TWO DOUBLE WINNERS @ IRWINDALE NASCAR NIGHT – By Tim Kennedy
Irwindale, CA., Jun. 11 – The two most prolific feature winners in Irwindale Speedway history increased their growing totals Saturday during a nine-event program. It attracted about 3,000 spectators on a warm evening. Co-promoter Tim Huddleston observed his birthday Friday so racers sang the birthday song during the pit meeting. Prior to the first race grandstand patrons also sang happy birthday to him.
Huddleston attended the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame induction ceremonies Thursday night at Sonoma Raceway. He spoke about the late Art Atkinson and his son Mike, the late racing director at IS. Both were inducted into the prestigious hall of fame during a three hour ceremony with more than 300 persons present. Mike’s daughters Sarah and Jannie, current IS racing officials, also attended and Jannie also spoke.
Three-time IS late model champion Trevor Huddleston, who turned 26 on May 31, won both 30-lap LKQ-Pick Your Part NASCAR late model features, boosting his IS leading total to 76. He has won six of nine races this season, including three twin victories. He drove the RCF-built No. 50 HPR Chevy owned and formerly driven by his father, who retired from driving to promote IS five years ago.
Robert Rice, 56-year old “master of mayhem” at IS, won the two Tucker Tire enduro sedans 30-lap mains and 50-points in each race for the stock class. He drove his usual No. 7 orange Honda Accord. It moved Rice’s mounting total to 71 in scored races for various events. He raced late models and modifieds during early seasons at IS, which opened in 1999. The 50-points for faster super class sedans went to past winners Ian Rotundo (No 4 2001 Honda Prelude) and Bobby Ozman (No. 18 1998 Acura Integra).
Other main event victories went to INEX Legend Cars veteran Tyler Hicks, 26, from Encinitas, and INEX Bandoleros rookie Mason Colato, 10, from Santa Clarita. He won his first main over fellow Santa Claritan Noan Jones in the first Bandoleros race at IS since last August. Nine “Bandos” have been racing this year at Orange Show Speedway in San Bernardino. The 10-lap race was run at 4:25 pm and was followed by the first of two enduro 17-car mains at 4:40. Front gates opened at 4:00 so early arrivals witnessed both events on the third-mile prior to opening ceremonies at 6:45.
Two divisions competing in the same race included five street stocks and three pro trucks in a 30-lap race on the third-mile. Jim Vermillion started his Chevy Monte Carlo second and led every lap for his second triumph in four races this season. Rookie Jesus Quintero, 17, from Adelanto, started on pole and won the maximum 50 points available for truckers. It was his second consecutive victory in four races.
YouRaceLA spec racers and Irwindale Race Trucks raced together in a 40-lap main on the half-mile. Eight cars and four trucks started. Nine of the mixed field qualified during the afternoon within half-a-second. The fastest car and truck started from row three in the inverted lineup. There were two race leaders and three lead changes. Pole starter Nico Mongenel, 24, led laps 1-11 and 31-40 in his neon yellow No. 44 truck. Fastest trucker Jacob McNeil paced laps 12-30. Ron Nava, the fastest car qualifier, took second from McNeil with three laps remaining and finished a mere half-length behind Mongenel. It was his fifth truck triumph at IS and third this season in four events. Nava, the third different spec late model winner in four races, drove the No 43 Chevy for retired owner/driver Kenny Smith.
The first-ever Irwindale pickup truck and a lone Jeep wagon demolition derby had seven active hitters. Action took place in the watered infield battle zone surrounded by large tires. The 15-minute contest from 9:45 to 10 pm came down to three still running and hitting trucks driven by winner Bailey Maywald, from Garden Grove, Steve Cook, from Fontana, and Hawthorne’s Robert Rice. Fans cheers and applause voted Maywald the winner over Cook and Rice. A ten-minute aerial fireworks show followed.
Seventeen legends on the third-mile opened racing this week at 7:05 instead of the usual first late model 30 lapper. That allowed late model veteran Nick Joanides to drive from Sonoma Raceway (where he raced earlier in the ARCA Menards West race on the 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course). He dropped out after eight laps and drove south in six hours to race Joe Nava’s No. 77. He missed qualifying at IS so started last in the first 12-car feature.
In the first LM 30 fastest qualifier Huddleston led every lap and won by 3.144 seconds in an all-green light 9:59.641 race. He averaged 90.054 mph. All 12 starters completed 30 laps. The captivating battle was a three-way duel for P. 2 among Parker Malone, Ryan Schartau and Linny White, the May 28 100-lap race $5,000 winner. They raced three-wide (outside, middle and inside) lap after lap without contact. Three laps from the finish White and Schartau both passed Malone, dropping him to fourth. At the finish White edged Schartau by 0.026 and Malone trailed Schartau by 0.598. Dustin Vandermooren raced from ninth starting to fifth. Huddleston ran the quickest lap of 93.560 mph.
The first eight finishers in the first 30 were inverted by their first 30 finishes. That put Tegan Harlan and Scott Youngren on the front row and Huddleston eighth. Youngren led four laps before Huddleston burst from P. 4 to the lead on the front straight on lap 5. He extended his lead to 40-yards (-2.399 seconds) by the checkered flag. White, Schartau and Malone again battled for second place from lap 6 to the finish. White took second from Schartau on the final lap and edged him by 0.187. Malone and Joanides completed the top five in an all-green race that again had all finishers on the lead lap. The winner averaged 89.711 mph and ran the fastest lap—91.561 mph.
The spec LM/Irwindale Race Truck race took 29-minutes because of two yellow flags and one red flag to clean up an oil spill in the second turn after a blown engine in rookie J. D Partridge’s No. 21 Chevy. One lengthy caution came when P. 5 Noah Youngren hit the backstretch wall after contact from the P. 6 car. His car nosed into the third turn crashwall after brushing along the backstretch wall. His Tim Cash No. 13 will need extensive front end repairs by builder Racecar Factory. Mongenel edged Nava by 0.126 with McNeil 0.706 back. Rookie Tanner Huddleston, 18, placed fourth with Nevin Iwatsura fifth.
LEGENDS 35: The 13-car field had a first-time racer at IS on the pole in one of owner/driver Ricky Schlick’s four rental legend cars. Tyler DiLegge, 22, from Newcastle, Australia, is a crewman on the NASCAR No. 25 truck that raced in Sonoma. He started on the IS pole as sixth fastest qualifier and led the first seven laps before yielding the point to third starter Hicks. Bandoleros graduate Logan Chambers, 13, from Bakersfield, inherited second after Chad Schug was hit and spun out in turn three on lap 33, Officials sent P. 3/fastest qualifier Nathan Quella, 15, to the back of the field behind Schug for avoidable contact. Chambers was 0.603 behind Hicks at the finish. He is the fourth different winner in four LC mains this season.
DiLegge placed third, 0.952 in arears in his impressive debut. Veteran Jim Smith and Lorenzo Malave, 14, followed with Quella sixth. Bandoleros driver Steven Bazen, 11, from Saugus, is the younger brother of winning Legends driver Christian Bazen, 16, who has moved up to late model racing. Steven made his Legends debut, starting and finishing seventh, one position ahead of four-time LC champion Schug. Hicks turned the fastest lap of 71.931 mph.
The next IS oval track event will be Saturday, July 2 with the featured attraction being the touring series ARCA Menards West Series. It will lead off the night with another 150-lap race on the half-mile. A full Night of Destruction program, a jet-powered truck burn-down of an old car, enduro and Figure 8 races, and a trailer destruction race will follow. The evening will close with a patriotic fireworks show.