MICHELS WINS THIRD 2013 IRWINDALE SUPER LATE FEATURE-- By Tim Kennedy
MICHELS WINS THIRD 2013 IRWINDALE SUPER LATE FEATURE-- By Tim Kennedy
Irwindale, CA., Jun. 22 – The sixth racing night this season at the Irwindale Speedway oval was a Mobil 1 presentation. Racing featured five competitive divisions and attracted about 3,000 spectators, many of them newcomers to the track. NASCAR Super Late Models and Progressive Painting Race Trucks raced on the half-mile. Mini stocks and skid plate cars used the third-mile and a demolition derby used a watered section of the infield in front of the grandstand. A total of 85 vehicles competed--32 skid plate cars, 19 trucks, 15 SLM, 14 mini stocks and five demo derby cars.
SLM 50: The featured race was the fourth NASCAR Super Late Model event this season. Rip Michels won his third SLM main event in a row and upped his track leading total to 64 victories, 20 more than the driver with the second most triumphs. The race had three leaders and four lead changes. A 14-car field had a six-car inverted starting lineup with fastest qualifier Linny White outside row three. Toni McCray started second and led the first lap. Fourth starter Michels led laps 2-6. Jason Patison, who started fifth, took second from McCray on lap 5. He chased down Michels and took the lead on lap 7 with an inside move in the third turn. Patison led nine laps. Michels reclaimed the lead on lap16 with an outside pass exiting turn four. He opened a 40-yard advantage by lap 25 and lapped several cars.
Michels slowed during the final five laps “because my car got a little loose.” Patison finished second, five yards back (0.293). McCray finished third, ten yards behind Patison and 1.010 off the winners' pace. White was fourth, 1.257 in back of Michels. David Ross took fifth, 5.612 seconds back. John Manke, Andrew Allen, Austin Grabowski, Joseph Altig and Dennis Furden completed the top ten and all completed 50 laps as 14 drivers finished. The caution-free race took 16:01.199 and averaged 93.633 mph. Michels fastest lap was 18.337, .018 better than Patison's quickest lap. Michels (three wins and a second place) now holds a 12-point lead (198-184) over McCray (a second, two thirds and a fourth). McCray also has won two of three Lucas Oil Late Model 50-lap main events this season.
RACE TRUCKS: A competitive field of 19 trucks also used an inverted start that put fastest qualifier Christian McGhee in the sixth starting spot. Bandolero and legend car graduate McGhee, 14, is in his first full year of truck racing. The 40-lap truck race had two race leaders and four lead changes. Ryan Partridge started fifth in the No. 48 Loan Mart Toyota Tundra and was second after one lap. Pole starter and 2009-10 classic stock car track champion Ken Michaelian led the initial eight circuits. Low-groove running Partridge led lap 9 after he made an inside fourth turn pass. Michaelian led lap 10 with an outside pass at the starting line. Partridge opened a 30-yard lead by lap 35 when the first of two yellow flags flew. Andrew Porter, in P. 10, spun in turn four and drove to the pits. The double file restart had second place Lucas McNeil alongside. Four generations of women in his family, including his great grandmother, were in the grandstand.
A four truck crash in turn four on lap 38 caused a second caution and resulted in three wrecked trucks being towed to the pits. Unfortunately, McNeil's second place evaporated under caution when a problem arose and sent him to the pits. The final three laps had Partridge and Michaelian a solid 1-2. The third place contest was a three truck, three-wide battle. Todd Cameron and point leader Darren Cheek exchanged third place twice. April 27 feature winner Kenny Brown bounced off the front straight wall leaving turn four and lost three positions. Cameron was in P. 3 on lap 38 and Cheek was third on lap 39 by inches. Cameron took the final podium position at the checkered flag by inches (0.029) with an outside pass as the checkers waved overhead. Fifth place Jeff Williams followed Cheek, who now holds a 12 point lead over Michaelian. Dennis Arena was sixth. Phoenix resident Colin Dickinson came from 18th to place seventh with Brown eighth. FQ McGhee was ninth and Philip Lauck tenth. Twelve of 14 finishers logged all 40 laps in a 32-minute event. Partridge's 29th Irwindale victory came by a 0.853 margin over Michaelian, who is chasing his first truck feature victory. Partridge ran the fastest race lap at 19.855 (90.657 mph).Partridge also won the April 6 opening night late model 50-lap feature.
MINI STOCKS: Fastest qualifier Steve Rogers, of Riverside, purchased the Irwindale 2009-2010 track championship No. 10 Ford Pinto from Daryl Scoggins who bought a SRL S2 car to race on the touring circuit. Scoggins also works as a NASCAR pit official at Irwindale. When Irwindale had no oval races last year, Rogers sold his two Pinto mini stocks. His two racing sons decided to go dirt track racing with winged CLS motorcycle engine cars. The chance to race the track championship bright yellow and green Pinto lured him back to the track. Rogers said he had the mini stock main won last week when a 50-cent part (a throttle cable) broke while he was leading the 35 lap race on lap 28.
FQ Rogers started fifth and chased front row starter Robby Hornsby's Pinto for 14 laps. On lap 15 Rogers used an inside move entering the third turn to take command of the 13-car race for good. He won by 30-yards (2.173 seconds) over June 15 winner Hornsby. Two-time 2013 main event winner Ryan Bragdon came from outside row two to bag third position in his 1979 Ford Mustang II. Tom Dye's Toyota Celica finished fourth. Dennis Croasmun's Pinto placed fifth. Eleven drivers finished the 13-minute race that had one caution flag. Seven drivers completed every lap. After four of seven scheduled events, Bragdon (two wins, a second and a third) and Hornsby (one win and three seconds) are tied at 194 for the point lead.
SKID PLATE CARS (SPC): The entertaining 15-lap race started all 32 cars present and raced in a clockwise direction for the first time this year. The field had three female drivers and numerous past SPC race winners. The course had huge tires marking “a kink” on the front straight of the third-mile. The kink was on the backstretch for the May 25 SPC race. The third of seven scheduled SPC races this season had seven lead changes among four drivers and took 10:13.444 without any interruptions. Twenty-one of the 32 drivers finished with sparks flying off metal skid plates on the two rear wheels. Past SPC winner/seventh starter Jim Smith, from Orange, led the final five laps. He executed a wild spin across the finish line to celebrate his $300 victory.
Steven Belling started fourth in a two-abreast lineup and led the first three laps. Then sixth starter Randy Kruse led laps 3-8. Fred Adams, the tenth starter, paced lap 9 before dropping to P. 3. Kruse led lap 10 and then yielded to Smith. The winner opened a straightaway lead by lap 13 as Kruse and Belling fought for second place. Kruse prevailed. Belling, Adams, and race trucks point leader Darren Cheek rounded out the top five and were the only other drivers who completed all 15 laps. Robert Rice, Steve Dien, sprint car veteran Zach Hawthorne (in a VW Golf), rookie Willy Whatley and Sean Brennan, winner of the first two SPC features this season, finished sixth through tenth respectively and all ran 14 laps after spins or problems.
DEMO DERBY: The final event, which concluded at 9:44 pm, was a five-car Pick Your Part demolition derby with all drivers using past skid plate cars with four rubber tires on them. Keith Johns won the eight minute smash-fest after a nose-to-nose hit caused Robert Rice's engine to erupt in flames. He was the runner-up. Adam Ditto, Tommy Mason and Shay Barkley placed third through fifth.