It was a night for first-time winners Saturday at Irwindale Speedway in a four division event that used the half and third-mile tracks. NASCAR Late Models, Super Stocks and Super Trucks raced on the half mile and Pure Stocks used the third-mile.
It was a night for first-time winners Saturday at Irwindale Speedway in a four division event that used the half and third-mile tracks. NASCAR Late Models, Super Stocks and Super Trucks raced on the half mile and Pure Stocks used the third-mile. About 4,000 fans witnessed three hours of almost non-stop action.
Fastest qualifier Doug McComb started third and won his first Auto Club of Southern California Late Model feature of the season in a 28-car, 50-lap race. The Victory Circle chassis/Dodge Intrepid driver became the third race leader on lap 20. He executed an inside pass of laps two-19 leader Tony Green in the fourth turn. McComb, winner of two main events at IS last season, jumped from third place to the series point lead by four points. He dedicated the victory to his father for his birthday.
Ron Peterson captured his first NAPA Auto Parts Super Trucks 50-lap main event of 2004 in a 26-truck contest. The exciting race had four leaders and six lead changes. Seven drivers ran three-wide in the lead pack during the last half of the race. Fifth starter Peterson, in a Frahm Dodge-sponsored Dodge Dakota, took charge on lap 47 and edged Joe Herold's Chevy truck by 0.130 seconds.
Fastest Vista Paint Super Stock qualifier Johnny White, a rookie from Phoenix in his first full IS season, started the 32-car race on the pole and led all the way in his No. 50 Camaro. It was his first feature triumph at IS. Point leader Chris Houwen came from third grid position in his Camaro to claim second, 1.118 seconds back. Past champion Lee Ladd was third, 1.224 seconds behind White.
Another new winner was Mark Whitson, a Riverside resident making his second start in the new IS Pure Stock class. He became the fifth different winner after five races. Whitson, the second fastest qualifier in a scheduled 12-car field, started from the pole in his 1976 Chevelle and led the first nine laps. Third starter Michelle Rouse passed him on the inside in the fourth turn and led laps 10 through 15. On lap 16 Whitson used an inside pass in turn four and took charge of the 40-lap event. Runner-up Rouse trailed by 20-yards, with John Kelley third and point leader/husband Jimmy Rouse fourth. Eight of 10 starters finished and seven completed the full distance.
The last new IS winner came in the final event of the night, a ten-lap race for women in the same pure stock cars that raced earlier. Stacey Mecham, an Orange Show Speedway driver, raced in a 1973 Chevy Monte Carlo owned by her fiancee/fellow driver Jason Estes. The racing couple from Hemet will wed June 19. Mecham, who was making her IS debut, drew the third starting position.
The competitive field had three leaders and four lead changes in a three-minute event. Kim Unruh paced lap one. Mecham led laps two-six. Michelle Rouse passed her on the outside at the starting line on the seventh lap. Mecham retook the point on the inside in turn four on lap eight an edged outside-running Rouse by a car length after moving her challenger high in turn four on the final lap as they raced to the lap 10 checkered flag. Rouse, mini stock driver Amee Blue and infield announcer/Legends driver Wendi Westbrook followed. All six drivers completed ten laps.
In a surprise comedic bit, Mrs. Jim Williams, wife of the track owner/CEO, pulled her new white Mercedes-Benz from the parking lot to the back of the six-car field at driver introductions. As track announcer "tried to see who the mystery late entry was, Toni Williams jumped out of the car and waved to the crowd. Jim Williams, at first a little bemused when he saw his wife's car pulling onto the track, was doubled up with laughter when Toni was revealed as the "last minute entry". She then exited the third-mile for the safety of the pits beyond the half-mile first turn as the pure stocks moved off the grid. When interviewed later, she indicated that she almost wanted to take a hot lap around the half-mile before leaving the track. A great birthday surprise for Irwindale's owner.
The fifth of 16 Late Model point races got off to a clean start. Pole starter Andrew Myers, a Business Management graduate this week from Cal. State University, Long Beach, led lap one. Tony Green led the next two laps and then second place McComb got out of shape exiting turn four. Contact between slowing and swerving cars resulted in a seven-car accident. Point leader Deryk Ward, in fifth position, was sidelined after being rammed from behind and backing into the outer wall on the front chute. Four cars were eliminated and three others returned from the pits minus hoods and fenders, looking more like modifieds.
