Irwindale, CA – Austin Barnes shook off the problems of the past three races and put himself back in the winner’s circle Saturday night with a dominating performance in the BILSTEIN Super Fast 75 presented by Five Star RaceCar Bodies.
Barnes, the 2012 series champion, served notice to the field when he reset the qualifying record on the fast 1/2–mile speedway with a lap at 18.640 seconds at 96.567 miles per hour, then led the final 65 laps of the race to win by 0.664 seconds over Taylor Miinch. Reigning champion and last year’s winner Dylan Cappello was third, Jason Irwin fourth and rookie Jack Madrid fifth, and 22 of the 29 starters were running at the finish.
That’s something no one would have bet on after an inauspicious beginning to the fifth of the series’ 10 points races. An accident in Turn 2 sidelined 2013 race winner Jason Patison, Jimmy Sloan and Idaho tourist Shelby Stroebel before the end of the opening lap.
There were two more yellow flags in the first 23 laps, the second one after Larry Gerchman’s car blew a tire and smacked the Turn 1 wall, but after that the race was caution free until Dave Arce spun in Turn 3 with three laps to go.
Barnes started the race fourth following the invert, behind Hoosier Tire West points leader Scott Winters and Miinchand alongside Madrid. He settled into third on the opening lap and on lap 6 began using the track apron to try to get by Winters and Miinch. The Escondido, California, resident finally made the pass stick on lap 11 and from there, he said, he put his About Service/Machine Tech STR Chevrolet on “cruise control.”
It was the kind of race Barnes needed after three subpar outings. He won the season-opener at Lake Havasu City, Arizona, in March, but was plagued by three flats and handling issues at Tucson, Arizona, said he “don’t even want to talk about” what happened at Las Vegas in May and had a fuel line come loose at Madera, California, June 6. They weren’t disastrous finishes – he was third at Tucson, 14th at Las Vegas and fifth at Madera – but obviously he felt all could have been better.
This time things were almost perfect, and when the checkered flag fell Barnes had helped create an almost dream-like scenario for the next stop in the series, at Rocky Mountain Raceways in West Valley City, Utah, July 25.
Winters, who has won twice and went into the Irwindale race 12 points in front of Miinch and19 up on Barnes. He finished seventh and unofficially held onto the lead, but his margin is just 2 points over both Barnes and Miinch.
Perhaps the best news of all for Barnes is that the series will return to Irwindale September 19. It was announced Saturday that the speedway will be hosting the race originally scheduled for Blythe, California’s, Lucas Oil I-10 Speedway, which has closed.
LUCAS OIL MODIFIEDS
BILSTEIN SUPER FAST 75
1/2–mile banked, paved oval
Saturday, June 27, 2015
MAIN EVENT (75 laps) – 1. Austin Barnes (51A), Escondido, Ca.; 2. Taylor Miinch (4T), El Cajon, Ca.; 3. Dylan Cappello (11), Peoria, Az.; 4. Jason Irwin (9X), Albuquerque, N.M.; 5. Jack Madrid (3X), San Clemente, Ca.; 6. Eddie Secord (84), Oak Hills, Ca.; 7. Scott Winters (24A), Tracy, Ca.; 8. Doug Hamm (4X), North Las Vegas, Nevada; 9. Blaine Perkins (55), Bakersfield, Ca.; 10. Jim Mardis (51), Yucaipa, Ca.;
11. Matthew Hicks (28), Lakeside, Ca.; 12. Linny White (99), Colton,. Ca.; 13. Kyle Tellstrom (5K), Ukiah, Ca.; 14. Eric Hamilton (11H), Hanford, Ca.; 15. Eric Rhead (66), West Jordan, Utah; 16. Jairo Avila (JA) Jr. (56), Alhambra, Ca.; 17. Blake Rogers (4B), Yuma, Az.; 18. Doug Carpenter (3), San Diego, Ca.; 19. Travis Irving (85), Norco, Ca.; 20. Dave Arce (5), Santee, Ca.;
21. Jerry Toporek (40), Venice, Ca.; 22. William Guevara (12), Lake Havasu City, Az.; 23. Pat Petrie (1), Henderson, Nevada; 24. Larry Gerchman (25), Lake Havasu City, Az.; 25. Kyle Cline (98), Hesperia, Ca.; 26. Kevin Nichols (78), Bakersfield, Ca.; 27. Jason Patison (80), Corona, Ca.; 28. Shelby Stroebel (24), Meridian, Idaho; 29. Jimmy Sloan (19J), Palm Desert, Ca.
Margin of victory – 0.664 seconds. Average speed – 50.699 mph. Caution flags – 4. Fast qualifier – Barnes, 18.640 seconds/96.567 mph. BILSTEIN Trophy Dash (6 laps) – 1. Hicks; 2. Irwin; 3. Miinch; 4. Barnes; 5. Winters; 6. Madrid.
Detailed information on the series is available at www.LucasOilModifieds.com.
Story: LOM PR – Photo: Speed51.com