Originally-From: "Shannon, Derrick" <DShanon@nascar.com> Dyer Does it Right and Left at Infineon DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (June 27, 2005) Tom Dyer of Corte Madera, Calif. had a weekend of firsts at Infineon Raceway near Sonoma, Calif. Dyer, a...
Originally-From: "Shannon, Derrick" <DShanon@nascar.com>
Dyer Does it Right and Left at Infineon
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (June 27, 2005) Tom Dyer of Corte Madera, Calif. had a weekend of firsts at Infineon Raceway near Sonoma, Calif. Dyer, a local road racing ringer, became the first road racing ace to win a NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series race in nineteen series stops at the picturesque 1.99-mile layout. Dyer edged 2004 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown champion Eric Holmes by .499 seconds at the end of 64-laps.
Dyer's day started out with difficulties as he lost radio communication with his crew before the command to start engines. His crew went to work and replaced the radio as the field left the pits for two pace laps. Dyer would have started seventh, but had to drop to the rear of the field for the repairs.
The annual visit to Sonoma boasts one of the largest Southwest Series fields of the season that included NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standouts like Kyle Busch, Travis Kvapil, and Dave Blaney. The race always attracts road racing ringers like Boris Said and several other area drivers. Not able to make the starting grid after crashing his car in qualifying was Michael Waltrip. Waltrip then moved his State Fair Corn dogs sponsorship over the Eric Holmes for the race.
Holmes claimed his fourth Bud Pole Award to lead all qualifiers sending Spencer Clark, Tyler McQuarrie, Tom Hubert, Tim Woods, Chris Evans, and Tim Spurgeon home after the 42-car starting field was set.
Holmes led the field to green but it was series championship hopeful Burney Lamar of W. Sacramento, Calif. who grabbed the early lead as the field snaked its way up the hill on the first lap.
Boris Said who has struggled in Southwest Series races saw his chance at the win go sideways when he and Greg Pursley tangled in turn tweleve. Pursley was able to continue but Said's day ended in the garage.
Lamar would lead the first twenty circuits that would see no less than eight cars drop out of the race for engine and transmission problems, including 2003 series champion Auggie Vidovich.
When the caution came out for Vidovich's troubles, Lamar, Holmes, and Kenny Shepherd led the top ten in the running order into the pits for tires and field. Dyer pitted with this group and changed two rear tires and took on a full fuel load. It was a strategy that he hoped would be a winning move.
Gilliland took over the top spot on lap 21, choosing to pit later in the race with Kyle Busch, Troy Ermish, and Jim Pettit in tow. Busch peeled off to the pits on lap 34 after the rest of the leaders cycled to the pits turning the lead over to Dyer on lap 36.
Holmes caught back up to Dyer by lap 39 and looked to take the measure his teammates car. In fact the car that Dyer drove was the car the Holmes won the Showdown with last season and a car the has seen four victories. Holmes continued to press but Dyer held him at bay.
While Holmes and Dyer battled for the top spot, 1997 series champion Bryan Germone moved his way into third place by lap 46. Travis Kvapil then moved into fourth followed by Shepherd, Chris Cook, Steve Belletto, Lamar, Stan Silva Jr., and M.K. Kanke.
The sixth and final caution came out on lap 50 for the stalled car of Travis McCullough. The caution bunched up the field setting up a 13-lap dash to the finish. Dyer held the point over Holmes, with Germone, Shepherd, and Belletto rounding out the top five. Lamar led the next six, followed by Cook, Silva, Kanke, and Rip Michels making his first appearance into the top ten all day.
Former Infineon winner Doug McCoun saw his chances of a top ten finish go up in smoke on lap 58 when his fuel pump failed, dropping him from the eleventh position.
Holmes closed the gap on Dyer, but Dyer was able to get off the right-hand corners better and maintain his lead. In the end Dyer had enough to hold on for his first career Southwest Series win. Holmes settled for second, with Germone placing third for the second straight year. Shepherd crossed the line in fourth and Cook finished fifth after starting the event at the rear of the field when Kenny Hendrick qualified his car in the 30th position.
"We had to scramble today for this one," Dyer said from victory lane. "I just tried to stay calm and drive the track. The race developed in may favor and we just tried not to make any mistakes."
