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RACING SCENE - PAS-IMCA MODS & PASSCAR STOCKS

RACING SCENE - PAS-IMCA MODS & PASSCAR STOCKS
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Perris Auto Speedway combined IMCA Modifieds and three PASSCAR stock car divisions July 21 in a racy four-hour show with a 15-minute intermission prior to four main events. There were 79 cars in the crowded pits and 176 laps of racing including heat races in all four divisions and a B-main for IMCA, which had 34 cars present. IMCA competitors and fans are a traveling bunch. Cars and fans came from three states, including Nevada and Arizona, and helped boost grandstand attendance higher than normal for a PAS stock car event.

The IMCA Modifieds national and western regional point race attracted numerous non-PAS regulars who chase IMCA Modifieds national and west region points. Modifieds came from diverse areas as follows: Arizona—4; Nevada—3; San Diego area—7, Ventura County—3 as well as the usual cities in Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and Los Angeles Counties.

PASSCAR (PAS Stock Car Auto Racing) car counts were: 14 super stocks, 19 street stocks, and 12 American Factory stocks (Camaros and Novas) for a 45 car field of PAS regulars. The track was prepared well and had high and low grooves all night after final track prep work prior to the four features.

The field of 79 included five female drivers—two in IMCA Modifieds, two in factory stocks, and one in a street stock. They all were competitive and likely front runners. Jason Cook's factory stock No. 84 Nova used that number because it is the year his wife was born and she is an active pit crew member.

Winners of the three preliminary PASSCAR 20-lap features were:

   > Super Stocks - No. 31 Tom Smith, of Norco, who started second, led every lap.

  > Factory Stocks – No. 99 Camaro driven by Cameron Veach, of Temecula, led laps 12-20 after the first 11 laps leader spun to the infield in turn four and dropped to P 9.
  > Street Stocks – No. 7K David Kilpela, of El Cajon, did not lead a lap officially, but as the runner-up inherited the victory. Apparent winner Luke Dodd, of Riverside, was disqualified after the finish for passing race leader Kilpela roughly on the backstretch on a lap 19 restart. The race leader for 18 laps spun out on lap 19 low in turn four but finished fifth. Good sport Dodd, a six-time PASSCAR champion and winner of four of six 2018 main events, went over to Kilpela and shook hands with the surprised winner. No home town favoritism here.

None of the four divisions used time trials after hot laps to set heat race lineups. That saved wear on the track. Drivers drew numbered pills to determine starting positions. IMCA has a new pill draw for the last chance qualifier (LCQ) or B-main and a pill draw by main event drivers following the heat races to re-set starting spots. The first four finishers in the LCQ started in back of the 16 drivers who qualified for the feature in the four heat races.

IMCA uses pills numbered 1 through 75. Lowest pill drawn got the pole in heat one and so forth. The re-draw for main event positions gave all drivers a chance for an improved starting position if they were in a tough heat or if they experienced any mechanical or tire problems. I doubt if USAC sprint car series will drop time trials or draw for main event positions Pill draw works and is accepted by IMCA drivers and in some stock car series. Spears SWT has a pill draw for feature starting spots for the eight fastest qualifiers after driver introductions just before the cars pull away for the 2 X 2 lineup. .

IMCA (International Motor Contest Assn) has HQ in Vinton, Iowa. It sanctions sprint cars, stock cars modifieds and other lower or entry level classes. National point standings (top 20) are shown on its website each week. Drivers are encouraged to race as often as possible and accumulate points up to 55 races a year. However, only the top 30 main event finishes are counted for the championship. IMCA drivers often race three or four times a week during busy summer racing months.

California speedways such as the half-mile Perris, and third-miles at Santa Maria and Bakersfield Speedway host IMCA Mods. Other central and northern California speedways at country fairgrounds such as the quarter-mile Lassen County Fairgrounds in Susanville, host IMCA races during county fairs. Other IMCA tracks are three-eights miles in Quincy, Hanford, the third-miles in Tulare and Chowchilla, and the fifth-mile Ventura.

IMCA Drivers: I entered the pits and spoke to some visiting IMCA Modified drivers. They were all friendly, cordial, interesting and informative.

   > KELSIE FOLEY – is a 21-year old blonde from Tucson, AZ who trained to be an EMT. She is in her third year as an IMCA Modified driver of the white/blue, pink number No. 44K Larry Shaw-built XL modified. She said she left home at 7 am to get a good pit stall and and got to PAS at 3 pm. She still had to pit in one of two open spaces next to the scale and in front of the infield pit board. During hot laps on still wet clay her RR end slapped the crash-wall leaving turn two. Her team made repairs before racing.

