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|SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING – TIM KENNEDY REPORTS ON JUNE 25/26 AT THE SPEEDWAY|
|IRWINDALE SPEEDWAY RACE REPORT JUNE 25, 2005
By Tim Kennedy
Five racing divisions at Irwindale Speedway ran five main events Saturday and series point leaders won three of the five features. Todd Southwell (Lucas Oil Super Late Models), Cory Fancy (Dodge Super Trucks) and Chris Johnson (Jasper West Coast Pro Trucks)) extended their point advantages after each driver started on the pole. Southwell and Johnson led all the way after spirited battles with past main event winners. Fancy led six laps, lost the lead to Pat Mintey, Jr and then inherited the lead when Mintey hit a spinning truck in turn four only three laps from victory.
The other two main events went to pole starters Jesse James (Pick-Your-Part Figure 8s) and Jimmy Sloan (Vista Paint Super Stocks). Both drivers led all the way. First-time Irwindale feature winner James, the host of TVs “Monster Garage” show, drew pole position and paced all 20-laps in his custom, self-built, winged Figure 8 special with a Watkins-built engine. Sloan, a second-year Camaro driver, won his second super stock feature and his second in a row.
Track management admitted at no charge all persons with tickets from the recent six-car Formula One US Grand Prix in Indianapolis for Saturday night stock car racing. David Droullard, from Lake Arrowhead, CA, and a friend took advantage of the offer to see some competitive NASCAR racing. The National Forest Service employees attended races at IS for the first time and said they will return. Mike Longo, from nearby Arcadia, also took advantage of the offer.
The Champ Car race at Cleveland, OH also extended the same offer of free admission to USGP ticket holders and an estimated 1,000 persons took advantage of that offer according to a report on Speed Channels “Wind Tunnel” show. Southwell, Irwindales leading competitor in Division IV of the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series, won his third 75-lap main event in ten races this season.
Heart-breaking was the crash that caused heavy front-end damage to the truck of Super Truck race leader Mintey on lap 48 of the 50-lap race. An intense, race-long three-way battle between one-time winner Mintey, two-time winner Fancy and three-time winner Ron Peterson captivated fans. Only a length or two separated the three leaders every lap from the initial green flag. On lap 48 seventh-place Ken Bryan spun out in turn four right in front of the on-coming three leaders. Minteys truck slammed into the side of Bryans truck and stopped abruptly. Drivers were uninjured, but the trucks were sidelined. Fancy then edged Peterson by 0.317 seconds in a 21-truck race. Nine drivers ran all 50-laps. Fancy now has a two-point lead (378-376) over Peterson after eight races.
WCPT winner Johnson beat fastest qualifier/third starter Aaron Staudinger by 0.939 seconds in a 40-lap race, also on the half-mile. Rookie Rick Wall was third, 2.740 seconds in back of Johnson. The all-green flag, 15-truck race took only 13:51.296 to complete. Sloan kept his 1980 Camaro in front all 40-laps of his 24-car S/S feature. He now ranks second in track points, 30 in back of leader Robin Bourgeois after seven races. Runner-up Ed Dazzo came from fifth on the grid to his best finish, 0.560 ticks behind Sloan. Fourteen of the 22 finishers completed every lap.
TV star James ended the Figure 8 four consecutive victory streak of Steve Stewart, who finished second in a 20-lap race with ten starters. Stewart started ninth and got within ten-yards of leader James at lap 13. Then James put two lapped cars between them; Stewart trailed by 30-yards at the finish. The 16-minute Figure 8 race included an eight-minute red flag on the third lap after the fourth and fifth place cars of Jerry Toporek and Don Rogers collided in turn two of the infield course. Rogers car flipped onto its roof and stopped in that position just beyond the orange cone markers. No injuries resulted, but Rogers car went to the pits and he finished last on the night.
An estimated 2,000 automotive artifact collectors, plus NBC-TV Tonight Show host Jay Leno, came to IS Sunday for the Society of Automotive Historians 23rd annual Literature Faire & Exchange from 6AM to noon in the front parking lot and under the grandstand. Vendors in booths had books, magazines, old automobile manuals, posters, race-car die-cast replicas and other items on display and for sale. Well-known automotive authors Buzz Rose, Paul VanValkenburgh, Lynn Wineland, Don Prieto, Michael Lynch, Joe Scalzo, Tom Motter, Harold Osmer, Preston Lerner, Bob Schilling, and Bill Pollack among others; were all on hand at Irwindale signing copies of their works and generally having a great time catching up with their many fans and old friends.
PICK-YOUR-PART FIGURE 8s: (10 cars)
JASPER WEST COAST PRO TRUCKS: (14 trucks)
VISTA PAINT SUPER STOCKS: (25 cars)
DODGE SUPER TRUCKS: (21 trucks)
LUCAS OIL SUPER LATE MODELS: (24 cars)