IRWINDALE, Calif. – One of the pleasures in life is reuniting with an old friend.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will do just that when it rolls into Irwindale Speedway on Saturday, March 22 for the NAPA 150 for the first time since July 2011.
“We’re pleased to have the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West back at Irwindale Speedway,” said Doug Stokes, vice president of communications for the Irwindale Event Center. “Putting up a strong showing at Irwindale is always a good sign for any race team. This is the track that always asks the max from cars, drivers, and crews and that consistently has produced some of the most competitive races on the K&N West calendar.”
The track became synonymous with the series since it opened in 1999. Irwindale hosted 21 series events over a 13-year span and the shiny crown jewel situated inside the Los Angeles market became a home track, of sorts, for the series.
Eleven different series drivers went to victory lane at the half-mile oval nestled in the San Gabriel Valley with Austin Cameron leading all drivers with five wins. Brendan Gaughan won three straight in the 2001 season and Jason Bowles claimed three wins in a row over the 2008-09 seasons. Steve Portenga won the inaugural event in 1999 and now serves as crew chief for David Mayhew.
Greg Pursley won the last K&N West race at the track en route to the series championship followed by Derek Thorn, Dylan Kwasniewski and Eric Holmes. Perhaps not coincidentally, each of those four drivers has won series titles.
In addition to the 21 K&N West events, the facility hosted the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown from 2003-11 that included several NASCAR series over the span, but always included the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and East.
Of the cars entered into the NAPA 150 only a dozen or so have experience at the track in a K&N machine with a handful of them having just one start under their belts. Pursley is the only past track winner in the field. Jack Sellers leads all drivers with 18 Irwindale starts followed by Brett Thompson with 15. Both Sellers and Thompson are expected to be on hand for the NAPA 150.