Irwindale, Calif. - - Simi Valley's Tommy Fry had a very good night in the final points-paying race of the Food 4 Less Super Late Model championship at Irwindale Speedway on Saturday Night. The smart driving Fry made the very...
Irwindale, Calif. - - Simi Valley's Tommy Fry had a very good night in the final points-paying race of the Food 4 Less Super Late Model championship at Irwindale Speedway on Saturday Night. The smart driving Fry made the very best use of a superbly set up race car to lead a band of howling, scratching, fighting, biting, kicking, screaming racing cars from laps in the late teens until the magic lap number ninety-nine when he found himself comfortably in the lead and looking for the checker of the featured Miller Lite 100.
Cheered on by an announced 5,570 fans, it was Greg Voigt, the speedy Santa Barbaraian, who led first with Chino's David Gilliland taking up the challenge (and the lead) in the early laps. Brandon Loverock took advantage of his pole position and had a heck of an early race taking it to the top three with a very convincing drive until mechanical ills sidelined the young driver from nearby Norwalk. Brandon Miller was another early speed spark, running some very competitive laps with the leaders until his car malfunctioned late in the go.
Fry's 17.973 qualifying lap matched the track record set last season by Greg Pursley giving him the coveted eighth starting position on the 32-car grid for the Super Late main.
Ben Walker's decision not to race his #35 Taurus (mired in second place, he could not move up to win the division, nor could he be caught from behind) gave brother Tyler a shot at 100 laps to victory. The ex-World of Outlaws star Fed-Xed his driving suit and helmet to the Speedway (Saturday Delivery), boarded the red-eye (with his new puppy) from Mooresville, and did a star turn at the wheel of his bro's racing machine, bringing it home in an impressive sixth place ahead of a bunch of Irwindale regulars.
Charlie Utts' crew chief got his tire selection right and the Camarillo driver charged through the field for a neat fourth place while David Brandon patiently took another top five placing in a season that showed great promise and good finishes, but few cigars.
Greg Voigt finished third behind Fry and Gilliland but, in doing so, he sealed the $5000.00 first place prize in the 10-event "Miller Lite Big 10 Challenge" race within a race. Voigt had already clinched the series championship for the Super Late Models and really wanted to cap the year off with a win. Tommy Fry, who finished second in the Miller points and third in the Food 4 Less points, had other ideas. Fry's idea prevailed.
The F4LSLM's have one more race at Irwindale this year, a 100-lap all-comers event on October 28. No points, just pride and prize money ... Winning at Irwindale is an always-sought-after situation. Nothing changes on the 28th.
We're going to have to stop calling him "B-Main Bob" ... Bob Reed, he of Riverside, California, he of the roaring NASCAR Mini-Stocks, he of the fastest e-mail in the West, is a Champion. All hail a heck of a season for a guy who prior to his epiphany at Irwindale had (according to himself) never won a main event anywhere ... ever!
Whether he gave himself the name "B-Main Bob" or his compadres had hung it on him, doesn't matter any more, he's shrugged that sobriquet off with alacrity. Reed did it by running hard and staying in the action on Saturday night even after a couple of slips that sent his Pinto rearward midway in his 30 lap feature. Bellflower's Terry Limberopoulos took his Renault to the front and fought a determined Lee Ladd for the lead on lap after lap. At the end it was Terry L. besting Ladd going away, and winning that night's battle with the division-winning "A-Main Bob" Reed buzzing a few beats (and places) behind, winning the war and soaking up the pumped-up crowd's choicest cheers.
Official Bulletin: Effective this date, the name of the NASCAR Grand American Modifieds will be changed to the "Rip Michels and Everyone Else Division". Michels put on one of his (what can we call it ... a "Domination Derby"?) races on Saturday night taking the lead early and running the 25 laps in his own inimitable style (fast and in front). The (long ago decided) divisional champ from Mission Hills had some super racing following him as Travis Thirkettle and Steve Luecht duked it out for show and place honors to Michels' win. The "Ripper" is rumored to be moving up the Super Late Model wars for next season, and most of his colleagues in the GAM's will most likely help with a few bucks if he needs it.
A resolute Kevin Krauss got by a determined Nick DeFazio in the Legends Cars 25-lap main as the Newport Beach-based DeFazio encountered a tiny oil leak (onto his left rear tire) make the car go all funny on him while he was handily leading the snarling pack of 24 little screamers on the third mile. Krauss, from Temple City, made the most of DeFazio's slippery situation by squeezing by for the lead and the eventual win.
"Harleys the Half-Mile" made a wicked couple of "pace" laps (blowing right by the Advantage Ford Mustang Pace Car" who's driver called in with, "...I FEEL AS THOUGH I'M IN THAT MERCEDES COMMERCIAL!") around the Irwindale ½ on Saturday night.
Some 500 bikes were at the Speedway at the terminus of a 60-mile charity "run" sponsored by Laidlaw's Harley-Davidson that took off from Rosemead, California, wound through the nearby foothills and ended in Irwindale. All moneys raised by the ride, the silent auction, and special ticket sales was turned over the Muscular Dystrophy Association for their Youth Summer Camp Program.
A great night of racing, three new champions, "LUG NUT Jr." firing free T-shirts into orbit over the stadium, a cool live band, a car show featuring (at least) one of every Ford Galaxy ever built, and hundreds of Harley's and their owners ... another Irwindale Speedway SUPER Saturday night.