IRWINDALE SPEEDWAY "NIGHT OF DESTRUCTION" (No. 1 of 3)
Irwindale, CA., May 17 – Irwindale Speedway and 211 Entertainment presented round one of three scheduled Seidner's Collision Centers “Night of Destruction” events Saturday. The five features attracted 5,120 thrill-seekers, including numerous first-time visitors to the speedway. Spectators enjoyed the multiple slam-bang events and cheered the motorized mayhem all night to the final checkered flag at 9:31 pm. Drivers included five females. Some drivers, using one or more cars, competed in multiple events during the evening.
Events included compact cars running a 50-lap “enduro” race on the third-mile. The cone-lined six-turn course (four left and two right turns) veered into the infield. The layout had a sharp left turn before a slight jog in the infield back to the exit of the third-mile usual fourth turn. Co-drivers each drove 25 laps. Part I kicked off the wild night with 21 cars on the starting grid. A red flag after 25 laps stopped all cars on the front straight of the half-mile track. Driver switches occurred in each car. Co-drivers came forward and took the wheel. Some cars had two drivers in the car and others had only one driver on board until the half-time driver switch for part II.
An open competition 35-lap race on the third-mile had Southwest Tour trucks, super stock Camaros and classic stocks racing together. Next, the Seidener's Collision Centers Skid Plate cars race started 21 of the 28 four-cylinder sedans that survived the enduro 50-lap feature. A ten-car demolition derby, using some cars from the enduro and some DD-only cars, entertained the vocal crowd that jammed the grandstand.
Then a wild 20-lap trailer race started 12 cars towing trailers with on-bard cargo that included numerous boats, barrels and assorted cargo. The object was to complete all 20 laps with your trailer and contents intact while separating trailers and/or cargo from competitors. The winner was determined by spectator applause and cheers after leaders stopped on the front straight. The green No. 11x crossed the finish line first but he was voted the runner-up to a driver who smashed separated boats and rode over trailers cast adrift around the third-mile oval.
ENDURO: The 21-car field had three race leaders during the first 25 laps and four leaders during the final 25 laps. The combined 50-lap results showed Bud Smith and Jim Smith co drove their No. 28 to victory despite a non-functioning scoring electronic transponder. Melody Scott and Kim Hall co-drove the No. 65 Honda to P. 2. Oval track veterans Chad Schug and Ryan Cansdale drove their No. 29-37 (their usual car numbers) to third place in their first collaborative effort. Everyone else was a lap or laps down. Only ten starters finished. The race took 36 minutes and the winner averaged 27.363 mph. The fastest race lap was 51.588 mph.
Only 15 of the original 21 starters were able to restart the race on lap 26 following an 11-minute intermission to change drivers. The enduro was red flagged for ten minutes on lap 31 when P. 2 Bob DePew struck a huge truck tire course marker at the backstretch right-hander and flipped his No. 56 onto its roof. The ex-No. 33 1998 Toyota Camry was a three-time skid plate cars main event winner for Sean Brennan. A tow truck pulled the car back onto its wheels and a huge cloud of white smoke rose. DePew climbed back into the car and finished in the top six despite a dented roof and hood and shattered windshield glass.
OPEN COMP 35: The first open comp race of 2014 attracted six starters from three racing divisions. Past SWT Truck champion and fastest qualifier Jeff Williams, 43, started and finished first in his Ford F-150 truck. He led all 35 laps and lapped the slim field. Ken Michaelian placed second in his classic stock Plymouth and Greg Crutcher was third in his S/S Camaro. Both logged 34 laps. Craig Rayburn's Camaro was in P. 2 when a flat RR tire on lap 28 caused him to slow to the finish. He completed 32 laps. Teen Alec Martinez, in his second race, drove Williams” $3,000 a night rental SWT Dodge truck to P. 5. He also finished 32 laps after a backstretch spin to the infield. Teenager Bridgette Shaw completed 30 laps in a Petty blue No. 43 Dodge/Plymouth classic stock. The all-green light race took 9:37.425 and averaged 72.664 mph.
SKID PLATE CARS 20: With 28 cars signed for both the compact car enduro and skid plate race, only 21 were able to start the third SPC race of the season. Race Director Mike Atkinson pulled a surprise by having “skid-platers” race clockwise instead of the usual counter-clockwise direction. Qualifying runs at 4:00 pm had 23 of 28 cars post laps. Three-time SPC main event winner Mike DiGregorio, 23, set a new track record of 29.675 (40.398 mph) in his No. 18 Honda Accord. The old record of 30.070 (39.867 mph) was set two weeks ago by his friend Sean Brennan, 24, in his No. 33 1992 Acura Integra GS. Andrew Brittain, of Tujunga, won his first SPC feature in his dark blue No. 29. The 1994 Toyota Celica had neon lighted front grille and neon lighted rear rims, plus American and KCCO flags protruding from his car making him easy to follow on the scoring pylon and track.
SPC veteran Brittain won by 2.872 seconds over Wayne Lee, who briefly passed Brittain in traffic on lap 17 but did not lead a lap as they weaved through traffic. The winner had a 34 seconds lead over P. 3 Todd Browne's 1988 Toyota Camry. The Jet Blue Airlines pilot won the final 2013 and first 2014 skid plate mains in the same No. 86 car. Seventeen of 21 starters were still racing at the finish of the all-green, 12:01.822-timed race. The winner averaged 33.216 mph. The 27th SPC race in track history produced the 16th different skid plate feature winner in Brittain. Multi-skid plate main event winners include four-time winners James Altman and mini-stock champion Darryl Scoggins, three-time winners M. DiGregorio and S. Brennan, plus double winners S. Browne and Robert Rice, the “'father of skid plate racing at IS” who also is known as “the master of mayhem”.
DEMO DERBY: Ten cars participated in a demolition derby on a watered patch of infield in front of the grandstand. The 11-minute demo had a brief red flag to extinguish a minor fire on one car. Tommy Mason, a Low Budget TV racing video-grapher, outlasted the other nine drivers with his No. 96 VW Jetta. He earned his second IS gold trophy in two weeks. Francisco (no surname) drove his 1994 Saturn to P. 2. Shayla Zins, Mason's girlfriend, placed third in her usual No. 2, a 2000 Dodge Breeze.
TRAILER RACE: The 12 cars towing trailers with primarily boats raced 20 laps and had three race leaders. Eric Brown's green machine (No. 11x) led laps 14-20. He ran the fastest lap and speed of 23.858 (50.247 mph) and finished with his trailer intact. His apparent victory was overturned by grandstand fans acclimation. They appreciated the showmanship of Robert Rice who drove his orange No. 7 Chevy El Camino through adrift boats. He even launched over separated trailers. Brown had to settle for P. 2. Mike Heather, Tom Ryan, driving a Ford Crown Victoria, and Cheryl Hyland completed the top five. Seven of the 12 entrants were still circulating at the checkered flag.