IRWINDALE, Calif. — Ryan Partridge swept the Lucas Oil Late Model Twin 30-lap races Saturday night and also captured the Truck feature to become the first driver with three feature triumphs during the same event at Irwindale Speedway.
Partridge of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., finished a half-second in front of rnneer-up Andrew Porter of La Verne, Calif., and .766-second ahead of third-finishing Cole Custer in the initial Lucas Oil Twin race. He followed with a win in the track’s Truck event.
The second Lucas Oil Twin would be the toughest for the 24-year-old Partridge to win. He lined up on pole next to Custer, a 16-year-old who is a development driver for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner Gene Haas. They raced each other cleanly but ferociously for the entire 30 laps.
Partridge had led the entire distance leading up to a lap 15 restart. Custer, of Ladera Heights, Calif., was lined up on the outside and began challenging Partridge for the lead. Partridge held him off for one lap on the half-mile circuit, but Custer was determined and took the lead on the 16th lap.
Custer, who has two wins in NASCAR’s K&N East, one in K&N West and was 12th in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Martinsville on March 30, had the lead when Adrianne Murlin crashed in turn three to bring out the final caution.
On the restart with six laps to go, Partridge jumped to the front at the sight of the green flag and held it through turn two. He went up the track entering the back straight and put Custer behind him.
“Cole and I battled at the end and it was wild,” Partridge said. “I know with Cole on the track, it’s anybody’s race and you have to wait for that last checkered flag. Starts and restarts, we were absolutely neck and neck. It was anybody’s race going into Turn 1. I knew we were driving the heck out of it and to get in front of him by the middle of (Turns) one and two and clear him out of two because I knew if we got side by side on the backstretch, there was nothing else I could have done. We were too close as cars.
“All and all it was a good night. The car and the truck were hooked up and a lot of fun. I don’t think we can get off to a better start to the season. It’s been pretty amazing so far.”
Custer thinks he might have used up his tires with his hard charge to take the lead on the outside and it caught up with him later.
“We didn’t have much left at the end,” he said. “He was definitely faster than us at the end. I couldn’t stick my nose in him like he could on us.”
Trevor Huddleston of Agoura Hills, Calif., finished third in the second Twin feature, equaling his best finish in a late model.