Irwindale, CA., Jul. 8 – Irwindale Speedway presented the fifth monthly 2023 NASCAR Advance Auto Parts event Saturday night. IS management added two demonstration car crushing runs by the monster truck “Cyclops” in addition to the usual aerial fireworks that concluded an action-packed three hours. The event attracted a near capacity crowd of 6,500 that used the still present temporary grandstand near turn four. A field of 76 cars/trucks competed with two series races on the half-mile and four events on the third-mile.
Pro Late Models 1st 30: Thirteen pro late models started at 7:00 pm with fastest qualifier/point leader Linny White, 45, on pole and Trevor Huddleston, 27, alongside. White, from Colton, led all 30-laps in Clay Wooster’s No. 55 Chevy. He beat Huddleston’s No. 50 HPR Ford by ten yards (0.693). It was his seventh victory this season and 15th at IS. Jeffrey Peterson, from Grand Terrace, started fourth and finished third in a second Clay Wooster entry—No. 90 Chevy—in which he won the track championship at the three-eights mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway Bullring on July 1.
Scott Youngren, from sixth starting, and Nick Joanides, from third, completed the top five. Sean Woodside did not qualify and started 13th. He raced his way to sixth, 3.555 behind the winner. Ethan Cheek, Nash Youngren, 20, Mike Weimann, and Dennis Arena finished seventh through tenth and completed 30 laps. Twelve of 13 starters finished the 15-minute contest. White ran the quickest lap of 93.346 mph. Cars of late arriving fans were still entering the IS parking lot in two long lines from east and west sides of Live Oak Ave. after 8:00 pm.
Pro LM 2nd 30: The final race at 9:20 inverted the first eight finishers from race one. That put N. Youngren, 20, and Cheek, 18, in row one with Huddleston and White in row four. Twelve starters answered the call with Niko Mongenels’s No. 44 sidelined mechanically. Cheek, from Phelan, led the first four laps. On lap 5 entering the first turn the cars of Scott Youngren and Joanides collided and Youngren slammed into the crash-wall near the pit entrance. His No 45 received serious damage to the right front and side and required a Jan’s Towing roll-back to get back to his pit stall. He was not injured but expressed his anger before leaving the scene.
Huddleston led the restarted fifth lap with White challenging him for the lead on the inside from lap 8 to lap 21. At that point they were side-by-side on the backstretch when their cars touched and White spun out to the infield. He rejoined the race immediately on the front straight but dropped to P. 5. He could not catch fourth position during the final nine laps. Second through ninth finishers were Peterson (- 2.870), Joanides, Temecula resident Weimann, and White. (- 4.648 behind the winner). Woodside, Cheek, N. Youngren and Eric Bewley followed in a 20-minute event. Huddleston ran the fastest lap at 92.383 mph.
Huddleston, the series 2015-17 champion, won his fourth NASCAR pro late model feature of 2023 and 83rd at Irwindale. His pit announcer/IS co-promoter father Tim told the large crowd that Trevor received second degree burns on his right foot while winning the ARCA 150 race a week earlier and this week he required medical attention at Grossman Burn Center in Woodland Hills. He experienced discomfort while finishing second and first this week. He and White, the IS 2022 series champion, are now tied for the series track championship at 478 points. Two twin-30s point races remain on the second Saturdays of August and September.
YouRaceLA Spec Late Models/Spec Trucks 40: The other half-mile race combined spec LM and spec trucks that have similar lap times. Winners in each division received 50 points. Ten vehicles (eight cars and two trucks) competed. Truck point leader Jacob McNeil, from Acton, started on pole and led through lap 26. Then Andy Partridge—the fastest car qualifier and sixth starter—made his winning pass on the inside at turn four and led the final 14 laps. It was his first time in Robert Arevalo’s No. 20 team Chevy to his usual Arevalo No. 19, in which he won the season opener.
Partridge defeated runner-up Kevin Carter, a 51-year old rookie from Simi Valley,, by 1.563 seconds. Carter took second from McNeil on lap 30 en-route to his best IS finish. McNeil, Niko Mongenel (No. 44 truck), and spec LM point leader Andrew Porter completed the top five. Enduro veteran/third mile race winner Rider Gardner, 20, from Glendora, made his spec LM and half-mile debut in the Arevalo No. 19 Chevy and finished eighth. McNeil posted the fastest lap of 87.659 mph while leading and earned 50 truck points.
