NWS: Evergreen III: Pre-race notebook

NASCAR AUTOZONE ELITE DIVISION, NORTHWEST SERIES EVERGREEN SPEEDWAY NOTEBOOK DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 27, 2006) -- The NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series heads to the speedy .646-mile oval of Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, ...

NASCAR AUTOZONE ELITE DIVISION, NORTHWEST SERIES EVERGREEN SPEEDWAY NOTEBOOK

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 27, 2006) -- The NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series heads to the speedy .646-mile oval of Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash. this Saturday. It will be the Northwest Series' 59th and final visit to the storied track northeast of downtown Seattle.

THE TRACK: Evergreen Speedway is a semi-banked oval with eight degrees of banking in the turns and four degrees of banking on the straights. The previous 58 events have produced 20 different winners. Garrett Evans leads the way with 13 victories although he has not won there since March 1996. Gary Lewis has been the most dominant driver, of late, at the track by winning seven of his last 21 outings at Evergreen. Evans holds the one-lap qualifying record for the Northwest Series there. He traveled the .646-mile track in 22.152 seconds which translates to an average speed of 104.984 mph.

WELL REPRESENTED: Of the 20 series winners previous at Evergreen, eight are expected to be on hand this Saturday. Evans, Ron Eaton, Lewis, Pete Harding, John Bender, John Dillon, Jason Jefferson and Brandon Riehl are all scheduled to compete in the event.

RETURN ENGAGEMENT: The Northwest Series raced at Evergreen Speedway on July 15, but that was on the 3/8-mile inner oval. This time, the drivers and teams get to tackle the longest track the series will race on this season, the .646-mile oval.

REAL ROOKIES: Seven drivers in the expected field will be racing for the first time on Evergreen's big track in a Northwest Series car. They are Joey Decker, Jr., Jason Fraser, Brent Harris, Shane Mitchell, Darren Rupinski, Jay Sauls and B.J. Tidrick.

SUNOCO STANDINGS: The battle for the Northwest Series' Sunoco Rookie-of-the-Year award is every bit as compelling as the chase for the series title. This is a battle that undoubtedly will not be resolved before the conclusion of the season's final race. This week, Mitchell holds the top spot in the standings with 42 points. Right on his heels is Harris with 38 points. Then come Sauls and Mike Longton with 35 and 34 points, respectively. Fraser (32), Tidrick (31), Shane Harding (29), Troy Tramell (27), Rupinski (26) and Zan Sharp (26) are still very much in the mix. Rounding out the list of rookie contenders are Bryan Warf (6) and Decker, Jr. (5). This year, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year will be awarded to the rookie driver with the highest finish in 75% of the events respective to the other rookie contenders.

ROUND AND ROUND THEY GO: To date this season, the Northwest Series has run 783 laps and only Travis Bennett has completed each one. In fact, dating back to the beginning of the 2004 season, he has missed just 30 circuits around the tracks with all of those coming last season and 24 of them in one event. Championship point standings leader Lewis has completed 782 laps, missing just one this season. And Wilbur Bruce has completed 780. Lewis paces the series in laps led this year. He has been out front for impressive 41.8% (327 laps) of the time in 2006.

ALUMNI REPORT: Former Northwest Series competitor Greg Biffle continues his quest to make The Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. He currently sits in 12th place and is just 44 points behind Tony Stewart, who currently holds the 10th and final spot for a chance at the title. Biffle also is currently sixth in the NASCAR Busch Series standings. Mike Bliss, another Northwest Series product, occupies 11th place in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standings at the moment.

It is a big day of racing at Evergreen Speedway. The Washington 500 will consist of the Washington National Guard 150 presented by Creekside Retirement Center, the Northwest Series event, a 100-lap Speedway Chevrolet Super Stock event as part of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series and the NAPA 250 presented by Triple A for the NASCAR Grand National Division AutoZone West Series. All told, there will be 500 laps of racing on the .646-mile oval. It will be the largest assembly of NASCAR race teams ever at Evergreen Speedway.

Tickets and information about The Washington 500 can be obtained by calling the speedway office at (360) 805-6100 or by visiting www.evergreenspeedway.com.

FAST FACTS

What: Washington National Guard 150 presented by Creekside Retirement Center (Race No. 7 of 10 in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series).

Where: Evergreen Speedway, Monroe, Wash.

When: 6:30 p.m. PDT (approx.), Saturday, July 29, 2006

 Track layout:  .646-mile oval

Race length: 150 laps/96.90 miles.

Posted awards: $53,058

 2005 winner:  John Bender.

2005 polesitter: Travis Bennett.

Top 10 in points: 1. Gary Lewis -- 1007; 2. Travis Bennett -- 960; 3. Brandon Riehl -- 878; 4. Jeff Barkshire -- 827; 5. Shane Mitchell - 815; 6. Wilbur Bruce -- 807; 7. Jay Sauls -- 775; 8. Garrett Evans -- 767; 9. Mike Longton -- 756; 10. B.J. Tidrick - 745

Pre-race schedule (all times local): Sat., 7/29 - 8:00 a.m. Registration opens; 11:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. Practice; 2:30 p.m. Time Trials; 6:30 p.m. Washington National Guard 150 presented by Creekside Retirement Center.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Tony Stewart , Greg Biffle , Mike Bliss , Shane Mitchell , Jason Jefferson , John Bender , Gary Lewis , Jeff Barkshire