CORONA, Calif. — Jason Patison said the secret to winning races at the Irwindale Event Center is the same as it is at any race track: a good car, a good setup and good luck.
“I’ve been running there a long time,” said Patison, who won last year’s Lucas Oil Modified Series race at the fast half-mile oval and will be trying to make it two in a row in Saturday night’s (August 16) LoanMart Super Fast 75 presented by K&N Filters.
“I started back in 2003 in the Super Late Models and just had horrendous luck for a long time. I had good cars, but something would always go wrong. Finally everything is just coming together. I’ve still got good cars and good setups, and I’ve got the luck to go with it now.”
Patison’s luck has manifested itself through victories in the past two Super Late Model main events and three wins and a third in five races overall. That success and his familiarity with the longest and fastest track on the Lucas Oil Modifieds schedule will make Patison one of the favorites when the 30-car field takes the green flag Saturday night, even though Modifieds and Super Late Models aren’t birds of a feather.
“There’s really a big difference because of the (smaller) tires and the lack of a spoiler with the Modifieds,” Patison said. “In a Super Late you can run the bottom (of the track) the whole race if you need to. In a Modified you can only do it when the tires are fresh, so you’ve got to try to get it while the getting is good.
“You can run good high or low, but low is the fastest. That’s where I’ll be to qualify and if I can get down there early in the race to make passes I will. In the Modified, as the tires get hot (and have less grip) the high line is definitely the preferred groove.
“You have to carry momentum and once the tires get hot you don’t have the grip you need to accelerate out of the corners. On the high line you can just roll through the corner and carry more speed. The track does change a little bit (during a race), but it’s kind of the opposite of what you’d think it would. It’s been my experience that the longer the race goes on it gets freer instead of tighter.”
Saturday night’s race, the seventh of 10 on the Modified schedule, is scheduled to go on for 75 green-flag laps, and with points leader
Austin Barnes sitting out a one-race suspension the outcome will have a big impact on the Hoosier Tire West point standings.
Those in the best position to take advantage of Barnes’ absence are series rookie Dylan Cappello, and second-year driver Chase Catania who was on suspension and missed last year’s Irwindale outing.
Both are 26 points behind the leader and either man can take over the top spot by finishing 12th or better.