A field of 16 street stocks and formerly called West Coast Pro Trucks raced 30-laps on the third-mile with ten cars and six trucks. Winners in each division collected 50-points. Pole starter Bryan Harrell (No. 94 Camaro) led ten laps. Zack Green’s black & gold No. 28 Camaro led lap 11 in a three-way dogfight. Fast timer/street stock point leader Jim Vermillion, from Moreno Valley, used his No. 26 Monte Carlo to lead laps 12-30. He defeated the No. 1 Camaro driven by Jay Verduzco, of Covina, by 0.608.
Truck fastest qualifier Jeff Williams started last and placed third, 2.000 seconds off the lead pace, and won 50-truck points. Green and Kevin Furden, in Camaros, finished fourth and fifth. Ten of 13 finishers logged all 30 laps in the 8:35.289 all green flag event. It was Williams second start of the season and second victory and the third win in five races this season for Vermillion.
Four Junior Spec Late Model Series drivers raced 30-laps. Fastest qualifier/point leader Charlie Carty, 12, volunteered to start last instead of first to get passing experience. He won the first four mains in the new series created by IS co-promoter Bob Bruncati to develop young drivers. Carty was third on lap 5 when he looped in turn two while trying to take second. He continued but lost three-quarters of a lap and the yellow was not needed.
Second starter/enduro stock class three-time 2023 winner Mikey Killen, 16, led all 30 laps and defeated Carty by 1.408 seconds. Ryan Schank, 13, was third (- 2.626) and newcomer Skyler Schoppe, 12, from Clovis, was fourth (- 3.979). He races the No. 7 pro late model at the three-eighths mile Madera Speedway and wants to move up to ARCA Menards racing.
INEX Legend Cars had a strong 19-car field, including six cars/drivers from Las Vegas a week following the conclusion of their season at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway three-eighths mile Bullring. Two-time IS Legends 2023 feature winner Nathan Quella, 17, from Yorba Linda, posted his fourth consecutive fastest qualifying time in one of Ricky Schlick’s rental cars—the No. 42 coupe. The inversion for the start was four so he started outside row two. Schlick said the first time IS racers from LVMS practiced Thursday during dragstrip operations and Friday from 5 to 9 pm during the all divisions IS open practice.
Pole starter Stephen Brucker, from Alpine, led two laps. Third fastest qualifier/second starter Brendan Tracy, one of the Vegas drivers, led the final 33 laps in the 35-lap feature. It was the first race at IS for the teenager who drove his tan and black numeral No. 98 coupe. He had company out front from lap 4 to the finish line. Quella, whose grandfather is 1950-60s Indy Car builder/mechanic Danny Quella, passed Brucker on lap 4 and tried to pass Tracy every lap during the final half of the race. Both drivers favored the inside groove and lapped up to ninth place.
All 19 starters, including two females, finished. Quella trailed by 0.541 and P. 3 Brucker was 1.394 back. Four-time IS Legends champion Chad Schug finished fourth (-1.897) and 2020 champion Tyler Hicks was fifth (-2,174). Other lead lap finishers in order were: IS point leader Logan Chambers, 17, from Bakersfield, rookie Daniel O’Donnell, 14, plus Las Vegas visitors Zach Sanson and fifth-starter Ashton Williams. The 16-minute race had one caution flag on lap 30 for a solo spin. LVMS drivers who completed 34 laps finished 11th, 13th and 14th.
The Enduro 35-lap race with 14 starters used the five-turn r-oval course this week. Ten stock class cars were joined at the back of the field by four faster OHC-equiped sport class enduros. Robert Walks started second and led two laps in his Honda Accord. Rider Gardner paced lap 3. Twelfth starter Mike McIntyre led laps 4 through 27 hoping to capture his first victory this season. However, second fastest sport class driver Bobby Ozman came calling at his back bumper. Ozman, who logged the fastest lap of 18.622, took the point in his No. 18 Acura Integra on lap 28 and beat McIntyre by 0.315. It was his fourth 2023 victory and 20th at IS. Fastest qualifier and 14th starter Rodney Argo (Honda Prelude) placed third, 1.237 off the lead. Jason Woolcott was fourth.
The stock class battle highlighted over the PA by track announcer Tommy Mason centered attention on the three-car battle for the stock class victory. Robert Rice tried all the way to hold off his division point leader Mikey Killen (the junior spec late model winner), and Rider Gardner (another double dipper racer Saturday). All three ran nose-to-tail from lap 20 to the lap 35 checkered flag. Gardner nipped Killen for second at the finish line thanks to a lapped car in the way. Rice won his third enduro main this season and his 79th IS triumph. He trailed winner Ozman by 18.288, Gardner was -18.579 and Killen -18.866. Robbie Salcido and Walks were down one lap in P. 8-9.
The next IS oval track racing will be another NASCAR night on Saturday, August 12.