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09/04/2014
NHRA THURSDAY NIGHT THUNDER

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NOTES FROM IRWINDALE EVENT CENTER OCTOBER 28, 2013

 

November 2: NASCAR Fireworks Finale!
 
Irwindale Speedway: THE NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS

2013 Fan Appreciation Night Presented by Toyota

 

Irwindale, Calif. - -In some ways Saturday, April 6 doesn't seem all that long ago, but, in other ways, thinking back over 14 nights of great Whelen All-American Series NASCAR racing, along with breaks in the schedule for the final Los Angeles (at least for a while) four-day edition of ESPN's X GAMES, and for the wall-to-wall sellout for the crowning Formula Drift race of their tenth season, the 40+ Thursday nights of NHRA Street Legal Drag Racing*, along with various car shows, swap meets, testing, tuning, public emergency agencies use of the facility for training exercises, and over 100 days of stock car driving classes at the LA Racing Experience ... it does. 


Regardless of our perception, the time has come for the last NASCAR race of the 2013 Whelen All-American Home Track season at Irwindale Speedway ...

November 2, 2013is the date, and that night is certain to be a memorable one with champions crowned and fans acknowledged and thanked for their support for the comeback season at Irwindale Speedway. 

 

Just as on opening night back in April, there'll be Garden State fireworks presentation at the track that's justifiably famous for its fireworks displays.  "This one will be every bit as spectacular as any we've done," Irwindale Event Center President/CEO Jim Cohan promised.  "We really appreciate our great fans, they've given us and our sponsors a great year," Cohan added. 

 

 

 

Special drawings for cool prizes will be held throughout the night along with a few other "surprises" (like ten lucky fans leaving the track with a 2014 NASCAR season pass for two!).

 

... And of course, the on-track stars of the night, the drivers and their crews, will all be there to see season championships settled and hard work rewarded. 

 

So here they are in their final 2013 race for each of the following:
 

Super Late Models:Twenty point over seven races, twenty points over hundreds of laps of some of the most competitive racing seen in years at Irwindale, twenty points is all the cushion that points leader and San Fernando's favorite son Rip Michels, Irwindale's winningest- driver ever, has over his nemesis from Highland, California, Toni McCray as they both head for their final race of the 2013 season here in the heart of the San Gabriel Valley.

 

Any other year winning five of those seven races outright (and coming in second in the other two) would have been a slam-dunk, tied-up, and gift packed championship by now ... any OTHER year ... that's any other year than one when Ms. McCray was racing and never finishing worse that fourth.  McCray's three seconds, three thirds, and a fourth kept her hot on the heels of Michels and the aforementioned 20 (big or little depending on who's looking) points. 

 

There have been some great drives in the SLM's this year and thirty-one different drivers gave it a go at one time or another, but the show has been the "Rip and Toni Hour brought to you by the letter E" (for excitement and earning it all the way).  There's little doubt that this one will have everyone's attention ... in other words,  fans are urged to take care of all needs (food, drink, restrooms) BEFORE this race gets the green!

 

Progressive Painting Race Trucks:  OK twenty points (above) is a narrow lead ... well, how about two (2!).  That's the difference between first and second place here and here's the real kicker:  neither of the first two racers in the PPRT division has won a race yet this year!  In fact, one needs to drill all the way down to fourth place to find a race winner in the top five.Darren Cheek (Redlands) has the lead after seven races with 286 points and Monrovia's Todd Cameron is the guy only 2 clicks back at 284.

 

Adding to the fun Lawndale's Ken Michaelian and Cherry Valley's Ken Brown are all locked up in third at 278 only 8 points back with Dennis Arena (Duarte) six less and Christian McGhee (La Verne) four behind Arena (that's 272 and 268 points respectively).  So, what's the takeaway here:  Another race that's totally unmissable, and with 50 points up for the win ... well, you do the math.  By the way, thirty-two different drivers lined up in the Irwindale trucks in 2013.

 

Superior Automotive Engineering Super Stocks:  Ok, here's another one first place coming in: 278 points, second place: 276 points and third place only 10 behind at 278.  Gary Read from LaVerne is the man with the most heading in with Long Beach's Zack Green two down.  Covina's Greg Crutcher has the 278.  This is race seven of the series and there a whole bunch of drivers (check them all out on the track's website www.irwindaleeventcenter.com) who are within range if you add 50 to their points totals.  For the record twenty-one drivers competed in the SAESS's this year. 

 

INEX Legends Cars: Darren Amidon (Alpine) has a good year going in the Legends, but he's still not out of the woods even with a "huge" (for these days) of 34 points over Alta Loma's Brent Scheidmantle (236 to 202).  Aaron Wells from Studio City is hanging in nicely with 194 in the six-race 2013 series for the identically-speced mini race cars.The Legends Cars saw thirty different drivers compete at Irwindale in 2013. 

 

INEX Bandoleros:  Another gigantic points lead!  Twenty-eight this time!  Rickey Lewis from Oxnard has the lead in the Bandos, but ... there are two races over the November weekend, the youngsters will race on Friday and Saturday night (that's 100 smoking points up for grabs).  Soooooooooooo ... Lewis' 392 and La Mirada's Ryan Vargas' 364 are potentially much bigger numbers. 

Sixteen different racers took part in the Bando division this year.

 

Pick Your Part Southwest Tour Trucks Series:  Neil Conrad (with 565 points in his bank account) leads the Southwest Tour series back into Irwindale with an (almost) nice 46-point lead over Mike Gilboy (519) with Ed Cutler hanging in there in third with 509.  These pickemup drivers run at short tracks up and down the west coast in trucks that are tech-identical right down to the lug nuts. 


The Irwindale fan gates open at 5PM and the final On-Track Autograph Session for the 2013 season will start right on time at 5:45PM.  All the cars, all the drivers and their crews will be out on the track ... ready to sign event programs and pose for pictures.
 

Some great seats are still available for this special night.

Fans can directly secure their discount tickets online at:  www.irwindaleeventcenter.com.

 

 

 

 

*which continues on year-round after the stock car season ends