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IRWINDALE SPEEDWAY: SEAN WOODSIDE'S WILD RIDE.

Byline: Steve Ramirez Staff Writer

IRWINDALE - It was supposed to be for fun.

Instead, competing in Thursday night's Kart Summer Nights at Irwindale Speedway turned out to be Sean Woodside's wild ride.

Woodside, a regular on the NASCAR Southwest Series tour, overturned his 125cc shifter kart, suffering bruises to his chest and sternum. He was still in pain when he started third in Saturday night's Food 4 Less 150.

``I was doing it just for fun,'' said the Saugus resident. ``I hadn't raced those in 20 years, and I found out why.

``It's just deep bruises, but I feel pretty sore.''

It didn't show too much in qualifying after qualifying third with a fast lap of 101.683 mph.

``It was a little sore in the neck, but the most painful part of the deal is when I put my helmet on.''

And Woodside, who is third in Southwest Series points, had no thoughts of starting the 150-lap race, then turning the driving chores over to a relief driver.

``(Friday) I was really thinking about that,'' he replied. ``But I think I'm all right.''

-- Woodside credited Super Late Model regular Tommy Fry with Saturday's impressive qualifying run.

``I have to thank Tommy for that,'' said Woodside of Fry, who has won the past two Super Late Model features at Irwindale. ``He's won two races here and gave us some good advise on the chassis setup.''

--Saturday's Southwest Series event was 150 laps, 50 more then the series previous visits to Irwindale Speedway. It's a change that most of the 31 drivers appear to like.

``I think it makes for a better show,'' said Southwest Series rookie Greg Anderson. ``We're obviously running more laps, and the attrition is going to show. This is a track where you have to take care of your tires and your brakes, so with the extra 50 laps it's just going to add to the excitement and make for a better race.''

--Bryon Germone's track record speed of 103.50 mph survived another Southwest Series event. It's the third consecutive event that the former series driver has stood up since setting the mark in May, 1999.

There were 19 qualifying laps under 18 seconds, but only pole-sitter Rocky Nash came close to Germone's record with a 17.658 lap at 101.937 mph.

``It's just the heat,'' said Nash, who came into Saturday night's event seventh in points. ``Especially (Saturday night). With no cloud cover, the sun comes out and the track gets hot and becomes very slippery. That's going to slow you down.''

--Rich Fountain was unhurt after grazing the front wall during qualifying. He spun coming off turn four, and tapped the wall near the start/finish line. He had no qualifying time and started Saturday's event in the back of the field.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 30, 2000
Words:469
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