Patison Returns To Glory At Irwindale
IRWINDALE, Calif. — Jason Patison, the first Lucas Oil Modified Series champion, made his return to victory circle Saturday night with a dominant performance in the LoanMart Hot August 75 presented by Aero Racing Wheels at the Irwindale Event Center.
Patison, who won five races and the title in 2006, had taken four years off from the series to concentrate on his career and had filled his competitive need by racing in the Super Late Model class at Irwindale, including two second-place finishes in as many starts this year.
Saturday, in the sixth of this year’s nine races, the 32-year-old MAVTV programming director put his local knowledge to good use and got all the help he really needed from an invert draw that left him on the outside of the front row after qualifying third.
Jessica Clark, a series rookie, became the second woman this year and in series history to start on the pole. But on the first of the 75 laps around the fast half-mile super speedway she was overwhelmed by Jim Mardis, Patison, Tim Morse and Chris Gerchman.
Two-time series champion Mardis led the first five laps, but Patison got the nose of his Lucas Oil/MAVTV STR Chevrolet in front at start-finish on lap 6 and relinguished the lead only once after that, to Gerchman on lap 22 as the field regained its rhythm after the last of the event’s two yellow flags.
Once he got in front for the final time Patison was able to open a comfortable lead. Lapped traffic allowed Gerchman and Morse to close up occasionally, but neither offered any challenge.
Patison took the checkered flag 0.517 seconds ahead of Gerchman, who managed to hold off a half-dozen passing attempts by Morse. Matthews Hicks was fourth in the best finish of the season for the Santee, California, resident, Doug Hamm fifth and Mardis sixth. Clark finished 13th in the field of 27.
Jason Patison, Chris Gerchman, Tim Morse, Matthew Hicks, Doug Hamm, Jim Mardis, Shelby Stroebel, Taylor Miinch, Roger Brown, Daniel Williams, Rich Lindgren, Nik Romano, Jessica Clark, Brian Collins, Tripp Gaylord, Pat Petrie, Jerry Toporek, Keaton Swane, Thomas Pfundtsein, Doug Carpenter, Eddie Wilcox, Aaron McMorran, Rod Johnson Jr., Dave Arce, Elliott Stjerne, Michael Zimmerman, Larry Gerchman.