TNGP Notes: A Good Trip For Darland
• Caleb Armstrong, who won Turkey Night at Irwindale in 2011, finished third.
“I took a break and got it dialed in. I won this race in 2011,” he said. “This race is like our Indianapolis 500. Thanks to the PAS for putting on this race. I’d rather win. Dave got me on restarts and Brad got by me low entering turn one on the last restart.”
• Kyle Larson, the 2012 TNGP winner at PAS and NASCAR Sprint Cup Target Ganassi driver for 2014, attended the 2013 PAS Thanksgiving TNGP classic after spending time at Disneyland in Anaheim earlier in the week as he did last year.
Larson watched from the Kunz three-car team pits. He gave last minute advice to his Kunz teammate and pal Abreu at driver introductions on the front straight. His winning No. 71 Bullet/Toyota from last Thanksgiving sat in the pits as a spare car this year.
• The fastest qualifier received a unique Jason Leffler Memorial Fast Time Trophy, a 19-inch by 7-inch high polished aluminum 1930s-era Bantam midget replica mounted on a two-level glass base. The one-time presentation of the Leffler award was suggested by his longtime friend and TNGP pit man Danny Pearson.
He purchased the tether car midget for several hundred dollars in July. Marvin Reichert helped finish the Leffler trophy replica of 25 tether cars he handcrafted years ago. He removed the model airplane engine of the trophy car.
Renowned racing pin-striping artist Steve Feinberg, 80, had painted race cars for Parnelli Jones and Larry Howard. Feinberg painted the car numbers and striped the replica. Feinberg lettered Left Turn Special and Turkey Night on the trophy car hood and painted No. 9 on the left-rear tail and No. 32 on the right-rear tail. Leffler used those numbers on his 1999 and 2005 TNGP winning midgets at Irwindale Speedway.
• The 33-car field started the longest midget race of the year at 9:14 pm with the 14 fastest qualifiers positioned straight up in the first seven rows based upon qualifying times.
The first eight finishers in a pair of 17-car, 12-lap qualifying races started in rows eight through 15 in order of their finishing positions in qualifying races. The feature ran under the green flag to lap 26 before a stalled car caused the first of 11 caution flags. A red flag waved on lap 78 after a solo flip on the front straight by Cody Swanson. The race concluded at 10:24 after 70 minutes that included intense competition on the well-groomed clay.
• Tanner Thorson, from Minden, Nev., won the 16th annual Don Basile Rookie of the Race plaque and $500 after finishing 10th on Turkey Night.