Holmes Wins Race but Michels Claims Closest Series Championship

TRACY, CALIF. (September 23, 2006) Eric Holmes from nearby Escalon, Calif. won his third NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series race of the season but it was not enough to claim the final series championship as Rip Michels from San Fernando, Calif. finished second in the race and won the championship by the closest margin in the series 21-year history by a mere one point. Long-time series veteran M.K. Kanke finished third with Greg Voigt and 2006 Sunoco Rookie-of-the-Year winner David Mayhew rounding out the top five finishers in the 150-lap event.

Holmes won the Bud Pole Award earlier in the afternoon with a quick lap of 17.406 seconds/103.413 mph around the fast and tricky half-mile paved oval to lead all qualifiers. Michels, Jason Fensler, Stephan Sadler, and Jim Pettit II rounded out the top five qualifiers. Holmes drew a 6-car invert to start the race putting Eddy McKean on the front row to start the race.

Eddy McKean led a majority of the race and looked to be cruising to his first victory of the season when two lapped cars tangled in front of the leader and took McKean out of contention with only 15 laps to go. While McKean ended his night on the hook and a third place final point's finish, Holmes assumed the lead of the race and held off a determined Michels at the finish line

While Michels celebrated the championship, Holmes was disappointed but will now focus his attention on the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series which will compete in Kyle, Texas this next weekend. Holmes currently leads the point standings in the AutoZone West Series with only two races to go.

Joining Michels, Holmes, and McKean at the fourth annual NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown will be M.K. Kanke, David Mayhew, Jim Pettit II, Thomas Martin, Kevin Clark, and Kevin Vernon who all finished in the top ten final point standings and will represent the Southwest Series at this star studded event broadcast live on SPEED Channel October 20-21 from Irwindale (CA) Speedway.

For all the news and information regarding the Southwest Series please long onto www.nascarregionalracing.com

-credit: nascar