Irwindale,CA, Jul. 5 - Todd Burns started second in a six-car inversion and led all the way in winning the richest race of his career Saturday in a NASCAR Auto Club of Southern California Late Model "Firecracker 100-lap" feature on the banked...
Irwindale,CA, Jul. 5 - Todd Burns started second in a six-car inversion and led all the way in winning the richest race of his career Saturday in a NASCAR Auto Club of Southern California Late Model "Firecracker 100-lap" feature on the banked half-mile Irwindale Speedway. He said he didn't make any mistakes and won by 0.571 seconds in a 57 minute race that had six yellow flags and one red flag on lap 83 for a first turn, six-car crash involving six lead lap cars. A capacity 6,500-spectators attended the event that featured four racing series and a ten-minute professional aerial fireworks show launched from behind the backstretch following the final race. It was the track's 11th sellout in five years of operation and the third sellout this season.
Burns earned an IS track series record $4,650 payday. His winning total included the usual track purse, plus $2,000 posted for the winner before the race by his Chevy Monte Carlo and race sponsor, Ed Lopes' Villa Roma Sausage Company. A $1,650 winner takes all lap fund for all 100-laps was organized by www.bcsportsimages.com for the first time. About 20 firms or individuals contributed money ($15 per lap and $150 to the lap 100 leader). Burns' IS purse Saturday surpassed the winning purse of some NASCAR Elite Division touring series races this season.
Burns, the track L/M series defending champion and current point leader after nine of 18 scheduled races, won his 33rd main event at Irwindale. It increased his most prolific winner at Irwindale status by two triumphs over Super Late Model driver Rip Michels.
Burns logged his seventh straight feature victory this season to tie his own one-season winning streak (2000) and that of T. K. Karvasek (Super Stocks). Burns holds the track record of nine consecutive main event victories over two seasons (1999-00). Burns, a 29-year old newlywed and racing car builder by trade, credited his spotter (his brother James) for helping him narrowly avert a crash in the fourth turn during lap 58. Two cars collided and spun. Burns powered under the spun/disabled car of Jeff Green with about a foot to spare. The winner said he learned years ago to power his way past such trouble instead of braking and becoming involved in a crash.
Feature winners included veteran Danny Renko in a 40-lap Vista Paint Super Stock race. He credited "a new motor" in his Camaro for winning his first career feature. Renko, ranked third in series points after eight of 13 races, scored his best prior finish (second place) earlier this year. Renko became the third and final leader on lap 15 when he passed pole starter Karvasek. The past champion/recent winner slowed and on lap 16 parked his smoking Camaro in the infield.
Third generation racer Ryan Arciero started third in his Ultra Wheels Super Truck Chevy S-10 and used a bump and run pass in turn one to get past race-long leader Dave Blankenship's Chevy S-10 on lap 44 of the 50-lap race.
The lead duo entered the race tied for the series point lead at 236 points after five of nine races at IS. Arciero, 27, now leads second-finisher Blankenship 286-284. A serious-looking two truck crash into the first turn exit attenuator on lap 10 sidelined Tony Edwards and Paul Brennan, who caromed off the barrier and onto the road to the pits. Neither driver was injured.
Arciero, a 2002 UWST rookie and off-road racing winner, won four of six 1996 USAC/Jim Russell Championship Series races and won rookie of the year in that series. In six UWST features at Irwindale this season Arciero has three victories, a second, a third and a fifth place. He also made several stock car starts in the Featherlite Southwest Series.
The final feature of the night was a 20-lap Pick Your Part Figure 8 race with 16 starters and only five finishers, three on the lead lap. Chris Williamson became the third and final leader on lap 11. He won a 26-minute event by half a lap.
Red flags stopped the action twice. A crash at the X during lap six sidelined fifth place Figure 8 specialist "Barefoot" Billy Ziemann and second-time Figure 8 driver/TV personality Jesse James, of the Monster Garage show.
