Ryan Partridge's Irwindale Hat Trick
IRWINDALE, CA 04/05/2014 -RIS- Ryan Partridge of Rancho Cucamonga, California had the night of his life as Irwindale Speedway opened it's 2014 regular season. Partridge started with a win in the Lucas Oil Late Models in the first of two thirty lap races. Ryan went on to win the 40 lap Irwindale Race Trucks and finished up with a late race win in the second Lucas Oil Late Model 40 lapper. The second late model race was both a crash fest and a thriller as two multi-car wrecks and attrition left five of 21 cars running at the finish. Cole Custer lead the race at the last restart but Partridge got past on the lap 25 restart.
It is believed that this was the first time that someone has won three features in the same night at Irwindale.
It looked earlier in the night that it might be the night for 16 year old Cole Custer who qualified a close second to Mike Johnson. Custer moved from seventh at the start of race one to take third in the first race and started the second race from outside the front row. Andrew Meyers had been gridded to start on the inside front row but could not make the start because of damage suffered in race one. That shifted Partridge to the pole and helped him claim the lead at the start. Custer took the lead on lap 23 and looked to be the winner but a final caution came on lap 25 when Adrianne Murlin broke and spun in turn three. Murlin had been involved in a multi-car crash earlier and it seemed that something that had been damaged had finally failed.
The final restart came with six cars on the track and five of them on the lead lap. Gridded in rows of two Custer and Partridge came to the start with the race on the line and Partridge went first only to have the start canceled as the stewards judged that Ryan had jumped the start. Another restart and this time Custer and Partridge came by side by side and Ryan was able to get a slight lead in turn one which he turned into a clear lead by the back straight. Andrew porter had been having a good race and was in third but broke three laps from the finish leaving only five cars on the track, four on the lead lap. On the lead lap in third was Trevor Huddleston and fourth was Toni McCray in a badly battered car. It seems that anyone who finished this race had some claim to having had a 'good night'.
Wrecks were responsible for most of the attrition. A four car crash on lap eight took four cars including Chris Johnson and Christian McGhee. Then a crash on a lap 15 restart that seemed to have been caused by a problem with Mike Johnson's car slowing as the green flag fell took six cars and damaged many others.
The Race Trucks also ran forty laps and Ryan Partridge started fourth. He passed Christian McGhee to lead on lap five and was not challenged for the rest of the race which ran without caution. Joey Licata Jr. came in second while McGhee came in third.
The most competition came in the skidplate class feature with 28 cars starting and Todd Browne winning the 20 lap main event in his Grandma's 1988 Toyota Camery with only 245,000 miles on it. It was Todd's and the cars second win as he won the final 2013 race. Todd is a pilot for Jet Blue airlines and if he can get through an Irwindale skidplate race I'd trust him as pilot-in-command, anytime.
The smallest class was the Seidner's Collision Mini Stocks where Garret Green lead his Mustang past a field of Pintos for the 25 lap win.
An impressive fireworks show capped the evening for the 4100 plus fans as Irwindales 2014 season gets up to speed. Next oval race is April 19 when the late models and Super Stocks top the bill.
Reporter for RIS since 1996. Photo since 2002.