Friday, April 24, 2009

Toyota Speedway at Irwindale Preview - April 25th Edition

Saturday, April 25th marks the sixth weekend of racing this season at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale. The Auto Club Late Models headline the event with twin races, and all Auto Club members will receive free general admission seating.

Entering their third weekend of racing, the Auto Club Late Models have consistently had the highest car counts at Toyota Speedway. Tim Huddleston of Agoura Hills is tied atop the point standings with Andrew Myers of Carlsbad. Myers dominated the 50-lap feature two weeks ago, after finishing third in the series opening race. Huddleston, the three-time series champion, including the last two seasons, is still looking for his first win of the season. Huddleston has finished second in both races this year. Perhaps the biggest story of the young season for the Auto Club Late Models has been the disappearance of the “blue cars”. Huddleston’s High Point Racing team consists of five cars, but only Huddleston and Dallas Colodny are in the top 10 in points. Colodny is third. Cassie Gannis (14th), Beau Debard (17th), and Travis Motley (26th) have all struggled early on. The Auto Club Late Models are scheduled to run 40 laps to open the night, and then 30 laps in the final race of the evening.

Joining the action on the half-mile will be the Super Stocks. Speaking of car counts, this class has consistently had the worst through two races, with just eight cars in the last event, down from 10 on opening night. Larry Cerquettini of Redlands has destroyed his competition in the first two races, winning both and setting two track records in the process. The only car that appears capable of hanging with Cerquettini is that of Rich DeLong III. The Santa Clarita-based racer led 12 laps last race before Cerquettini made his move. DeLong sits fifth in points after a clutch malfunction relegated him to ninth in race one. Ken Brown of Cherry Valley sits second in points with a second and third place finish through two races. Eric Sunness (third) and Scott Corriagan (fourth) complete the top five in points. The Super Stocks will run 40 laps.

As always, the third-mile will feature some of the grittiest racing at Toyota Speedway this weekend. Both the Justice Brothers Mini Stocks and the Classic Stocks will take to the inner track. Riverside’s Tyler Rogers has been on a mission in the Justice Brothers Mini Stocks so far. After missing out on a championship three-peat last year, Rogers has taken both races this season. The only competition seen thus far has come from Rogers’ teammates, Daryl Soggins of Sunland and Steve Rogers of Riverside, Tyler’s dad. Soggins and the elder Rogers sit second and third in points, respectively. The Justice Brothers Mini Stocks are scheduled to go 35 laps.

The Classic Stocks will round out the action tomorrow night, also competing on the third-mile. Ken Michaelian of Lawndale has not only dominated the series so far, but he’s done so with versatility. Michaelian cruised to a victory in the first race, and then won the figure-8 feature the same night. Last race, after starting last, he drove through the field for his third victory in as many attempts. Mike Colato Jr., of Chatsworth, sits second in points, a staggering 12 behind Michaelian. San Fernando’s Justin Good is third after three events. Canyon Country’s Tommy Mason gets my nomination for the hard luck award through three events. After career best qualifying efforts in the first two oval events, Mason was involved in a spin in the first race, suffered a mechanical breakdown in the figure-8 race, and broke an axel on his second qualifying lap during the second oval race. The Classic Stocks will run 30 laps tomorrow.

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