Jared Irvan knew he could win the PASS South super late model race at Anderson, S.C., Speedway if his parents would allow him to enter, but his father, former NASCAR driver Ernie Irvan, was still stunned when his 17-year-old son received the checkered flag for his first-ever victory in the series.
“I was dumfounded,” the 1991 Daytona 500 winner said. “I couldn’t believe that we had finally put it all together. It’s probably one of the best Father’s Day presents I’ve had.
“We all knew he had a lot of talent and was able to win races. We just hadn’t been able to put it all together. He did a great job. He drove like a veteran because he knew he had enough car under him not to have to push it harder than he had to push it.”
The young Midland resident’s confidence in his ability to win at the three-eighths-mile track stemmed from the fact that he had raced more at that speedway than any other on the circuit.
“I knew some tricks of the track that some other people didn’t,” Jared said. “I was able to change up my line a little bit and use that to my advantage.”
Jared’s side-by-side duel with Concord’s Roger Lee Newton began with 15 laps remaining. For the next nine laps, they remained fender-to-fender before Jared gained the advantage with six laps to go. He then gradually pulled away, forcing Newton to settle for second. Troutman’s Clay Rogers placed third.
“I really didn’t think I had the car to win and my car just came to life in the last 25 to 30 laps,” the Central Cabarrus High School rising senior said. “I had saved my tires for the first 90 laps. Throughout the whole race my crew chief had told me to try not to spin the tires. With the PASS series, the tires wear out really easy. We had to save them for the last 25 laps so we could drive up there and get past some people.”
Jared’s crew chief, Jamie Rouleau, provided him with his car-length advantage over Newton in the closing laps. It wasn’t until Jared’s lead reached eight car lengths that he believed victory was reality.
“When the checkered flag flew (I felt) relief,” Jared said. “I didn’t know if it was ever going to come. This year at the end of the races we’ve had the fastest car, but we haven’t been in the right spot. Finally, this race we were in the right spot at the right time.”
A limited budget has resulted in Jared competing in few super late model races this year. The Anderson race on Father’s Day weekend was only Jared’s third this season. The father and son work on the car together, then Rouleau arrives from New Hampshire two days before the race and handles the final setup.
One could say the Irvan racing program operates on a day-to-day basis. They don’t know when Jared will again compete in PASS, but they do have their sights set on the Aug. 29 CARS Tour super late model event at Concord Speedway, a track where Ernie excelled on dirt and asphalt before joining NASCAR’s premier series fulltime. Meanwhile, Jared is competing fulltime in Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Bojangle’s Summer Shootout Series in the Pro Legends division.
“We made the decision to run the Summer Shootout about a week and a half before it started. I didn’t have a whole lot of time to get the car ready, but they aren’t that hard to get ready,” said Jared, who posted a top-five finish in each of the first three rounds.
Prior to Jared’s PASS South victory, his most recent win had occurred in a February Legends car race during CMS’ Winter Heat Series. That victory was his first in the Pro Legend Division.
TORC Heads to Charlotte
The Off-Road Championship, better known as TORC, heads to The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway for a two-day event July 10-11. Known as the Showdown In Charlotte, the event will be on a half-mile track consisting of a table top jump, banked turns and tight corners. Each day the gates open at 5 p.m. with the opening ceremony slated for 7:30 p.m.
East Lincoln Bike Race
East Lincoln Speedway officials have scheduled a drivers bike race for July 11. All drivers are eligible for the event. There will be three divisions, which will be determined by age. A trophy and $100 will go to the winner in each division.
Olsbergs MSE victorious at Daytona
Mooresville’s Austin Cindric captured his second victory in the last three Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites races, while teammate Oliver Eriksson earned his first win in the series during two days of racing at Daytona.
In Supercars, Sebastian Eriksson gave the Mooresville-based Olsbergs MSE team its first victory this season in that series. With a victory and a third-place finish in the two-day event, Eriksson took an eight-point lead over Ken Block in the Supercar standings. Block finished second to Eriksson, while Huntersville resident Steve Arpin, driving for Concord-based Chip Ganassi Racing, finished third. Arpin’s teammate Jeff Ward placed fourth.
The next GRC event is July 5 at Marine Corps Air Station New River adjacent to Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N.C.
Piquet signs multi-year deal
Huntersville resident Nelson Piquet Jr. has signed a multi-year deal with his NEXTEV TCR Formula E team.
Heading into the season finale, Piquet had won two races in the inaugural FIA Formula E Championship season, one in Long Beach and the other in Moscow, and was the standings leader. Formula E is the first-ever, all-electric, single-seater series. A former NASCAR driver, Piquet also is competing in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Series Supercars. He is fourth in that series’ standings.
Stirewalt leads standings
Salisbury’s Jantzen Stirewalt carries a 25-point lead over Hunter Moody of Landis in the Allison Legacy Series standings heading into the July 3 event at Hickory Motor Speedway.
In the series first five races this season, Stirewalt has produced three victories and Moody two. Stirewalt also has five top-5 finishes, while Moody possesses four.
Hemric in second place
Kannapolis native Daniel Hemric used a runner-up finish in the Rumble By The River 100 at Montgomery (Ala.) Motor Speedway to take over second in the Southern Super Series standings. Hemric now trails standings leader Casey Smith by 35 points with five races remaining in the season. The series next race is July 24 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla.
Deb Williams is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Deb? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.