SWS: Irwindale Speedway Oct. 7 preview

Irwindale, Calif. - - Here they come again … Those beastly, battling NASCAR Southwest Featherlite Tour machines. Big, brash, fast, and super-feisty, they'll all be at Irwindale Speedway for the seventeenth round of the grueling nineteen-event,...

Irwindale, Calif. - - Here they come again … Those beastly, battling NASCAR Southwest Featherlite Tour machines. Big, brash, fast, and super-feisty, they'll all be at Irwindale Speedway for the seventeenth round of the grueling nineteen-event, seven-state 2000 season championship. Its the Food 4 Less 150 … a 75-mile, no pits stops, no holds barred, flat out racing show, that's guaranteed to thrill and delight both hardcore NASCAR fans and first time visitors. TV this is not, real up close and personal racing action, this is … And in aces!

This year's NASCAR Tour championship has been a combination youth and veteran movement with gristled vets and fresh-faced youths seemingly alternating between wins. (We'll list 'em here, it's up to you to sort out who's the "gristled" and who's the "gorgeous" in this great group of wheel-grippers: Auggie Vidovich, Ross Thompson, Greg Pursley, Matt Crafton, Rocky Nash, Craig Raudman, Rick Carelli, Mark Reed, Jon Nelson, Jim Inglebright, Bobby Lyon, and Sean Woodside.)

Hot off of a terrific race at Altamont on Saturday night (September 30), Matt Crafton (Tulare) still leads the Featherlite points after a third place finish in the 100-lap race behind Matt Reed (Bakersfield) and M. K. Kanke (Frazier Park) . NASCAR Busch Series interloper Kevin Harvick (originally from Bakersfield) took fourth with Kenny Shepherd (Merced) rounding out the top five. Reed's win was the second in a row for the Food 4 Less-sponsored driver.

Making his Irwindale NASCAR Featherlite driving debut will be one of the Inland Empire's favorite sons, Troy Adams, driving for CBA Racing's buoyant Clarence Broussard. If Adams' name sounds familiar, it might be because Troy has trained hundreds upon hundreds of Kart racing enthusiasts at his driving school sited at his family's Adams Kart Track in Riverside, California. A winning driver in everything that he ever has sat in; Troy is another local driving hero who's ascent into the big leagues of motorsports has been long and eagerly anticipated by his legions of southern California fans and supporters.

Adding to the show on Saturday night will be the final points race for Irwindale's own NASCAR Super Stocks and those ever-popular Legends Cars.

Long Beach's Jeff Green (aka "The Wild Thing") has the lead by the throat in the Super Stocks, his three wins, eight second places, and change have put him in the driver's seat for Saturday night with a 674 points total. Mike Price, from San Pedro, is in second at 624. Price got off to a slow start in the 16-race 2000 season and may have found his racing luck shifting into high gear just a little too late in the championship run.

Doing the math, one only needs to add a first place (50 bright and beautiful points) finish to either racer's score to see what could (and will) happen on Saturday night. If 1.) Jeff Green and his always-enthusiastic racing team gets the race date wrong and shows up on, say, Sunday, October 8th, 2.) Does not get any points, and 3.) Mike Price aces the race and gets the full 5-oh, Price's the Champ (two years in a row, remember he's the 1999 divisional winner). The point tie (674) would be broken by number of wins in which Price would hold the edge at four to three. Anything else, in fact, Jeff Green simply suiting up and starting his blue and yellow (or is it yellow and blue?) number 27 car in the main, and Mr. Wild Thing is the (Taaa-daah!) 2000 Super Stock Champ. Down to the wire racing is one of Irwindale Speedway's very best traits. Breath-holding is allowed. Celebration mandatory. Excitement expected.

And what of the guy who has won more races than the first and second place Super Stock drivers combined? That personally picturesque practitioner of the "Double Zero" special millennium edition piston-powered Camaro from North Hills … None other than T.K. "Do The Dance" Karvasek … Like a seasoned gambler he's won a bunch (eight main events) and lost a bunch (race 8: only 10 points, races 11 and 12: only 2 points in each), and he has paid the price in the points battle.

And what of the (oftimes) fastest guy on the track … Burbank's Yagel Berkovitz? A strong season of good finishes has just been not enough with the above three banging heads up front all year long. Watch for Yagel to be looking for that elusive first win and don't be surprised if he gets it on Saturday … His knuckles must be bloody sore from knocking at THAT door.

Tickets for this terrific triple-header are available at all the usual places including www.tickets.com, (626) 358-1100, or in person at the on-site box office.

There are a number of good seats left for this final 2000 season visit of the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour to Irwindale Speedway … Fans are urged to get their tickets early and to come out to the Speedway early to get a good look at the cars and drivers as they prepare and qualify for the important events that night. Gates open at 4:00 p.m. and there's plenty to do (free live band, free car club show, practice, single car qualifying, pre-event contests, the Alta Dena Milk Chugs autograph session, people-watching, NASCAR Trivia, etc.) right up to showtime at 7:00 p.m.

Be part of something big

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Drivers Kevin Harvick , Jeff Green , Matt Crafton , Rick Carelli , Mark Reed , Jim Inglebright , Greg Pursley , Craig Raudman , Kenny Shepherd , Auggie Vidovich , Ross Thompson