Kanke, Hunt and Thorn All Win at Irwindale's California Classic
Wild Racing and Rain Delay Are a Few Stories From the Weekend
Track PR Report
M. K. Kanke won the featured 110-lap SRL/Spears Southwest Tour stock car race on the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale half-mile Sunday afternoon in a 29-car field. The event took two days to complete because of rain Saturday night. It was the first Sunday race at the track since the Midwest-based ASA stock car tour event in 2002. The first Canidae California Classic Presented by Mastercraft offered a $50,000 purse for three top classes of stock cars. SRL drivers Ross Strmiska, Jonathon Gomez, Scott Sanchez and Brennan Newberry completed the top five in the SRL 110..
SLM 100: Duane Hunt, Jr., from Tucson, won the Pepsi Super Late Model 100-lap race Sunday after light rain early in that race Saturday night pushed the complete restart to 1:00 Sunday afternoon. It was Hunt's first career victory. A shocking ending preceded his trip to victory lane and caused officials to revert to the last green flag lap (98) for the official finish. Leader Ryan Reed and challenger R. J. Johnson, Jr. were racing closely for their first SLM victory. Their cars collided on lap 99 in the fourth turn, sending Reed's car hard into the wall. Johnson's car continued slowly with smoking tires and body damage.
The race had only three cars running at the conclusion of the bizarre finish. Several drivers ran out of fuel in the closing laps. Hunt inherited third place on lap 98 on the backstretch after Thorn ran out of fuel and pulled to the infield. Johnson's damaged car and Joe DeGuevara, who was down five laps. Eighteen of the original 21 car field Saturday returned and raced on a sunny, mid-60s Sunday. The official finish behind Hunt was Johnson, Reed, Thorn and DeGuevara based on laps run.
LATE MODEL 75: The only feature run Saturday night was the Auto Club Late Model 75-lap race. Derek Thorn, of Bakersfield, led all the way in a close duel with 2009 Irwindale track champion Nick Joanides, who trailed by half a length at lap 65 when light rain started. After running under the yellow light to lap 73, officials ended the race. Fastest qualifier Brandon Davis finished third, with Travis Irving and Brandon Loverock completing the top five. Sixteen of 21 starters finished the 36-minute event.
After rain abated Saturday night, officials started the SLM feature shortly after 8:00. Drivers completed 14 laps with Rod Johnson, Jr. leading in a Position One Motorsports Chevy. Then rain began falling again After waiting 20 minutes to see if rain would cease, officials postponed the event to Sunday with the race reset to go the full 100-lap distance.