Dyer used a car from Beebe racing that Holmes prepared for this event. "I really need to thank Eric Holmes and Alan Beebe for giving me a car capable of wining this race. It was a blast to drive."
Holmes was disappointed with finishing second but happy for Dyer. "I came here to win," Holmes said. "I am not running the full season this year and we really thought we had the car to beat today. I am not sure where Tom (Dyer) beat us but he did and I am happy for him."
Finishing third for the second consecutive year was local Windsor, Calif. driver Bryan Germone who's car was sponsored by race sponsor Blue Lizard Australian Suncream. "It was a good race," Germone said. "Once the race smoothed out we were able to start passing cars and it worked out for us. I love the Southwest Series and look to be back full-time in the future and to finish in the top five is fantastic since this is the only race we'll run this season."
Rounding out the top five was Chris Cook. "I could not be more thrilled," Cook said. "This is an older car but it worked real well. I need to thank Chris Evans for the support as this car was on rails."
After finishing sixth and moving into second in the points championship, Lamar was philosophical about the race. "We went from the highest of highs to very low," Lamar said. We battled back after losing a tire and having to pit for a second time. The car was fast but we just lost too much track position to make up late in the race."
Championship point leader Jim Pettit II ran as high as third during the middle stages of the event but only managed to finish fifteenth. "Pit strategy did not play out for us today," Pettit said. "We pitted too late and could never get back up front. I am disappointed because I felt I had a top five car. We'll have to do our homework and come back stronger next year."
Other firsts for Dyer included: First time leading a Southwest Series event. First time leading the most laps in a Southwest Series race. First top five finish.
The race too just over two hours to complete and was slowed six times for 19 laps. Holmes collected the $400 Bud Pole Award, with Cook claiming the $750 PowerAde Award for improving the most positions in the race (25). Stan Silva Jr. won the $300 Featherlite Award for improving the most positions from the previous event (18). Dustin Jones was the top finishing Sunoco Rookie competitor with a 19th place finish on the lead lap.
After seven events Pettits holda a 42-point advantage over Lamar. Vidovich drops to third with Kanke and Greg Voigt rounding out the top five in the standings. Eddy McKean is sixth with Greg Pursley, Thomas Martin, Nick Lynch, and Rip Michels in the top ten.
The next race for the Southwest Series is Saturday, July 16 at Stockton 99 (Calif.) Speedway. For all the latest news and information regarding the Southwest Series log onto www.nascarregionalracing.com.
Failed to Qualify: (6) Spencer Clark (#77), Tyler McQuarrie (#17), Tom Hubert (#4), Tim Woods (#54), Chris Evans (#8), Tim Spurgeon (#86).
Time of Race: 2 hrs., 1 mins, 21 secs
Average Speed: 62.972 mph
Margin of Victory: .449 Seconds
BUD POLE AWARD: Eric Holmes, 62 Sunoco Race Fuels/State Fair Corn Dogs Chevrolet
FEATHERLITE AWARD: Stan Silva, Jr, 65 A&S Metals/Stan Silva Jr. Trucking Chevrolet
POWERADE AWARD: Chris Cook, 87 Christine Marie Motorsports.Com Chevrolet
LUNATI CREW CHIEF AWARD: Mike Roos, 63 Cycle Shack Chevrolet
Caution Flags: Laps 4-5; 9-13; 21-24; 29-32; 45-46; 50-51. 6 for 19 laps.
Lap Leaders: Burney Lamar 1-20, David Gilliland 21-35, Tom Dyer 36-64.
Total Laps Led: Tom Dyer 29, Burney Lamar 20, David Gilliland 15. 2 changes involving 3 drivers.
Top 10 Driver Points: Jim Pettit, II 1092, Burney Lamar 1050, Auggie Vidovich 996, M K Kanke 987, Greg Voigt 936, Eddy McKean 927, Greg Pursley 905, Thomas Martin 874, Nick Lynch 851, Rip Michels 841
Sunoco Rookie Points: Don Campbell 59, Dustin Jones 58, Stephan Sadler 47, David Mayhew 41, Ryan Foster 39.
Next Race: July 16 at Stockton 99 Speedway