Kelsie ranked 14th in IMCA national points for the week ending July 19. She ranked tenth for the W/E July 12 and eighth for the W/E June 28. Checking the IMCA web site, I learned Kelsie is a competitive driver at up to ten speedways in Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. She races at 3/8 miles Canyon Speedway in Peoria, and AZ Speedway in Queen Creek (Apache Junction), at CAR in Casa Grande, and Cocopah Speedway, east of Yuma, plus the third-mile Mohave Valley Raceway in Mohave Valley, AZ.. She wins heat races and finishes in the top five in features. She was 2016 IMCA Modifieds Western Region rookie of the year.

At PAS Kelsie started fourth in the first heat race and led all 8 laps with six finishers. At the pill draw for heat race transfers, she drew pole position. She ran third for five laps, fourth to lap 11, and finished with body damage in P. 5 with 16 cars on track, all on the lead lap. All agreed she is a racer who does maintenance work on her own car with her dad, a former asphalt racer, and her boyfriend.

   > CORY SAMPLE – is a 29-year old from Winnemucca, Nev. who entered Perris as the IMCA Modified national point leader. He had 1,138 points as of the W/E July 19 to 1,133 for P. 2 Chaz Baca, of Mesa, AZ. Sample also was the point leader for the W/E July 12 and was P. 5 in national points for the W/E June 28. The top 20 in IMCA Modified national points came from 11 states as follows: Texas-5; Ariz. and Iowa-3 each; Mich.-2, and one each from Ark., Ill., Neb., Nev., N. M., Okla., and Ore..

Cory has the physical stature of an NFL offensive tackle. He drove 600 mile from home in Winnemucca (116-miles east of Reno on I-80) and south on I-395 to get to PAS. He and his team planned to drive from Perrris north on 395 through Reno and northwest to Susanville, CA. That was their next IMCA race on a Sunday night at Lassen County Fairgrounds on the final night of the country fair. That is how you become the national point leader, race up front and race often. After Susanville it was a 248 mile drive southeast home to Winnemucca.

Cory raced 46 times last year and had 26 wins and finished second in IMCA Mods national points. He was the 2017 track champion at Rattlesnake Raceway in Fallon, NV and also raced at about ten other tracks. He won his 100th IMCA Modified feature in July 2016. His crew is his dad Rodney and Eddie Poole.

Sample drives the white/green and black No. 00, a Razor built car out of Platte City, Nebraska. The July 21 IMCA race at PAS was the eighth 30-lap feature this season. Sample won three times, on April 14, June 9, and June 30. He led the first two laps July 21 and finished second for the second time in 2018 PAS racing.

Sample told me he has raced at the half-mile clay Sweetwater Speedway in Rock Springs, WY, half-mile Battle Mountain Raceway in his home-state, third-miles in Winnemucca, NV and Delta, UT, three-eights mile Fernley, NV, and at quarter-miles at Elko, NV, Rattlesnake Raceway in Fallon, NV, plus tracks in California, N. Mexico, Colorado and Arizona. He planned to race Sunday, July 22 in Susanville, CA on the final night of the country fair. His day job is a planner for a mining firm. He credits his large family and crew for enabling him to chase IMCA national points.

Fifth starter Cody Laney, of Torrance, caught Sample on a lap 3 restart after a yellow flag and quickly ran way to the IMCA victory in an upset. Laney had half a straightaway lead over the IMCA national point leader at lap 15 when a yellow flag for a spinner wiped out his advantage. Cody beat Cory on the restart and won by 40-yards over Sample, whose fourth PAS win of 2018 will have to wait.

Matthew Hicks, started 11th and was up to P. 3 and battling Sample for second place by lap 20. On lap 24 Hicks passed Sample on the front straight, but his No. 28 caught the wall between the first two turns and dropped out with damage. Laney, the son, won and his mom Carla Laney, book-ended the field by starting 12th and finishing last (20th) as a dropout. With 34 IMCA mods present it was an accomplishment just making the feature.

PAS HEATS: IMCA heat winners (with starting positions) were: Foley (4th) Bill Miller (1st), C. Laney (2nd) and Sample (3rd). Long-time PAS racer Carla Laney started second in heat four and chased Sample all eight laps but finished second to Sample, 30-yards back with six cars on track. Carla is related to former SCRA 410 sprint car driver Mike Kirby, from Lomita. Mike and his daughter Brenda also race IMCA Modifieds at PAS and other tracks. They moved to Bullhead City, AZ a year or so ago. Neither Mike nor Brenda were at PAS for the July 21 event.

Another father/daughter race team, out of Norco, is Tom Smith, super stock feature winner, and his daughter Alyssa Smith, a street stock main event winner. Both drive No. 31 cars. Alyssa recently turned 16 and got her drivers license. Alyssa said she is going to race in Texas soon in the “Lone Star 600”--with 300 laps on both Saturday and Sunday.

