Irwindale announces special awards

IRWINDALE SPEEDWAY 2005 MINORITY DRIVER AND CREWPERSON WINNERS NAMED IN KING TACO LEGENDS RACING PROGRAM Huntington Beach's Lindsay Kernohan and Arcadia's Marco Brenes To Team Up Irwindale, Calif. - - It will become "official" on Saturday June ...

Irwindale announces special awards


Huntington Beach's Lindsay Kernohan and Arcadia's Marco Brenes To Team Up

Irwindale, Calif. - - It will become "official" on Saturday June 18 that youngsters Lindsay Kernohan (age 16, from Huntington Beach, California) and Marco Brenes (age 20, from Arcadia) are the newest team on the King Taco Legends Cars racing circuit at Irwindale Speedway. Both young hopefuls underwent a series of formal and informal evaluations and both came out on top in their respective categories. Kernohan will drive and Brenes will be the chief "wrench" on the new team. Nathaniel Hardiman (20), from Altadena was named first alternate driver and Jason Romeo (14), from Wrightwood was named first alternate pit crew member.

"This process took considerably longer than we originally thought," said Bob DeFazio the Speedway's general manager who just happens to be the person who got Humpy Wheeler and 600 Racing to loan him a brand new Legends Car and King Taco to back this innovative program. "But we're very pleased with the results, we think that this is a very good start for what, we hope, will become a multi-year effort which will give a number of young people a chance to be a part of a real racing team at a top NASCAR track.

"All of the young hopefuls that tried out for this year's program were terrific," said DeFazio. "-- And that made our selection all the more difficult. Every one of them will be very welcome to stay as close to the program as they desire. We'll spot them a pit pass any time that they want to come to a Legends Race to help out on the team. Obviously, all of them will be also be welcome to try again next year. As with any sort of competition, there is always a 'winner', but in this case there were no real losers, standing up and becoming a participant in this search process was a big step forward for many of these young people, we think that they all learned something new about themselves and their goals."

This year's other finalists were(alphabetically): Alejandra ("Alex") Brenes, 17, Arcadia; Tommy Hernandez, 18, Castaic; Chris Guizar, 17, Saugus; Justin Henry, 14, Elverta; Carlos Valenzuela, Garden Grove; Michael Varela, 15, Bakersfield; and Seth Wilson, 18, Pasadena.

The new Legends Car was delivered to LAPS (Legends And Parts Sales) at the Speedway only last week and has been undergoing the all-important "decaling" process (getting those numbers and sponsors stickers on the car). The next step will be fitting the car to its new driver (Lindsay) and getting the chief mechanic (Marco) on the road to his week of intensive training at TV racing expert Jeff Hammond's PIT Instruction & Training, LLC "Pit Crew U" in Mooresville, North Carolina.

LINDSAY KERNOHAN, DRIVER: At only sixteen years of age, high school junior Lindsay Kernohan is already a seasoned racer, winning her share of local and regional Kart races over the past five years. Playing three years of championship golf on her school's varsity team is something that should stand Lindsay in good stead off the race course when business is being discussed over a round on the links.

Earlier in the year Kernohan was chosen as one of three new team drivers by Ron Sutton's Winner's Circle Driver Development Race Team. She's driving a Ford Focus Midget in West Coast races for Sutton and is currently lying fourteenth in points in the very competitive division.

MARCO BRENES, CREW CHIEF: Marco Brenes has made a habit of being a part of the scene at Irwindale Speedway since "way back" in his high school days. Marco, then a student at Arcadia High was a participant in his school's annual "job share" day in 2002 and spent the day "shadowing" the track's PR Director as he skittered from phone call to phone call.

More almost two years ago, Brenes started working on the crew of a Super Stock car at the Speedway, this year his driver has matriculated to a much faster and more complicated Late Model and Marco is "--Having even more fun than ever". Marco's younger sister Alex, who was also a participant in this year's Search, is also a crew member on that Late Model. "Marco is really going to be working his fanny off now," Alex told us with a grin.

"Now it's really up to Lindsay and Marco to get it together and come out swinging right in the middle of a tough season," said Joe Oddo, president of LAPS and The Performance Race Training Center at the Speedway. Thirty-eight Legends Cars took to the track the last time that they raced at Irwindale on June 2. With a "pelathon" of snarling Legends Cars stretching almost half-way around the third-mile oval, qualifying is key, and "staying out of trouble" (while going as fast as you can) is the mantra.

As for the ALTERNATES: Hardiman has a good amount of race driving aboard racing Karts and already has a bunch of crewing experience at the Speedway. He'll be "understudying" Lindsay and available to drive should she not be able to make a race for what ever reason. The youngest of the team members, Romero has perhaps the least practical experience, but he makes up for that with enthusiasm. His winning personality should serve him well in this pursuit. "We really couldn't have two finer back-ups," said Oddo. "This will be a great experience for everyone involved with the program, we're looking forward to working with all of these young stars of tomorrow."

There are four races left in the nine-race 2005 season for the King Taco chain of Mexican restaurants-sponsored Legends Cars: July 16, June 30, August 20, and September 17, needless to say, our new "dynamic duo" (perhaps with a couple of their compadres from the program pitching in to help out) will be on hand at Irwindale for all of them.

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