IRWINDALE, Calif. – Jason Patison drove to his first victory in the Pick Your Part Super Late Model Series at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway, and added a second win in the Open Comp class on Saturday.
Patison said his triumph in the 20-lap Open Class feature was “a lot of fun.”
The 33-year-old MAVTV American Real program director found far more satisfaction and enjoyment in the Super Late Model’s 40-lap race. He had ended many events in the division at Irwindale frustrated and disappointed.
Patison’s Lucas Oil-backed car ran flawlessly Saturday in finishing 2.7 seconds ahead of second-place Toni McCray.
“It felt really good,” Patison said. “We’ve been running here a long time and we’ve had horrendous luck. Actually, I was waiting for something to go wrong there and it didn’t, the car ran great the whole race. It felt amazing to finally get that win and get that monkey off our backs.”
Patison was the fast qualifier, averaging 100.184 miles per hour, and started sixth in the inverted field. He was running third and in position to challenge leader McCray and second-running Jack Madrid by the 12th lap.
“I caught Toni McCray and Jack Madrid and they were running side-by-side,” Patison said. “Jack was trying to work on Toni, so I was kind of a little cautious. I didn’t want to tear anybody up that early in the race and risk our car.
“We kind of hung back a little bit to watch them. I finally decided to take it way down at the entrance (of Turn Three) so that if Jack wanted to go under Toni, there would be room for both of us and we just kept it down there. The car was rolling really good through the center and we were able to clear them.”
McCray didn’t expect Patison to make it through the corner.
“We have no idea how he pulled it off,” McCray said. “We don’t know how he did not spin.”
Patison held the lead the rest of the way, never threatened by McCray of Highland, Calif. She was seeking her first Super Late Model win at Irwindale.
“We’ve had a lot of second places in the Super Late Models,’ McCray said. “We’ll get it. We had a really good run. We’ve been fighting the car. The (new) chassis is a little bit different than what Rip (crew chief Michels) was expecting, so we had to do some changes on the front geometry. We’re getting closer on hitting on it. We were still a little bit tight, but I’m happy how we did. We’re going to get that win and it will be here before you know it.”
Madrid finished third. He won the seven-race season opener at Irwindale on May 3.
“Jason passed us both on the bottom and I give him a lot of credit for that,” Madrid said. “He definitely deserved to win tonight, he had the best car.”
Patison won back-to-back races for the first time in his career. He went to the pits to change from the 10-inch tires used in Super Late Models to the eight-inch tires in Open Comp and joined at the back of the nine-car field. Patison was in the lead on the fifth lap and won by .768 of a second over Jerry Toporek.
Patison didn’t plan on racing in Open Comp.
“I showed up today and somebody said jokingly to me, ‘All you have to do is put eight-inch tires on it.’ “ he said. “Well, why not?”