IRWINDALE SPEEDWAY RACE REPORT - MAY 28, 2005 By Tim Kennedy Irwindale CA., May 28 - Twin 50-lap main events for the premier NASCAR Lucas Oil Super Late Model Series at Irwindale Speedway went to veteran Rod Johnson, the track's 1999 SLM...
IRWINDALE SPEEDWAY RACE REPORT - MAY 28, 2005
By Tim Kennedy
Irwindale CA., May 28 - Twin 50-lap main events for the premier NASCAR Lucas Oil Super Late Model Series at Irwindale Speedway went to veteran Rod Johnson, the track's 1999 SLM champion, and to series rookie Andrew Phipps. More than 5,000 fans attended the traditional Memorial Day weekend salute Saturday night on the biggest weekend for motor sports in the United States. Five divisions ran six features on the half and third mile tracks and had three repeat winners-Pat Mintey, Jr (Dodge Super Trucks), Steve Rogers (Mini Stocks) and Alex Harris (USAC Ford Focus Midgets).
Lloyd Mack, the 22-year old brother of one-time Indianapolis 500 starter George Mack, won the 35-lap Grand American Modified main on the half-mile. He became the second African-American driver to win a main event at Irwindale and followed his cousin, Tim Woods III, to victory lane at IS. Mack, the fastest qualifier, started second and passed Joe Ruggles on the inside exiting turn two during lap 20. He won by half a straight (2.568 seconds) over Ruggles. Third finisher Tim Morse became the new GAM point leader by two points after four of nine scheduled events.
Two late afternoon timed qualification laps by the 34 SLM drivers were used to determine the starting lineups for each of the 50-lap mains. Phipps, the fastest qualifier for race one, spun one and started the first 50 on the pole. He led the first five laps before second fastest qualifier Russell White took the lead and paced laps six-32. Eleventh starter Johnson made an inside turn four pass on lap 33 and led the final 18 laps for his first victory this season in his Chevy Monte Carlo. Runner-up White trailed by 0.333 seconds with Phipps third. Scott Conaway and point leader Todd Southwell finished fourth and fifth respectively. Three cautions after two to four car accidents resulted in only 21 of the 34 starters finishing. Twenty drivers completed all 50 laps.
The second SLM 50-lap feature had only 25 starters. White, the fastest qualifier for race two, spun a three on the inversion wheel and started third. Third quickest qualifier Phipps had his Bruncati Racing team change the suspension and tire pressure of his Ford Taurus. The 2003-04 track GAM champion captured the second feature of his rookie SLM season. He led all the way and won by a full straight (3.990 seconds) in an all green flag race that took only 15:41.946. White's second runner-up finish of the night moved him from fourth to third in current points. Outside front row starter Scott Conaway enjoyed his career-best third place finish after he had finished fourth in the first 50. His big night moved him from ninth to seventh in points. Southwell took fourth and increased his point lead from 18 to 20. SLM rookie Brian Ickler came from 14th grid position to his career-best fifth place. Twenty-one of 25 starters finished and 17 drivers ran all 50 circuits.
The third and final main on the half-mile was the Dodge Super Trucks 25 truck, 50-lap main. It had three leaders before fourth starter Pat Mintey, Jr won by 0.343 seconds in his Chevy S-10. Ron Peterson, in a Dodge Dakota, passed Mintey on the outside in the third and fourth turns on lap 37and had the lead. However, a caution flag that lap canceled his pass and returned Mintey to the point. Point leader Cory Fancy earned third place. Pole starter/first lap leader Eric Hardin was fourth and Jim Kondziela fifth. Seventeen of 25 starters finished and 14 ran all 50 laps in a three-caution flag race.
In third mile action, Steve Rogers led all 35 laps in a 21-car mini stock main in his four-cylinder Ford Pinto. He became the new point leader by four points. Tim Ross, Dennis Croasmun and most recent point leader Kevin Bernhardt followed in their Pintos. Stock car hard chargers named by race control were Zack Foster (GAM), Ron Esau (SLM) and Randy Colling (Super Trucks).
MINI STOCKS: (21 cars)
Fast Time: Dennis Croasmun, 17.347.
Main: Steve Rogers, Tim Ross, Croasmun, Kevin Bernhardt, Rich Garver, Virgil Young, Rod Schmitt, Jim McNear, Dustin Morgan, Daryl Scoggins, Kris Melleby, Glenn Duffin, Tom Dye, Bobby Carmack, J. D. Manger, Kory Russell, Eric Reed, Brian Johnson, Tyler Rogers, Bob Reed, Mike Morales.
GRAND AMERICAN MODIFIEDS: (14 cars)
Fast Time: Lloyd Mack, 18.737.
Main: Mack, Joe Ruggles, Tim Morse, Greg Tucker, Doug Carpenter, Jim Peacock, Garrett Yamada, Zack Foster, Shea Kennedy, Dennis Eckert, Shawn Buckley, John Watkinson. DNS-Brent Jones, Cory Fancy.
DODGE SUPER TRUCKS: (25 trucks)
Fast Time: Ron Peterson, 19.582.
Main: Pat Mintey, Jr, Peterson, Cory Fancy, Eric Hardin, Jim Kondziela, Logan Henson, Ryan Fortier, Randy Colling, Bob Barker, Ken Maler, Dave Scarcella, Justin Carmody, Joe Anderson, Louis Mammolito, Danny Malthus, Derek DiSarro, Tim Doyle, Matt Saied, Josh Barker, Paul Brennan, Greg Adler, Scott Fortier, Rod Hicks, Steve Latina, P. J. Baker.
LUCAS OIL SUPER LATE MODELS: (34 cars)
Fast Time # 1: Andrew Phipps, 17.920. # 2: Russell White, 17.865.
Main # 1: Rod Johnson, White, Phipps, Scott Conaway, Todd Southwell, Danny Gay, Dan O'Donnell, Brandon Loverock, Ron Esau, Dan Moore, Nathan Wulff, Keith Spangler, Ed Hoffman, Bryan Yeager, Mike Price, Kevin O'Connell, Tony Jackson, Scott Calvin, Brian Ickler, David Ross, Dean Cato, Andy Coyle, Chris Clyne, Jason Patison, Doug McComb, Kris Terris, Dennis Arena, Jobe Spyres, Steve Lewis, Jim McGill, Rip Michels, Ron Daniel, Greg Pursley, Steve Hamilton.
Main # 2: Phipps, White, Conaway, Southwell, Ickler, Price, Johnson, O'Donnell, Wulff, Jackson, O'Connell, Spangler, Gay, Loverock, Cato, Coyle, Esau, Hoffman, Yeager, Patison, Hamilton, Moore, Calvin, Ross, Daniel.