IRWINDALE, California — Andrew Myers started second and led all 50 laps in the featured NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Auto Club Late Model race Saturday on the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale banked half-mile. About 1,800 spectators watched week four of the season on Pipe Trades Night. The fifth fastest qualifier, ACLM and NASCAR Grand National West veteran benefited from an inversion of six to launch Eugene Dewberry's Specialized Coating Chevy Monte Carlo into the lead from his outside front row starting position. The current resident of Carlsbad won by 1.259-seconds over three-time ACLM track champion Tim Huddleston. The two drivers now share the series point lead after two races.
The other three series had fully inverted starting fields that led to much passing as faster drivers came through the field from the back to the front. Fastest qualifier Larry Cerquettini started eighth in the super stock slim eight-car field and won his second consecutive main event on the half-mile with his new fiberglass body Chevy Impala SS. He had not won a main event before this season with his 1978 Chevy Camaro. He mounted a Five-Star Race-car Body on his Camaro chassis. In racing on the third-mile, Ken Michaelian, 20, won his third consecutive classic stocks main event (two on the oval and one on the Figure 8 course). He drove a Petty-blue 1975 Dodge Dart. The 35-lap mini stock race went to Tyler Rogers, 23, in his 1970 Ford Pinto.
ACLM: With 25 late models present, Myers led the opening lap over pole starter Dallas Collodny, a 20-year old, two-year ASA Speed Truck veteran. Mike Johnson, the 52-year old winner of a 55-lap late model race at the January 24 Toyota All-Star Showdown, ran third early. Quickest qualifier/sixth starter Hudddleston was fourth. At lap 12 the first of five yellow flags in the 38-minute race flew. Justin Lofton, a one-year Irwindale ACLM driver who moved to Grand National West racing and currently is an ARCA driver, was sixth after starting eighth. Contact from the ninth place CHP-sponsored Toyota of Travis Irving led to a spin by Lofton, the Westmorland, CA based driver who now resides in Huntersville, N.C Both drivers had to restart at the back of the 24-car field. On lap 21 George Atkinson, who had climbed from 24th to tenth, had a flat LR tire and stopped in the first turn. He returned with a new LR tire. Huddleston passed Johnson for third spot on the restart. Myers quickly opened a 30-yard lead over ACLM rookie Collodny.
The major incident of the race occurred on lap 38 when ninth place Lofton, driving the Paul Copenhaver No. 88, clipped eighth place Logan Henson as they exited turn two. Henson spun into the backstretch wall. Tenth place Lindsey King, now living in Grants Pass, OR, contacted the Henson car and spun her No. 90 into the backstretch wall. Neither driver was injured, but both cars were sidelined with extensive damage. Officials sent Lofton to the back again. He charged forward again and finished eighth after passing three cars during the final two laps. Joanides, winner of the opening race March 28, started 12th and was up to fifth place from lap 38 to lap 47 of 50. Then he slowed suddenly and dropped to ninth “with old tires or something else”. He trailed the winner by 7.389 seconds. ACLM rookie Colodny ran second to the lap 38 restart, but he missed a shift as the green flag waved and dropped to sixth position on the front straight. High Point Racing team owner/second place Huddleston led his four-car Monte Carlo team. Irving made his first podium of 2009 by passing Johnson on the lap 38 restart. He was 2.602-seconds behind Myers at the finish. Johnson, Colodny (HPR 51), Ray Robinson, ACLM rookie Beau DeBard (HPR 55), Lofton, Joanides and Chris Holloway completed the top ten. Seventeen of the 24 starters finished and 16 drivers completed all 50 laps. Vernon, the 17th fastest qualifier, did not start.
