NASCAR AT IRWINDALE, SATURDAY NIGHT, JULY 30:
Championship Short Track Racing and a Special Salute* to
First Responders: San Gabriel Valley “Complex” Fire
Irwindale, Calif. – – With fully two-thirds of the NASCAR Pick Your Part Late Model 2016 championship season already in the books; the top three drivers in the division are still only a single race win apart … 50 points (the precise points payout for one first place finish) covers Trevor Huddleston, Christian McGhee, and Nick Joanides top to bottom with the Agoura Hills resident, ahead of the Claremont dweller, who’s got a few on the guy from Woodland Hills.
The numbers? Right! 724, 700, and 674. Between them the three have won all 15 of 2016’s Pick Your Part Late Model races; Huddleston heading that list with eight first place trophies, Joanides has won five times, and McGhee has the other 2. Irwindale’s tight 50,48,46, 44, 42 … and so on, point payout scheme puts a big bonus on good prep and smart driving and consistently produces close, competitive racing on the progressive banks of the fabled half-mile circuit.
On Saturday night, July 30, after a long, three-week “season break” the above trio and a whole bunch of others (who want some of those big points showing up next to their names) will run in not one, but two full points-paying Pick Your Part Late Model races with a nice total of 100 points in the potential pot. So far Huddleston is the only driver to win both ends of a twin (two race) night at Irwindale, and he pulled that trick of twice in row!
There’s no question that this one will go right down to the wire in September … there is a question, however, of who will be leading and by how much.
The Pick Your Part Late Models are truly a great show; fans are urged to get to the track early to meet some of these drivers before the race at 5:45PM. All three are great drivers and all three truly enjoy meeting the fans. In point of fact, all of the drivers who race at Irwindale love meeting the fans. The cars are flashy, technical, exciting creatures … but it’s the drivers who animate them … fans are invited to come and meet them both, right on the race track.
In the Seidner’s Collision Centers Irwindale Race Trucks, Lucas McNeil from Saugus has a 22-point lead after seven races in the 11-race 2016 points championship. Conner Cantrell, McNeil’s next-town neighbor from Valencia, is the guy in second place with 320 to McNeil’s 342. McNeil won races 1, 2, 3, and 6 and Cantrell won numbers 5 and 7, with Andrew Porter (currently 7th in points at 210) the only other driver to win a main in these tough spec trucks the season. Duarte’s Dennis Arena has no wins in the series (“Yet,” he’d very likely say) but sports a great record of solid finishes and 308 points for third in the standings. With a race paying 50 points, and not finishing paying off in goose eggs, this truck championship looks like it will be on the front burner again this Saturday night!
And … the light and lively INEX Legend Cars will be back on Saturday the 30th as well. In that division, only two scant points separate Parker Steele from Peoria, Arizona and Darren Amidon from Lakeside (334 to 332) with Oak Hill’s own Darren Schug just 20 back at 312.
Saturday’s race will be the eighth of this year’s 10 race 2016 points run. This is serious stuff for the small cars with the big (motorcycle engine) hearts and the drivers who just happen to be some of the most aggressive third-mile drivers in captivity.
Just to prove that you really don’t need four good tires to have some serious fun in a race car at Irwindale, the Seidner’s Skid Plate Cars will finish off the night in a particularily “Spark Worthy” fashion. Bone-stock compact cars, with a number of added-in safety features, two front (rubber) tires (the cars are all front wheel drive), and two steel “skid plates” where the back tires should be lurking. In operation the lack of back tires, the slipperiness of the steel skids, and the abundance of driving enthusiasm makes for an often odd show with cars (seemingly) going straight suddenly going sideways into a spin while others corner at irrational odd-ball reverse angles kicking out sparks with gusto.
Gates open at 4PM, the On-Track Autograph Session at 5:45PM and the first race fires off at 7PM!
*On Saturday night Irwindale Speedway will salute all of the first responders who worked the recent San Gabriel Valley “Complex” fire above Duarte and Azusa. All first responders from Fire, Police, Public Safety, and Civic entities who were involved with the fire will be admitted free (with ID) and will be able to purchase tickets for their guests at only $5.00 each.
… All of the attending first responders have been invited to come down onto the track during the autograph session at 5:45PM. At 6:45 they’ll assemble as a group on the front straight to receive the cheers of the fans and to stand together for a group portrait during the playing of the national anthem before the night’s racing begins.
HERE’S THE TEXT OF THE ORIGINAL ANNOUNCEMENT:
Irwindale Speedway Says: THANK YOU!
To “San Gabriel Complex Fire” First Responders …
Invited to NASCAR Races on Saturday, July 30
Irwindale, Calif. July 6, 2016 – – “After watching a whole team of first responders successfully fight a ferocious fire on some of the hottest days of recent record, we decided to invite all of them out to the Speedway for a “cool” night of fun … watching some exciting NASCAR racing at Irwindale Speedway.”
That’s how Irwindale Event Center President/CEO, Jim Cohan announced a special night at the Speedway to honor the many people who worked the recent San Gabriel Complex Fire. “Irwindale Speedway wants to invite all regional Fire Fighters, California Highway Patrol Officers, Los Angeles County Sheriff Deputies, US Forest Service, Cal Fire personnel and all partnering state and local agencies who were involved with the Complex Fire, to join us as our honored guests on Saturday night, July 30th 2016. We were eye-witnesses to how seamlessly all of the agencies worked together to fight the massive San Gabriel complex fire.
“We appreciate the service and are sincerely grateful to all first responders,” Cohan went on. “Whether they were answering phones, directing traffic, coordinating air drops and ground units, protecting people’s property or right there on the fire lines … these people are all heroes in our book. Our parent company is named ‘Team 211’ and we want to celebrate this great team of heroes.”
Here’s how the night will work: Anyone who worked the fire for any of the above agencies will be welcomed as a guest on Saturday night, July 30. All they’ll need to do is show ID to be admitted free of charge. Each first responder will be able to purchase guest tickets at a special $5.00 at the box office window.
All of the invited first responders are asked to come early so that they can be honored right on the front straight of the race track during the singing of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ at 6:45PM before racing begins. A “group portrait” of the all the first responders will be taken from the starter’s tower and will run on the front page of the Speedway’s website.
The track’s regular On-Track Autograph Session begins at 5:45PM and features all of the drivers, their race cars, autographs, photos, and camaraderie before the races begin … guaranteed great fun for “kids” of ALL ages.
Right after the opening ceremonies everyone will be treated to a great night of exciting NASCAR short track racing action featuring the Pick Your Part Late Models, Seidner’s Collision Centers Irwindale Race Trucks, INEX Legend Cars, and a fan fun finale with the sparking, sideways Seidner’s Collision Centers Skid Plate Cars.
We’re looking forward to honoring those who look out for us