GILLILAND WINS NASCAR GRAND NATIONAL EVENT AT IRWINDALE
IRWINDALE, Calif. (Nov. 12, 2005) -- NASCAR West Series driver David Gilliland was declared the winner of the Grand National portion of the NASCAR Toyota Showdown at Irwindale Speedway. Gilliland had been posted as the second finisher in the unofficial results following the race the post-race technical inspection and a subsequent ruling by NASCAR gave the victory to Gilliland.
Goodyear is the exclusive tire provider for the Grand National Division. The Showdown competitors were familiar with the tires Goodyear supplied at Irwindale. The same tire lineup was used by teams in both series during the regular season. The event matched the top 15 drivers from the NASCAR Busch North Series against those from the NASCAR West Series.
"The Goodyear Eagles performed the way we expected them to," said Chad Fletcher, Goodyear's marketing manager for the West Series. "They were flawless tonight. The wear was exactly what we wanted to see. They were very consistent tonight. The teams were pleased all weekend long."
Busch North Series Mike Olsen won a late-race struggle with Gilliland to claim the victory, but the wheels on the right side of his car did not match NASCAR's specifications and his official finishing position was dropped to 31st.
Olsen led just 13 laps of the 150-lap event, which was carried live by SPEED Channel. He was the last of five drivers to lead the event and participated in some of the 14 lead changes during the race.
Olsen said of his Goodyear Eagles, "They were consistent all weekend long."
Gilliland, the eventual winner, led several times. The official top five finishers were Gilliland, Busch North drivers Matt Kobyluck, Ryan Moore and Sean Caisse and West racer Scott Gaylord. Gaylord started 31st.
Under the unique Showdown format, the race was split into two segments with a 10-minute pause for pit stops after 100 laps were completed.
"We saved the best set for last," Kobyluck said of his tires. "They had great grip. The first set was consistent. They stayed the same."
Busch North driver Andy Santerre finished sixth, followed by West driver Steve Portenga, Busch North competitor Joey McCarthy and West racers Brett Thompson and Johnny Borneman.
The frenetic final 15 laps saw five lead changes between Gilliland, Busch North driver Mike Stefanik and Olsen. Olsen and Gilliland traded the lead on four consecutive laps before Olsen took the lead for good with 10 laps remaining.
A special scoring system, measuring the performance of each Grand National series as teams is used each year at the Showdown. The Busch North Series was the winner.