SUPER STOCKS: Winner Cerquettini, of Redlands, enjoyed his first career S/S feature victory so much two weeks ago that he did it again. The fastest qualifier started last in the eight-car field (lowest SS car count in track history) and became the fourth race leader as 50% of the field led the race at one point. Teen rookie Andrew Anderson led the first lap. Then Kenny Brown led las 2-3. Rich DeLong III led lap 4-11 and 13. Cerquettini led lap 12 and 14-35. With DeLong running the outside line and Cerquettini taking the inside groove, the pair waged a fan-pleasing contest side-by-side for numerous laps. Both drivers drove new Chevy Impala SS fiberglass body cars that became eligible at the track this season. Five-Star Race-car Bodies in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin manufacturers the cars that teams mounted on their Camaro chassis. On lap 14 leaving turn two Cerquettini got under DeLong and their cars made brief contact. Cerquettini then extended his lead to a straightaway (5.016-seconds) over DeLong in the 12:21.136-timed all green-flag race. Gary Frankovich, in the other Five-Star fiberglass body Impala SS, started seventh and ran third from lap 31-33 when he spun leaving the fourth turn and lost a lap. “I lost my brakes with five laps to go,” he stated. All eight drivers finished and six ran all 35 laps. Brown's 1973 Camaro placed third, 12.205-seconds in back of the winner. Eric Sunness and past Bandolero champion Anderson completed the top five in their Camaros.
CLASSIC STOCKS: Ken Michaelian started and finished first in a ten-car field (nine cars started after Tommy Mason's 1972 Chevy Monte Carlo scratched with a broken rear axle). He was the third race leader. Curtis Drye started fifth and led the first two circuits. Justin Good, from seventh, led lap 3-5. Michaelian led lap 6-30 and won by 35-yards (2.333-seconds) over the 1976 Chevy Nova driven by Mike Colato, Jr. Harry Michaelian, father of the winner, finished third in his l973 Petty-blue Plymouth Roadrunner. When interviewed over the track PA microphone, Harry said, “The kid whipped our butt. I guess I'll have to cut his allowance.” Victorious Ken stated, “That was a fun race. It was on rails. Anyone could drive it. I have four wins and he (dad Harry) has four championships.” The 14-minute race had one caution flag for debris. Fastest qualifier Tommy Agosta was second when his Chevy dropped out with a mechanical problem.
MINI STOCKS: Tyler Rogers started 13th and became the third and final leader on lap 23. He won by a car length over Pinto driver Daryl Scoggins, the lap 6-22 leader. Kory Russell's Pinto led the first five laps and placed fifth. Richie Altman and Steve Rogers took fourth and fifth spots in Pintos. The 16- minute race had two yellow flags. The mini stock race had a three driver protest. As the 14-car field completed a parade lap, three drivers—Rod Schmitt, Dustin Morgan and fastest qualifier Kevin Bernhardt—pulled their Pintos off the third-mile track leaving turn four. All three drivers drove to the pits and parked. It was their way of protesting the fact that Steve Rogers was allowed to race. During the earlier mini stock trophy dash, cars of Ron Schmitt and Steve Rogers made contact but both cars finished. Following the race, as cars drove to the pits on the road in front of the first turn pit grandstand, Rogers Pinto rammed the back of Schmitt's No. 56 Datsun 510. The impact caused a possible whiplash neck injury to Schmitt. An ambulance took him to the emergency room at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in nearby Baldwin Park for treatment. Irwindale Police Department officers came to the pits and took a report of the incident. Schmitt's team said criminal charges of assault with a deadly weapon might be filed against Rogers, father of the race winner.
Two six-lap, six-car trophy dashes for non-top ten fastest qualifiers went to D. Morgan over S. Rogers in mini stocks, and to 19th FQ Jimmy Sloan (ACLM) who led all the way from the pole. Hard charger awards went to: Frankovich (SS), Patrick Miller (CS), S. Rogers (MS) and to Kyle McGrady (ACLM). The 16-year old started 23rd and finished 11th in just his second ACLM race on the TS@I half-mile. Fastest qualifiers: (MS)--Bernhardt at 17.109 (70.068 mph); (CS)--Agosta at 17.469 (68.624 mph); (ACLM)--Huddleston at 18.901 (95.233 mph); (SS)--Cerquettini at 20.511 (87.758 mph). His new track record this week broke his own NTR of two weeks ago when he ran 20.601 (87.374 mph) in his new Chevy Impala SS.