*50th Visit By NASCAR Camping World Series West *Chad Little To Make Special Visit For This Year's Event *Jefferson Has Many Fond Memories Of Evergreen Speedway Washington 500 Commemorates 50th Visit To Monroe Track The annual Washington 500...
*50th Visit By NASCAR Camping World Series West
*Chad Little To Make Special Visit For This Year's Event
*Jefferson Has Many Fond Memories Of Evergreen Speedway
Washington 500 Commemorates 50th Visit To Monroe Track
The annual Washington 500 at Evergreen Speedway is a major motorsports event, but this year's competition holds special significance as it marks the 50th visit by the NASCAR Camping World Series West to the historic Evergreen State Fairgrounds track in Monroe, Wash.
The first of those visits was on April 19, 1964, a race that was won by Dick Bown. Since then, 29 different drivers have etched their name in series history with a win at Evergreen Speedway.
Annual NASCAR Camping World Series West races at Monroe between 1985 and 1993 were 500-lap events and attracted some of NASCAR's biggest stars. They included Bill Elliott, Geoffrey Bodine, Sterling Marlin, Harry Gant, Ken Schrader and the late Davey Allison. Two top West Coast talents, Derrike Cope and Chad Little, won that event.
The track also gained notoriety, meanwhile, from another of NASCAR's biggest names as David Pearson dubbed the track as "The Superspeedway of the West."
A full program of competition is on the agenda for this year's Washington 500. In addition to the 150-lap NASCAR Camping World Series West race, the event will feature a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Speedway Chevrolet Super Stock race, a Les Schwab Tires Bombers race and a late model touring race.
Evergreen Speedway, which has been part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for more than two decades, features a wide variety of competition in its weekly events, as well.
3-time 500 Winner Chad Little To Be Part Of Washington 500
Chad Little, a former NASCAR Camping World Series West champion and three-time winner of the 500-lap event at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., is slated to be a part of this year's Washington 500.
The Tacoma, Wash., native -- who now works for NASCAR, serving as director of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour -- will be on hand to greet fans and sign autographs at the track.
Little was the 1986 Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Camping World Series West and a year later won the series championship. He scored five wins, 21 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes in 33 starts between 1985 and 1993. Little won the 500 at Monroe in 1986, 1988 and 1989.
He went on to compete in all three divisions of NASCAR on a national level. He raced in 217 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, with a best-finish of second in 1998.
Little had six wins, 27 top-five and 44 top-10 finishes in 134 starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series -- where he was named Most Popular Driver in 1995. He made three appearances in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1995.
Jefferson Looks Forward To Returning To Evergreen Speedway
Jeff Jefferson (No. 42 MJ2 Racing/Gran Prix Imports Chevrolet) has many fond memories of Evergreen Speedway. Prior to becoming a competitor in the NASCAR Camping World Series West, Jefferson watched stars of the series, such as Derrike Cope and Chad Little, circle the historic Monroe, Wash., track in cars owned and prepared by his father, George Jefferson.
"I spent a lot of time there, watching Derrike and Chad and everyone that drove for my dad," recalled the 36-year-old Jefferson, who hails from Naches, Wash.
Little had three wins in series competition on the 5/8-mile track and Cope had one. Prior to them, it was Jeff's uncle, Harry Jefferson, who piloted the Jefferson Racing entry in the series -- winning at Evergreen Speedway in 1974 and 1977.
Unfortunately, Jeff was too young to recall. "The sad thing is that I never remember watching my uncle race," he said. "The first one I really remember is Derrike."
The younger Jefferson is now making memories of his own. He was a three-time champion in the former NASCAR Northwest Tour and currently races in the NASCAR Camping World Series West. Although he made a limited number of appearances in the series each year prior to this season, a visit to Monroe was nearly always on his schedule. In seven starts there -- between 1999 and 2006 -- Jefferson had one pole, four top-five and five top-10 finishes.
