Racing At Toyota Speedway At Irwindale Like Homecoming For Many Series Competitors
The Pipe Careers 200 presented by Pipe Trades at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale will be like a homecoming for numerous competitors. Before joining the ranks of the NASCAR Camping World Series West, many drivers on the circuit turned laps at the state-of-the-art Southern California facility. And some continue to.
Among those current drivers are Jason Bowles (No. 22 Sunrise Ford Ford), who scored his first series win on an oval when the circuit visited Irwindale in July. The 25-year-old from nearby Ontario raced in the Late Model class at the half-mile track in 2006, before moving on to the NASCAR Camping World Series to capture the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title in 2007. He is currently second in the championship standings with two wins.
A rookie this season in the NASCAR Camping World Series is 27-year-old Jason Patison (No. 17 Jim Beam/Lucas Oil Ford) of Corona, who competed in the Super Late Model class at Toyota Speedway in 2004 and 2005. Patison is currently third in the rookie standings and 13th in the overall standings.
Eric Hardin (No. 5 Direct Shopping Network Chevrolet) of Anaheim has made 34 starts in the NASCAR Camping World Series West since racing in a truck series at Irwindale in 2004 and 2005. He is running a limited schedule on the circuit this year.
Lloyd Mack (No. 33 Roadrunner Towing/Chino Hills Ford Ford) of Los Angeles, who competed in various classes at Toyota Speedway, has raced in nine events in the NASCAR Camping World Series in 2007 and 2008.
After racing full time in the Super Late Models at Toyota Speedway in 2000, Tim Woods III (No. 54 Chino Hills Ford Ford) made the move to the NASCAR Camping World Series West in 2001. The Chino Hills driver, who made 70 series starts since then, is running a limited racing schedule this year. Like some other drivers who made the move, Woods often returns to race his Super Late Model car on weekends when he is not traveling the circuit.
Andrew Myers (No. 77 Jan’s Towing/J&M Construction Ford) of Newport Beach raced in the Late Model class at Toyota Speedway in 2003 and 2004 before joining the ranks of the NASCAR Camping World Series West, where he notched two wins in 36 starts. While running selected events in NASCAR’s top developmental series this year, he has returned to enjoy a very successful season in the Late Model class at Irwindale.
Nick Joanides is battling Myers for the Late Model title at Toyota Speedway this year, while also chasing the championship in the Super Late Model class. Joanides has also competed in the NASCAR Camping World Series West, making seven starts in 2004 and 2005.
Likewise, Greg Pursley (No. 70 Gene Price Motorsports Chevrolet) has been a familiar face at Toyota Speedway and in the NASCAR Camping World Series West. After racing the circuit full time in 2002, the Newhall driver returned in 2004 to Irwindale, where in addition to capturing the Super Late Model title , he won the national championship in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. He has continued his effort in the NASCAR Camping World Series West, meanwhile, competing in three events so far this season.
A past alumni of the speedway is David Gilliland of Riverside. The second-generation driver, who finished fourth in the standings for the Super Late Model class in 2001, won the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title in the NASCAR Camping World Series West in 2004. He went on to win a NASCAR Nationwide Series race in 2006 and now drives for Yates Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Two other drivers who recently progressed from Toyota Speedway through the ranks of the NASCAR Camping World Series West were Brian Ickler, who raced in Super Late Models in 2005, and Justin Lofton, who competed in the Late Model class in 2005. After capturing three wins in 25 starts while running in the NASCAR Camping World Series West in 2006 and 1007, Ickler of San Diego made the move east to run in the NASCAR Camping World Series East this year. Lofton of Westmorland also raced in the NASCAR Camping World Series West in 2006 and 2007 before making the move to the ARCA/RE-MAX Series this year.