New engine fuels Staudinger’s Late Model win
But because of what track officials found in Staudinger’s car, M&R Engines is no longer on the preferred list of companies that can provide engines to teams in the Late Model or Super Trucks divisions at the track. Watkins Engine Development and LIZ-ZARD Racing Engines are the two companies that the track will allow to supply motors to teams in the Late Model and Super Trucks division. Track Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Bob DeFazio said he recommends that every team using an M&R engine have it inspected by one of the two other companies to ensure it is within regulations. Getting disqualified and having to replace a motor might force other drivers to quit racing. It made Staudinger a determined driver. “I just went at it like I had nothing to lose,” Staudinger said. “We tried some different things, setup-wise.” His team used the advice of other drivers to change the shock package and made some other minor adjustments. It turned Staudinger’s car into the fastest one at the track. Staudinger won 12 races at the track in the West Coast Pro Truck Series, but never in a stock car. He said the way he won the stock car race was not how he envisioned it. “I thought there was going to be a huge difference,” Staudinger said. “We were working so hard to run where we were, third to seventh place. I drove harder to finish seventh than to win the race. I thought I’d have to work way harder than that.” Even with a new engine, Staudinger said, his team is still under a microscope at the track. Inspectors took close looks at his car before and after the last race. He doesn’t expect it to be much different tonight. “I’m expecting more of the same,” Staudinger said. “Everybody’s working just as hard as we are.” Doug McComb of Thousand Oaks leads the Late Model standings. He has a 14-point lead over Valencia’s Chris Carmody. Staudinger, despite being disqualified in a race, is tied for fifth in the standings, 40 points out of first. The NASCAR Super Late Models, Super Trucks, Legend Cars and Bandeleros are scheduled to race tonight. Andrew Phipps of Simi Valley leads the Super Late Model standings by two points over rookie Scott Dodd of Mira Loma. Travis Thirkettle of Newhall is third, 10 points behind Phipps. Pat Mintey Jr. of Quartz Hill leads the Super Trucks standings. Canyon Country’s John Watkinson is fourth, Valencia’s Logan Henson is sixth and rookie Connor Cantrell of Valencia is eighth. Gates will open at 4 p.m. Races start at 7. American Le Mans Series: Of the three Acura-powered teams competing in the American Le Mans Series, Andretti Green Racing is putting together an impressive season. Valencia’s Bryan Herta, driver for Andretti Green Racing, has been part of the team’s winning effort in the LMP2 division at the 12 Hours of Sebring. With teammate Dario Franchitti, he won the pole for the Grand Prix of Long Beach race. Herta was part of the team that finished second in the LMP2 division at the Grand Prix of Houston. Next up is today’s Utah Grand Prix at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City. The Acuras, which are developed and designed at Honda Performance Development in Valencia, are in their first year of competition in the American Le Mans Series. “They’ve done such a great job coming into the series brand new with a new engine and car and giving us great tools to go out and compete,” said Herta, a Hart High of Newhall graduate. “Although we won Sebring, which was great, and we’ve been competitive and run up front every weekend, I don’t think we’ve gotten the best result possible on every weekend that we’ve been out there. That’s what we have to improve on if we want to get serious about the championship.” Herta will be teamed with Marino Franchitti for the Utah Grand Prix. Lowe’s Fernandez Racing and Highcroft Racing are the other two teams using Acura-powered entries in the American Le Mans Series. CBS will broadcast the race tape-delayed at 10 a.m. Sunday. [email protected] (818) 713-3715160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Staudinger had to find a new motor for his car, and find it fast. He ended up getting one from Watkins Engine Development in Bakersfield and was able to get it ready for the next race. With a new motor, Staudinger set fast time, the first time he ever turned a qualifying lap in the 18-second range, and won the first NASCAR Late Model race of his career at Irwindale Speedway. Now he has every reason to return to the track for tonight’s Late Model race at Irwindale Speedway. It was an unexpected win. What was even more unexpected was the support Staudinger said he got from fans and fellow drivers at the track. “I was really pleased,” Staudinger said. “I was expecting to hear boos and hisses. It was just what the guys needed, a little spark.” Canyon Country’s Aaron Staudinger had every reason not to show up last Saturday night for the NASCAR Late Model race at Irwindale Speedway. In the previous race, after finishing seventh on April 28, track inspectors took a close look at his car’s motor. They found a number of what track officials called nonconforming parts and disqualified Staudinger from the race. He was the highest-finishing driver using a sealed crate motor from M&R Engines, one of three companies that supply engines to the Late Model teams at Irwindale Speedway. When inspectors were through with Staudinger’s car, they had torn the engine completely apart.