Canyon Country’s Aaron Staudinger said he was impressed with the number of cars that showed up for the NASCAR Late Model season opener at Irwindale Speedway last Saturday night. There were 41 cars trying to qualify for 30 spots in the race. The top 26 drivers earned starting spots on time. The final four had to race into the feature event through what is called a B-main. Staudinger, who finished sixth in the Late Model feature race, said he would like to see more cars have to race their way in through the B-main. The Late Models return to Irwindale Speedway tonight for their second race of the year. There’s a good chance there will be around 40 cars showing up trying to qualify again. Valencia’s Chris Carmody and Acton’s Chris Houwen were in the season-opening Late Model race at Irwindale Speedway. Carmody was fifth and Houwen was 20th in the race. The NASCAR Super Stocks, Mini Stocks and West Coast Pro Trucks are scheduled to race tonight. It will be the first races of the season for the Super Stocks, Mini Stocks and West Coast Pro Trucks. Toyota All-Star Showdown: NASCAR unveiled its plans Thursday for the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, the season ending race for the two Grand Nationals Divisions: the West Series and Busch East Series. The Showdown will be at Irwindale Speedway on Oct. 19-20. It is the fifth straight year that Irwindale Speedway will host the Showdown. No other track has hosted the event, which pits NASCAR’s top short-track drivers against each other. In addition to the Grand National race, the Irwindale Speedway Super Late Model drivers will be added to the program. They will race Oct. 19. There are a number of drivers from the Santa Clarita Valley who are racing in the Super Late Model division and will have a chance to race in the Showdown. Travis Thirkettle of Newhall, the track’s Late Model champion last year; Rod Johnson of Canyon Country, a Super Late Model track champion; Cory Fancy of Canyon Country; and Zack Foster of Canyon Country competed in the season opener last Saturday night at Irwindale Speedway. David Beat won the season opener. Thirkettle was sixth, Johnson was 11th, Fancy was 15th and Foster was 25th. American Le Mans Series: Valencia’s Bryan Herta is no stranger to the streets of St. Petersburg, site of today’s American Le Mans Series Acura Sports Car Challenge. While this will be his first race at St. Petersburg in the American Le Mans Series, it will be his third trip to the temporary street course in Florida. His previous two times were with Andretti Green Racing in the Indy Racing League. He won the pole for the inaugural race in St. Petersburg in 2005. He has never finished worse than fourth on the circuit. And he was part of a 1-2-3-4 finish for Andretti Green Racing in 2005. “I know my knowledge of the track will help me a little bit in the first session but after everyone gets a few laps, I don’t think it will be a deciding factor by the time the race rolls around,” said Herta, driver of the No. 26 Acura-powered entry for Andretti Green Racing and a Hart High graduate. “Every race feels important when you get to it, but I think this race will be a different challenge for us. This is the first sprint race for us and it will be decided on outright speed.” Herta teamed with Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan, who will be racing in Sunday’s IndyCar Series race at St. Petersburg, to win the LMP2 portion of the American Le Mans Series season opener, the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida. The Acura Sports Car Challenge is a two-hour, 45-minute race – still lengthy, but a sprint compared with the 12-hour endurance race at Sebring. “We won Sebring by not making mistakes and having reliability in the XM Satellite Radio Acura,” Herta said. “This race will be won with speed so it’s important because it takes a different strategy to win the race.” Marino Franchitti, younger brother of Dario, will be teaming with Herta in the Acura Sports Car Challenge. It is Marino Franchitti’s first race of the year with Andretti Green Racing and the 22nd start of his American Le Mans Series career. “Having been here the last couple years, I think St. Pete is a world-class event,” Franchitti said. “All the drivers I know love the track. I’m sure I’ll love the track, too, so I just can’t wait to get out there and get on with it.” Acura has three entries, Andretti Green Racing, Lowe’s Fernandez Racing and Highcroft Racing, in the Acura Sports Car Challenge. The Lowe’s Fernandez team finished second in the LMP2 portion of the race, third overall at Sebring. Highcroft Racing was fourth in class at Sebring. The Acura entries are designed and developed at Santa Clarita-based Honda Performance Development. “This track is not as bumpy as Sebring and I think that will suit our car,” said Adrian Fernandez, owner and driver for Lowe’s Fernandez Racing. “This will be a flat-out sprint race and we need to find the most speed that we can. Hopefully, the confusion we had in Sebring of not being able to match our earlier pace in preseason testing will be cleared up and we will be on pace with the other Acuras and the Porsches.” Fernandez’s teammate Luis Diaz, who will be making his first start at St. Petersburg, said he prefers the street races to the permanent road course events on the American Le Mans Series schedule. “I have heard so many good