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IRWINDALE LKQ PICK YOUR PART 2017 LATE MODEL CHAMPIONSHIP "ALL SEWN-UP", "STILL IN DOUBT" or: "JUST TOO CLOSE TO CALL"?

Irwindale, Calif. - - Sixty-eight points ahead and motoring into the twenty-first and final LKQ Pick Your Part Late Model race of the 2017 season (with Irwindale's regular 50 points for first, 48 for second, and so on scoring system) it might be pretty logical to assume that  young Trevor Huddleston with a sixty-eight point lead, has 2017 in the veritable bag ... signed, sealed and ready for delivery. 
 
But wait ... We haven't figured in Irwindale's annual end of season twist that has seen good point leads change as well as championships lost and won in the last go-round:
 
DOUBLE POINTS
 
Just the mention of the upcoming "two for the price of one" points night at the races sends chills down most racers backs.  It's the textbook definition of the term: "Love/Hate".  They know that any combination of racing luck: bad for one, good for the other can change the trajectories of both Huddleston and the young man who's now listed in second, 68 points down, his teammate in the blue cars Dylan Garner 
 
It's Agoura Hills against Yorba Linda in this one, and obviously the cardinal rule for two drivers racing out of the same team trailer is to not, under any circumstances, take each other out. There have been a number of celebrated incidents of that sort of "un-teamly" behavior in racing and, at times, even the strictest of "team orders" just don't carry enough weight to forestall that sort of a catastrophe.
 
And then there's car 23, driven by last season's rookie of the year, Ryan Vargas from La Mirada ... Vargas won two races this year and will start the final Late Model show at the Speedway third in points with 822, only fifty points (remember, this race pays 100 to win)  arrears of Garner.  However Vargas is most likely to be checking his rear view mirror since three-race winner Nick Joanides from Woodland Hills is only 2 little, skinny, measly points back of him in fourth place at 820.  Rounding out the top five, Lawless Alan (Sherman Oaks) has 770.
 
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR honors in the Late Models see all four of the class of 2017 in the top 11 in a list of 35 drivers who have competed at the Speedway this year.  Corona's Matt Johnson, by virtue of his first win (ever) in this division at the September 9 race leads the R's at sixth in points with 674 points, two ducats behind him is young Jagger Jones from Scottsdale, AZ with 672 in seventh. 
 
Ryan Schartau, from Chino is ninth in points with 668, and Fontana's own Kayla Eshleman is eleventh overall with 584.  Right, as all the math whizzes out there have already concluded, that's a narrow 90-point gap from first to fourth in the Rooks, and especially in a race that has a 100-point payoff for the winner.  This is a really "a crop to watch" this Saturday night.
 
SPECIAL RECOGNINTIONSaturday has been designated by IEC management as"Paint Your World Purple Night at the Speedway" and a number of fund-raising efforts on behalf of the American Cancer Society (through the society's signature Relay for Life program) that have been going on in the last month will culminate at the Speedway on Saturday night. 
 
Organizer Cheryl Hyland (herself a regular competitor at Irwindale Speedway) from Glendora, is leading the effort which has included all sorts of motorsports themed prizes, including a fast lap or two around the Irwindale banked half-mile as a passenger of racing champion Trevor Huddleston, the use of one of the Speedway's luxury suites for 30 guests of the winner's choosing, and a night in coveralls being an official member of Huddleston's pit crew. 
 
On Saturday night Cheryl's volunteer team will have a limited supply of very cool and very collectable "Black Flag Cancer" T-shirts on sale (purple of course with the Irwindale Speedway logo) at the "Relay" booth under the grandstands for $10 each.  They will also raffle off the opportunity to drive a Robert Rice-built racecar in the October 28 Night of Destruction's Compact Car Enduro Event.
 
In the support races, Lucas McNeil from Saugus will head into the second-last race of the 2017 season for the Seidner's Collision Centers Irwindale Race Truckswith the slimmest (could be worse, could be only one point) two-point advantage over Dennis Arena from Duarte 368 to 364.  Long Beach resident Zak Green is currently in third and well within striking distance (a race win is worth 50 points) only 36 points back.  Great fun to watch race, fans can meet these drivers and all the other competitors up close and personal right on the race track at 5:45pm before the races.  Race cars, drivers, crews, personally-autograph "hero" cards, selfies, sweets, and more ... and the party is free with admission every NASCAR Saturday night.
 
Also with only one race to go after this one, Darren Amidon from Lakeside has the points lead in the always-scrappy Jan's Towing  INEX Legend Cars at 390 clicks with Chad Schug from Oak Hills hot on his heels 390 to 358 points.  And Bakersfield's Colton Page is only a step or two behind the aforementioned pair with 342. 
 
COMPETION UPDATE:  The Jan’s Towing INEX Legend Cars event set for Saturday will be a “Twin” race, featuring two complete, full points-paying races* that totals a fat, juicy 100 points that’ll be up for grabs on 09/23/17. 

… After Saturday there will be one final race for the quick, small, feisty “spec” racers (all of the cars are technically identical under their colorful bodywork) and that will run on 11/11/17 and will be a double points finale that, much like Saturday night’s twin events, can cause a major change in the points pile in the blink of an eye.

As previously noted, Darren Amidon from Lakeside has the Legend Cars points lead after eight races at 390; his five wins, two thirds, and a second seeing him 32 points ahead of Oak Hills’s own Chad Schug at 358.

Colton Page who runs the ridge route down from Bakersfield to compete at IEC is “right there” too, only 16 points back of Schug in third place going in to Saturday’s double header. 

Not to overstate, but 100 points is a whole lot to win (or loose…) needless to say, the closeness of this particular night of competition is sure to be intense.

And,  just to put a little more pepper in the pot, the first Jan’s Legends Car race on Saturday evening will also serve as an official National Qualifier event for the Legends Cars.

 
Diving into the points pile for the Sharky's Spec Late Models we find Robby Hornsby leading the show (again in the second-to-last race of this season) 348 points to 326 points over old "Sharky" himself, Craig Yeaton who has to be feeling the jaws of Ed Cutler snapping at his rear bumper only 6 notches back at 320.  By the way Hornsby calls Yuciapa home, Yeaton is from San Dimas, and Ed Cutler rolls in to race from Ventura.  Pop quiz: who said "We're going to have to get a bigger truck"?
 
The touring Robertson Solar Southwest Tour Truckswill visit Irwindale again on Saturday night with their top three drivers separtated by quite a points spread:  Ronnie Davis (Whittier) leads with 506, Mike Kelperis (also from Whittier) has 433, and he's followed by Derek Roberston (Rancho Cucamonga) at 396.
 
Gates open at 4pm, the on-track autograph session is at 5:45pm and racing starts at 7pm this very special "Paint Your World Purple" Saturday night. 
 
Ooops! Almost forgot our nightcapper with a very appropriate sponsor: the crazed cars of a Seidner's Collision Centers Compact Car Figure 8 event will take to the track last on the night where they will dive, duck, and dodge certain contact as they race around a challenging hourglass-shaped race course all trying to be the first to the flag with an intact automobile.