Knowing that NASCAR Chairman/CEO Brian France* was in attendance, drivers tried even harder to win Saturday at Irwindale Speedway. Four oval series main events and a Demolition Derby attracted about 4,800 spectators, including recent high school...
Knowing that NASCAR Chairman/CEO Brian France* was in attendance, drivers tried even harder to win Saturday at Irwindale Speedway. Four oval series main events and a Demolition Derby attracted about 4,800 spectators, including recent high school graduates who were all admitted free on "Grad Night".
Fastest qualifier Doug McComb started on the pole and waged a thrilling 50-lap duel with second starter Tony Green in the Auto Club of Southern California NASCAR Late Model feature. Inside-running McComb led only the final two laps after he passed outside-running Green exiting the fourth turn on lap 49. McComb repulsed Green's final lap moves to retake the lead and won his second consecutive feature by 0.028 seconds.
Driving a Victory Circle-built Dodge Intrepid, McComb earned $1,000 for his triumph and increased his point lead from four to 36. Green pulled into a second place tie in points with Tim Huddleston, as the leaders try to capture their first track championship with six of 16 scheduled races completed. Deryk Ward started fourth and finished third, only 0.310 seconds behind the winner. Andrew Myers and Scott Youngren followed. Remarkably, 25 of 26 starters finished and 23 drivers finished on the lead lap in a 28-minute race slowed by two cautions for one-car spinouts.
McComb told the crowd, "That's racing door to door ladies and gentlemen. It's great fun racing with gentleman Tony Green. I was trying to be patient. Thank goodness for that last yellow flag (on lap 28 for a blown engine by John Jones on the backstretch that required 11 laps for the track crew to remove oil). I swerved my car left to right and back to heat up the left rear tire, close the stagger and correct that loose condition that we had trouble with (early in the race)."
On lap 13 in the fourth turn McComb attempted to pass Green for the lead. However, McComb's right rear touched the left rear of Green's Chevy Monte Carlo. Both cars got sideways simultaneously in mid-track. They corrected quickly before third place Ward (ten yards back) could pass them.
In the other feature on the half-mile, Pat Mintey, Jr charged from 12th starting position in his Chevy S-10 to win his first NAPA Super Truck Series 50-lap main event this season. It was the second career victory at IS for the Saugus Speedway veteran. He is the son of the long-time NASCAR Winston West driver, who retired in 1988 and now serves as crew chief/spotter for his son.
Ron Peterson led laps 18-34, gave way to Mintey for two laps and paced laps 37-40. He trailed Mintey by 0.552 seconds. Twenty-two drivers started and 18 finished, with 11 on the lead circuit in an all-green flag 12-minute race.
Main event action on the third-mile included 35-lap events for the King Taco Legend Cars and the Mini Stocks. Tom Landreth led laps nine-35 and won the Legends race by 0.123 seconds. Rookie Evin Powell, a 14-year old (the youngest age possible for a driver at IS and eligible to race only Legend Cars) had set fastest qualifying time.
The youngster started fourth in only his third race and drove his 1934 Ford coupe to a solid second. Twenty-two of 28 starters finished and 13 drivers ran all 35 laps. A third turn crash on lap nine eliminated rookie Kenton Gray, leader of the first eight laps, plus third place teenager Austin Grabowski and Bill Everett.
Point leader/quickest qualifier Greg Tucker started his Ford Pinto second and led all the way in the Mini Stock main. He edged pole starter Rich Garver's Toyota Celica by 0.667 seconds. A spectacular flip on lap 22 at the starting line caused a 15-minute red flag. Ed Lavender's seventh place Pinto was caught in the middle between a lapped car and eighth place Steve Rogers' Pinto.
The right side of Lavender's car rode up the left side of the lapped car and barrel-rolled three times about 35 yards. Lavender's car stopped on its roof at the top of the track. He emerged unhurt from his battered orange car, one of three colorful Tucker Tire Pintos. Officials penalized Rogers for causing the accident. Sixteen of 22 starters finished and seven drivers ran all 35 laps.
A lively 13-car, 12-minute Demolition Derby in the water-soaked infield "ring" produced a first-time winner in Barick Pimentel. He collected $1,000 by outlasting Milton Eisenhauser, the $500 runner-up. Al Rocha, Steve Cook and Donovan McNally were third through fifth respectively and the only other money winners.
