Mike Price went home to San Pedro exactly one thousand dollars richer on Saturday night, as he triumphed in a 50-lap motorized wrestling match better know as the NASCAR Super Stock division. A $5000.00 purse (the richest regular-season offering...
Mike Price went home to San Pedro exactly one thousand dollars richer on Saturday night, as he triumphed in a 50-lap motorized wrestling match better know as the NASCAR Super Stock division. A $5000.00 purse (the richest regular-season offering ever for the S/S runners) was put up by Irwindale Speedway with $1000.00 of that going to the race's lucky (and skillful) winner.
The two year-old track's opening season class champion, Price had a slow start in the 2000 competition year but has been gaining momentum (and race wins!) since late mid-season and was really on his game in this one. Too bad for the likable Mike that the race was not a points-paying part of the regular Irwindale Super Stock series. "We want to win every race that we're in ... Of course this one was only for the money and didn't count toward the track championship ... But it's always great to see the checkered flag first anytime that you're in a racing car," said Price.
The hot 50-lapper was lead for the its first fast eighteen by Burbank's Yagel Berkovitz. The smooth-driving Berkovitz looked well on his way to an often-threatened first win in the Super Stocks when Price decided that that was not such a very good idea. Price pounced on Yagel for first place and then proceeded to take what looked like an almost effortless cruise to the "Grand" (get it?) prize.
Meanwhile, guess who was keeping both of the above two protagonists honest? If you yelled out "TK" give yourself one thousand points (which are worth five dollars off on your next Super Stock race ticket). Yes it was the multihued master of the Double-Zero, North Hill's very own T.K. Karvasek, driving with his size 11 right boot well and truly into the throttle and his co-pilot "Skelly" hanging on for (er ... dear life?) ... whatever.
The night's fifty lap Super Stock big buck event was uncharacteristically punctuated with a number of full course yellows and a race-stopping red flag thrown because the track became completely blocked by a coming together between two (or was that three?) battling backmarkers. No one was hurt, but a couple of cars were pretty well pranged in the melee. A couple of the drivers, so it seemed, were counting their share of the cash a bit early and lost their grip on the task at hand (that of first finishing to in order to finish first).
Price can do no better than second in the NASCAR Super Stock annual points chase because his year long rival, Jeff Green (Long Beach) needs only to fire up at the coming October 7 race to take the 2000 Championship (Careful on the way to the track Mister Wild Thing. That done, Mike'll put his trusty Chevy up for sale and proceed on to his next challenge, the doubly-tough and extremely-competitive NASCAR Late Model division at Irwindale.
All of Price's co-competitors will try to remember him fondly, secretly breathing a sigh of relief that they won't have to contend with the "Red 3" any more, while proudly wishing their buddy well in the bigger cars.
A cool, overcast afternoon replete with oxygen-rich air aided two qualifiers to break existing track records on Saturday at the Speedway. Both USAC TQ Midget driver Walt Johnson from Sun Valley, and American Race Trucks Driver Dane Cromwell from Ridgecrest, bettered the existing speed marks for their respective classes. To the best of everyone's recollection it was the first time that two new lap marks were set on one night since opening night March 27, 1999 when, of course, every fast lap time was a "neeew laaap reeecord".
Cromwell went on to parlay a trophy dash win and his new lap record into a trifecta with a race win in the American Race Trucks 50-lap main. Johnson was not quite as successful, finishing the USAC TQ Midget 20-lap main in fourth two places down from the guy who's track record he had eclipsed, J.J. Ercse of Lakewood.
The night of great racing got over at an easy-on-everyone 10:00 p.m. leaving fans plenty of time to peruse the pits meeting old friends and making new heroes.
Even the cool, cloudy, crummy weather seemed to co-operate for the first time that day, staying a comfortable 65 degrees until the last autograph had been graciously given and the last race trailer had been loaded up and pointed out the back gate for home ("Did you return your transponder? ... Thank You ... Good Night"). See you next trip! -DS
<pre> LATE NASCAR RESULTS SATURDAY SEPT23, 2000
Irwindale Speedway FEATURE RACE IRWINDALE SPEEDWAY 50 FOR NASCAR SUPER STOCKS (50 LAPS) 1) MIKE PRICE CHEVY SAN PEDRO 2) YAGEL BERKOVITZ CHEVY BURBANK 2) TK KARVASEK CHEVY NORTH HILLS 4) DOUG McCOMB CHEVY THOUSAND OAKS 5) HENRY MILES CHEVY PALMDALE
USAC TQ MIDGETS (20 LAPS) 1) RICK HENDRIX SIMI VALLEY 2) J.J. ERCSE LAKEWOOD 3) TODD HUNSAKER CHINO HILLS 4) WALT JOHNSON SUN VALLEY 5) RANDI PANKRATZ ATASCADERO
AMERICAN RACE TRUCKS (50 LAPS) 1) DANE CROMWELL CHEVY RIDGECREST 2) JEFF WILLIAMS DODGE WESTLAKE VILLAGE 3) ROBBIE BRAND FORD BARSTOW 4) DAVID LYON CHEVY WEST COVINA 5) STEVE DYER CHEVY RANCHO PALOS VERDES
NEXT WEEK: NASCAR SUPER LATE MODELS "100-LAPPER", GRAND AMERICAN MODIFIEDS, MINI-STOCKS