stripe by five yards.

Four lapped cars separated Dunlap and fourth finisher Voigt, who charged from 12th position during the final 40 laps. Voigt was 5.955 seconds behind winner Fry and Roland, who finished on Voigt's bumper, was 6.017 seconds back. Roland's front bumper hit the back of Voigt's car after the checker as they entered turn one and spun Voigt.

The top five finishers pulled to the finish line for interviews over the PA system. "Nothing happened. It was just hard racing. I didn't get slowed down quick enough," Roland said. Voigt said, "Congratulations to those who finished ahead of us. They had good cars. Circumstances determined the outcome."

Duncan said, "My guys gave me a great car again. I used the high line because I couldn't get a good grip low. It's nice to come here and have a good run." Runner-up Green stated, "I'm happy we had a good car again. Thanks to the fans, my crew and Irwindale Speedway." "We made adjustments and the track really came to us. I was a little surprised. I thought it would be a dogfight at the end," winner Fry said when the top three finishers met media members.

Fast Time: Mark Laeger, 19.349.

Dash: Greg Adler, Reggie Church, Tom Stanton, Jim McGill, Laeger.

Main: Church, Jim McGill, Jim Kondziela, Jon Campbell, Sonny Shelly, Laeger, Jesse Poppen, Tom Stanton, Dave Blankenship, James Kalawaia, Paul Baker, Larry Hinderman, Kevin O'Neil, Steve Rogers, Adler, Angelo Gullotti, Derek Disarro, Ken Dyer.

Fast Time: Greg Voigt, 18.147.

Dash: Rip Michels, David Gilliland, Dan Holtz, Tony Green, Nick DeFazio, Voigt.

Main: Tommy Fry, Tony Green, Mike Duncan, Voigt, James Roland, Nathan Wulff, A. J. DiMarzo, Shawn Calderwood, Rod Johnson, JohnTyczki, Mike Ayers, Claude Bell, Jr., Nick DeFazio, Dennis Arena, Dustty McDonald, Tony Bruncati, Terry Limberopoulos, Brian Dryer, Doug Renno, DannyGay, Russell White, Kazuto Yanagawa, James Bruncati, Brandon Loverock, Steve Hamilton, Chad Burns, David Quartaro, Butch Bruhn, Kevin Vernon, Dan Holtz, Shawn Brink.


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Drivers David Gilliland , Dan Holtz , Rip Michels