LINNY WHITE – IRWINDALE LATE MODEL 2022 CHAMP – By Tim Kennedy
Irwindale, CA, Sept. 10 – It was “First Responders Night” at Irwindale Speedway Saturday. Police, fire, ambulance and emergency service providers, including an airvac helicopter, were present in the infield with red lights flashing during the fan autograph session on the front straight. Irwindale’s mayor and city council members were present and a city councilman gave the starting command for the first of two NASCAR late Model 30-lap features in front of about 3,000 spectators. A police car was the initial pace car of the evening.
NASCAR national series points concluded in mid-September so this was the final chance for late model drivers to earn championship points. It rained locally Friday and Sunday evenings, but Saturday had perfect weather in the low 80s for competitors . Fourteen late model drivers raced Saturday and four had a mathematical chance to win the IS 2022 late model championship with 100 points available for a driver who could win both features.
Point leader Linny White had 606 points, Parker Malone 576, Trevor Huddleston 538, and Nick Joanides 522. White, 44, was the fastest qualifier and earned pole position for the first 30. However, he drove to the pits after his second qualification lap with an engine miss. It was an impound race with qualifiers required to park together in the infield, so White had to start the first 30 at the back. Huddleston, 26, started second and led every lap for his IS record 78th victory. White charged from 14th up to fifth place in a 13-minute race with one caution flag.
The second late model 30 inverted the first eight finishers from race one. White started fourth in the No. 90 Clay Wooster Camry and led laps 2-30 for a 3.401 second victory over eighth starter Huddleston. That secured White’s first IS late model championship (698 to 642) over Malone. Huddleston, a three-time IS late model champion, placed third with 636 and Joanides fourth with 612. White, from Colton, became the 16th different driver to win the IS late model crown in 23 seasons (there were no oval track IS races during 2012). It was White’s second IS championship. He earned his first title—the 2014 IS super late model title—aboard his own No. 99.
The 2022 IS Late Model Series had eight race dates from March 12 through September 10 with 15 scheduled main events of 30 laps. White won the 100-lap race on May 28 and collected $5,000. Huddleston won eight features and White won six. Malone, from Redlands, won the season opener first 30-lap main in his No. 36 mount that competes at OSS in San Bernardino. .
FIRST LM 30: Huddleston started second as second fastest qualifier and led all 30 laps. Kyle Meyer, from Highland, started fourth and placed his Irwindale career-best second, 1.831 off the lead. Jeff Peterson and Nick Joanides were two and three seconds back and P.5 White trailed the winner by 3,286 seconds. Twelve drivers finished every lap in the 13-minute event with one yellow flag at lap 15 for a stalled car. Huddleston ran the fastest lap at 92.884 mph.
SECOND LM 30: White came from fourth grid position to lead all but lap 1, which pole starter Meyer led. Huddleston (inside) and Joanides (outside) waged a torrid duel for second from laps 14 to 26 when Huddleston shot lower entering turn one and captured second. He trailed White by half a straightaway and could not cut into that advantage despite White saying later his car was down a cylinder and benefitted by clean air out front. The all-green light race took 10:05.478 and averaged 89.186 mph. White ran the fastest lap of 91.505 mph. Joanides placed third (-4.158) behind White. Peterson and Cody Kiemele (in a new Hamke chassis) followed with Sean Woodside sixth in his own Spears series No. 45. Twelve of 13 finishers ran all 30 laps.
The busy, fast-paced racing schedule had eight racing series and two of them raced in the same event as another series for separate points. The other IS NASCAR Night series will vie for track points next on October 8. Two series used the half-mile and the others raced on the third-mile. Two enduro four-cylinder sedan races raced on the five-turn R-oval course that uses parts of the third and half miles.
The first enduro main ran shortly after the front gates opened at 4:00 and were followed at 4:15 by a pair of 6-lap late model truck heat races for the former ASA Speed Trucks. It was the third appearance at IS in 2022 for the traveling circuit. With cooler weather, Jeff Williams set a new track record for So Cal Pro Trucks (formerly called West Coast Pro Trucks). He drove his No. 21 Ford F-150. His 16.272 eclipsed the 16.496 (72.672 mph) mark set in March by 17-year old Jesus Quintero.
YOURACELA SPEC LM / RACE TRUCKS 40: The combined series 11-vehicle race on the half-mile had nine cars and two trucks. Second starter Troy Andersen led the first four laps. Usual truck racer Andrew Porter switched from his grandfather Kenny Smith’s No. 7 truck to his No. 43 spec LM. He led laps 5-40 for his first spec LM victory of 2020 and won by 0.549 over Andersen. Noah Youngren, 19, started eighth and finished third, 1.120 seconds behind Porter. Fastest qualifier Tanner Huddleston, 19, started fifth in the No. 50 HPR Chevy and placed fourth. Fifth was 50-point truck winner Jacob McNeil. It was his third triumph in seven races this season. The 20-minute race had two caution flags for single car spins. Porter clocked the quickest lap of 20.489 (87.852 mph).
