"Dodge Night" at Irwindale Speedway produced a pair of victories Saturday for the manufacturer in a four-division card on the banked, half-mile during the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series. A sleek black Dodge Magnum RT driven by Wendi Westbrook...
"Dodge Night" at Irwindale Speedway produced a pair of victories Saturday for the manufacturer in a four-division card on the banked, half-mile during the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series. A sleek black Dodge Magnum RT driven by Wendi Westbrook paced all four races. Doug McComb drove his Dodge Intrepid to victory in the first main--a 25-car Auto Club Late Model 50-lap feature. His 50-points for winning gave McComb a 52-point lead with only one race remaining and made him the first IS track champion of 2004.
Ron Peterson, from Riverside, drove his Frahm Dodge-sponsored Dodge Dakota to victory in a 50-lap NAPA Auto Parts Super Truck race. The sixth fastest qualifier started sixth with a four-truck inversion. Peterson chased early leader/second-starter Pat Mintey, Jr for 20-laps. On lap 21 he executed an inside pass in turn two for the lead. Peterson held the point despite intense pressure from four-time IS winner Mintey and one-time winner Billy Helgeson, the lap two leader. His second victory at IS this year extended Peterson's point lead from 30 to 38 points after 12 of 16 events.
Greg Pursley, NASCAR's National, Sunbelt Region and IS track point leader in the premier Lucas Oil Super Late Models, interrupted Dodge victory lane celebrations. The Canyon Country resident drove his No. 13 King Taco Chevrolet Monte Carlo to another 75-lap victory in the third feature of the night. As fastest qualifier, Pursley spun a five on the inversion wheel. However, he moved up a row to third after track officials sent pole starter/fifth fastest Kevin O'Neil to the back of the pack for changing tires on his Dodge Intrepid following time trials, which is not allowed by track rules.
Pursley wasted no time in asserting his dominance. Tony Bruncati led lap one from his outside front row-starting slot. Pursley executed an inside pass in the fourth turn on lap two and paced the final 74 laps. Pursley won his 11th feature in 15 events, an IS record. It also was his fifth consecutive victory and ninth triumph in the last ten races. With 15 of 18 scheduled races completed, Pursley extended his track point lead to 84-points over Ford driver Bruncati, who pitted from second position on a lap 54 caution and returned a lap down to place tenth in a 24-car field. A five-car crash in turn two on lap six caused an 18-minute red flag and sidelined four of the five cars involved.
The final feature was a 35-lap Grand American Modified race with 13 starters. With no inversion, the two fastest qualifiers-point leader Andrew Phipps and second quickest Travis Thirkettle-started in the first row. They waged a close-two man battle all 35 circuits with outside man Thirkettle in front all the way, usually by a one or two lengths over inside-running Phipps. Thirkettle's fourth triumph in seven events came by less than five yards (0.319 seconds officially) over Phipps. John Watkinson started third and ran third all 35 laps, finishing 10.273 seconds (half a lap) behind the winner. The all-green flag race was a record 11:06.976.
Winners had interesting remarks for spectators. McComb said, "I want to thank God. And I won on Dodge Night (driving a Dodge). This thing was on rails. Thanks to Victory Circle (chassis), Ron's Rear Ends, my crew and crew chief Chris Greaney." The third year LM driver from Thousand Oaks said Greaney joined his No. 48 LM team on July 4, 2003. He had worked with GN West and Southwest Series teams, including Rocky Nash's team.
McComb, 27, said this is his third year in LM after racing in Super Stocks. "I finished sixth in Irwindale Late Model points last year," he revealed. "I was biding my time for 20 laps. I started sixth and got second place before lap 25 and was closing gradually on Tim (Huddleston)", the lap five-38 leader. Entering the race only 38 points in back of McComb, Huddleston saw his championship hopes dashed on lap 39 when he slowed with a flat tire and watched McComb go around his slowing car in turn four.
Huddleston stopped high in turn two for a yellow flag. Officials penalized him a lap for causing a caution. After changing the tire in the pits, Huddleston returned before the green flag and placed 14th. A team filed a protest to check McComb's spec engine. Track officials disallowed the protest, but indicated that two spec engine builders -Watkins Racing Engines and M & R Racing Engines- jointly will check track champion McComb's engine. McComb welcomed the move and said his engine is completely legal.
Super Truck winner Peterson told spectators via the portable PA microphone, "This is another Dodge victory on Dodge Night. Thanks to Frahm Dodge. They've been with me for a couple of years now. My truck works well early in a race and it goes off late in races, so I made my move early." The 31-minute event had five cautions for minor spins.
Pursley said, "This is a dream season. Thanks to the Dodge Weekly Racing Series, King Taco and Watkins Engines." Runner-up Todd Southwell, in a Dodge Intrepid, inherited the pole and finished a career-best second, 2.135 seconds behind Pursley. "We really needed this. Tonight we used a totally different set-up," he said. Russell White took third.