things about this event – the track, the fans, the atmosphere,” Diaz said. “I will be a rookie at several races this year and this one of them, but Adrian has raced here before and that will be a big help to me.” NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Coming off an 11th-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Ron Hornaday Jr. heads to Martinsville Speedway in Virginia with his favorite truck and in third place in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standings. But no one has been able to beat the Toyotas in the first three Truck Series races. Mike Skinner, the Truck Series points leader, will be going for his third win in a row in today’s race at Martinsville Speedway. Hornaday will be in his comfort zone, racing on the short track of Martinsville in the truck he won with at Mansfield Motorsports Park in Ohio last year. “Martinsville is one of those tracks that drivers like to go to because they’ve cut their teeth racing on short tracks all over the United States,” said Hornaday, driver of the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado for Kevin Harvick Inc. “It’s just fun, hard racing.” [email protected] (818) 713-3715160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Staudinger said he would like to see perhaps 16 cars qualify on time, then have the remaining 14 cars have to race in through a B-main. While the car counts are high now, they will probably drop as the season continues. “Cost is always an issue with racing,” Staudinger said. “You’re always going to see the field thin out.” As for qualifying, Staudinger said he believes his car is fast enough to get in on time. But he wouldn’t be opposed to having to race in if need be. “Something really bad would have to happen for us not to make the show,” Staudinger said.
Habitat for Humanity projects have become some of the most productive laboratories for affordable energy-efficient home design. And one of the newest additions to the Habitat for Humanity repertoire, a five-bedroom house designed by Dominick Tringali Architects, could be its greenest.Based on what DTA calls an Affordable Green Plan, this home is a 1,768-sq.-ft. two-story five-bedroom – notably larger than the 1,250-sq.-ft. ranch-style homes built for many Habitat for Humanity clients. Constructed for a bit less than the $100,000 budgeted, the house will soon be evaluated for LEED Platinum certification, says Steve McKay, a DTA senior designer and one of the lead designers on the project.The ultimate measure of satisfaction, however, will be when the intended occupants – a family of nine – move in at the end of the month.Each room includes at least two windows, with minimal window space on the north-facing side and canopied windows on the south side. A wraparound porch and extended roof line help shade the living room and enhance the home’s classic look. The $100,000 budget also includes Energy Star windows, exterior doors, appliances and fixtures, and a high-efficiency furnace and tankless water heater.Overall, the house is 33 ft. wide by 38 ft. deep, and features roof and wall dimensions intended to minimize materials waste and allow for relatively easy assembly. Walls and ceilings, which are assembled offsite, feature 24-in. stud spacing.
There are two ways to spot Sunita Rani, winner of the 1,500 m gold, in a giant athletic stadium. In a bunch, she’s the one with the swinging plait and quirky hip-hop running style. At the finish, she’s the lone figure ahead, face contorted, pushing herself at a pace that leaves,There are two ways to spot Sunita Rani, winner of the 1,500 m gold, in a giant athletic stadium. In a bunch, she’s the one with the swinging plait and quirky hip-hop running style. At the finish, she’s the lone figure ahead, face contorted, pushing herself at a pace that leaves her rival a good distance behind.In Busan, she burnt up the field and beat the silver-medallist by almost seven seconds, set a new Asian Games record and announced her return to top-flight athletics. But athlete No. 669 who ran a regal race on a triumphant Thursday afternoon for India almost didn’t make it to Busan. Her selection to the Busan squad was deferred – even though she was the only athlete to have met the Asian Games qualifying standards. It smelt of a personal spat between her coach and AAFI brass. Sunita, afflicted by a stomach bug, left a camp in Patiala for her home in nearby Sunam without intimidating the national coach. It annoyed AAFI which delayed her inclusion for Busan, citing that it was not aware of her whereabouts. But Sunita had tackled too many hurdles to quit.In the 1998 Asian Games, her brave battling silver and bronze medal runs behind Jyotirmoyee Sikdar should have heralded the start of a great career in Indian athletics. But shoddy treatment to a hip injury cost her a chance to compete in the 2000 Olympics and almost wrecked her career. But goaded by her ever-persistent coach Renu Kohli, 25-year-old Sunita kept at her calling. She was sent to Ukraine for a training camp in the middle of the year and returned in the August line-up for the 1,500 m at the Circuit Meet in Delhi.Her return after two years off from injury has been dramatic. She clocked 4:08.6 in the Federation Cup meet in Chennai and topped the Asian timings this season. In the light of her timings, the medal may have been expected but it was no less sweet.advertisement