SWS: Irwindale: Round five preview

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 11, 2006) -- Rip Michels enters Saturday's Stock Building Supply "100" at Irwindale (CA) Speedway leading the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest point standings for the second race in a row on the strength of...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 11, 2006) -- Rip Michels enters Saturday's Stock Building Supply "100" at Irwindale (CA) Speedway leading the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest point standings for the second race in a row on the strength of four top five and five top ten finishes this season. Michels finished fourth in the last event at Stockton 99 Speedway last month and holds a slim five-point advantage over 2002 Southwest Series champion Eddy McKean. Michels is still searching for his first Southwest Series victory and would like nothing more to win at his favorite track.

Frazier Park, California's M.K. Kanke collected his 22nd career Southwest Series victory at Stockton for first on the Southwest Series all-time win list. Kanke has moved into fourth place in the point-standings with two wins, three top fives and four top ten performances so far this season. He sits just 49-points behind Michels in what is shaping up as a four-way battle for the championship with three races left to go. Kanke won this event at Irwindale last season and is going for three wins in a row.

Eddy McKean from Jerome, Idaho is looking to win a second Southwest Series title this season and knows that a solid finish this weekend at Irwindale could mean all the difference. "Irwindale is an interesting track to figure out," McKean said. "Each time you come back the track is different. We have a good baseline set up but you have to dial your care in the day of the race. Sometimes you hit it and sometimes you don't." McKean has five top ten finishes in 2006. McKean finished in this event at Irwindale last year.

Eric Homes edged closer to Michels in the points chase after a second place effort at Stockton. Holmes sits third in the standings just six points behind Michels. Holmes won the 2004 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown and is looking forward to a return trip to victory lane at Irwindale.

Holmes is also competing full-time in the NASCAR Grand National AutoZone West Series where he is second in the standings and hopes to become the only driver to qualify for an invite to the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown to be staged later this year.

"Trying to prepare and maintain two cars for two very different series' is a tough task," Holmes said. "So far this season we have managed to not have too many issues on-track and that has saved us a lot of time back in the shop. The racing at Irwindale is always really good and with only 100-laps the car is going to have to be nearly perfect."

Greg Voigt of Santa Barbara, Calif. is quietly having another solid season and currently holds down the fifth position in the standings collecting four top ten finishes. Voigt is the 2000 Late Model champion at Irwindale and is searching for his first Southwest Series victory

The rest of the top ten, which includes Sunoco Rookie Leader David Mayhew, two-time series champion Jim Pettit II, Thomas Martin, Stephan Sadler, and Kevin Vernon, who are separated by just 91 points.

HOME IMPROVEMENT: The Stock Building Supply home improvement show at Irwindale this weekend will have displays from many of the nation's largest manufacturers and distributors of the top brand name power tools, windows, doors, decking, siding, fasteners, connectors, paint, and more, will be the prelude to a great night of Southwest Series stock car racing at Irwindale Speedway running from 4:00 PM to 7:30 PM Saturday night.

Along with this spectacular racing event, Stock Building Supply will host the 2nd annual Irwindale Home Improvement Show at the speedway prior to the start of the racing. "This year we will have close to 40 vendors representing all aspects of the building industry," stated Rick Smith, Los Angeles Market Manager for Stock Building Supply. "Last year's event was very successful and we will have 50% more vendors than last year. We expect a huge crowd and along with this home improvement show, we will have some of the best short track racing in the country, all in one night," stated Smith.

THE TRACK: Irwindale Speedway is hosting its 16th Southwest Series event since the track opened back in 1999. Bryan Germone holds the qualifying record at Irwindale with a quick lap of 17.363 seconds, while M.K. Kanke holds the 150-lap race record after his victory in 2001. M. K. Kanke and David Gilliland have three Southwest Series victories at Irwindale since it opened in 1999 Burney Lamar have two wins apiece with six other drivers claiming one victory.

LOCAL CONNECTION: Brandon Loverock, Stephan Sadler, Greg Voigt, and Rip Michels all have history at Irwindale and looking forward to a great night in front of their "hometown" fans.

COUNTING LAPS: Rip Michels is the only drivers to complete all 616 laps contested so far this season. M.K. Kanke has led the most laps in competition so far this season with 129 circuits at the point.

THE ROOKIES: The battle for the Southwest Series' Sunoco Rookie-of-the-Year award will be one to watch this weekend. David Mayhew leads a talented rookie class that includes Eric Richardson, Brandon Loverock, Cody Pruitt, Terry Lawrence, Bobby Latham III, Travis McCullough, and Danny Mientka. This year, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year will be awarded to the rookie driver with the highest finish in 75% of the events respective to the other rookie contenders.

ALUMNI REPORT: Former Southwest Series competitor Kevin Harvick has a run away point lead in the NASCAR Busch Series after claiming is fifth win of the season last Saturday night at O'Reilly Raceway Park. Harvick also holds down the fourth points in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Standings. Burney Lamar finished 16th in the NASCAR Busch Series event with Ron Hornaday finishing 23rd andAuggie Vidovich finishing 34th. Hornaday finished 3rd in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at ORP while Matt Crafton finished 20th.

Ticket information for the Stock Building Supply"100" can be obtained by calling the track at or by logging on to: www.irwindalespeedway.com.

Fast Facts

What: Stock building Supply "100"

Where: Irwindale Speedway, Irwindale, Calif.

Who: NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series

When: Sat., August 12 at 8:45 p.m. (Pacific Time).

Posted awards: $56,584

Race length: 100 laps, 50 miles
Track layout: 1/2-mile oval.

Pre-Race Schedule (All Times Local): Haulers Enter 9:00 a.m., Registration begins 10:00 a.m., Practice 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.(Alternating), Bud Pole Qualifying 5:00 p.m., 5:45 p.m. On-Track Autograph session, Stock Building Supply "100" 8:45 p.m. Tickets: $20 for adults.

-nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Matt Crafton , Bryan Germone , David Gilliland , Burney Lamar , Jim Pettit II , Thomas Martin , Auggie Vidovich , Rip Michels