1999 Winston West season ends in Japan SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. (Jan. 18, 1999) The NASCAR Winston West Series will travel halfway around the world to decide the 1999 championship, wrapping up its season with a race in Japan at Twin Ring Motegi,...
1999 Winston West season ends in Japan
SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. (Jan. 18, 1999) The NASCAR Winston West Series will travel halfway around the world to decide the 1999 championship, wrapping up its season with a race in Japan at Twin Ring Motegi, officials with NASCAR announced Monday.
The event on the 1.549-mile speedway in Motegi City, which caps off a 14-race schedule that features six superspeedway and eight short-track events, will be the first points race in NASCAR history outside of North America. It will carry with it the largest purse in the history of the series.
In addition to the NASCAR Winston West Series premiering in Japan, the 1999 series schedule also includes inaugural races at two short-track facilities -- Irwindale Speedway outside Los Angeles and Rocky Mountain Raceways in Salt Lake City, Utah.
"The immense growth the NASCAR Winston West Series is experiencing has pushed the level of competition to an all-time high," said Dennis Huth, NASCAR vice president for administration. "Visits to these new facilities will increase the exposure of the teams and their sponsors, further enhancing the growth of the series. The Motegi race, in particular, will provide teams a tremendous opportunity to showcase their talent to the world.
"These new races, along with the traditional events on the schedule, provide the series with a balanced blend of tight short track action and great superspeedway competition. To wrap up the season with a championship points race overseas will add another dimension to how NASCAR is viewed in Japan, where it has held exhibition events annually since 1996."
Twin Ring Motegi is a 640-acre, $400 million motorsports entertainment complex located in the Yamizo mountain range approximately 60 miles northeast of Tokyo. The track, which opened in August 1997, was the site of the '98 NASCAR Thunder Special Motegi - Coca-Cola 500 on Nov. 22.At the new Irwindale Speedway, which will host two events, the series will compete on a 1/2-mile track.. The state-of-the-art facility features many of the amenities of a superspeedway with 6,500 seats, season box seats and corporate suites. It is located in the San Gabriel Valley, about 18 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, and is slated to open in March 1999.
Meanwhile, Rocky Mountain Raceways features a 3/8-mile track with progressive banking. The facility, known as Bonneville Raceway Park before a major renovation two years ago, is located about six miles west of Salt Lake City.
Prior to Twin Ring Motegi, the series will visit superspeedways including California Speedway near Los Angeles; Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway; Pikes Peak International Raceway near Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway, which will host two events.
In addition to the events at Irwindale Speedway and Rocky Mountain Raceways, the schedule will feature short-track competition at the traditional stops for the series. Those include Tucson (Ariz.) Raceway Park; Portland (Ore.) Speedway; Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash.; and Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif., which it will visit twice.
The NASCAR Winston West Series, known as the West's oldest stock car racing circuit, will kick off its 46th season at Tucson on Jan. 17. The event will cap off the annual Winter Heat Program at the 3/8-mile track.
Between January and November, the series will visit 11 tracks in seven states and Japan.
Source: NASCAR Online