WS: Altamont: Race notes

FENSLER CAPTURES FIRST CAREER VICTORY WITH WIN AT ALTAMONT RACEWAY PARK TRACY, Calif. (Sept. 13, 2008) -- Jason Fensler captured his first career victory in the NASCAR Camping World Series West with a win in the Golden State Steel...

FENSLER CAPTURES FIRST CAREER VICTORY WITH WIN AT ALTAMONT RACEWAY PARK

TRACY, Calif. (Sept. 13, 2008) -- Jason Fensler captured his first career victory in the NASCAR Camping World Series West with a win in the Golden State Steel & Stair 200 at Altamont Raceway Park on Saturday.

Fensler, who has spent the season on top of the pit box making calls for the Speed Wong Racing team, made the most of the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a second entry by the team on his home track and delivered car owner Darryl Wong his first series win.

"I had a lot of butterflies at the beginning of the race," admitted Fensler, who was competing in just his fourth race in the series -- spanning a 15-year racing career that has included a late model stock car championship. "I know we had a good race car, but you've got to have luck."

Fensler gave much of the credit for the win to veteran crew chief Roger Bracken and the adjustments he made midway through the race to his No. 86 Speed Wong Racing Ford. "We weren't real good for the first 100, but we adjusted on it at the break," he said. "Roger did all the adjustments. The car was really good on long runs and that paid off."

Fensler, whose previous starts in the series include this event a year ago and two races in 1993, acknowledged the challenge of competing in a single race such as this. "I don't race with these guys on a regular basis and you've got to know the tricks of the trade on the restarts and what the chassis wants during a race," said the Wilton, Calif., driver. "I just relayed what I could and Roger adjusted on it and we had a good race car."

While other front runners were encountering problems, Fensler was able to gain the top spot and avoid any trouble. After initially starting eighth, he made his way forward and settled into the top five early in the event.

Eric Holmes, who led 131 laps and appeared headed to a victory that would pad his lead in the championship standings, dashed into the pits with a flat tire on lap 133. Mike David inherited the lead, but also encountered problems and later had to pit with a flat tire. He ended up finishing 17th.

With Holmes left to battle his way from the back of the field, it appeared that second-place running Jason Bowles would wrestle the points lead away with a strong finish. But Bowles -- who had won his fifth Coors Light Pole Award in qualifying with a lap of 99.448 mph -- faded and then pitted twice with flat tires. He finished the night in 19th place.

Fensler, meanwhile, took the lead from Austin Cameron on lap 160 and pulled away for the win. He crossed the line with a margin of victory of .510 seconds. He netted $6,500 in prize money and posted awards. He also secured spot in the starting lineup for the prestigious NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown Jan. 23-24, 2009 at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, Calif.

Although David Mayhew of Atascadero, Calif., suffered two flat tires early, he was able to battle back to gain a runner-up finish in the No. 21 BayBioDiesel/GGRT/RCR Chevrolet. Series rookie Jeff Barkshire of Auburn, Wash., was third in the No. 46 Centennial Batteries/SPE Dodge. He was followed by Holmes of Escalon, Calif., in the No. 20 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota and Austin Cameron of El Cajon, Calif., in the No. 18 NAPA AutoCare Toyota. Competing the top 10 were Johnny Borneman, Jason Patison, Paulie Harraka, Daryl Harr and Mike Gallegos.

The race featured six lead changes, among five drivers -- Holmes, Fensler, David, Cameron and Bowles. The pace of event was slowed by 11 cautions for 64 laps.

Despite his problems, Holmes was able to retain his lead in the championship standings -- with a 68-point margin over Bowles, 1,933 to 1,865. Barkshire is third with 1,837, followed by David with 1,749 points and Jim Inglebright with 1,706. Sixth though 10th include Cameron at 1,670, Moses Smith at 1,658, Borneman at 1,590, Mayhew at 1,586 and Jim Warn at 1,509.

Barkshire continues to lead the chase for this year's Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award. He tops the first-year driver charts with 114 points, followed by Warn with 101, Patison with 97 and Jamie Dick with 88. They are trailed by Wes Banks at 45 and Lloyd Mack and Ryan Philpott, each with 22.

The next event on the schedule for the NASCAR Camping World Series West is the season finale -- the Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by Thunder Valley at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., on Oct. 25.

-credit: nascar

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Paulie Harraka , Moses Smith , Jim Inglebright , Mike David , Daryl Harr , Eric Holmes , Wes Banks , Austin Cameron , Jason Bowles , Jason Patison , David Mayhew , Jamie Dick