Brandon McReynolds started in the pole position in the NAPA Auto Parts 150.
It’s safe to say Patrick Staropoli is a quick study.
Staropoli driving his #99 PEAK Toyota at Irwindale Speedway in the NAPA Auto Parts 150
A year ago, he was a full-time college student. He won the first race of his NASCAR K&N Pro Series West career at Irwindale Speedway. It was the sixth K&N Pro Series start of his career.
Staropoli, a 24-year-old from Plantation, Florida, finished in the top 10 in four of his first K&N Pro Series starts. He finished fifth in K&N Pro Series West debut in Spokane, Washington, last year. In his most recent K&N Pro Series East race, he was sixth at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee.
“I don’t even know where to start,” said Staropoli. “I knew we had a good car coming into this race. Didn’t know how it would all play out, how you were going to have to save tires over the course of 150 laps.”
Staropoli began the NAPA Auto Parts 150 in fifth position and moved his way to the front early in the race.
Patrick Staropoli celebrates his victory at the NAPA Auto Parts 150 at Irwindale Speedway.
“The green flag started, we just went right up to the front, got up in second, was riding there,” Staropoli said. “I knew we would have to conserve those, so we dropped all the way back to, I don’t know, 13th, 14th, got a little bit worried there.”
Staropoli and his team employed the same strategy as some of the other drivers in the race. He fell back to conserve his tires and equipment hoping for a chance to win the race. Five drivers took turns leading the race.
“As it got close to the end, we knew it was go time,” Staropoli said. “Put the hammer down and started slicing through the field. I’m so excited to be here right now talking to you guys. I never imagined a year ago I would be in this position.”
Patrick Staropoli holds his trophee up high for all his fans to see at Irwindale Speedway NAPA Auto Parts 150.
Brandon McReynolds, the pole winner, and Greg Pursley swapped the lead for the first 26 laps of the race. Brett Thompson took the lead on lap 27 and held it for 99 laps. Ryan Partridge passed Thompson for the lead on lap 129.
Staropoli made his move to the front on lap 137. He was out front for the remainder of the race. There was a cautionary period during lap 130 that tightened up the field, but Staropoli held off for his first K&N Pro Series West win.
“I was counting on that last caution,” Staropoli said. “We got up there. We had a great battle for the lead. I hope that was exciting for all the fans.”
David Mayhew, who started on the front row with McReynolds, was second in the race.
“We were kind of on the same plan as Greg there,” Mayhew said. “We thought everything was going good and dandy at about halfway and I’m like, yea, we’ve got this and things going nice and smooth and passed the first couple guys coming back toward the front. And it got to about 50 to go and it got to 12th and that was it. It just got real tight and everybody leveled out.”
Pursley finished third, followed by McReynolds in fourth and Dylan Lupton in fifth.
“We just missed it a little bit,” Pursley said. “Good points night for us and just great to be back here at Irwindale Speedway.”
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West was making its first visit to Irwindale Speedway since 2011.
Pursley has a six-point lead over McReynolds after the first two races of the K&N Pro Series West schedule.
The next K&N Pro Series West race is at Stockton 99 Speedway on May 3.