IRWINDALE, Calif. (Sept. 27, 2014)—Blaine Perkins of Bakersfield, Calif., became the first winner born in the 21st Century and Trevor Huddleston of Agoura Hills, Calif., drove to his first victory in the Lucas Oil Late Model Twins features Saturday night at the Irwindale Event Center before a crowd of 3,180.
The 14-year-old Perkins was born Feb. 28, 2000. He replaced High Point Racing teammate Ryan Cansdale of Laguna Beach, Calif, as the youngest to win a Lucas Oil Late Model Twins feature. The 15-year Cansdale triumphed in the Late Model Twins on Sept. 13. With High Point teammate Huddleston taking the initial feature Saturday, Perkins’ win was the third straight for the High Note team, owned by Tim Huddleston.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” Perkins said. “I can’t believe it happened. Just going out there and running with the best drivers in California, I’m just so glad I can be out there racing with them.”
Perkins was making his third start in the series. He started on the outside of the front row, drove into the lead on the half-mile track on the opening lap of the 30-lap feature and held it through the 11th.
The race’s sole caution put Toni McCray of Highland, Calif., on the front row for the double-file 12th lap restart and she passed Perkins in turns one and two.
Perkins slipped to third behind Ryan Partridge of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. He passed Partridge for second on the 25th lap and went inside of McCray in turn four to take the lead on the 27th. Perkins finished .516 of a second in front of runner-up McCray.
“I knew it was coming down to the end and I was going for the win and I had a car that was able to stick on the bottom,” Perkins said. “It just came down to the car. The car was absolutely amazing. I can’t thank Tim Huddleston and High Point Racing enough.”
Trevor Huddleston, Tim’s 18-year-old son, had four runner-up finishes in the previous eight features. He started on the outside of the front row for the 30-lap feature next to Zane Smith of Huntington Beach, Calif., and chased him for the opening 18 laps.
Smith had a comfortable advantage, but the race’s only caution put Huddleston on the outside of the front row for the lap 18 restart. Huddleston passed him on the high line in turns one and two and took the checkered flag .234 of a second ahead of second-place Smith.
“It feels great,” Huddleston said. “I’m shocked, shaking so bad. To win at a place where my dad won in the same type of car, it’s a dream come true.
“We were right on Zane Smith’s bumper until that late-race restart. We went three wide with Toni McCray and Zane Smith, so that was pretty crazy, and we ended up leading the like the last 10 laps. Zane was right there, but we got the edge. Zane was on the bottom and Toni was next to me and they pushed up and I just stuck it in there and hoped for the best and it turned out good.”
Partridge moved closer to his second straight championship in Late Models at Irwindale by finishing fifth and third Saturday. McCray, the only driver with a chance to overtake Partridge, shaved four points off his lead with a fourth and a second, but still faces a uphill battle in the season finale next Saturday, Oct. 4. Partridge leads, 850-790, and can clinch by finishing 11th or better. It’s the sole Late Model Twins event with a single feature, but scores double points.
“I didn’t drive conservatively–you always drive hard—but we set the car up conservatively so it would run consistently,” Partridge said. “A third and a fifth is exactly what we came here to do.”
-Irwindale Event Center Press Release. Photo Credit: Kern County Raceway.
Results, Irwindale Event Center, Sep. 27, 2014
Lucas Oil Late Model Twins
Race 1 (30 laps): 1. Trevor Huddleston (Agoura Hills), 2. Zane Smith (Huntington Beach), 3. Andrew Porter (La Verne), 4. Toni McCray (Highland), 5. Ryan Partridge (Rancho Cucamonga), 6. Christian McGhee (Claremont), 7. Blaine Perkins (Bakersfield), 8. Ryan Cansdale (Laguna Beach), 9. Sean Woodside (Valencia), 10. Ricky Schlick (Claremont), 11. Jeff Williams (Newbury Park), 12. Curtis Burns (San Bernardino), 13. Rodney Peacher (North Hills), 14. Glenn Schwenger (Redondo Beach).
Margin of victory: .234-sec. Lap leaders: Smith 1-17, Huddleston 18-30.
Race 2 (30 laps): 1. Perkins, 2. McCray, 3. Partridge, 4. Smith, 5. Porter, 6. Woodside, 7. McGhee, 8. Cansdale, 9. Laguna Beach, 10. Williams, 11. Huddleston, 12. Peacher, 13. Burns, 14. Schwenger
Margin of victory: .516-sec. Lap leaders: Perkins 1-11, McCray 12-26, Perkins 27-30.