IRWINDALE, California — Six racing series competed in the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale Memorial Day weekend Saturday night program in front of about 2,000 spectators. Five races were run on the banked half-mile and the final race used the third-mile for a combined 240 laps. Dylan Lupton led the final 35 laps of the featured Auto Club Late Model 50-lap event. The fastest qualifier started sixth via the inverted start based on qualifying times. He became the third race leader on lap 16 and won by 2.4 seconds over series point leader Brandon Davis. Remarkably, all three leaders are teenage ACLM rookies. Second starter Devon Ostheimer, 17, paced the first five laps. Fourth starter Taylor Miinch, 16, led laps 6-15. Davis came from fifth grid position to take second from Miinch on lap 33, but he could not reel-in Lupton, the track's 2010 S2 champion and rookie of the year from Wilton, about 40 miles SE of Sacramento. The all-green flag race with 20 starters took 16:21.917. Thirteen drivers finished and nine ran all 50 laps.
Other feature winners included veteran Darren Young, from Gilbert, AZ, in the first of three ASA Speed Truck Series 2011 TS@I races. It was the first main run and started at 7:20 pm. Todd Cameron won a 40-lap King Taco Super Truck main and Jeff Williams took a 35-lap Southwest Tour Truck run. Eric Sunness copped a 35-lap Vista Paint Super Stock event. The final race was a 30-lap Ken Porter Auctions open competition race on the third-mile that Joe Anderson won in a 20-car field on National Foster Care Awareness Night celebrating the Children's Foundation of America. Three of the races went from green to checkered flag and remained green all the way.
ACLM: Fifteen cars qualified from 7:46-8:04. The red light came on after the first qualifier, Bailey Thompson, a 19-year old Bakersfield resident in her second racing night, hit the front straight wall just past the starting line after her second timed lap. Her car slid into the first turn pit entrance attenuator and stopped abruptly. She was shaken, but walked to the ambulance for medical evaluation. Her No. 5 car did not return. However, six other cars (three late models and three super stocks) joined the other 14 qualifiers to make a 20 car field. Ten drivers starting from P 2, 4 and 6 traded the lead before Lupton took command and drove to his first ACLM triumph in the track's Whelen All-American National Series premier division. It was his 11th late model start. Lupton, in the No. 56 Lupton Excavation Chevy, led Racecar Factory-built High Point Racing “blue cars” to finishing positions 1-2-4-6. Lupton, a junior at Pleasant Grove High near Sacramento, said he has been struggling, but got a pair of thirds. “It's exciting to get that first win,” he told the media. He won three of 14 S2 series main events last year for HPR and earned several starts in a HPR late model near the end of the season.
Davis finished eighth in final ACLM 2010 points as a rookie and won the October 16 feature. He was runner-up for the second consecutive week after he won five feature victories to start the season. “I had to veer towards the infield to avoid Cirquettini's car on the backstretch (on lap 2) and lost some positions,” Davis stated in the pits during post-race tech inspection of the first five finishing cars. Early leader Ostheimer and pole starter Chris Johnson finished fourth and fifth. Rookie Nik Romano, May 21 winner Chris Holloway, Toni McCray and Kyle McGrady completed all 50 laps to earn positions six through nine respectively. Tenth place Jeff Williams, driving his self-built Ford Fusion late model, was lapped on lap 41 and rounded out the top ten. Drivers in P. 11-13 also completed 49 laps. Lupton won by 2.456 seconds and averaged 91.657 mph.
ASA SPEED TRUCKS: The other 50-lap main had a 16-truck field with a ten truck inverted start. Jeremiah Wagner, an 18-year old Legend Car veteran from Las Vegas, led the first four laps from his outside front row position. Fourth starter Young has 15 Irwindale main event in the series dating back to the track's early seasons. He ran second to Wagner from laps 1 to 5 when he shot into P1 and ran away to a straightaway victory. The five truck battle for second place was crowd-pleasing from lap 10 to the conclusion. Seventh starter Jeff Catlin, from Gilbert, AZ, took second for good by passing Wagner on lap 17 in three-wide racing. Fastest qualifier Chase Catania, another Legends graduate, took third on lap 20 and trailed Catlin by 2.947 seconds. Legends grad Race Liberante, 16, placed fourth, with versatile Ryan Partridge fifth. Jason Black and point leader Taylor Miinch followed. Teenager Miinch won the first two races of the ASA trucks nine race season at Lake Havasu, AZ and the Firebird Raceway road course in Chandler, AZ. Wagner and Brandon Underwood were the last drivers to log 50 laps. Pole starter Mike Herda was tenth, down a lap. Fourteen of 16 trucks finished the 17:09.230 all-green light race. Young won by 7.485 seconds and averaged 87.444 mph.