James hit the right rear of Ziemann's car at full speed at the X, spinning both cars out of action. Both drivers walked to the pits uninjured. The second and third place cars of Earl Cox and series point leader Dan Burns hooked together and stalled in the final turn on the last lap and did not finish.
Second through fifth in the S/S main were Brian Harrell (1.840 seconds back), Robin Bourgeois, Greg Benner and Ken Brown. Twenty-two of 28 starters finished and 19 drivers ran all 40 laps. Blankenship trailed Arciero in the UWST 50 lapper by 2.041 seconds. Ron Peterson, Pat Mintey and Carson Woods followed. Twenty-three of the 28 starters finished, with 19 truckers on the lead lap.
L/M drivers Doug McComb (outside) and Scott Youngren (inside) ran side-by-side during the final 15 laps without contact and said they enjoyed the clean racing. McComb edged Youngren by 0.100 seconds at the finish line. Ex-truck racer and current L/M rookie Robbie Brand ran a career best fourth in his third L/M outing. Jess Flores was fifth. Six of 29 drivers ran all 100 laps and there were 16 drivers still racing at the finish.
The lap 83 crash sideline Keith Spangler (P 5), Mike Johnson (P 9), Dave Hessing (P 10), Brian Kelley (P 11), Guy Tripp (P 12) and the lapped car of George Ruark. A lap 64 crash at the starting line involved Tim Huddleston, who ran second for the first 61 laps, and Mike Price. Both drivers dropped off the lead lap after pit stops but finished in damaged cars. Hard charger award winners were S/S-Garry Howell (16th to eighth), UWST-Dan Moore (19th to sixth) and L/M-Todd Conrad (28th to tenth).
PICK YOUR PART FIGURE 8s:
Main: Chris Williamson, Rod Proctor, Steve Stewart, Earl Cox, Dan Burns, Tony Curtis, Don Rogers, Jerry Toperek, Rusty Stewart, Billy Ziemann, Steve Cook, Russ Granville, Harry Kuenniger, Jesse James, Ron Chaney, Eddie Conna.
VISTA PAINT SUPER STOCKS:
Fast Time: T. K. Karvasek, 22.062
Main: Danny Renko, Brian Harrell, Robin Bourgeois, Greg Benner, Ken Brown, Steve Gilmore, Lee Ladd, Garry Howell, Chris Houwen, Niles Strever, Larry Sampson, Eric Sunness, Mike Gilmore, Victor Wu, John Arlotti, Greg Crutcher, Jose Martinez, Phil Holt, Don Rogers, Craig Yeaton, David Vergini, Jim Gardner, Cliff Conklin, Fred Brown, Curtis White, Jeff Beard, Karvasek, Mike Hall.
ULTRA WHEEL SUPER TRUCK:
Fast Time: Carson Woods, 19.537.
Main: Ryan Arciero, Dave Blankenship, Ron Peterson, Pat Mintey, Woods, Dan Moore, Greg Adler, Jim McGill, Joe Herold, Frank Steiner, Reggie Church, Rich Geisler, Eric Humphries, Jim Kondziela, Louis Mammolito, Cody Brown, Jim Madrid, Brian harris, Darren Sigwing, Mark Holeman, Darrin Walk, Ed Ragains, Derek Di Sarro, Tom Stanton, Larry Hinderman, Jeb Bailey, Paul Brennan, Tony Edwards.
AUTO CLUB of SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LATE MODELS:
Fast Time: Andrew Myers, 19.210.
Main: Todd Burns, Doug McComb, Scott Youngren, Robbie Brand, Jess Flores, Tony Green, Tim Huddleston, Myers, Darren Cheek, Todd Conrad, P. J. Baker, Mike Price, Tony Widmer, Walt Price, Jameel Saied, John Butler, Keith Spangler, Mike Johnson, Dave Hessing, Brian Kelley, Guy Tripp, George Ruark, Pat Ackley, Richard Kerr, Jeff Green, John Ahrendt, Ron Schartau, Del Dalrymple, Glen Burke.