SWS: Irwindale preview

Irwindale, Calif. - - They'll be raring to be roaring into Irwindale, hot off the cramped streets of Los Angeles and anxious to show some of the speed, savvy, and smoothness that fans have come to expect form the top pro drivers of the...

Irwindale, Calif. - - They'll be raring to be roaring into Irwindale, hot off the cramped streets of Los Angeles and anxious to show some of the speed, savvy, and smoothness that fans have come to expect form the top pro drivers of the NASCAR Featherlite Series. Every driver in this hot, hot, hot, touring series is looking forward to racing where there's some real "elbow room" on a track who's middle name should be "Three-Wide!".

There've been seven races since these top throttle-jockeys ran at Irwindale, they've raced across four states, over six variously-shaped ovals and on two (very different) road courses. Augie Vidovich won in Tuscon, Ross Thompson took the win at Pikes Peak, Jon Nelson doubled the next two with victories at El Cajon and at Rocky Mountain Raceway in Utah, Jim Ingelbright had a really good day at Sears Point, Matt Crafton took the prize at El Cajon's second event of the season, and Craig Raudman showed everyone that he was back in top form at the Ford LA "Street Race".

The undercard at Irwindale will feature two of the regular fans' favorite acts: NASCAR Late Models and NASCAR Super Stocks, each division bringing with it a closer-than-close battle for the season's Championship.

In the "Super's" Long Beach's Jeff Green has the lead (478 points) with North Hill's own T.K. Karvasek right there at 456. First season champ Mike Price (San Pedro) is gunning for both with his late season surge to 382 points. With six races left in the season, these dudes and their crews are "ready to get down to business" every time they race at IS, and the fans in the stands are ready to enjoy the consequences!

In the Late Mods, the wins column has been all James Weston, Goleta's gift to the LM division at Irwindale. In the points column, we notice that Weston, winner of 7 of the 12 races run so far this season is only 60 points (578 to 518) ahead of Todd Burns, the Riverside driver who has won 4 of the other 5 LM races.

Not to belabor the points deal, but: with a 50, 48, 46, 44, 42-points payoff for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and so on, deal finishing and winning have a, how would you say it? "Unique relationship." The winner gets the biggest check, but second place pays plenty of points. One other thing that has been mentioned before but now starts to really hit home. Two of the Speedway's 1999 NASCAR Divisional Championships were decided by 2 points … Two itty-bitty, tiny, insignificant, GIGANTIC points. As they say in some of the finer card parlours: "Read 'em and weep".

This event is the fifth and final night of Irwindale Speedway's participation in the 8th annual "Spark of Love" Toy Drive sponsored by the Southern California Firefighters and ABC7. The object is to collect holiday toys for some of the less fortunate children throughout the area. Called "Christmas in July", all fans donating a new, unwrapped toy or sporting goods item will receive either a child's ticket to that night's event or a $5.00 gift certificate good at the track's souvenir stands. In addition, they'll receive a copy of that night's program book (a $4.00 value). Collection of toys and sporting good will continue throughout the month of July (all five racing events) at Irwindale Speedway.

Tickets are available three ways for this great event. By phone (626) 358-1100, at the track's box office, and on the world wide web at: www.tickets.com. The gates open at 4:00pm and opening ceremonies will commence at 7:00 pm. But, fans are advised to get there early for the pre-race fun featuring a live band, a custom car club show, race car qualifying, and to scout out favorite viewing spots in the grandstands.

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Jeff Green , Matt Crafton , Craig Raudman , Ross Thompson