Irwindale Speedway was home to week three of the Speed51 Western Super Series presented by J2Racing.parts, and the exciting California track brought great racing at a track that is historically tough to pass on. At the end of the night, ARCA Menards Series East driver Parker Retzlaff prevailed after a pair of early race leaders collided.
Alex McCollum set fast time, but with an eight-car invert he had some work to do. McCollum was able to move into second fairly quickly, until he made contact with race leader Cody Brinson.
“It was just hard racing," McCollum said. "Me and Cody were battling super hard because everyone wanted to get to the lead quick, especially at Irwindale with it being hard to pass. I just made a mistake and got into Cody on accident.”
After being sent to the rear, McCollum was still able to rally to a fourth-place finish, but he did not have the tires left to take the win.
“To come from 21st to a top-five finish was not easy after that incident. I had to keep my nose clean and make smart passes with how tight the field was. I just used my stuff up at the end."
Grabbing his first win of the current Wester Super Series season after leading more than 70 laps was Parker Retzlaff.
“I was just relaxing trying not to burn the tires off too bad but McCollum and Brinson got together and I got some damage to the nose, and I didn’t know how bad it was gonna be," Retzlaff said. "It wasn’t that bad I and tried to keep the tires on it and hope we could get some green in and it was lots of fun.“
With a restart late in the race, the nerves of this young driver were calm as he was able to stay focused while on the edge of his first win.
“I was just trying to get a jump and not give anyone a chance to do anything into turn one, and just get out front and lead.”
#TeamPFC driver Treyten Lapcevich was able to work his way forward from a 14th starting position to a runner-up finish.
“I was a little disappointed with my qualifying effort and having to go through the heat, which had me starting 14th in the main," Lapcevich said. "I planned to save my stuff and it worked out there in the end. The only place to pass was the bottom with everyone holding the top, so it was hard to save tire with how loose it was. I was just staying on the throttle easy and was able to work past these guys.”
A driver with a vast background of real life racing, Ryan Kuhn was able to carry that experience into Irwindale and come home third.
“I did not really test much before this race and came here empty handed," Kuhn admitted. "It is a different track compared to every other, the closest comparison for me is Thompson Speedway, and dealing with the changing grooves I just did not have enough at the end.”
A full on-demand video replay of Tuesday night's Western Super Series race can be viewed by clicking here.
Next Tuesday the Speed51 Western Super Series presented by J2Racing.parts will be off with many drivers competing in the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway. The series will be back in action at Phoenix Raceway on February 19.
-Story by: Kyler Hope, Speed51 West Coast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51