KTST: Cameron enjoyed winning his first truck main event on April 30 so much he did it again aboard his No. 99 Chevy S-10. He also ran second two week ago. As second quickest qualifier, the 44-year old aerospace engineer, from nearby Monrovia, started on the pole. He led all 40-laps in the all-green light race that had frequent passing and and re-passing in the field. The race took 13:29.246 for an average speed of 88.972 mph. Cameron won by half a straight or 4.295 seconds. He said he gave his first victory plaque to his spotter and gave his P.1 plaque Saturday to his Bowden Development long-time sponsor watching in the grandstand. He thanked his wife Eileen and two children in the stands for backing his racing. “We didn't change anything after the first win. We kept working to improve the truck and finally found something. I don't know what it is.” The battle for second was a great four-truck duel. FQ/second starter Matt Kimball held second from lap 2 to lap 39 when fourth starter Connor Cantrell, 20, passed him on the inside leaving the fourth turn. Jeff Peterson brought his No. 38 truck out for the first time this year and came from fifth grid spot to nip Kimball by 0.091 at the checkers. Fifth place Ryan Partridge was 0.358 out of fourth. He also finished fifth in the ASA Spreed Truck feature. Kenny Maler, Jr, Dennis Arena, 13th starter Lucas McNeil, Andrew Anderson and Bob Barker completed the top ten. All 17 starters finished and 16 completed all 40 laps.
SWT TRUCKS: Nine trucks started and ran 35 laps with one yellow flag on lap 11 after a complete restart for a solo spinner. FQ Jeff Williams came from third spot in his Ford F-150 to lead every lap after he shot low entering turn one at the start to grab the lead. It was his 12th Irwindale feature victory. Williams, who later raced as a late model rookie, ran the fastest lap of the race (20.066-89.704 mph) on lap 2. It was half a second faster than the next fastest “best lap” by another SWT trucker. Second finisher Neil Conrad trailed by 5.701 seconds. Brady Helm (-7.059) ran third all the way to beat Ed Cutler and fifth place Kirk Knostman by four seconds. They were the only drivers with 35 laps. All nine drivers finished the 15-minute event.
VPSS: Race three of the night was a 35-lap super stock event with 15 cars and a three-car inverted lineup. Eric Sunness shot his No. 14 Camaro from outside row one and paced every lap to duplicate his win a week ago. He won by 1.946 over last row starter Gerrit Cromsigt, who did not run in time trials. Cromsigt had replaced the front end of his orange Camaro with one from his old red Camaro stored in his backyard. He also repaired his broken radiator after the multi-car crash in turn two during the last VPSS event. Cromsigt took second from pole starter Curtis White on lap 15, but he could not catch Sunness. Rick Crow came from row six and ran third to the white flag lap when he was called off the track. The final results showed the car “DQ” and in last place. According to the team, the DQ reason was that the car had not gone through tech inspection. White, FQ Rich DeLong III, the series 2010 champion, and Zach Green completed the top five. Only two of the 15-car field were not running at the conclusion. The 15-minute race had one caution flag.
KPA OPEN COMP: The final race had eight qualifiers and 12 additions from other car and truck classes. The 20 starting vehicles were: ten super stocks, five late models, two SWT trucks, and one each classic stock, winged Figure 8, and one winged modified. They raced for fun, not points, as usual. Positions 1-10 earned $250 each and P. 11 and lower received $100 each for participating. Veteran Craig Rayburn, in his repaired late model, led the first 22 of 30 laps under intense pressure from Joe Anderson. On lap 23 at turn three Anderson, 25, made his winning inside pass and won by 1.233 secs over Rayburn. F-8 driver Jerry Toporek was third, two seconds back. SWT trucker Jeff Williams used his “old but fast” Ford F-150 to take fourth. Rick Crow (LM), Cromsigt (SS), Robert Dezarov (SS), Jim Schoening (LM) and Bryan Harrell (No. 29 SS) completed the top ten. Nine drivers completed all 30 laps. Anderson ran the fastest race lap of 15.377 (77.961 mph) on lap 5. During qualifying, Anderson, in the blue HPR No. 58 , set a NTR of 15.063 (79.586 mph) that beat his own mark of 15.141 (79.176 mph) that he set on 10/30/10 in the blue HPR No. 56 car.
The open comp race had two first-time racers. David Coley, Travis Irving's spotter, drove Irving's No. 85 CHP late model (ex-No. 4 Derek Thorn November 28 California Classic winning car) to a closing fifth. He spun out in turn two on lap 4 and had to work through most of the field for his top five debut race. Irving has sold one of his two cars to a buyer in Hawaii and the other car sale is pending. Garrett Crow, a 20-year old CSU Stanislaus student and son of Rick Crow, took his initial race ride after practicing Friday night. He used the No.33 classic stock (the ex-No. 71 Mike Colato, Jr. car) and a driving uniform borrowed from Cromsigt. He started his first race in row nine and finished 12th (last). He said he wants to race again soon. The 17-minute race had four cautions and ended at 10:09 pm.