Circuit City Thunder Night at Irwindale Speedway

The feature 75-lap Star Mazda Formula Car Series race was "as promised", a ½-mile track filled with 21 colorful rear-motored, high-winged, open-wheelers and a battle to the finish. Breckenridge, Colorado's Matt Beardsley and Grant Ryley of ...

The feature 75-lap Star Mazda Formula Car Series race was "as promised", a ½-mile track filled with 21 colorful rear-motored, high-winged, open-wheelers and a battle to the finish. Breckenridge, Colorado's Matt Beardsley and Grant Ryley of Saratoga dueled fiercely for 62 laps with Alpine's Bryan Selby hanging on to their every move in the clear and through traffic. A late race spin by car Chad Block from York, Pennsylvania collected two other runners and bunched the buzzing Mazda's up for what looked like a 17-lap sprint to the finish. One more yellow on lap 71 made the finishing sprint an even more critical one. Beardsley got a great jump off the restart and was able to hold off the hard-charging Ryley for the gold medallion. The crowd of 5,609 saw Bernardo Martinez of Toledo, Ohio finish fourth and Scott Bradley from Mountain View come in fifth.

Rip Michels swept though the 30-lap NASCAR Grand American Modified main event like Sherman on his march to the sea. Travis Thirkettle, from Sylmar had seven laps for the number 12 driver from Mission Hills, but when Rip motored on by it was "Adios" and, "I'll see you back in the pit area right after I win this thing." For the remaining 23 laps of the event. Oceanside's Dean Kuhn was strong in third, with Dave Andrews (Frazier Park) and John Watkinson (Canyon Country) filling out the top five places.

Lately NASCAR Super Stock races at Irwindale have been turning into the "TK and Jeff Show". North Hill's TK Karvasek and Long Beach's Jeff Green have been staging two-car 1-2 duels that have been keeping the fans on the edges of their seats. On Saturday night a familiar name split up the dueling duo on the podium. Mike Price, the track's 1999 division champion ran his red #3 into second place in the 40-lap main and served notice that he was back on the form that won him his champion's laurels last season. Stay tuned for more of the above! Yagel Berkovitz (Burbank) and John Cappi (Reseda) rounded out the top five, indicating that they too would like to see the view from the driver's side of the podium in the (very) near future.

Palm Desert's Rick Miller jumped into the lead of the first of the race-packed two points-paying 40-lap NASCAR Late Model events with a tight pack of three challengers "right on his donkey" (as the truck drivers say). The Palm Springs driver was driving the wheels off his car but nothing that he could do was enough to shake off Riverside's Todd Burns, Deryk Ward (also from Palm Springs), and James Weston from Goleta. The quartet went round and round in that order until Miller's car suddenly faded out and it was suddenly a three-wide race for the lead with Burns taking the post and never relinquishing it thereafter. On just about every lap Burns "lead" was down to inches as rookie Ward hung tough behind the veteran driver. In the end, experience bested exuberance and Burns got the victory, but Ward (who styles himself "The X-Man" after a comic book hero) marked himself as "one to watch" in the division. Guy Goldstein (Cathedral City) got a well-deserved third, Simi Valley's Steve Nickolai was fourth, and division points leader James Weston (Goleta) claimed fifth place points.

In the second 40-lapper for the Late Models a rocky start and clean(er) restart saw the "X-Man" take the lead with Weston and Oak Hill's Tony Green running in hot pursuit right behind. Those two held everyone's attention for most of the show with Ward (er … X-Man) first pulling out a lead and Weston reeling him back in lap after lap. At starter Danny Saunders' crossed (1/2-way) flags the fans suddenly started looking at the 4 car and watching Todd Burn's spectacular run from the back. Bobbing and weaving like a prizefighter Burns was picking up a place every two laps and making things "very interesting" to say the least. At the front Ward was looking at his first win when the fates frowned, a cut down tire concluding his brilliant night at the races as Weston, Green, Burns, and Nickolai, blasted by the helpless hero. Finishing fifth (on the right front rim) Ward put himself solidly into a tie for 6th place in the annual points, only 78 back of division leader Weston.

It was another great night of racing capped off by an impromptu "pit party" with special guest appearances by nearly half or the fans in attendance. See you next Saturday (June 10th) for NASCAR Super Late Models, Grand American Modifieds, Spec Trucks, and Legends Cars! <pre>


Name                                    Hometown
1       12      Matt Beardsley          Breckenridge, CO
2       14      Grant Ryley             Saratoga
3       31      Bryan Selby             Alpine
4       25      Brenardo Martinez               Toledo,OH
5       19      Scott Bradley           Mountain View, CO       


1       12      Rip Michels             Mission Hills
2       05      Travis Thirklettle              Sylmar
3       16      Dean Kuhn               Oceanside
4       97      Dave Andrews            Frazier Park
5       98      John Watkinson          Canyon Country


1       4       Todd Burns              Riverside
2       8       Deryk Ward              Palm Springs
3       29      Guy Goldstein           Cathedral City
4       94      Steve Nickolai          Simi Valley
5       40      James Weston            Goleta


1       40      James Weston    Goleta
2       89      Tony Green              Oak Hills
3       4       Todd Burns              Riverside
4       94      Steve Nickolai          Simi Valley
5       8       Deryk Ward              Palm Springs


1       00      TK Karvasek             North Hills
2       3       Mike Price              San Pedro
3       27      Jeff Green              Long Beach
4       2       Yagel Berkovitz         Burbank
5       83      John Cappi              Reseda

NEXT EVENT: SATURDAY - JUNE 10 Round 3 of the Miller Big 10 Challenge for the Food 4 Less Super Late Models, Grand Am Modifieds, Ultra Wheel Spec Trucks, & Legends Cars. Gates open at 4:00 pm. Pre-race events 5:00 on, first race: 7:00. Come early for maximum FUN.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Jeff Green , Grant Ryley , Chad Block , Scott Bradley , Matt Beardsley , Rip Michels , John Watkins