IRWINDALE, California — Nick Joanides and Jeremiah Wagner continued their series domination Saturday in Toyota Speedway at Irwindale half-mile racing co-features in front of about 3,000 spectators. Joanides topped the Eibach Springs 100-lap Super Late Model 100-lap open feature. The 2008-09 AC Delco SLM track champion, 2009 Whelen All-American Series California state champion and third place driver in NASCAR Whelen short-track national points set fastest qualifying time in a 20-car field. He started second in Loyd McGhee's Mr. Crane Chevy Monte Carlo and led all but the first lap for his 14th SLM feature victory at the track this season. He tied the track mark set by Greg Pursley in 2004 and earned $5,000 for his non-point, 1.163 second victory. Joanides, 39, also has a pair of Auto Club Late Model feature triumphs this year, giving him 16 and counting. Joanides is the ACLM point leader by 34 points. He will attempt to capture his first ACLM championship in twin features next Saturday in an unprecedented bid to become the champion of both SLM and late model divisions in the same season. No driver in 11 years of racing at the track has won those two championships, even in different seasons.
Wagner, a 16-year old Las Vegas resident, started second as the sixth fastest qualifier in a seven-truck inversion for the final race of the evening. He ran away to an impressive 100-lap victory, his third in the three TS@I races this season for the touring ASA Speed Truck Challenge Series that is based in Upland, CA. His two prior TS@I victories on May 30 and June 13 were 75-lap events. Wagner, a Legends graduate, entered the race as the third-ranked 2009 point driver, only 19 points behind co-point leaders Randel King and Joey Licata, both 18-years old. Wagner also was the leading rookie by two points over fourth-ranked point driver Cole Cabrera, 15, who finished the 100-lap race third. The race was the seventh feature of 2009 for the ASA trucks and there have been five different winners.
Four other series raced on the busy 7:00 to 10:10 pm evening that presented 325competitive laps—225 on the half-mile and 100 on the third-mile. Randel King, doing double duty in a Langers Juice S2 car, started from pole position as the second quickest qualifier and led all 25 laps in the other half-mile event. He won for the fifth time in his six races in the brand new series that debuted July 4. King drove the Position One Motor-sports King Taco No. 77 in which SLM driver Luis Martinez, Jr. won the July 4 non-point, exhibition race, so the car has won six of the seven S2 races. With one race remaining (October 11) in the inaugural season, King has a 22-point lead over 16-year old Andrew Anderson. The S2 main was the fourth race at 25 laps. King's winning time of 8:36.984 (87.043 mph) beat the August 15 time of 8:40.941 and speed (86.382 mph) set by Rod Johnson, Jr., the only S2 winner in another car (No. 5).
Three divisions raced on the four-degree banked third-mile and produced significant winners. Tom Landreth, the 40+ year old, six-time Legends track champion, started third as second fastest qualifier in a 20-car lineup. He followed rookie/pole starter Cale Kanke, 16, for six laps and then paced the final 29 laps of the 35-lap Legends main. The now part-time driver scored his first 2009 victory and his 42nd at the track. He ranks third on the list of main event winners, only one victory shy of three-time ACLM champion Tim Huddleston. Landreth dedicated his popular victory to his Legends teammate and late father, Bob, who died unexpectedly earlier this year. “I've wanted to win one all year for my dad,” he told the crowd during trophy presentations. Tom even raced Bob's No. 3 coupe this year, but he drove his own No. 30 coupe Saturday. Landreth also praised the current crop of outstanding teenage drivers. Drivers aged 15, 16, 16, 19 and 16 finished right behind him. Third place Ryan Reed, 16, became the second 2009 track champion (after Joanides SLM title clincher last week). Reed, the Bakersfield-based son of NASCAR touring series driver Mark Reed, has a point lead of 88 over Chad Schug, who passed former second place driver Brandon Toy by two points. There is only one point race remaining and it offers a maximum of 50 points.
