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  Johnson steals the top Spot in Qualifying

November 26, 2011   By Tim Kennedy

IRWINDALE, Calif (11-26-2011) – A 15-car field used a five-car inverted start based on afternoon qualifying times. FQ Mike Johnson, of Covina, started fifth in his brand new RCF Chevy Monte Carlo. Kyle McGrady, the fifth quickest qualifier, started from the pole and led the first two laps before fourth starter Brandon Davis, the 2011 ACLM track champion, took command for good in the No. 55 High Point Racing ACS Chevy. M. Johnson took P. 2 from McGrady on lap 8. A debris caution took laps 11-14 to clear a body piece off the P. 4 No. 86 Eshleman Racing car driven by Partridge, who raced in all three of the long-distance races. He pitted briefly under caution and returned on the lead lap but in last position. By lap 40, Davis led Johnson by ten yards with P. 3 McGrady half a straightaway back and engaged in a close duel with late model rookie Austin Dyne in the HPR No. 59. Tenth starter Toni Marie McCray was fifth with Partridge, and K. Smith in a three-way battle 20-yards behind them. Dyne took P. 3 on lap 47. McCray and Partridge also passed McGrady a lap later. Partridge took P. 4 on lap 54. A one-car spin on lap 66 caused the third caution flag.

At the lap 67 green, Partridge took third and engaged M. Johnson for second to the lap 75 checkers. Davis beat Johnson by 25 yards (1.532 seconds) for his 11th late model victory in 20 features this season. Partridge was 1.746 in back of the winner. McCray, McGrady, Tim Smith and his brother Kenny followed. K & N-West veteran Michael Self, from Utah, and teenager Andrew Murray (-7.182 seconds) finished in P. 8-9 and were the final drivers on the lead lap. SWT truck champion Jeff Williams and Rodney Peacher ran 74 laps. On lap 71 fifth place Dyne dropped out with a flat tire and earned P. 12. Thirteen of 15 starters finished the 34 minute race. Mike Johnson ran the fastest race lap on lap 4 at 19.045 (94.513 mph) Winner Davis, 26, ran his fastest lap of 19.055 on lap 17. Champion Davis revealed he is moving to North Carolina in 2012 to pursue possible stock car rides in ARCA or the NASCAR K & N Pro Series-East.

TOP 3 QUOTES: Winner Davis addressed the crowd and said, “It was a great year and a lot of fun. First, thanks to my family and my fiancee. Jeff Schrader's Racecar Factory does a great job building these cars.” P. 2 M. Johnson said “This was my first race in my new car and it was fast.” Third finisher Partridge thanked his Dave Eshleman Racing crew for providing his SLM and late mode rides. Partridge finished his three main events first (trucks), third (late models) and fourth (SLM) for a total payoff of $4,500 for his night's work. Winner Davis received $3,000. P. 2 paid $1,000, and succeeding positions paid $600, $500, $400, $350, $300, $250, $225 and $200 went to each driver in positions 10-15.

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