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The Inside Track

Irwindale Opener Set

March 20, 2004|Shav Glick

Irwindale Speedway will open its sixth season of short-track stock car racing tonight with five divisions of NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series competition.

More than 200 vehicles are expected, including 50 in the super late model class. Rip Michels, defending champion and winner of the Sunbelt regional title last year, will have a new Chevrolet Monte Carlo for tonight's twin 50s.

Among Michels' challengers will be Jesse James, producer of the TV show "Monster Garage," who will be driving a Monte Carlo purchased from veteran racer Tommy Fry Jr.

"The super late model class should be one of the strongest we have ever had," said Bob DeFazio, track general manager. "We have all our regulars back, plus some of the best cars and drivers from Bakersfield, Las Vegas and San Diego."

Todd Burns, who won NASCAR's late model championship in a national point system against other regional champions, will open defense of his track title against most of the drivers he faced last year.

Main events are also scheduled for super stocks, mini stocks and Ultra Wheel super trucks. Gates open at 4 and racing begins at 7.

-- Shav Glick

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