Irwindale, Calif. - - Charlie Utts from Camarillo and Tommy Fry from Simi Valley won one (1) each of the twin True Value Hardware-sponsored 50-lap races for Irwindale's Food 4 Less NASCAR Super Late Model division on Saturday night. Not so ...
Irwindale, Calif. - - Charlie Utts from Camarillo and Tommy Fry from Simi Valley won one (1) each of the twin True Value Hardware-sponsored 50-lap races for Irwindale's Food 4 Less NASCAR Super Late Model division on Saturday night. Not so surprising as both drivers had won races at the Speedway this season. What was surprising is that neither of the two main contenders for the championship won either race.
It was certainly not from want of trying in either case, and both Greg Voigt (who's home is in Santa Barbara) and Ben Walker (from Santa Clarita) raced mightily in both ends of the night's entertainment. Voigt fared better taking home a second and an eight for 84 points on the night, while Walker got a twelfth and a fifth for 70 points. At the end of the day they remained in the same order a scant 58 points apart in the annual championship.
Point-wise things are tighter in the concurrent Miller Lite Big 10 Challenge for the "Super Lates". There Voigt leads Fry by only 18 points (464 to 446) with only two races to go in that series-within-a-series. Walker is (very) close behind the leading two with 440 and Timmy Woods isn't all that far out of the picture at 402. The consistent (bet he hates that term by now!) David Brandon has 380 point in fifth place. Five thousand dollars is the announced prize for the first place winner of this ten-event tontine.
In race one, the 5,429 Labor Day weekend fans in the stands were treated to two full laps of three-wide racing with the 89 car of Voigt in the lead by what amounted to split-millimeters. Walker on the other hand, slipped back a number of places and could only watch from "way back" in seventh as the first five: Voigt, Utts, Chino's Tim Woods III, Rancho Santa Fe's Brandon Miller, and Chino Hill's David Gilliland went at it tooth and nail. Do you know the old saw that goes: "You could throw a blanket over them!" ? Well, whip it on out because there will be three or four places that nothing else can describe how close the pros were at Irwindale on this particular night. (For brevity we'll shorten it to YCTABOT! next usage).
Tight formations were the rule for this 50-lapper which for most of the race saw the top six or seven cars all running within one second of each other. On the last laps with Utts in the lead and Voigt running (relatively) comfortably in second with his rival in tenth or worse, the wise thing to do (for Voigt) would be to settle for second and 48 BIG points. He would have none of that. The driver who has lead the division points from the first race (his only win all season long!) wanted to win another before the season was over. He tried mightily but Charlie's crew chief had his tires prepped just so for a fast finish in the first fifty.
In the NASCAR Mini-Stocks it was Thousand Oaks' Lee Ladd returning to his 1999 season form (he won the first-ever NASCAR championship at Irwindale), with a popular win over Steve Rogers from Riverside. Finishing third, and regaining the 2000 season points lead was Bob Reed, also from Riverside.
The "Minis" have two more races scheduled for the 2000 season at IS, and Reed carries a slim 14 point lead into the penultimate one on September 30. Ladd has worked his way up to third in the championship and has a mathematical chance to repeat, but only if second place man Terry Limberopoulos from Bellflower and Reed falter badly in the final two events … Stay tuned.
In the NASCAR Super Stock division TK Karvasek (North Hills) looked to be back on form with his first place qualifying effort. Unfortunately Mike Price (San Pedro) and Jeff Green (Long Beach) qualified second and third respectively, Price only 3-thousanths off of Karvasek's time and Green only a tenth and half behind him. So was the pattern of the night's SS race set.
In the race it was Jeff "The Animal" Green leading most of the laps with Karvasek and Price right there. A slip up the track on lap nine gave another SS (with the initials YB) regular a chance at Green, but "Mister Animal" (as the kids call him in the pits asking for his autograph after the races) was not going about to let anyone dislodge him from his firm grip on the lead. YCTABOT! Burbank's own Yagel Berkovitz went toe-to-toe with the top three and, for a number of laps looked as though he might just win his first main at Irwindale. The consistent runner was there at the end for fourth place points but served notice that he could still be a factor in the championship's final races.
Regular Ron Peterson from San Bernardino won the Mechanix Wear Speed Truck event with Darren Young from Phoenix, Arizona and Richard Franz from Glendale (California) right behind. YCTABOT! The colorful "spec" trucks sent twenty-four machines to the main event for fifty laps of doorhandle-to-tailgate-to-doorhandle truck racin' action.
In the second True Value 50-lap race for Irwindale's Food 4 Less NASCAR Super Late Models it was (on paper) Tommy Fry all the way. Never headed for the whole 50 laps, Fry was nonetheless relentlessly hounded from behind on every lap, first by David Gilliland, and then Norwalk's Brandon Loverock who looked very smooth and acted very aggressively in his fine second place finish (with Gilliland only a couple of feet behind in third). YCTABOT! James Bruncati, from Glendora had a good night with a strong fourth place finish in this one. And Ben Walker (getting older every lap, it appeared) overcame what must have seemed like a whole nightful of unforeseen and untraceable car problems with a ("…Well, its better-than-sixth") fifth place. If you missed this week … They're back next week in a rare back-to-back-to-back threepete for the Food 4 Less NASCAR Super Late Models … Not a re-run, this will one be for all (or at least most of) the marbles.
TOP FIVE RESULTS: FEATURE RACE #1 TRUE VALUE HARDWARE 50 FOR NASCAR SUPER LATE MODELS 1) Charles Utts Camarillo Chevy 2) Greg Voigt Santa Barbara Chevy 3) David Gilliland Chino Chevy 4) Tommy Fry Simi Valley Chevy 5) Brandon Miller Rancho Santa Fe Chevy
FEATURE RACE #2 TRUE VALUE HARDWARE 50 FOR NASCAR SUPER LATE MODELS 1) Tommy Fry Simi Valley Chevy 2) Brandon Loverock Norwalk Chevy 3) David Gilliland Chino Chevy 4) James Bruncati Glendora Ford 5) Ben Walker Santa Clarita Ford
NASCAR SUPER STOCK MAIN (40 LAPS) 1) Jeff Green Long Beach Chevy 2) TK Karvasek North Hills Chevy 3) Mike Price San Pedro Chevy 4) Yagel Berkovitz Burbank Chevy 5) Steve Gilmore Granda Hills Chevy
NASCAR MINI-STOCK MAIN (30 LAPS) 1) Lee Ladd Thousand Oaks Toyota 2) Steve Rogers Riverside Ford 3) Bob Reed Riverside Pinto 4) Richard Boker Rancho CucamongaFord 5) Bob Suchy Yorba Linda Ford
MECHANIX WEAR SPEED TRUCK MAIN EVENT (50 LAPS) 1) Ron Peterson San Bernardino Chevy 2) Darren Young Phoenix, AZ Chevy 3) Richard Franz Glendale Chevy 4) Chris Hines Tempe, AZ Ford 5) David Hartsock Rancho Mirage Dodge
Next Week: BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT with more of the same: NASCAR Super Late Models (for the third week in a row), Late Models, Grand American Modifieds, and Legend Cars. KIDS UNDER 12 FREE (with adult ticket purchase) SPECIAL ACTIVITIES AND SURPRISES!