Norris Claims Southwest Series Finale at PIR AVONDALE, ARIZ. (November 9, 2006) 2006 NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series champion headed and west and claimed the final trophy for the AutoZone Elite Division in the Konica Minolta...
Norris Claims Southwest Series Finale at PIR
AVONDALE, ARIZ. (November 9, 2006) 2006 NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series champion headed and west and claimed the final trophy for the AutoZone Elite Division in the Konica Minolta "125" for the Southwest Series at the desert mile known as Phoenix International Raceway. Norris was running fifth when the caution flew on lap 49 and he pitted with all the leaders, but with quick work from his crew he managed to pick up three spots and exited the pits in second behind leader Greg Pursley. Norris took the lead for good on lap 81 and never looked back crossing the finish line 4.1 seconds ahead of runner-up Eric Holmes. Craig Raudman, Brandon Riehl, and Eddy McKean rounded out the top five finishers.
"This is a huge victory for me and the team," Norris said. "These Southwest Series guys are some of the best racers in the country and to come out here and win is a testament to my team. This is a great way to end the season."
Finishing second was 2006 NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series champion Eric Holmes. "We all wanted to win the race but the track was a little slick and on old tires I just did not have enough for JR," Holmes said. "I love this track and will miss racing these cars on it. This was an awesome event under the lights and I hope the fans really enjoyed it."
Finishing third in his first race in more than two years was 2001 Southwest Series champion Craig Raudman. "I had a lot of fun tonight," Raudman said. "It felt really good to get back behind the wheel and race again. I am real happy to have a good run as it gives us a lot of motivation for next year."
The race took one hour, 21 minutes, and 45 seconds to complete at an average speed of 91.743 mph. The action was slowed four times for 23 laps of caution. There were three lead changes among three drivers with Greg Pursley leading the most laps. Pursley picked up his ninth career Bud Pole Award to lead the field to green while Eddy McKean claimed the $300 Featherlite Award. Roger Avants, winner of the very first Southwest Series race back in 1986 at the famed Saugus (CA) Speedway claimed the $750 PowerAde Award for improving the most positions in the event (24) and finished 14th.