MADRID WINS IRWINDALE SLM 40 - PARTRIDGE TAKES TWO TRUCK MAINS - By Tim Kennedy
Irwindale, CA., May 3 – Irwindale Event Center/211 Entertainment presented its annual military appreciation night at Irwindale Speedway Saturday. Five racing classes, with six main events, entertained 2,890 spectators on a balmy, mid-70s evening. Jack Madrid, 19, dominated the first NASCAR Super Late Model 40-lap feature this season in a 12-car field. It was his first feature victory at Irwindale and second overall, with his first coming two years ago at the Las Vegas “Bullring”. Ryan Partridge, 25, notched two more Irwindale Race Trucks Series 30-lap features also run on the progressively banked half-mile. His twin-triumphs were his 40th and 41st at IS and moved him into sole possession of fourth place on the list of prolific main event winners at the 16-year old speedway. He is now only two wins from third place Tom Landreth and three behind second place Tim Huddletston. Rip Michels leads with 67 feature triumphs.
Zack Green won his third consecutive super stock feature on the half-mile in a 35-lap contest with nine cars. Two series used the inner third-mile oval. Seidner's Collision Center mini stock 25-lap main had Tommy Genda cross the finish line first for his apparent initial main stock victory at IS. However, post-race tech inspection of top finishing cars resulted in his Ford Pinto being disqualified for use of an incorrect part. That made fastest qualifier Robby Harryman, a 2013 series rookie from Anaheim, a first-time IS feature winner. He started his Pinto eighth in an eight-car inversion. He posed for photos with his car and crew at 10 pm in the track's Chalet Village victory lane photo area.
A 29-car field of skid plate cars were present. They took the green flag in a Formula One-style standing start on the third-mile. Two cars did not start (DNS) but 23 of 27 starters were still racing when the checkered flag waved at 9:29 pm and concluded a racy evening. The all-green light race took 11:12.324 and averaged 35.661 mph for the four-cylinder cars that use metal skid plates instead of back-end tires. Time trials were run during the afternoon and three-time SPC feature winner Mike DiGregorio, 23, set quick time of 30.801 (38.921 mph) with the second fastest driver at 31.054.
Sean Brennan, 24, from Temecula, became a three-time SPC feature winner in a dominant performance. He debuted a new black/whiteNo. 33 car—a 1992 Acura Integra GS with 215,740 miles on the odometer. He bought the car for $300 at a nearby El Monte Police Department impound yard sale. His victory Saturday paid $300 and his lightly dented car his ready to race in the third SPC race May 17. Brennan put his two-time 2013 SPC feature winning gold/black No. 33 1998 Toyota Camry into the hands of first-time SPC racer Bruce Marteney, a Speedway Bikes Division 2 racer on the No. 242 Jawa. The 53-year old two-wheel racer from San Dimas turned the 16th fastest time during qualifying, but the front-axle broke and he DNS.
During the SPC 20-lap race Brennan ran away and almost lapped the field despite spinning once on his own and taking a hit in the left rear door. He continued non-stop and set a new one lap track record of 30.070 (39.867 mph) That beat the prior record of 30.133 (39.784 mph) set last October by Alec Martinez. Brennan won by 32.576 seconds over his friend DiGregorio, the only other driver on the lead lap, and joined him as three-time winners in the crowd-pleasing series. P. 3-7 finishers—Randy Kruse, Steve Dien, Steve Belling, SPC originator/skid plates builder Robert Rice and Ken Palmer—finished 19 laps. P. 8-13 drivers were down two laps.
SLM 40: Run as the fourth of six mains, the SLM main started 12 cars with a two-car inversion. Jason Patison, the FQ at 100.413 mph in his MAV-TV No. 80, shot from outside row one into the lead over 16-year old Juan Esteban Garcia, from Bogota, Columbia. The 2013 winner at Irwindale was driving Joe Nava's No. 77 in his first IS start of 2014. Patison, who won his first IS feature last season in the Lucas Oil Modifieds 75-lap event, led the first five laps. He was extending his lead on lap 6 when his engine quit leaving turn two. He tried to restart it as he coasted around to turn two and stalled, causing a yellow flag. His car was towed to the pits. Madrid, from San Clemente, shot from fourth to second on the initial lap; he inherited P. 1 with Patison's exit and opened a 50-yard lead by lap 21 when a debris caution caused another two-by-two restart. Madrid said he learned a lot last season while racing a late model for Rev Racing in NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program. He said he raced at three-eighths mile Hickory Speedway in North Carolina and learned tire management and chassis set-up techniques by working on race cars all week.