"Hard Charger" honorees were: (Trucks)-Ken Maler (P. 19 to P. 13); (Legends)-rookie Scott Fortier (P. 16 to P. 9); (L/M)-Scott Youngren (P. 11 to P. 5), and (M/S)-Dustin Morgan (P. 18 to P. 5).
Our special guest Mr. France spent most of his visit sitting unnoticed in the main grandstands enjoying the kind action-packed racing that IS fans do every week. He made quick calls on the press box and race control and spent some time in one of suites but kept going back to the stands to watch the races. His smile said volumes about his first visit to Irwindale.
FRIDAY: Pure Stock Division racing on the third-mile followed the weekly 5:00 to 9:00 p.m Friday open practice for all divisions. Michelle Rouse made track history by becoming the first female winner of a main event at IS since the track opened in March, 1999.
She also became the sixth different winner in six Pure Stock features for the new IS division that races every other Friday at 9:00 p.m. She started second and kept her 1974 Chevelle in front of the 40-lap race for all but the second lap when pole starter Harry Michaelian led by inches in his 1973 Plymouth Roadrunner.
With ten cars present, Bob Bartleson came from seventh grid position to claim second, 0.403 seconds back. He earned hard charger honors. Point leader Jimmy Rouse started fifth and finished third, 3.465 seconds in back of his wife. Newcomer Kenny Rice, who posted the fourth fastest qualifying time in his orange No. 01 General Lee "Dukes of Hazard" TV show replica, was unable to start because of a broken radiator hose.
Fast Time: Jimmy Rouse, 18.829.
Main: Michelle Rouse, Bob Bartleson, J. Rouse, Harry Michaelian, Paul Vitale, Justin Good, Dave Foster, Liz "Izzy" Lewis, John Jennell. DNS-Kenny Rice.
Fast Time: Greg Tucker, 17.498.
Main: Tucker, Rich Garver, Eric Reed, Jim McNear, Dustin Morgan, Robert Lovas, Kevin Bernhardt, Bob Reed, Virgil Young, Steve Rogers, Amee Blue, Kris Melley, Mario Ruiz, Fred Adams, Rod Schmitt, Brad Hamilton, Ed Lavender, Dennis Croasman, Ron Schmitt, Tom Dye, Mike Morales, Carl Farless.
KING TACO LEGEND CARS:
Fast Time: Evin Powell, 16.957.
Main: Tom Landreth, Powell, Matt Hicks, Ryan Partridge, Steve Twilligear, Bob Landreth, Larry Meredith, Jim Smith, Scott Fortier, Micah Nourse, Mark Gaiser, Kevin Michaels, Brian Vandehey, John Barnett, Larry Alsop, Chad Schug, Bill Watson, John London, Dan Shaffner, Jason Alsop, Lynn Sours, Dave Kalawaia, Ed Rashid, Cory Miles, Kenton gray, Austin Grabowski, Bill Everett, J. D. Hendley.
NAPA AUTO PARTS SUPER TRUCKS:
Fast Time: Eric Harden, 19.629.
Main: Pat Mintey, Jr, Ron Peterson, Joe Herold, Paul Brennan, Hardin, Kyle Evans, Billy Helgeson, Rich Geisler, Mark Holeman, Louis Mammolito, Greg Adler, Ken Bryan, Ken Maler, Derek DiSarro, John Sereika, Dave Scarcella, Paul Galli, Jeremiah Robins, Jim Madrid, Randy Colling, Darren Sigwing, Michael Mantel.
AUTO CLUB of So. CALIF. LATE MODELS:
Fast Time: Doug McComb, 19.131.
Main: McComb, Tony Green, Deryk Ward, Andrew Myers, Scott Youngren, Danny Renko, Mike Johnson, Ron Daniel, Andrew Lewis, Kevin Wood, Dan DiGiacomo, Jameel Saied, Brian Kelley, Brian Jones, Todd Conrad, Ron Schartau, Tim Huddleston, Richie Altman, Robert Rice, Kory Halopoff, Tim Harris, Mike Mulhall, John Ahrendt, Colby Bankston, George Ruark, John Jones.
Finish: Barick Pimentel, Milton Eisenhauer, Al Rocha, Steve Cook, Donovan McNally. Others-Mike Atkinson, John Partridge, Robert Hill, Justin Struss, Branden Mulvihill, Gary Hill, Brian Hendry, Joanna Ambrozich.