IRWINDALE AUGUST 22 RESULTS – By Tim Kennedy
Irwindale, CA., Aug. 22 – Irwindale Speedway conducted its fifth NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Series multi-division racing program this summer. It did so Saturday again without spectators in the grandstand during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. LKQ Pick Your Part NASCAR late models raced on the half-mile in a pair of 35-lap features that bookended the seven main events program.
Tucker Tire four-cylinder enduro sedans raced two 25-lap races as events two and six. INEX Legend Cars contested one main this week with only cars present. Super stocks also used the third-mile for a 12-car, 30-lap race. The fifth race was a race truck / spec late model combined series race on the half-mile. Six trucks and six cars raced for separate first place trophies and points. The two enduro sedan races had two winners in each race in stock and sport classes.
Racing again took place during daylight hours with a half hour earlier start from 4:00 to 7:30 pm. During the current California triple-digit heat wave and humidity it was 99-degrees with 26% humidity at the speedway when racing started. It was still 91-degrees and 43% humid at 6:00 and 84-degrees and 47% humid when racing concluded.
1ST LM 35: Fastest qualifier Dean Thompson, 18, started from pole position in the opening race and led every lap in the No. 51 HPR Chevy owned by IS co-promoter Tim Huddleston. He won his fourth consecutivre IS feature, and fifth in the last six races, by 0.909 over second starter Dylan Garner, 21, who drove his self-built No. 97 Chevy.
Tanner Reif, three weeks shy of his 15th birthday, placed third in his Las Vegas-based, family-owned car in which he won the second main event July 11. Past series champion Nick Joanides, 50, earned fourth place with Lucas McNeil fifth. Nine of 11 starters finished all 35 laps in the 11:42.885 all green-flag race. Thompson’s winning speed was 89.631 mph. Garner clocked the fastest lap of 92.152 mph.
2ND LM 35: The second late model 35 lap race inverted the first eight finishers in the first 35 so Thompson started eighth. Front row starters Kevin Furden and Dustin Vandermooren had four consecutive false starts that consumed ten minutes. Each driver jumped the green flag. Officials penalized both drivers back to the second row. That put 2018 series champion Lawless Alan and McNeil on the front row. They started evenly at 7:05 pm. Alan led lap 1 and McNeil paced laps 2-25.
Thompson, from Anaheim Hills, took P. 2 from SCCA 2019 road racer Alan on lap 12. Thompson closed the 50-yard gap to leader McNeil quickly and was a few lengths back at lap 25. At that point, sixth place Reif hit the back of Joanides fifth running Joe Nava No. 77 entering turn three. Both cars received major damage with the front of Reif’s No. 43 shortened and the back of Joanides’ car shortened significantly after backing into the crashwall. Both drove to the pits for repairs and returned to the back of the field. They finished 35 laps with Reif sixth and Joanides tenth.
For the two-by-two restart McNeil selected the outside. Thompson started inside and led lap 25 after executing an inside pass in the fourth turn. He maintained his lead to the lap 35 checkered flag. McNeil trailed by 0.723. Garner (-1.244), Alan (-3.124) and Vandermooren (-5.885) followed. McNeil ran the fastest lap of 91.767 mph.
Truck/Spec LM 40: Fastest qualifier Andy Partridge, 30, started seventh and won his second consecutive spec late model 40-lap race in the No. 21 Robert Arevalo Chevy. It was his fifth career victory. The race had three leaders including trucker L. J. Billings (lap 1) and truck fastest qualifier Andrew Porter, the laps 2-30 leader. Porter won the truck 50-points by finishing second overall. He trailed the winner, who passed him on lap 31, by 0.246. Porter, 26, has won all four truck races this summer.
Karting racer and instructor Jake Drew, 20, started sixth and earned a close third spot (-0.668) aboard the No. 56 HPR Chevy that he drove to victory on July 11. Reigning spec LM champion Kenny Smith, 73, ran second to his grandson Porter from laps 3-7 and finished fourth overall (P. 3 in spec LM) in the race within a race. Rookie Will Browne, 17, placed fifth overall and second in among six trucks entered. Former enduro sedan driver Troy Andersen and Billings followed and also completed 40 laps.
INEX Legends 35: The fully-inverted six-car field was dominated by rookie Tyler Reif, from Henderson, Nevada. He started fifth in his No. 7 1930s replica Ford coupe and led every lap. At 13 years and two months he became one of the youngest IS main event winners in a series other than Bandolero cars raced by younger drivers. He won legend car mains earlier at the Las Vegas “Bullring” and in Idaho.
Lawless Alan, doing double-duty in two series, set fast time during mid-afternoon qualifying and ran a close second all 35 laps. He trailed the winner by 0.428. Tyler Hicks and Mike Vanderlip also ran all 35 laps. Christian Bazen, 15, and rookie Skyler Meisenbach, 16, finished 34 laps. Hicks logged the fastest lap of 72.195 mph.
Super Stocks 30: Bryan Harrell, 58, started eighth in a nine-car field as the two-time series track champion continues his racing comeback. He led laps 19-30 in the No. 94 Larry Sampson Camaro. It was his 30th IS feature victory and second this summer. Fastest qualifier/reigning series champion Rich DeLong III started ninth and was the first retireee on lap 3. His P. 4 Chevy SS stalled with a mechanical problem and placed ninth.
Robert Harryman’s Camaro led the first nine laps. Orange Show Speedway veteran Kevin James led laps 10-18, but a flat tire ended his bid for victory; he finished sixth. Harryman, the most recent series winner, trailed Harrell by 0.482. Jason DeLong, Jim Vermillion and Harry Michaelian were the only other drivers with 30 laps.
Enduro # 1: Drivers raced on the third-mile oval this week in race one for a change of pace. All ten stock sedans started in front of the faster ten sport enduro cars. Newcomer Tony Price, 50, started his No. 22 Honda Accord on pole and led three laps. Robert Rice, the seventh starter, led laps 4-11 in his Accord. Sport class drivers blitzed forward quickly and ran second through fourth by lap 7.
A lapped car spun exiting turn four in three-wide racing and hit second-running Rick Conti. Both cars received significant damage. Bory Molina, from Glendora, took command on lap 12 and led to the lap 25 checkers in his No. 71 Toyota Celica. Fastest qualifier Rodney Argo charged from 17th to second place. Ian Rotundo was third overall with Rice’s Accord fourth, a second back as the first place stock sedan. It was his 57th first place trophy at Irwindale and that total ranks third-best in IS history.
Enduro # 2: The second enduro race ran on the usual six-turn “R-oval” course that used parts of the third and half-mile tracks and the infield. Price again started on pole and led the first circuit. Fifth starter Robbie Salcido (Honda Accord) led lap 2. Then eighth starter Argo, a retired 410 non-wing sprint car veteran from Gardena, took command and led the final 23 laps in his sport class Honda Prelude. It was his 27th first place trophy at IS in enduro racing, which he started three years ago for fun.
Runner-up Molina trailed by 3.499 seconds in his Celica. Joseph Bereiter, Bobby Ozman and Rotundo completed the top five in sport class sedans. The highest stock division enduro was Perris resident R. Salcido, who finished sixth overall, nine seconds off the lead pace. He earned 50 points for his class victory. Rice placed second in the stock division. The all-green race took 10:53.680 and averaged 68.841 mph.