Irwindale - championships down to the wire

Irwindale, Calif. - - Some bad news last week (rain washing out the final race of the Jani-King Super Late Model 2002 points season) becomes good news this week for racing fans as a night that originally featured four racing classes suddenly...

Irwindale, Calif. - - Some bad news last week (rain washing out the final race of the Jani-King Super Late Model 2002 points season) becomes good news this week for racing fans as a night that originally featured four racing classes suddenly becomes a FIVE-division night of racing -- Almost (not quite) too much show! Just think of it as more laps for the money! By the way, last week's ticket-holders will get a two-for-one price of this week's tickets simply by showing their September 28 ticket stub at the ticket window on Saturday!

With that said, here's a word-for-word repeat of the 'graphs regarding the Super Late Model race from last week's press release -- please, RE-enjoy:

"The points championship has already been decided in the Jani-King Super Late Models, that was clenched by Rip Michels a week or so ago, but there's another race to win on Saturday night (which would take Mr. Michels out of the all-time IS winner tie with Mr. Burns) AND the Miller Lite Big 10 race-within-a-race championship to win.

The Miller Lite points show Michels (Mission Hills) with a tenuous lead over Brandon Loverock (Norwalk), Tony Bruncati (Glendora), and Tim Woods III (Chino Hills) 352, 338, 314, 310. A DNF (did not finish) instead of a points number after one's name could loom large here in this $10,000 contest. Everyone must drive to win, driving aggressively but smart; knowledgeable fans might expect each crew chief to be equipped with a large read-out calculator up on the spotters' stand this Saturday eve."

POINTS NOTE: 50 for 1st, 48 for 2nd, 46 for 3rd, 44 for 4th, 42 for 5th and so on.

Locked in the tightest points battle of the championship year, the King Taco Legends Cars will take to the Irwindale third mile for their series finale with some seriously set jaws on Saturday night. Just the facts ma'am: 2001 Champ Tom Landreth, Alta Loma, California, 490 points. Ricky Wildman, Yorba Linda, California 490 points, next closest competitor Bill Everett, Fontana, California. A quick scan of the above points schedule shows that it's a two-man show up front and that, even if both Landreth and Wildman don't show up for the race, one of them will win the prize. Say they both decide to go roller-bladeing on Saturday night, Wildman wins based on his record of outright wins this year (his 6 to Tom's 3). Not that THAT's very likely. No, this one will be a 100%, for-sure, iron-clad, all-eyes-on-the-track, all-hands-on-deck --. (oh, you get the idea) nail-biter all the way down to the last lap.

We have a winner in the West Coast Pro Trucks, Michael May of Huntington Beach wrapped up a dream season last time out by clinching the 2002 divisional title. The question is does anyone who has seen this aggressive and impressive young driver race this season think that he'll back 'er down a notch or two and just drive around this Saturday night? Yeah sure! This young dude is not wired that way. Racing is about winning and he shows up to win. West Covina drivers Val Cummings and Dave Lyons are locked in points for second in these spec trucks which should mean a titanic battle for the "show" money. Aaron Staudinger of Valencia, back after a weekend off for some bad behavior, is listed in fourth place in points and will most likely have something to prove himself. It all adds up to an "interesting" evening for the strong division formerly known as the "American Race Trucks". Even with his championship in the bag, May's mom will still not be allowed into the racing pits until after the race -- Not that he's superstitious, but why tempt fate when you don't need to?

The Modified 4's 2002 championship is similarly not in doubt, Terry Limberopoulos of Bellflower (or Long Beach, depending on what you read). Has already clinched the title, announced that he's retiring his trusty rear-engined Renault racer, and indicted that he'll be getting hot on making his Super Late Model competitive in the Jani-King circuit. But this one is a 50-lap (50 laps!!!) race for the Mod 4's a virtual "enduro" for this division which everyone would like to win. One more "stay-tuned" race that will not be a walk-away for anyone -- Bet the farm on that.

In the Ultra Wheels Super Trucks finale there's enough points permutations to croak a London bookie -- Everyone down to Ron Peterson in seventh place, has (at least) a mathematical chance at the 2002 champion's crown. Carson Woods (the driver not the residential development) from Yucca Valley has a 6-point advantage over Chandler, Arizona's Rich Geisler, 310 to 304. Right on their burros comes Jim McGill (Temecula) at 302. Then you've got Joe Herold, Ryan Arciero, Greg Adler, and the aforementioned R. Peterson all bunched up at 284, 280, 272, and 270 respectively. Add 50 points to any of the above and you've got a chance, albeit a narrow one, at the king's hat. Oh yeah, Temecula, Poway, Foothill Ranch, Manhattan Beach, and San Bernardino are the respective above home towns for the local editions.

Lots of racing, lots of reasons to race very much on the front burner this week at "Los Angeles' Half-Mile Super Speedway". As they (who the heck are "they" any way?) say: Be Here!

(this is another repeat) "GENERALLY SPEAKING: In all of the above, winning the Championship is paramount -- Failing that a top 5 is great -- and a top 10 year is a high mark of honor in anyone's book. Hard work has been the hallmark of every competitor who raced even once at Irwindale this season, putting a championship year together is an accomplishment that every team aims for but competing for it is the true test of a racer and race team.

The above nice thoughts on finishing in anything but first place aside ... Here's to the Champs! None of them will have backed into their championships, every one of them had to work at it every week. And that's why they'll all deserve all the praise that we plan to heap upon them."

The track gates open at 4PM on Saturday afternoon, with a hot local band playing live and in person, our face-painting clown who will be back after a week off, the "party atmosphere" King Taco Autograph Session right on the race track at 6PM, and Irwindale's own "Know Your NASCAR" audience-participation game show played right in the stands. Racing will start at 7PM with the singing of the national anthem.

Prizes are also awarded to lucky number holders in the track's colorful and informative weekly program. Adding further to the program's worth is the fact that each program cover becomes a collectible mini-poster when opened and laid flat.

Great tickets are always available on-line at www.irwindalespeedway.com, by phone at 626-358-1100, and in person at the track's on-site box office. Discounted group rates are availble for as few as 20 people.

-is-

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Series Stock car
Drivers Michael May , Tim Woods , Joe Herold , Rip Michels