The Justice Brothers Mini Stock 35-lap race was another impressive run for Daryl Scoggins. The 36-year old LAPD police officer won his sixth mini stock feature this year in 11 races. He currently holds a 58-point lead over 2006-07 series champion Tyler Rogers with one race remaining—a double points race offering 100 points to the winner, with two points drop-off per position. Winner Scoggins told the crowd, “My five-year old son is here tonight and tomorrow we're going to Disneyland.” The classic stock main of 1970s American-made production cars had a nine-car field with a completely inverted start based on qualifying times. Fastest qualifier Mike Colato, Jr. came from the back to lead laps 8-30 of the 30-lap event. Point leader Ken Michaelian, 20, led lap 27 in a tight, two-car battle for victory before he settled for second, 0.269 back. Third-ranked point driver Colato, 27, won his first main event this year in his 1976 Chevy Nova. Michaelian, in a Petty-blue No. 43 1975 Dodge Dart, has won nine of 11 races this year. He holds as 52-point lead currently over Tommy Agosta, the May 9 classic stock feature winner.
LANGERS JUICE S2: In the opening main, King ran the fastest lap of the race (20.400) and led all the way. Ryan Reed trailed by 0.917. Fastest qualifier Andrew Anderson, a Bandolero and Legends graduate, finished third, -1.911 seconds. Kyle Longmore, 19, Kendell Lopez, 18, from Independence, MO, Robert Tallini and Jeff Phillips completed the seven car finish. The all-green flag race had one pass for position after lap 2 when Lopez passed Tallini on the inside at turn four during lap 17. She received the $50 cash award from Racecar Factory and a case of Langers Juice from the series sponsor of the City of Industry.
JBMS: The 12-car mini stock field had three race leaders over the 35-lap distance. Pole-man Tom Dye's Toyota Celica led the first lap. Third starter Kevin Bernhardt's Ford Pinto was in front from laps 2-5. Scoggins made his winning inside pass on the backstretch on lap 6 and won by a straightaway (4.575 seconds). T. Rogers (Ford Pinto) took second on lap 14 and Ryan Bragdon (Pinto) dropped Bernhardt to fourth on lap 25. Dye placed fifth. Eleven of 12 cars finished and six ran all 35 laps in the 10:13.948-timed race. The all-green flag race speed was 68.341 mph.
CLASSIC STOCKS: Dennis Ivarsson, from second, led the first seven laps in a 1972 Mercury Cougar. Colato shot into the lead on lap 8 and had to contend with K. Michaelian from lap 11 to the lap 30 checkers. With Colato hugging the inside groove and Michaelian running the outside, they were only a few yards apart each lap to the end. They ran wider exiting the fourth turn in the closing laps and Michaelian led lap 26 by a few feet. Determined Colato was back in front from lap 27 to lap 30 and won by 0.269 (about a yard). He ran his best lap of 17.836 on lap 14. Michaelian had the fastest lap of the race (17.744) on lap 3 as he carved his way forward from last position after not posting a qualifying time. Tommy Agosta, dad Harry Michaelian, and Curtis Drye completed the top five. Tommy Mason, of Low Budget TV, was third on lap 17 when contact with Colato deflated his RF tire and sidelined his 1972 Chevy Monty Carlo. The all-green flag 30-lapper took 10:26.251 for an average speed of 57.427 mph.
LEGENDS: The 20-car field had two new cars and drivers near the back, a four-car inversion and two debris cautions. The final half of the 14-minute race was a close battle for the top three drivers. Landreth had a 20-yard advantage at lap 20 cut to 10-yards with nine laps top go. Donny St. Ours came from 13th to second place by lap 14. Reed, from fourth, took second from St. Ours on lap 18, but St. Ours reclaimed second by lap 24. The battling teens closed in quickly on Landreth and were four lengths back at the white flag and two lengths back (-0.272) at the checkered flag. Brent Scheidemantle was fourth and Michael Smith was fifth, 1.280 from the winner. Leading rookie/four-time feature winner Dallas Montes, 16, placed sixth and moved from P. 7 to P. 6 in points; Kanke, son of touring stock car ace M. K. Kanke, was seventh. Eighteen of 19 starters finished, with 16 on the lead lap.
