All-Star Showdown returns to Irwindale

NASCAR TOYOTA ALL-STAR SHOWDOWN RETURNS TO IRWINDALE SPEEDWAY OCT. 20-21 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 16, 2006) -- For the fourth consecutive year, the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown returns to Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway, to showcase NASCAR's top...

NASCAR TOYOTA ALL-STAR SHOWDOWN RETURNS TO IRWINDALE SPEEDWAY OCT. 20-21

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 16, 2006) -- For the fourth consecutive year, the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown returns to Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway, to showcase NASCAR's top regional touring series drivers. The 2006 edition of this special invitational event will be held Oct. 20-21, and features the NASCAR Grand National Division and NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division.

In keeping with tradition, the top 10 drivers from each of the four series that comprise the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division will be invited -- including the Midwest, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest Series. The top 15 drivers from the two series of the NASCAR Grand National Division, which includes the AutoZone West Series and Busch East Series, will also be invited. The NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division event will be 125 laps while the NASCAR Grand National Division cars will race for 150 laps at Irwindale.

"For the fourth year, Toyota is thrilled to be the title sponsor of a nationally televised race promoting the budding stars of NASCAR," said Les Unger, national motorsports manager, Toyota Motor Sales, USA. "Toyota has a rich tradition in auto racing. Continuing our commitment to a race that will be the proving ground for NASCAR's next generation of stars, and adding to the local short track fans' experience, is important to Toyota."

Since it was established in 2003, the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown has provided a national audience for regional short track stars. Burney Lamar's performances at the 2004 Toyota All-Star Showdown led to big opportunities. After finishing third in 2004, Lamar was given an opportunity to join Kevin Harvick Inc. as a development driver in 2005. Lamar now races full-time in the NASCAR Busch Series.

2005 Toyota All-Star Showdown race winners David Gilliland and Auggie Vidovich also advanced to the NASCAR Busch Series this season. Gilliland drives for Clay Andrews Racing while Vidovich was recently named the driver of the No. 4 Dodge owned by Biagi-DenBeste Racing.

"The Toyota All-Star Showdown is definitely the biggest win on my resume to date," said Gilliland. "It helped me get my ride with Clay Andrews Racing and the opportunity to compete in the NASCAR Busch Series. It gives drivers in the Grand National Division and the AutoZone Elite Division an opportunity to showcase their talent and get their name out there. Toyota has put a lot into it. NASCAR has put a lot into it. I think they have done a great job."

In order to reduce travel costs for competitors, the event has been condensed from three days to a two-day format. The schedule begins Friday, Oct. 20 with an afternoon practice session for both divisions, followed by twin 50-lap qualifying races on Friday evening. The results of Friday's races will determine the starting lineups for the main events on Saturday. Drivers will compete for more than $500,000 in prize money on Saturday night, Oct. 21. SPEED will televise both nights of racing while NASCAR Radio on XM Satellite Radio will also provide play-by-play coverage.

Due to the schedule, the Nov. 9 NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series event at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway has been changed to a non-points race. The 2006 Southwest Series championship and final point standings will be decided following the Sept. 23 event at Altamont Motorsports Park in Tracy, Calif.

-nascar

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Kevin Harvick , David Gilliland