It’ll be quite a night for racers and fans Saturday night at Irwindale Speedway. In addition to five classes — Late Models, Irwindale Race Trucks, Spec Late Models. Legends and Rusty Wallace Racing Late Models — the track will again host first responders, who must show proper documentation.
“This is a great annual event for us; we always look forward to our annual event,” Irwindale president and CEO Jim Cohan said. “It’s our great honor to have these heroes here as our guests. We want them to find out just how much our fans respect them for what they do 24/7, every day of the year. They have our most sincere thanks.”
Fans will also get the opportunity to thank some wounded American servicemen. The Sharky’s Spec Late Models will be presented by the WAVES (Wounded American Veterans Experience Scuba) Project and it’s a tight race among three drivers from throughout Southern California. Robby Hornsby of Yucaipa leads Craig Yeaton of San Dimas by 20 points, and Ventura’s Ed Cutler is in third four points behind Yeaton.
Sharky’s is a San Dimas dive and swim shop owned by Yeaton, who served eight years in the Marine Corps nearly 40 years ago. He got into racing Super Stocks later than most drivers and moved into Late Models. He actually took time off from the sport, but with encouragement from his original crew, the 54-year-old returned to the spec class and scored his first win earlier this season at Irwindale.
“I enjoy it,” Yeaton said about racing. “I missed being around it, missed the guys and being at the track.”
According to Yeaton, the best advice he ever received about race was upon his return.
“I was told to keep the fenders and stay on the lead lap,” the former Marine said. “In the three years I’ve been racing the Spec car, I’ve only had to make one major change.
“In fact, after the win one of the crew guys joked we should weld the tool box shut.”
Yeaton has first-hand knowledge of how a small adjustment can produce major results.
“We were chasing it for two years, but we recently made a change and the car really liked it,” Yeaton said. “A minor change is what brought the car to life.”
Track officials point to Yeaton’s involvement with veterans with pride.
“Obviously, there a direct connect between Craig’s military service to our country and his business,” said Doug Stokes, a track vice president. “This project gives wounded vets something very special. Hearing him talk about the sort…