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Friday

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Pursley Posts Top-Five In NASCAR West Series Race

sportslocalIt took three tries, but Greg Pursley finally finished a NASCAR Camping World Series West race at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale in one of his new cars.

Pursley, a Canyon High graduate, was fifth in the King Taco 200 on Saturday night at Irwindale. It was his fifth top-five finish of the season. His previous two West Series races at the track were not nearly as rewarding.

He bought three cars from Richard Childress Racing last year. He took one of them to a race at Irwindale in August and didn’t finish.

He took the same car to Irwindale for the All-Star Showdown in January. He crashed in qualifying.

Pursley said he bought the car from Richard Childress Racing specifically to race at Irwindale. It took some time, but Pursley and his crew were able to have a successful run at the track with the new car.

Jason Bowles, a driver from Ontario, won the West Series race at Irwindale. He has won three West Series races in a row at Irwindale. He won the August race and last year's Fourth of July race at the track.

It was also the third win of the West Series season for Bowles. He won the race at Infineon Raceway on Sonoma two weeks ago and at Phoenix in April.

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The new S-2 stock car division made its debut at the track on Saturday night. Luis Martinez Jr., a driver from Long Beach, won a 12-lap exhibition race. R.J. Johnson of Canyon Country, winner of four races in the NASCAR Super Trucks division, was sixth in the seven-car field.

Bryan Herta Autosport recorded its first podium finish in the Firestone Indy Lights series at Watkins Glen International in New York on Saturday.

Felipe Guimaraes, making his first start for the team owned by Valencia’s Bryan Herta, was third.

“It’s my first Firestone Indy Lights race, my first race in this car and my first race here at Watkins so it was a very good result,” said Guimaraes, an 18-year-old from Brazil. “The Bryan Herta Autosport team gave me a good car and our morning practice set us up very well for the race. Like all drivers, I would have loved to be on a higher step on the podium but I'm very happy with my first race."

Herta’s team had two cars in the race. Daniel Herrington finished a season-best sixth at Watkins Glen. Herrington has been entered in every Indy Lights race for Herta’s team this season.

“It’s a great day. I've done this long enough to understand that this is what we need to do,” said Herta, a Hart High graduate, after the race. “We need to run in the top-five. If we keep putting cars in the top-five, the wins will come. James (Davison) did a great job today and Felipe obviously did a great job in his first race finish with a podium. Daniel had a bit more of a struggle, but still we got all three cars home in the top-seven. We scored points on a lot of guys in front of us in the standings so I am really pleased. This is our best day yet and we still have seven more races to go.”

J.R. Hildebrand won the race and extended his lead in the Indy Lights standings.

The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame inducted three new members with ties to Saugus Speedway.

Rick Carelli and Doug George, champion drivers who used to race at Saugus Speedway, and Wayne Spears, who owned a number of race winning and championship teams at Saugus Speedway, were part of the latest class of Hall of Famers.

They were inducted into the Hall of Fame on Friday night at Irwindale. Chuck Brown, Joe and John Fernandez, Ben Gregory, Bert Letner, Chuck Meekins, Dick Rathman and Art Watts were also inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Go to www.haddockinthepaddock.com for video interviews of the drivers and recaps of all the races from Irwindale.