NWS: Evergreen: Pre-race notes

PLENTY OF EVERGREEN SPEEDWAY EXPERIENCE ON TAP FOR NASCAR AUTOZONE DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 29, 2006) -- Anxious and excited undoubtedly will be the two most used words when the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series convenes this...

PLENTY OF EVERGREEN SPEEDWAY EXPERIENCE ON TAP FOR NASCAR AUTOZONE

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 29, 2006) -- Anxious and excited undoubtedly will be the two most used words when the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series convenes this weekend at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash. for the 2006 season opener.

The anxiety, though, will not be a product of unfamiliarity with the race track as several teams pre-entered for the event have western Washington roots and plenty of experience at the Northwest Series' most storied venue.

No Northwest Series driver has experienced the success of Bothell, Washington's Gary Lewis over the last nine seasons. Since August 1997, the series has visited Evergreen Speedway 20 times with Lewis collecting 12 top-five finishes and an even more impressive seven victories. He also has collected six Bud Pole Awards in his series career at Evergreen.

John Bender and Pete Harding won the previous two events at Evergreen a season ago.

Bender, of Snohomish, Wash., is a former Super Stock track champion at Evergreen Speedway. He collected his second Northwest Series win at the track last August.

While Surrey, B.C. Canada is home to Harding, he has spent more than 20 years racing at the western Washington track. On July 9 of last year, he picked up his fifth series win at Evergreen. On that night, his son, Shane, won in the Speedway Chevrolet Super Stock class, as well. Shane would eventually win the championship in that class as part of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series.

"Evergreen Speedway is home and very special to my family," said Pete after the win last summer.

The Speedway Chevrolet 125 will be the 58th Northwest Series event at Evergreen Speedway. All told, drivers pre-entered for this Saturday's race account for 39 of the previous 57 wins at the track. Garrett Evans leads the way with 13 followed on the all-time list by Ron Eaton's nine, Lewis' eight, and Harding's five. John Dillon has a pair of wins to go along with Bender's two.

Ten of 21 series championships are accounted for in the pre-entry list led by Evans' four and Eaton's three. Dillon, Harding and Lewis are also former Northwest Series title winners. The field also includes four former Sunoco Rookie-of-the-Year winners -- Jeff Barkshire, Travis Bennett, Wilbur Bruce and Bender.

Fourteen teams pre-entered for the event call the Puget Sound region or southwestern Canada their home.

Gates to Evergreen Speedway will open at approximately 3:30 p.m. with the first time trials beginning at 4:00 p.m. Racing begins at 7:00 p.m. with the green flag expected to wave for the Speedway Chevrolet 125 right around 8:30 p.m. Ticket information can be obtained by calling the speedway office at (360) 805-6100 or by visiting www.evergreenspeedway.com.

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers John Bender , Gary Lewis , Jeff Barkshire