IRWINDALE RACE REPORT - MAY 7, 2005 By Tim Kennedy Irwindale, CA., May 7 - Andrew Phipps, a NASCAR Lucas Oil Super Late Models rookie and two-time Grand American Modified track champion, dominated the featured 75-lap main event Saturday on the...
IRWINDALE RACE REPORT - MAY 7, 2005
By Tim Kennedy
Irwindale, CA., May 7 - Andrew Phipps, a NASCAR Lucas Oil Super Late Models rookie and two-time Grand American Modified track champion, dominated the featured 75-lap main event Saturday on the Irwindale Speedway half-mile.
The 28-year old from Simi Valley started second in a 32-car field, led all the way and won by almost half a lap in the No. 21Bruncati Sunrise Ford 2004 Ford Taurus. The six-division, three and a half-hour card was a salute to Mother's Day. Phillips' first triumph came in just his fourth SLM feature and followed his second, third and fourth place finishes in his first three races. He now ranks second in points after four of 18 scheduled races.
The Bruncati team rented IS Tuesday afternoon, May 3 and "we found the balance we were looking for," Phillips told media members. He also fine tuned his communication with his spotter and took care of his tires during the race, backing off near the conclusion.
The most entertaining race of the night was the Dodge Super Trucks 50-lap, 26-truck race after the SLM race. Four drivers led during a race-long, six-driver battle. At mid-race three drivers ran the inside groove and three drivers favored the outside as they ran side-by-side without contact in pairs all around the half-mile. They exchanged the top six positions several times a lap.
Dave Blankenship started his NAPA Auto Chevy S-10 fourth and took the lead on lap 49 with an inside pass from the fourth turn to the starting line. He paced only the final two laps. Fifth starter Greg Adler led laps 44-48 and trailed the winner by 0.102 seconds. Pole starter/point leader Cory Fancy led laps six-43 and finished third, 1.184 seconds back. Ron Peterson took fourth and Joe Herold started seventh and crossed the stripe fifth. However, Herold declined to wait for technical inspection so officials disqualified him. Therefore, Pat Mintey, Jr, who led the first five laps, received fifth place points and money. All other drivers moved up a position.
John Watkinson led from the pole all 35-laps in the other race on the half-mile. It was his first Grand American Modified feature victory in several years and gave him the series lead by four-points. Rookie Shawn Buckley took second from Tim Morse on lap 22. He trailed by 2.573 seconds with Morse third, 4.702 seconds behind former GAM champion Watkinson. Action on the third-mile track opened competition.
Justice Brothers Pure Stock 2004 track champion Jimmy Rouse, the third fastest qualifier in an 18-car field, led all 35-laps in his 1972 Chevy. John Mattie came from 17th, took second on lap 27 and finished 0.569 seconds behind Rouse. Mattie moved his point lead to ten points. Fifteen of the 18 starters completed the run and ten ran all 35 laps.
The next main went to third quickest qualifier and past King Taco Legend Cars champion Tom Landreth in his replica 1934 Ford coupe. The current Legends point leader took command of the 33-car Legend Cars race from J. D. Hendley on the second lap and barely won by 0.119 seconds. It was his second triumph in three races this season. Matt Hicks and Hendley engaged Landreth in a tight three-way contest all the way. Hicks and Hendley traded second place twice during the final three laps before Hicks went to the inside in turn three on lap 34 and edged Hendley by 0.153 seconds. Nineteen of the 27 finishers ran all 35 laps. Last Legends main event winner Ryan Partridge, 16, was fourth when he dropped out on lap 21. He and his girl friend then left the track and went to their junior prom.
Steve Stewart started his winged Figure 8 special fourth and led all the way in a 20-lap Pick-Your- Part Figure 8 main. He won $1,000 for his third consecutive Figure 8 triumph at IS this year. Four of ten starters finished every lap and eight drivers finished the eight-minute event. Tony Curtis started ninth and passed Earl Cox, the legendary Ascot Park driver, for second place at the X as they received the checkered flag.
The largest field (32) in a SLM race this season logged two clean laps. Then cars running seventh and eighth made contact on the backstretch and triggered a 12-car crash that sidelined ten cars. No driver injuries resulted. A 20-minute red flag followed for track clean-up and to tow away five wrecked cars. Twenty cars restarted. Fastest qualifier Russell White started third and ran second for 20 laps before experiencing brake problems and fading to a 14th place finish. Fifteen drivers finished and ten ran all 75 circuits.
Doug McComb, a SLM rookie and IS 2004 Auto Club Late Model champion, started fourth and finished a SLM career-best second. It was just his third race in the premier, fastest IS racing division. It topped his 12th place on April 2. Following a 60-lap battle, McComb took his Monte Carlo to second position under pole starter Mike Price in the third and fourth turns during lap 70. McComb trailed Phipps by 8.648 seconds and he beat Price by 1.217 seconds. Nathan Wulff started fifth and finished fourth.
