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Gone Racin' to the Mopar Twin 50's - 06/04

Gone Racin' to the Mopar Twin 50's - 06/04


Gone Racin' to the Mopar Twin 50's

Saturday, June 27, 2004, Irwindale Speedway and Steve Lewis Racing staged the Mopar Twin 50's midget extravaganza, at the track just off the 605 and 210 freeways, in warm and sunny Southern California. This event was presented by Mission Foods and brought together the best midget racers in the country. The first 25 lap race saw Dave Steele lose a left rear tire and hit the wall on lap 9, leaving an opening for Bobbie East to roar to victory. In the 2nd 25 lap race, the cars were placed in an inverted order and East was in last place. Tearing up the track and his car in the process, East made a mad dash up the ladder of contestants, reminiscent of Parnelli Jones in his heyday. East moved in and out of traffic, passing cars with consummate skill, until with a quarter of the race left, he had moved up to 2nd place, challenging Thomas Meseraull for the lead. But skill and daring could get the brave East no farther in his quest to win both races in one night of racing and double his prize winnings. Meseraull fought back on the night that was to be his victory dance, leaving two, not one, champions standing.

Earlier that day, the crowds had been treated to a demonstration of drifting, that Japanese racing import that has the fans roaring, tire smoke filling the air and oval track fans scratching their heads trying to figure out what was happening. Cars would pick up speed and then go into a slide, the more bizarre the better, as if two cars were in this ballet of noisy, fume producing speed, and yet no one seemed interested in getting to the finish line, nor did we see a finish line in sight. Points are scored for drifting or sliding around the track, like points are given for grace and power in ice skating or surfing contests. This sport had to have been invented by the tire companies, and a new set of tires put on at every turn out onto the track. Older fans stood silent, while the kids whooped and hollared at the exhibition.

Drivers and racers from the past were on hand to sign autographs and have their pictures taken with their favorite heroes. This is a very fan easy track, with racers who are glad to talk to their fans and create a memorable evening. Josh Lakatos took the checkered flag in the Ford Focus Midget race, that had two Champ Car Series open wheel racers for competition. Patrick Carpentier placed 5th and Michel Jourdain Jr came in 19th.  Both drivers were enthralled with the quick cars and want to come back for another midget event. Dave Steele won the 8 lap Trophy Dash. Dave Darland took the 1st 15 lap heat. Jerome Rodela vanquished all in the 2nd 15 lap heat. In the Last Chance 15 lap heat, Johnny Rodriguez earned the accolades and the chance to move into the Twin finals.
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