WS: Evergreen: Round five preview

* Woodside recalls first career victory at Evergreen Speedway * Kerry Earnhardt slated to make debut in West Series * Special entry honors 4-time champion Roy Smith DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 12, 2004) - Evergreen Speedway...

*         Woodside recalls first career victory at Evergreen Speedway

* Kerry Earnhardt slated to make debut in West Series
* Special entry honors 4-time champion Roy Smith

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 12, 2004) - Evergreen Speedway marked a couple of firsts for members of one NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series team. Now they are hoping for another.

The .646-mile track in Monroe, Wash., was the site of Sean Woodside's (No. 3 Jerry Springer Pontiac) first win on the circuit in 1997. Car owner Christina Adair, meanwhile, won her first series race a year ago at the historic track. Now Woodside, who joined the Adair Motorsports team earlier this season, hopes he and the team can score their first win together when the series makes its annual visit to Monroe on Saturday, July 17 for the Coors Light 200 presented by NAPA/Albertson's/MDA and Creekside-Mountain Glen Retirement Centers.

The $117,772 event will be televised to a national audience. It is to air live in high definition on HDNet. In addition, SPEED Channel will provide an enhanced replay on Aug. 14.

Woodside's initial visit to Evergreen Speedway seven years ago was a memorable event in what was a remarkable rookie year for the Saugus, Calif., competitor. "I remember in practice they told me to watch out for turn four," he recalled. "So, of course, I hit the wall in practice - but not too hard. We ended up fixing the car and coming back and winning the race. I learned a valuable lesson."

The win was the first of three victories for Woodside that season. He admits it bolstered his confidence as a first-year competitor. "I was driving the Golden West Motorsports cars at that time," he said. "We had been running pretty well all year and had finished second a couple of times. It definitely opened the door to start winning more races."

Woodside returned to Evergreen Speedway three times since that first visit, notching another top-five and two more top-10 finishes. He attributes much of his success to the layout of the track. "It's a flat place, which is similar to Saugus Speedway," the 33-year-old driver said, in reference to the now-shuttered Southern California track where he won two late model championships early in his career.

He also credits local racer Kelly Tanner and his crew with helping him. "Kelly helped me a lot up there," Woodside said. "He showed me little tricks around the place and we always had really good setups in the car."

One of the secrets he learned was how to negotiate turn four. "It's real rough and you're on the throttle way back in the middle of the corner," Woodside explained. "It just seems to jump out at you. Everybody warns you about it when you go there."

Although Evergreen Speedway was dubbed years ago as the "Superspeedway of the West," drivers like Woodside approach it like a short track. "To me it's like a big short track," he said. "There's a lot of sliding the car around through the corners. You're definitely able to slide the car around more than you are on a speedway. You really have to make it handle and you really have to have a good motor. It's kind of a combination of everything."

The pit stops that take place during the 200 laps are a popular feature with the fans at this annual event. And the pit strategy that comes into play between the teams can be the difference in winning or losing, according to Woodside. "In 1999, we let Kevin Richards go, because we thought we would save the tires, and tried not to pit as much. It ended up coming back to bite us. We ended up second."

Qualifying well and track position at Monroe are another concern to the competitors. "The surface is pretty abrasive on the tires," Woodside said. "So, it's always easier to start ahead of people. You usually have to have a pretty good car to get by people. Fortunately for me I've had a pretty good car most of the time I've been there."

Woodside, who won the West Series championship in 1999, is fourth on the list of Career Money Leaders for the series with $687,903 in winnings. He has tallied seven career victories, along with 32 top-five and 46 top-10 finishes, in 65 races. His career stats also include 12 Bud Pole Awards.

NEWS & NOTES

* The race . This event is the fifth of 13 races on the series schedule for 2004.

* The track . Evergreen Speedway is a semi-banked .646-mile paved oval with turns banked eight degrees and four degrees banking in the straights. The track has hosted 36 NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series races in the modern era, since 1971. Its history with the series dates back even earlier, however. The track has been a stop on the circuit since 1964, hosting approximately 10 events between 1964 and 1970.

* 50th Anniversary . Evergreen Speedway will commemorate its 50th Anniversary by honoring its top 50 drivers with a special celebration in the VIP Building at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds on Saturday, July 17.

* Kerry Earnhardt to compete . Kerry Earnhardt is scheduled to make his debut in the West Series at Evergreen Speedway. Car owner Bill McAnally announced late last week that Earnhardt will compete in a BMR entry. Earnhardt of Kannapolis, N.C., will join BMR as a teammate to series veteran Austin Cameron (No. 16 NAPA/NAPA Belts & Hose Chevrolet).

* Honoring a champion . Gary Smith is slated to compete at Monroe in a special entry that will pay tribute to his father, four-time series champion Roy Smith, who died earlier this year in a fishing boat accident. In addition to his four titles - Roy Smith compiled a record of 13 wins, 48 top-five and 67 top-10 finishes in 105 races between 1973 and 1997. After a five-year absence, he returned to the series in 1997 to compete at Sonoma and Monroe, where he scored his final top-10 finish while his son finished second. Gary Smith, who won the rookie title in the series in 1997 and went on to record three wins in 43 races between 1996 and 2000, finished in the runner-up spot in this event three consecutive years (1996, 1997, 1998).

* Sprinter . Well-known Canadian sprint car driver Trevor Montgomery (No. 09 Bear Mountain Gold & Country Club Chevrolet) of Victoria, BC., will be racing closer to home at Monroe as he competes in his second consecutive West Series race. He finished 14th in his series debut on the tight quarter-mile oval at Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway. Montgomery, who is known as "Trevor the Tornado," has won multiple championships in sprint cars as well as stock cars.

