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(Irwindale, Calif. - -) After a rare July (???) rainout NASCAR will be back and raring to roar this Saturday night on the fast and competitive Irwindale half-mile oval where three-wide is the way of the day, and close finishes are the standard ... not the exception.

And you are invited to join in all the LIVE excitement ...


Getting right to the points chases, we'll lead off with Irwindale's national championship division, the Seidner's Collision Centers Late Models. After six of the division's eighteen scheduled clashes young Trevor Huddleston, from Agoura Hills, with 3 wins and 3 second place finishes, has the points lead with 340. Sixty-four points back in second place coming in is Covina driver Mike Johnson. Johnson has had an up and down year so far, but the wily veteran is always a contender every time the green flag flies. Highland's own Toni McCray and Bakersfield's young Blaine Perkins are locked up for third in the Late Models only two points back of Johnson at 274 (each). As usual, Saturday night will see two exciting SCC Late Model points races and a nice, round 100 points for whoever can win both of them.


The INEX Legend Cars lost a race to the weather as well on July 18 as well (it'll be made up later in the season) and Chad Schug's "hat trick" of winning the first three races is now firmly in the books. Now the question is, can he add a fourth in a row, and (even more importantly) what do you call that? As always the Oak Hills resident will have plenty of pressure from his two closest raceway rivals Darren Amidon (Lakeside) and Jordan Hyland (North Hills) presently second and third in points at 136 and 130 respectively. 

Mckenzie Eshleman is having a very good year in the feisty little

Universal Studios Hollywood Bandoleros. The Twin Peaks resident has won 4 of the first 5 races and holds a 14-point lead over her next closest rival, Zack St. Onge from Upland (248 to 234). Kayla Eshleman (Fontana) has third place well in hand with her 216 points. The "Bandos" will run two this weekend, one on Friday night, and one on Saturday

Irwindale will also host the Pick Your Part South West Tour Trucks for their fifth race of the season. Ed Cutler from Ventura leads the points in this "spec class" (all of the "PYPSWTT" machines are technically identical in all respects except for their numbers and colorful paint jobs) with 230 points. Zack St. Onge (Upland) holds second place in this series as well as the Bandos and is showing 207 points after his name here. Chino resident Roger Harder will enter this one in third place with 182 points. 


A "Flagpole Race" (A what?) is scheduled to top off Saturday night's festivities. Many fans have yet to see one of these wing-dings which are a wild variation on the well-known and much-beloved Figure 8 races. Here's how to do it: first, make a big loop in the infield then and come back right at the fans in the stands where there's a "flagpole" right on the front straight. Now take a sharp turn around the "flagpole" and then double back ... right across on-coming traffic go round the big part and repeat for 15 or 20 laps ... sounds nut-ball? IS full-on nut-ball, but great fun, great fun.

In fact, there's sure to be a lot of conjecture about who's having the MOST fun during the flagpole race at Irwindale on Saturday night: the drivers or the fans? The best bet is that they both will, whether they're inside the careening cars or up in the stands cheering them on. Right. Nut-ball.


PARTY ON THE TRACK: One of the best parts of every Irwindale Speedway event is the On-Track Autograph Party, always free with fan's admission. It starts early at 5:45 p.m. when all of the fans in the stands are invited right down on to the actual racing surface to meet the drivers and check out their powerful vehicles. Sure the kids love it.  But, you know what?  It's just as much fun for everyone in family ... And all of the drivers and crews really get a huge pre-race charge out of meeting the fans. 


Gates open to the public at 4 p.m. and racing starts at 7 p.m.