NWS: Yakima II: Round five preview

JEFF JEFFERSON LEADS NASCAR AUTOZONE ELITE DIVISION, NORTHWEST SERIES INTO THE MAGIC METALS 125 AND OTHER NOTES DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 20, 2005) -- A season ago after four races in the quest for his second consecutive NASCAR AutoZone ...

JEFF JEFFERSON LEADS NASCAR AUTOZONE ELITE DIVISION, NORTHWEST SERIES INTO THE MAGIC METALS 125 AND OTHER NOTES

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 20, 2005) -- A season ago after four races in the quest for his second consecutive NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series championship, Jeff Jefferson was looking up from 10th place in points. This season as he looks for an unprecedented third straight title, he holds the catbird's seat with a lead of 59 points over Brandon Riehl.

THE TRACK: Yakima (Wash.) Speedway is scheduled to host its 36th Northwest Series event on July 23. Bill Lawrence holds the one-lap qualifying record for the 1/2-mile oval. He posted a time of 18.286 seconds (98.436 mph) on April 19, 1995. Four-time series champion Garrett Evans has won the most events of any driver with six. With his Bud Pole effort last May when the series visited Yakima, Jefferson tied Ron Eaton with a record six pole awards at the track. Eight former winners at Yakima Speedway (John Bender, Eaton, Evans, Roger Habich, Pete Harding, Jefferson, Gary Lewis and Riehl) are pre-entered for this event.

SPREADING THE WEALTH: Last year's 11 events produced five different race winners with Jefferson's four leading the way followed by Jason Jefferson's three, Lewis' two and single wins by Evans and Tom Sweatman. This year, however, the four winners have already emerged from the four events so far. Riehl, Bender, Jefferson and Harding have won in 2005.

LAP COUNTER: Just three drivers have completed each of the 500 laps run this season. They are Wilbur Bruce, John Dillon and Jeff Jefferson. Travis Bennett (499) and Garrett Evans (498) round out the top five in that category. In the laps led column, Bender leads the way with 125 due to his wire-to-wire win at Magic Valley Speedway in June. Jeff Jefferson is second with 88 circuits led followed by Bruce (63), Riehl (59) and Dillon (57). Jefferson is the only driver to hold the lead in more than one race this year.

THE ROOKIES: Jeff Barkshire has used three consecutive top-10 finishes to creep out to a small lead in the race for the Sunoco Rookie-of-the-Year Award. The top-finishing rookie in each event is awarded 10 points while the next highest gets nine and so on. At the end of the year, each candidates best nine finishes will be used to determine the winner. Barkshire currently has 37 points and is being pursued by Jim McVey's 30 points. Mike Longton is third with 25. He is trailed closely by Troy Tramell with 22 and Erick Hargraves' 18. Marty Sokulski (11), Darren Trimble (9), Ed Thomsen (8) and Dennis Wurtz (6) round out the list.

ALUMNI REPORT: Former Northwest Series competitor Greg Biffle continues to trail only Jimmie Johnson in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship point standings. Biffle continues to lead all NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers with five victories this season. Biffle is also currently in 10th place in the NASCAR Busch Series standings. Biffle is looking to become the first driver in history to win a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series title, a NASCAR Busch Series title and a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title over the course of a career. Mike Bliss has moved into the ever-precious top 35 in points, which guarantees a starting position for the upcoming event.

FAST FACTS

What: Magic Metals 125 (Race No. 5 of 10 in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series).

Where:  Yakima Speedway, Yakima, Wash.

When: 9:05 p.m. PDT (approx.), Saturday, July 23, 2005.

Track layout:  1/2-mile oval.

Race length: 125 laps/62.5 miles.

Posted awards: $53,025.

2004 winner:  Tom Sweatman.

2004 polesitter: Jeff Jefferson.

Top 10 in points: 1. Jeff Jefferson 666, 2. Brandon Riehl 607, 3. Pete Harding 595, 4. Garrett Evans 587, 5. Gary Lewis 581, 6. Wilbur Bruce 579, 7. John Dillon 578, 8. Jeff Barkshire 572, 9. Travis Bennett 545, 10. Jeff Bailey 544.

Pre-race schedule (all times local): 10:00 p.m. Registration opens, 2:30-4:30 p.m. Practice, 6:00 p.m. Bud Pole Qualifying, 9:05 p.m. Magic Metals 125.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Greg Biffle , Jimmie Johnson , Mike Bliss , Jeff Jefferson , Jeff Bailey , Jason Jefferson , John Bender , Gary Lewis , Jeff Barkshire