NASCAR - Irwindale 2014 Mid-Season Points Chase
August 7, 2014 - - With the 2014 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing season at Irwindale Speedway now officially at (and in some cases a bit past) the halfway point, the final points chases are on in all seven of the track's regular home divisions.
The 2014 championship challenges in the Universal Studios Hollywood Bandoleros, the INEX Legends, the Super Stocks, Irwindale Race Trucks, Lucas Oil Late Models, and the Pick Your Part Super Late Models are all coming into laser-sharp focus just about now.
And, this year, there's a new, and very important twist on the points. For the first time in 15 seasons, the Speedway will award double points in the final race of the year for each of the seven divisions. That's 100 big, beautiful points and, as fans and racers alike know, that many points won (or not won) can make a very big difference between a successful season and a "... I just don't want to talk about it," one.
Right now, and in any division, the three magic words are: "Do the math ..."
(check the full points chase out right now at: www.irwindaleeventcenter.com)
The Universal Studios Hollywood Bandoleros have six races to go with their October 18 appearance being their double points run. First place driver Ryan Vargas from La Mirada has won every "Bando" race this season and has a 20-point lead (300-280) over McKenzie Eshleman from Twin Peaks.
Five races, four worth 50 points to win and the fifth being worth 100, are what's up ahead for the Legend Cars. Alta Loma's Brent Scheidmantle has 246 to Lakeside's Darren Amidon's 226, and the homestretch show for these motorcycle-engined machines is about to get a little bit competitive.
Irwindale's own, always-entertaining Seidner's Collision Centers Mini-Stocks, only have two races left in their arsenal and there's a tie for first place! Garret Green (Long Beach) and Dusty Morgan (Covina) have matching numbers on the tally sheets: 270. There are 50 points available on 9/27 and 100 potential points in the kitty on Saturday night, October 18 that are anything but "mini" to these racers.
The Super Stocks have three more races in 2014, and the points (at this juncture) are very close between division leader Zach Green, from Long Beach and La Verne's Gary Reed after six races so far this season. Green leads by eighteen points (288 to 270). The Super Stocks will make their final 2014 appearance in their double points season finale race Saturday, October 4.
And the roaring Irwindale Race Trucks are also looking at a three-race rundown to the 2014 crown. Ryan Partridge, of Rancho Cucamonga, won the first six races of the 2014 season and has the 2014 points lead at 328, and then there's young Christian McGhee (Claremont), who has not won an IRT race (not yet anyway, he might add), but has enough high finishes to only be 16 points down (312) on the division's leader. The math show 200 points left to haul off in an IRT with their final (and worth 100 points) race on October 4.
Our championship points division Lucas Oil Late Models have five races still on the docket with the October 4 season-ender being their hundred point event. The Lucas Late Models have been competing in "twin" (two complete, separate, points-paying, purse-paying) races all year long and the October 4 show will be the only single race night of the season for the LOLM's. Ryan Partridge has the points lead (666) in this one too, with Toni McCray from Highland, not all that far behind after 14 races, in second at 648. To understate the facts a bit: the final five races in this series should be quite watchable.
So, finally we get to the Pick Your Part Super Late Models, whose 2014 season so far could easily have been called "Pick a Winner", due to the great performances of the top three drivers. As we look at two races left (and the 100 point one is on October 18, just for the record) the points leader only has a scant six-point lead over the two drivers who are locked in a tie for second! These machines are the "big guns" of Irwindale's regular Saturday night offerings and Corona's Jason Patison and Fontana's Linny White are the second place tie (224 after five races) and leader Toni McCray's got that "huge" 6-point cushion at 230!).
The above said, it's pretty evident that every Irwindale division is far from settled for 2014, there are no runaways, and there is plenty of room for surprises and clutch performances. Stay tuned, better still, get out to the Speedway on a couple of the above nights to see what real close-up short track competition looks like live and in person ...
As always discount tickets are available via the track's website right up until midnight of the Friday before the selected race. Fast, friendly, no waiting in ticket lines at the Speedway ... and five bucks off the walk-up price on!