After the debris caution, Madrid chose the inside with P. 2 Linny White's No. 99 alongside. He opened a straightaway lead over runner-up White by the lap 40 checkered flag. The P. 2 duel was a classic side-by-side contest, free of contact between outside running White and inside runner Toni McCray. She was Irwindale's 2013 driver of the year award winner for her strong seasons in both SLM and Lucas Oil Late Models. White trailed Madrid by 5.733 seconds at the finish and P. 3 McCray was half a car length to his left (0.090 officially). Jeff Eshleman took fourth, ten seconds from the lead. Las Vegas driver John Thomson placed fifth, 13 seconds back. Barry Kerr, from Redlands, drove Rip Michels' 2013 track championship ex-No. 12 Chevy to P. 6 with seven drivers on the lead lap. Garcia pulled into the infield while in P. 4 on lap 10 and rejoined the race 20 laps down to become one of ten finishers.
TRUCKS: 1st Main: With 16 trucks present, truckers ran the first and fifth main events. Pole starter Andrew Porter, a 20-year old rookie of the year in 2013, led the first eight laps as FQ Partridge worked his way forward from outside row two. After a lap 9 caution for a spinner, Partridge shot from the inside groove in a two-by-two restart and passed Porter for the lead leaving turn two. He held it to the conclusion. Porter dropped out on lap 13. Luis Martinez, Jr., Todd Cameron and Christian McGhee battled for the next three positions to the end. Martinez finished 1.020 back, McGhee passed Cameron with an inside move entering the first turn on the final lap. “Racey” Lacie Price, a petite 20-year old truck rookie and two-year legend cars veteran, started and finished fifth with 13 of 15 starters racing at the end and 12 on the lead lap.
2nd Main: The second 30-lap truck main again had Porter on the pole and he led the first 11 laps. Partridge, from fourth, executed an inside pass on lap 12 and led to the lap 30 checkers . He defeated Cameron by 2.742 seconds. Martinez and Porter followed in P. 3-4. Price, a second year pre-med student at UC Riverside and daughter of past IS late model feature winner Mike Price, placed fifth again. Her second qualifying lap was the quickest lap 2 and gave her the fifth starting spot. She now has three P. 5 feature finishes in a row and a P. 9 in four truck races. Her smooth and fast driving ability mark her as a front-runner, likely rookie of the year and a possible podium driver at each race. The all-green light race took 10:10.532 and had a winning speed of 88.447 mph. Thirteen of 15 starters completed all 30 laps with only two drivers lapped.
MINIS; Nevada Chovan's Pinto led the first two laps. Then T. Genda (No. 9 Pinto) led lap 3-25 for an apparent victory. R. Harryman's florescent yellow No. 24 Pinto was 0.113 back at the finish with both drivers seeking their initial IS feature victory. Opening night winner Garrett Green's Ford was second officially after Genda's DQ.. Covina's Dusty Morgan's Pinto was third and Rod Schmitt's vintage Datsun 510 fourth and Chovan fifth.
SS 35: Nine super stocks used a straight-up start with FQ Gary Read on the pole. Series 2011 champion Curtis White, from Norwalk, outpaced his fellow front-row starter and led the first 14 laps. As second place Read tried to take the lead on the inside entering the third turn on lap 15, White pulled down and made contact. White spun out low and continued as Green shot from third to first position. Paul Howard's No. 47 Camaro took a career-best second place. Henry Miles also passed Craig Rayburn on the same lap for their ultimate P. 2-3 finishes. Read worked back to fourth place by lap 28 but ran out of laps to advance. Greg Crutcher finished fifth and Rayburn sixth. Ken Cannata (P. 7) was the last driver on the lead lap.
The next IS event on Saturday, May 17 will be the first of three “nights of destruction” events. Skid plate cars, trailers and open comp races will take place on the third-mile as will compact enduro and compact demo derby events.
BULLETIN: Track management announced the scheduling of an additional, first-time event as the season closing race on Saturday, November 22. Davey Hamilton's “King of the Wing” paved track, high horsepower, winged sprint cars will race for the first time in Irwindale. Most teams are based in the Midwest and Florida. They have been shown this year in races from Salem (IN) Speedway on MAV-TV telecasts. Irwindale will be the second night of a three-race inaugural western swing for the series. The first night will be Friday, November 21 at Madera Speedway near Fresno. IS will host night two. Kern County Raceway Park, a half-mile banked track that opened in 2013, will host the touring winged sprint car teams California event three in a rare Sunday afternoon race on November 23.