IRWINDALE “NIGHT OF DESTRUCTION IV” -- By Tim Kennedy
Irwindale, CA., Oct. 24 – The fourth “Night of Destruction” program this season attracted 6,107 enthusiastic spectators to Irwindale Speedway for the usual smash and go events in front of the grandstand. There also was a 30-lap truck race and a speed demonstration run by a winged sprint car on the half-mile oval. It promoted the Saturday, November 21 second annual Davey Hamilton King of the Wing Series sprint car race. Last year the KOTW had 27 cars present at IS for the middle event of a three-race series that included Madera Speedway (Friday) and Kern Country Raceway Park (Sunday).
Tim Skoglund, from Fresno, drove the No. 45 Gene Kawahata-owned Eagle-360 Chevy. He ran 12 laps at an average of 15.5 seconds per lap (almost 120 mph) despite having about 80 laps on his tires from earlier test laps. The all-time IS one-lap track record of 13.791 (130.520 mph) was set last November in the KOTW event by Jo Jo Helberg in his 410 cu. in Chevy sprinter during time trials. He later won the 40-lap feature.
TRUCKS: Ronnie Davis, from Whittier, won the Pick Your Part Southwest Tour Truck Series 30-lap race in an 11-truck field. The race had three leaders, including 17-year old Alec Martinez on lap 1. Fastest qualifier Ron Nava led laps 2-8. Davis paced lap 9 before Nava led the next four laps. Davis was out front from lap 13-30 and won by 1.686 seconds over Martinez. It was his fourth consecutive feature triumph in five SWT races at IS this year. The touring series has run races at eight other speedways during 2015.
Point leader Ed Cutler started on the pole and took third place from Nava on the final lap with his inside pass leaving the second turn. He edged Nava by 0.140. They trailed the winner by three seconds. Dan Coburn and Roger Harder also finished all 30 laps in fifth and sixth. The other four finishers logged 29 laps in the ten minute race that was under the green flag all the way.
FLAG POLE RACE: The first of the fan-popular wild events on the third-mile was a 28-car flag pole race for four-cylinder foreign or domestic enduro cars. The two-by-two lineup used a standing start and raced counter-clockwise around a flag pole in the middle of huge tires in the infield. The six-turn course had a section of track in which cars had to traverse the same pavement entering and exiting the loop around the flag pole. The result was slowdowns, stalls and figure-8 type slow speed collisions.
The race had four leaders. Travis Mooney (L 1-3), Jim Bolinas (L 4-7 and 11-13), rookie Dan Souto (L 8-10 and 16-17), and winner/Hesperia resident Tony Cummings (L 14-15 and 18-25) were the front-runners. The 14-minute race had one red flag to remove stalled cars around the course. Fourteen of 28 starters reached the checkered flag.
SKID PLATE CARS: Nineteen four-cylinder enduro car teams made the switch-over from rubber tires to spark-producing metal skid plates on the two back wheels. Steven Belling started fourth and led the first seven laps. Then ninth starter Mike DiGregorio led the final 18 laps of the 25-lap event in his Honda Accord. He won by half a lap (11.963 seconds) over Robert Rice's Honda. Rice created skid plate racing at IS in 2009 and built all the metal skid plates.
DiGregorio, from Temple City, won for the eighth time since he started skid plate racing in 2013. He is now tied with fellow eight-time SPC winner Sean Brennan, his brother-in-law, after 42 skid plate races since 2009. Brennan's car was unable to start. Robbie Salcido, Austin Lee and Travis Mooney completed the top five. Twelve of 19 starters finished.
In other events, the 11-car all female driver enduro car demolition derby took place on watered pavement in the infield and front straight of the third-mile. Shayla Zins won with April Shaw second and IS timer/scorer Sarah Atkinson third. It took 12 minutes.
A new event at Irwindale was a demolition derby for RV (Class C) mini motor homes. Steve Cook won in a Dodge camper over Jeffrey Best. The loser's ride became a “tiltin' Hilton” after a major hit from Cook knocked the back end loose. One final hit by Cook knocked the back end onto the track to the delight of cheering fans enjoying the motorized mayhem.
The final event on the program was the always popular trailer race. Cars and even small trucks towed trailers with small or large boats, camping trailers, a jet-ski, and miscellaneous cargo on metal trailers. Seventeen drivers started and it took 19 minutes of smashing to get to the top five runners. As usual, fan applause and cheers determined the winner when all five entrants still on the track parked on the front straight of the half-mile following the checkered flag. Robert Rice won the fans verdict by a large margin over Steve Cook, Adam Ditto, newcomer Dan Souto, from San Diego, and Jim Bolinas.