Green led the field through lap 19. Then McComb made his winning pass. Myers, a 24-year old IS 2003 Late Model rookie-of-the-year when he finished tenth in points, took second from Green on lap 23 and finished ten yards behind McComb. It was the best finish of his brief career. Green and Scott Youngren exchanged third place twice before Green took it for good. Twenty of 28 drivers finished and 15 ran all 50 laps
Trucker Jon Campbell started second and led the first 35 laps. Greg Adler, Peterson, Billy Helgeson, Pat Mintey, Jr, Herold and 18-year old point leader Mark Holeman ran in the lead pack and exchanged positions frequently during the final 15 circuits. Adler led laps 36-43, fell to fourth on lap 44 as Campbell retook the lead. Mintey led laps 45-46 over Peterson, Herold, Adler and Campbell. On lap 47 Peterson took the point over Herold, Mintey, Adler and Campbell. Then third place Mintey spun high in turn two on lap 48. Helgeson and three other drivers quickly piled in.
Peterson led the green, white, checkered final two laps. Holeman passed Adler for third position on the final lap, and after contact Adler dropped to 13th place. Campbell earned fourth as 19 drivers finished, with 16 on the lead lap.
Winner Peterson told the appreciative crowd, "I won the trophy dash and main event on the same night. That's really something. It was a lot of fun tonight. Beating and banging, that's short track racing." Peterson and Holeman are now tied for the series track point lead at 228 points.
Hard charger awards went to (S/S)-Craig Rayburn, 13th to fourth; (P/S)-Jimmy Rouse, 10th to fourth; (L/M)-John Ahrendt, 24th to 11th, and (S/T)-rookie Michael Mantel, 11th to sixth. In the only dash, third starter Peterson won the six-truck, six-lap race over Adler, who used 110 octane, $5.00 per gallon VP Fuels gasoline from the IS gas pumps in the pits.
Fast Time: Jimmy Rouse, 18.614.
Main: Mark Whitson, Michelle Rouse, John Kelley, Jimmy Rouse, Harry Michaelian, Bob Bartleson, Blake Usiultron, Jeff Elder, Dave Foster, Jason Estes.-DNS-Andrew Tripp, Wendi Westbrook.
Womens Race: Stacey Mecham, Michelle Rouse, Amee Blue, Wendi Westbrook, Kim Unruh, Kelly Bartleson-Young. Time: 3:16.940.
VISTA PAINT SUPER STOCKS:
Fast Time: Johnny White, 21.931.
Main: White, Chris Houwen, Lee Ladd, Craig Rayburn, Jimmy Sloan, Greg Benner, Kenny Brown, Robin Bourgeois, Bryan Harrell, Steve Gilmore, Jeff "Hibachi" Grill, Cliff Conklin, Curtis White, Brent Cusick, Greg Crutcher, Lyle Spangler, Eric Sunness, Ed Dazzo, Scott Corrigan, Tim Gardner, Sean Garrett, Mike Gilmore, Brian Tully, Marcelo Canel, Craig Yeaton, Victor Wu, Bobby Dezarov, Dan Rodgers, Derk Rodgers, Garry Howell, Henry Miles, Larry Sampson.
NAPA AUTO PARTS SUPER TRUCKS:
Fast Time: Pat Mintey, Jr, 19.658.
Dash: Ron Peterson, Greg Adler, Joe Herold, Mintey, Billy Helgeson, Mark Holeman.
Main: Peterson, Herold Mark Holeman, Jon Campbell, Rich Geisler, Michael Mantel, Jim Kondziela, Derek DiSarro, Louis Mammolito, Randy Colling, Darren Sigwing, Josh Barber, Adler, Ken Bryan, Larry Hinderman, Helgeson, Hector Sandoval, Eric Hardin, Jeb Bailey, Minty, John Sereika, Paul Galli, Matt Saied, Darrin Walts, Cory Sisler, Frank Steiner.
AUTO CLUB of SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LATE MODELS:
Fast Time: Doug McComb, 18.940.
Main: McComb, Andrew Myers, Tony Green, Scott Youngren, Robbie Brand, Dan DiGiacomo, Tim Huddleston, George Ruark, Brian Kelley, Ron Schartau, John Ahrendt, Richie Altman, Robert Rice, Kory Halopoff, Todd Conrad, Mike Mulhall, Kevin Wood, Candace Muzny, Andrew Lewis, Jameel Saied, Mike Johnson, Brian Jones, Jim Conklin, Deryk Ward, Colby Bankston, Eric Richardson, Dennis Schlarbaum, Danny Renko.