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California Drivers Control Showdown

Special to the Times

Despite all the national talent at the Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway, three of Friday night’s four 50-lap qualifying races were dominated by California drivers in Chevrolets.

David Gilliland of Chino Hills started 13th in the first Grand National race and was up to fifth in five laps.

He scored a 3.3 second win over Idaho’s Scott Lynch, who had started 11th. Kelly Moore, the 1995 Busch North Series Champion from Scarborough, Maine, started outside of Lynch and finished third.

Three-time (2002-2004) Busch North Series Champion Andy Santerre of Cherryfield, Maine, gave the visiting drivers their only win of the evening during the second Grand National race.

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Defending race winner Austin Cameron of El Cajon finished fourth.

Both Elite division qualifying races ran caution-free and were dominated by Southwest Series regulars.

Barney Lamar worked his way from the 16th starting position in the first Elite division qualifier and took the lead in nine laps. The Bakersfield driver cruised to a 1.8 second victory over fellow Southwest Series driver Doug McCoun.

In the other Elite race, driver Eric Holmes of Escalon, Calif., started 12th and took the lead from Todd Souza of Aromas, Calif., eight laps from the finish. Jason Jefferson, 2003 Northwest series rookie of the year from Yakima, Wash., broke-up the Southwest Series monopoly, edging San Fernando’s Rip Michels for third.

The finish of each qualifying race determined today’s starting lineup.

The Grand National finale is scheduled to be a 150-lap event, with a 10-minute break before the final 50-lap segment.

The Elite division race will be 125 laps, its stoppage coming after the 75th circuit.

Today’s events will feature a popular team competition, which accounts for $95,000 of the more than $500,000 purse and is a point-earning opportunity for each driver.

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