SLM EIBACH SPRINGS 100: An opening lap crash on the front straight at the green flag involved four cars and caused a complete restart. Joanides took command for good on lap 2. First lap leader Michels faded to fourth by lap 4. Luis Martinez, Jr., 19, took second on lap 4. Travis Thirkettle was third on lap 7 when he exited to the infield with an mechanical problem. At lap 30, Joanides led Martinez, Dan Moore, Ryan Partridge, Michels and Rickey McCray. Moore took second from Martinez on lap 38 with an inside pass in the fourth turn. Partridge and David Beat passed Martinez on lap 43. At the halfway mark the order was Joanides, Moore, Partridge, Beat , McCray, Martinez and Michels. The first yellow flag waved on lap 63 and lasted ten laps. Moore, in P. 2, had a flat tire and parked in the infield on lap75. McCray, son of the Orange Show Speedway promoter, was second and Partridge third at lap 73. Beat and Michels battled for fourth. Third through fifth changed on laps 83-84 after Beat and Michels tangled leaving the fourth turn. Beat bounced off the outer wall and continued. Martinez dropped out of P. 7 with a flat RF tire. Beat slowed in the closing laps with a problem that caused him to lose a lap. On lap 91, with Joanides holding a comfortable 35-yard lead, fourth place Andy Allen and lapped Keith Spangler tangled. Spangler spun in turn two for a yellow that lasted through lap 95. The lap 96 green had McCray and Partridge on Joanides' back bumper, but he pulled away to a 15-yard victory margin as they battled for runner-up honors. McCray, 31, finished his TS@I career-best second, 1.163 behind Joanides. His best result had been fifth in race 13 this season. He earned $2,000. Partridge, driving the ex-Andy Coyle No. 39 Monte Carlo now owned by David Eshleman, was third, 1.762 seconds in back of Joanides. It was worth $1,700 for his team. Allen took fourth, 1.794 back, with Scott Dodd fifth, 2.634 back and Michels sixth, 3.686 seconds behind Joanides. Only the first six finishers completed all 100 circuits. Las Vegas driver Justin Johnson, 24, was seventh, with Spangler eighth, Beat ninth, and Mark Perry tenth as 11 drivers finished. Two of the 20 entered drivers DNS the 41-minute race that had two caution flags. Kevin Thompson blew his engine on his second qualification lap. Joanides said, “We almost didn't race this week to be sure we could race for the late model championship next week.” His budget-strapped McGhee team intended to race only for the SLM championship in 2009 and sell their late model, but when a buyer did not materialize they raced the late model on a week to week basis.
ASA SPEED TRUCKS 100: In the final race, Wagner led all 100 laps which were run from 9:31 to 10:10 pm. Fastest qualifier/seventh starter Chris Birdsong, of Las Vegas, charged forward quickly. He is a Paul Wagner Homes teammate and mechanic on his and Wagner's team trucks. He had his No. 46 truck in second place, some 35-yards in back of Wagner's No. 77 Chevy on lap 7. Inside-running Birdsong steadily reeled in high-groove rider Wagner by lap 40. He trailed the leader by one length as he probed for a passing opportunity. The first yellow flag flew on lap 64 after third place/co-point leader Joey Licata blew his engine on the front straight and pulled to the infield. A solo spin at lap 89 caused caution flag laps through lap 92. Another solo spin at lap 96 cost three laps. The green, white, checkered flag finish had Wagner cross the finish line with Birdsong two lengths (0.240) behind him. Cole Cabrera, Darren Young, rookie Josh Goshen, 15, Chris Snyder, Randel King and Cameron Jocelyn, 16, followed in that order and all ran 100 laps. Race Liberante, 14, and Dylan Kowenski completed 99 laps and were ninth and tenth with 15 of 18 starters on the track. The 38-minute race average speed was 77.091 mph. The series has several races remaining this years at other tracks. Check www.speedtruck.com for dates, tracks and point standings.
Hard Charger Awards/Fastest Qualifiers: HC Awards went to K. Lopez (S2); Rod Schmitt (JBMS); Steve Vukovich (Classic Stocks); Michael Smith (Legends), and Justin Johnson (SLM) despite pitting to repair body damage in the initial lap four-car crash. Fast timers by division were: (third-mile)-- Colato – 17.357 – 69.067 mph (classic stocks); Scoggins – 17.245 - 69.516 mph (JBMS); Reed – 16.825 – 71.251 (Legends); (half-mile) – Anderson – 20.345 – 88.474 mph (S2); Birdsong – 19.990 – 90.045 mph (ASA Speed Trucks), and Joanides – 18.136 – 99.250 mph (SLM).