"Out of most of the Northwest race tracks, Monroe is just a place that I have always loved to go to and can't wait to race there," he said. "I've really only won one race there, and that was in a tour race, but I've had a lot of good finishes and run well there. It's a fun place. You go fast there.
"The fans there love racing," he said. "It's like they can't get enough of it and they really enjoy having the West Series come to town. They love watching racing on the (5/8-mile track) there."
The NASCAR Camping World Series West heads to Monroe this week for the Evergreen 150 on Saturday, July 26. The event, part of this year's Washington 500, marks the 50th visit by the series to Evergreen Speedway.
Jefferson is hoping for a strong performance there to help turn around a season that has been plagued by bad luck. He drives one of two entries for first-year team MJ2 Racing and car owner Mike Warn. Jefferson is 13th in the championship standings, with one top-five and two top-10 finishes in eight races. He has recently seen solid finishes vanish in two races, getting caught up in incidents while running in the top 10 late in both events.
A good finish at Monroe could serve as a turning point for Jefferson to get his season back on track. "I'm just looking for something positive right now at the race track," he said. "It's just been one of those years. But you create your own luck. We haven't put ourselves in the right position and we need to get better at the race track and we're working on that. Hopefully, Monroe is the place that will help get that turned around."
The race -- This is the ninth event of a 13-race NASCAR Camping World Series West schedule for 2008.
The procedure -- The starting field is 22 cars, including provisionals. The first 18 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 150 laps (93.75 miles).
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 records -- Qualifying: Mike Duncan, Aug. 4, 2007, 99.691 mph, 23.328 seconds; Race: Mike Chase, May 4, 1991, 72.283 mph, 2 hours 40 minutes 52 seconds.
Streak of consistent finishes -- Jim Inglebright (No. 1 Jelly Belly Chevrolet) will be looking for a solid finish at Monroe to extend his string of six consecutive top-10 finishes. With his latest top-10 finish -- the Fairfield, Calif., driver moved to fifth in the championship standings.
Former winners -- The entry list for this year's Monroe event includes two former winners -- Austin Cameron (No. 18 NAPA AutoCare Toyota), who won in 2004, and Johnny Borneman (No. 8 Twisted X Boots/Red Line Oil Ford), who won in 2006.
Multiple victories -- Jack McCoy and Ray Elder are tied for the most wins at Evergreen Speedway, with five each. McCoy won three consecutive races -- once in 1967 and two in 1968 -- and again in 1969 and 1973. Elder won in 1971, twice in 1972 and twice in 1975. Other multiple winners include Ron Eaton (1979, 1980 and 1982), Chad Little (1986, 1988 and 1989), Bill Amick (1964 and 1965), Dick Bown (1964 and 1970), Brendan Gaughan (2000 and 2001), Butch Gilliland (1996 and 1998), Harry Jefferson (1974 and 1977), Neil Newberry (1976 and 1979), Jim Robinson (1983 and 1984) and Bill Sedgwick (1990 and 1992).
Most poles -- Eaton and Bill Elliott have the most poles at Monroe, with four each. Eaton won his in 1977, 1980, 1982 and 1985; Elliott won his in 1986, 1987, 1989 and 1990.
Best finishes -- The late Roy Smith leads the lists for most top-five finishes (nine) and top-10 finishes (14) in competition at the track since 1971.
Most money -- Bill Sedgwick leads in terms of money won at Monroe in the modern era. He has winnings of $108,351 in 10 races.
Out front -- Chad Little has led the most laps around the Monroe track since 1971, staying out front for 1,183 circuits.
The Race: Toyota/Concept Race Cars and Parts 150
The Place: Evergreen Speedway, Monroe, Wash.
The Date: Saturday, July 26
The Time: 8:30 p.m. PT
Track Layout: .646-mile paved
Race Purse: $112,392
2007 Winner: Brian Ickler
2007 Pole: Mike Duncan
Schedule: Saturday: Practice 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Time Trials 4 p.m.