Friday, January 23, 2009
Rain washes out racing at Showdown
It looks like switching the Toyota All-Star Showdown from October to the middle of January might not have been such a good idea afterall.
Rain washed out a NASCAR Super Late Model race and a Showdown qualifying race on Friday night. That sets up a three-race schedule for Saturday night. The NASCAR Camping World Series race, a 75-lap Late Model race and a 150-lap Super Late Model race.
The rain led to some flared tempers in the pits, with drivers cussing and complaining about whether they would be able to practice, qualify or race. The Super Late Model drivers and the Camping World Series drivers were preparing to at least run some practice laps at around 9 p.m., but by then most of the fans had gone home and the only food booth open at the track was a single King Taco.
As much as I love burritos, it was not exactly on my mind while waiting to see if it would stop raining long enough to see some race cars on the track instead of ambulance and emergency vehicles dragging oversized white tires around in circles.
As frustrating as the rain was, it did give me a chance to catch up with some drivers.
It looks like Greg Pursley, who won a NASCAR Whelen All-American national championship while racing at Irwindale, will be competing in the NASCAR Camping World Series West for the entire 2009 season. He will be driving for Gene Price Motorsports. Price's son Mike has been a regular Toyota Speedway at Irwindale for years.
The cars Pursley will be racing all come from Richard Childress Racing. He will be racing one of Clint Bowyer's old cars in the Showdown. The team also has one of Jeff Burton's old cars and one of Kevin Harvick's road course cars.
Ron Hornaday Jr., the winningest drivers in NASCAR Truck Series history, will be racing in the Super Late Model and Camping World Series portions of the Showdown.
R.J. Johnson, the son of Rod Johnson who won the Super Late Model championship at Irwindale in 1999, will be attempting to qualify for the Camping World Series portion of the Showdown. The younger Johnson, who competed in the Super Trucks division at Irwindale last year, is driving a West Series car owned by Bob Farmer.
Travis Thirkettle is entered in the Super Late Model race in a car he describes as a prototype. It meets the Super Late Model specifications for Irwindale, but it can easily be modified to race in other divisions at other tracks. Thirkettle said he and his team wanted to make a car that would allow them to race at other tracks and possibly make a run at the NASCAR Whelen All-American national championship.