WHITE WINS IRWINDALE PRO LM $5,000 – By Tim Kennedy
Irwindale, CA., May 28 – The special $5,000 to win posted by speedway management for the NASCAR Pro Late Model feature at Irwindale Speedway Saturday preceded LKQ-Pick Your Part Night of Destruction mayhem events. A near capacity crowd of 6,000 spectators watched late models on the half-mile and usual NoD events on the inner track. The event was the IS annual salute to the Memorial Day weekend Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR Charlotte 600.
PRO LM 100: Fastest qualifier Linny White started inside row four in a 17-car field. Trevor Huddleston, the IS all-time leading main event winner, was second fastest and started outside row three. Pole starter and IS 2020-21 truck champion Andrew Porter started from pole position in Joe Nava’s No. 88. He led two laps before Parker Malone, from Redlands, charged from fourth starting slot to lead laps 3-5. Huddleston worked his way to second by lap 3 and executed an inside pass in turn two on lap 6 for the lead.
White took second from Ryan Schartau, 19, on lap 18 on the inside leaving the fourth turn and was 20-yards in back of Huddleston at lap 25. Lapping began at lap 30 and inside-running White whittled high-groove runner Huddleston’s lead to a mere car length by lap 45. White tried to take the lead once before the half-time ten-minute break after lap 50 for all cars in the infield. Teams were allowed to make adjustments, but new tires were not allowed.
A two-by-two lineup for the start of lap 51 had White inside and Huddleston outside in row one. At the green flag Huddleston’s No. 50 Chevy balked and slowed drastically as drivers alertly avoided contact. Huddleston dropped to tenth on lap 51 and exited to the pits with an ignition problem that was traced to the distributor. He finished last (17th) with 51 laps and was the only non-finisher.
White, a 44-year old veteran from Colton, owns a Spears Mfg super late model car and races it periodically. He won the NASCAR second 30-lap main event this season on opening night March 12. It was his first ride in the Sean Woodside & Tim Sweet-owned No. 45. His ride Saturday in the Clay Wooster-owned Toyota-bodied No. 90 also was his first time in that car. Toni McCray drove it in the February 2022 IS All-Star Showdown. Robby Hornsby drove it in its second outing at IS this season.White led the final 50 laps and won his fourth career feature at IS.
Bradley Erickson, from Phoenix, started second in his No. 54 and dropped to seventh by lap 5. He was fourth on lap 30, third on lap 51 and fourth on lap 70. He then took third from Schartau, who was driving his usual black (sponsor wanted) No.7 Chevy owned by Kevin Bowles. On lap 95 Erickson took second from fourth-starter Malone,who won the season-opening 30-lap feature. White cruised to a half-straightaway victory during the final ten laps and beat Erickson by 3.019 seconds. The race took 51-minutes and had one caution on lap 52 for a two-car collision leaving turn four. Both drivers restarted. Malone finished third, 4.642 seconds behind White. Schartau was fourth, 10.141 seconds back. Jeffrey Peterson started third and placed fifth.
Visiting Holly Clark, 15, from Colorado Springs, CO, has accomplished two impressive weeks of racing this month at Irwindale. On May 21 she set the fastest time in a 16-car touring Spears Modified field on the IS third-mile oval. She started and finished fifth in a 60-lap race with 11 drivers on the lead lap. This week she drove her father’s late model and made her first start on a half-mile after racing on shorter tracks in Colorado and nearby states. She set the 12th fastest qualifying time among 17 drivers and raced flawlessly to sixth place, 15-seconds off the lead. Tyler Herzog, from Madera, Tegan Harlan, and P. 9 Lucas McNeil also completed 100 laps. Tenth place Porter was lapped on the final lap with 16 drivers still racing at the checkered flag. Schartau ran the fastest lap of 19.403 (92.769 mph).
