SWS: Stockton: Round three preview

NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series Returns to Historic Stockton 99 Speedway * Burney Lamar Building Momentum Heading Home * Auggie Vidovich Showing Centrifugal Force * Alumni Spotlight: Kurt Busch Shines in Desert under the...

NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series Returns to Historic Stockton 99 Speedway

* Burney Lamar Building Momentum Heading Home

* Auggie Vidovich Showing Centrifugal Force

* Alumni Spotlight: Kurt Busch Shines in Desert under the lights

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. ( April 227 , 2005) -- For the first time in Stockton 99 Speedway history, the historic quarter-mile paved oval will host both the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series and NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series on the same night - Saturday, April 30. Stockton 99 Speedway is celebrating 60 years of motorsports entertainment and will host the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series two times in 2005. Along with playing before the hometown crowd, both events will be televised live, in high definition, on HDNet.

Burney Lamar, from nearby West Sacramento, Calif., returns home after recently moving back to Kernersville, N.C. to work full-time for Kevin Harvick Inc. This homecoming of sorts also sees Lamar leading the Southwest Series point standings after two events. While Lamar has never won at Stockton 99 Speedway in Southwest Series competition, he has scored top three top three finishes over the past couple of seasons and is looking to continue his momentum this Saturday night April 30.

"Stockton is pretty much where it all began for me and I really like running there. Even though I've not won, we've had good finishes. Maybe this time, I'll get that first 99 win", Lamar said. "We have been so close in the past and our team is really geared up this season. We all have a lot of confidence but the competition is tough in this series and Stockton is a place where Jim (Pettit) always runs well."

For Jim Pettit II, the defending Southwest Series champion, Stockton is considered his home track. The Prunedale, Calif. native scored his first Southwest Series victory and first Bud Pole Award at the tricky quarter-mile paved oval. "I have had a lot of success at Stockton over the years," Pettit said. "It is a special place to race and I have always had a lot of fans there. Ken Clapp and his team know how to bring fans to the track and we always provide a great race. This weekend will be no different."

While Lamar and Pettit look at Stockton as a homecoming, Lakeside, Calif. driver Auggie Vidovich is showing he is a force to be reckoned with this season in his Centrifugal Technologies sponsored Chevrolet. Vidovich, the 2003 Southwest Series champion, is back full-time this season after exploring options and rebuilding last year. Vidovich is fresh off a dominating performance at the series' last outing at Mesa Marin Raceway two weeks ago where he wore out the competition, leading all 150 laps of the event.

Vidovich's best Stockton performance was back in 2003 when his finished fourth. "Stockton is a tough track to race," Vidovich said. "It will bite you when you least expect it. There is not a lot of room for mistakes."

Stockton 99 Speedway has hosted 22 Southwest Series races since the series was incepted back in 1986. Ron Hornaday Jr. tops the record books with three victories on the tricky quarter-mile paved oval, while Craig Raudman, Rick Carelli, Troy Beebe, Dan Press, and Ken Boyd have all claimed two wins apiece in Southwest Series competition. Stockton has always been stingy with and since the track has returned to the series schedule in 2002, there have been no repeat winners. Eric Holmes of Escalon, Calif. and Craig Raudman of Redding, Calif. split victories last season but will not compete this weekend.

The AutoZone Twin Championships presented by Havoline is race number three of the 14-race championship series and the first of two visits the Southwest Series will make to Stockton 99 Speedway this season.

Southwest Series Notes:

* Joe Herold will partner with Racing for the Missing, a division of the Nation's Missing Children Organization (NMCO) for the 2005 racing season. Herold currently sits eighth in the championship standings after two events.

* Jeff Jefferson, the two-time and defending Northwest Series champion from Yakima, Wash., will run the entire Southwest Series schedule in 2005 driving for car owner Tony Finley. This weekend's event will be Jefferson's first trip to Stockton. Joining Jefferson from the Northwest Series will be Brandon Riehl from Boring, Ore. will also compete full-time on the Southwest Series this season.

* Alumni Spotlight: Kurt Busch, the 1999 and youngest ever Southwest Series champion, dominated the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event this past weekend at Phoenix Int'l Raceway in the first NEXTEL Cup Series event ever run under the lights at PIR.

* Sunoco Rookie-of-the-Year Standings: Dustin Jones of Tucson, Ariz. tops a talented rookie class that includes Don Campbell, David Mayhew, and Ryan Foster.

* Lunati to honor top crew chief: Lunati, a subsidiary of Kentucky-based Holley Performance Products, will award a gift certificate valued at $50 off a purchase of $250 or more, or a $100 off a purchase of $500 or more, to the winning crew chief at each NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series race in 2005.

Fast Facts

What: NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series Race #3 of 14

Where:  Stockton 99 Speedway, Stockton, Calif.

When: Saturday, April 30 at 7:45 p.m. (approx.).

Posted awards: $ 46,271

Race length: 100 laps, 25 miles
Track layout: . 25 -mile oval.

Pre-Race Schedule: Registration begins  8 :00  a .m., Practice  11:00a.m
- 1:25  p.m., Bud Pole qualifying  4:45  p.m.

Top 10 Drivers: 1. Burney Lamar 350, 2. Jim Pettit II 320, 3. Auggie Vidovich 301, 4. M.K. Kanke 292, 5. Greg Voigt 268, 6. Greg Pursley 265, 7. Thomas Martin 256, 8. Joe Herold 251, 9. Eddy McKean 247, 10. Jeff Jefferson 247.

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Kurt Busch , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Rick Carelli , Jeff Jefferson , Greg Pursley , Don Campbell , Eric Holmes , Joe Herold , Burney Lamar , Jim Pettit II , Craig Raudman , Thomas Martin , Auggie Vidovich , Ryan Foster , David Mayhew