THE "LAW" OF THE JUNGLE By Tim Kennedy Irwindale, CA, Apr. 30 - "LAW" (led all the way) is a positive for a driver, just as "DNF" (did not finish) is the negative. LAW is what point leaders/pole starters Tim Huddleston and Chris Johnson ...
THE "LAW" OF THE JUNGLE
By Tim Kennedy
Irwindale, CA, Apr. 30 - "LAW" (led all the way) is a positive for a driver, just as "DNF" (did not finish) is the negative.
LAW is what point leaders/pole starters Tim Huddleston and Chris Johnson did Saturday in a pair of 50-lap main events on the Irwindale Speedway half-mile. On Southern California Pipe Trades Night, Huddleston took the NASCAR Auto Club Late Model feature for his second victory in four races this season. Johnson, in his Ford F-150, earned his third triumph in four outings in the Jasper Engines West Coast Pro Truck Series.
In the first of other two events, Steve Rogers drove his Ford Pinto from fifth starting spot to his second consecutive 35-lap mini stock victory on the third-mile oval. He took command during lap 12 after pole starter and early leader Tim Ross spun in the second turn to miss a slower car that had spun in front of him. Ross lost half a lap and 11 positions before racing back to ninth place in a 23-car field. Point leader Kevin Bernhardt again finished second, 0.418 seconds behind Rogers.
Milton Eisenhauer, a veteran demolition derby driver and sculptor, wheeled his 1974 Chevrolet station wagon to victory in a 14-car demo derby in the soapy-watered infield. The senior citizen from Yucca Valley won $1,000 from the $2,000 derby purse in the concluding event of the night. Tyrone Klingbeil drove the second to last car running, but track officials disqualified him for violating a derby rule that prohibits hitting another car in the drivers' door. John Zimmerman, winner of the last IS demo derby on April 2, drove a 1975 Chevy Caprice sedan to second place and $500.
Huddleston, a 34-year old father of three and son-in-law of well-known stock car driver Oren Prosser, is a six-year veteran of LM racing at IS. "This is my 20th late model victory here. Nine wins have been in this Monte Carlo and 11 were in my older back-up Monte Carlo," Huddleston said. He opened a 26-point lead in track point standings. The Justice Brothers, High-Point Distributing-sponsored driver defeated his fellow High-Point employee Travis Thirkettle, who started his Monte Carlo alongside the winner in the front row.
Thirkettle, a 27-year old LM rookie and first-time father of a three-month old infant, ran second to Huddleston all 50 laps and trailed by 0.702 seconds. It was the second consecutive runner-up finish for the IS Grand American Modified veteran. Dan DiGiamarino enjoyed his career-best main event finish of third place in a Chevy Monte Carlo. "My best finish had been fourth," revealed the six-year IS veteran. Fastest qualifier Mike Johnson spun an eight on the inversion wheel. He started eighth and was in third place on lap 20. Johnson was challenging for second on lap 46 when he slowed on the backstretch and dropped out with a flat LR tire.
Early mayhem in the LM main struck during the start of lap two just past the starting line when the second row starters made contact. Austin Grabowski, a 16-year old feature winner this year, hit the first turn wall hard. The car's right side ground against the wall before the car stopped at the wall in turn two. Scott Youngren spun to a halt in mid-track in the first turn as cars scattered high and low and avoided a multi-car collision. A 14-minute red flag delay for track clean-up work followed. Only the cars of rookies Grabowski and Chris Houwen were eliminated.
Rookie Johnny White started 14th in his No. 11Cass Racing Monte Carlo that required an $8,000 rebuild after the starting line multi-car crash two weeks ago. The former Phoenix-resident raced his way to fourth place, 3.217 seconds behind the winner. He jumped from ninth to third in 2005 points. Rookie Sean Bennett tied his LM career-best fifth place and climbed to sixth in current points. Bennett received hard charger honors. Daniel DiGiacomo, Brian Kelley, Youngren, rookie Craig Yeaton and Brian Jones completed the top ten. Eighteen of the 21 starters finished and 12 completed all 50-laps.
WCPT winner Johnson, 22, had his former quarter-midget racing rival Michael May next to him in the front row. Fastest qualifier Ryan Black, 18, started in the third slot after he spun three on the inversion wheel following time trials. A second-lap tangle sent Black to the pits for RF suspension repairs. He returned four laps down and finished 14th in the 19-truck field. May was second on lap 16 when he entered the third turn and oil from his own engine sent him into the wall hard between the third and fourth turns. He drove to the pits and parked his Ford F-150. Don Helgeson came from eighth to finish second, 0.305 seconds back. Neil Conrad, Tim McMillin and Jim Satterfield rounded out the top five, with rookie Todd Cameron sixth. Fourteen drivers finished and 12 ran all 50-laps.
DEMOLITION DERBY: (14 cars)
Finish: Top 5-Milton Eisenhauer, John Zimmerman, Harry Kuenniger, Chuck Gillock, Kenny Hall. OTHERS: Joel Mumford, Vitold Hajkowski, Varick Pimenta, Dan McMahan, Al Rocha, Bryan Hendry, Keara Pope, Steve Cook, Tyrone Klingbeil.
MINI STOCKS: (25 cars)
Fast Time: Steve Rogers, 17.314.
Main: S. Rogers, Kevin Bernhardt, Bob Reed, Rich Garver, Brian Johnson, Tom Dye, Dustin Morgan, Dennis Croasmun, Tim Ross, Virgil Young, Tyler Rogers, Mike Morales, Jack Roberts (in #07 of Carl Cooper), Daryl Scoggins, Glenn Duffin, Kory Russell, Rod Schmitt, J. D. Manger, Ron Schmitt, Bobby Carmack, Kris Melleby, Brenda Pugh, Eric Reed. DNS- Larry Haw, Jack Roberts (#20).
JASPER ENGINES WEST COAST PRO TRUCKS: (22 trucks)
Fast Time: Ryan Black, 20.152.
Main: Chris Johnson, Don Helgeson, Neil Conrad, Tim McMillin, Jim Satterfield, Todd Cameron, Roger Harder, Jeff Williams, Ron Mongenel, Ivan Arias, Rick Harbaugh, Kirk Knostman, Ron Davis, R. Black, Cecil Phelps, Robert Leininger, Michael May, Barry Kelperis, Jr., Allan Updyke. DNS-Colby McMillin, Richard Black, Buddy Antunez.
AUTO CLUB LATE MODELS: (21 cars)
Fast Time: Mike Johnson, 18.924.
Main: Tim Huddleston, Travis Thirkettle, Dan GiGiamarino, Johnny White, Sean Bennett, Daniel DiGiacomo, Brian Kelley, Scott Youngren, Craig Yeaton, Brian Jones, Richie Altman, Jameel Saied, Mike Mulhall, Robert Rice, Chris Carmody, Justin Lofton, Dennis Schlarbaum, George Ruark, M. Johnson, Austin Grabowski, Chris Houwen.