Dave Clark won the IMCA Mods 12-lap LCQ that advanced the top four to the back two rows of the feature. Kollin Hibdon, from Pahrump, NV, started 16th and finished third in his No. 59 with eight of 16 starters RAF and all on the lead lap. The 22-minute race had five yellow flags. A 25-minute intermission followed.

Three 20-lap main events for PASSCAR divisions ran all cars present in those divisions.

   > SUPER STOCKS- 14 cars ran from 9:16 to 9:25 with winner Tom Smith leading all the way. Of special interest, paved track multi-time champion at Irwindale and current NASCAR K & N West point leader Ryan Partridge, 30, started fifth and finished a close fourth. He drove No,. 16G, a good car owned by Billy Griffin, of Buena Park, who drove his own No. 11B. Ryan had never raced on a dirt track. With an open weekend in his schedule, Ryan wanted to get some dirt track racing experience prior to the first NASCAR K & N West point race at the Las Vegas half-mile dirt track on Thursday, September 13.

Earlier, Ryan drew pole position for the first heat race and finished third with six of seven starters finishing. It was his first actual race on dirt. In the feature, Partridge ran a close fifth until lap 19 when he went to the inside in turn four and passed the pole starter for a fourth place finish. First-time 2018 PAS winner Tom Smith said his car dropped a cylinder about lap 13 and ran sour during the final seven laps. He won by 15-yards over the No. K-9 of Mike Lerwill, the series Feb. 11 PAS main event winner

   > FACTORY STOCKS – 12 cars raced from 9:30 to 9:52 with four cautions. Tenth starter Cameron Veach led the final nine laps after early leader Todd Fassler (No. 00 Camaro) spun out to the fourth turn infield on lap 12 and dropped to ninth.

   > STREET STOCKS – 17 cars took 33-minutes in a time killer with five yellows and one red flag of nine minutes after a car spun in turn three and was hit head-on. When lap 19 restarted, the lap 1-18 leading No. 28 car spun out low in turn four as P. 2 No. 98 took P. 1 and the P. 3 car hit the spun No. 28 hard. On the second restart of lap 19, No. 7K was first and No. 98 (Luke Dodd) was second. Dodd contacted the leading 7K on the backstretch and moved him over; 98 led the final two laps. Only eight cars finished.

Then, with top finishers stopped at the finish line for interviews, came the announcement that No. 98 (Dodd) had been disqualified for his “rough pass for the lead”. No. 7K David Kilpela, of El Cajon, was the winner. Dodd, to his credit, came over and shook hands with the official winner. BTW, Bryan Harrell, 56, from Bloomington, is a pit crewman on Dodd's No. 98. Harrell was the 2006 and 2008 Irwindale NASCAR Super Stock champion at Irwindale Speedway.

   > IMCA MODIFIEDS – 20 starters ran 30 laps in 23 minutes with four yellow flags for spins or stalls. Sixteen of 20 starters finished and all completed 30 laps. The feature started at 10:38 and concluded at 11:01 pm with the temperature still 77 degrees after a hot day in the upper 90s at the track.

The top three finishers were interviewed at the finish line. Winner C. Laney said, “I got by Cory (Sample) and he hung with me for awhile. The track was fast in the beginning and then slowed down. I just ran the bottom and tried not to make any mistakes.”

Runner-up Sample said, “The best car won tonight. I had fun. Enjoy every day and move on to the next one.” He added that he had a race to run Sunday night in Susanville. Third place Austin Kiefer, from Pahrump, NV, drove his No. 3AC from 13th to third. He thanked his sponsors and said, “I had a good run. My car was a little free (loose) coming off the turns.”

IMCA Modifieds provide outstanding competition and most drivers are extremely talented. If you have the opportunity to catch them racing for national points do so. You won't be disappointed. IMCA Modifieds will return to PAS on August 25 and October 27.

I like the pill draw to set heat race lineups and the pill re-draw for B and A-mains. It works for IMCA and does not wear out the track surface. The PAS half-mile was racy all night with drivers passing high and low. One final add, I would bet on Ryan Partridge in the LVMS half-mile dirt track K & N West point race. He is a “quick study” and very talented on dirt as he is on pavement.

PAS pit mic announcer Tom Gillen wisely interviewed female drivers K. Foley, C. Laney and A. Smith plus R. Partridge between races. Partridge said, “asphalt racing is precise racing, fun and competitive. Tonight is fun and I'm here to learn how to race on dirt before our September K & N West race in Las Vegas. Those points could decide our championship. On dirt you sail into into the turns and drive by the seat of your pants. It's fun. I've been here at Perris in the grandstand before, but never in the pits until today.”