WS: Altamont: Round 12 preview

NASCAR Camping World Series West News & Notes, Golden State Steel & Stair 200 at Altamont Raceway Park 'Candy Man' Finishes Out 2008 Season Close To Home Tight Championship Battle With Only 2 Races Remaining 8 Different Winners In 8 Visits To ...

NASCAR Camping World Series West News & Notes, Golden State Steel & Stair 200 at Altamont Raceway Park

'Candy Man' Finishes Out 2008 Season Close To Home
Tight Championship Battle With Only 2 Races Remaining
8 Different Winners In 8 Visits To Altamont Raceway Park

Inglebright Looks To Conclude Year With 2 More Strong Finishes

The competition remains tight as the NASCAR Camping World Series West prepares for the final two events of the year. Both events are near home for Jim Inglebright (No. 1 Jelly Belly Chevrolet) and his Fairfield, Calif.-based Roadrunner Motorsports team and both tracks are where he has tasted success.

Inglebright, who is fifth in the championship standings, is aiming to wrap up his best season on the circuit with a strong showing in both races. Only 44 points out of fourth place, he knows it's possible to move up in the standings before the curtain comes down on the 2008 season for the NASCAR Camping World Series West.

The veteran West Coast competitor won back-to-back championships in 1991 and 1992 in Late Models at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., where the series will hold its season finale on Oct. 25. He also experienced success at Altamont Raceway Park near Tracy, Calif. -- winning a race in the former NASCAR Southwest Tour, as well as capturing victory in a 100-lap Late Model event at the half-mile track.

Inglebright is hoping for a similar outcome when the NASCAR Camping World Series West heads to Altamont Raceway Park this week for the Golden State Steel & Stair 200 on Saturday, Sept. 13.

"It's just one of those tracks that is close to home and I adapted to it early," Inglebright said of Altamont. "I seem to do better on the semi-banked tracks. It suits my driving style -- where you can use a lot of brake, get the car turned and then get back after it."

It takes more "brute force" and less "finesse," according to Inglebright. "It's kind of one of those tracks where you can kind of muscle the car around a bit and get away with it," he said. "It's a track where you drag race down the straightaway to the corner. You can root around a little bit and not get yourself in too much trouble. It's a good track to race. It's a racer's track and I seem to do better at those types of tracks."

Inglebright, known to many race fans as the "Candy Man" for his association with long-time sponsor Jelly Belly, is in his fourth full season in the series and has registered one win, five top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 11 races this year. He was credited with a victory as the top finishing driver from the NASCAR Camping World Series West in the combination race with the NASCAR Camping World Series East at Iowa Speedway in May.

In addition, he nearly captured the win last month at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, running out of gas on the last lap after a late-race caution led to the race distance being extended.

"We're happy with our season, but I wouldn't say we're content with it," Inglebright said. "I wish we were a little further up in the points."

He had to make up ground early in the season, after failing to crack the top 10 in the first two events. "It started off a little rough; the first couple of races we had some issues," Inglebright said. "They were not really in our control, but you've got to factor that in. When you're racing, you're going to have those races."

He bounced back to put together a run of seven straight top-10 finishes. That string of consecutive finishes propelled Inglebright to fifth in points.

Their performance this season demonstrates how much his team has progressed in the past couple of years, according to Inglebright. The biggest challenge was switching equipment, going from the lighter cars in the former NASCAR Southwest Tour to the heavier cars in the NASCAR Camping World Series. "We finally have got four brand new race cars in our stable now," he said. "That feels pretty good."

In addition, he and veteran crew chief Rodney Haygood have found a chassis setup that works for them.

"It's taken us a while to get a hold of this," Inglebright said. "I didn't think it would be as challenging as it has been for me, going from the lighter cars to the heavier cars full time."

At 46 years of age, meanwhile, Inglebright works hard to stay in shape as he competes against drivers less than half his age. "I've also been doing a lot of go-kart racing," he said. "So, I think that's helped my program out, also."

With the progress their Roadrunner Motorsports team continues to make -- Inglebright and his wife, Val, who serves as his spotter as well as the car owner, see more good times ahead. "We're looking forward to next year," Inglebright said.

***

Bowles Pulls Within 9 Points Of Holmes In Championship Battle

The battle for this year's championship in the NASCAR Camping World Series West has developed into one of the closest in recent years between two California drivers.

Second-year driver Jason Bowles (No. 22 Sunrise Ford Ford) of Ontario has closed to within nine points of Escalon's Eric Holmes (No. 20 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota), with only two races remaining -- Altamont Raceway Park near Tracy, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 13, and All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., on Oct. 25.

Holmes, the 2006 champion, won last year's event at Altamont and opened up this season with a win at Roseville.

The battle to get into the top 10 of the championship standings is just as tight. The four drivers in 10th though 13th are separated by just 29 points. Rookie Jim Warn (No. 10 MJ2 Racing/Gran Prix Imports Chevrolet) of Aurora, Ore., is in 10th; followed by Jeff Jefferson (No. 42 MJ2 Racing/Gran Prix Imports Chevrolet) of Naches, Wash.; Jason Patison (No. 17 Lucas Oil Ford) of Corona, Calif.; and Mike Gallegos (No. 34 RTD Motorsports Chevrolet) of Wheat Ridge, Colo.

***

News & Notes

The race -- This is the 12th race on the NASCAR Camping World Series West schedule for 2008. It is the only event hosted by Altamont Raceway Park this year.

