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Thirkettle Wins Series With Style

September 24, 2006|Steven Herbert

Travis Thirkettle, needing only a 14th-place finish to secure Irwindale Speedway's late model stock car title, came away with a wire-to-wire victory Saturday as well as the series championship.

Thirkettle started second, passed pole-sitter Nick Joanides on the opening lap and kept the lead for the remainder of the 40-lap race on the half-mile track, finishing 1.411 seconds ahead of runner-up Tim Huddleston.

"We were hooked up tonight," the 28-year-old Thirkettle said after winning his first championship in a racing career that began in 1997. "We've been circling the last month with suspension problems, getting shock absorbers the way we wanted. It took a month to get back to where we were. This is the first race we've had them the way we wanted."

Huddleston set a track record of 18.575 seconds in qualifying, but all it got him was the third spot on the starting grid under the track's inversion system. Huddleston moved into second on the second lap, where he remained throughout the race.

Thirkettle, a Newhall resident who earned $1,000 for the victory Saturday, dominated the division with eight victories in the 15 races. Thirkettle finished with 698 points. Huddleston, the 2005 champion, was second with 669.

Bryan Harrell won the super stock division series with a second-place finish behind Greg Crutcher in the series' final race.

-- Steven Herbert

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