All-Star Showdown winner spotlight

Cameron Overwhelmed by Response to Win DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 14, 2003) - The telephone has been ringing off the hook this week for Austin Cameron. It's part of an overwhelming response to his victory in the inaugural NASCAR...

Cameron Overwhelmed by Response to Win

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 14, 2003) - The telephone has been ringing off the hook this week for Austin Cameron. It's part of an overwhelming response to his victory in the inaugural NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown on Saturday at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. The race was televised live on the SPEED Channel cable network.

"It's been amazing," Cameron said. "I've never done so many radio interviews or had so many phone calls." In addition to the radio interviews, which included ESPN Radio and NASCAR Radio, he has received national recognition on television programs such as "SpeedNews" and "Wind Tunnel." Cameron has also talked with numerous Southern California newspapers near his hometown of El Cajon, as well as fielding interview requests from media outlets as far away as Virginia and Florida.

They are anxious to tell the story of how he battled back to win the biggest race of the year, after being diagnosed with cancer earlier this season. The 26-year-old driver missed four races in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Winston West Series while receiving his initial treatments. With his chances for a championship this season dashed, Cameron looked to the invitation-only Toyota All-Star Showdown for redemption.

"To be in the situation I've been in all year, basically fighting for my life, and win the biggest race of the year, it's everything I could've wanted," said Cameron - who won $26,000 in prize money and the keys to a new Toyota Tundra pickup truck, which he will use for one year.

Nonetheless, the subsequent telephone calls have amazed him. "It's not only my family and friends, but people I didn't even know watched racing," Cameron said. Many congratulations have also come from his sponsors, NAPA Auto Parts and NAPA Belts & Hose, as well as people in the construction industry who he deals with in his full-time job.

Cameron has been amused, meanwhile, by the response of many. "Nobody can believe I got cancer and that I'm going to chemotherapy and racing," he said. "It's a drive that I have. It's the racer in me."

In addition to Cameron, car owner Bill McAnally has also been busy this week fielding congratulatory calls. McAnally, who guided his team to three consecutive series championships (1999-2001), said his shop has received flowers and candy, in addition to the numerous telephone calls and e-mails.

"I can't believe the exposure that this event carried," McAnally said. He has heard from a wide range of people, including race fans who watched him win his first NASCAR championship in the late model division at Roseville, Calif., more than a decade ago.

"It was great to provide NAPA Auto Parts and our other great sponsors with the kind of exposure that an event of this magnitude brings," McAnally said. "This national exposure is a big boost for the team, the series and everybody involved in the Winston West Series."

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Austin Cameron