Hunt laps up to fifth in dominant Irwindale USAC runBy Bobby Gerould – Baldwin Park, CA. – August 26, 2006 - …Calling Tony Hunt’s Saturday night performance at Irwindale Speedway a dominant drive is an understatement. Hunt, of Lincoln, CA, took the checkered flag a full eight seconds ahead of runner-up Kody Swanson, and Hunt lapped all but the top-five finishers in the USAC Western Sprint Car feature. The non-stop 40-lap event took all of eleven minutes to complete. It was Hunt’s sixth win in ten series races this season.


“Our car was unbelievable tonight”, said Hunt. “We’ve got some momentum going now, and our team is staying focused on that championship. We all love racing at Irwindale. The fans and the facility here are great, and the track is as good as it gets for us.”


The win was Hunt’s 21st career USAC Western Sprint Car triumph, and it extended his series points lead over Mike Murgoitio who struggled to an eleventh place result Saturday night.


Nick Green led the opening laps but Hunt closed quickly from his inside third row starting position. Aboard the Alan Kaiser owned Eagle/Bailey #4, Hunt was in second place by lap three and he overtook Green with a low maneuver in turn two on lap six. As Hunt ran away and hid, a great battle for third broke out between Shauna Hogg, Tim Barber, Swanson, and the series’ top rookie performer in 2006, Bradley Galedrige.


Swanson, running the highest groove on the ˝-mile paved oval, eventually earned third and then passed Green to take second spot on lap 15. Two laps later Hunt’s advantage was a full straightaway in traffic. At the halfway point, the running order was Hunt (by almost half a lap) over Swanson, Galedrige, Barber, and Green.


Galedrige, in his initial run in a sprint car at Irwindale, closed on Swanson making a good fight for the runner-up spot. From lap 23 to the checkered flag Galedrige, who started eleventh, pressured Swanson. However, the defending series champion from Kingsburg, CA was up to the challenge.  He stayed in front of Galedrige to earn a hard-fought second place finish. The top three were followed across the stripe by Barber, and Green who represented the only cars on the same lap as Hunt.


Hogg wound up sixth. Jeff Gardner, the 1998 USAC Western Sprint Car champion, was the ‘Hard Charger’ of the event scoring a seventh place finish after starting 16th. Greg Anderson was eighth followed by Rick Hendrix, and Nick Rescino Jr.


Murgoitio’s car was the subject of controversy after it was flagged for exceeding the decibel limit in both qualifying, and in his heat race. Before lengthy lobbying by the Davey Hamilton APEX Racing Team, Murgoitio and teammate Galedrige, were told to put their cars on the trailer by Irwindale Speedway officials. Ultimately a compromise was reached. After adding (more) mufflers, the cars were allowed to race in the feature.


Swanson established quick-time for the meet with a lap of 16.730 seconds. Murgoitio, and Brian Geiszler won heat races.


NOTES: Among those watching the action Saturday night was well known actress Sandra Bullock. Bullock’s husband Jesse James was racing in another division at the track Saturday. …The Irwindale Speedway brought in a huge “Diamond Vision” style screen that played the NASCAR Cup race from Bristol, TN.


USAC WESTERN SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: August 26, 2006Irwindale, California – Irwindale Speedway


      QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Kody Swanson, 75, KT-16.730; 2. Tony Hunt, 4, Kaiser-16.799; 3. Shauna Hogg, 5, Hogg-16.904; 4. Tim Barber, 14, Pierson-17.001; 5. Nick Green, 114, Green-17.015; 6. Bryan Warf, 91, Warf-17.286; 7. Jim Kaiser, 94, Kaiser-17.360; 8. Matt DeMartini, 6, Carr-17.435; 9. Brian McClish, 4, McClish-17.546; 10. Ivan Worden, 63, Worden-17.617; 11. Darren Rusconi, 66, Sullivan-NT; 12. Michael Trimble, 15, CTR-NT; 13. Bradley Galedrige, 21, Hamilton-NT; 14. Mike Murgoitio, 20, Hamilton-NT; 15. Nick Rescino Jr., 11, Rescino-NT; 16. Brian Geiszler, 2, Anderson-NT; 17. Jeff Gardner, 51, Gardner-NT; 18. Rick Hendrix, 3F, Finkenbinder-NT; 19. Greg Anderson, 04, McClish-NT; 20. Marvin Mitchell, 68, Mitchell-NT.


      FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Murgoitio, 2. Swanson, 3. McClish, 4. Green, 5. Hogg, 6. Hendrix, 7. Galedrige, 8. Kaiser, 9. Rusconi, 10. Trimble. 2:15.08


      SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Geiszler, 2. Hunt, 3. Barber, 4. Gardner, 5. Anderson, 6. DeMartini, 7. Rescino, 8. Worden, 9. Warf, 10. Mitchell. 2:18.89


      FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Tony Hunt, 2. Kody Swanson, 3. Bradley Galedrige, 4. Tim Barber, 5. Nick Green, 6. Shauna Hogg, 7. Jeff Gardner, 8. Greg Anderson, 9. Rick Hendrix, 10. Nick Rescino Jr., 11. Mike Murgoitio, 12. Brian McClish, 13. Bryan Warf, 14. Jim Kaiser Jr., 15. Darren Rusconi, 16. Matt DeMartini, 17. Ivan Worden, 18. Brian Geiszler, 19. Marvin Mitchell, 20. Michael Trimble. 11:24.51



FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-5 Green, Laps 6-40 Hunt.


NEW WESTERN SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-Hunt-643; 2-Murgoitio-556; 3-Swanson-511; 4-Galedrige-503; 5-Hogg-432; 6-McClish-410; 7-Rescino-319; 8-Gardner-311; 9-Green-309; 10-Barber-256.


NEXT WESTERN SPRINT CAR RACE: September 2 – Altamont MotorSports Park – Tracy, CA.