BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
With just over half of the points races in the book, Bakersfield's Jimmy Irwin appears to be marching toward a Hobby Stock championship at Bakersfield Speedway.
The longtime racer, back competing after several years of officiating, has three wins and three other top-five finishes through eight of 14 points races. That has him 32 points ahead of Steven Johnson heading into Saturday night's race on the third-mile clay oval.
The 32-point gap is sizable -- the winner gets 80 points, with two fewer points awarded for each finishing position -- but could be erased in a couple of races.
Irwin was 52 points up on Johnson after the first six races, but a third-place finish by Johnson in race No. 7 coupled with a 20th-place finish by Irwin allowed Johnson to gain 24 points. Irwin gained two of those points back in the last race as he finished fourth, one position ahead of Johnson.
Also in action on Saturday will be IMCA Modifieds, American Stocks and Mini Stocks.
Shannon McQueen of Bakersfield raced to a third-place finish in a Bay Cities Racing Association Midget race last Saturday night at Antioch Speedway despite losing her brakes five laps into the event. McQueen switches sanctioning bodies Saturday night when she competes in a USAC race at Santa Maria Speedway. McQueen won the BCRA dirt championship last season and currently leads the USAC championship race by 55 points.
Bakersfield's Ryan Reed raced to his best ARCA finish of his rookie season -- sixth -- in a 200-lap race on the 5/8-mile Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis last Friday night. The series heads to the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway on Saturday for a 125-mile race.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West are at Iowa Speedway today for an East-West combination race on the .875-mile tri-oval. Defending West champion Greg Pursley won a West race at Colorado National Speedway last Saturday night to move atop the standings ahead of his teammate, Dylan Kwasniewski, by three points. Bakersfield's Derek Thorn finished second at Colorado and sits fourth in points, 34 behind Pursley. David Mayhew of Bakersfield was fifth at Colorado and is third in points, two ahead of Thorn.
Coors Light Open Late Model points leader Dallas Montes of Bakersfield had a flat tire end his bid for victory Saturday night at Madera Speedway. Montes took the lead on the 20th lap of the 100-lap event, but was forced to pit due to a flat tire on lap 60 and eventually wound up sixth. Andrew Murray won the race. Brian Richardson of Bakersfield was seventh with Bakersfield's Kenny Smith 13th.