Irwindale race report 2002-08-10

Kevin Wood won his first NASCAR Automobile Club of Southern California Late Model Division 75-lap main event of the year Saturday before 6,262 at the Irwindale Speedway banked half-mile. It was his second career victory at the track and first in...

Kevin Wood won his first NASCAR Automobile Club of Southern California Late Model Division 75-lap main event of the year Saturday before 6,262 at the Irwindale Speedway banked half-mile. It was his second career victory at the track and first in two years.

Wood, the Saugus-based driver who's ranked fourth in current point standings, started fifth in a 25-car field with his Welding Unlimited of Agua Dulce Ford Taurus. He became the fifth different winner after 13 of the scheduled 18 races. Wood became the third and final race leader on lap 48 when he ducked inside laps 32-47 leader Todd Burns in turn four and out-dragged him on the front straight. Wood led the balance of the race and beat Burns by a scant ten yards. Earlier, Wood took the six-lap trophy dash.

A pair of truck races opened and closed the four-division program that gave fans 350 laps of main event racing. American Race Trucks opened action with a 75-lap main taped by Fox Sports Net2 for airing Thursday, September 19. Ultra Wheels Super Trucks staged the closing 50-lap race that became a tight, four-truck battle won by Rich Geisler in a Ford.

Track title hopeful Geisler, from Chandler, AZ, passed Jim McGill, the leader of the first 45 laps, with an inside move on lap 46 as they exited the fourth turn. Geisler beat McGill by 0.793 seconds (about ten yards). The winner entered the race four points behind Carson Woods III in UW Speed Truck point standings and departed two points ahead (266-264) of Woods, who finished fourth Saturday.

American Race Trucks track point leader Michael May, a 19-year old college freshman, won his fifth ART 75-lap main in the tenth of 13 scheduled races at Irwindale. He also drove a Ford. Remarkably, the outnumbered FOMOCO products swept all three of the track series main events Saturday. May started on the pole as the fastest qualifier and trailed fellow front row starter Dave Lyon closely for the first 15 circuits. Inside-running May passed Lyon exiting turn four on lap 16 and beat West Covina-driver Lyon by 0.997 seconds (about 15 yards).

Late Model winner Wood took 31 minutes to record his impressive triumph as the only Ford-driver in the 25-car field (19 Chevrolets, four Pontiacs and one Oldsmobile). Four caution flags for minor incidents "ate" 22 laps. Twenty-one of 25 cars were racing at the finish; 15 cars completed all 75 laps.

During victory lane interviews, Wood thanked the Auto Club of Southern California for sponsoring the track's Late Model series again this year. He said his car set-up has been getting better every week as third, two fourths and fifth place finishes in the last four races prove.

For this race the Wood team painted a special tribute on the hood of their No. 34 car to Samantha Faye Whiteman, who succumbed to at 15-months to a life-long battle with leukemia on July 28. Samantha was the daughter of Greg Whiteman, a partner in Welding Unlimited. Between 200 and 300 fans signed the hood during the on-track autograph session and many made donations to the family and UCLA Cancer Center. Some $1,700.00 was donated by fans visiting the car Saturday at the racetrack and on Monday morning Wood presented the hood to Whiteman.

Burns piloted his Chevy Monte Carlo from third starting spot to second in the race and thus increased his points lead to 46. On lap 50 rookie Scott Youngren, winner of the last two features, took third from five-time winner/pole starter Tim Huddleston, who faded to ninth by the finish. Doug McComb and Jess Flores finished fourth and fifth respectively. Rookie Ron Schartau, Craig Rayburn and Mike Price followed. Jeff Green, a two-time IS Super Stock champion and L/M rookie, was tenth. FSN2 taped the race for a one-hour telecast on September 12.

ART national point leader May continued his amazing rise in racing circles. He set his third fastest qualifying time and won his fifth main event in ten races at Irwindale. He also has a pair of fourths and a fifth. Runner-up Lyon, the fourth ranked driver in track points, enjoyed his best finish of the season.

Josh Hulsebosch, Kenny Vanderham, from Idaho, and Terry Young, winner of the last two IS features, completed the top five. Eighteen of 23 starters finished and 12 drivers completed all 75 circuits. Curt Tori, from Delaware, competed at IS for the first time, but his No. 25 U.S. Marines Chevy dropped out of 11th position on lap 64 with a smoking engine. Earlier in the day Hulsebosch had given reporters demonstration rides in a special two-seat American Race Truck as part of a press day organized by the popular division.

UW Super Truck fastest qualifier McGill outgunned fellow front row occupant Ron Peterson and paced the 27-truck race for 45 of the 50 laps until Geisler took charge. The all-green flag race took only 16:59.289 to conclude four hours of racing action at 11:04 p.m. Geisler came from seventh starting spot to take second place on lap 40. His battle with McGill for the lead was a thriller. Geisler was motivated for a race victory and the track point lead and he achieved both goals. He drove one of only two Fords in the field.

McGill, Peterson, former track point leader Carson Woods III, Joe Herold, Kevin O'Neil, Scott Davidson, two-time winner Greg Adler, Jesse Poppen and Paul Brennan completed the top ten. There were 25 of 27 trucks still circulating at the checkers and 17 of the truckers ran all 50 laps.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Jeff Green , Michael May , David Scott , Greg White , Scott Young