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Lamar, Holmes, Gilliland And Santerre Win Qualifying Races
It started wild in the first race of the night, when Burney Lamar (Southwest Series), who’s been at or near the top of the Elite Division speed charts all weekend long, blasted his way from his 16th starting spot to the lead in just nine laps, making several daring three- and even four-wide passes on his way to the win in the first 50-lap qualifying race.

“I can’t say enough about this car,” said Lamar.  “We’ve had a good car and we’ve had one all week.  We wanted to get to the front and we didn’t want to waste no time doing it and that is what we did.

“There were cars everywhere.   My crew chief was also spotting for me and he did a good job of keeping me out of trouble.  It got a little hairy there, but we made it.”

If the qualifying races at Irwindale Speedway (CA) were any indication of Saturday night’s main events, then the fans are in for some wild, but clean, racing action.

In four races, 200 laps of action, there were NO caution flags.
Doug McCoun (SWS), who was second on the speed charts to Lamar on Friday morning, pulled in a solid second place finish, with Eddie Hoffman (Midwest Series) coming in third. 

John Bender (Northwest Series) and Craig Raudman (SWS) rounded out the top-five in race number one.

The Southwest’s Eric Holmes slowly tracked down Southwest series runningmate Todd Souza and passed him on lap 42 to win the second Elite Division qualifying race.  Holmes pulled away to win by over a second and locked up the outside front-row starting position for Saturday night’s feature event.
Burney Lamar wasted little time getting to the front of the field in the first qualifying race on Friday night. (51 Photos)
“I passed everyone up on the bottom when I got to them, but you are so used to running the high line here, so when I got to (Souza), I gained all I could on him, so I went to the bottom and it finally worked,” said Holmes. 

“I have a third place finish here but, to be honest, I’ve never run really good here.”

Jason Jefferson, brother of Southwest Series champion Jeff, had a solid run, coming home third. 

The surprise of the race came from Southeast Series Rookie of the Year JR Norris, who started 18th and finished a disappointing 20th, last place.
“It was terrible,” said Norris.  “I’ve never driven a car that was that loose.  This car is good.  It is way better than that.  I’m going to change everything around.  We’re going to come out here and look like we can win this thing tomorrow.”

Norris will have a long run, coming from 40th starting position.
Eric Holmes was the second Elite Division qualifying race. 
finish fourth.  We had a lot of momentum from that race and it looks like we are able to carry it through to this race.

“We’ve got the best starting position in the house.”

The West Series rounded out there season at Irwindale last month.

Scott Lynch (West) finished a distant second and Kelly Moore (Busch North) was third.

“We are good, but we need to throw something at the car to catch Gilliland,” said Lynch.  “
David Gilliland (West) made little work of the first Grand National event, winning in convincing style by nearly 3.352 seconds.   Gilliland, a former Southwest Series regular and Irwindale dominator, continued to be the man to beat in the Grand National division.

Ironically, Gilliland, who won the West Series Rookie of the Year this past season, looked as if he was going to win both West Series regular season races at Irwindale earlier this year, but flat tires prevented him from both.  With the qualifying race win, he starts on the pole for Saturday night’s 150-lap Grand National event.

“We’ve run good here all year long,” said Gilliland.  “The last race, we came back from almost two laps down to
Andy Santerre (Busch North) was the only driver from the East Coast to win one of Friday night’s qualifying races. 

Santerre used the bottom groove to his advantage, taking the lead just past half-way of the 50-lap race from his 15th-place starting spot and never looking back.

“The car was right on the money,” said Santerre.  “If you would have asked me before the race if I could get through the field, I would have said ‘no, not tonight.’  There are some really good cars here.  I just got some good breaks early where other guys got up the race track and my car would run the bottom great.
"In all the races, it looks like a lot of respect was shown by all of the racers.  Everyone ran clean but hard.  There was 200 laps of pretty awesome racing out there.”

A surprising Brett Thompson (West) finished second, with hard-charging Dale Quarterly (Busch North) coming from 13th to third.


ELITE DIVISION STARTING LINEUP
1. Burney Lamar, Southwest Series 
2. Eric Holmes, Southwest Series
3. Doug McCoun, Southwest Series
4. Todd Souza, Southwest Series
5. Eddie Hoffman, Midwest Series
6. Jason Jefferson, Northwest Series
7. John Bender, Northwest Series
8. Rip Michels, Southwest Series
9. Craig Raudman, Southwest Series
10. Tim Schendel, Midwest Series
11. Brian Hoppe, Midwest Series
12. Jeff Jefferson, Northwest Series
13. Greg Voight, Southwest Series
14. Brandon Riehl, Northwest Series
15. Chris Davidson, Southeast Series
16. Greg Pope, Southeast Series
17. Garrett Evans, Northwest Series
18. Eddy McKean, Southwest Series
19. Pete Harding, Northwest Series
20. Kevin Prince, Southeast Series
21. Russ Blakeley, Midwest Series
22. Robert Richardson, II, Southeast Series
23. Justin Wakefield, Southeast Series
24. Ryan Hanson, Midwest Series
25. Joe Benedetti, Northwest Series
26. Dusty Williams, Southeast Series
27. Erik Darnell, Southeast Series
28. Justin Hirt, Midwest Series
29. Justin Diercks, Midwest Series
30. Steve Carlson, Midwest Series
31. Travis Bennett, Northwest Series
32. Bryan Roach, Midwest Series
33. Joe Herold, Southwest Series
34. Jim Pettit, II, Southwest Series
35. Jeff Fultz, Southeast Series
36. Gary Lewis, Northwest Series
37. Allen Karnes, Southeast Series
38. Steven Howard, Northwest Series
39. A.J. Rhoads, Midwest Series
40. J.R. Norris, Southeast Series

GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION STARTIN LINEUP
1. David Gilliland, West Series
2. Andy Santerre, Busch North
3. Scott Lynch, West Series
4. Brett Thompson, West Series
5. Kelly Moore, Busch North
6. Dale Quarterley, Busch North
7. Joey McCarthy, Busch North
8. Austin Cameron, West Series
9. Bobby Dragon, Busch North
10 Scott Gaylord, West Series
11. Brian Hoar, Busch North
12. Eddie MacDonald, Busch North
13. Mike Duncan, West Series
14. Bryon Chew, Busch North
15. Mike Olsen, Busch North
16. Mike Stefanik, Busch North
17. Sean Woodside, West Series
18. Ryan Seaman, Busch North
19. Ryan Moore, Busch North
20. Jose Luis Ramirez, West Series
21. Kerry Earnhardt, West Series
22. Mike David, West Series
23. Tim Woods, III, West Series
24. Mike Johnson, Busch North
25. Daryl Harr, West Series
26. Matt Kobyluck, Busch North
27. Nick DeFazio, West Series
28. Jack Sellers, West Series
29. Jamie Aube, Busch North
30. Carl Harr, West Series

Andy Santerre was the only East Coast driver to win on Friday night.
David Gilliland gets interviewed by Speed Channel following his Grand National win.