Photo courtesy Getty Images
Race report by Tim Kennedy
Irwindale Speedway opened its 15th season Saturday with a three division NASCAR event topped by the touring K & N Pro Series-West NAPA Auto Parts 150. K & N rookie Patrick Staropoli, a 24-year old visitor from Florida, won the K & N 150-lap feature on his first visit to the banked Irwindale half-mile. Super stock 30-lap and 40-lap Irwindale Race Truck all-green flag support races for track points preceded the K & N feature. Victories went to 2013 S/S track champion Zack Green and past truck champion Ryan Partridge.
Staropoli became the sixth and final race leader on lap 137 in a wild finish. Nearly all positions changed after the fourth caution of the race. Drivers used high, low and middle lines to snake their way to the front during the final 14 circuits. Fifth fastest qualifier Staropoli, driving the No. 99 Bill McAnally PEAK Toyota, beat runner-up David Mayhew by 1.551 seconds. Third fastest qualifier Greg Pursley, a 46-year old past Irwindale champion, ran second from lap 138-144. He barely retained third spot over pressing Brandon McReynolds and Dylan Lupton. McReynolds, 22-year old son of FOX-TV racing analyst Larry McReynolds, was the fastest qualifier/pole starter and leader of lap 1 and 3-26.
Rounding out the top ten were: Giles Thornton, Idaho’s Brett Thompson, the lap 27-128 leader, double-duty driver Partridge, the lap 129-136 leader, Arizonan Taylor Cuzick and Carlos Vieira. Twenty-three of 26 starters finished with 16 drivers on the lead lap. Nine series rookies started and six drivers were making their first start at Irwindale. The race took 60 minutes and averaged 74.794 mph. The series 150-lap track record is 75.664 mph set in 2004. It was the first K & N West victory for Toyota Camry in the 22nd K & N West event at Irwindale.