Point leader Todd Southwell lost a valve/piston after posting the fourth fastest practice time with his Monte Carlo in the 1:45 p.m practice session. His disabled car was unable to qualify at 4:00, so driver Ron Daniel offered Southwell the use of his No. 117 car. Southwell didn't want to risk damaging the Daniel car, but he did borrow the engine, which had powered Daniel to 25th fastest qualifying time. Crews changed the engine and Southwell started his No. 7 last (32nd) with the No. 117 engine. Southwell raced forward to an impressive fifth place, only 0.119 seconds from fourth place and 11 seconds behind winner Phipps. The race had only one caution flag after the third lap restart. Southwell saw his point lead shrink from ten to two.
Jeff Elder set a new track record of 17.922 during Pure Stock time trials. Mattie set the existing standard of 17.996 (66 mph) on April 9. Hard charger awards went to drivers with qualifying times for gaining the most positions from start to finish. Recipients were Brian Wong (Legends), Brian Dryer (SLM) and Matt Saied (Super Trucks).
PICK YOUR PART FIGURE 8s: (10 cars)
Main: Steve Stewart, Tony Curtis, Earl Cox, Harry Kuenniger, Jerry Toporek, Don Rogers, Steve Cook, Robbie Stutzel, Billy Ziemann, Rod Proctor.
HIGH POINT DISTRIBUTING JUSTICE BROS. PURE STOCKS: (18 cars)
Fast Time: Jeff Elder, 17.932 - NTR (old mark 17.996 by John Mattie on 4-9-05).
Main: Jimmy Rouse, John Mattie, Bill Bartleson, Nick Nuccitelli, Bob Bartleson, Michelle Rouse, Peter Bryk, Branden Mulvihill, Elder, Mark Whitson, Paul Vitale, Harry Michaelian, Russ Pursley, Izzy Lewis, Kevin Hall, Kenny Rice, Ron Davis, Ray Walker.
KING TACO LEGEND CARS: (33 cars)
Fast Time: Kenton Gray, 16.740.
Main: Tom Landreth, Matt Hicks, J. D. Hendley, Steve Twilligear, Chad Schug, Bob Landreth, Ryan Schug, Cory Miles, Mark Gaiser, Lynn Sours, Connor Cantrell, Brian Wong, John Barnett, Larry Meredith, Lindsay King, Larry Stone, Bill Watson, Van Iungerich, Jim Smith, Jason Alsop, Gray, Kenny Chastain, Larry Alsop, Brian Vandehey, Bree Brewer, Jim Pantier, Don Teller, Jr, John London, Ryan Partridge, Tom Skahill, Ed Rashid, Bill Bonney, David Kalawaia.
GRAND AMERICAN MODIFIEDS: (12 cars)
Fast Time: Joe Ruggles (# 9), 18.598.
Main: John Watkinson, Shawn Buckley, Tim Morse, Greg Tucker, Doug Carpenter, Jim Peacock, Brent Jones, Joe Ruggles (#50 of Robert Rice), Zach Foster, Dennis Eckert, Garrett Yamada.
DODGE SUPER TRUCKS: (26 trucks)
Fast Time: Pat Mintey, Jr., 19.509.
Main: Dave Blankenship, Greg Adler, Cory Fancy, Ron Peterson, Mintey, P. J. Baker, Derek DiSarro, Scott Fortier, Ken Maler, Louis Mammolito, Paul Brennan, Randy Colling, Matt Saied, Bob Barker, Joe Anderson, Kenny Bryan, Steve Latina, Richard Williams, Logan Henson, Danny Mathus, Dave Scarcella, John Sereika, Dana Higgins, Josh Barker, Eric Hardin. Disq-Joe Herold.
LUCAS OIL SUPER LATE MODELS: (34 cars)
Fast Time: Russell White, 17.820.
Main: Andrew Phipps, Doug McComb, Mike Price, Nathan Wulff, Todd Southwell, Dan O'Donnell, Brandon Loverock, Ed Hoffman, Rod Johnson, Jason Patison, Jim McGill, Tony Jackson, Mike Mulhall, White, Jobe Spyres, Brian Dryer, Stephen Peace, Scott Calvin, David Ross, Chris Clyne, Andy Coyle, Brian Ickler, Roger Brown, Mark Perry, Greg Voigt, Dan Moore, Kevin O'Connell, Gary Jenkins, Scott Conaway, Ron Esau, Robby Sawyer, Charlie Wahl. DNS-Kevin Thompson, Ron Daniel.