Ron Esau All-Star Showdown preview

FORMER CHAMPION RON ESAU ANXIOUS FOR SPECIAL NASCAR SHOWDOWN SLM RACE EL CAJON, California (October 16, 2007) -- Driving by Irwindale Speedway this week, you would think the circus had pulled into town. Yes, the tents are setup, the big haulers...

FORMER CHAMPION RON ESAU ANXIOUS FOR SPECIAL NASCAR SHOWDOWN SLM RACE

EL CAJON, California (October 16, 2007) -- Driving by Irwindale Speedway this week, you would think the circus had pulled into town. Yes, the tents are setup, the big haulers are parked inside and the stands will be packed Friday and Saturday -- but for a different event.

The NASCAR Toyota All Star Showdown returns to Irwindale Speedway -- California's premier 1/2-mile oval -- for the fifth consecutive year and this year will be unique. Irwindale Speedway will be hosting a new event Friday -- the 'King Taco 150' Super Late Model race -- the night before the annual NASCAR Toyota All Star Showdown Grand National event Saturday for the West and Busch East Series', referred to as the 'Daytona 500 of short-track' racing.

Ron Esau, two-time champion, 1986 NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour and 1978 Cajon Speedway Champion, will be a part of the 'big show' Friday and very excited about his Super Late model appearance in the No.56 Approved Memory, Milana Construction, Bernardo Construction Chevrolet.JJA highlight of the Friday night SLM race will include the first and final champions of the NASCAR Southwest Series running together during the 150 lap race. Esau, the inaugural NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour Champion will be running with Rip Michaels, the final NASCAR Autozone Elite Division, Southwest Series 2006 champion and it should make an exciting race for the fans. The El Cajon resident will be one of more than forty entries hoping to make the inaugural race televised on live SPEED TV Friday night at 6:15pm PST.

Esau also looks forward to having friend and former Southwest Series competitor and Cajon Speedway Southwest Series fast-time track record holder, Bruce Bechtel, return to fill in as spotter for him as regular spotter Dave Reed of Approved Memory heads to Texas for his son's (Austin Reed) Junior 2 class CORR race.

Confident and sedate as usual is Esau's crew chief, Kevin Clark. Clark was spotter for Auggie Vidovich, now residing in Mooresville, NC, who won the NASCAR Toyota All Star Showdown Elite Division race at Irwindale in 2005 and feels they have a good car and setup for Friday's 150-lap race.JEsau's last appearance at Irwindale Speedway September 29 for the final point's race had new horsepower in the No.56 with a Jim Watkin's engine. Pre-race practice was upbeat and the No.56 Approved Memory, Milana Construction, Bernardo Construction Chevrolet was set the final 50-lap race of the year.

The former NASCAR Cup, Busch, Truck and West Series' competitor qualified his car 13th, moved up to a top-ten position five laps to go for the Irwindale Speedway season finale and on his way to a great top-ten finish. But things quickly changed when Esau was a victim of unfortunate circumstances when two cars collided down low. Esau went high around the two thinking he would avoid the collected cars and as he passed one of the cars blew a right front tire, sending that car high and directly into Esau's No.56 hitting Esau's left-side front then pushing Esau's car into the outside wall, finished for the night.

Depressed Esau then thought his year was done and he wouldn't be an entry in the upcoming NASCAR Toyota All Star Showdown event for the Super Late Models and reevaluated the situation over the weekend. Esau then contacted Paul Copenhaver of Paul Copenhaver Motorsports for the repairs and thanks Paul for getting his No.56 Approved Memory, Milana Construction, Bernardo Construction Chevrolet quickly repaired after the September 29 Irwindale crash and ready for the big race this Friday.

"Our team couldn't have turned the car around as quickly as Paul did and we can't thank him enough. This race is a big one and we didn't want to miss the inaugural event especially since it is going to be telecast on live SPEED TV and a big draw for fans and sponsors nationwide," said Esau.

Esau ran only nine 2007 Irwindale Speedway AC Delco Super Late Model races out of a total of 19 and still finished 17th for the year.JJIn July, Esau raced the 3/8-mile Las Vegas Bullring and finished sixth in a race that also included NASCAR Nextel Cup and Las Vegas resident Kyle Busch, who dropped out of the race early due to a mechanical issue.

Esau's best finish at Irwindale Speedway came in 2005 with a third October 1, 2005. Depending on the outcome of the SLM Showdown race and sponsorship for next year, Esau hopes to return to Irwindale Speedway Super Late Model action in 2008.

-credit: rer

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Bruce Bechtel , Auggie Vidovich , Paul Cope , Kevin Clark