TUCKER TIRE ENDURO 30: Seventeen four-cylinder sedans raced on the six-turn R-oval course. Eight stock and nine faster sport class sedans started with all stock class cars in the front rows and sport class cars at the back. Winners in both classes earned 50-points. Polesitter Robert Walks led two laps. Fourth starter Robbie Salcido (Honda Accord) led laps 3-10. Twelfth starter Ian Rotundo’s red No. 4 Honda Prelude paced laps 11-18.
Bobby Ozman (No. 18 Acura Integra) came from 11th on the grid to take command for good on lap 19. He won the 30-lap all green-light event by 0.912 over Rotundo in 11:33.333 with an average speed of 77.885 mph. P. 3 Rodney Argo ran the fastest lap of 22.264 (80.848 mph). Fourth place Salcido won the stock class and trailed the winner by 8.801 seconds. Jason Woolcott, from San Pedro, was fifth, 11.793 back. The first nine drivers completed all 30 laps and 16 of 17 starters reached the checkers.
FIGURE 8: A 25-lap enduro cars Figure 8 race had 17 entrants and 14 starters. Robert Rice led seven laps from pole position. Fifth starter R. Argo led laps 8-25 and beat runner-up Joe Labrosciano by 0.672. Rice was third, 7.155 back. Rotundo and Ozman completed the top five. Bruce Marteney, of San Dimas, is an AMA speedway bike division two veteran racer on two-wheels. He is in his second year racing enduro cars. He upgraded from his stock Honda Accord and now races a purple No. 56 Acura Integra in the sport class. He completed all 25 laps for sixth, 8.615 seconds behind the winner. Salcido placed seventh, a lap down. Argo turned the fastest lap of 22.728 (59.715 mph) and recorded his 36th IS main event victory. That tied him for tenth place on the list of all-time IS winners with retired Todd Burns, a late model champion in the early years of racing at IS, which opened in 1999.
SKID PLATE 15: Fourteen enduro sedans with metal skid plates mounted at the rear instead of tires entered. Twelve cars started on the watered third-mile oval and raced 15 laps. Leaders were: Mike McIntyre (laps 1 and 4-12), R, Rice (laps 2-3 and 14) and winner R. Salcido (laps 14-15). Eight drivers finished the all-green light race. The winner clocked 8:51.193 (50.829 mph). Salcido, from Perris, ran the quickest lap of 32.895 (54.720 mph). The top four—Salcido. Rice, McIntyre, and rookie Tanner Huddleston, 18—ran all 15 laps. Rider Gardner, 20, from Glendora, was fifth, a lap down, as was Ian Rotundo. Most drivers had a second car with skid plates mounted for that event.
At 9:15 the J-10 aircraft jet engine mounted at the back of a red pickup truck named “Inferno” performed its usual entertaining burn-down of an old car in the infield. A shower of fiery metal embers shot to turn three of the third-mile. Spectators who had not seen the flaming jet bursts from the truck to demolish the car were amazed by the demonstration.
The final event was the RV-Trailer destruction 20-lap race on the third-mile oval with nine entrants. Eight vehicles towed trailers containing boats or other cargo. Competitors smashed through three old mobile homes parked on the front straight and demolished boats knocked from other entrants’ trailers from 9:36 to 9:55 pm. Cheryl Hyland (pink No. 176) again won the best decorated trailer award.
Jason Woolcott led the first half of the race from the front row. Second row starter Robert Rice drove his orange PYP No. 7 Chevy El Camino towed boat to the front and won the scored race according to IS Racing Director Sarah Atkinson-Hancock. It was the 69th IS feature triumph for the second ranked driver in IS victories. He had a handful of late model and modified victories in the early years of IS racing, but he is now known as the “Master of Mayhem” for his proficiency in winning N of D events.
A ten-minute aerial fireworks show, launched from behind billboards at the backstretch, completed the entertaining evening. The next oval racing at IS will be a regular NASCAR Night with all the usual divisions on Saturday, June 11.