SWS: Phoenix III: Auggie Vidovich preview

Vidovich directs thoughts on Southern California fire victims LAKESIDE, CA -- Series leader, Auggie Vidovich should be thinking about his potential 2003 NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series championship but is now directing his...

Vidovich directs thoughts on Southern California fire victims

LAKESIDE, CA -- Series leader, Auggie Vidovich should be thinking about his potential 2003 NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series championship but is now directing his thoughts to the many fire victims, many of which are friends, who have lost their homes or have been forced to evacuate by the recent San Diego-East County (CA) fires. "Several of our friends including my dad had to stand watch at our new shop as the flames drew very close," stated Vidovich. Roads and major freeways in the area are still closed today (Tuesday) as the fire is continuing its travels throughout the back country.

Vidovich remains the leader going in to the final round at Phoenix International Raceway (Phoenix, AZ) set for October 30 with the Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck series'. Vidovich has maintained the series lead since the second race of the series season, now by 99 points.

Vidovich left Mesa Marin (Bakersfield, CA), this year's Mesa Marin 26th Annual OCTOBER CLASSIC, with a fifth place finish in the "LUCAS OIL 150" after qualifying the No. 59 in 11th position. With an inside row six start, Vidovich quickly eased up to ninth by lap four when the first caution flew. After the restart, cautiously moving thru the pack, Vidovich again moved up to fifth position by lap 18. With at least three more restarts, Vidovich was now in third position by lap 63. Although Vidovich did not have a fast qualifying car, he knew he could bring the No. 59 Creative Touch Interiors, CARQUEST, Ransom Brothers Lumber Chevrolet up front to contest the win. With smooth and calculated passes, Vidovich again passed to gain second position on lap 81. By lap 112, there were only seven cars remaining on the lead lap and by lap 127 only six left on the lead lap. With a restart for the final time on lap 128, hometown favorite Kevin Vernon lead by a three-car length. Vernon remained out front with Vidovich on his heals on the 1/2-mile paved oval the last three laps when Vidovich positioned his car down low on the last lap in turn four. Vernon then came down on Vidovich to stop the pass and was caught by Vidovich sending his car to the infield wall as Vidovich crossed the finish line first. Vidovich was immediately assessed a time penalty by NASCAR for the last lap contact with Vernon giving Vidovich a fifth place finish for the night. Series leader, Vidovich was not receptive of the NASCAR decision, as two other potential wins this year were taken away from him this season on the same type of last lap calls by NASCAR in what was referred to as "anything goes on the last lap" rulings by officials.

This week's final race of the series season, the 'CRUISE AMERICA 125" marks Vidovich's third appearance at the at the 1-mile oval with 9 and 11 degree banking. In February he posted a third and October 5 finished 15th. With Vidovich's strong finishes this year, he need only finish in the top 28 to clinch the championship, a reward well worth the team's hard work and persistence this year.

Vidovich finished second in 2001 and 2000 in the series standings, so the team is more focused than ever to clinch this year's NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series championship this weekend.

The PIR race will be rebroadcast on FOX SPORTS NET November 10 - November 16. Check your local listings to verify broadcast date and time in your area. For more information on series leader Auggie Vidovich, click on www.vidovichracing.com.

Following the "CRUSE AMERICA 125" race, Auggie Vidovich and the Vidovich Racing team are heading to Irwindale, CA November 6-8, as Vidovich takes on drivers from five other NASCAR divisions as one of a handful of invited drivers to participate in the inaugural NASCAR Toyota All Star Show Down televised Saturday, November 8 on the SPEED CHANNEL 8pm (EST).

The huge Arcadia, CA "Street Fair" prior to the race takes place on Wednesday, November 5th from 5-9pm scheduled to include pit stop competitions between teams, food, displays and plenty of action for all ages.

-vrt-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Auggie Vidovich