James Bruncati finished fourth after an early pit stop on a caution forced him to charge from the back of the pack. Travis Bennett, a 24-year old first-time IS competitor from Ellensburg, WA, qualified sixth fastest, started sixth and ran fourth most of the race in the No. 77 Taurus based in Bakersfield, CA. "The NASCAR Elite Division Northwest Series rookie, who ranks third in NW 2004 points, finished fifth. He came south to prepare for the second annual Toyota All-Star Showdown that matches the top ten drivers from the four Elite Divisons around the country at IS from November 11-13."
GAM winner Thirkettle stated, "That was a race. It was nerve wracking racing, but fun to win." He thanked his crew, his dad Jim, and Jackson Race Cars. Phipps said, "My car was too tight to get by him on the inside. I really want to beat him too. Thanks to Ladco, Stock Building Supply and Tom Fry for his help on the shocks." Dennis Eckert was the GAM hard charger honoree. Other hard chargers recognized were Darrin Walts (trucks), Shawn Calderwood (SLM) and Ron Schartau (LM).
In Friday night action following the weekly four-hour all-divisions practice, 12 pure stocks and 11 Bandoleros raced on the third-mile. Pure stock point leader Jimmy Rouse started fourth and led laps seven to 30 to claim his second IS main event after 11 of 14 races. His time of 9:46.018 was a NTR in an all-green race. He opened a 54-point lead. Peter Bryk drove to second in the No. 01 "General Lee" Dukes of Hazard Dodge copy. Austin Murphy, 12, scored his second straight Bandolero 12-lap triumph at IS. His brother Broc, 10, was second, 1.557 seconds back. Winner Murphy, second in the National Bandolero finishing index, broke his own track record of 17.987 in time trials on three consecutive laps during timed group qualifying. He turned 17.925, 17916 and 17.876 (67.062 mph) record laps.
GRAND AMERICAN MODIFIEDS:
Fast Time: Andrew Phipps, 18.496.
Main: Travis Thirkettle, Phipps, John Watkinson, Joe Ruggles, Michael Morrissey, Tim Morse, Chad Daly, Dennis Eckert, Andrew Schoening, Jamie Barnett, Steve Latina, Mike Trottochau, Brent Jones, DNS-Garrett Yamada. Time-11:06.976 - NTR.
NAPA AUTO PARTS SUPER TRUCKS:
Fast Time: Rich Geisler, 19.668.
Main: Ron Peterson, Pat Mintey, Jr, Billy Helgeson, Eric Hardin, Mark Holeman, Jim Kondziela, Geisler, Jim Madrid, Kyle Evans, Darrin Walts, Michael Mantel, Dave Scarcella, Rich Legere, John Sereika, Randy Colling, Paul Galli.
AUTOMOBILE CLUB of SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LATE MODELS:
Fast Time: Doug McComb, 18.952.
Main: McComb, Andrew Myers, Scott Youngren, Ben Walker, Ron Daniel, Dan DiGiacomo, Deryk Ward, Mike Johnson, Andrew Lewis, Ron Schartau, Richie Altman, Andy Bargaehr, George Ruark, Tim Huddleston, Dan DiGiamarino, Dennis Schlarbaum, Mike Mulhall, Candace Muzny, Brian Kelley, David Whitson, Brian Jones, P. J. Baker, Robert Rice, Todd Conrad, John Jones.
LUCAS OIL SUPER LATE MODELS:
Fast Time: Greg Pursley, 17.873.
Main: Pursley, Todd Southwell, Russell White, James Bruncati, Travis Bennett, Jeff Shafer, Shawn Calderwood, Mike Price, Kevin O'Neil, Tony Bruncati, Dennis Arena, Jim McGill, Scott Calvin, Gary Jenkins, Alan Sadler, Brandon Loverock, Charlie Wahl, Rod Johnson, Jason Patison, Kevin O'Connell, Ed Hoffman, Tim Buckley, David Ross, Nathan Wulff.
FRIDAY, AUG. 20 RESULTS:
Fast Time: Austin Murphy, 17.876 (67.062 mph) - NTR old TR 17.987 by himself on 8/6/04.
Main: A. Murphy, Broc Murphy, Jimmy Rouse, jr, Chris Yentes, Kenny Chastain, Chris Akers, Gina Yentes, Ryan Bragdon, Jeremy Birch, Andre Prescott, Andrew Anderson.
AMF BOWLING PURE STOCKS:
Fast Time: Jeff Elder, 18.642.
Heat 1: Elder, Bob Bartleson, Peter Bryk, Paul Vitale, Ryan Partridge, Izzy Lewis.
Heat 2: Harry Michaelian, Jimmy Rouse, Thomas Hall, Dave Foster, Michelle Rouse.
Main: J. Rouse, Bryk, M. Rouse, Michaelian, Partridge, Bartleson, John Mattie, Hall, Vitale, Izzy Lewis, Foster, Elder.