NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown Returns to Irwindale Speedway, November 11-13, 2004
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 26, 2004) -- For the second annual NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, NASCAR's best regional touring drivers are headed back to California this fall. Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway, the site of last year's inaugural event, will host the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown on Nov. 11-13, 2004. More than $500,000 in prize money and live national television coverage on SPEED Channel await the 70 drivers who will be invited to compete in this one-of-a-kind NASCAR event.
"Irwindale Speedway offers an incredible venue for fans, and our teams and drivers really enjoyed traveling to Southern California last November," said Chris Boals, NASCAR's director of regional touring. "It takes a first-class facility to host a first-class event, and we are excited to return to Irwindale for the 2004 Toyota All-Star Showdown."
This invitational event will once again feature the top 10 drivers from each of the four series that comprise the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division -- which includes NASCAR's Midwest Series, Northwest Series, Southeast Series and Southwest Series -- competing together in a single race. Also on the racing card at Irwindale will be a combined field of NASCAR Grand National Division drivers, which includes drivers from the Busch North Series and West Series.
The driver selection process for this year's event will be the same as it was in 2003. In order to receive an invitation, NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division drivers must finish in the top 10 of the point standings for their respective series, resulting in a 40-car field for the Elite Division portion of the event. In the NASCAR Grand National Division race, the field will be made up of 30 drivers -- 15 from the Busch North Series and 15 from the West Series -- who will also be invited based on the final 2004 point standings for each series.
"We're absolutely thrilled to be again hosting the second edition of this important NASCAR event," said Irwindale Speedway Vice President and COO Bob DeFazio. "Last year's event produced some of the best racing that we've ever seen, and working with our good friends at Toyota was great. Everyone involved with the event acted like an All-Star from start to finish. We just can't wait for November to get here."
During its brief history, the Toyota All-Star Showdown has already become one of the most anticipated events on the NASCAR racing calendar. For drivers and fans alike, it is a once-a-year-opportunity to see the best regional touring racers from across the country competing in a single event. Rules and car specifications were aligned at the beginning of the 2003 season, to unify NASCAR's various regional racing series into two distinct divisions and make this special event possible.
"It's a world-class event, and I think the Toyota All-Star Showdown symbolizes NASCAR's commitment to our regional touring divisions," said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. "We feel that no one but NASCAR can establish an event of this caliber so quickly, and with the help of our partners at Toyota, Irwindale and SPEED Channel, it has become everything we have come to expect from a premier NASCAR event," said France.
The Toyota All-Star Showdown has been recognized with two industry awards. Irwindale Speedway received a NASCAR achievement award for "Best Special Event at a NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series track" and NASCAR was presented with the Speedway Illustrated magazine award for "Best Specialty Racing Promotion of 2003."
The 2003 Toyota All-Star Showdown became one of NASCAR's top news stories of the year, when Austin Cameron, of El Cajon, Calif., won the 125-lap Grand National Division race. Cameron, who missed four races during 2003 while undergoing cancer treatments, returned to action at the end of the season and was the last West Series driver to finish in the top-15 and receive an invitation to the event. Ron Breese Jr., a standout Midwest Series driver from DeKalb, Ill., won the 100-lap AutoZone Elite Division race last year at Irwindale.
"We are thrilled to again be the title sponsor of the nationally-televised NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown that showcases the budding stars of NASCAR," said Greg Gollands, national motorsports merchandising manager, Toyota Motor Sales, USA. "With our tremendous NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut at Daytona, we are happy to help showcase some of the young racers who will perhaps be moving up to this series in the future."
In addition to their prize money, both winning drivers were given the use of a Toyota Tundra pickup truck for one year. The trophies which were presented to Cameron and Breese are now on display at Daytona USA, the Official Attraction of NASCAR.
"I'm awful happy that we're going to Irwindale again, because of the quality of the facility and the amount of racing that it allows us to have," said Cameron, who collected $26,000 for his victory.
"As everyone can attest from last year, there was a lot of side-by-side racing. This year, I think the fans are going to see an even better race. I think there's going to be a wider range of competitive drivers and I think there's going to be more people gunning for the lead. A lot of drivers left here, went back home with their thinking caps on and are going to come back even more prepared," Cameron said.
Breese, who collected $14,350 for winning the AutoZone Elite Division portion of the event, says Irwindale is a top choice among drivers.
"It's not really a big surprise that it's going back to Irwindale, because it's such a great facility," said Breese. "I'd love to go back there, that's for sure.
"What makes it so good is the race track itself. Although the facility as a whole is top notch, the race track -- which is wide enough for us to pass and run two- or three-wide all the way back through the pack --promotes real exciting racing. At Irwindale, you can pick a groove and run side-by-side, and never have to jump back into a lane. You can run two- and three-wide all race long," said Breese.
For ticket and event information, contact Irwindale Speedway at (626) 358-1100 or visit www.irwindalespeedway.com on the World Wide Web.
What: NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, a special invitational event for NASCAR's top regional touring series competitors from two racing divisions -- the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division and NASCAR Grand National Division.
Who: Top 10 drivers from each of the four series which comprise the AutoZone Elite Division -- including the Midwest Series, Northwest Series, Southeast Series and Southwest Series; Top 15 drivers from each of the two series in the Grand National Division, which includes the Busch North Series and West Series.
When: November 11-13, 2004
Where: Irwindale Speedway -- Irwindale, Calif. (half-mile oval)