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PURSLEY ON A RECORD-SETTING RUN.

Byline: TIM HADDOCK Motor Sports

For the second time this season, Greg Pursley set the qualifying record in the NASCAR Super Late Model class at Irwindale Speedway en route to his 10th win of the season.

The Canyon Country driver turned a lap at 17.81 seconds on the 1/2-mile oval, besting his previous mark of 17.84.

His 10 victories also matched the track record for most in a season. Rip Michels of Mission Hills, the top rookie driver on the NASCAR Elite Division Southwest Series this year, also won 10 in the Super Late Model division.

Apparently the track officials did a thorough inspection of Pursley's car after a race a few weeks ago. Because of it, Pursley's team had to practically rebuild the car's engine.

``Two weeks ago, they tore down the motor pretty good,'' said Pursley, also the leading driver in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series' Sunbelt Region standings. ``That's worth a little bit to have a new fresh motor.''

Pursley took the lead in the Super Late Model race last Saturday on lap 10 and all but coasted to victory. James Bruncati made a late charge but after a green-white-checker finish, Pursley wrapped up his record- setting night.

``The car's exactly where I like it,'' Pursley said. ``We are trying to make few adjustments. I like it where it is right now.''

In other action last Saturday, Pat Mintey of Quartz Hill won his fourth race of the season in the Super Trucks division. It was his fourth victory in the past five races.

Chris Houwen of Acton finished fifth in the NASCAR Super Stocks race. Bryan Harrell of Riverside won the Super Stocks race, his second victory of the season.

Racing continues tonight with NASCAR Late Model twin 50 races, Super Stocks, Legend Cars, the Extreme Racing League and figure 8s. Races start at 6 p.m.

--Indy Racing League: The Andretti Green Racing drivers have won six of the 10 Indy Racing League events this year, the latest coming when Dario Franchitti won at The Milwaukee Mile on July 25.

It was Franchitti's first IRL victory and his first since returning from a back injury that wiped out most of his 2003 season.

Tony Kanaan, the IRL points leader, and Dan Wheldon also posted wins this year for Andretti Green.

The only driver who hasn't won a race yet for Andretti Green is Valencia's Bryan Herta. He said he hopes Sunday's race at Kentucky Speedway will change that.

After a promising test at the 1 1/2-mile tri-oval, Herta said he likes his chances of winning his first race of the year.

``I had a good race at Kentucky last year and Tony and I both had a great test there last week, so I'm excited to get back,'' Herta said. ``I think we're geared up for a strong weekend and are looking forward to getting a good finish in the XM Satellite Radio car. I want to break into the win column with my other teammates.''

Herta finished third in the Kentucky race last year, starting a streak of three consecutive third-place finishes. His productive test and strong finish from last year have his team thinking optimistically as well.

``We're coming off a really good test at Kentucky,'' said Herta's team manager, George Klotz. ``Bryan was really happy with the XM Satellite Radio car, and we're going to leave it exactly the same as it was when we left the test. We're hoping to start off the weekend on the right foot and finish it with Bryan's first win of 2004.''

Kanaan enters the Kentucky race with a 57-point lead over Buddy Rice in the IRL standings. Wheldon is third, 89 points out of first.

``I'm going to Kentucky with one thing on my mind: to win the race,'' Kanaan said. ``I still have a long way to go until the end of the championship, and I'm taking everything race by race. I want to keep my momentum and score as many points as possible.''

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 14, 2004
Words:682
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