SWS: Irwindale: Race notes

Lamar Triumphs at Irwindale DAYTONA BEACH, Fl. (May 31, 2004) Burney Lamar of West Sacramento, Calif. scored his fourth career NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series victory Saturday night at Irwindale (CA) Speedway after performing ...

Lamar Triumphs at Irwindale

DAYTONA BEACH, Fl. (May 31, 2004) Burney Lamar of West Sacramento, Calif. scored his fourth career NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series victory Saturday night at Irwindale (CA) Speedway after performing a patented slide job on then leader Rip Michels on lap 143. Lamar held on over the final seven laps to win ahead of teammate Craig Raudman. Zach Niessner, Greg Voigt, and Jim Pettit II rounded out the top five finishers.

Zach Niessner led 37 cars in qualifying as the only car to dip into the 17 second bracket. Eric Holmes, Raudman, Brandon Loverock, and Michels topped the speed charts after qualifying was concluded. With 27 cars making the field on time and provisional's, eleven drivers were set for a 15-lap non-qualifiers race in which four drivers would transfer. Nick Lynch, Greg Voigt, Nick Joanides, and Mike Price made the transfer spots sending Darrell LaMoure, Mike Mendenhall, Todd McLaughlan, Scott Calvin, Eddie Bryans, Kevin Para, and Richard Johnson home early.

Todd Souza benefited from an 8-car invert sending Bud Pole winner Niessner to the eighth starting spot. Danny Burson joined Souza on the front row. Souza got a good jump on the field at the drop of the green and led the first four laps before yielding to local star Brandon Loverock.

Loverock quickly lengthened his lead on the field until caution flew on lap 12 for a multi-car collision in turn two. Joe Herold, Nick Joanides, Ben Walker, Dan Holtz, Jeff Siefert, and Stan Silva were all involved.

Loverock led the field when the action resumed with Raudman moving into second place by lap 30. Rip Michels, Danny Burson, and Todd Souza rounding out the top five in the running order. Loverock continued at the point building his lead to as much four seconds over Raudman. Michels held down the third spot as the race reached lap fifty. Burson stayed in fourth spot with Lamar moving into fifth. Niessner, Kevin Vernon, Pettit, Auggie Vidovich, and Nick Lynch rounded out the top ten.

Loverock continued in the lead at the mid-way point but his time at the front quickly vanished after contact with Souza as the duo entered turn one. Loverock was able to recover from the spin and rejoined the field in the 15th position. Michels assumed the lead and let his Irwindale experience do the talking of the next 71 laps.

Lamar steadily moved forward from his tenth starting position and on lap 143 laid down a perfect slide job on Michels to take control. Lamar led the final seven laps en route to his first win of the season. The victory vaulted Lamar into third place in the season point standings after six of 14 Southwest Series events.

"This win was big for the whole team," Lamar said. "I really need to thank Les (Denherder) for all the confidence and resources he has provided me. This is by far the best opportunity that I have had in racing and to win at Irwindale tonight is certainly a career highlight."

For his part in the winning equation, Denherder could not be more pleased. "These are the kind of nights you dream about," commented DenHerder. "Finishing first and second tonight with the strong performance at Stockton three weeks ago, it does not get any better than this."

With Raudman finishing second he expanded his point to 47 markers over Pettit. "Burney certainly had a great car and there was no way I was going to catch him," Raudman said. "I am real happy for Les and the entire team. These are the kind of races championships are made of."

Niessner backed up his strong qualifying run with a third place effort; his third straight top three at Irwindale in his last three Southwest Series starts. "This was the first time this car has seen a racetrack," Niessner said. "I am real pleased. I really like coming to Irwindale, I wish there were ten races a year here."

Greg Voigt has his best career finish on Saturday with a fourth place run. "I just wanted to run my race," Voigt said. "I have struggled in the series and starting as far back as I did I knew I just had to be patient and log laps."

The race took one hour, three minutes, and 35 seconds to complete at an average speed of 70.773 mph. There were five caution flags for 33 laps. Michels led the most laps (71) with three lead changes among four drivers. Niessner scored his third career Bud Pole Award with a quick lap of 17.982/100.100 mph. Greg Voigt won the $750 PowerAde Power Move-of-the-Race finishing fourth after starting in the 28th position. Stephen Sadler won the $300 Featherlite Award for improving the most position from the previous race. Sadler finished tenth after a 30th place effort at Stockton. Nick Lynch was the top finishing Autometer Rookie-of-the-Year candidate with a seventh place performance.

Raudman maintains the top spot in the point standings over Pettit. Lamar moves up to third with McKean dropping one position to fourth and Eric Holmes rounding out the top five in the standings. Joe Herold moved back up to sixth, with Holtz, Voigt, Doug McCoun, and Bob Lyon rounding out the top ten in the standings through six races.

The next race for the AutoZone Southwest Series is Saturday, June 26 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. For all the latest news and information log onto www.nascarregionaracing.com .


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Drivers Richard Johns , Eric Holmes , Danny Burson , Joe Herold , Dan Holtz , Burney Lamar , Doug McCoun , Jim Pettit II , Craig Raudman , Todd Souza , Rip Michels , Nick Joanides