INEX LEGEND CARS 35: A season-high 19Legends raced 35-laps with six teenagers making impressive debuts. Cody Brown, 17, from Las Vegas, set the fastest qualifying time in only his second appearance at IS. He started sixth in a six-car invert. Brenden Ruzbarski, from Tracy, set fourth fastest time in his IS debut and started third. Rookie Jared Torres started on pole and led two laps. Ruzbarski led laps 3-12 and Brown paced laps 13-30. Past IS legends winner Jake Bollman, 15, from Huntington Beach, started fourth and led laps 31-35 to qualify for the next INEX Legends National. Bollman won by 0.626 over Brown. He also won the 2020 season opener in March and has been away since then racing on the touring Spears Mfg SRL super late model circuit, where he ranks second in rookie points.
Four-time LC track champion Chad Schug finished third with Ethan Nacimento, 15, from Manteca, fourth, and Torres fifth. Newcomer Tyler DiLegge, an Australian living in Nashville and working on a NXS crew, finished sixth in his second IS Legends race. Twelve of 18 finishers logged all 35 laps. The Legends races at IS are rapidly becoming the most competitive series for promising drivers. Ruzbarsky was in a close three-way battle for the lead when he dropped out two laps from the finish. The 11-minute race had one yellow flag on lap 2 for a solo spinner. Passing was plentiful throughout the field, which had nine teenagers including veterans. Brown ran the fastest lap of 72.880 mph in his No. 88 1934 Ford replica coupe. BULLETIN: The Charlotte, N.C-based INEX organization just announced the lowering of driver age from 12 to 10 in legend cars and from age 8 to 7 in INEX Bandoleros.
The now named Late Model Truck Series (former ASA Speed Trucks) had seven trucks present for the series third race at IS this season. Bill Black, from Glendale, AZ, started fourth and led laps 2-35 on the third-mile. Fastest qualifier David Leavitt, from Sierra Vista, AZ, trailed by 1.926. Las Vegan Stan Millis was third and first lap leader Curtis Burns, from Williams, AZ, fourth and the last driver on the lead lap. Las Vegans Gary Wyatt, Mark Allison (who won the two prior races at IS this season) and Arie Daniel followed. The all-green race took 9:56.318 and averaged 70.362 mph. Leavitt ran the fastest race lap of 74.082 mph chasing the leader. Millis and Leavitt won the afternoon six-lap heat races.
STREET STOCKS / PRO TRUCKS (former West Coast Pro Trucks). The combined series ran 35 laps on the third-mile with a season-high ten trucks. An owner from Arizona brought three trucks and one was driven by OSS promoter Robert Snyder, 39, from Riverside. It was his second race ever and first at IS. He finished eighth and ran all 35 laps. Past series champion Jeff Williams, from Newbury Park, started fifth and led laps 5-35 in his own No. 21 Ford F-150 to claim the truck series 50 points. Robby Harryman drove his No. 11 Camaro from fourth on the grid to second place, 2.5 seconds back and earned the SS 50 points. Truckers Clay Meyers and Curtis Burns followed. Pole starter/SS fastest qualifier Jerry Toporek, from Venice, was fifth in a 1970 Dodge Challenger. Past SS 2022 feature winners Jay Verduzco and Jim Vermillion finished sixth and seventh respectively.
TUCKER TIRE ENDUROS: Two 25-lap races were run—the first at 4:04 pm and the latter at 7:50 pm. Both had 15 starters in two classes—stock and sport. Seven faster (with OHC) sport sedans started at the back of eight slower stock sedans. Winners in the afternoon race were Bobby Ozman (sport class) and Robert Rice (stock class). It was IS feature triumph number 73 for Rice, who ranks second on the all-time IS feature winners list.
The second enduro main sport class victory again went to Ozman, who started 12th and led laps 14-25 for the overall victory in an all-green 8:02.739 race. He beat fellow sport class multi-time winner Ian Rotundo by 4.575. Robbie Salcido started seventh and finished fifth overall for the stock class victory and 50 points. Rice started sixth, led laps 4-13 and lost the stock class lead on lap 14 when passed simultaneously by Ozman and Salcido. Rice trailed his buddy Salcido by 2.551 seconds.
The busy schedule had eight main events totaling 255 laps and 95 racing vehicles in the pits, There were no red flags and racing went from 7:18 to 9:54 pm with near non-stop action. The final event in the infield was the first auto soccer match since 2020. Three orange enduro sedans represented Pick Your Part and three white enduros represented Jan’s Towing in a 14-minute contest. Cars pushed a large white and black metal tank “the ball” into K-rails (goals) at the east and west ends of the infield. Robert Rice and Robbie Salcido scored two goals each for PYP. Joe Labrosciano scored both goals for Jan’s. PYP won 4 to 2 and repeated two victories in 2020. Aerial fireworks from 10:15 to 10:25 pm concluded the entertaining evening.