The Official Site of Irwindale Event Center, short track racing, NHRA drag racing, Schedules, Video, Points
Race Results
NASCAR Salutes our troops
Drag Strip at Irwindale
Track Info

Speedway Schedule

 

IRWINDALE LATE MODEL TWIN 30s & MORE – By Tim Kennedy

Irwindale, CA., Jun. 3 – Irwindale Speedway completed week six of a 19-week oval track season Saturday on “Armed Forces Appreciation Night” presented by 211 Entertainment, LLC. Four divisions ran a total of five main events. A pair of NASCAR late model twin-30-lap features and two racing truck series used the progressively-banked half-mile. Legend cars raced on the four-degree banked third-mile inner track in front of 2,280 spectators. 

LKQ-PYP 1ST LM 30: A 19-car field used a straight-up starting lineup based on late afternoon qualifying times. That put fastest qualifier Toni Marie McCray, 40, on the pole with 2015-16 series champion Trevor Huddleston, 21, alongside. They battled closely all 30 laps with McCray leading every lap in her new car. She won by 0.866 over third-generation driver Huddleston. It was her first victory since she won a 30-lap main on August 29, 2015. She won seven of the 19 features at IS during 2015 and took 2016 on hiatus from racing. 

Dylan Garner, a Huddleston HPR Chevy teammate, started fifth and took P. 3 on lap 20. He finished 3.309 seconds in back of McCray. Rookie Ryan Schartau, 14, from Chino, started sixth and finished fourth. Andrew Porter was fifth in a second Joe Nava-owned Chevy. His teammate Nick Joanides started 15th and was involved in a first turn crash on lap 10 while dueling for 11th position. He was unhurt, but his car was sidelined for the night. 

ASA Truck Series 2009-10 racer Cole Cabrera, 23, returned to IS half-mile racing after a lengthy absence. His father Bobby, from Exeter, fielded a two-race old (at the Las Vegas Bullring) Toyota Camry built in North Carolina by Tony Eury, Jr.. The former Dale Earnhardt, Jr. crew chief in NASCAR Cup now builds his “Eury Fury” chassis for customers. Cole, now from south Orange County, finished sixth. 

Ryan Vargas, George Atkinson, Bill Helgeson (P. 2 in points), and Lawless Alan, from Sherman Oaks, finished seventh through tenth respectively. Fifteen drivers, all on the lead lap, finished the 27-minute race that was interrupted by three caution flags. McCray ran the fastest race lap at 92.105 mph. 

A three-car crash on lap 12 in turn three sidelined cars of Alec Martinez and 2016 Bandolero champion Kayla Eshleman, now a 15-year old LM rookie. Rookie Matt Johnson, son of long-time LM driver Mike Johnson, returned to the race from the pits after his crew removed his damaged RF fender. He raced to 11th place, 7.381 seconds in back of the winner. He edged fellow LM rookie Jagger Jones, 14, at the finish. 

LKQ-PYP 2ND LM 30: Only 17 of 19 cars “answered the call” for the second 30, the final race of the night. It promised to deliver more action and passing than the first 30. The top ten finishers in the first 30 had their starting positions fully reversed for the second 30 lineup. Tenth finisher L. Alan was on pole with P. 9 Helgeson outside row one. McCray started outside row five with rival Huddleston alongside.

Helgeson led the first six laps. Huddleston was second and McCray sixth when a red flag stopped all cars between the first two turns. A three-car crash on lap 7 in turn three involved P. 8 Atkinson, Johnson, Jones and P. 11 Josh Soto, who rammed the front of Atkinson's spun/stopped car next to the crash-wall. Johnson spun to the inside groove, avoided the crash and restarted. Cars of the other three drivers were damaged too severely to continue. All drivers escaped injury. A 16-minute race stoppage resulted to clear the accident scene. 

Huddleston took the lead from Helgeson on the restart. A lap later McCray was third. She took second on lap 10 and camped on the leader's back bumper from mid-race to a photo finish. Huddleston used the outside groove with McCray inside. They were side-by-side at lap 23 and almost even at the starting line on laps 26-27. McCray made a final push for the lead out of the fourth turn on the final lap but fell 0.018 short of victory. The electronic transponder activated scoring pylon showed No. 50 (Huddleston) and 90 (McCray) in P. 1-2. 

