Jim Pettit Celebrates Southwest Series Championship Vegas Style

LAS VEGAS, NEV. (December 10, 2004) History was made tonight for Jim Pettit II in an awards ceremony hosted by Mike Joy, the voice of NASCAR on Fox. Pettit, from Prunedale, Calif. celebrated his first NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series championship in style at the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada along with 400 of his peers, family and friends.

Pettit's championship was his second major NASCAR crown in a career that has taken him from the dirt tracks of central California to the high speed asphalt oval of Phoenix Int'l Raceway. His odyssey has not been unlike others that he has followed, but his championship is unlike any other.

Pettit was honored by new series sponsor AutoZone for his outstanding commitment to the series. Pettit received a personalized champions jacket, shirt, and plaque thanking him for his dedication. Don Hawk, the Director of NASCAR Regional Racing Development, awarded Pettit the highly coveted NASCAR Diamond ring that is only given to NASCAR champions, of which he is a life-long member of this exclusive fraternity.

"This is a night that my family has dreamed about for a long time," Pettit said. "My family, friends, and crew made this possible. I am surrounded by great people and those people have helped propel me to this stage here tonight. The experiences of tonight and this past week will be with me forever."

Pettit has made an indelible mark on this series on and off the track. In a gesture that has become tradition, Pettit offered up a rose to all the ladies in attendance as a thank you for their dedication to the series. Pettit is a champion's champion.

Several special award recipients were also honored for their achievements in 2004. Rip Michels from San Fernando, Calif. collect the Autometer Rookie-of-the-Year Award after a seventh place finish in the final point standings.

Burney Lamar of West Sacramento, Calif. received the season ending bonus as the Bud Pole Award winner. Todd Souza from Aromas, Calif. won the PowerAde Power Move-of-the-Race Award. Featherlite honored Eric Holmes with the Featherlite Award. Greg Voigt from Santa Barbara, Calif. capped off a tremendous sophomore season with the Most Improved Driver Award, while David Gilliland from Riverside, Calif. was voted as the series Most Popular Driver.

Chris Blanke received the Ray Judy Award for outstanding series official, an award that is voted on by the drivers, teams, and crews. Two team owners were also honored for their spirit of dedication with the acceptance of the George Stiles Award. Les DenHerder and Craig Keough have both been avid supporters of the series over the years and especially this past season. Each provided sponsorship programs for the local race tracks the series runs on as a way to help promote the series.

Pettit will have little time to bask in the glow of his accomplishments as there is only six weeks until the opening round of the 20th season for the Southwest Series as drivers, teams, and crews descend upon Phoenix Int'l Raceway January 29-30.

Log onto www.nascaregioanlracing.com for all the latest news and information regarding the Southwest Series.