The procedure -- The starting field is 28 cars, including provisionals. The first 24 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 200 laps (100 miles).

The track -- Altamont Raceway Park is a semi-banked, half-mile paved oval with turns banked 12 degrees and four degrees banking in the straights. The track has hosted 15 events overall, dating back to 1966.

The records -- Qualifying: Eric Holmes, Oct. 15, 2006, 102.139 mph, 17.623 seconds; Race: Butch Gilliland, March 23, 1997, 71.217 mph, 1 hour 24 minutes 15 seconds.

No recent repeat winners -- The eight most recent races at Altamont Raceway Park, dating back to 1995, produced eight different winners.

Back behind the wheel -- Jason Fensler will swap his duties atop the pit box with Speed Wong Racing for the opportunity to drive an additional entry for the team at Altamont. The Wilton, Calif., competitor was among the leaders in last year's event, before being slowed by a flat tire. This year's entry list also includes former NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Auggie Vidovich and third-generation racer Ross Strmiska.

Front-runners at Altamont -- Three drivers -- Ray Elder, Jim Insolo and Jack McCoy -- lead competition at Altamont, with two wins each. In the modern era (since 1971), Insolo leads in terms of top-five finishes, with four. Insolo, Elder and Scott Gaylord are tied for top-10 finishes -- with four each.

Poles at Altamont -- Sean Woodside has the most poles in the modern era, with three. Woodside also tops the charts in terms of laps led, running out front for 463 laps.

How they compare -- Among drivers who raced in four or more races at Altamont, Jim Insolo had the best average finish of 2.25.

Experience among current drivers -- With six each, Jack Sellers and Scott Gaylord have the most starts at Altamont since 1971.

Stat of the race -- Three of the 12 modern era events at Altamont were won by a driver starting from the pole position.

Birthdays -- Drivers celebrating a birthday during the month of September include Carl Harr, who turns 55 on the 9th; Bobby Hillis, who turns 47 on the 10th; and Brian Ickler, who turns 22 on the 17th.

Last year's event --

Eric Holmes took an early lead and never looked back as he sailed to victory in this event last year. Brian Ickler, who had won the pole in qualifying, led the initial seven laps before giving way to Holmes. Once out front, Holmes never relinquished the lead. He crossed the finish line with a margin of victory of 2.378 seconds. David Mayhew took second, followed by Mike David.

***

The Race: Golden State Steel & Stair 200
The Place: Altamont Raceway Park

The Date: Saturday, Sept. 13
The Time: 7 p.m.

Track Layout: .5-mile paved
Race Purse: $130,087

2007 Winner: Eric Holmes
2007 Pole: Brian Ickler

Schedule:

Saturday:
Practice 10:30 a.m.-noon
Time Trials 3 p.m.

***

Final Notes From Toyota Speedway At Irwindale

Irwindale sweep -- Jason Bowles' (No. 22 Sunrise Ford Ford) win in the Pipe Careers 200 presented by Pipe Trades at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.) on Aug. 16 gave him a sweep of both NASCAR Camping World Series West races at his home track this year. It marked his third win of the season and fifth career victory.

Wire-to-wire win -- Bowles led wire-to-wire en route to the win at Toyota Speedway, marking the first race without a lead change in 18 visits there by the series.

Another pole -- Bowles also won the Coors Light Pole Award at Toyota Speedway. It was his fourth pole of the year and fifth of his career.

Career-best marks -- In addition to Bowles, a couple of other drivers did well on their home track. Jason Patison (No. 17 Lucas Oil Ford) turned in a career-best third-place finish. Chris Johnson (No. 50 TCR Ford), making only his second series start, qualified second-quickest and finished seventh.

Back in action -- Don Holcomb (No. 96 LaFrance Motorsports Chevrolet) returned to series competition at Toyota Speedway, the latest of several drivers to return to the circuit this year. Holcomb of Mesa, Ariz., had notched a top-10 finish while running the early part of the 2000 season. Another Mesa driver, Billy Kann (No. 78 Interstate All Battery Center Chevrolet) has returned to race several events this year. Kann had registered several eighth-place finishes in 19 starts between 1995 and 1999. Tony Toste (No. 91 ACE/Papich Construction/MMI Chevrolet) of Pismo Beach, Calif., has returned to race in five events this year. He had a career-best runner-up finish among his 20 starts in 1998 and 1999.

***

Gilbert Dominates Action At Altamont

Jason Gilbert has dominated competition in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Western Late Model class at Altamont Raceway Park near Tracy, Calif., this season.

Gilbert, who made his debut in the NASCAR Camping World Series West when the circuit visited Altamont last year, has scored 10 wins in 19 starts in weekly competition this season at the .500-mile track.

The Pleasanton, Calif., competitor was seventh in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Top 500 standings, as of Sept. 9, and was first within the state of California.

In addition to the Western Late Models -- other classes featured as part of Altamont Raceway Park's regular program include Grand American Modifieds, American Limited Stockcars, Formula-4 and Limited Sprints.

The history of the track dates back to its first event on July 22, 1966.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Jeff Jefferson , Jim Inglebright , Bobby Hillis , Scott Gaylord , Jack Sellers , Mike David , Carl Harr , Eric Holmes , Auggie Vidovich , Jason Bowles , Jason Patison , David Mayhew , Tony Toste , Brian Ickler