Helgeson finished third, almost seven seconds in back of the dueling duo. Vargas, Ryan Schartau, 14, Garner, L. Alan, Porter, Cabrera and M. Johnson rounded out the top ten. Huddleston ran the fastest race lap at 91.487 mph. All 12 finishers completed 30 laps. 

Seidner's Collision Centers IRT 35: Eleven of the quick Irwindale Race Trucks ran the third main event Saturday. They used a time trial-based seven truck inverted starting lineup. Zack Green, from Long Beach, started the No. 21 third and led the initial 21 laps. Lucas McNeil and fastest qualifier Nico Mongenel, 19, ran in a tight lead trio. A lap 22 red flag resulted after Mongenel hit the first turn wall following contact. He was fine, but his No. 44 left the track on the business end of a wrecker.

McNeil took the lead entering turn one at the lap 22 restart and beat Green to the checkers by 1.441. Dennis Arena (-1.991), younger brother Jacob McNeil, L. J. Billings, and first-time truck racer Sean Brennan followed (3.457 seconds in back of the winner). Brennan, a 27-year old, 13-time skid plate cars feature winner on the third-mile, is the son of past IS Speed Truck driver Paul Brennan, who also used No. 33. Nine trucks finished. 

L. McNeil's 89.829 mph was the fastest lap. Point leader Connor Cantrell, winner of the first two IS 2017 features, was absent as planned . His lucrative air-conditioning/construction job duties in Northern California require his presence and he will not resume racing until later this season.

Robertson Solar SW Tour Trucks 35: Eleven Southwest Tour Truck pickups also used a seven-truck starting grid inversion. The field included five Ford F-150s, four Chevy Silverados, and two Toyota Tundras. Rookie Gary T. Howard, son of retired open-wheel race drivers Gary W. and Tabitha Howard, was on the pole. Dallas Leininger, from Bakersfield, started second in his Ford F-150 and led the first three laps. 

Double-duty truck racer Zack Green (No. 27 Jeff Williams Ford F-150) came from fifth starting slot to lead laps 4-35. He won by 1.113 over Dustin Vandermooren, in a Silverado. Whittier's Ron Davis, Jr. placed third in a Silverado. Newcomer Howard finished fourth, 7.672 seconds back, with Leininger fifth and Mike Kelperis sixth. Five other drivers were down one lap in the 12-minute, all-green light race. The winner averaged 85.423 mph. Leininger ran the fastest lap at 86.831 mph while leading. 

LEGEND CARS: Fifteen legend cars, scale replicas of 1930s Ford and Chevy coupes and sedans, competed in two events. A six-car, 6-lap trophy dash for the slowest qualifiers opened racing at 7:05 pm. In a fully inverted lineup, tenth quickest qualifier Tyler Hicks led all the way after starting sixth. He beat Ricky Leigh by 0.9070.

The 15 legends ran the second main event of the evening and also used a seven-car grid inversion by qualifying times. Luis Martinez started from pole position and led six laps. Then he yielded the point to third starter Cale Kanke, son of Frazier Park SRL stock car winner M. K. Kanke. Cale led laps 7-12, Ricky Schlick, a legends and late model veteran from Claremont, started sixth in his No. 24 coupe and took charge on lap 13. He beat runner-up Kanke by 0.297. It was his first legends start this season. Point leader/fastest qualifier Darren Amidon was 0.473 back in the three-way dogfight for victory. 

Colton Page, Austin Farr and Martinez followed in P. 4-6 and were the only other lead lap drivers with 13 drivers racing at the finish. Amidon turned the quickest lap at 72.602 mph. Winner Schlick, 20, told spectators, “This car was really fast. It's brand new. I was able to pull them on the outside. I was really surprised.” Amidon said, “My car got a little tight. I have to hand it to Ricky for going around us on the outside.”

Bandolero cars powered by Briggs & Stratton engines were scheduled to race Saturday night, but no cars were present. The next oval track event at IS will be Saturday, June 17. Late model twin 30s, IRT trucks, spec late models, and legend cars are scheduled.