SIX DIVISIONS-SIX MAIN EVENTS @ IRWINDALE SPEEDWAY - BY TIM KENNEDY
Irwindale, CA., May 31 – Six racing divisions competed in six main events Saturday at Irwindale Speedway with three features run on the half-mile and three on the third-mile. Cars raced in three features and trucks provided action in two mains. An open-competition race had both cars and trucks competing again each other for 20-laps on the third-mile. An announced crowd of 1,891 attended the NASCAR Whelen All-American Racing Series events on “Stroke Awareness Night”.
Winners of the featured Pick-Your-Part Super Late Model 40-lap main and 40-lap Irwindale Race Trucks event were veteran Jason Patison, of Corona, and Ryan Partridge in his IRT series leading No. 48 Steve Latina Toyota truck. It crossed the finish line at 9:50 pm as the sixth and final race. The other winner on the half-mile was Zack Green, a 23-year old from Long Beach, aboard a Southwest Tour Trucks Ford F-150 rented from 2013 SWT Trucks champion Jeff Williams.
The third-mile winners were 17-year old Ricky Schlick in a 35-lap INEX Legend Cars race that opened feature action. Robby Harryman, in a Seidner's Collision Centers Mini Stock 25-lap race and the Saturday double winner Jason Patison, in the open comp race, were the other winners on the inner track. Patison drove the same No. 80 SLM Chevy to back-to-back victories after drinking a bottle of water between features four and five on a warm, mid-70s evening. His two triumphs gave the hard-luck driver his second and third career victories at Irwindale. He also won a Lucas Oil Modified 75-lap main last year. He has had numerous mechanical problems in the past while racing at or near the front.
PYP SLM 40: Patison, the MAV-TV Network program director, set fastest qualifying time and started sixth in a ten-car field. He used an extreme inside line to the front in three and four-wide racing during the first ten laps. Pole starter Toni McCray, the series championship runner-up in 2013, led the initial 11 laps over pressuring Jack Madrid, the 19-year old 2014 season opening feature winner. Patison took P. 3 on lap 4 and reeled in the two leaders quickly. They raced three-wide with McCray high, Madrid in the middle, and Patison on the extreme inside lane only he could utilize.
Patison shot past Madrid for P. 2 on the inside during lap 11 leaving turn four. He took the lead from McCray on lap 12 using the same technique. He quickly opened a half-straightaway margin and won by 2.723 seconds over McCray. Madrid placed third, 3.769 in back of Patison. Linny White (-9.390) and now 17-year old Bogota, Columbia visitor Juan Garcia (-11.630) were the only other drivers on the lead lap. The all-green flag race averaged 95.294 mph. Madrid logged the fastest race lap of 98.296 mph early while chasing McCray. Partridge raced Rob Kiemele's SRL touring series No. 7 Jackson Race Cars chassis for the first time. He dropped out of fifth place on lap 24 when the RR truck arm broke.
IRT 40: Fifteen IRT teams used a ten-truck inverted start that put fastest qualifier Joey Licata, Jr, 22, tenth in his No. 77 Dodge Dakota with Partridge alongside. The race clicked off with one caution after teenager Rico Mongenel hit the fourth turn wall and stalled high with a smashed front end. He was well but his truck was a tow-off. Andrew Porter, from pole, led the first six laps. Partridge, who turned 26 in mid-May, came from ninth to second by lap 6. On lap 7 he shot past Porter on the inside and led the final 34 laps. He won by 0.611 over quickest qualifier Licata, who said his tight truck wore out his RF tire in the closing laps and prevented him from catching Partridge. On lap 16 Licata had moved from P. 4 to P. 2 by passing two trucks simultaneously.
Porter finished third in a three-way, race-long dog-fight with Todd Cameron 46, and 15-year old Christian McGhee. The teen passed Cameron for fourth on lap 39 of 40 and edged the annual title-contender's Bowden Development No. 99 by half-a length (0.047 officially). Dennis Arena, 20-year old legends graduate/ truck rookie Lacie Price, 67-year old racing grandfather Kenny Smith, Jeff Williams and Philip Lauck completed the top ten. All ran 40 laps. P. 11-12 drivers, the only other finishers, were down a lap.
Partridge has won all five IRT features during the 2014 ten-race schedule. He also won the first three Lucas Oil Late Model Series features giving him eight feature victories so far this season. The driver who will race anything well (including his only 2014 start in the K & N West Series) now ranks fourth in IS career feature victories with 42. He is only one win shy of retired third place five-time, retired legend cars champion Tom Landreth.
PYP SWT TRUCKS: Thirteen truckers ran an all-green 35 laps in 12:14.731 for an average speed of 85.746 mph. Zack Green, the 2013 IS Super Stock champion and a 2014 truck rookie, set fastest qualifying time. He started third and led all but the first lap that second starter Ronnie Davis led. Pole starter Ed Cutler and Davis waged a race-long duel for second position, which Cutler took on lap 25 with an inside pass. Cutler trailed Green by a straightaway (6.449 seconds) with P. 3 Davis 7.287 off the lead. P 4-5 Al Rizzone and James West were the only other lead lap drivers as 12 of 13 drivers reached the checkered flag.
OPEN COMP 20: Patison had not planned to enter the open comp race and did so on a lark. With nine starters, he started eighth in his just victorious SLM No. 80 MAV-TV Chevy. He took the lead from Jerry Toporek on lap 8 on the inside leaving turn four and led the final 13 laps. Jeff Williams' truck led the first two laps; Toporek's modified led laps 3-7. Patison won his first open comp main and third career IS feature triumph by 15-yards (0.768) over Toporek, from Venice. Williams placed third. Legend car feature winner Ricky Schlick was fourth in the No. 24 late model. Craig Rayburn's super stock Camaro was one lap down in P. 5. The diverse field had four SWT trucks, plus one each super stock, modified, classic stock, late model and SLM. On the initial lap 2013 SWT truck champion Neil Conrad got bumped entering turn one and hit the first turn wall hard at the RF corner. He was A-OK, but a wrecker towed his truck to the pits.
LEGENDS: The 13 car legends field ran 35 laps with four caution flags in the initial feature. FQ Schlick started sixth and won his first IS legend cars main this season. He led laps 13-35. He reached second place by lap 4 and darted to the inside of laps 4-12 leader Brent Scheidemantle on lap 13 entering turn one. Schlick opened a 20-yard advantage by lap 33 when the final yellow flag flew after a lapped car spun. He beat Scheidemantle by 0.192. Past legend cars champion Darren Amidon finished third, 0.498 back. Aaron Wells and Jordan Hyland followed; seven of 12 finishers completed the race.
MINI STOCKS: Nine mini stocks ran 25 laps with one caution flag. FQ Robby Harryman used an inside pass with his Ford Pinto in turn four to take command of the race from early leader Dusty Morgan's Pinto. Runner-up Morgan, from Covina, trailed by 1.863 at the end. Mike Colato, Jr, a classic stock and S2 Cars veteran, started first and placed third in his bright neon orange No. 49 Pinto, a new endeavor for the Chatsworth resident. Aubree Porter, 19-year old sister of truck and late model driver Andrew Porter, 20, and granddaughter of racing grandfather Kenny Smith, finished fourth in her No. 43 Pinto. Rod Schmitt's Datsun 510 took fifth, with five drivers on the lead lap and all nine cars racing at the finish.
IS racing will present round seven of the season Saturday, June 7 with Father's Day giveaways and on-track action with twin-Lucas Oil Late Model features, IRT trucks, super stock, legend cars and bandolero cars both Friday and Saturday nights.