WS: Altamont: Round three preview

NASCAR GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION, WEST SERIES NEWS & NOTES -- ALTAMONT * Borneman hopes to bolster championship run at Altamont Motorsports Park * Toyota to make series debut at half-mile Northern California track * Competing for spot in...

NASCAR GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION, WEST SERIES NEWS & NOTES -- ALTAMONT

* Borneman hopes to bolster championship run at Altamont Motorsports Park

* Toyota to make series debut at half-mile Northern California track

* Competing for spot in NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Johnny Borneman (No. 8 Twisted X Boots/Red Line Oil Ford) entered this season focused on making a bid for the championship in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series. To be a serious contender, the 29-year-old second-generation driver from Ramona, Calif., knew he would have to avoid the mechanical woes that plagued him early last season.

"We ran good in 2006," Borneman said. "It's just that in the first five races we had DNFs, with broken motors. If we could have just finished somewhere in the top 10, we'd have been in the hunt at the end. We had really good finishes. It's just the DNFs killed us."

Borneman closed out the 2006 season with a podium finish in the season finale at Altamont Raceway Park. He is hoping for similar results when the West Series returns to the half-mile track near Tracy, Calif., for the Altamont 200 on Saturday, April 28. The event will be televised to a national audience live in high definition on HDNet. In addition, SPEED is to provide an enhanced replay.

Altamont is a track that Borneman took to right away. "The first lap, I knew I liked it," he recalled of last year's event. "We were good all through practice. In the race, we were real competitive and we came out with a good strong finish."

Borneman is confident of a similar outcome with this visit to Altamont. "I expect the same results we had last time," he said. "Hopefully, it will be a top five. I'd be disappointed with anything else. We're going to take the same car back. I think we can run good there."

After struggling early last season, Borneman is optimistic about contending for the title this year. "We worked real hard over the off-season preparing these cars and testing them, with the new motor and new body style," he said. "All the cars got torn down to the bare chassis and media blasted. We think we have a pretty good handle on things."

Like many other West Series teams, Borneman Motorsports has added the Grand National Division spec engine to their inventory. "They seem to be real reliable," Borneman said of the new powerplants.

Consistent performances, meanwhile, are what Borneman says it will take to win this year's championship. "It will require being consistently in the top 10," he said. "You're going to have guys that are going to fall out of the top 10. And if you can sneak a win or two here or there and a couple of seconds, I think it'll be enough."

NEWS & NOTES

* The race -- This event is the third race on the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series schedule for 2007. It is the first of two visits by the series to Altamont Motorsports Park this year -- with a return for the season finale set for Sept. 15.

* The track -- Altamont Motorsports 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 13 West Series events, dating back to 1966.

* Toyota to make series debut -- With Melo Motorsports slated to make its West Series debut at Altamont, it will mark several firsts. In addition to being the team's first entry in the series, it will mark the first Toyota Camry to compete in a West Series event. It will also be the first series race for Kyle Cattanach of Redding, Calif. The 2007 Toyota Camry was among the manufacturer models approved for competition in the NASCAR Grand National Division this year.

* Competing for Showdown spot -- In addition to scoring a series victory and gaining the valuable championship points that go with it, the winner at Altamont will gain a starting spot in the 2007 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown. Only Grand National race winners and champions of the NASCAR Developmental Series will be locked in to the field. All others must race their way in.

* No recent repeat winners -- The six most recent West Series races at Altamont Motorsports Park produced six different winners.

* Front runners at Altamont -- Three drivers -- Ray Elder, Jim Insolo and Jack McCoy -- lead series competition at Altamont, with two wins each. In the modern era (since 1971), Insolo leads in terms of top-five finishes -- with four. He and Ray Elder are tied with Scott Gaylord (No. 00 Scott Gaylord Racing Chevrolet) for the most top-10 finishes -- with four each. In fact, Gaylord twice has recorded a career best second-place finish at Altamont (1996 and 2006).

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

* Widespread competition -- In the 10 series races at Altamont since 1971, 129 different drivers took the green flag.

* Chevrolet, Dodge lead the way -- With four wins each, Chevrolet and Dodge are tied for the most number victories among manufacturers in the West Series at Altamont.

* Stat of the race -- Three of the 10 modern era events at Altamont were won by a driver starting from the Budweiser Pole position.

BIRTHDAYS

Drivers celebrating a birthday during the upcoming month of May include Daryl Harr, who will turn 25 on the 5th; Scott Lynch, who will turn 27 on the 14th; Eric Norris, who will turn 42 on the 20th; Steve Portenga, who will turn 37 on the 22nd; David Ross, who will turn 18 on the 24th; Jim Courage Jr., who will turn 38 on the 26th; P.J. Abbott, who will turn 43 on the 28th; and Ken Schrader, who will turn 52 on the 29th.

FAST FACTS

What: ALTAMONT 200, NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Race #3

Where: Altamont Motorsports Park, Tracy, Calif.
When: 7:00 p.m., Saturday, April 28

Track layout: .5-mile paved oval.
Distance: 200 Laps, 100 miles.

Posted Awards: $129,546

TV: HDNet (Live)
SPEED (enhanced replay, May 9, 12:00 p.m. ET)

2006 winner: Event not held.
2006 polesitter: Event not held.

Records: Qualifying: Eric Holmes, Oct. 15, 2006, 102.139 mph, 17.623 sec.; Race: Butch Gilliland, March 23, 1997, 71.217 mph, 1 hr 24 min 15 sec

Pre-race schedule: Saturday -- Practice, 10-11 a.m., 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Qualifying, 3:30 p.m. Note: All times subject to change.

-credit: nascar

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Ken Schrader , Steve Portenga , Eric Norris , Scott Gaylord , Scott Lynch , Daryl Harr , Eric Holmes , P.J. Abbott