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NASCAR'S PAST AND FUTURE COME TOGETHER AT EVERGREEN SPEEDWAY AutoZone West Series has rich racing history in Washington, new elements for future success DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 25, 2006) -- NASCAR's history and future come together this ...

NASCAR'S PAST AND FUTURE COME TOGETHER AT EVERGREEN SPEEDWAY

AutoZone West Series has rich racing history in Washington, new elements for future success

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 25, 2006) -- NASCAR's history and future come together this Saturday at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash. Saturday's NAPA Auto Parts 250 features the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series as part of the "Washington 500" at Evergreen.

Want history? Look no further. The AutoZone West Series was founded in 1954 and was originally known as the Pacific Coast Late Model Circuit. The series, which later became the Winston West Series and is known today as the AutoZone West Series, is the West Coast's oldest stock car racing circuit and has raced at Evergreen more than any other track -- with 48 previous events held at there. Many notable drivers such as Ray Elder, Chuck Bown, Derrike Cope, Chad Little, Bill Elliott, Geoff Bodine, Rick Carelli, Bill Sedgewick, Brendan Gaughan and Eric Norris have visited victory lane at Evergreen.

Looking to the future? It's also on display here. The Grand National Division, which also includes the AutoZone West Series and Busch East Series, is getting an economic makeover in the form of a new composite body and a new spec engine. The optional bodies and engines are both designed to provide excellent on-track performance, while significantly reducing costs for teams. In addition, teams continue to have the option of using either a 105" or 110"-wheelbase car.

All of these options pave the way for the Grand National Division -- which launched the careers of Cope, Little and Gaughan, as well as Kevin Harvick, Ricky Craven, Martin Truex Jr. and David Gilliland -- to function as a feeder series. Drivers on the track today may soon be the future stars of NASCAR's three national series.

"The emphasis on driver development in NASCAR is more important than ever," said NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter. "We are fortunate to have a talented staff at the NASCAR Research and Development Center, in North Carolina, to help design new ways to improve the East Series and West Series, lower costs, and create a place where young drivers can come in. Our goal is provide a place for drivers to gain valuable experience before advancing to the national level in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series or NASCAR Busch Series. It's an extremely important role in our sport, and we are confident that the [East Series and West Series] will provide the experience and opportunities for young drivers to move up."

The AutoZone West Series is one of three divisions of race cars on the track at Evergreen this Saturday. Fans can also see the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series along with the Speedway Chevrolet Super Stocks as part of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. The three divisions of cars are expected to draw the largest one-day assembly of race teams at Evergreen -- marking yet another NASCAR milestone for this historic track.

-nascar

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Derrike Cope , Bill Elliott , Ricky Craven , Chad Little , Rick Carelli , Brendan Gaughan , Martin Truex Jr. , Eric Norris , David Gilliland , Jim Hunter