IRWINDALE - 6/25/11 - Do I hear three in a row?
Ryan Partridge, one of the top drivers in all of Southern California, finished first in the King Taco Trucks Series Saturday night at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale in a rather strange, unconventional fashion.
Partridge of Rancho Cucamonga had a solid lead for the first 22 laps of the 40-lap race. However, two separate incidents put the final 18 laps under the caution flag and gave Partridge the win, his second straight with the first one coming on June 11.
Partridge said his truck is performing better than ever.
"Even more than having two consecutive wins, we have our speed back, which we've been looking for all season long," Partridge said. "We've been having to muscle our way to the lead and now it feels good to have the dominant car."
He added his victory at the nation's premier half-mile oval was a first for him.
"That's unprecedented for me," the 2010 champion and current points leader said. "I've never finished a race like that, but I'll take it how I can get it. Now, we're going to try and win the rest of the season."
Connor Cantrell of Valencia, who started in the pole and came in second, also thought it was a strange way to finish a race.
"They usually end with a checkered flag, but I respect the decision," Cantrell said.
He added he just wasn't able to catch Partridge.
"I felt were pretty close in speed, but for some reason I didn't have the speed tonight," Cantrell said. "We had to go up higher and it didn't work."
In the Auto Club Late Models, a restart on lap 24 changed the race dynamics and helped propel Chad Schug to Victory Lane.
Schug passed the original leader - third place finisher Brent Scheidemantle - on lap 31 and took the checkered flag of the 35-lap race.
Finishing second was Eric Gunderson.
Schug had a best time of 16.612 on the one third-mile oval and beat Gunderson by 0.988 seconds and Scheidemantle by 1.222.
(Shel Segal can be reached at