IRWINDALE, Calif. — Versatile Cole Whitt started second in a 28-car field of USAC Western Series 360 cubic-inch sprint cars as the fifth-fastest qualifier and led all 40 laps Thursday night on the progressively banked Toyota Speedway @ Irwindale half-mile asphalt oval.
The 18 year old from Alpine, Calif., drove his family owned No. 29w CW Management Services Beast/Chevy. He won by .816 second over fast-closing fast-qualifier Kody Swanson.
The winner banked $2,500 from the $16,305 sprint-car purse. Whitt, who won the 2008 USAC National Midget championship by one point over Tracy Hines last Thanksgiving at Irwindale, won the USAC Super License for 2010 based on his successful 2009 results in the three USAC National series.
The annual award entitles the recipient to pit admission for the following season.
Runner-up Swanson, 21, started sixth in his family owned TK Motorsports Eagle-Chevy sponsored by Dr. Keith Williams, DDS. He was third on lap 13 and second on lap 22 after engaging in a spirited battle for nine laps with Scott Pierovich, who placed third in Ken Pierson’s Eagle-Chevy.
“The team’s been working hard and been struggling,” Whitt said. “We kept working on it. Hard work really pays off. My dad taught me that.”
Tanner Swanson, Kody’s 17-year-old brother, started fourth and finished fourth, while Bobby East raced from seventh to finish fifth.
Ryan Kaplan started on the pole as sixth fastest qualifier in his father Ken’s K&N Filters Hornet/Losorwith and finished sixth. Kaplan finished second as a rookie in the weekly late-model division at Irwindale.
Cole Whitt, Kody Swanson, Scott Pierovich, Tanner Swanson, Bobby East, Ryan Kaplan, Audra Sasselli, JoJo Helberg, Tony Hunt, Mike Murgoitio, Luis Ramos III, Rick Hendrix, Tracy Hines, Davey Hamilton, Bryan Warf, Jeff Bird, Brian McClish, Tim Skoglund, Troy DeCaire, Ryan Burdett, Jim Waters, Chris Schmelzle, Randy Bauer, Eric Barlow, Matt Mansell, Drew Church, Marvin Mitchell, Jimmy Riddell.