CAMERON WINS RACE, HOLMES TAKES TITLE IN NASCAR GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION, AUTOZONE WEST SERIES TRACY, Calif. (Oct. 15, 2006) - Austin Cameron scored his second win of the year, while Eric Holmes clinched the championship as the NASCAR Grand ...
CAMERON WINS RACE, HOLMES TAKES TITLE IN NASCAR GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION, AUTOZONE WEST SERIES
TRACY, Calif. (Oct. 15, 2006) - Austin Cameron scored his second win of the year, while Eric Holmes clinched the championship as the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series wrapped up its 2006 season with the Altamont 200 at Altamont Motorsports Park on Sunday.
Although Holmes led more than half of the event, his title chances were threatened late in the race when the right rear tire on his Sunoco Race Fuels/Paul Oil Chevrolet developed a slow leak. He was able to pit under caution, however, remain on the lead lap and finish fifth to clinch the title by a 83-point margin.
"I told everybody not to panic and do the best we can," Holmes said of the pit stop on lap 186. "I knew if we came and didn't get a lap down we would be alright."
Holmes of Escalon, Calif., was quick to credit car owner Allen Beebe and members of the Beebe Racing Enterprises team in winning this year's championship. "It's just all the people that helped me, you can't thank them enough," Holmes said of winning his first NASCAR Regional title. "That's the biggest part, not for myself, but for everybody else. There are just so many people that have always been there for me."
Holmes' closest challenger going into the event was Mike David. But he saw his championship hopes fade when he suffered a similar fate with a flat tire in the first half of the race. Mechanical problems later left David to finish 13th.
Cameron, who started fifth on the grid, steadily moved up to the runner-up spot in the first half of the race. He slipped past Holmes for the lead on lap 113. Although Holmes battled back, he eventually relinquished the lead to Cameron when he headed to the pits on lap 185.
The win will benefit his team in preparing for the upcoming NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown post-season event, according to Cameron. "This is a momentum gainer going into the Showdown," said Cameron, who won the inaugural NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown in 2003. In addition to serving as a boost to his team's morale, the win gave his team a chance to further refine the chassis set-up on their car, he said. "I feel like we have a good idea what to do for the showdown," he said.
Cameron of El Cajon, Calif., won by a margin of 1.794 seconds at an average speed of 102.139 mph in the RaceCarFans.com Chevrolet. For the win, his 15th career series victory, Cameron receives $7,191 in prize money and posted awards.
Series veteran Scott Gaylord of Lakewood, Colo., followed Cameron across the line in the Oliver Gravity Separators/Denver Seminary Chevrolet; with Johnny Borneman of Ramona, Calif., third in the Borneman Plastering/Red Line Oil Ford. Tim Woods III of Chino Hills, Calif., was fourth in the Ford sponsored by Chino Hills Ford. He was followed by Holmes.
Rounding out the top 10 were Jim Inglebright, Mike Duncan, Brian Ickler, Andrew Phipps and Brett Thompson.
Holmes, who won his fourth Budweiser Pole Award of the season with a lap of 116.017 mph, was one of 10 drivers to surpass the previous track record in qualifying. Holmes went on to lead the most laps in the race, pacing the field for 123 of the 200 laps. Three other drivers contributed to the six lead changes - Cameron, David and series rookie Peyton Sellers. The pace of the event was slowed by nine cautions for 55 laps.
Holmes wrapped up the championship with 1,889 points, unofficially - followed by David with 1,806, Duncan with 1,762, Steve Portenga with 1,720 and Sellers with 1,675. Sixth through 10th in the points are Inglebright with 1,657, Gaylord with 1,644, Cameron with 1,631, Ickler with 1,591 and Borneman with 1,569.
Top teams of the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series will face off with top teams from the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series in the fourth annual NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway on Friday, Oct. 20, and Saturday, Oct. 21.