IRWINDALE - 6/11/11 - It was by just 0.07 seconds, but he'll take it.
Ryan Partridge of Rancho Cucamonga finished first in the King Taco Trucks Series Saturday night at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale by the smallest of margins after leading from start to finish of the 40-lap race.
Partridge had a solid lead through the first nine laps before being challenged by Jeffrey Peterson and later by Connor Cantrell, who made it a three-way race by finishing 0.5 seconds behind Partridge.
"At the beginning we had a decent little lead," Partridge said. "But at the end it was tough. We had the dominant line on the race track, so we were able to prevail."
The trip to Victory Lane was savored by Partridge. However, he said it's getting harder to win at the half-mile oval, which is considered the premier short track in the nation.
"The competition here at Irwindale is so tough and it's getting tougher," the 2010 champion said. "This is probably the third race in a row we just skimmed by.
In the opening race of the night - the Justice Brothers Mini Stocks - former Fontana resident Kevin Bernhardt finished in third place, a full 3.708 seconds behind the winner Richie Altman of Riverside.
Berhardt said he was pleased with his spot on the one-third mile oval.
"It was not bad," he said. "I'll take a top three after the season I had last year. Yeah, I'll definitely take a top three."
Altman had a best time of 17.102 seconds in the 35-lap race, running away with it and had a full 3.584 lead over second place finisher Jacob Rogers of Riverside.
Altman praised his teammates after his winning finish.
"The secret is it was a good crew," Altman said. "You get good while here (avoiding crashes). I've got a good spotter."
In the 20-lap Jan's Towing Bandoleros - raced on the one-third mile oval - Christian McGhee survived a multi-car crash on lap 17 to come out on top. He had a best time of 18.016 and beat second place and third place finishers Ricky Lewis and Daniel Nikolai by 0.213 and 0.484, respectively.
(Shel Segal can be reached at