* Last year's event . The series visit to Evergreen Speedway in 2003 was an event that featured a long run of green-flag racing, in which pit crews played a vital role. After two early cautions accounted for nine laps under the yellow, the pace never slowed again until the checkered flag waved. Bud Pole winner Kevin Richards set the early pace before Mark Reed moved out front for more than 100 laps. Although Reed gave up the lead to Richards to make a green-flag pit stop, he eventually regained the top spot after everyone had stopped. Reed won by 3.340 seconds over Mike Duncan (No. 9 Lucas Oil/Ron's Rear Ends Chevrolet) and Scott Gaylord (No. 00 Oliver Gravity Separators/Denver Seminary Chevrolet), with Richards dropping out late in the race due to mechanical problems.

* Many different winners . Twenty-two different drivers have won a series race at Evergreen Speedway since 1971. Woodside is the only previous winner expected to enter this event.

* Most wins . Ray Elder has the most wins at Evergreen Speedway, with five. He visited victory lane in 1971, twice in 1972 and twice in 1975.

* Most poles . Ron Eaton and Bill Elliott share the distinction for winning the most Bud Pole Awards at the Monroe facility, with four each. Eaton won his in 1977, 1980, 1982 and 1985 - while Elliott won his in 1986, 1987, 1989 and 1990.

* Top marks . Roy Smith leads the lists for most top-five finishes (nine) and top-10 finishes (14) in series competition at the track since 1971.

* Show me the money . Bill Sedgwick leads in terms of money won in series events at Evergreen Speedway in the modern era. He has winnings of $108,351 in 10 races.

* Running out front . Chad Little has led the most laps of series competition around the Monroe track since 1971, staying out front for 1,183 circuits.

* Return performance . Jack Sellers (No 15 Aramark/Dayco Belts Chevrolet) has taken the green flag in 15 series races at the .646-mile track, more than any other active driver in the series. His best finish there was ninth in 1991.

* Podium finishes . Duncan finished in the top three at Monroe the past two years. His runner-up finish last year followed a third-place finish in 2002.

* Manufacturers' battle . Ford tops the list of manufacturer wins at Evergreen Speedway, with 10.

* Stat of the race . Only eight of 36 winners at Evergreen Speedway since 1971 started from the Bud Pole. The last time the winner started from the Bud Pole in a 200-lap event was 1982.

* Etc. . A total of 290 different drivers have competed in the 36 series races at Evergreen Speedway since 1971.

* Leading this year's competition . Duncan has led the most laps of competition so far this year. In the first four races, he kept the MB Duncan Motorsports entry out front for 265 laps.

* Multiple Bud Poles . Duncan is the only driver to win more than one Bud Pole Award in the first four events (Bakersfield & Stockton).

* Most laps completed . Mike David (No. 2 Bennett Lane Winery Ford) and David Gilliland (No. 88 RacecarCeilingFans.com Chevrolet) have completed the most laps of competition. Each driver has run 550 of the 551 possible this season.

* Best average finish . Gilliland has the best average finish so far this season among drivers running the full schedule. His average finish in the four races is 5.25. Duncan is close behind with an average finish of 5.5.

* Leading rookie . Gilliland also tops a talented crop of freshman drivers contending for the Auto Meter Rookie of the Year Award. He was the top finishing rookie in all four races so far.

BIRTHDAYS

Drivers celebrating a birthday during the month of July, meanwhile, include Brendan Gaughan, who turns 29 on the 10th; Bobby Dotter, who turns 44 on the 11th; Brandon Ash, who turns 27 on the 17th; and Jack Sellers, who turns 60 on the 24th.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

On July 29, 1984, the late Jim Robinson edged Derrike Cope by a margin of 1.64 seconds for the victory at Evergreen Speedway. The 200-lap race was part of a big swing through the Pacific Northwest by the circuit that year - with visits to Yakima on June 30, Seattle on July 8 and Portland on July 15. Robinson went on to win his second of three consecutive series championships that year, while Cope won the rookie title and finished a close second to Robinson in the overall standings.

Fast Facts

What: Coors Light 200 by NAPA, Albertson's, MDA & Creekside-Mountain Glen Retirement Centers
NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Race #5 of 13

Where: Evergreen Speedway, Monroe, Wash.
When: 8:00 p.m., Saturday, July 17.

Track layout: .646-mile paved oval.
Distance: 200 Laps, 129.2 miles.

TV: HDNet (Live), SPEED Channel (tape-delay, Aug. 14, Noon ET)

2003 winner: Mark Reed.
2003 polesitter: Kevin Richards.

Pre-race schedule: Saturday - Practice, Noon-1 p.m., 2-2:30 p.m., Qualifying, 4:30 p.m. Note: All times subject to change.

Field: 24 cars possible. Fastest 20 through time trials. Two provisional positions based on 2004 West Series championship owner point standings, one position based on 2004 West Series championship driver standings, one provisional starting position to West Series champion.

Records: Qual: Mark Krogh, June 29, 1996, 99.589 mph, 23.352 sec.; Race: Roy Smith, July 12, 1981, 83.359 mph, 1 hr 29 min 56 sec

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Derrike Cope , Bill Elliott , Bobby Dotter , Chad Little , Kerry Earnhardt , Brendan Gaughan , Mark Reed , Gary Smith , Scott Gaylord , Jack Sellers , Mike David , Kevin Richards , David Gilliland , Brandon Ash , Austin Cameron , Jim Robinson